Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – May 1st to 7th, 1959

 We have found a couple of original photos from last weeks post to update the “cut & paste” photos used then.The music goes round and round at Midland Y’s Men’s Club’s 13th annual music festival, this week, and where it comes out is up to the judges. Several lads who took part in the instrumental competitions Monday study a score. Left to right are Neil Craig, Paul Davidson, Harry DeVries, Dave Bissette, and Jerry Hamilton.

Catherine Richardson earned the flowers being presented to her by Ruth Davidson at MPDHS auditorium Friday night on behalf of the Y’s Men’s Club. As in many previous years, Mrs. Richardson was the accompanist for literally hundreds of young singers and instrumentalists at the 13th annual music festival last week.

The big sign pretty well tells the story as Ed (left) and Bill Jeffery survey the plans for their new hardware store to be erected at Dominion Ave. and First Street. They hope to have the new store open for business by mid-July. 

Maybe the secret of being a good trout fisherman is to smoke a pipe and look contented, like Hugh McGillicuddy, left, and John Power. But then almost anybody would look happy with the catch (20 speckles ranging from nine inches to 1.5 lbs.) these two “old cronies” landed on opening day May 1. Hugh was a former YMCA staffer in Midland. 

Seems like just about everybody was “in the chips” at the banquet for Midland Ontario AHL champions at Parkside Inn Monday night. Wearing new jackets and holding pen sets presented by Midland Lions Club are, left to right, Doug French, Keith Bath, and Bobby Clayton. They’re admiring the world’s champion hockey trophy held by ex-Toronto Leaf coach Billy Reay. Billy served as general manager of the Belleville MacFarlands when they won the title at Prague in March. 

“It’s a bit too small around the waist,” admits Midland’s “Mr. Hockey”, George S. Dudley, as he tried on John Swan’s new jacket at the hockey banquet in Parkside Inn Monday. John, left, Dennis Abbott and Wayne Holden were presented with the jackets by the town for winning the Ontario AHL championship at Welland last month. 


  • County Herald headline May 1, 1959; Forecast Major Invasion of Tourists in Huronia. Indications of a bumper tourist season for this section of Huronia this year are seen in numerous inquiries for information and requests for accommodation being received by Penetang and Midland Chambers of Commerce. Ken Macdonald, secretary of Penetang chamber, told a directors’ meeting Wednesday night he is being “swamped with letters asking for information on available cottage accommodation”. The secretary said most people sending queries appeared to have families, and they are generally looking for safe beaches. “Not too many of them are even mentioning boating facilities in their letters,” he stated. Mr. Macdonald’s summary of requests received to date was that one and two-week holiday periods seemed to be the rule. Many of the letter’s named specific locations, with all of them being in this area, he said.
  • Free Press Herald headline of May 6, 1959; Hardware Firm to Build $100,000 Building. Adding fuel to Midland’s current building boom, the erection of a brand new store, and warehouse for F. W. Jeffery and Sons Ltd, dealers in hardware in Midland for more than 60 years, was made official this week. The estimated cost of the new building, located at Dominion Ave. and First Street, one block west of the present location, is around $100,000. Nap Beauchamp Construction Company, Midland, is the contractor. Names of the successful sub-contractors have not been announced as of yet. The main store portion of the new building will be of one-storey cement block construction, measuring 50 by 100 feet. The warehouse, forming the foot of an “L” at the northwest corner, will be two storeys and will measure 40 by 20 feet. Weir-Cripps and Associates are the architects. The layout of the main store has been planned by the Versa-Flex Company; specialists in the hardware store field. Work got underway the last week of April on clearing a portion of the site of the ancient trees which have sheltered Dominion Ave. for generations. The warehouse is scheduled for completion May 31 and the main store by July 15. Also to be torn down to make way for the outdoor selling area and the parking lot is the old Ingram house, another Midland landmark for several decades. Work on tearing down the huge old home will not start until June. Founded sometime prior to 1900, the firm erected its own building at Dominion Ave. and King Street in 1901. In 1914 the present company of F. W. Jeffery and Sons Ltd., was founded. The sons were the late Edward Jeffery Sr., Todd Jeffery, and the late Fred Jeffery. In 1954 the building was sold to the Jeffery Holding and Development Co. Ltd. Actively heading the firm at present are Mrs. Hazel Jeffery as president and her two sons, William and Edward, as secretary and vice-president, respectively.
  • For more than 7000 Grey Nuns throughout the world, including branch communities in Penetanguishene, Midland and Victoria Harbour, Sunday, May 3, will be an important occasion. Their foundress, Mother Marie Marguerite D’Youville, will be beatified at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Representatives of 325 houses, of the Grey Nuns, will attend ceremonies and later special services at the Church of The Canadian Martyrs, Rome. A number of members of the Canadian hierarchy, led by His Eminence Paul Emile Cardinal Leger, archbishop of Montreal, will attend the beatification rites. In Midland, special services will be conducted in St. Margaret’s Church at the 11 a.m. mass Sunday in honor of the new “BEATA?’. At 9 a.m. Monday a special mass will be celebrated for the children of schools taught by the sisters. Marie Marguerite Dufrost Lajamerais D’Youville was born Oct. 15, 1701, at Varrens, 15 miles from Montreal. Widowed while still a young woman, she became the first Canadian to establish a religious community, “The Sisters of Charity”, who became known as the Grey Nuns, because of the color of their religious habit. “Dedicated to serving the poor and the sick in the social field and in education, the Grey Nuns spread rapidly after their establishment in 1738. There are at present over 7,000 living members belonging to this community or branch communities formed since, which owe their beginning to the original Montreal foundation.
  • A meeting which filled Craighurst community hall to capacity last week received assurance that action would be taken to have Highway 93 from Craighurst to Crown Hill paved. The road is part of Simcoe East riding served by Lloyd Letherby, MPP. The meeting was called to protest the fact that the stretch of highway, as a graveled road, provided poor service during most of the year.
  • Officers for the ensuing year were elected at the April meeting of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, held in the ladies’ parlor of St. Paul’s United Church, with the president Mrs. W. Farquhar, in charge.
  • MPDHS Hi-Sterics by David Maheu; Wednesday morning’s assembly was an outstanding one. Contributing to its success was the Glee Club which led off its presentation of negro spirituals and popular songs with a beautiful interpretation of God Save the Queen. During a break in the program, a member of the Students’ Council gave away a free ticket to the prom. The lucky girl was Lenore Faragher. This year’s prom will be called South Sea Serenade. In charge of the main part of the assembly program was Grade I0C. Introduced by MC Don Popple, John Carpenter read a humorous letter which had been given to him by a newly-enlisted soldier. It was signed “Elvis”. His selection was followed by a song presented by guitarist Roy Leclair. A humorous skit, portraying activities in station SLOB, was presented by Harry DeVries, announcer, and Winston “Liberace” Schell who played “Music to eat by”. Winston also filled in as weathercaster following the “newscast”. Guests “interviewed” were a boxer named Slugger and a tennis star, Hazel Condolis. A hit number was the Lloyd Preston Quintet comprised of Lloyd Preston, Milt Budarick, the two French boys and Murray Fagan. Lloyd demonstrated his ability by playing the piano, the violin, and the saxophone. This musical aggregation was followed by the Five Peppers, who sang. “I’ve Had It”; and two of their originals “Whisper Some”, and “What Did I Say, What Did I Do? Lloyd Preston and his band and Harry DeVries, Winston Schell, Kevin Rodgers, Roy Leclair teamed up for the finale.
  • BIRTHS –  DAY—To Mr. and Mrs. Charles Day, London, Ontario, at the Victoria Hospital, on Friday; April 24, 1959, a son. JACKSON—To Mr. and Mrs. Edward Jackson, 1 Gervais Drive Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, May 1, 1959, a daughter. RINTOUL — To Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Rintoul, Victoria Harbour, at St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Saturday, May 2, 1959, a daughter. SILVEY — To Mr. and Mrs. John Silvey, 291 Russell. St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 29, 1959, a son. SIMMONDS—To Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Simmonds, 215 Russell St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Wednesday, April 29, 1959, a daughter. WHITE — To Mr. and Mrs. Douglas White, 102 Elizabeth St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Friday, May 1, 1959, a son. YORK — To Mr. and Mrs. Charles York, Vindin St., Midland, at St. Andrews Hospital, Monday, May 4, 1959, a daughter.
  • DEATHS – ISAAC N. WOOD A life-long resident of Tay Township, Isaac Nicholas Wood died in Penetang General Hospital April 11 after a lengthy illness. He was in his 85th year. Funeral service was held at St. John’s Anglican Church, Waverley, April 13 with Rev. A. G. Fairhead officiating. Pallbearers were Keith, Lawrence and Neil Wood, Ross Withall, Douglas Brooks and Bill Marcellus. Mr. Wood was a member of the Anglican Church and an honorary member of LOL No. 589 Waverley. His wife, the former Mary A. Thompson, predeceased him in 1956. He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Spurgeon Brown (Cora) of Elmvale, Mrs. Wm. Withall (Hazel) of Wyevale, and two sons, Percy, and William of Wyebridge. * * * MRS. ALICE SIBBALD Born and educated at Waverley, Mrs. Alice Eleanor Sibbald, who had resided practically all her married life in Midland, died April 20 at St. Andrews Hospital in her 84th year. The funeral service was held April 23, at Nicholls funeral home with Rev. W. L. Morden officiating. Pallbearers were Harold Boyd, Uno Gabrielson, Allan Drinkell, Arlie Sibbald, Reginald Drinkell and Phon Sibbald. Mrs. Sibbald had been associated with many organizations of the United Church. She married the late John Alphonso Sibbald Oct. 4, 1901, at Waverley. Mr. Sibbald predeceased his wife in 1931. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Drinkell. A brother and sister predeceased her some years ago.  Sibbald is survived by a brother Walter Drinkell of Waverley and a niece, Miss Zelma Drinkell, and two nephews, Reginald and Allan Drinkell, all of Waverley. Burial was in Waverley United Church Cemetery.
  • After ten years in the same location on the east side of Midland’s King Street, Bill’s Barber Shop has recently opened in a new stand almost directly across the street, in the rear portion of the new Midland Sundries store. The new shop, operated by Bill and Eleanor Leitch, has been specially designed to take up as little room as possible but at the same time afford’ its customer’s even better service. There’s a place for everything and everything, is kept strictly in its place. The shop also features new ultra-violet ray sterilizing equipment, where clippers, shears, combs, razors and every item used on the customers are stored while not in use. The very latest of its type, the new sterilizer is the only one of its kind in use in this area. Another new item is the latest in lather service equipment which provides ready-mixed lather for all shaving needs, The new shop is also designed for easy and quick cleaning, with vinyl flooring and plastic tile walls. A barber for 15 years, Mr. Leitch was joined six years ago by his wife Eleanor. Theirs is the only husband-wife operation of its kind in the area so far as is known.
  • 25 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK – Two Sixth Street School pupils, Marvin Gilbert and Kenneth Butler, made an important discovery at the Wye River. They uncovered two silver crosses, eight gold rings and several silver ornaments believed to have been owned by early Jesuit missionaries in Huronia. * * * Simcoe County amateur radio operators held an organizational meeting in Coldwater. Mord S. Millard of Coldwater was named the ident of the newly-formed group known as Simcoe County Radio League. Radio operators from Penetang, Midland, Orillia, and Coldwater attended the meeting. * * * In an address in the House of Commons, a Conservative member demanded that industrial profiteers be prosecuted and that some of the legislators and cabinet ministers be eliminated from the public payrolls as a means of lessening taxation. * * * Department of Highways announced that dangerous curves would be removed and the surface paved on Highway 12 between Midland and Orillia. It was estimated that the work would cost between $6,000 and $7,000 per mile. * * * A total of 789,000 bushels of wheat, oats, and corn were brought to Midland elevators in two days by ships which were loaded at the head of the lakes. CSL’s Town House received 344,000 bushels alone. * * * A move by several Midland merchants to have Wednesday half-holidays abolished during July and August was defeated. They were unable to get the support of a majority of their colleagues to have the council amend the bylaw. * * * Gasoline was being offered at one Midland service station for 19 cents a gallon, plus government tax. There was no indication that it was the forerunner of a price war.
  • What might have been a major tragedy was narrowly averted at Hillsdale Wednesday when the family home of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Townes was completely destroyed by fire. Inside at the time the fire started were eight of the Townes’ children. The children’s father was in a nearby bush cutting wood. Their mother was away shopping accompanied by Francis, 12, the eldest son. Hero of the near-tragedy was Kenneth, 11, who managed to get a younger brother and six sisters to safety. Barbara, 8, had also helped by snatching Violet, 4 months from her crib as they fled the burning building. The fire apparently started when Kenneth attempted to relight a wood stove in the kitchen, with the aid of coal oil. Sparks leaped from the stove into a can of gasoline used to operate a washing machine. Smoke and embers surrounded the children as they fled the gas-fed flames. A neighbor, Duncan Barr, who happened by at the time, made certain none of the panicky children tried to get back in the house.
  • The people of Ontario have two big Jobs to do concerning the advancement of mental health. One is fighting stigma and the other is fighting lethargy. So said Hon, M. B. Dymond, minister of health for Ontario, as he addressed the final meeting of St. Paul’s United Church Men’s Club for this season. Pointing out that one person in 10 in this province will need treatment for mental or emotional disorders at some time or other, Dr. Dymond said that even in 1959 people “still talk in whispers” when they mention mental illness.

 Looking further back;

CHARLES HARTMAN’S reflects on his 37 years in the hardware business in Midland as told to Herbert Cranston and published in the Midland Free Press Wednesday, May 3rd, 1939.

     Fifty years is a long time in any man’s life. It was fifty years ago, on Monday, May 1, 1889, that Charlie Hartman entered the hardware business. Thirty-seven years of that fifty have been spent in Midland. This town has a no more deservedly popular citizen than the said Charlie, who all this week has been receiving the congratulations of his friends. W. D. ‘ Bill ’ Ross, who has kept store next door to him for the past fourteen years, says that there is not a whiter man in all Simcoe County. “If Charlie Hartman gives you his word that’s all you need,” says Bill. And no higher tribute could be paid to any man.

    It was on September 5th, 1870, that the stork left a third boy baby at the farm home of John W. Hartman, eight miles southwest of Meaford, in St. Vincent township. The little lad was christened Charles Edward. All four boys born to John Hartman and his wife, Susan Machell, are still living. Joseph, the oldest, is farming in St. Vincent township. Frank is in the hardware business in Thornbury, and William, better known as “Bill,” who for many years was a partner with Charlie, now is Midland’s deputy reeve. Charlie Hartman loves to tell tales of his boyhood. He attended a country school in S. S. 11, St. Vincent, until he was sixteen years of age and like other boys, he played “hookey” when the weather was too fine to be indoors. He remembers one teacher by the name of Frizell, who used a rung from a maple chair in place of a strap. “When he got through you didn’t want anymore,” said Charlie, as he reminiscently looked at his hands which had tasted that chair rung many times.


    “He was a bad actor, that Frizell.” continued Mr. Hartman. There was a big cupboard in the schoolroom in which we used to put our lunches. One day we had an exam in geography and there were three of us who didn’t know the answers. As punishment, he shoved us into the cupboard, locked the door, and went home to supper. There was so little space that we could not move. When Frizell got to his farm boarding place he gleefully told the farmer what he had done. “You will smother them said the farmer.’ Let them smother.’ said Frizell. The farmer ran to the school and let us out, and just in time. We could not stand up and collapsed on the floor,  in fifteen or twenty minutes more we might have been dead.” “The boys make much trouble for the teachers”, continued Charlie. “We did have a lot of fun however. There were two gangs, the “uproads” and the “downroads”, depending upon which way we came to school, and when winter came we had many a snow fight, which usually ended in a fist encounter.


    “I must tell you about a mean trick some of us played on a farmer neighbor, old Richard Belshaw, who was so lazy he wouldn’t cut his lambs’ tails off at the proper time when they were very small, but let them grow until they were quite big. One day a bunch of us decided to teach him a lesson. On the way home, we cornered two or three of the Iambs and cut off their tails. Next day Mr. Frizell asked the boys who went north to stay in after school. We knew what was coming, and we declared we knew nothing about what had happened. So Frizell went to see another chap who had been with us but was not at school that day. He did not know what we had said, and as he was not coming back to school, he told the truth. The next night we got a whaling that I shall never forget. Of course, it was the wrong thing to do. The lambs might have bled to death, or their tails might have been infected as the weather was warm. But we were not thinking about the lambs. We were just playing a prank on old Belshaw.”

     At seventeen Charlie Hartman decided the time had come to prepare himself for his life’s work. He went to Owen Sound and tended business college for months, getting a training bookkeeping. He boarded with an uncle, a carpenter, who secured a job for him with T. I. Thompson, a hardware merchant. So when his course was over young Charles began his apprenticeship. “I was general kickabout” said he. “The first year I got $2, the second $4 and the third $5. I worked under an oral agreement and the hours were 7 a.m. till 9 or 10 o’clock every night in the week, but I did not complain. I was tickled to death to get a job. Father and mother, of course, helped me, for I could not pay my board on $2 per week.


    “I liked it in Owen Sound. There were a lot of lovely people there and I got along fine. At the end of the three years, Mr. Thompson claimed he had not guaranteed me any advance, although I certainly expected to receive a clerk’s pay when my apprenticeship was up. So I quit. Times were just as bad as they are today, If not worse, and there nothing to be had. I took a trip to Buffalo to see if I could get a job, but I could not find one in my trade. Finally, I got a chance at carriage and wagon painting. I stuck it out for three months and then decided to go back to Canada. Mother was anxious for me to come home and had got a job for me in a Meaford hardware store. The morning I left Buffalo was very hot, and as the train passed through fields of Ontario clover I thought I had never seen anything lovelier, nor had fresh air ever seemed so refreshing. I swore I would never go back to a city to live. It was while working for William Butchart that young Charles Hartman met the young woman who was to be his wife. She was Margaret Edwards, daughter of Albert Edwards, proprietor of Meaford’s grist mill. Charlie lived in the Edwards’ home during his four years in Meaford and got a chance to become well acquainted with the lady of his choice. He did not marry her, however, until he had purchased the hardware business of Thomas Carscadden at Thornbury, and set up in business for himself. ”I wasn’t going to make a fool of myself and marry before I was in a position to take care of a wife like so many young fellows do today,” he said.


    After five years in Thornbury Charles Hartman came to Midland and in partnership with his brother William bought out the hardware establishment owned by William Peters. It was a little old frame building and occupied the same site as the present Hartman store. When he purchased the property a few years later Mr. Hartman tore down the old Peters building and erected the present store in 1913. “Bill and I never had a partnership agreement,” said Charlie. “He had had no previous hardware training. He came direct from the farm, but we shared everything on a fifty-fifty basis. He was with me for eighteen years and we always got along splendidly together. The partnership was dissolved on his initiative. He never cared much for the business, and he saw the boys coming along. In half an hour we settled all the details as to dissolution. In 1933 my two sons Albert and Wells became my partners. Each of us now owns a third. My other boy Ainsley also worked in the store, but as yet he has no partnership interest in the business. Those boys pull together wonderfully. “Some of your clerks have been with you a long time, have they not?” l asked. “Oh yes. Bill Stephens, who drives and delivers, has been with us for 21 years, and Mrs. Norman Chew has been bookkeeper off and on for nearly 25 years. Watson Battrick has been with us for twelve years.”


    “You have seen many changes in the hardware business in the past fifty years?” I suggested. Indeed and I have. There has been a great improvement in the finishing of goods, such as stoves and kitchen utensils. Old barn framing tools, blacksmith tools, lumbermen’s tools, and most of the heavy hardware has disappeared. Vises, anvils, and machinists’ tools have little sale. Not nearly as many lanterns are sold as in the old days. The old cut nails have gone. We never see them now. All nails are wire, and they are better nails. They should be for they are dearer. We used to buy a keg of nails for 31.90 which today costs us 3.50 “We did the greatest volume of business in the years 1915 to 1929. Those were the days when the lumber yards, the shipyards, and the elevators were flourishing. There was a lot of building in those days. Today there is practically none. “The greatest change is, however, in the hearts of the people. When things were going well and there was lots of work people seemed to be happy and contented. When things went bad in 1930 and men started going on relief it was terrible. So many people who had saved a little, were soon drained of all they had. Some nearly went crazy when they found themselves dependent upon public aid. It used to be that if people kept you waiting a while before they paid their bills they would say they were sorry. Today, however, they make you wait and they never apologize. If you ask them for money they get angry and ask how you can expect them to pay when they have no work. It is the most regrettable change I have seen. “Credit is consequently not as good as it used to be and we do not give as much. The people have spoiled their own credit. If they are not as honest it is because of conditions and not all their fault. They have to scheme more to get along. The younger generations are more careless than their fathers.”


    Charles Hartman was brought up as a Methodist but became an Anglican after he married. He was churchwarden of St. Mark’s for some years, and on the Y.M.C.A. Board of Management while it was being built. He served as a member of the town council for four years, the last in 1913, and it is his boast that in those days the debt of the town was only $350.000 as compared to $1,500.00 of today. All payments on principal and interest were up to date. “No members of the council, not even the mayor, got any money then,” he said. The mayors I served under were Richard Horrell, J. H. Craig and John McDowell. The way I got into the council was this, there were some people trying to pass a law which would bring liquor into the town, I was asked to stand as an opponent of liquor and I was elected. I still believe Midland is far better off without booze, and that the people would vote against it if they wore asked to do so today. It is close enough in Penetang.” Mr. Hartman served on the school board for three years but was never chairman. “I never wanted any high position,” said he. “I don’t mind helping, but those jobs are a lot of worry. People are after you all the time. I never enjoyed feeling important.”


   “What is your chief hobby?” I asked of Mr. Hartman. “Staying with my business. I like it. I try not to overdo it, but one must be constantly awake to keep up-to-date.” “Don’t you ever go fishing or shooting?” “Oh yes. I am fond of duck shooting, and I used to go out every year when the season came round. I have also done quite a bit of deer hunting, and there is nothing I like better than a motor trip. I have seen quite a bit of eastern America from my automobile.” “How do you feel about the future of Midland?” I shot this final question at Mr. Hartman who has seen the town in alternate boom and depression periods. “That’s hard to answer,” he replied. “This world is in such a topsy turvy state at the present time, and business has been at a standstill for so long that one sometimes wonders if things ever will come right again. However, I’ll say that if things ever become normal again I see no reason why Midland should not forge ahead. We have lost some industries forever, but the tourist trade is steadily increasing in importance. This is a good center. It has many facilities, and it will come out on top yet.”

One thought on “Huronia Museum – Looking Back 60 Years Ago in North Simcoe – May 1st to 7th, 1959

  1. It would be interesting to find out what the boys did with the silver crosses and gold rings they found along the Wye River.

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