Monthly Archives: November 2011

December on an Ontario Farm a Century Ago

Lucy Stover Davison (1867-1950) was a farmer’s wife, living north of Odessa in Lennox and Addington county.  Odessa is west of Kingston, east of Napanee.  On November 19th, 1903, Lucy recorded that the land had frozen too hard to continue with the fall ploughing.  On November 20th, she ventured out on the ice of Odessa Lake with a neighbour to fish, so it must have been very cold and a deep freeze indeed.  On the next day, which was Saturday, the family went to Odessa and Lucy bought underwear (“drawers”) and a shawl from Derbyshire’s General Store.  The following week she was stewing pumpkins and making pumpkin pies and baked apples, but her occupations were not limited to what we might consider female tasks.  She also went out to an old fence line to bring back wood for the stove and helped load their sow into a box to be transported to the pig.   On Saturday, December 5th, she and husband Arthur and daughter, Jennie, were in Wilton where Arthur bought her a Christmas present, “a china set of four pieces” at Neilson’s Store.  This may have been a dresser set.  Lucy added: “…cost eighty cents, I am very much pleased with them, you may be sure, for they just suit me.”  After several busy days, killing and plucking chickens for market, blacking the stove and other chores, Arthur left Lucy to await the appearance of a team of harvesters, described as “clover dressers” and she was therefore tied down at home for several days.  On Christmas eve, Lucy lamented that she had been unable to get into town so Christmas would probably be a lean one for daughter, Jennie.  Christmas was remarkable because their oldest horse died in her stall and had to be removed, a sad start to the day.  They went out to a neighbour, Alva Snider’s for Christmas Dinner.  Lucy hoped that there would be a Christmas service at her church, but there was none.  A different Christmas from what we might expect today.  From Lucy Stover Davison, Ernestown Diary, 1903-1904, researched and edited by Michael Rehner.  Published by the Lennox and Addington Historical Society, 2011.  Available at the Lennox and Addington County Museum, Napanee.  $23.95

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