IN these days of
conveyances on land and water, run by steam power, the average citizen
of Ontario cannot fully appreciate the difference between travelling now
and travelling thirty or forty years ago. Then, a move of one or two
hundred miles was a matter “of great importance.” It involved the
employment of time, the outlay of money, the endurance of hardships, the
performance of labour, the smashing of furniture, the exercise of
patience, and the testing of moral and physical courage, little dreamed
of by the railway travellers of the present day. Only those who have
tried both the old and new methods of migration can form anything like a
correct estimate of the difference there is between them. In the one
case a man would be a day or two helping his wife to pack things away in
boxes that they had spent two or three days in making. Then the boxes
and furniture would be loaded on two or three waggons, and he would lash
them on with ropes. Then he would take his wife and as many of the
children as possible in the buggy. The rest of the children, if there
were any more, would be snugly stowed away in the loaded waggons. When
all necessary preparations had been made and the good-byes had all been
said, and the final hand-shaking had been done, the front teamster would
say, “All ready?” and start. Then two or three days of torture would
commence. To watch those waggons as they were drawn over the uneven
roads, up and down the hills, over rough corduroys, through bridgeless
creeks and sloughs, and quagmires; to have his wife fretting and
fidgetting about the things in danger of being broken; to find himself
nearly distracted over the question as to which was most likely to
occur—the upsetting of the waggon and the smashing of everything, or the
going off into hysterics by his poor worried and wearied wife. This was
a man’s lot under the old-time system of migration.
In the other case, a man puts his goods into a car, pays a little
freight, tickets the articles sent, visits among friends for a day or
two, takes his family into a palace car, pays the fare, enjoys a few
hours’ ride, arrives at his destination, hauls his stuff from the
station, helps to put things in place, goes to bed at his usual time,
feeling more like a man that has been to a picnic than one that had been
moving. This is a man’s privilege under the new system of migration.
Our First Move.
In the month of June, eighteen hundred and fifty-six, my itinerant life
commenced. I was living in the village of Smithville, county of Lincoln,
Ont. Here I had been working as a contracting builder, and was doing
well. But the Church with which I was connected was greatly in want of
men to till its rapidly increasing work. I felt it to be my duty to
preach the Gospel. So I offered myself for the work. Having been in the
Church, and having tilled the offices of elass-leader and exhorter for a
number of years, I was known personally by a large number of the
preachers. My offer was accepted. I was employed by the Elder, Rev. J.
W. Jacobs, and as soon as arrangements could be made, we started for our
first field of labour in the ministry. This was Garafraxa, in the
count}' of Wellington. To reach it we had to travel eighty miles. I had
never been there.
The road north of Hamilton was all strange to me. We had to go on a
waggon. All the help that we could get from railroads was the privilege
of crossing under one at Dundas and over one at Guelph.
I hired a heavy team and put a rack on a strong waggon. On this we
loaded such a load of furniture as is seldom seen on one conveyance. The
balance of our goods we left with a friend, to be taken at some future
time. The friend died not long after; the goods we never not.
When we had everything ready to start, a man came to me and said, “I
think you are making a great mistake; I do not think you will ever
succeed as a preacher. As a man you can succeed almost anywhere, but you
will never be a preacher. Now, if you will unload that waggon and go to
work in my foundry as a wood worker, I will give you steady work and the
highest wages going, as long as you like to stay.” I thanked him for his
kindness and his liberal offer. But I told him I was unable to take his
advice or accept his offer, as I felt that I was under an obligation to
obey a call that could not with safety be disregarded, as I felt that
the impressions that had been on my mind from my boyhood, and that had
grown stronger with increasing years, must have a significance. If I was
mistaken, it was a mistake made in all honesty, after much prayerful
consideration and many petitions for Divine guidance. But this is a long
I took my wife and children in the buggy, and started on after the team
that had gone an hour before. We went to Mr. Martin Halstead’s, and
stopped for the night in what was known as the Buckbee neighbourhood.
The teamster went to his home to stay. He was a son of Mr. Adolphus
Lounsbury, who owned the team.
The passing through that place was something of a trial to us. Here it
was that my wife was raised. Here we had been married, and we had spent
twelve years of our married life here on the farm adjoining the one
where we were staying. Here we passed by the place where lay in quiet
rest the mouldering remains of one of our babes. Here we passed the
house, built by myself, where we had started life together, and where
our children had been born. The class that I had led for thirteen years
was in this locality. In this settlement were many reminders of my
vocation as a mechanic. We had lived here, and we were doing well here.
But we got the “western fever,” sold out, went west, did not like it,
came back to Smithville, and lost four or five hundred dollars in the
movement, but perhaps it was all for the best.
Next morning we started and went on to Hamilton by noon. We fed the
horses and got our dinners, after which we started on and went as far as
the village of Freelton. Here we stayed all night. We took an early
start and drove on seven miles, and stopped for breakfast. We went on
through the town of Guelph to the village of Fergus, and stopped for
Here we left the gravel road and turned toward the old Garafraxa mission
parsonage, which was seven miles away. We got along nicely for about
three miles. Then we came to a piece of swampy bush, known as “Black Ash
Swamp.” The bottom of the roadway seemed to have started on a trip to
China, and for half a mile the mud was almost to the hubs of the wheels.
The horses were not used to that sort of work, and most decidedly
objected to proceed any further in that way.
“Stuck in the Mud!”
Was the significant cry of the teamster as he called back to me from his
perch on top of the load. Here was a difficulty. The horses had drawn
the heavy load for eighty miles and were tired. I resolved to seek for
help. Going forward through the wood I came to an old farmer, named
Cassidy. I told him my trouble, who I was, and where I was going. He
very cheerfully sent his son with a large, strong yoke of oxen to our
assistance. The cattle were hitched to the load, and in a little while
we were through the long mud hole and on the high ground once more. I
went in to settle with Mr. Cassidy, but he declined to take anything,
saying that he always tried, when it was in his power, to help those who
were in trouble.
While I was away seeking help, two of the Felkers from the vicinity of
the parsonage came along on their way home from Fergus. On finding out
who we were, they took our two boys along with them, and left them at
Mr. Lawrence Monkman’s, who lived right beside the house we were going
to, so that the news of our coming went ahead of us. We went on, and
when we came to the place we found Mr. Monkman sitting on the fence
waiting for us. We drove the load into the yard, and then we all went
home with our new friends to stay all night. After tea we all went to
the parsonage and unloaded the stuff, and put it into the house that was
to be our home for the next two years. After two years of hard work and
a good degree of success on the mission, and after becoming warmly
attached to the people, we had to prepare for.
Our Second Move.
The Conference was held at Willowdale, on Yonge Street. My appointment
was to Elma mission. This was a new field, only one year old. It was
about forty miles from where I was living. Its headquarters was a little
hamlet on the boundary between the townships of Wallace and Elma, in the
county of Perth. It was then called Mapleton. It is now the enterprising
town of Listowel. From the preacher that had been there the previous
year I got a list of the appointments, and the names and residences of
the members. But he could tell me but little about the road that I
should co. After gaining all the information that I could, I mapped out
the line of travel, and made preparations to move. Two young men, James
Robinson and James Loree, volunteered to take their teams and cany our
stuff'. We gladly accepted their kind offer. We started on a nice bright
morning in the month of June. We went through the village of Fergus,
where we stopped for dinner. After noon we started again. While we were
going through the township of Nichol the clouds poured down rain at a
rate that sent every one under shelter who had a place to run to. But
for us there was no shelter until we came to the village of Prayton, on
the line between Peel and Maryborough. We had a covered buggy, but even
that could not keep us dry. And the poor teamsters just had to take it
as best they could. The rain came in torrents all the afternoon and all
night and the next morning, until ten o’clock. We stayed at the only
hotel at Drayton. We were as well used as the condition of things in a
new country would admit. Next morning everything looked very gloomy.
Water was running in torrents everywhere, filling up the low places and
raising the creeks and streams in all directions at an alarmingly rapid
rate. At ten the clouds seemed to break and the rain ceased. We started
on again, but now travelling was almost out of the question, because of
water everywhere, and the mud seemed to be turned into brown putty.
Wherever it touched it stuck like paint. We got dinner at a little place
called Hollin. We tried the road once more. One of the teams got stuck
in the mud, and the other teamster had to hitch on and help it out.
Between two and three o’clock the rain commenced again as hard as ever.
We went on, as there was no help for it. On the town line between
Maryborough and Wallace we found a hotel, where we put up for the night,
having gained eight miles and got another soaking. The landlord told us
that to take those roads through to Mapleton would be impossible. He
said the settlers sometimes went through with oxen and sleds, but he did
not think a waggon had ever gone over. I told him that we must go
Next morning after breakfast we started. We got along all right for half
a mile, then we came to a cedar swamp through which a road had been cut
and causewayed. In the middle of the swamp was a large creek. When we
came to it we found that about two rods of the causeway had been carried
away by the freshet, and a current of clear, beautiful water, about two
feet deep and thirty feet wide, was running through the gap. I got a
pole and tried the bottom, and found that it was solid. I told the men
that we would try it. The forward team was a span of Lower Canadian
French horses. They went off the logs into, the stream all right, but
when the waggon went in they both fell flat in the water, and they could
not get up again. The two men and myself had to get into the water to
save them from drowning. We got them on their feet and out of the water.
Then we decided that the was^ons could go no further.
I went back and got a man with a pair of oxen to hitch to the hind axle
and draw the waggon and load back to the causeway. I told the men to
take the things back to the hotel and unload them. Then I put the saddle
on my horse and started for Mapleton to seek for help, having to make my
horse swim three streams before getting there.
I went to George Maynard, who was the class-leader at Mapleton. When I
told him who I was and what I wanted, he said he was glad to see me.
They had, he said, been in a worry about moving the preacher. “But,”
said he, ‘‘since you have come so far, we can surely get your things
brought the rest of the way.” We went to see the Steward, Mr. J. Tremain,
and they two agreed to come with their oxen and sleds the next day to
bring a part of our stuff.
I went back to where I left the family, and found that the teamsters had
unloaded and started for home. The water had spoiled a good deal of our
furniture. My wife and I were in the barn examining our goods when a man
came up to me and looked me in the face saying, “Are you a Methodist
preacher?” I looked at him, and I hardly knew at first what to make of
him. He was a tierce-looking man, and his hair stood up on end as much
as hair could do. I did not know whether I had found a friend, or
unwittingly made an enemy. But looking him steadily in the face, I
answered by saying, “I am a substitute for one. What can I do for you?”
“Come home with me,” was his ready reply. He said, “My children came
home from school and brought the word that a minister and his family
were here waiting for teams to come and take them to Mapleton. My wife
and I talked it over, and we concluded to invite you to our house. We
don’t know who you are, nor what branch of Methodism you represent, nor
do we care. It is enough for us to know that one of our Master’s
servants is in need of a friend.” I asked him where he lived. He pointed
over the field to a house not a quarter of a mile away. I went in and
told the landlord that I had found a friend, settled up with him for the
trouble we had given him, and went home with Mr. Spaulding, who was a
Wesleyan class-1 eader. We found a genial atmosphere at this Christian
home, and had a comfortable night’s rest. Both Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding
were warm-hearted, intelligent and consecrated Christians. As I lay
thinking over the events of the day, the passage, “I was a stranger and
ye took me in,” seemed to have greater meaning to me than ever it had
Next morning, at nine o’clock, George Maynard and John Tremain were on
hand with the teams. We loaded on the articles that would be most
damaged by remaining wet, for everything was completely saturated ; the
rest we piled up in the corner of Mr. Smith’s barn until the flood
subsided. We started; I on horseback and the rest any way that suited
them best, as I had to leave the buggy behind. The bush in some places
was like a flower-garden, and the children nearly ran wild about the
wild-wood flowers. We got over the creeks and watery places as well as
could be expected, and arrived at the house that was called the
Parsonage. The country was new; the first settlers had gone into these
townships in eighteen hundred and fifty, so that there was not a farm in
the two townships over eight years old and not many of them more than
half that age. We found an excellent class of people on the Elma
mission. When we got our things unpacked we found that much of our
clothing was more or less damaged, while some articles were completely
spoiled. This was especially the case with our hats and bonnets. These
had been carefully packed in the drawers of a bureau. The rain had
softened the glue and the bureau had fallen to pieces, letting the
contents of all the drawers fall together in one mass of mixed cotton,
woollen, fur, felt and feathers. The ruin was complete. My wife had not
a bonnet left that was fit to wear on the street, and I had not a hat
left that was worth picking up in the road ; and there was no chance to
replace them, as there was not a medium store of goods within twenty
miles of us. The best that I could do was to make a dye of soft maple
bark and green copperas, and color a coarse straw hat, which made me a
Sunday hat, till it was cold enough to put on a fur cap. My wife got a
bonnet “shape” at D. D. Campbell’s little store, and covered it with
silk taken from a dress that she got while I was a mechanic. That did
her while we stayed on the mission. The loss of that move by damage done
to furniture was more than fifty dollars.
I had fair success on this charge, and I became warmly attached to the
people, and I did not dislike the place. We stayed there one year, and
then came the time to give the itinerant wheel another turn. Then came
the marching order for us to pack up and go to the Teeswater mission.
When I came from Conference and told my wife where we were to go, I
expected to hear some sighs and see some tears, but I was disappointed.
She only said, “Well, it is a hard move, so soon after the one we had
last year. I think the stationing committee might have done better for
us.” Then I told her that I had made up my mind to leave the decision of
the case with her. If she did not want to face it, I would drop out of
the itinerancy, settle down again, and do what I could in a local
capacity. Short and emphatic was her answer: “We will go to Teeswater,”
said she, “if we stick in the mud along the road and half starve after
me get there.” I said, “Good for you, little woman ; that decides the
matter; we will go.”
Two days after I got home from Conference I started on foot to my new
field. I followed the road to examine it. What was called the road for
much of the distance was only a temporary sled track, winding here and
there through the bush. At other places the road had been opened out,
and the worst of the swamps and creeks had been bridged over by the
Government. After I had gone over and inspected the whole distance of
thirty-two miles, I concluded that it would be possible to go through
with a waggon if it was not too heavily loaded. I filled the
appointments on the Sabbath. On Monday we made arrangements for teams to
be sent the next week to move our things. In taking a survey of the
place, and after getting what information I was able, I concluded a
horse would be of but little use here. The roads were not in a condition
to make riding on horseback either safe or pleasant. On my return to
Mapleton I sold my horse. Part of the price went to pay the store bill
of the previous year, and the other part was taken in store pay.
I knew that it was going to be a very difficult thing to go through to
Teeswater with waggons over the road that I had seen, but to find any
better road it would be necessary to go around by Goderich, or else by
Walkerton. Either one of these routes would involve over one hundred
miles of travel, and a bad road at that. I resolved to try the shorter
road at all hazards. When the time came for the teams to arrive only one
came. That was sent by a man that was going out to the old settlements
on some business of his own. I was expected to drive the team back. We
loaded up what we could put on the waggon with safety and started. The
road was very rough all the way, but the first six miles were cleared
out, and the creeks and swamps covered with corduroy bridges. We got
along nicely over this. Then we turned off on a bush road for about six
or seven miles. Here everybody had to walk that could do so, and the
rest had to be carried.
At length we came to a place where the road went through a quagmire, and
the black muck had been turned into a bed of mortar to a greater depth
than was consistent with the passage of heavy loads. I got on the load
to drive over, and got along all right for part of the way, when both
horses fell into the mud and could not get up again. Here was trouble.
The waggon sank in mud up to the axles. One of the horses gave right up,
and seemed to fancy that his time to escape from whips and bad feed had
come. The other horse was a spirited animal, that had no notion of dying
in the mud. He made a desperate effort to regain his footing, but in
doing this he seemed inclined to make a bridge of his unfortunate
companion in distress. This proceeding greatly increased the peril of
his mate’s situation.
I got down from my elevated position on the load, feeling that for once
in my life I had found a “soft place” to light on. I got into the mud
and unbuckled and unhitched until the horses were loose from the waggon
and free from each other. I sent my boys for help to a place about half
a mile distant, where I had seen some men and oxen as I was passing the
week before. I got a long pole, and placed one end of it over the one
horse and under the other, and then I took the other end on my shoulder.
In this way I could keep the ambitious horse from throwing himself on
the discouraged one, which was in danger of being buried alive by the
struggles of his less submissive mate. While I was standing in the mud
and water, an elderly lady came along. On seeing the position of things,
she said to me :
“Well, mister, you are in a bad fix. Can I do anything for you?”
I said, “This don’t look very much like a woman’s work, does it?”
“No, not much,” she said; “but I should very much like to help you, if I
could. Do you think you will get those horses out alive?”
I said, “I hope so. It can be done if I can get some help.”
“Well,” said the old lady, “on my way home I pass the shanties of four
or five men. I will send every one of them here in less than an hour.”
She did as she promised, and with the help of two other men, who came
from another direction, we got the horses out after a hard struggle. But
such a queer, looking team I never saw. When they went in one was gray
and the other black, but when they came out no one could tell which one
was black or gray. With the help of the horses, and some ropes and
pries, we got the waggon out. We lost three hours by this mud-hole. We
fed the horses and took a lunch in the bush, and then drove on to the
home of William Ekins, a local-preacher in the Church that I belonged
to. This brother was a whole-souled, warm-hearted Tipperary Irishman,
who feared no man but himself, and who dared to do anything that was not
sinful or mean. I heard him once say, that the only man in the world
that he feared was “Bill” Ekins. If by the help of God, he could keep
Ekins out of mischief, he could get along with everybody else.
I never was more sorry for any one than for my wife that night. She was
so tired that she could hardly get along at all. She was not much
accustomed to travelling on foot. But she had walked fourteen or fifteen
miles that day, and had carried a baby in her arms the&most of the way.
As I looked at her as she sat at the tea-table, I thought that so
complete an embodiment of pluck, and perseverance, and energy, and
weariness, done up in less than one hundred pounds of feminine humanity,
I had never before looked upon. After a good night’s rest we started on
our way to our new home. Brother Ekins placed my wife on a nice pony of
his, and sent a boy along to bring it back. This made it easier for her.
We found a better road, too, than we had the day before. But we had a
number of corduroy bridges or causeways to go over, which caused us to
progress but slowly. We took our lunch that day in the shadow of a pile
of saw-logs, on the top of a high hill. The children enjoyed this gipsy
mode of doing very much.
After this we got on nicely until within about two miles of Teeswater.
Then, in crossing a cedar-swamp where the road was very much tramped
over, so that the mud was very deep and sticky, the horses both went
down again, and either could not or would not get up. Again I went in
and got the horses loose from the waggon and from each other. I sent my
wife and part of the children on under the guidance of Ekins’ boy. I
left my boys to watch the team, and went to look for help. Some distance
further on I found a company of men “logging” in a new fallow. They had
a good yoke of cattle. After much persuasion, and by promising full pay
for the time spent, the owner of the oxen went back with me. When we
came to the place, the horses had got up and walked out to hard ground,
and were browsing leaves off the bushes. The oxen soon brought the load
out of the mud. I paid one dollar and fifty cents to their owner, and in
an hour we found ourselves at the little house, only partly finished,
that was to be our home for the next Conference year. This mission was
in the township of Culross.
The first settlers went into this township in eighteen hundred and
fifty-three, so that the oldest farm was only seven years old.
When we tried to start housekeeping with the few articles that we had
been able to bring on our load, we found no little difficulty. We had
neither bedstead, table nor chair in the house; and a number of other
things needed for constant use were conspicuous by their absence. But it
is not easy to beat a woman if she has her mind made up to do a thing.
My wife soon decided what was to be done. Some benches were made as a
substitute for chairs; a large packing-box, covered with table linen,
served for a table; the floor was used for bedsteads; and for a cradle,
“to rock the baby in,” a sap trough was got from Mr. Ira Fulford’s sugar
bush. As soon as I could get away, I went back to Mapleton for the rest
of our stuff. But at that time teams were very scarce; the best that I
could do was to gather up a pair of horses, a waggon and harness, the
property of four different owners, and a young man to go with me and
bring back the team. We started with our load, but one of the animals
had done no heavy work since it was brought into the bush two years
before. The collar soon began to gall its shoulders, and before we got
half the distance this horse refused to draw the load any further. We
left the waggon standing in the road, and went two miles further on, and
stayed all night. Next morning I borrowed a yoke of oxen from a Mr.
Donohoe, with which I hauled the load to his place and put it in his
barn, sent the young man back with the empty waggon, and I went home
without the stuff. After a while I got a team and a boy from Mr. John
Gilroy and a waggon from Mr. Barber. They lived seven miles apart. With
this outfit I went and fetched the things. We had been without them
about two months. (As this mission is spoken of elsewhere in these
pages, I will say no more about it here.) We stayed only one year; then
we were sent right back to Mapleton, or more properly, Listowel, as the
name had been changed. But the improvement in the road was so great, and
our return move was so different from what we found the year before,
that we could hardly believe that it was the same road that we had gone
over the year before. Bough causeways had been covered with earth,
creeks had been bridged, knolls had been levelled down, and low places
filled up, so the whole distance was gone over in one day. Teams were
sent from Listowel to move the household goods. Mr. P. B. Brown, reeve
of Culross, volunteered to go with a double carriage and take the
family. We got through in one day, and not ten cents worth of injury was
done to anything.
It is surprising what rapid progress is made in a new country, when it
is filled up with an enterprising, go-a-head class of settlers. And that
was the kind of people that first went into these townships.
During our stay this time at Listowel, there was nothing of an unusual
nature that occurred, except the prevalence of typhoid fever, spoken of
in another chapter. My success in the work was about an average, nothing
special one way or other. We were here but one year, and then we had our
appointment for the second time to Garafraxa. This was three moves in as
many years. I at first concluded that I was one of the unfortunate men
that the people would only tolerate for one year. But then the fact that
I was sent to places where I had been before seemed not to harmonize
with that idea. I could not understand it, and it was only after I had
gained experience, in the stationing of men, that I could account for
the strange moves that are sometimes made in the itinerant work.
On my way home from Conference I passed through Garafraxa, and made
arrangements for moving. The committee to move the preacher that year
was composed in part, of Morris, Cook, and Henry Scarrow, who consented
to go with their teams and move us. In this case, too, we found the
return journey entirely different from what we had experienced three
years before, in going from Garafraxa to Mapleton.
We found improvements in other things as well as roads. When we left
there we moved out of an old log-house that had been built in the early
days of the mission. On coming back we moved into a nice little stone
cottage, that had been built during the pastorate of Rev. J. H. Watts.
On resuming the work on this circuit I was much pleased with the state
of the Church. Progress had been made in other things besides building.
Through the earnest and persevering labours of Brother Watts, a large
number had been added to the Church since I had left the circuit three
years before. Of this man’s work I wish to say, after ample
opportunities to observe its effects, it wears well.
During my former pastorate on this charge, I received into membership
over one hundred new converts. It was very encouraging on my return to
find most of these still on the way, and some of them filling important
positions in the Church. Some two or three had passed away in the full
assurance of faith, and in the joyful hope of a glorious home beyond the
tide. These things gave me great encouragement to work on for the
salvation of men.
We had two very pleasant years, and would have stayed longer, but at
that time the discipline only allowed two years’ pastorate as a rule.
The results of my efforts on this circuit are fully shown in another
chapter. So that I must not particularize here.
Our next move was to Mount Forest. Teams were sent to move us. We loaded
up and started. Before we had gone one mile, a very painful, if not
fatal, accident was providentially prevented by the activity of Mr.
James Bell, who now lives in Muskoka. He was walking by the side of one
of the loads, on the top of which a place had been fixed for our two
little girls. They were perched up on the load safely, as we thought.
While we were going through a piece of brush, where the ground was
nearly hidden by beautiful wild-flowers, the girls became so attracted
by what they saw that they forgot where they were. Just at that moment
the front wheels went into a deep rut. One of the girls fell from her
seat, and was falling right in front of the wheel. Mr. Bell sprang
forward just in time to catch her, and, before he could set her aside,
the other girl came right after her sister. But Mr. Bell was so quick in
his movements that he saved them both from harm. I was just behind with
a horse and buggy, along with my wife and the smaller children, and we
saw the whole thing. When I saw them fall I thought they would be
instantly killed. I could not see how any earthly hand could save them.
But by the mercy of God they were saved. They lived to grow up to
womanhood, seek the Lord, witness a good profession, and then go to
pluck the flowers of fadeless beauty in the fields of the “sweet by and
Nothing more took place of an unusual character till we got to Mount
Forest. We spent rather an uncomfortable year there. A combination of
circumstances, which I need not mention here, contributed to make our
stay in this place a short one, and an unpleasant one. My manner of
doing things was so very different from that of my predecessor, and the
style of the people in the town was so diverse from that of those that I
had been previously living among, that I was discontented and the people
were dissatisfied. T did not want to stay, and the people in the town
did not want me to stay, so that our views, after all, were quite
When the Conference came on I asked to be moved, and my request was
granted. Our next move was to Invermay. This was a new mission, only two
years old. It embraced the township of Arran, and extended into the
townships of Saugeen, Elderslie and Sullivan.
I liked this place, although it was a hard field to work on account of
the distances between appointments. We found some of the noblest men on
the Inveraray mission that I have met with in all my ministerial
experience. We remained here one year, and then, by my consent, we went
to the town of Mea-ford, on the shore of the Georgian Bay. Here I passed
some of the pleasantest and some of the saddest days of my life. But
this need not be detailed here, as it is spoken of elsewhere.
We stayed two years, and then we were sent to the village of Thornbury,
only eight miles, and also on the shore of the bay. We were here three
years, the discipline having been so changed as to make that the full
term. Then I was placed on the Huron District as Presiding Elder. We
moved back to Meaford, and that was my home during my four years’ term
on the district. I was at home on an average two months out of the
twelve. When my district work was done I was again stationed by Bishop
Richardson on the Meaford Circuit. We only stayed one year, and then we
went to the fine town of Kincardine, on the shores of Lake Huron. We
sent our goods to Kincardine on a boat, taking good care to have them
well insured, as Methodist preachers, as a rule, are not very well
prepared to replace articles that may be destroyed by fire or water, and
I am no exception to the rule.
We had lived in Meaford and Thornbury for ten years, and it seemed very
much like leaving home when we had to move some eighty miles, and settle
again among strangers. This was the case so far as my family were
concerned. For myself it was not so. 1 had frequently been in Kincardine.
We stayed in this place nine years. Three years I had charge of the
circuit, which was a large one, requiring two men, and six years 1 was a
superannuate, filling one appointment every Sabbath for four years out
of the six. As presiding elder, as preacher in charge, or as special
supply, I served the M. E. congregation in the town of Kincardine for
the term of eleven years.
As we had only moved three times in about nineteen years, we began to
fear that we should lose the spirit of the itinerancy, and become
stationary in our habits, So we packed up once more, and came to
Streetsville, where these pages are written.
In this last move we had an opportunity of testing the advantages of the
present system of migration over the old way. We placed our things in a
car, took a receipt for them, and then visited among friends for two or
three days. Then we stepped into a first-class car, had a few hours’
pleasant ride, reached our destination, and found our goods all right
and everything safe. 1 could not help saying to my wife that if this
state of things had been in vogue thirty years ago, we would not have
had so many articles spoiled and broken as we have lost by moving since
we commenced our itinerant life.