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Archiver > ONTARIO > 2001-02 > 0981511108

From: "Goltz" <>
Subject: [Ont] Newspaper Clippings Simcoe County
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 20:58:28 -0500

I have borrowed, from one of my aunts, a book of newspaper articles that my
g-grandmother saved and will be posting them to his site. My g-grandmother,
Elizabeth (Covey) Edwards was raised in Midland and spent her married life
in Vasey (about 20 minutes north of Barrie in Simcoe County). Hope these
help someone.

Joanne Goltz
Belleville ON
A member of one of the pioneer families of North Simcoe, Elizabeth Eleanor
Widdes passed away at her home, R.R. 1, Midland, Saturday, November 4.
Born Elizabeth Taylor in 1871, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George
E. Taylor, who settled in the early days on lot 69, con. 2, Medonte, where
she lived until her marriage in 1894 to Robert Widdes. After their
marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Widdes moved to Con. 5, Tay.
Following her husband's death in 1937; Mrs. Widdes remained on the farm in
Tay until 1944, when she moved to Midland. For the past two years she had
lived at the home of Norman Widdes, where she died. Mrs. Widdes was a
member of the United Church, and in her younger days was active in Sunday
School work and was a member of the church choir at Vasey.
Funeral service was conducted in Midland, November 6, by Rev. W.R. Auld
from the funeral home of A. Barrie and Sons. Interment was in Vasey Union
Cemetery. Acting as pallbearers were Archer Colwill, Harold Cowden, Lloyd
Russell, Nathan Brown, George Robinson and Herman Robinson. Out-of-town
friends and relatives attending the service came from Toronto, Orillia,
Uptergrove, Orangeville, Cooksville and the surrounding district.
Mrs. Widdes is survived by her sister, Miss Ida Taylor who lived with her,
and one brother, Morley Taylor, Waubausene.
The member of a pioneer family of this district, Julia Edith (Robinson)
Stewart died in St. Andrews Hospital, Midland, Feb. 15.
Born in 1877 at lot 5, Con. 5, Tay, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Thomas Robinson, who settled in Vasey 90 years ago. She attend S.S. No. 11,
Tay, and in 1897 was married in Hillsdale to John Stewart, who predeceased
her in 1914.
Following her marriage, Mrs. Stewart lived in Ebenezer for 43 years, moving
to Midland 14 years ago.
Mrs. Stewart was a faithful member of Waverley United Church. Her hobby
was music.
One of a family of 13 children, Mrs. Stewart is survived by two brothers,
T.T. Robinson of Moonstone, and Herman, who now occupies the family
homestead in Vasey with his son, Thomas. Four children also survive, Thomas
Stewart, Victoria Harbour; Mrs. Robert Mosley (Ethel), Wyebridge; Fred of
Espanola and Albert Stewart, Wyebridge. There are five grandchildren and
five great-grandchildren. Besides her husband, Mrs. Stewart was predeceased
by one daughter and three sons.
Rev. W.R. Auld conducted funeral service, Feb. 17, from the funeral home of
A. Barrie and Sons, with interment in Waverley United Cemetery. Pallbearers
were Donald Mosley, Howard Robinson, John Stewart, Ross Irwin, Thomas
Robinson and Charles Robinson. Friends and relatives from a distance
attending the service came from Espanola. Orillia, Vasey, Barrie, Oakville,
Moonstone and surrounding district.
Printed above "this Jan 1950 when printed"
Dear Editor:
Recently there appeared in your paper an article purporting to be the early
history of the village of Vasey.
Unfortunately we did not read this article, but understand from a number of
people that it did not mention the original settlers of this village and
We write this letter with no intention of starting a controversy, but only
wishing to keep the record straight.
From information in our possession, the four original settlers (and they
arrived in a body), were Benjamin Mackie, Jacob Belfry and two of his
brothers, Peter and George. They arrived at the location of their new home
in July 1863, traveling up the old Penetang Road from Bradford.
Benjamin Mackie located on west half Lot 1, Concession V, Tay Township, now
occupied by Ervin Edwards.
Jacob Belfry located on the next lot north, the west half of Lot 2,
Concession IV, Tay Township, now occupied by Earl Edwards.
Peter Belfry located on west half Lot 1, Concession IV, Tay Township, now
occupied by Ormal Edwards.
George Belfry located on east half Lot 1, Concession IV, Tay Township, now
occupied by Johnston Brown.
The first task of the new settlers was to construct their dwellings, which
were of logs, with a roof of split hollow basswood logs, in two layers - one
facing up and one facing down. Needless to say these homes were not
equipped with modern plumbing and many of the conveniences that we enjoy
Grandfather Jacob Belfry was the only married man in the new community. He
brought his wife and their six months old son Sherman, who is my father.
Dad celebrated his eighty-seventh birthday on the 6th of this month.
Dad's sister, the late Mrs. Phoebe Crooke, of Port McNicoll, was the first
white child to be born in the vicinity of Vasey.
Other living members of this family are Joseph, of Midland; Mrs. Mary
Crooke and Andrew, of Victoria Harbour; and Mrs. Matilda Sproule, of
Toronto. They were also born on the Belfry homestead at Vasey.
The nearest neighbors of these new settlers were the Watt's, who lived on
the hill east of Waverley, approximately four miles away. Their only
contact with civilization was by Indian and/or lumberman trails to Waverley.
Remember this was years before the late Gord. Alliston constructed the Tay
telephone system.
Grandmother Belfry lived in the new community six months without seeing
another woman. Then an Indian lady was her first visitor.
The next family to arrive was the Robert Webbs'. They located on the lot
north of Jacob Belfry. There were a number of grown daughters in this
family. One of these daughters became the wife of Benjamin Mackie.
Webb's were followed by the Brown's, Robinson's, Simpson's, Hall's, Vasey's
and others - perhaps not in the order mentioned above.
Mark Vasey opened the first general store and post office on the west side
of the road, across the way from Jacob Belfry's. Later, the store and post
office were transferred to what is now the village of Vasey. No doubt the
village obtained its name from its first postmaster.
Much more could be written of this early community, but it was perhaps
covered in the previous article.
We are greatly indebted to Mother and Dad, and Uncle Joe Belfry who lives
at 233 Dominion Ave., Midland, Ont., for the information given here. Uncle
Joe has in his possession the old Family Bible with its record of births,
deaths, and marriages, dating back to the birth of Grandfather Jacob Belfry
on March 4, 1835, almost one hundred and fifteen years ago.
The present generation may never know the trials and tribulations of these
and other pioneers. However, we believe they led a happier life and had
more fun at their logging-bees, barn-raisings, quilting-bees and old time
dances than we do today at the Midland Fall Fair or the Toronto Exhibition.

Bala, Ontario

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