Rural Roots

Dr. Jamieson’s marvelous snow machine

It was an old Model T with half-tracks on the back and skis on the front. And it enabled the good doctor to get to his patients in the depths of winter


In the 1920s and 1930s when winter appeared . . . cars disappeared. Few roads were plowed and virtually none of the country roads were kept open.

In those days, as soon as the temperature dropped below zero, the car went into the shed, was drained of water, put up on blocks and left for the winter.

Honeymoons of a bygone age

Whether it was in a Model T Ford or in a bus and 25 years late, honeymoons in earlier decades were no less memorable for that


Andrew Wilson was a 29-year-old Grey County farmer in 1924 when he married Annie Butchart. They headed for Canada’s “Honeymoon Capital,” Niagara Falls, in Andrew’s 1918 Model T Ford.

“The roads at that time were all gravel and the speed limit was 30 m.p.h.,” Andrew wrote in his memoirs.

The first night they stayed in Vineland with Annie’s brother, who had a 10-acre peach orchard.

“The next day we continued on our trip to Niagara Falls. There was very little trouble parking a car at Niagara Falls because, at that time, cars were scarce.

Rural Roots: When Jesse James rode into town

Was the mystery man who came to Grey County in the early 1880s really the famous outlaw? It’s an oft-told story in the area


There’s a story I’ve heard so many times that I’m beginning to believe it. It has to do with the notorious American outlaw Jesse James.

The way the story goes, in the early 1880s when things got too hot for him south of the border, the outlaw headed north into Ontario and holed up in an old log shanty in south Grey County. That winter, he did chores for the farmer who owned it.

This story, with slight variations, is mentioned in several local histories, including the History of Wellington County, which tells the tale not once but twice!