Pro History Project
Oral Histories
This collection consists of 16 tape recordings made in the 1970s by Doug Tangney, who interviewed some of the early inhabitants of Victoria County. These “old timers” offer their perspective and personal experiences of the history of the county.

Click on a name to listen.

Tape # 1:

AVERY, George and
CHIDLEY, Walter

In conversation with Doug Tangney about life in Little Britain and Mariposa township.

Subjects include where they were born and raised, farming the land, education, hockey and skating, development of Little Britain, the railway, Lindsay fair, the first car, fire in Little Britain, “The Farmer’s Sun” newspaper, and how they feel farming has changed from the past to the present (when the tape was made). Walter Chidley is heard to say about farming, “You want a strong back and a weak mind…”

Tape # 2:

BEALL, Mrs. Laura
In conversation with Doug Tangney, John Holtom and Moti Tahiliani about the Beall family and their home at 9 Albert St. S.

Subjects include some Beall family history, descriptions of the home they built including bricks used, acreage, conservatory, trees and garden, heating, plumbing and water. One of the Beall daughters, Shirley, married the widowed F.W. Sutcliffe. His Elsmur Hotel was named after his own daughters, Elsie and Muriel. There are two separate conversations on Side A. Please allow for a short gap between them. Side B is blank.

Tape # 3:

BREESE, Mr.
In conversation with Doug Tangney about life in Lindsay.

Mr. Breese was a past principal of L.C.I. and a long-time resident of Lindsay. As well, he served in the RCAF. He talks about the changes to L.C.I. and L.C.V.I. – architecture, student population, curriculum, matriculation, cadet corps, and football. Mrs. Breese is also occasionally heard from throughout the conversation.

Tape # 4

BULMER, Dick
Mr. Bulmer talks with Doug Tangney about life in the Fenelon Falls area.

Mr. Bulmer, born in 1894, was one of the last blacksmiths in Fenelon Falls. He talks about his early years on his father’s farm in Somerville twp., logging in the area and river drives, farming his own land, being a self-taught blacksmith and the business of smithing at that time, changing to electric welding and the changes he saw in the Fenelon Falls area. Photos of Mr. Bulmer and his shop can be found in “Fenelon Falls: Then and now” by Marg Allen, Kathy Arscott and Caroline Fenelius-Carpenter.

Tape # 5

COMBER, Dorothy
Miss Comber talks to Doug Tangney about life in the Bobcaygeon area.

There is no introduction at the beginning of the tape but a woman’s voice, presumably Miss Comber, begins speaking about the Boyds of Bobcaygeon and their lumber business and local people. Speaks of her mother’s mother and of her own parents who started Hillcroft school on King St. in Bobcaygeon.
The interview takes up only ½ of side A and side B is only a test and has lots of background noise.

Tape # 6

FLAVELLE, Stuart
Mr. Flavelle recounts the story of the Flavelle family in Lindsay.

According to Mr. Flavelle, his family first came to Lindsay around 1860 when his great-uncle, J.R. Dundas came to run a store in Lindsay for Claxton’s of Peterborough. Mr. Flavelle’s father and another uncle followed. He recounts the history of the family’s store, flour and sawmill, egg and creamery plant. He talks about his schooling in Lindsay, his war-time experiences, his working years and his directorship at Victoria and Grey Trust.

Tape # 7

FROST, Leslie M.
This tape contains the broadcast of Mr. Frost’s funeral. The broadcast includes a short history of his life and his accomplishments in both the private and public sector.

Tape # 8

HOPKINS, Mrs.
Mrs. Hopkins talks about the early years in the Burnt River area.

There is no introduction and a female voice, presumably Mrs. Hopkins, begins her story. Her father was a lumber buyer for the Carews and her mother kept the farm; it was near Fell’s Station. She mentions the Log Chateau as a resort area in the early days and the fact that someone near Four Mile Lake made violins as her son bought one and taught himself to play it. Unfortunately, her maiden name is not given directly but a search through the genealogy material at Lindsay branch finds a Martha (Carew) Hopkins b.1886, d.1980 and this person would fit the timeline of the story.

Tape # 9

LIGHTBODY, Jack
Mr. Lightbody talks about the history of Ontario Hydro, provincially and locally.

He addresses the incorporation of Ontario Hydro and the many changes that it has undergone since 1906. He talks about the history of power generation in the town of Lindsay beginning with Needler, Sadler and Reesor, then the Seymour Power Company to Ontario Hydro, the Lindsay Hydro Commission and to the present. The interview only takes up Side A of the cassette.

Tape # 10

McCONNELL, Norm
Mr. McConnell talks to Doug Tangney about life on Sturgeon Lake and McConnell’s Island.

He talks about his family’s ownership of McConnell’s Island, logging and milling on the lake, the various sawmills, fishing, “Jackson” the hermit, boating and using the frozen lake for transportation in winter. This conversation only lasts for approx. ½ of one side of the cassette.

Tape # 11

McINTOSH, Mrs.
Mrs. McIntosh speaks of the Rosedale/Fenelon Falls area.

She talks about logging in the area and the chemical mill; her youth and schooling and being the first woman to work in a bank in Fenelon Falls. The conversation ends ½ way through the first side.

Tape # 12

NOKES, Mr.
Mr. Nokes was a long-time resident of the Manilla area.

He speaks knowledgeably and interestingly of pioneering, farming and machinery and barn-raising in the area.

Tape # 13

PARKER, Dr.
Dr. Parker has written down his story (February 1977) and reads it to Doug Tangney.

He speaks of his early memories of visiting Lindsay and then coming to Lindsay to attend L.C.I.; the Depression years in Lindsay; the unsanitary conditions at local schools. He made it clear that he wanted to tell of what he remembered of Lindsay history and not his own personal story.

Tape # 14

PITTS, Stan
Mr. Pitts wore many hats in Lindsay over the years and he speaks to Doug Tangney about them.

He speaks of the family grocery business; his involvement in the Old Home Week of 1948; the Depression; his work and ownership in the newspaper business in Lindsay; his years on the board of Governors at the Ross Memorial Hospital; he was the industrial commissioner for Lindsay for 12 years; was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1948; the Lindsay bullfight of 1956 (?). Mr. Pitts is an interesting story-teller and his conversion extends ½ through to side B of the cassette.

Tape # 15

REED, Mr.
Mr. Reed talks about the Reaboro area.

He talks about farming near Reaboro and the Reaboro cheese factory, among other topics.

Tape # 16

WELDON, Frank
Mr. Weldon was the Clerk/Treasurer for Victoria County from 1929 until 1969.

He speaks to Doug Tangney about his youth and schooling; his duties as Clerk and the changes in his job over the many years he worked. Like some of the other individuals interviewed, Mr. Weldon is an interesting and informative story-teller. His conversation ends 1/3 of the way through side B.

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