Life in The Huron Tract

[ Scene from a Logging Bee, 1880, Unknown, D.B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario AP5.C13 ]Life for the pioneer in the Huron tract was much the same as anywhere else in Upper Canada. [...] To the early settler, the bush was something to be removed as soon as possible [...]

Next to the selection of a lot was the building of a temporary shelter until a larger and more substantial building could be erected. The first permanent houses were of log construction on simple lines, plastered between the logs to keep out the wind.

[...]A good axeman could "chop" an acre of hardwood in a week, [...]

The routine of farming formed the chief part of every family, for each household was to a large extent dependent on its own produce for all necessities.[...]

Such a round of occupation made life full and varied but it left little time for other diversions. The few chances for meeting one's neighbours were eagerly seized upon as a means of merrymaking. Visits to the mill with a grist or for trade, township meetings or to the tavern gave the men a chance to hear and discuss the news. Such tavern sessions were at the bottom of most of the suits for assault or pleas for protection that made up a large part of the business of the courts and usually ended in all parties being bound over to the peace.

The women of the household depended for new on the travelling pedlar and for social life on church meetings, weddings and funerals, or bees which usually ended in a dance.[...]

Source: Jennie Raycraft Lewis, "Sure An' This Is Biddulph" (Unknown: Biddulph Township Council, 1964). Notes: J.J. Talman Regional Collection, University of Western Ontario Archives.

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