Thursday, February 11, 2010

Aaron Moyer

Aaron Moyer, the fourth child of Abraham Moyer and Barbara Shantz, was born on May 8, 1837 on a farm near Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario. At age seventeen, he left the farm and served two years an an apprentice in a store in Berlin.

From 1856 to 1862 Aaron taught school, including a few months in 1857 in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and in 1859 to 1860 he taught school in Quakertown, PA.

In 1863 he started a general store in New Dundee, Waterloo County, Ontario where he married a Mennonite, Veronica Bowman, on January 31, 1865. In 1870 Aaron sold the store in New Dundee and bought a 236 acre farm in Carrick Township, Bruce County.

n 1878 Aaron sold the farm and started a business in Walkerton where he stayed until 1884 when he moved to Mildmay. In 1896 he returned to Walkerton for a time but was back in Mildmay at the time of the 1901 census. Both Walkerton and Mildmay are in Carrick Township, Bruce County.

Aaron served four years in the Carrick Township Council as Councilor, Deputy Reeve and he served as Reeve in 1893.

In 1901 the family lived at Con. C Lot 26 in Mildmay. The property consisted of three lots containing at total of 46 acres, an eight-room house, a store, and seven outbuildings.

In 1905, when Aaron was sixty-eight years old, he and Veronica left Ontario to homestead in Saskatchewan. There was a large contingent of Ontario Mennonites to settle near Cressman or Guernsey, Saskatchewan in 1905 and 1906. Although Veronica had been raised as a Mennonite, the Moyer family were Methodist. Aaron died in Saskatchewan on May 21, 1907 and the following obituary from The Gospel Witness, a Mennonite paper, June 19, 1907 reflects their opinion of other faiths:

MOYER.-Aaron Moyer of near Cressman, Sask., died on May 21, 1907; aged 70 y. 13 d. Two years ago he moved out west with the Waterloo colony, from Ontario. Most of his lifetime was spent as a general merchant in New Dundee and Mildmay.

Sad to say, his life was not spent in the service of the Lord. During his sickness he accepted the claims of Christ. Funeral services were held by Pre. Poole at the house and at the church by E. S. Hallman and Pre. Gehrbrandt. Texts, Psalm 39:4 and I Samuel 20:3.

The Carr Family

This is a picture of my grandmother, Vinetta Tremaine Butchart Bellamy (left) and her aunt, Laura Moyer Carr (right).

So often, I connect with family by finding an obituary or memoir when it is too late to know the person who has died. Such was the case yesterday when I found a wonderful website while searching for Mary V Carr of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Mary was 98 when she died in October 2006.

I have many letters written by Mary to my parents from 1982 until a Christmas letter in 1999 which ends with the following sentence: "I hope that the millennium will bring you joy and prosperity in the year 2000."

Mary and her brother, John, were my grandmother's cousins. Their mother and Granny's mother were both the daughters of Aaron Moyer and Veronica Bowman. My grandmother, Vinetta Tremaine Butchart, was the daughter of Maria Moyer and Edward Neil Butchart; Mary and John Carr were the children of Laura Moyer and Frederick Carr. Maria and Laura were part of a large family of twelve children.

Many thanks to the Carr family for creating a memorial website for Mary Veronica Carr and John Lawrence Carr, especially the webmaster, Doug Carr. I have spent hours reading the memoirs and tributes for these interesting people.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Winter Sports in the Great White North

You can't get a much colder example of a Canadian winter than Edmonton, Alberta.

The picture is of my parents, Bert Davies and Ruth Bellamy, skating on the North Saskatchewan River about 1937. My Dad was wearing speed skates and my Mom was wearing men's tube skates. People in Edmonton were not restricted to skating on the river but when conditions were right it was fun to be able to skate in one direction for a long stretch, especially with the long-bladed speed skates. There were several open-air ice rinks in the city parks with a heated building to change into skates and my father's grandfather and uncles managed many of these rinks. When the first artificial ice plant was installed at the Edmonton arena, my great-grandfather, Amos Crockett, was manager of the arena and had the rights to the concession. My Dad worked there sharpening skates.

My parents also went skiing down the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton is situated in the prairies and the only sizable hills were on the riverbank. For every trip down the hill there was the long trek back up carrying the skis because there were no lifts or rope tows.

Although not a sport, another winter activity was the horse-drawn sleigh ride. My parents met on a sleigh ride put on by a young-peoples group of Norwood United Church in 1935. Mom was only sixteen and Dad was twenty-one. Times were simpler then but it sounded like they had a lot of fun in spite of the cold Edmonton winters.