Friday, December 26, 2008

Pg.30 "History of the Ottawa Valley"

Father Peter SMITH of Richmond supplied back Huntley. East side of Huntley has much useless land, hard and thin covered with birch, pines and swamps with not outlet. But its north-east corner can be matched with difficulty as to the excellent quality of the soil for thousands of acres.

The Grahams, Wilsons, Blacks, Burrows, Roes, Boyds, Hartins, Dailey's Evoys have land in plenty of the best quality and in the highest state of cultivation. North of the town line opposite these the Richardsons, Robertsons, McCurdies, James and others exhibit fine buildings, well cultivated fields, large herds of improved stock of much value. We have recommended tree planting for the lighter soils. In former days when the country was covered with forests, the wild pigeon came thick as clouds in the spring and summer, rendering the air vocal with the action of their wings. They were shot in great numbers. We have heard of fifty-two falling by one musket-shot. We have not seen nor heard of a single one appearing in these parts for several years. Wild ducks and geese still come but in greatly diminished numbers. Partridges are thinned out very much and rabits are very rare. Deer and fur-bearing animals that were plenty are nearly all gone. Wolves were very numerous. Sheep, deer , calves and some heifers became their victims. Bears took pigs and calves. But we have not heard of wolves devouring human beings. It is told of an Indian belated who climbed into a beech tree to escape a pack and made it his shooting gallery for the night. As a wolf fell to his careful aim the others feasted on it whilst the Indian fired away. When daylight came the remnant disappeared and he thought he was safe to get home but his former visitors or a fresh lot were soon on his track in hot pursuit. He ran like an Indian but they gained on him and he had to stand at bay and defend himself as best he could occasionally with his back to the tree, splitting a skull with his sharp tomahawk. His squaw came to his aid in time. They cut, clubbed and made their escape reckoning twenty dead wolves as the trophies of their bravery.

Savages are said to be truthful, being so free from the vices of polite life. Would they not stretch a little for self-glorification? We give the substance of what we have heard without denial, coloring or confirmation. We had the honor, so called, of killing a wolf by laying poison on a sheep he killed, which he took and died. We had the great pleasure of saving of saving a boy whose load of ashes had been upset on him on a hillside. His horses were held and his face was in the snow so that he did not suffocate by the dry ashes. My young brothers came up as the ashes were dashed off him. We thought him dead and carried him to the sleigh and held his head in my lap whilst one drove and another put snow in his mouth. His breathing became perceptible as we drove the team at a gallop. We were soon at his home and had the satisfaction of seeing him restored. We were barely in time to save life.

John Graham of the Bay got the north half of Sans Bradley's lands. James his son, died there and his family now live in the city. In 1833 John Gourlay came from Drumquin, Tyrone, Ireland , and settled in March. His youngest son Hugh owns the old home, but lives in Huntley where he built the finest farm house and planted the largest and best thriving orchard in all the Ottawa country.

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