“Rememberies” of a horse-drawn trip to Queensborough

Today’s post is a story from someone other than me. It’s from an email that Grant and Gayle Ketcheson sent us not long ago. Grant and Gayle live in Madoc Township, not too far from Hazzard’s Corners, and have been active in their church and community throughout their lives. Grant is a retired farmer – though he is still an extremely busy person, notably with O’Hara Mill, a collection of pioneer buildings (including a working sawmill) amid a lovely conservation area – and his wife, Gayle, who was my Grade 1 teacher at Madoc Township Public School, now chairs the Madoc Public Library Board. In reference to my Queensborough memories, they sent this charming story (which I initially assumed was Grant’s, but now that I think of it could just as easily be Gayle’s):

A picture to match the story: this painting is by André Lapine (1866-1952), who painted in the Haliburton area, where the Sedgwick family comes from. There is a nice collection of Lapine’s work and information about him at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre in Minden, Ont., which is where this photo came from. I urge you to visit!

“One of my ‘rememberies’ is of going with the team and sleigh to take grist to the mill in Queensborough. Then, the horses were off to the blacksmith shop for shoeing. (The shop was run by George Gordon, whose large family lived in the old station south of the church.) Dad would drop me off at the manse for a day’s play with Barbara Patterson (same age as me). Her father, the minister, was Rev. W.W. Patterson. Then the long trip home nestled down in a bed of warm bags of freshly ground grain. This would have been 1943 or ’44. I remember waking up near home, having slept through most of the two-hour trip. Like you, I have some great memories of the manse and Queensborough.”

Have other readers ever travelled in a horse-drawn sleigh? My dad used a sleigh and a team of horses to get to and from the woods where he worked at the family farm in Haliburton County, and for gathering sap for maple syrup, but I have never had the kind of longer trip described in the story. It sounds positively lovely, falling asleep under the warm bags of grain to the sound of the jingling harness and the horses trotting homeward along the snowy road. Magical!

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