Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Somerville's of Rodney Elgin County Ontario 1896

This article first appeared in the St Thomas Times Journal in 1896
68 Years Married - Two Well Known Citizens of Rodney

The Aldborough Old Boys picnic at New Glasgow on the lake, next Wednesday, will be honoured by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Somerville, two of our oldest and highly esteemed citizens, who have enjoyed each others company for the past 68 years. Below we give a brief sketch of their lives:

Mr. Duncan Somerville, of Aldborough, was born in the town of Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1812, and is now 84 years old. He married his wife, Catharine Morrison, in the Old Country where his son Robert was born, and immigrated to Canada in 1843, settling in Aldborough where they have lived ever since. His wife is 86 years old, bright and vigorous in mind but an invalid from rheumatism for the past few years. They have been married 68 years. With Mr. Somerville from the old Country came his brother-in-law. John McFarland and Robert Morrison also Dugald McMurchy and several others who settled in the township. They were six weeks in crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel and landed at Quebec, another six weeks being necessary to complete the trip from Quebec to Port Stanley, having taken a sailing vessel from Kingston, visiting Oswego to take on a cargo of salt and landed safely at Port Stanley from the vessel ‘General Brock”. The captain wanted to land them at “Cnock Nellie” which was nearer their destination but Morrison was instructed to stop at Port Stanley. Three days were required to take the party to Alborough going by way of Junction on London road taking the Longwoods Road which was then being constructed to Wardsville, where they had their luggage taken across the river Thames in canoes and landed at Furnival Road.

Mr. Somerville and family first settled on broken front lot near the mouth of Fleming Creek called Glendine, owned by the late Thomas Kirkpatrick of Thedford then of Wardsville. On this lot on Fleming Creek was a saw mill run by the late S. Kirkpatrick and Alexander Gibb. In those days this was an important crossing place on the river.  In 1847 they settled on Lot 10, Concession 6 being the first settler on the concession, and being entirely in the wilderness, which by hard work and industry was transposed into a fine farm which he at present owns and which is being farmed by his son the very remaining settlers who endured the pioneer hardships and inconveniences of the early day. Deer, bear meat, fat pork, and whiskey being the remedies for good health and sickness. Who of the present generation could stand it: No doctors few preachers, hardly any taxes, each settler giving a helping hand to each other and socially interested in each others welfare. The only money then spent on roads was under the supervision of Col. Talbot and Col. Burwell being before our municipal institutions were in existence. He always took an interest in public affairs in the townships, looking after the improvements with prudence and care so that taxes were within reason, and is today one of our best citizens. His family consists of Robert and Catharine Piper, California; William and Mrs. Jane Montgomery, Michigan; Mrs Amerial Bunts, Dawn Township; Mrs. Isabella Percell, Duncan Thomas and John of Aldborough, the latter three sons being among our most progressive farmers. In politics Mr. Somerville is a Liberal Conservative, a great reader of literature the Daily Mail and Empire being his authority on the affairs of state, and always denouncing the evil doing of both parties. Mrs. Somerville has been his companion for the past 68 years and she has shared the privations and hardships of early days, always extending her sympathy and help to the needy when required. They are Presbyterians, living retired in the village of Rodney enjoying the fruits of their early industry and prudence, are both bright in intellect and keep up with the days of doing and interested in all that transpires. We wish for them many more years of companionship in our midst.

Talbot Times - September 1984

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