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Movement and Eventual Effects
The nature of the traditional rural amusements was
slowly but profoundly altered by the temperance movement. The first temperance
society in the
was formed at
in 1828. Within four years about one hundred Societies had been organized in
. John Gemmill in Lanark
wrote in 1832:
also a Temperence Society which was formed about twelve months ago which is
doing a great dale of good. There is above four hundred members although it
has met with a grate dale of opposition yet it is increasing and many that was
seen in a fit of intoxication are now become steady members of society. We all
form a part of it. I should like that you would inform us how they are getting
, the first temperance society was formed in 1834 primarily by the Scots of St.
Andrew's Church under Rev. James George. Boyle's partial list of members
includes eleven men and eleven women. It is interesting to note that this list
includes several married (or soon-to-be-married) couples: Catherine
Bowes (b 1820) and Teasdale Hall (b 1807); Hugh Elliot and Jane Reeve; and
William Forfar (b 1817) and Agnes McLevin (b 1817).[ii]
movement had perhaps been effective in "Little Scotland", a settlement
of about five Scottish families in
Township. Many a pleasant gathering was held on winter evenings in Mrs. Roberts home:
leaving about the "wee short hours", a dance was proposed in the
kitchen, the orchestra being composed of poker and tongs, tin covers and vocal
music... I hope you do not for one moment imagine that there was any other
influence there but mirth and good friendship. And on our departure each one
was provided with a hickory torch to light us through the bush.[iii]
Some later arrivals in
experienced a somewhat-reluctant self-regulated drinking environment. John S.
McDonald, from Ayrshire, arrived in
a recognized rule in connection with early drinking customs. At loggings the
rule was a gallon of whiskey for each yoke of oxen at the bee. Of course, the
whiskey was not all consumed at the bee. The supply lasted until well into the
night, when dancing succeeded the labours of the day. Still, with all the
drinking, I do not remember seeing any one very drunk.[iv]
The next generation of Scots became increasingly receptive of the temperance
movement partly due to the work of Ministers such as Rev. Alexander Sutherland,
"a Presbyterian divine, who came into the Queen's Bush in the
One section of
between Oro and Nottawasaga
was opened up and settled about 1868 by some descendants of the Oro pioneers,
including the Andersons, Hunters and Camerons:
was ever seen at [a] raising or bee in this section. Twelve years before we
came here a temperance lodge had been formed at Colin Gilchrist's home in Oro.
My brother, sister, myself, and others joined that lodge, and we brought our
principles with us. To that fact is largely due the prosperity of the
February 2, 1882!:
very great pleasure in giving to the world, through the columns of the Markham
Economist, the news that now every member of the Session of Knox Church is a pledged
By the turn of
the century, there was evidently a rule in
that "no liquor was allowed at the [barn] raisings".[viii]
The war against
peaked in the early decades of this century. At the meetings of the St.
Andrew's Young People's Society, the members presented their own essays. Papers
in opposition to drinking included "How Intemperance Hinders Missions"
by T.A. Paterson on November 30, 1904, "Temperance Organizations" by
Rev. McArthur on November 19, 1908, and, perhaps, "How to Break Bad Habits
and Cultivate Good Ones" by Allan Green.[ix]
Township, to his brother, Sept. 25, 1832. Gemmill Papers, TD 293/1/5/2-3.
Boyle, Scarboro, p. 217. Presumably, the "partial
list" was drawn from some memory. Thomas Paterson (b 1837) and Margaret
Glendinning (b 1840) could be a later member-couple. (Ontario
Branch, St. Andrew's
Cemetery, Nos. 76, 90 and 261. The Halls are buried in Knox.)
Cornell, Pioneers of
Beverly, p. 35.
Smith, Pioneers of Old Ontario, p. 255, 293-4.
Smith, Pioneers of Old Ontario, p. 294, testimony of William Welsh.
Smith, Pioneers of Old Ontario, p. 300-301, testimony of Noah Cotton.
As printed in "Scarborough Historical Notes and Comments",
Volume V, No. 4, Nov. 1981, p. 12.
Secor, "Barn Raisings: Personal Recollections", p. 4.
St. Andrew's Young People's Society, Minutes, 1901-09, St. Andrew's
Scarboro Heights Record V13 #7