Towns, Villages and Municipalities
History Of Wakefield Village
Compiled 1959 for The Tweedsmuir Village Histories
By A.B. Robb
Published By Wakefield Womens Institute
Proceeds For Gatineau Memorial Hospital
In attempting to produce even a brief history of the Village of Wakefield, there are so many pitfalls, so many possibilities of incomplete or inaccurate information that the writer apologizes at the outset for what better-informed people may find incorrect.
Some of the information in this chronicle has come from the memories of old resideats, some from books of the past, some from the official Archives of Canada. If the seams in the narrative are too many and evident it is hoped that readers will deal gently with the imperfections.
Geographically, Wakefield is situated in the Laurentian Highland of Canada, the lowest of three such highlands, - the Western, the Applachian and the Laurentian, travelling from west to east.
Geologists state that the Laurentian Highland was once much higher than it is now, and that it was of course covered with ice in the glacial period. Rocks and peaks were gradually worn down by the pressure of slow-moving grinding ice.
During the centuries, - who knows how many centuries? – which have elapsed since that time, sun, melting ice, and the action of rivers have continued the slow process of breaking down the rocks; decayed vegetable, mineral and animal matter have contributed their part, so that authorities tell us, much of the now fertile soil in this area may once have been part of the rock formation of the Western Highland.
This slow, relentless process of erosion and renewal - the work of centuries, somewhat staggers our pygmy imaginations, to which eighty or ninety years is a lifetime.
* "It is believed by competent authorities that the Gatineau Area - specifically mentioned is the Chelsea district - contains the oldest rock formation in North America. In this region geologists have found "marine fossils of the Champlain sea" embedded in the rocks; and at Meach Lake in the Mine Road area arasuale large "kettles" or hollows in the rocks, probably preserved by blocks of ice, as debris filled up either side while ice was still present.... Other mineral formations, these on the Mine Road – were large blocks of rock containing magnesite (iron) ore, as well as mica and Grenville limestone or dolomite, containing magnesium and calcium."
* (From Archives of Canada)
This Gatineau locality as well as other areas of Canada, was once the home of the red man. Indians roamed the Gatineau Hills, coming south from the River Desert and Maniwaki district, living by hunting.
They had little or no agriculture, living nomad lives in their earliest wanderings. They are said to have been of the Algonquin Tribe.
* "An early Jesuit missionary, speaking of a trip up the Ottawa about 1615, emphasized the kindly disposition of the Indians he had met; and of their imitation of the Huron tribes in cultivating small fields of Indian corn and squash.
The Hurons also had knowledge of the drying of berries - chiefly blueberries and raspberries, which grew in great abundance in that locality.
This same Jesuit Father stated that at that time there were probably seven or eight hundred of these Indians "on the banks of the Ottawa Lake." (It is thought that this must have been Lake Deschenes).
* (From Early Settlement of Meach Lake" by Ethel Penes Hope).
Not many traces of these first Canadians now remain in this area.
A Wakefield-born lady Mrs. Mary Shouldice who was "Aunt Mary" by courtesy to many not connected by blood, recalled finding Indian arrow-beads on the farm where she was born, the Stevenson Homestead about two miles from Wakefield on the east side of the Gatineau River, where she played with her brothers and sisters many years ago.
Mrs. Shouldice, who died at Wakefield a few years ago was born on the Stevenson Homestead in 1851, and her memories of the past were varied and vivid. She lived to pass the century mark. One of her childhood memories was of friendly Indians of the area who had made camp in the vicinity, visiting the Homestead on occasions when the elder Stevensons held Open House, bringing gifts of game, shows and feathers to her parents.
Since this history is prepared by the Wakefield Women's Institute, a few facts regarding the founding of the W.I. branch are in order.
Wakefield W.I. was organized in January, 1919, under the original name "The Homemakers Club". World War I had ended only a few months earlier, and in that titanic struggle many women had realized the joys of working together in a great common cause, sparked by the inspiring motto "For Home and Country."
The first president was Mrs. Richard Kirby, the vice-president: Mrs. H.M. Cuthbertson, the secretary-treasurer, Miss M.E. Hunter. By June of 1920, the Club had 40 members, the highest membership in its history. Of that charter group, Mrs. F.K. Armstrong, Mrs. William Orme, Mrs. Charles Stevenson and Mrs. Bernard Sully are still in Wakefield and interested in W.I. work; though not all so intensely active as formerly, many younger menbers filling the ranks. A fifth of that original group. Mrs. H.M. Cuthbertson now lives in Shawville.
The original name "Homemakers' Club" was later changed to Women's Institute to conform with brunch usage. A comprehensive History of the early years of W.W.I. is how on file at Macdonald College, and need not be detailed here; but briefly the branch did the usual things, - participated in school fairs; contributed both in money and other service to war causes; including sewing; also to educational projects; supervised drives for the Red Cross, the Blind, the Cancer Fund, aided refugees; collected used clothing for the needy both locally and abroad; sent food parcels and garden seeds to Britain; contributed to Russian Relief, Chinese Relief, Jewish Relief, etc.
In 1938 the Wakefield W.I. was instrumental in having a new school building built in the district, and in 1945 was the first sponsor of Gatineau Memorial Hospital. The proceeds of a play "Dirty Work at the Cross Roads" amounting to $300 bought War Assets blankets, many of the still in use (1959).
At the end of World War II, in which many local men and women served actively in any theatres, Dr. Harold Geggie, veteran physician of the sea, put forth an idea he had long been cherishing, – that of a hospital in Wakefield. This he felt would be a fitting way to commemorate those of ours who did not return from two World Wars and for the use of those who did return to live and work among us."
Here was work, ready to the hand of the W.I. members as well as of many others interested.
The story of the joys and the sorrows of hospital planning the work of many individuals, - this too has been recorded, as well as the hospital opening in 1952.
Incorporated 1917 - Population 376.
(Figures from official census of 1956).
The beginnings of any small settlement depend very much upon the geographical advantages of the location. The progress of a small place depends upon the character, ability and energy of those who from time to time come to settle and work there.
Wakefield is no exception.
Situated in Gatineau County, the federal division created by a re-arrangement of parts of the former counties of Ottawa, Wright and Hull, the first election of the newly created county was held on August 31st, 1931. The village itself, well placed on the Gatineau River, about 20 miles north and slightly west of Canada's capital, might be described as was the ancient Biblical city of Mount Zion, as being "beautiful for situation" though even the most enthusiastic citizen would hesitate to call it "the joy of the whole earth."
Origin Of The Name "Gatineau"
The name of the river and later the County comes from that of Nicholas Gatineau, dit Duplessis. This family is now extinct, according to "A History of Gatineau Valley and Maniwaki", by Anastase Roy of Maniwaki, the volume published in Ottawa in 1933.
Nicholas Gatineau was a native of Three Rivers, and arrived in the Gatineau area in 1649. He was a member of the Company of the Hundred Associates, also Registrar of the Court of Three Rivers and Montreal, where he practised as a Notary. After two years residence in Three Rivers he went, in 1651, to Cap de la Madeleine. He is known to have made explorations of the Gatineau River trading in furs en route.
Gatineau's name disappears from the existing records about 1670, an early record suggesting that perhaps he was drowned in the river which bears his name, in some of his early explorations."
The old record gave his name as Nicholas Gatineau, dit Duplessis. It would be interesting to know of his connection with the family of the recent premier of Quebec, Mr. Maurice Duplessis.
Study would probably show that the early name of Wakefield area, unofficially at least, was La Peche, a hint possibly of the abundance of fish to be found in the streams of the area.
As recently as twenty years ago, the English-speaking people of the district, spoke of "going down to the Peche," just as the French-speaking residents referred to Wakefield as "arriere la Peche."
The site of the village was pretty well settled by the location of the falls on the Peche Creek, with the promise of abundant water power.
The coming of the Maclaren family (about 1820?) determined the establishment and continued progress of the village throughout its first century. The Maclarens are said to have arrived soon after the beginnings of Hull, and the coming of the Wright family. Further research would be needed to establish the exact date of the founding of the village, as well as when the name Wakefield first come into use.
The Archives of Canada state that the name came from that of the English city of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, England; but when and by whom named is not stated.
An interesting note regarding the English Wakefield states that in 1461, the Duke of York was slain in battle there, and the name itself means "The Field by the Way Side."
The figure given for the population of the Canadian Wakefield, 376, is that of the official census for 1956. Boundaries of the village are rather loosely defined. It is pointed out that many Ottawa residents, with summer homes here, would naturally list their residences as Ottawa. Even this doesn't seem to account for the figure of 376 as stated in the census.
A few years ago during anniversary celebrations at the English Wakefield, the Mayor of the English city sent birthday greetings to Wakefield, Canada, the mayor at that time being A.J. Earle.
Other English place names in this area are Chelsea, Rupert, Masham and Lascelles, and it is interesting to speculate as to who named the Canadian villages. Was it an Army man?An early road engineer? Or some other, - a homesick expatriate from the Old Land who used the names as reminders of his former homeland? No one knows for certain, but it seems a reasonable assumption.
There is good reason to believe that the Moncreiff family was amongst the Earliest settlers, possibly even earlier than the Maclarens, whose later business operations meant so much to the stability and prosperity of the village. The mother of the late Arthur J. Earle, long-time mayor of Wakefield Village was a Moncreiff. A family of that name once lived in the house now occupied by Miss Madeline Wills. This house is said to be the oldest house in the village.
The Moncreiff name is still known in the village, a family of that name, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Moncreiff having recently come from Rupert.
Others early in the district included the Stevensons, now represented by several families.
Thomas Stevenson, the elder, arrived here from County Antrim in Northern Ireland about 1830. The Stevensons settled on bush land east of the Gatineau River, about three miles from where the village of Wakefield now stands.
The Stevensons were followed in 1834 by the Pritchards, also from Northern Ireland. In 1837 Thomas Stevenson brought Ann Pritchard from her parents' home as his bride.
The first home of Thomas and Ann Stevenson was the log house which Thomas had erected on his farn, his land already cleared and improved to a degree. This farm is still in the Stevenson name, as it has been for more than 120 years, - possibly record of some kind for this area. The fifth generation of the family. Lindsay Stevenson is now farming the land, and the sixth generation, represented by two small boys is growing up on the Homestead.
The Pritchards, arriving about 1834 settled further north, at North Wakefield (Now Alcove). Others of the family still in the area include Robbie Pritchard, Russell Pritchard and Gibson Pritchard who have farms there or in Masham Township. These two families, the Pritchards and the Stevensons have intermarried, and their descendants, unto the third and fourth generation or beyond, have spread over a wide area of Canada and the United States.
Early Land Holders
In the early days, settlers held their farms by "squatters' rights;" but gradually as the lands were cleared and improved. and dwelling houses and farm buildings erected, freehold rights were acquired.
The first land deed properly registered in the Wakefield district was that of Joseph Irvin.
The record in the Archives of the Quebec Department of Lands and Forests reeds:
"The Village of St.-Pierre-de-Wakefield is situated on Lot 1, Range 2, of the primitive survey of the Township of Wakefield, which has been patented for an area of 134 acres, to Mr. Joseph Irwin, February 2, 1848."
(Translation from the records of the Department of Lands and Forests, Province of Quebec).
Other names prominent in the district in the latter half of the century included the Earles, Pattersons, McClintons, Reids, Maxwells, Kennedys, Shouldices and many Browns. Recorded in an early history of the time is mention of James Ardies, shoemaker; William Armstrong, black-smith; Seth Cates, proprietor of the Temperance Hotel; William Hastey, store-keeper; John Taggart, shoemaker; Albert McGills. tinsmith; Foster Moncreiff, Justice of the Peace; James Patterson, tailor; William Poole, saddler; John Edmond, miller; Mrs. S. Cross, seamstress; James Stevenson, wheelwright; Erasmus Trowsse, cabinet-maker; Stephen Wright, M.D.; Alex Wells, employed by the Maclaren Company; two families of Clarks, Andrew Wright, weaver; James Moffatt, Dominion Land Surveyor (the father of the latter served as an able seaman with Lord Nelson, and two of his descendants are still in the area); the Hyde family and others.
And at Rupert; George Johnson, farmer; John Mahon, blacksmith; Thomas Reilly, farmer; and William Lesile, postmaster; are listed as early comers.
Most of the above have gone the way of all flesh, but the names still live in the district in the persons of their descendants.
Many are the stories told of those pioneers of the past. Some came from Ireland, from England and from Scotland, as well as from France. Accustomed in their native lands to burdensome property taxes as well as other restrictions, they were lured to the new country by offers of free land grants and the hope of less government control. Some were discharged soldiers; some adventurers, no doubt.
It is certain that some had left debts or other troubles behind them, and had dreams of the wealth to be found across the sea. But they found that in their new homes everything had price tag even as in the Old Land. Isolation, cold, danger and toil were to be their portion here for many years. Land grants were to be cleared and tilled, transportation was difficult, and wild animals were encountered.
The story is told of one early settler, one of the numerous Stevensons from east of the river, who was working alone at clearing his land. He had carelessly cone out without his gut, and suddenly saw a mother-bear with two cubs on a tall tree. It was routine to dispatch any of these on sight, but he was weaponless. Oh, for his gun, some distance away in his cabin! Taking off his shirt he dropped it realistically on a tree to cut off the bears' escape line and ran home for his gun. The story relates that the pioneer succeeded in getting all three of the animals before Mamma Bear had suspected the trick. History does not tell whether a luscious bear steak later graced the pioneer's table, though this dainty was a welcome addition to many an early larder.
First Deed Registered At Wakefield
The ancestor of a present day Wakefield resident, Joseph Irwin by name, is mentioned in Provincial land records as the first in this area to receive a legal deed to his farm. The date of his deed is February 2nd, 1848. His grandson, Allen Irwin of Burnside Avenue here gives the following story of that time.
The older Irwin, having staked his claim in the Masham area used to stay at the site all night to save a seven-mile walk home to Rupert and back every day.
Irwin selected a certain stump in a more or less sheltered spot as his land-mark and lit a watch-fire there each night, as a protection from wolves which were in the area.
It was common for Joseph Irwin to carry a hundred pound sack of flour on his back as needed, from Alcove, seven miles away. These pioneers were practitioners of the Do-it-Yourself habit, and could carry a quarter of beef the distance, using a tump-line to ease the burden.
A farm wife of the time, Mrs. Prentiss by name, who lived at Rupert used to carry two 20-to-30 pound pails of home-made butter to the village store at Alcove (then North Wakefield) to be bartered for such luxuries as oil, tea, sugar or other goods at the Pritchard store there. The mother of this writer told of the merchant, Andrew Pritchard, bringing from Ottawa two or three coal-oil lamps, with fancy pink and gilt bowls, for sale to prosperous of favorite customers. The owners were the envied of all their neighbors. What convenience! What beauty! And what wonderful light! Goods had to be hauled from Ottawa or Hull, and had all the value and glamour of present-day "imported" articles.
There is some difference of opinion as to whether the Methodist or the Presbyterian church was first established in Wakefield, as full records of the time are not available. In any case they were not far apart in time.
An early history of the Ottawa Valley by Reverend J.L. Gourlay, states that the first organized congregation of Presbyterians to be set up in the old County of Ottawa was at Wakefield in 1846. Masham is mentioned as a preaching station attached to Wakefield. The first pastor was Reverend John Corbett, a student newly arrived from Northern Ireland, who was said by an older clergyman not to be "a great preacher" but is commended for having "built up the church."
Church elders of the time were James Reid, Thomas Stevenson, John Pritchard, Foster Moncreiff, John MacNall and Thomas Duncan. Some ordained clergymen of the time included Reverend Joseph Whyte and Reverend Hugh Maguire,
A later clergyman, Reverend Robert Gamble created a record here by remaining thirty years in the charge of Rupert and Wakefield churches. The present incumbent (1959) of the churches named is Reverend R.L. Bacon.
The Methodists, coming about the same time had a small church situated down in the village near the present location of the Marshall Clarke home, almost at the former site of the present Bruce Moffatt garage. William Poole owned all the land in that locality as far south as where the Wakefield Inn now stands, and donated the site for the church. A later church stood down near the Arthur Earle home about the intersection of Valley Drive and Riverside Drive. The Methodist and Presbyterian churches entered Union in 1925, and the former building of the Methodist church was sold by Ottawa Presbytery. It is now remodelled as the Wakefield Post Office and some apartments.
The Church of England was established here in 1864, the first rector being Reverend John Seamen, who had charge of the Wakefield and Larcelles congregations and seems to have remained for several years. An early church of the Church of England stood down at the southern end of the village on the site now occupied by the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Newcommon. The present church of that congregation (Church of the Good Shepherd), was built in 1918, and the rector is Holland-born Reverend Hendrik Blase, who also has charge of the church of the Holy Trinity at Lascelles.
The Catholic Church has never been established as such in Wakefield; but a number of families, possibly twenty or thirty are of that faith. They attend church, as do summer residents of their communion, in the nearby parishes of Farm Point, Masham or Farrellton.
In the early days of cruising for pine logs in this richly-wooded valley, the lumber companies operated widely, reaping wealth from the timber concessions. Among the early operators - to name but a few, were Hamilton Brothers, W.C. Edwards, Boyle and McCracken, Alexander Maclaren, Gilmour and Hughson, and others. Among agents or principal employees of the companies were Hiram Robinson, James Robb, Joshua Ellard, Jerry Quaile and Horace Donnelly.
Wakefield, lying a good day's journey from Hull, had its quota of stopping places for the accommodation of teamsters travelling to and from the northern camps. Long processions of sleighs, heavily laden with salt pork in barrels, sugar, flour, beans, tea in chests, puncheons of molasses and other provisions made their slow progress along snow-filled winter roads.
There were designated "turning-out" places at intervals for teamsters travelling in opposite directions, and the sing-song warning cry "Turn-out, turn-out" rang out from time to time.
Interesting stories are told of conditions and relationships amongst the drivers how one teamster would trick his neighbor into starting out first in the morning, thus forcing the unwary one to beat trail for those who followed. The place nearest the door in the long stalls of the Company stables was not an envied one.
Stories of how one teamster had pressed on ahead of his mates, getting the last bed of the last stall in the shopping place, and forcing the less fortunate to go further for his accommodation.
Tales too of fights amongst the drivers, typical of the Ottawa River teamsters - men of the Chats - men from Glenganty - men from the Gatineau - labouting together contending together - contending against each other - helping each other.
The followiag story involving Wakefield men of an earlier day might be of interest.
A group of teamsters, composed of representatives of the two main religious faiths of the area had reached one of the watering-places. Apparently too many visits had been paid by some to the too many taverns along the way. One of the men raised his water pail in a toast scornful of the faith of the other group.
A Wakefield man set down his pail, saying quietly. "I'll not drink that toast."
"What?" said the proposer of the insulting toast, with the quick unreasoning anger of the slightly befuddled, "D'ya side with them then? those others?"
Backing up to his lumber sleigh, and settling his back against it, the first man said, as he strove to loosen one of the heavy stakes of the rack, "I mind me own business. I'm not givin' any insults." Then as a final mighty tug freed the stake, the champion of Live-and-let-Live held up his rude weapon and continued, his Irish accent more pronounced as his "Irish" rose, and I ain't takin' anny syther."
The incident passed without violence.
Among stories which well illustrate the temper of the stuff of which these old timers were made is the following about one old mother, who shall forever be nameless. When a son - or was it a grandson? - brought home for family approval his bride-to-be, the old crone, sitting in the chimney corner, with her clay pipe in her mouth, no doubt, - her Irish shawl about her bent shoulders, and her sharp blue Irish eyes shining beneath her wrinkled forehead, asked curiously.
"Eh! so that's yer ch'ice?...Ken she make saft soap forbye?"
The inference was that if she could make "saft soap" then she could make all else needed. It implied also that much indeed would be needed in the pioneer life to which the bride was coming.
In the old lumbering days the spring-time drive on the river was an event fraught with both excitement and danger. This was the time when flotillas of logs were floated down from the north, for processing in the mills further south. These then had need to be agile, fearless and daring, for their work was dangerous, especially when a log jam of piled timbers in the river channel had to be broken. Lives were sometimes lost in this work in the turbulent spring-time floods. But the hardy rivermen were not daunted by the bright face of danger. The long toilsome winter was over, the rivermen had earned their wages, and now looked for some relaxation and pleasure.
Not so many years ago old men could be found in French Masham who had driven pine logs down the Gatineau to be made into rafts "cages" on the Ottawa, and from there floated all the way to Quebec to be loaded into the Ross Company's ships for England.
Even in 1911 the "Fall Sweep" was looked forward to. The drivers' boats were a welcome sight on the river; and any of today's older men and staid matrons recall with pleasure partaking of the refreshments provided by the home-coming river men, - sand-baked beans, boiled green tea, ash-roasted potatoes; as the young folk of the day enjoyed a picnic on the silvery sand-bar across the river from Wakefield. Innocent delights, with the singing of old songs and friendly chat, a pleasant interlude in the serious business of the annual drive.
The day of the huge timbers, and the singing, swaggering, happy-go-lucky river men of an earlier day have passed. The control dams ended both drives and sweeps. A river foreman of an earlier day, Jim Robb, who had been with the Gilmour-Hughson firm for some years before going to United States was astounded on his return to see the few puny logs floating in the river, calling them "match-sticks" in comparison to those of his earlier memories.
It was inevitable that the vast power latent in the waters of the Gatineau River would sooner or later be used for industrial and commercial ends.
About 1900 the Alexander MacLaren Company had a dam and power development on the Peche Creek, but this was a private plant, for the uses of the Maclaren firm only. About 1910 Freeman Cross developed a power system on Meach Creek, back of Cascades the dam builder being Arthur Frederick of Farm Point. This system too was originally a private project; and was slow in being developed commercially. By 1911 it was not extended beyond Farm Point.
The Maples residence of Dr. H.J.G. Geggie at Wakefield was hired in 1914. Some others were earlier.
The system had its faults. Sometimes the power failed, and we brought out our lamps or candles provided of course that we had been foresighted enough to keep a supply on hand. Sometimes we timidly turned off the power at the threat of an approaching storm. Still, such things happen even to-day with larger systems, and in 1910 we felt very sophisticated to have light and power available at the turn of a switch.
In any case this carly power was the beginnings of the vast developments of power later seen in this district. At that time, when anyone made complaints of the undoubted shortcomings of the original system, Mr. Cross was wont to make the sly jest that we knew nothing whatever about power until he educated us!
In 1925 the Canadian International Paper Company bought all the timber limits in the Gatineau and Desert area and under various names absorbed all the properties thereof. At enormous cost, dams and necessary works were constructed and hydro electric projects undertaken.
Some data on the dates and costs of the vast power developments in the Gatineau area might be of interest. (Information comes from the Archives of Canada,
The dam at the Sixes (Corbeau Dam) in the first rapids of Six-Portages, six miles from Maniwaki, constructed 1925-26, cost $450,000.
Farmer Rapids Development (concrete reinforced) 1926–27: $8,400,000.
Chelsea Dams: Concrete reinforced. 1926–27. cost $10,000,000.
Paugan Falls at Low, 1927–28: $20,700,000. Storage dams at Mercier and Locroix (30 miles north of Maniwaki) at the Bitobi rapid near Baskatong, cost a mere $600,000!
All these developments, while not exclusively Wakefield history, have added enormously to the growth and development of the entire area, and are mentioned as matters of general interest.
A Few "First" of an Earlier Day
(Information from Archives of Canada).
The first mail and passenger service (by stage coach) was run from Ottawa to North Wakefield and Maniwaki, and was in charge of George Patterson, in 1860. This was the date when Her Majesty's Royal Mail began to be taken as far north as Maniwaki. The transportation, by Mr. Patterson and others about that time, had earlier been obliged to travel, if roads were bad, by horseback, or if by stage four horses were used. George Patterson drove the stage till 1876.
From 1876 to 1895, Robert Hastey was stage and mail driver from Ottawa to North Wakefield. At North Wakefield (now Alcove) Marshall and George Brooks took over and went on to Maniwaki.
The obliging stage drivers of the day were accustomed to deliver - for a price - Sunday packages en route, as desired.
When business men from further up the Gatineau were obliged to go to Ottawa or Hull on business, it was an expensive business as well as a wearisome one, the trip took five days - four days for travelling to and from the city, and one day for "les affaires" in the city. From Wakefield the time might be shorter; still it was a slow and tiresome journey from today's viewpoint.
Coming of the Railway
The building of the "Gatineau Railway" (later called Gatineau Valley Railway) was carried out in stages, beginning in 1889, the men in charge being Horace Reemer, Superintendent; and Mr. Brennan, Roadmaster. The Construction all the railroad From Hull to Kazabazua as carried out from 1889 to 1893, and by 1894 had reached Perras. From 1894 to 1896 there was an inative period and by 1903 the construction had reached Bitobi.
In 1903 the Gatineau Railway was sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway by M. H. Beemer and the line was then completed to Manivaki.
The first regular train left Maniwaki on Monday moming February 5th. 1904 at 7:00 a.m.
The first iron bridge over the Gatineau up Maniwaki way was constructed in 1897, at a cost of $23,000. The covered bridge at Wakefield was not erected until 1915.
In the early day of the railroad it is said that Low resident asked, at his station for ticket to "the Peche" (old name for Wakefield). A new C.P.R. agent was at Low, and he thumbed in vain through the list of stations for that name. By the time Wakefield was identified with the Peche the train was gone, the would-be traveller left behind.
Fifty Years Ago
Fifty years ago Wakefield Village was part of Wakefield Township. Most of us kept a pig or two in back garden and the spring air was sometimes rent by the squeals of piglets just separated from their mothers. Many a time the Doctor's piglet would climb through a hole in the pen and set off to find his mother. Then everyone would chase him about the road or over to Maclaren's Hill pasture till he was caught and returned to his pen, where he waited the lazy days, until November, when "at the increase of the moon" he gain woke the echoes when he was turned into pork by the official pig-killer, Fred Parent.
Between spring and fall, Fred was the accepted stove-pipe cleaner, for in those wood-burning days chimney fires were frequent. Fred was also the official barber, he shaved and clipped both the living in the dead. A man of purts, Fred was some times called at two a.m. to pull the doctor across the river at Copeland's Landing in a scow before the river was bridged at this point. A cheerful man, Fred was never seen out of humour. With his coal-black hair and fierce moustache, Fred never managed to pass his "forty-fifth year", but mourned his passing of old age not so long ago.
At that time we each had a cow or two, and boasted of our cream and home made butter – real cream! But secretly we longed for the day when the cow would to dry and we wouldn't have to get up so eady to do the milking.
Then the cow would be put out to pasture on Maclaren's Hill at $2.00 a month.
Fifty years ago horses were important in the economy of the village, both for business and pleasure. The doctor kept five or six, to ashure fresh horses as needed for his long daily drives. William Orme, the baker had two or three. Alexander Maclaren's the big business firm of the village, kept one or two fine big teams to haul flour and feed; in particular hard wheat to blend with the local soft wheat to produce the far-famed Maclaren flour.
I. B. York, the undertaker, had a quiet, handsome team of blacks, befitting his business. Mr. York was also secretary of this and that; auctioneer, hardware merchant, Justice of the Peace, seller of oil and supplier of coffins to those in need of such services.
A Rupert cition of the day, irked by the thought of such multiple interests on the part of one man made the somewhat sour comment, "Wakefield can't put a poke on a pig without I.B. York. The disgruntled critic, and the neighbor he criticised, one are now gone where neirther pokes nor pigs annoy.
In that day it was the ambition of every up-and-coming young fellow to possess a rubbet-tired buggy with a fine driving horse. These smart turn-outs were a source of much envy and heart-burnings amongst the less affluent of the young folk, as the fortunate owner of a fine horse and buggy with smart accompanying gear drove about the country roads and through the village with the lady of his heart, the observed of all observers.
The Maclarens were early in the district. Their deeds go back to 1850. long after they had occupied the land they subsequently owned.
The foundation of the huge Maclaren fortune, later estimated at seventy million dollars, was in fact laid in Wakefield, whence the firm extended to the Lievre, to Buckingham, and west to Barnet, B.C. People who remembered the beginnings of the business here spoke of one small log building, where the original owners rolled up their blankets when day was done, and slept in the store. They had a cow, possibly two, and legend has it that the thrifty housewife churned the cream, selling the butter milk at five cents a quart.....simple and halcyon days!
In the memories of many people now living, Maclaren's were the big business place of the village. Maclaren's did the banking ground the wheat, took in the home made butter, the eggs, the sides of beef and pork, and the fresh-killed fowl.
They lent money to farmers and lumbermen at good rates of interest; they turned the native wool into fine tweeds of well-known patterns; and established a savings-bank where local people deposited their savings with confidence. And, be it said, no depositor ever lost a penny of these deposits.
The bank was broken into once, more than forty years ago; and a sum of money stolen. Apparently the miscreants were frightened off, with no profit from their crime. The loot was found later, cached under the platform of the C.P.R. station at Rockhurst by two small boys, Tomy Trowsse and Lloyd Brown while they were playing there.
Whether these youngsters were rewarded for their honesty no one seems to remember. These lads, now grown men, probably were told they were good lads, but in that early day honesty was its own reward.
Among those connected with the Maclaren business here might be mentioned John Reid who served the firm as General Manager for many years, and than whom no shrewder or more capable business man ever existed. He was a son of the late Ben Reid of Aylwin. On Mr. Reid's retirement, J.R. Smith, who had been with the firm for some years as accountant became manager, holding that post till the store was burned in 1941.
John Edmond, the quiet-spoken and efficient Scots-born miller was with Maclaren's for forty years - until his death in 1911.
An amusing story of his time is the following:
At that time the mill featured the dark flour made from stone-ground wheat. Later the newer roller mills produced refined white flour, which many thought a great improvement. (It is interesting to note that to-day's nutritionists have swung back to approval of the darker, whole grain product).
One day, a farmer, who must remain anonymous - brought his wheat to the mill to be ground, just as Nr. Edmond was about to go to dinner. He explained to the farmer how to tend the machine, so the flour would not overflow the container, and left for his noon-day meal. The farmer, his grinding done, bagged his flour and also left for dinner.
Some time later he returned, complaining that his wife couldn't use the flour, "it got as hard as a stone when she added water to it." A little investigation by Mr. Edmond revealed that the customer, left alone, had slyly added to the brown flour some white substance from another barrel nearby, believing it to be some of the coveted new style flour, and that he could improve his mix at no cost to himself. Unfortunately for the schemer, the lovely white "flour" was not flour at all, but some plaster of paris which Mr. Edmond was using to repair the grinding stones.
Other employees of the day were: John Ferguson and George Richardson, millers, and H.N. Cuthbertson and R.S. Chamberlin of the sales staff as well as Archie Brown and Harry Brown of the out-door staff. R.S. Chamberlin putting to good use the business training he had gained at Maclaren's went into business for himself as general merchant in 1923.
G.A. Poole was accountant for some years, remaining with the first till its closing years. Miss Mary Robb was 27 years on the sales staff and Miss Louisa MacFarlane was book-keeper for a comparable period.
A bit of local color from the time might be appropriate here.
A notable farm butter-maker brought in a tub of her famous butter for sale. Speaking very confidentially to the salesman, Jack McDonald by name, she confided a mouse had fallen into the cream to an untimely death.
"I couldn't bear to throw out all that cream, but of course I couldn't use it. Couldn't you just exchange it for me? For what the eye don't see, the belly don't taste."
The courteous and understanding employee took the tub of butter, turned the butter into a different tub, and returned a different tub but the same butter to the lady while repeating her ovn words, what the eye doesn't see, the belly doesn't taste."...
Was this poetic justice? Or the biter bitten?"
J.H. McDonald, the hero of this tale, started his employment with the Maclaren's here, later going to Barnet B.C. eventually making a fortune in boxes in New Westminster.
In 1946 Mr. McDonald was one of the earliest to support the building of Gatineau Memorial Hospital here with a gift of $5,000.
Maclaren's General Store was a delightful place. Many to-day cast a nostalgic glance backward to this country store, which in its heyday had millinery and dress maker shops, with stocks comparable to city offerings of the time (early 1900's).
The spring opening of Maclaten's Millinery Salon was a gala event for the feminine members of the community. Two sisters, Misses Edith and Mildred Allen were in charge of the dress and millinery salons respectively, and efficient and courteous ladies they were. Millinery from the salon was greatly In demand, not only in Wakefield and Ottawa, but further afield.
The former Misses Allen, now Mrs. Alex Austin and Mrs. George Earle, are still resident in Wakefield.
This fine store was destroyed by fire in 1941, when defective light bulb exploded in the oil-room of the Maclaren Store.
With the passing of the years the Maclaren name is seldom heard here except when one far-wandering member of the family comes home to rest in the cemetery of their name on the quiet hillside overlooking the village.
The busiest shop in Wakefield next to Mclaren's, was Earle's blacksmith and carriage building shop. The second generation in the shop was already old fifty years ago. Only Robert Earle could make the Doctor's shanty cutter long enough, low enough, wide enough to satisfy one who spent long hours dozing as he drove, not on the way out to a patient, but on the long way home over rough roads.
Malcolm Morrison and Ben Brown alone were able to reset the iron tires on the dried-out wheels of the Doctor's buggies and road carts. They alone were able to shoe the Doctor's young colts, and keep them well shod all their lives. Ben Brown had a horse-shoeing shop in his own back yard, where until quite recently he could be heard at six a.m. blowing his bellows, pounding the hot iron, tapping his hammer on the ringing anvil. When that stopped something was missing in the village. Buggies and cutters became obsolete. Ford cars came in. George Earle, the third generation of the name connected with the Earle shop, opened a garage, and gradually the old shop closed.
William Poole's Harness and Leather Goods shop, was an attractive place. Besides leather and harness, Mr. Poole stocked a few staples, sugar, etc., but the chief attraction for the children were the one-a-penny bulls' eye candy and sugar sticks. Some of to-day's grownups recall that they occasionally got a bonus of an extra bulls' eye when buying penny goods at the Poale store. Mr. Poole was a great reader and always had a book at his bench as he worked.
In 1911 Phil Trowsse had a blacksmith shop about where Broom's Parking Lot is now. This shop was burned in 1952. This helped us to realize anew the need of adequate fire protection, and possibly hastened the formation of a Fire Brigade.
In earlier days there was a C.P.R. water tank about where the C.P.R. station is now, and the station was then about where the hardwood logs are now piled. Loads of cordwood, pulpwood, squared timber, sawn railway ties, tan bark and slab wood crowded the station yard. Winter roads to outlying points were crowded with sleighs drawing produce to the Peche. An observer of the time tells of meeting 42 such loaded sleighs in the seven miles from Wakefield to Ste. Cecile de Masham. Loads of loose hay or straw, sleighs carrying frozen sides of beef or pork, added variety to the scene and hazards to the traveller, especially if the loads of hay or straw upset. One can imagine the plight of a light sleigh in a hurry meeting such loads on a winter road....in the ditch all the time!
While Wakefield with its rural economy probably suffered less in the thirties from unemployment and distress than did the city areas, the slump was severely felt. In cities there was organized relief for unemployed, in village and rural districts this was not so common. Many city workers without employment returned home to their former abodes.
Families crowded into the old home, savings dwindled, for the odd jobs available didn't take the place of regular bay cheques. Illness came to some, grocery bills mounted, increases in families arrived as usual, and medical expenses with them.
Workers were in many cases on reduced hours, the rural business houses endeavouring to "share the wealth" and the jobs. In some cases services were exchanged or work created. The Wakefield doctor devised a plan which employed some builders, summer homes or cottages were built in the Wolf Lake or Mashan areas, the doctor supplying the material, the workmen being paid, part of which by agreement went to reduce their debt to him, and the balance to the worker. A beneficial "barter" agreement for both sides, reminiscent of pioneer days. Many who would have balked at "charity" found this exchange acceptable.
An amsing tale of the time follows. A certain woman of the Gatineau area - though not Wakefield - delayed calling the doctor when she was actually in need of his services. When he was finally summoned he reproved his patient for the delay, which might have proved dangerous.
"But, doctor," she said, "I didn't have any money, so I didn't call."
The doctor replied jestingly that he wasn't "a" slot machine." Much indeed was provided in those lean days, with no penny in the slot!
"We pays whet we can, when we can't we charges it."
Frequently in those grim times the patients, not wishing for free services, but having little cash, paid in farm produce - beef, pork, or wood. Then the Doctor would load his car with the eatables, and distribute beef of pork cuts to those whom he knew could use the food. (All this of course was a gift). He was asked sometimes if he was going to market; occasionally reminded that this wasn't a Market Day."
Wakefield Women's Institute provided clothing and food to those who needed it, packed school lunches, or served there in their homes, Clubs, church groups and individuals helped, with both food and fuel or other needs. "Neighborhood services" as required.
The Aluminum Company of Canada
The Aluminum Company of Canada established here in 1941. The Company bought or leased several farms east and west of the river Gatineau below Wakefield for the mineral rights. Amongst these were the farms of John Caves, Ernie Stevenson, Fred Maxwell and Stephen Cross.
The same year began the mining of Bruceite limestone from the quarry south of the village. The main product of the ore is magnesium oxide, which is united with chlorine to produce magnesium chloride. Much of the output was destined for shipment to the United Kingdom. Some of the neat white roadways seen in this district are finished with the waste product of the mine.
The Wakefield office of the plant was opened in 1942.
The coming of the Company in 1941 was a powerful shot in the arm for the economy of the village. Prior to 1941 Wakefield had no large employers of labour. Its Industries were, in the main, connected with agriculture, and its proximity to Ottawa tends to draw to the city many of the younger people as commuters of residents.
It can be understood that the employment of about 120 Wakefield and district residents at Alcan in steady and well-paid employment added much to the financial well-being of the area. The above number was probably the top figure, and is less now.
Plant superintendents or principal men since 1941 have been Frank Dickie, John Lege, Harry Jomini and John Gnaedinger.
Sully's Lumber and Planing Mill
This mill, now situated on the northern outskirts of the village was founded by the late R.N. (Newton) Sully in 1898, and was originally located at Sully's Siding near Venosta, Quebec, about twenty-five miles north of Wakefield.
About 1914 the business was transferred to Wakefield, and is now owned and operated by T.A.B. (Bernard) Sully, son of the founder. R.N. Sully died in 1932.
The mill sells locally, and also ships rough and dressed lumber to points in Ontario and Quebec. It gives employment to about 10 of 12 men depending on the season and general conditions. The mill was twice destroyed by fire, in 1924 and 1934, but rebuilt.
A tannery was once operated here on the site of the present Fire Hall, by Bob Norris, for a time. By 1911 a Sash and Door Factory hed taken over the site, the factory operated by Alex Austin, and doing a very good job. This site was still later acquired by T.A.B. Sully, and operated by him for some years.
The Chamberlin Store
This business was founded in 1923 by R.S. Chamberlin, formerly employed at the Maclaren Store. It is now in charge of C.D. Chamberlin, son of the founder. This store stocks "everything" from needles and pins to dry goods, groceries, footwear and men's clothing, to fishing gear, electric appliances, to fresh fruits and vegetables, and literally anything else on order.
Cross Brothers General Store, owned by the brothers, Harrison and K.I. Cross do for the southern end of the village what Chamberlin's do for the northern and; and have a flourishing business. It is built on the same site and in the same building as the second George Patterson Store.
The original Patterson store which traded for many years in about the same lines as Maclaren's was destroyed some fifty-odd years ago in a fire which burned out the heart of the village from William Poole's Harness Shop to Fred Wills' house. The Poole and Wills Buildings were saved.
Fire, the dread and scourge of all small places without adequate fire protection, took its toll of Wakefield property on more than one occasion. In 1910 the Maclaren Woolen and Grist Mill was burned, throwing its employees out of work. The grist mill was rebuilt in 1911; the woollen mills were never rebuilt. Other losses by fires at different times included the Kirby House, Mrs. Malone's House, the York home and store; two hotels, the Earle and Thomas Hotels, amongst the losses.
A news Item from the Ottawa Journal of October 27th, 1933, tells of a fire about that time.
Says the story: "Firemen from Hull, under Chief Emile Bond saved the Village of Wakefield front destruction in a high wind. Fire started in a garage owned by Fred Hamilton, beyond the railway crossing at Rockhurst and destroyed five buildings and gutted a sixth. Estimated loss ranged from $15,000 to $18,000. Losses included the Hamilton Garage, the store and home of I.B. York, and the Maxwell House." Earlier the Kirby home on Rockhurst Hill was destroyed by fire.
It was not until 1952 that a Fire Brigade was organized here, with Jack McGarry as Chief and thirty-one volunteer fire fighters at a nominal fee of $1.00 per year per hat. They have given good service, and have gained valuable experience, also have increased their equipment. Undoubtedly Wakefield Village would have been destroyed in 1955 had it not been for the heroic work of our volunteers, when the Newton Hotel, formerly Wakefield Inn, was damaged but not destroyed by fire.
Financial grants have been received from the Province. A new fire truck was purchased in 1957, at a cost of $14,000, and a cinder block Fire Hall constructed on Valley Drive. The Hall also houses the municipal offices.
The Wakefield Brigade acknowledges the help of the Hull and Ottawa Fire Departments who gave several demonstrations here on modern methods of fire fighting. The Wakefield firemen co-operate with their counterparts of Ste. Cecile de Mashan, and have an arrangement to assist each other as possible.
William Orme, a native of Derbyshire, England, who arrived in Wakefield in 1908, founded a bakery here more than fifty years ago. He had been in the hay business in his native land, and had as a younder man been apprenticed to a baker. He was joined here in 1911 by his wife and small daughter.
Beginning in a small way, Willian Orme baked the bread in "the small hours", and in the afternoons the bread was "owner-delivered" by horse and van. The business prospered. Soon two horses and vans were needed. In 1926, when the Paugan Dam at Low was under construction, the Orme Bakery supplied bread for the construction crew, three daily shifts and three delivery vans being needed.
In 1927 disaster struck - the Bakery burned to the ground. The shop was rebuilt, on different site, not far from the C.P.R. Station, on a lot once the location of the Holiness Movement Church.
Mr. Orme died here in 1955, at the age of 85 years, with the record of never having missed a day in the shop here since he began the business.
There are now six employees and two delivery vans, covering the Gatineau area from Danford Lake south to Kirks' Ferry.
Both local people and visitors from far afield enjoy the distinctive flavor of this bearth-baked bread, reminiscent to some of an earlier day. Orme's brown bread especially has an enviable reputation. Americans, and other summer visitors, of whom Wakefield has many, often store a few loaves of the bread to take home for their home freezers
F.K. Armstrong, son-in-law of the founder of the bakery, now owns and operates the bakery. A former mayor of Wakefield he has been associated with the bakery business for thirty years.
Fifty years ago, Wakefield had two hotels after the Thomas Hotel was burned. The old hotel on the site of the present Chateau Diotte dated back many years and was typical of the old teaming days before the days of the railroad. It had had many proprietors and was definitely in its last days.
Earle's Hotel, the fore-runner of Wakefield Inn was flourishing stopping place of the time. It too had been rebuilt after a fire.
These hotels had been dry for some years - that is legally dry - but there were times when a convenient and obliging boot-legger operated freely enough. As the years passed, boot-legging became more and more the thing, until summer tourist licenses were imposed in spite of opposition. Gradually beer and wine licenses were granted until today...???!!!
Present hotels are the Chateau Diotte and the Wakefield Inn.
The older hotels, in an earlier day, had large stalls of horses, and each hotel had several drivers who drove travellers with their great trunks of samples about the country to prospective buyers far from the railway. Some of these trips would take several days to complete.
It was not at all unusual for midnight travellers, such as the doctors, to meet Jack Nesbitt, Cy Nelson, Harry Earle, Leger or Joe Vaillancourt along winter roads on night drives, their silvery sleighbells ringing cheerily through the night.
There were at that time also, several very good private houses where summer or winter visitors came year after year as paying guests. Proprietors included Mrs. Malone, Mrs. George Patterson, Mrs. Annie Edmond, Mrs. Robert Nesbitt, Mrs. Alex Austin and others.
The Misses Jean and Nabel Lindsay ran the Wakefield Inn about 1922 and 1923, establishing in the same building as the former Earle Hotel.
Vice-regal parties were sometimes accommodated there. Amongst these were Lady Byng and party, who often enjoyed a winter drive over snow-filled roads. Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir, with Mrs. Buchan, mother of the Governor-General of the day, also stayed at the Inn on occasion, the Tweedsmuirs noting similarities between the scenery of the Gatineau and that of their Scottish homeland.
This Inn, now owned and managed by Edwin Newton, was damaged by fire about four years ago, but is again active as Wakefield Inn.
On Rockhurst Hill, at the southern end of the village, there was a group of cottages - still there - occupied by Ottawa people - Senator Belcourt, Canon Snowden and others. Also on the Hill are several newer homes built by the Aluminum Company for their employees.
Rockhurst Hill commands a delightful view of the village and the river below.
The first school in Wakefield Village was situated on the Cross-Wills Point, down by the old Maclaren saw mill, a land-mark now disappeared, in a location now changed out of recognition for most present day citizens. Earlier still there was a small log school down about the Garnet Craig farm, outside the village, but the location was not favorable, and the school too small.
Village and district children of the time walked long distances to obtain the only education available in the sixties and seventies. In those days there were no luxuries such as school buses; no compulsory school attendance law; and so family allowances to ease the financial burdens of heads of families.
Many children, due to pressure of necessary work at home could attend classes only "when the work's all done this fall." Then too, some could attend only when freezing of the river shortened the road by an ice bridge for some pupils. School terms, therefore, were of necessity short.
Still, ambitious pupils, usually boys - for what need would a mere girl have for "book-learning?" - managed the beginnings of an education even then.
Two outstanding examples of such laudable ambition here were Jim Pritchard of North Wakefield (now Alcove), and Hans Stevenson of Wakefield. They were cousins, descendants of pioneers of the area. Both of these young men studied Medicine, graduated from McGill Medical School and lived to serve their dey and generation for many years in this area and beyond.
The location of the school was later changed to the left bank of the Peche Creek, a quarter-mile above the creek-mouth into the Gatineau River. This school was almost at the present site of the L.H. Vaillancourt home, and when built there was believed to be in a suitable place, away from highway traffic.
The one-room school grew to two rooms, a one storey school building grew to two storeys and four class-rooms. Pupils increased from too few to too many, until by 1937 conditions were intolerable.
In 1938 the Wakefield Women's Institute began to attend school meetings, to ask questions, to take a keen interest in the matter, and by their agitation and interest and help were instrumental in having a new school building begun in the district. In 1941 new four-room consolidated school was opened on Maclaren's Hill.
To some the plan seemed over-ambitious, but events soon proved the wisdom on the increased accommodation. A library was added, an assembly hall, a kitchen. The attendance rose to 100 pupils.
Built at a cost of $26,000. to plans approved by the Quebec Department of Education, it was at that time one of the few Protestant-Catholic schools of the Province. Public interest in the project was indicated by the fact that fifty percent of the cost was provided by funds locally invested.
This building too, wes soon too small and in 1957 an extension of four more class rooms, a large modern assembly hall and a gymnasium came into use. There is accommodation for 175 pupils to grade eleven, and present enrolment is about 150 (1959 figures). At the moment there is no grade eleven.
There are eight qualified teachers, including a teacher of classroom singing. An active Home and School Association is in operation, and interest is well sustained.
To Dr. H.J.G. Geggie, chairman of the School Board from 1940 to 1955 must go much of the credit for the early and the later progress of the present school. To the Home and School Association thanks are due for their interest, and their assistance in many matters.
Chairman of the School Board in this year 1959 is Dr. David Geggie, the school principal is James Gordon and the chairman of the Home and School Association is Robert Colding.
Just who was the first doctor in Wakefield - just when he came - is uncertain but it is known that "Little Doctor Wright" preceded "Big Doctor Falls". The latter left Wakefield in 1884 after some ten years of practice here about. "The Little Doctor" must have been here in the sixties, and some of the older people of forty or fifty years ago remembered tales of his drives – his activities. The doings, even the appearance of "Big Black Doctor Falls" were well remembered, as he pounded his office table - the table now in the possession of Doctor Geggie's family – while the big doctor mixed up drugs for a quaking patient who was almost afraid to breathe.
The mysteries and the terrors of medicine and of medical practitioners were very real and very awesome to many unsophisticated folk of an earlier day!
Dr. Falls lived in the house now owned by Leonard Scharf, and a famous landlady he had in the person of Mrs. Malone, whose name is well remembered still by many today.
About 1883 Dr. Falls sold out to Dr. Hans Stevenson, a native son who had already practiced medicine in Chelsea for four years.
Dr. Stevenson, who had been a student at McGill before 1880, under the great Sir William Osler, settled in Wakefield, and practised medicine in the area for twenty-seven years, touching every phase of village life. In his selfless and conscientious service to the people of the area, he was truly a Beloved Physician and Friend to many.
In 1905-1906 it was Dr. Stevenson who first gave the district rural telephones, linking Wolf Lake and East Wakefield with Wakefield, and 1907–1908 with Poltimore and McGregor Lake.
Thus, to service his medical practice-to save the long drives - he encouraged the local leaders to band together to improve public facilities.
The names of Isaie Brazeau, Maurice Bertrand at Masham, Vital Deziel, Reverend Father Ethier, and Dan McCallum in East Wakefield and Poltimore should be linked with the Doctor's name in this endeavour.
While Dr. Stevenson pioneered these lines, his first cousin, Dr. James Pritchard at North Wakefield (Alcove today), did the same for the English-speaking side of the township. The Masham end of the Wolf Lake-East Wakefield line was for a time owned and operated by F.A. Moffatt.
Later still, about the time of the First World War, Reverend Father Chenier of Farrellton linked Low, Kazabazua and Lake Saint Marle by a more modern metallic telephone line.
For many years these lines gave good service, even dividends on the investment, until the coming of the power lines, rising costs, and an aging system, coupled with the increasing demands of modern life and booming business made the operation of rural telephone lines impractical.
Gradually the Bell Telephone Company bought out the local lines ("at famine prices" to quote a district authority), and gave the area a good modern metallic telephone line.
Nevertheless, it is true, and worthy of note, that within twenty-five years of the invention of the telephone, Wakefield had its rural lines and paid dividends on its local investments.
In 1911, Dr. H.J.G. Geggie came to Wakefield to become assistant in the medical practice of Dr. Hans Stevenson.
A native of Beauport, Quebec, newly graduated in Medicine from McGill University, he was gold medallist in his year in clinical (bedside) medicine.
Fully bilingual, and familiar with Quebec conditions and with rural life, the young assistant was the ideal associate for the older doctor, who had borne the rigors and toil of a demanding rural practice for so many years. The younger man was able to lift many burdens from the shoulders of his senior, and at the same time to learn much from Dr. Stevenson's experience and advice regarding their mutual interest, the well-being of the sick folk of the community.
The boyish appearance of "the young doctor" led some of the oldsters to shake their heads doubtfully and remark that he was "too young", forgetting that youth is a malady all too soon corrected by the fleeting years. On the death of the older doctor Dr. Geggie bought the medical practice at Wakefield, and in true story-book fashion, later married the daughter of his older associate.
For 48 years Dr. Geggie has practiced his healing art in this area and beyond, covering the rugged Gatineau country in all seasons and all weathers as needed.
A strenuous and demanding life, of which he says earnestly, "It's the best life there is". Doubtless he would agree with the comment of Robert Louis Stevenson, "Blessed is the man who has found his work, let him ask no other blessing."
But for the Wakefield doctor and his wife there have been other blessings. "Dr. Harold" and his wife have sons, all of whom followed their father in the medical profession. All are McGill graduates - Dr. J. Hans Geggie, Dr. David C. Geggie, and Dr. N. Stuart Geggie, who with their father comprise the medical staff of Gatineau Memorial Hospital, Wakefield.
Of the four doctors, "Dr. Hans" is the only qualified "specialist" with a British diploma in Anaesthesia, following a year's post-graduate work in South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital, Plymouth, England.
"The rest of us," says Dr. Harold, are mere G.P.'s looking after whatever comes, wherever it happens to be, whenever it comes along. Degrees do not matter. Fortitude, and knowing when to get outside help, are more important."
Dr. Harold served during World War I in the Canadian Military Hospital at Orpington, Kent, England, after which he studied briefly there before returning to his Wakefield practice in 1920.
In 1958 he was honored by the award of a Senior Membership in the Canadian Medical Association, then meeting in Halifax, N.S. One physician from each Canadian Province is chosen to receive this annual award, given on the basis not only of length of service - they must be age 70 - but also of reputation and quality of service. The doctor remarks lightly. "If you live long enough you'll get it, and if you get it you won't have to pay any more annual membership fees in C.M.A."
Incorporation of the Village
The Village of Wakefield was incorporated in 1917. In that year Robert Earle was elected Mayor following incorporation. Following him were R.H. Kirby, Dr. H.J.G. Geggie, Daniel Morrison, A.F. Austin, A.J. Earle, F.K. Armstrong, and A.J. Earle who served as mayor of the village to several terms. Mr. Earle died in 1958, during his term of office.
Following the death of Mayor Earle, A.T. Broom was acting mayor until the completion of that term, and in 1959 councillor Jack McGerry won the majority.
Conditions abroad brought to Wakefield several carefully screened newcomers from Europe, Amongst these might be mentioned German-born H. Loesche, wood worker who to his original business has added a service station, as well as a soft drink and ice-cream stand. Also a newcomer here is Werner Hopbach, arriving here in 1953 with his wife and two children. A skilled worker he is employed at a local garage (A.T. Broom's). While his wife is presently employed in a general store, C.D. Chamberlin's. Frank Nagy, a native of Hungary, fled from the Red Terror in his hone land is 1956; finding refuge here with his wife and three small children. On his arrival here he was supplied with a house by Dr. J. Hans Geggie. He is now employed by Alcan Company, the first foreigner to be employed there, and has bought the house in which he lives here. Walter Wrede, a brick-layer of German birth, has been here for years with his wife and one child. Mrs. Wrede, a qualified teacher in her home land, is employed in a district school, and the family have built their own home.
Sports - Amusements
Wakefield is ideally situated for many sports, both winter and summer sports being available.
The many streams make fishing a popular pastime and there are any ardent Nimrods in the locality. Hunting too has its devotees, though both these sports have limited attractions. The really earnest hunters and fishermen are likely to frequent the more isolated areas, further north.
Skiing had been popular here for many years on an amateur basis, but with the advent of professional skiing Wakefield took up the sport enthusiastically, its many hills and slopes well fitted to the pleasure. Vorlage and Powder Puff Hills being well known to addicts of the sport.
Wilfred Harris of Ottawa opened a ski tow at Vorlage Hill in 1942. By the winter of 1952 a busy day would see 300 skiers and more using the tow, with the waiting line growing in length as well as in exasperation. A second tow was erected in that year. Due to a large program of expansion at Camp Fortune this second tow was closed, but it can be re-activated at tiny time. The first tow caters to a crowd of 100 to 200.
The first Ski Club at Wakefield was the Chalet Chamonix Ski Club to be succeeded by the Vorlage Ski Club in 1952. Several competitive meets have been held each year, most of them for Juniors. The winsome Canadian Ski Queen Anne Heggviet began to compete in skiing at the age of seven, sponsored by the Ottawa Ski Club, and on January 6, 1947, won the Women's combined down-hill and slalom at Wakefield.
In addition to World Champion Anne Heggviet, other well-known people have done some skiing here. Two Governors-General, Earl Harold Alexander and Lord Tweedsmuir did some skiing here during their terms of office at Rideau Hall. For novices in the sport there are many gentle slopes hereabout.
Wakefield Lodge on Rockburst Hill, opened by William Lewis in 1955, and the two older hotels, Wakefield Inn and the Chateau Diotte assure accommodation for those desiring it. There is also a canteen at the tow, and meals or snacks may be obtained at Alexander's Tea Room on the highway north of the village.
Wakefield Rifle Club
Good shooting is traditional in Wakefield.
In earlier days, two district men, John Chamberlin and his brother, Henry Chamberlin, were members of the old Forty-third Regiment, predecessor of the Cameron Highlanders. Each gained officer rank and both "made" the Bisley Team on several occasions, going to England to compete with the best Empire shots of the day.
Wakefield now has a keen Rifle Club, which holds practice shoot weekly, using small-bore rifles. These shoots are "open" and competitive; and top shots from local points and further afield attend.
Several trophies are up for competition, including the Desjardins Cup, donated by Gerard Desjardins of Maniwaki, M.L.A. for Gatineau County, the Jack Sudbury Cup and the A.P. Williains Trophy. Both Williams and Sudbury are former members of the Wakefield Club, and Williams has been to several Bisley meets with a place on the Bisley Team.
Amongst shots competing with the Wakefield Rifle Club from time to time have been teams from the R.C.M.P. barracks at Ottawa and from the National Defence Headquarters Staff at Ottawa.
Officers of the Wakefield Club (1959) are C.D. Chamberlin, president; S.G. Anderson, vice-president; A.P. Williams, honorary president; H.F. Craft, secretary; R.L. Bacon, chief range officer.
Wakefield Boy Scout Group
Wakefield has an enthusiastic Scout Group with a membership of thirty-five boys, composed of 22 Wolf Cubs and 13 Scouts.
The group was first organized by Reverend Dr. T.D. Holden, minister in charge of United Churches here some thirty five years ago, and was disbanded when Dr. Holden left Wakefield for a charge in L'Original, Ontario.
In the autumn of 1953 the Troop was revived by the present Scoutmaster, Patrick W.O. Evans who is in the Administration Department at Canadian Scout Headquarters in Ottawa. The Assistant Scoutmaster is David McGarry, who entered the Troop as a Scout of 13 years, and achieved the rank of Queen's Scout prior to his becoming Assistant Scoutmaster.
The Wolf Cub Pack, under the leadership of Mrs. Douglas W.J. Dunn as Cub master, was formed two years after the Scout Troop. D.W.J. Dunn is Assistant Cub-master. The Cub Pack provided training for the younger boys who will become Scouts as they reach their eleventh birthday. Mrs. Dunn's "Pack" title is "Akela" as in Kipling's story.
Two Queen's Scouts, David McGarry and John Harrison, of the Wakefield Troop qualified to attend the 8th World Boy Scout Jamboree held at Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1955. John Harrison also attended the Jubilee Jamboree in England in 1957. In 1958 David McGarry's brother, Brian achieved his Queen's Scout, and was appointed Troop Leader in 1955.
In the spring of 1956 the Scouts of the Wakefield Troop visited New York by air, where they were entertained for the weekend by the scouts of nearby North Brunswick. Later that summer the North Brunswick Scouts were entertained at the Wakefield Boys' Camp at Blue Sea Lake.
The Scouts have held summer camps each year, and have participated in a number of canoe cruises, including a long one from Perth to Kingston, on the Rideau Canal System.
In 1958 the Cubs and Scouts were given a site in Wakefield by Mr. Marshall Brown, a community minded citizen, on which to construct their own headquarters building. Now their headquarters, known as Mafeking House, stands as a monument to the public split of the boys' fathers and other friends of scouting. Including the local Women's Institute, who made and donated curtains for the II.Q. Building.
Prior to 1914, most Wakefield residents, like many Canadians of that time, had little experience or practical knowledge of war, except from the pages of the history books or the tales of returned veterans of earlier wars. War in our experience was something that happened in countries far off from our happy shores. Though the stories about then made exciting reading, they were unreal in our actual experience. True, we had known of several local young fellows who had fought abroad; in Egypt, in South Africa, in the Sudan or in the North West Rebellion; but these were old unhappy, far-off things and battles long ago."
Come 1914, and with the First World War, the world seemed to have grown considerably smaller.
In that struggle of fifty-odd years ago, volunteers from Wakefield and area, both men and women, donned uniforms; some perhaps to escape the hum-drum of every day living; some from love of adventure, and some from pure patriotism and the call of duty, even though the motives may have been somewhat mingled.
The School and Honor Rolls here bear the names of approximately 100 men and women, who in two World Wars enlisted for service for King and Country."
From the Sully family, five joined up; father, daughter and three sons. From the Geggie family four, from the Marshall Clarke family three. It was common for all eligible in a family to enlist.
The following did not return: John Bales, Russell Brown, Willard Carman, Sebra Hall, Edwin McCorkell, Lawrence McGarry, James Reid, Sydney Stephenson, Glenn Stewart.
Taken prisoner, but released following the war and returning home were Colin Earle, Douglas Clarke, and Allan Cross.
September of this year saw the outbreak of World War II.
Veterans of World War I who had fondly, perhaps unrealistically, hoped as they expressed it, that they had "finished the job," saw their sons, or even their grandsons, again don uniforms to join with other freedom-loving citizens in another titanic struggle against tyranny and oppression.
Truly, "there is no discharge in this war."
In World War II, women in Wakefield, as elsewhere, took a greater part in the struggle than they had in 1914-1918, and their efforts were possibly better organized. While carrying out the usual womanly tasks of producing vast quantities of sewing and knitting for the Red Cross and other organizations, they supplied comforts to service men at home and abroad; assisted at blood clinics at several Gatineau points, and raised funds for war causes by the usual "catch-as-catch-can" methods so well known to women's organizations.
With the added responsibilities of War Causes, the W.I. women carried on their peace-time commitments; contributed to Parcels for Britain; seeds for Britain; Jewish and Chinese Relief; Save the Children; the March of Dimes; the Cancer Society, Canadian Aid to Russia; Winnipeg Flood Relief: the Peace Garden; scholarships for district schools; as well as purely local needs.
With the close of hostilities in 1945 came the revealing and development of an idea long cherished by Dr. H.J.G. Geggie, veteran physician of the area, that of a hospital in Wakefield, "as a fitting memorial to those men and women of the Gatineau area who did not return following two World Wars, and for the use of those who did return to live and work among us."
To some it seemed an over-ambitious, perhaps even an impossible plan. There was no question but that a hospital was desirable, even essential; but the possibility of the wish being fulfilled seemed remote.
An official booklet of the time describes conditions thus: "Gatineau County with a growing population of 32,000, and an annual influx of 10,000 summer residents, had only one hospital, at Maniwaki, in the heart of the upper Gatineau. It had only 65 beds, including a number of bassinettes, and its services were in constant demand in its own area. Ottawa, over the provincial border had its own problem of over-crowding.
Gracefield had two medical practitioners, Kazabazua had one and Wakefield two. Five doctors for 32,000 people in a wide area! In fact, the two Wakefield doctors travelled 55,000 miles in 1950, and 9,040 entries appeared in the case books for that year. Had hospitalization been available nearer home, many cases could have been treated more easily, and much time saved. (From booklet, "Health at the Cross Roads").
There is pithy proverb which says, "Heaven helps those who help themselves." Already, before any Government grants had been positively assured, the Wakefield Women's Institute had shown their belief in this, and had in hand the nucleus of a Hospital Fund. The Good Book assures us that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." But we are also reminded that faith must be proven by "works."
A competent end energetic Hospital Committee was set up and an intensive drive for funds undertaken. All canvassers served gratuitously.
Provincial and Federal grants came, these giving the formal stamp of approval from officialdom. Contributions, large and small came from many individuals, as well as donations from many organizations, municipal councils and other groups, as well as from former patients. As a bit of local color it might be mentioned that two early contributors were from former patients, in Paris, France, and in East Africa.
The Wakefield Women's Institute arranges an annual garden party on the hospital grounds, with sale tables of various saleable articles, hand knitted and sewn articles, home baking, etc, donated by interested friends.
The official opening of the hospital was in March, 1952, and was attended by such representatives of the Quebec government as Gerard Desjardins, M.L.A. for the Quebec government as Gerard Desjardins, M.L.A. for Gatineat County, and Hon. Alexandre Tache, K.C., M.L.A., speaker of the Quebec Legislature, Dr. E.A. McCusker, M.P. parliamentary assistant to Hon. Paul Martin, then Federal Minister of Health. The officials expressed congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Geggie and the people of Gatineau County for their achievement.
The hospital now (1959) has 30 adult beds, as well as Children's Wards, service quarters, etc.
The capital value of the "plant" was given in 1956 as S123,115.00 - a splendid achievement in four years.
Women's Auxiliary units have been organized at Chelsea, Rupert, South Hull, Wakefield and Kazabazua.
A Nurses' Residence was added in 1956, and in that same year a Doctors' Building. It is emphasized that the Doctors' Building was solely the project of the doctors themselves, and paid for by them, with no appeal for public funds.
And the end is not yet. The senior physician of the hospital now has the dream of a larger hospital - a fifty-bed structure, greatly needed in the district. A site has been secured on an elevation south of the village, on which it is hoped a larger hospital will eventually stand.
Nursing Or Hospital Staff
In common with larger hospitals of today Wakefield had its own difficulties in obtaining nurses.
From time to time the nursing staff here was composed of nurses from many lands. In addition to native-born nurses, both French and English, the nursing staff here has had American Australian, Austrian, Belgian, English and Scottish nurses as well as some from Old France; a genuine League of Nations set-up.
These girls would remain for a time, giving efficient service, then go on to other parts of the world. Like the sailor in the song - who joined the Navy to see the World? This changing of nurses means quite a turnover of personnel, but some have reached their fifth year of service, and many have stayed into their third year. A romantic note is in order here.....several of these girls have married here during their nursing service!
With the help of part-time married nurses the staff is kept up. In the summer of 1959 a system of Nurses' Aides was inaugurated, and promises to help solve a difficult problem.
No history of Wakefield would be complete without mention of Brookdale Farm, the only Protestant Home for Children in this part of Quebec. It is a home for boys and girls, who through no fault of their own have lacked proper parental supervision. Opportunity is given at the Farm for a home life in a Christian atmosphere.
Brookdale Farm is a real farm with 180 acres of land in use 140 acres owned and the balance leased. A certified herd of Holstein cattle roam the pasture land, and mixed farming is carried on. There is a new Dormitory Building, a staff cottage, a small school house, and the usual barns sad other farm buildings. Situated directly north of the City of Hull, on the site of the former old Hyde homestead, it is just west of Quebec Highway No. 11, among the Gatineau Hills.
Miss Jessie Hyde who was born on the Homestead had long been aware of the need of such an educational and training institution in the area. She had no large sums of money at her disposal, but with determination and the prayerful assistance of Christian friends and advisers, charter of incorporation for the Home was obtained in May, 1953. Miss Hyde had already taken training for her work in a Western Canada Bible College.
The Home serves the Counties of Pontiac, Gatineau, Papineau and Labelle in Western Quebec. Directors are business men from the area, and Board Members represent all walks of life, different occupations and various religious affiliations.
The staff consists of six workers, some of whom are graduates of Bible Colleges. Mrs. Lloyd Waterston (formerly Miss Jessie Hyde) is matron and secretary; Lloyd Waterston, general manager; Allyn Dennison, farm manager; Mrs. Alya Dennison, house mother; Miss Shirley Orok, school teacher; Miss Marjory Moffatt, cook. A qualified nurse is on staff during the summer.
The Home is not affiliated with any church, fraternal society, Service Club, political party or organized charitable institution; but will accept assistance from any such group if offered. From the beginning the work has been supported mainly by the freewill gifts and offerings of the interested public. It is truly a "Faith Mission".
"Directors serve without remuneration or expense accounts, and no person or group of persons derives any direct profit from the operation of the Farm and Home." (Quote from Brookfield booklet).
A generous grant from the Quebec Government toward the new building was much appreciated. No regular grant is received for the support of the children from Quebec province. The only Federal help comes from Family Allowances. The main income comes from persons on the mailing lists - church groups, lodges and clubs.
The Farm Home has benefited very materially from free medical services to the children from the Wakefield doctors. From time to time also, children from the Home have been hospitalized in Gatineau Memorial Hospital here.
Up to 1958 Wakefield citizens in need of dentistry were obliged to go to Ottawa, Hull or Maniwaki if extensive or specialized dental work was indicated, though the local doctors had long supplied the routine or usual dentistry.
In 1958 Dr. Fernand Leduc opened an office here, following up dental services already available through the school, on stipulated days. In the spring of 1956 the Quebec Junior Red Cross had made available the services of two recent graduates in medicine, who each spent a fortnight in quarters provided free at Gatineau Memorial Hospital. At that time some 140 school children were examined - 110 needed attention to 848 teeth!
As much of this as was possible was done - and done very well-by these two men.
An appeal was made to Dr. Rodolphe Leduc, our Federal member for Gatineau for Army dental surplus equipment, hoping that thereby the Hospital could continue Weekly dental service in the community. To the great satisfaction of everyone Dr. Leduc of Maniwaki himself came every Wednesday for some two years doing much needed work; until his son Dr. Fernand Leduc graduated in dentistry. Since the spring of 1958 Dr. Fernand Leduc has given very valuable service in a rebuilt modern dental office on a full time basis.
Fire Protective Association
The district offices of the Provincial Fire Protective Association and of the Provincial Forestry Division are situated here, and are in charge of genial and popular Inspector L.H. Vaillancourt, who has held this post since 1922. His duties include the oversight of government timber limits in the area, to prevent illegal cutting of timber, etc. In midsummer and autumn, the time of most danger from forest fires, Mr. Vaillancourt is at the head of the district fire rangers, who are on call as desired by the Inspector.
His area includes the counties of Gatineau, from Gracefield to Hull as well as parts of nearby Pontiac and Labelle counties.
Gatineau Winter Carnivals
In this area ideal for winter sports, the Lower Gatineau Chamber of Commerce has sponsored two successful and enjoyable winter carnivals in the village of Wakefield. Carnival organizer was Ralph Chamberlin. Representatives of various businesses co-operated.
Included on the program were chain-saw contesis; snow-shoe races on the frozen river; races, a one-mile forced match for ladies; fancy skating exhibitions; square and fancy dancing, horse-races; motorcycle faces and trick riding a dog derby, costume parade lit by a giant torch on the river; ice and snow sculptures, and skiing on Vorlage Hill.
Estimated attendance was 4,000 and came from many distant points as well as local areas.
Services of a chartered bank have been available to the citizens of Wakefield and area since 1918. As stated, the Alexander Maclaren Company operated a private bank here some years earlier, but it was not till 1918 that a bank with national connections arrived here, with the opening of an agency by La Banque Nationale. The agency was converted to a regular branch in 1921.
In 1924 La Banque d'Hochelaga absorbed La Banque Nationale, and changed its name to "La Banque Canadienne Nationale." English-speaking depositors may call it the National Canadian Bank, though the French version of the name is used by both English and French.
During the past thirty-five years, six managers have served as head of the Wakefield branch: J.E. Blain (1924-1931); J.A.E. Prefontaine (1932–1940); R.L. Beausejour (1941-1944); R. Cadieux (1944-1948): R. Cordeau (1948–1954); and the present manager, J.L. Racine.
The bank has always co-operated with the business men, and the citizens at large, to the progress of the community, and it is anxious to contribute to its further growth.
While Gatineau Park cannot properly be said to be a part of Wakefield it is close enough to Wakefield to be considered in this history and should be mentioned as a matter of general interest.
As early as 1903 plans were discussed and pleas presented to the then Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to acquire the area to save it from careless campers, desecration from logging interests and private exploitation; but it was 1937 before the Federal District Commission began to acquire land in the area.
Now, two-thirds of the contemplated area of 75,000 acres is registered in the name of the National Capital Commission.
Situated in Hull, Gatineau, Eardley and Masham Townships, it is a hilly wooded area, with Meach, Harrington, Philippe and La Peche Lakes, each more than a mile long, and forty smaller lakes scattered within its borders.
Animal life in the region includes beaver, muskrat, racoon, porcupine, chipmunks and squirrels being plentiful, and red fox and marten being seen occasionally. Deer are abundant, and wolves inhabit the uplands. Moose have been observed also, while bass, red and grey trout are to be found in the larger lakes. The Park is a game sanctuary, and the carrying of firearms, as well as the presence of unleashed dogs is prohibited.
The Park is a favorite haunt of naturalists, painters, hikers, photographers and anglers, who are to be found in every corner during the clement months, and skiers are present in thousands every week-end at the Ottawa Ski Club in the winter months. This Club, whose membership numbers 7,000, has the use of many miles of trail. In the heart of the Park as well as owning a six-hundred acre tract where down-hill runs are located.
Picnic grounds are located throughout the park, with tables, fireplaces, running water and toilet facilities provided.
An interesting feature of Gatineau Park is the 600-acre tract which was the estate of the late W.L. Mackenzie King, "Kingsmere." This was the summer residence of the former Prime Minister, bequeathed to the nation, and managed by the National Capital Commission. Mr. King's summer home and his "ruins" of old stone buildings erected on the land are viewed by many tourists every year.
Some general statistics of the park follow:
The total number of known picnics was 76, and the total attendance was 13,124. In the Lac Philippe area 124,440 visitors came to the Park during four summer months, including 2507 from Canada and 184 from U.S.A. In the same year, the Kingsmere area (including the Mackenzie King property) sent 12,180 people, 3,046 cars, and 95,000 skiers to the area. It might be mentioned that the Ottawa Ski Club membership is 5,300. In this area there is parking accommodation for 1,500 cars,
Total Park attendance for the 1958 season was 339,548. This included figures for Fortune Lake Parkway, Lac La Peche, Luskville and Beechgrove.
The estimated animal population as of December 1, 1958 is given as wolves 9, moose 4, deer 826, beaver 1024.
Visitors come from all Canadian provinces, as well as from the states of New Jersey, New York, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Maine, Ohio, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and Connecticut. (Information from R.E. Edey, Superintendent, Gatineau Park).
In concluding this brief, and it is hoped, reasonably accurate History of Wakefield, the writer has striven for veracity as well as for interest, on the principle.
"Speak of me as I am, nothing extenuate,
Nor aught set down in malice."
So, here is Wakefield, pictured as the uncompromising Oliver Cromwell asked to be portrayed, "Warts and all."
Acknowledgments are expressed to the following for their help and information with the subject matter of the History: Dr. H.J.G. Geggie in particular; as well as other Wakefield residents, including Allen Irwin, R.S. Chamberlin, L.H. Vaillancourt, Charles Stevenson, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Sully; also the late F.A. Moffatt and the late Mayor A.J. Earle, whose knowledge of Wakefield's past was of great assistance.