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The Way We Were

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the October 26, 2011 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Papers bristled with Gatineau Park-upine tales

foreword by Louise Schwartz

News stories about animals usually attract readers. Here is a sampling of some of the more offbeat animal stories reported in newspapers over the past century

"Bagged Porcupine: Plump specimen killed on road to Kingsmere" from the Evening Citizen of August 27, 1909:

Mr. R.O. Spreckley of the topological surveys branch of the interior department called at the Citizen office today with a large porcupine under his arm. The animal which was a plump specimen of 14 or 15 pounds was captured up the Gatineau yesterday. Mr. Spreckley is summering at Kingsmere, and as he was cycling up the mountain road running from the Gatineau Road to Kingsmere, two men driving in front of him descended from their buggy and commenced belabouring a small animal with a log. It was dead when the cyclist came up, and as the men, Messrs. Alonzo Wright of the Mountain road and Thos. Pink of Ironsides showed no desire to keep it, Mr. Spreckley walked the remaining four miles to Kingsmere with it under his arm. Very few porcupines are found in that part of the country and Mr. Spreckley will preserve the skin of his specimen.

The Way We Were
Nora Cross (Mrs. Arthur Broom) with Paddy the Deer, raised as a fawn by Nora's uncle, Walter Cross, at his retreat at Luster Lake near Cantley. Paddy the Deer lived there happily until rutting season one fall, when he was attracted to Nora's brother, Stan Cross. Stan later said he saved himself by hopping up a nearby tree, but was left with two scars on his legs. (1945). Photo courtesy of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

"Hull Man Loses Horse" from the Evening Citizen of June 24, 1914:

Michael Emery, teamster of Wrightville, Hull, has lost a valuable chestnut mare which strayed from his stables last Thursday. The animal was last seen by Mr. Chartier of Kirk's Ferry, who locked it in his barn, being under the impression that it belonged to his brother.

When he found that this was not the case, he turned the horse loose on the road.

The animal is a chestnut mare, with white blaze on face and hind legs, 17 years old and weighs 1200 pounds.

"Farm Point Beaver Saved by Keen Eye of High Constable" from the Ottawa Evening Citizen of May 27, 1938:

Prompt action on the part of High Constable Achille Ricard of Hull, saved the life of a large beaver found wandering on the shore of the Gatineau river at Farm Point yesterday afternoon. Constable Ricard, who was on a fishing trip with Aime Soucy, saw a couple of young men watching the animal while a companion went for a rifle to shoot it. The officer prevented the shooting of the now rare animal and warned the youths that killing of a beaver is punishable by a heavy penalty. Constable Ricard said it was the first time in years he had seen a beaver in the Gatineau District.

"In Dog Hospital" from the Windsor Daily Star of May 18, 1943:

The porcupine was no respecter of dogs and today Prime Minister Mackenzie King's Irish terrier Pat is in a veterinary hospital. Pat encountered the walking pin cushion at Kingsmere, Quebec Saturday. His mouth and face ended up a bristling bundle of quills.

"Caterpillar Hordes Plague Gatineau Hills" from the Windsor Daily Star of June 14, 1950:

An advancing horde of millions of caterpillars is sweeping over the Gatineau Hills in the Meach Lake district north of here, stripping the leaves from thousands of trees. The plague which appeared out of nowhere about a week ago, now is a river of crawling insects a half mile broad and two miles long. It is moving forward at a rate of half a mile a day.

"Moved his Bees" from the Ottawa Citizen of May 6, 1960:

After 38 long years, Herbert Harley Selwyn, who lives at Kirk's Ferry has moved his forty hives of bees. He had kept them at New Chelsea; he moved them to Old Chelsea.

They have been relocated on property rented from Michael Dunn. Mr. Selwyn said he moved the bees because his son David needed the property to build a house. Beekeeper Selwyn said he moved his 40 hives in two trips on May 23, a cool day and a holiday. He smoked them to distraction, then loaded the hives on a truck. Fortunately, the queen bee stayed put and there was no swarming, no hysteria. Asked if he had ever been stung, Mr. Selwyn said he had been stung many times. Worst place to be stung, he opined, was on the nose.


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