Museum
Currently open
Tuesday 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Moreston Heritage Village
Currently open
Tuesday 11:00 am-4:30 pm
Archives
Currently open
Tuesday 10:00 am-5:00 pm
no
by
Grey Roots

Grey County Luminaries

Grey Roots

Find out about personalities who have shaped our fair County, or whom you may know, but may not know that they have Grey County connections. Please note: this list is not exhaustive - just a taste! For further details on a figure that interests you, click on the name.

Also see our Local Heroes monoliths in the Museum & Archives foyer for the life and achievements of Billy Bishop, Harry Lumley, Agnes Macphail, Catharine Sutton Nahneebahweequa and Tom Thomson. 

Mrs. Beckett with Butter

Maggie Beckett was one of the people involved in the very beginning of the Museum.  This occurred through the efforts of the Women’s Institute in 1955.  Principally involved the making of butter, first as a hostess at the Museum and then as an interpreter, Beckett described the butter-making process to the many school children who visited. The children were allowed to help and, finally, to sample the end product.  Maggie Beckett was married to Grant Beckett for over 50 years, raising her family of four, and being active in many ways besides her work with the Museum.  She retired from the Museum in 1980, remarking that she had thoroughly enjoyed her time there, meeting interesting people and enjoying the opportunity to interact with children.  Her knowledge, experience, and reliability to contribute to the history so vital to preserve was recognized at a dinner held by the Museum staff in February of 1980. 

Additional Information:
Wilmer Beckett
Kelly, Ann.  “Butter making for many children always meant Maggie Beckett,” Owen Sound Sun Times, Wednesday February 27, 1980. 

Norman Bethune Transfusion Unit

Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst, ON in 1890. His father took the family to Grey County in 1905 having accepted a post as minister at the Lakeshore Daywood Church three miles north of Annan. They moved to Owen Sound shortly thereafter. Norman graduated from Owen Sound Collegiate Institute in 1907 and went on to graduate from University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. He served as a stretcher-bearer with The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War. In 1936, he helped the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and while there set up the first mobile blood transfusion service in history. In 1938, he went to China where he helped Mao-Tse-Tung by setting up battlefield surgical teams. On one occasion under heavy fire, Bethune operated on 48 wounded soldiers without resting or eating. He lived in caves on the battlefield and wrote medical textbooks at night, such texts as The Theory and Practice of Battlefield Rescue in Guerrilla Warfare. He formed the first medical unit that could be carried using two mules. He also developed methods of blood typing, using a medical kit that could be carried on a donkey for use at high altitudes, using a mobile unit, and taught field surgeons his craft. Dr. Bethune died in China in 1939 from an infection, which turned into blood poisoning, acquired when he cut his finger during surgery. Norman Bethune is considered a hero in China for his medical work. Chairman Mao called him, “A man of utter devotion to others without thought of self.” There is a historical plaque at the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute dedicated to Norman Bethune. 

Additional information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound ON. 1988. 

Jean Burnett

Jean Robertson Burnet was born in Owen Sound to John and Jemima Burnet. She received her B.A and M.A. at the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D from the University of Chicago, studying what was once the poorly regarded subject of sociology. Furthermore she was interested in minority studies at a time when minority groups were routinely ignored and sidelined and became a prominent scholar in the subject. She became a professor at University of Toronto shortly after graduation, then went on to help found and chair the Sociology Department of Glendon College, York University.

She was part of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturism, and spent ten years as Chairman of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee on Multiculturism. She helped foment the perception of Canada as a multicultural nation rather than bicultural, an image which continues to this day.

She was a strong advocate for protecting national history and in particular took up the cause of Grosse Île, forming an advisory committee to recommend the island as a National Historic Site, which met with success. She was a founding editor of the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, and edited several history journals throughout her career. She was the author of Next-Year Country and Ethnic Groups in Upper Canada among other writings.

She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1997; she also received the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Outstanding Contribution Award; the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal; and several honorary degrees from Canadian universities.

 

Tommy Burns

Noah Brusso was born in June 17, 1881 in a log cabin outside of Hanover, ON. Brusso fought under the name of Ed Burns and then as Tommy Burns in the United States. He had changed his name to hide his prizefighting activities from his mother who did not approve of his pugilistic ways. Tommy at 5’7” and 170 lbs. was a middleweight by today’s standards but fought as a heavyweight and held the World Heavyweight Champion title for two years and ten months, defending it fourteen times between 1906 and 1908. Tommy was a pioneer in boxing, being one of the first not to acknowledge the colour bar. As he said, “You’re not a real contender if you duck a man because of his colour.” Tommy Brusso was the first Canadian to be World Heavyweight Champion and is recorded in the Guinness Sports record book as the shortest World Champion of all time. He also has the world record for the quickest knockout in a heavyweight title fight (1 minute and 28 seconds). Tommy died in relative obscurity, short changed by history until a fundraising campaign by Dick Beddoes; sportswriter, finally placed a memorial plaque on his grave in Vancouver, BC assigning his true rank in the world of heavyweight boxing. You can also visit a plaque commemorating his birthplace in Hanover, ON.

Additional information: 
Canadian Review of Materials Journal
Cyber Boxing Zone.
Dan McCaffery. Tommy Burns: Canada’s Unknown World Heavyweight Champion, James Lorimer, Toronto, ON, 2000.

Alice Clement

Alice McQuay was born in Proton Township on a farm. Her family retired to Meaford, where Alice attended High School and Model School. After attending Normal School in Winnipeg, she taught at schools in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Alice married Walter Henry Clement in 1914 and they went to live in British Columbia. In 1917, her husband drowned. She returned to Meaford with two infant children, taught school briefly. She also worked in an apiary but would later turn her attentions to municipal affairs. She sat on the Meaford Town Council for 15 years and in 1957, was elected mayor of Meaford by acclamation. During her active life of service she was awarded a life membership of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, was an executive of the Women’s Missionary Society of the United Church and the Grey Presbyterial and Conference branch of the same society. Alice was also Chairman of the Meaford Hospital Board and a member of the Hospital Management Committee. She retired as Mayor of Meaford in 1961, after serving for 5 years, citing ill health and died a year later at the age of 82, on May 1, 1962. Alice is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Meaford. 

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Coutts' Card

William Coutts was born near Maxwell in Osprey Township in 1882. When William was four months old, a team of runaway horses killed his father. His mother then took William and his three sisters to live with his grandmother in nearby Feversham. Four years later his mother died. He and one of his sisters were sent to live with an uncle in Wareham. At the age of 16, he married Charlotte Robinson and the young couple moved to Toronto where William began to work in the stationery business, and developed an idea for a greeting card company. He acquired a collection of 125 quality designs and added social communications to them and started Coutts-Hallmark one of the most familiar names in the greeting card business. The company he founded in 1916, grew from a one-man operation to a major concern employing nearly one thousand people. He also started the Coutts-Hallmark Foundation, granting art scholarships to senior High School students and encouraged many young artists. William Coutts changed the look of social communications. In 1958, he sold his company to Donald Hall of Kansas City, owner of Hallmark Cards with whom Coutts-Hallmark of Canada had had an informal international agreement for 35 years and the company became known simply as Hallmark. William Coutts died in 1973.

Additional information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.

Item pictured: Grey Roots Archival Collection 987.3.11

Hap Day

Clarence Day was born in Sydenham Township to Sidney Day & Elizabeth Bothwell Day. He resided in Owen Sound and started playing minor hockey, before moving to Port McNicholl where he attended Midland High School. In addition to attending the University of Toronto, majoring in pharmacy, he played for the Varsity team. Charlie Querrie, owner of the Toronto St. Pats, thought Day would make a great addition to his team, but Day was reluctant at first because of his commitment to school. Day was offered a large salary along the promise that he would miss too many classes and made his NHL debut in 1924. He was later made team captain in 1926, and remained so for the next tens years. In 1932, the Leafs won their first Stanley Cup with Day scoring a key goal sending the last semi-final game into overtime, beating the Montréal Maroons and moving on to the finals against the New York Rangers. He played with future Hall of Famers such as Jack Adams, Babe Dye, and King Clancy. He played his final season in 1938 with the New York Americans. Later, in 1940, with the Leafs coaching position open, owner Conn Smythe, immediately offered Day the opportunity. Over the next ten years, Day would become the most successful coach in the NHL. He won five Stanley Cups as coach of the Leafs, first in 1942, then in 1945, and finally three in a row from 1947 to 1949. A short year later, Day would leave the bench for the off-ice position of Assistant to the General Manager. He would later be appointed as Conn Symthe replacement as General Manager in 1957. Day was elected to the Hockey Fall of Fame in 1961.

Additional information: 
Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

Temperance 1

Mary Stephens was born on January 23, 1829, in Equesing Township, Halton County. She studied to be a teacher and in 1851 went to Owen Sound to start a private school.
She married Richard J. Doyle, an entrepreneur. The Stephens and the Doyles were very active in the Disciples of Christ Church; strongly in favour of temperance, an unpopular sentiment at the time. Mary Doyle founded the Women’s Prohibition Society in 1874. That society became known as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the first branch in Canada. The society was dedicated to the chief concerns of suffering arising from the liquor trade. She became president of the Society and was involved in petitioning against the granting of saloon licenses. The Dunkin Act, The Scott Act, The Local Option Act, The Ontario Temperance Act and The Liquor Control Act were all influenced by the persistent campaigns of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. They held meetings in homes, halls, and churches, but as membership grew it became apparent that they needed a special building. After house-to-house canvassing for donations, they raised enough to purchase the vacant Congregational Church in Owen Sound, as a meeting hall. Mary Doyle became known as the “Mother of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Canada”. She was described as a woman of “…poise, wisdom and gracious Christian character.” After her death in 1892, two of her daughters opened the Seldon House, a Temperance hotel, a quiet well-run pleasant place for travellers of a sober nature. 

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Doyle Richard Judson

R.J. Doyle, as he was known, was born in 1834, in Nova Scotia. He married Mary Stephens from a prominent Owen Sound family. He was an entrepreneur of boundless initiative, an inventor, a land speculator, vitally interested in politics and a staunch prohibitionist. He owned a plot of land in South Grey, across which the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway would pass in the early 1870s, laying out a town plan upon the plot and it became the town of Dundalk. He had contracts for supplying wood to the railway. He made fruit barrels, with a patent for a fruit basket (c. 1882), founded the Dominion Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company in March 1887 with head offices in Owen Sound, and established a newspaper, the Grange Bulletin. In 1879, he purchased a small dried-up lakebed, called Shallow Lake, determined to develop a new cement-making process with marl and clay. With help from the province, the municipality and an association of businessmen he attracted, he formed the North American Chemical, Mining & Manufacturing Company. This partnership eventually disintegrated and Doyle retained the cement operation at Shallow Lake, which became known as The Owen Sound Portland Cement Company. Scientific American accredits Doyle, as the first to manufacture Portland cement from native marl. He was awarded prizes at the Paris and Philadelphia Expositions for the best fire brick and fireproof paints of the day. The cement operation employed two hundred people and the Village of Shallow Lake grew from it. R. J. Doyle served on council and as reeve for the Township of Sarawak for many years. He died in 1903 at his home in Sarawak, north of Owen Sound. 

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.
Ruth Cathcart. How Firm a Foundation, Red House Press, Stan Brown Printers, Ltd. Owen Sound, 1996.

Samuel 1880

Samuel Egerton was born on January 24, 1820 in Longton, Staffordshire, England. He was the first son of a cordwainer (shoemaker) named Thomas Egerton.

Longton is one of the six locations that make up the area of England known as "the potteries." As a result of his geographical location, Samuel became a journeyman potter. In 1845 Samuel left that profession in Longton and married his wife, Sophia French, in Brackley, Northamptonshire. Also in that year he joined the Metropolitan London Police Force where he was sworn in on October 13 as warrant number 22435. Samuel carried out his formative years of policing in 'H' Division, also known as Whitechapel. This area of London would later become famous for the 'Jack the Ripper' case.

Samuel eventually became a sergeant while serving in H Division and worked seven days a week patrolling some of London's most dangerous neighbourhoods. This included the London Docks where he was assaulted and nearly drowned. Policemen of that era were expected to walk twenty miles a night in all weather conditions and then report the next morning for court at the Old Bailey. Samuel also spent some time in the city's mounted unit where he is said to have been part of the police escort for Queen Victoria. Sergeant Egerton was later promoted to the rank of inspector, serving in many different London police districts including Paddington, Marleybone, and Wandsworth. At some point in his career in the 1860s Samuel was on the original famed Scotland Yard detective force. From newspaper accounts of that time one can see that Samuel was held in high regard by the commissioner of police, Sir Richard Mayne, who selected him for certain cases which required an experienced investigator. For instance, he travelled by train from London to Yorkshire under the direction of Sir Richard to arrest a jewel thief. Another of Samuel's cases involved the double suicide of a French nobleman and his mother, who had sought refuge in London.

Samuel experienced immeasurable loss in his early years of marriage, as his wife Sophia and all of his three children succumbed to smallpox. Inspector Egerton remained single the rest of his life. After more than 25 years of dedicated service to "the Met," Samuel retired because of a condition called vertigo as well as being 'worn out.' He also became deaf in his left ear as a result of an assault. At age 51, Samuel Egerton left London on April 14, 1871 aboard the S.S. Medway bound for Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. His parents, Thomas Egerton and mother Elizabeth Waller, had immigrated to Canada in 1848 and in 1855 had settled on lot 12, concession 13, in Kilsyth, Derby Township. 

From the spring of 1871 on, Samuel stayed with his parents on the farm in Derby Township. It was in October of 1880 that the Town of Owen Sound hired Samuel to be its first full time Chief of Police. He had previously been a county constable and his new salary was $355 a year. He worked out of a doctor's office on Division Street before taking up his residence at 16 Poulette Street, Owen Sound. Samuel was given the task of setting up all aspects of the newly formed force for the town, including the hiring of its first constable. Chief Egerton defended law and order sporting a long Prince Albert blue coat trimmed with black frogs. The chief also carried a heavy ebony cane for his own protection. Samuel had his hands full with the usual crimes that can occur in port towns, such as drunken sailors and undesirables passing through on the rails or the water. Of course there were more serious crimes to be dealt with as well. One of which was the attempted murder of Chief Egerton in 1882. Subsequently the man was sentenced to 18 months in central prison in Toronto for trying to stab Samuel. Then there was the murder of a Mrs. Robinson of Owen Sound in 1884. Also that same year, the body of a newborn male child was wrapped in a white blanket and thrown over a fence on Water Street. Sometime in 1888, Samuel left the Owen Sound police force and spent his retirement on Poulette Street. At some point in his retirement the advertiser newspaper of that period reported that Samuel had to be carried to safety during a fire in his home - apparently too feeble to save himself. In his declining years he was cared for by female family members until his death on Wednesday, April 16, 1902. Ex-Chief of Police Egerton was given a mason's burial by the St. George's Lodge and lies in an unmarked grave alongside his parents in Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound.

Biography notes provided by Samuel Egerton's great-great-great nephew, John Egerton.

 

Ella Cora Hind

Cora, as she was known, was born in Toronto in 1861. When Cora was two, her mother died and she came to Artemesia Township, Grey County to her grandmother’s farm and soon after, her father died of cholera. Aunt Alice assumed the raising of Cora and her two brothers. She was home schooled on the farm, and later went to Flesherton Public School. She moved to Orillia to live with her uncle and attend High School. At 21, she moved to Winnipeg, rented a typewriter and learned to type. With her farming knowledge and a sympathetic ear, she made many connections and became the first public stenographer in the west and an agricultural reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press. She toured farms and made crop estimates with extreme accuracy and was known as an authority on livestock breeding, food production, and marketing. She reported for trade conventions, farm journals, and was an advocate for the Hudson’s Bay Company, garnering respect from farmers, newspapermen, and agriculturalists. The Winnipeg Free Press made her Commercial and Agricultural Editor and sent her on a world tour of agricultural areas, and she became known internationally as Canada’s authority on prairie farming. In addition to her reputation as a first class journalist, she made contributions to charities such as the Red Cross and the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement through diligent community service. She associated with Nellie McClung, promoting the Women’s Institutes of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Ella Cora Hind was a founding member of the Manitoba Equal Franchise Club and the Political Equality League. She campaigned for granting the right to vote to women. The University of Manitoba bestowed upon her an honorary LL.D. She became a charter member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club. The Winnipeg Free Press established the Hind Memorial Scholarship at the University of Manitoba for the Science of Home Economics Faculty. Ella Cora Hind was an active journalist and committed feminist until her death at the age of 81 in 1942. 

Additional information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Library and Archives Canada.

Peter Jones

Peter Jones was born 1802, in a wigwam at Burlington Heights, present day Hamilton, and was of Welsh and Aboriginal heritage. His mother was the daughter of a Mississauga chief, and he was given the name, Kahkewaqyuonaby, which means “Sacred Waving Feathers” and was raised in Aboriginal tradition. As a youth he learned to fish, canoe and became a good hunter. At 14 he attended the English school where he learned to read, write, and cipher. He became fluent in English and Ojibwa, and was baptized and converted to Christianity through the evangelical Methodist church. He converted his band to Christianity and was entrusted an intermediary between his tribe and the Indian Department. He became a chief and by 1825, began doing missionary work and kept a journal of his travels. By 1829, he was ministering extensively in the Georgian Bay and Owen Sound area and held the first recorded religious service in what would become Bruce County, near the mouth of the Saugeen River. Between 1828 and 1831, he wrote four books, in addition to his detailed journal. He was the first person to render the Ojibwa language to a written form and transcribed the gospel and hymns into Ojibwa. In 1831, he travelled to England, preaching to over 150 congregations, raising money for Methodist Indian Missions in Upper Canada and had a private audience with King William IV in 1832. On a second trip to England in 1837, at a private audience with Queen Victoria, he delivered a petition from the Ojibwa people, asking her to give them a deed for Indian Lands. By 1844, his health failing from the hardships of missionary life, he made another trip to England, Scotland and France, raising money for the missions. In 1851, the New Credit Methodist Church was completed in Brantford under his leadership. He died after a long illness in 1856, at Brantford, Ontario. His grave in Greenwood Cemetery is marked by a monument erected in his honour by the Ojibwa people. He is a member of the Indian Hall of Fame and a historical plaque marks “Echo Villa”, his home in Brantford. 

Additional Information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Frances Halfpenny, Ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. VIII, University of Toronto Press, 1985.

Mary Esther Miller

Mary Esther Miller was born in 1876, at Rugby near Lake Simcoe. Mary studied to be a teacher in Toronto and taught in Orillia between 1899 and 1906. While there she was a regular columnist in the “Teacher’s Monthly” and contributed to local Presbyterian Sunday School publications. Mary Esther Miller wrote under the pen name “Marian Keith”, her first novel, Duncan Polite appearing in 1905, followed by The Silver Maple in 1906. She married a Presbyterian minister in 1909, becoming Mrs. Donald Campbell MacGregor. Her husband’s ministry postings took them to Toronto, then to Calgary and back to Toronto. Her life was dominated by church and home work, though amidst all, she managed to steal moments to write her manuscripts freehand, later to be painstakingly revised up to twenty times before her satisfaction was achieved. Her themes were rurally set, often with a spiritual nature including historical treatments and political forays. She was a serene, good-natured person with a good sense of humour, a wealth of experiences and keen observation, which lent realism to her characterizations of real people and universal themes; her stories were told in simple, honest language. In London, Ontario, local women of the St. Andrew’s Parish formed the “Marian Keith Club”, raising money for church-related projects. When her husband retired in 1940, the couple moved to Sydenham Township. He died in 1946, and she moved to her sister’s home in Owen Sound. Marian Keith was a member of Division Street United Church and active in the Senior Women’s Missionary Society. In all she wrote 17 books and a motion picture screenplay, for most of which, Sydenham Township inspired the background. In 1951, her sister died and she moved to Toronto. In 1960, she moved back to Owen Sound and she died there in 1961 at the age of 90. 

Additional Information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Mary Alfretta Gifford was born in St. Vincent Township, May 11 1864. Mary attended Riverside Public School and the Owen Sound Collegiate. In 1891, after graduating from the Women’s Medical College of Trinity University in Toronto, she returned to Owen Sound to practise medicine. Travelling to West China on behalf of the Women’s Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, she was the first western woman to travel to Chengtu, a remote area where white people were rarely seen. In China, she met the recently widowed Dr. Omar Kilborn, and they were wed. A year later, hostilities broke out in China and they were forced to flee. They were sheltered in the home of a Chengtu magistrate; then went to Chunkin until things settled. They returned to Chengtu in 1896, and founded a 90-bed hospital and training school for nurses. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion forced them to flee China. Their buildings were sealed. All but one remained intact when they returned a year later. Though they were forced to flee twice more, Dr. Retta Kilbourn never lost her devotion to and love for the Chinese people. She helped to organize the Anti-Foot Binding Association and campaigned to allow women to be admitted as medical students to West China Union University, where she herself taught Therapeutics, Anaesthesia, and Diseases of Children. Her husband died in 1920. She continued her missionary work in China, aided by her three children, who were also medical practitioners. She returned to Canada in 1933, after 40 years of missionary work. She died in Toronto at the age of 78 in 1942.

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

This author/artist, who wrote a few articles for the “Trilogy” newspaper, was a true sportsman, born in Mattawa in 1910; he was of Native and Scottish ancestry. His Algonquin and Iroquois grandparents imparted to him a great deal of First Nation cultural knowledge and skills, which he later developed and interpreted through his crafts. In the north on trap lines in the deep woods and driving logs on raging rivers, he gained sensitivity to the ways of the wilderness and how to survive in it. His wildlife carvings, paintings and drawings offer insight to his instincts and firsthand experience. John was educated in the separate school system. He gained general technical proficiency. Later, he travelled to Hamilton to work, and because of his natural perfectionist’s standard, he was invited to apprentice as a tool and die maker at the William Kennedy & Sons plant in Owen Sound and started working during before the Second World War. He continued his wildlife carvings, and also became a master of the bow and arrow. He became President of the Bluewater Bowmen, as well as being a member of the Hunter and Field Archery Association of Canada. He also constructed birch bark canoes from a technique taught to him by Andrew Gigonse, his Algonquin Indian grandfather. In 1966, as part of the federal government’s Centennial program, to promote regional culture in Canada, Landen was invited to be involved in planning the new Grey County Museum. He resigned from William Kennedy & Sons after twenty-five years of service and assumed his new role as Curator of the Grey County Museum when it opened in 1967. Landen also made the Grey County Warden’s Chain of Office. A collection of his wood-carving went to West Germany as part of an exhibition of cultural arts sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Trade and Tourism. He travelled to Italy to the Bari International Trade Fair in 1974 to demonstrate birch bark canoe building. The canoe he built there is now in the collection of a nautical museum. He wrote a book titled The Building of a Birch Bark Canoe and a 26-foot long example of this craftsman’s art is preserved at the Grey Roots Museum & Archives. John Landen died in Owen Sound at age 86.

Additional information: 
From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Personal source: Wayne Landen, former Director of the County of Grey-Owen Sound Museum.

Edith Marsh was born at Peasemarsh Farm, Clarksburg, in 1870. Her father was the first Post Master of Clarksburg. Her sister, Ada, became an artist and her brother Fred, kept an apiary. Edith was interested in ornithology and became a pioneering conservationist. She turned Peasemarsh, the family homestead into a bird sanctuary. She invited school groups to the premises and gave talks on birds and nature. Edith was an accomplished author and wrote The Story of Canada for use as a textbook in Ontario schools. She wrote books about ornithology including The Birds of Peasemarsh, two volumes of With the Birds, and a weekly column in The Toronto Mail and Empire. She also wrote Where the Buffalo Roamed – the Story of Western Canada told for the Young, 1908. She was an active member of the Outdoor Writers of Canada. Perhaps she is most widely appreciated locally for writing A History of the County of Grey, an invaluable resource to researchers and historians of Grey County. In her later years, Marsh wrote children’s stories and published The Trillium Hill when she was 85. She died in 1960, ninety years old, at Peasemarsh where she lived her entire life. Her will directed that Peasemarsh be sold to the conservation authority, to be maintained as a sanctuary for the birds she loved.

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Nellie was born on a farm near Chatsworth in 1873, the youngest of six children. In 1880, the Mooney family moved west to Manitoba as pioneer homesteaders. She wed Wesley McClung, raised five children, two of whom later became Rhodes Scholars. By 1896, while a teacher she had written books and speeches for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was very active in the movement. Her good friend E. Cora Hind reviewed her books in the Winnipeg Free Press. She championed a variety of causes ranging from rural life; the plight of immigrants, conditions in cities and factories, and directed her energies to prohibition and women’s suffrage. She crusaded through a historical backdrop of the First World War, the Depression, and the Second World War. She gave speeches, called recitals, and developed into a prominent lecturer. She founded many organizations including; the Winnipeg Political Equality League, the Federated Women’s Institute of Canada and the Women’s Institute of Edmonton, of which she was the first president. Her skills as an orator drew full houses wherever she was engaged to speak and her tours included; the Canadian Authors Association, the Canadian Women’s Press Club, the Methodist Church of Canada and the Calgary Women’s Literary Club. McClung was a prominent speaker for the Manitoba Liberal Party. In 1916, Manitoba became the first province to allow women into the political franchise, giving them the right to vote and run for public office. McClung was elected to the Alberta Legislature in 1921. Federally, in 1927 along with four other prominent women, she initiated the “Person’s Case”; requesting an interpretation of “person” under the British North America Act of 1867. The Supreme Court found that “person” included women, thereby making women eligible for appointment to the Senate of Canada. Her career achievements made milestones for women. She was the only woman delegate of the Methodist Church of Canada at the Ecumenical Conference in London, England, member of the Canadian Delegation to the League of Nations Geneva, Switzerland; the first woman member of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Board of Broadcast Governors. An eight-cent stamp was issued to honour her in 1973 and her name appears on a plaque outside the Senate Chamber in Ottawa. A cairn marks her birthplace south of Chatsworth for this lecturer, legislator, teacher and writer, an ardent activist for women’s rights. She died in 1951 in Victoria, BC.

Additional information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Library and Archives Canada
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

In 1864, when Muir was a third year Botany student from the University of Wisconsin, he was doing field work in Canada with his brother. It became necessary for him to obtain work to continue his research. He and his brother found work in the Meaford area with Trout and Jay Company. They made handles for harvest tools. The brothers were only in Grey County for two years. John Muir returned to the United States and went on to conduct scientific research in botany and became one of the most important conservationists in the twentieth century. John Muir was very involved with the development of the United States National Parks Service and helped start the Sierra Club. Recently letters to Harriet Trout have been discovered by a group called “The Canadian Friends of John Muir”. These letters reveal that the period he spent living in Trout Hollow, working at the Trout Hollow Mill was possibly one of the more significant periods in the development of Muir’s life as a conservationist. This period of self-discovery and awareness of man in nature had an important influence in his later work. In 1998, “The Canadian Friends of John Muir” began archaeological excavations at Trout Hollow and have revealed three sites of interest. The results of those excavations are now available enhancing the knowledge we have about this period in the life of this important figure. Muir made maps of the area of the Bighead and Beaver Valleys and made observations and notes on the flora. South of Meaford at a conservation lookout across the Beaver Valley, the North Grey Conservation Lookout known as the Epping Lookout commemorates this pioneer naturalist and conservation writer with a plaque placed by the Archaeological and Historical Sites Board of Ontario.

Additional information: 
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
The Canadian Friends of John Muir.

No one is really sure of Miss. Nicoll’s birthdate or childhood history in Sarawak Township, but for over 50 years she was a familiar sight to all in the City of Owen Sound. In her tattered skirt, ragged shawl and old felt hat she walked up and down the streets everyday selling pencils, pads, postcards and soap. She was known as “The Pencil Lady” or “Apple Annie” and was loved and respected by all in the community. Annie was widely known as an authority on Scripture, a strong Christian, and ardent church member. It is reported that a volume of her favourite scripture passages and interpretations was published in 1902. In her middle age, the Mayor of Owen Sound raised money for a small home to be built for her, where she lived until 1942 when she died at the age of 82. Annie was an integral part of life in Owen Sound, and was missed by those who knew her.

Additional information: 
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

“Elsie” was born Elizabeth Wilson in Ireland in 1888. She and her husband moved to Hanover in 1912. Ruttle organized Canada’s first Brownie pack in Hanover, Ontario in 1920. Since then the organization for girls has become world-wide. The original group had twenty Guides and fourteen Brownies. Ruttle traveled across Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Switzerland, visiting national and international Guide Camps and Guide Conventions. She is remembered for having written the words and music to “Girl Guide Evensong”.

Additional information: 
“Elsie Ruttle, Part of Rich Heritage,” The Sun-Times, Owen Sound, May 9, 1995.
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Margaret Marshall Saunders was born in 1861 in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. She grew up there and in Halifax and later attended boarding schools in Scotland and France. Returning to Canada, she taught school and pursued her interest in writing. In her career she wrote twenty-five books but none achieved the acclaim of Beautiful Joe, which sold internationally and was translated into eighteen languages including Esperanto and Braille. It is based on the story she heard while visiting her brother in Meaford, Ontario about a dog who was horribly mistreated by a cruel owner and rescued by a Meaford miller, as told through the thoughts of the dog. The story, published in 1893, her second book, touched the hearts of many, and launched a successful career for Saunders. It was the first Canadian book to sell one million copies, and earned her an award by the American Humane Society. Saunders was awarded an honorary M.A. degree from Acadia University in 1911, a C.B.E. from the King in 1934, and a medal from the Societe Protectice des Animaux in Paris, France the same year. Her story Beautiful Joe was made into a film in 1946. In 1994, the Meaford Town Council made Beautiful Joe a town symbol and dedicated a park adjacent to the pink frame house that had become the dog’s home after his rescue. The park is now a historical site and has been commemorated with monuments honouring the memory of Beautiful Joe, Margaret Marshall Saunders, and dogs of service and companionship. In a 1992 biography of Saunders by Elizabeth Waterston, she states: “her other books are described as adult romances and social problems fiction… Saunder’s commitment was not to animal causes but to such other issues as the abolition of child labour, slum clearance, better playgrounds, and greater recognition of the role of women in society.” Margaret Marshall Saunders travelled throughout Europe and America and settled in Toronto with her sister and lived in a house full of animals . She died in 1947, at the age of 86.

Additional information: 
Beautiful Joe Heritage Society
Dorothy Vick, From Quill to Ballpoint, RBW Graphics, Owen Sound, 1988.
Sharon Cake Ed. Eminent Women of Grey County, Grey County Historical Society, Richardson, Bond, Wright Ltd., Owen Sound, 1977.

Carl Schaefer was born in Hanover, Ontario in 1903. He attended the Ontario College of Art and studied under Group of Seven artists J.E.H. MacDonald and Arthur Lismer. In that tradition, he became a landscape artist inspired by the countryside around his birthplace and painted scenes there during his formative period in the 1930s. In 1940, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. This generous prize enabled him three years of unencumbered full-time painting in New England. During the war, there was a great demand for war artists. In 1943, Carl Schaefer was commissioned into the RCAF and spent most of that year in England. 1944 saw him stationed in Northern Ireland then to Iceland, before returning home to Canada at year later. He made large formal paintings of flight, sky, clouds, and the maelstrom of flak, bomb bursts, incendiary fires and other military subjects that had had a profound impact on him during his war experiences. His work was composed in primarily watercolour, ink, or graphite. He kept sketchbooks and diaries recording vivid descriptions of his craft, which are now in the collection of the Canadian War Museum. His artistic responsibility officially was in portraying historic scenes, events, phases and episodes in the experience of the RCAF overseas, but he also made a thorough documentation of the convivial wartime pub life and camaraderie of his fellow artists, friends, and soldiers. After the war he returned to Canada and taught for many years at the Ontario College of Art before retiring. He died in 1995. His work is in the collections of The Canadian War Museum, The National Gallery, The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Roberts Gallery, and the Hanover Public Library.

Additional information: 
Canadian War Museum.

Telford

Telford was born in Bells, Northumberland England, the son of a Scottish shepherd. He attended lectures in Edinburgh and became a schoolteacher in the Village of Newcastleton Roxburghshire, Scotland. In 1840 with his wife and three young children he emigrated to Canada and took up residence in Dumfries Township near Galt, Canada West where he taught school for eight years. In the fall of 1848 Mr. Telford moved to Annan, North Sydenham Township to become the first schoolteacher in this pioneer community. He attained enviable notoriety, both as an excellent teacher and as a rigid disciplinarian.

Wm. Pattison Telford combined two talents not often common to one individual in that he was a scholar of note and a truly expert mechanic and craftsman. The works of his hands cover a wide range including musical instruments, furniture, ornaments and many useful household items. Each piece is in itself a work of art beautifully fashioned from native woods. He was also an expert engraver on silver and brass and a master of penmanship.

Wm. Pattison Telford is described in the History of North Sydenham as probably the busiest man in the whole pioneer community. In addition to his teaching duties he labours seemed to extend to almost every branch of mechanics. He was requisitioned to shape and inscribe tombstones, draft plans for buildings, make spinning wheels and reels and as a flutist played for all types of functions both grave and gay.

Additional Information: 
Dorothy Telford Fonds, Grey County Archival Collection.

 

Leave a comment

More Stories

100th IPM this week!

The 2013 International Plowing Match, which is being held in Perth County near Mitchell from September 17-21, marks 100 years for the IPM! In honour of this centennial occasion, Grey Roots takes a look back at the four occasions when the IPM was held in Grey County.

Grey Roots