And so it begins...

Every community’s got its stories. And its characters.  

Part of what makes the community of Bishop’s Mills so resilient is the rich fabric of our heritage - the pioneer families whose descendants still live here today, the old timers who remember ‘the way it was’, and the old buildings that tell a story all of their own.

This space is dedicated to strengthening community memory, and will contain transcribed stories told by Bishop’s Millions in their own words.

The stories below were gathered over several years back in the 1980s. They were told by people who wanted to share a part of their life, so that others would remember the way things were. We hope you enjoy them!

Going to a dance at North Augusta

By Stella Maneilly

I remember a time when parents were a lot more strict than they are now, and going to a dance meant a ride in the cutter.

In those days, our parents wouldn't even let us play cards let alone go to a dance! Well, I was goin' with Jonathon Carley at the time and he asked me to go to this dance at North Augusta. The Masons were puttin' it on. I said there's no way my folks was gonna let me go so he said just tell them we're goin' over to (my brother) Joe's for supper.

Well, I went upstairs and put my new dress on – in those days a new dress was really something special – and in comes my mother and she says “Here! You're not wearing your new dress over to Joe's for supper! Your old dress'll do fine!” So I took it off and put on my old dress. Then when she went back downstairs, I put my new dress back on again and kep' it tucked up under my coat until we got out the door.

Oh, we had a grand time!

Well, we went to come home – we were travellin' in the winter – and here there was a snowstorm blowin' to beat the blazes outside. We didn't know it inside the hall until we went outside. We didn't get home 'til 3 in the morning! The horse just followed the road, knowin' the way.

Course my father was up – had the fire lit. He made Jonathon put the horse away and stay the rest of the night.

Tales from the General Store

The General Store: Hub of Social Life
By Margaret Porter

You see, in those days, when Mr. Nottell was in the store, on Saturday nights, that was the gathering centre, everybody, people used to come from Ottawa, the Bradfords used to come out, the Wildons used to come out every Saturday night. Probably because their parents lived in the area around here, and, that store would be full! And outside would be full. And the cars... well...

But you see? Nowadays we've got to go to Kemptville, we've got to go to Ottawa, we've got to go to here, we've got to go to there... And, mind you, in those times, the young lads were very fortunate to even have a car. My parents never owned a car.

Earl McLellan, Mel Wier, Reg Snowdon, though I don't think Osborne & Charles (Dool) had a car for quite some time... but there were very fortunate fellows to have a car to take their girlfriend out.

And, we used to go out in cars and play tricks on the other young couples. Mildred & Willard Earl, and Mel Baker, and... oh! All these people! And that was our life! And, my goodness sakes, you wouldn't think of going to Ottawa! Maybe the cars in those days wouldn't take you anyway!

But, you see, that was all right here. This was the hub. And I blame shopping centres, and chain stores, and all that. I blame them for taking an awful lot away from the small community. That and advertising.