Helene Murray Scott was a native of Stokes Bay and wrote about her family roots in this small farming community. She continues the stories of her family. (Part 1)
John McIvor soon followed his father to the Stokes Bay area. His first home was made of logs as was the stable. He was known as “John the Bone” or “Honest John.” He planted a good-sized apple orchard and one field which was divided into rows of different kinds of currant bushes. His fields flourished with grain and cattle and horses roamed the pastures. About 1904 the log cabin was replaced by a two-story frame house which is still standing and occupied today. It was built on a slanting rock with a little stream from a cold spring running through it. As a child, I can remember how cold it was in that cellar and how it kept the butter hard and the milk and cream well-chilled.
Grandmother McIvor, John’s wife, lost her mother when she and her twin sister, Margaret, were born. They also had four half-sisters and four half-brothers. The four half-sisters never married. One became a teacher and two were practical nurses. While on a visit to Michigan the fourth contracted typhoid fever and died. The four half-brothers left home to make their fortunes in the great West. They were never heard from again.
For years after they left, their mother kept a lighted lamp in the window every night, hoping for their return.
John and Christina had a family of six, four boys and two girls. Johny, the eldest, was killed in a mill accident on Tamarack Island at age 23. Murdock, Chief engineer on the “Hibou,” lost his life when that boat sank near Owen Sound. Richard was twice wounded in World War One. Christobel died of appendicitis at age six. Several babies died in infancy. Margaret Anne, the writer’s mother who married Kenneth Murray, and Malcolm, who became a teacher, were the other two children from this star-crossed family. The Murray family had a similarly challenging history—a subject for a future column.
This article was originally written by Helene Murray Scott for the 1976 Bruce County Historical Society yearbook and adapted by Bob Johnston.