A Farmer’s Life: Summer Snapshots

S1939-45-6-4Frederick Thomas Lailey, the son of William H. Lailey came from Winona to farm in Grantham Township (now St. Catharines) in 1899. He remained on his Grantham farm until 1926, when he moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake to continue his agricultural pursuits. Lailey started keeping a diary in 1899 and his writings provide wonderful insight into daily life on a St. Catharines farm in the early 20th century – and the wide variety of jobs Frederick had to complete! Our summer snapshots series looks back on this date in Lailey’s life in 1899, 1900 and 1901.

As far as possible, the diary has been reproduced just as it was written, complete with Lailey’s spelling, punctuation, shorthand notations and what may now appear to be outdated language.

Tuesday August 15, 1899

“To Toronto and [Alde?orth] again. Took AM boat with Muriel – saw Mrs. Ross and Mrs. Keith on Markham St (made the former some ginger tea). Did business and missed 2 o’clock boat thinking it left at 2:15 so took ferry to island and finished “David Harum” got home 9 (Whit met me on road) about 11. Work done while I was away:

  • oats blown down set up again
  • tomatoes picked, shipped
  • plums picked, shipped
  • corn, rasp. cultivated
  • odd jobs
  • 1/2 of old strawberries hoed”

 Wednesday August 15, 1900

“K. at Algie’s threshing – W.P. and I picked and packed plums and carrots. Fixed front Fence…Misses Taylor and Helliwell came out (and had peaches too). Miss K and I enjoyed this visit. Miss K and I went to Port with fruit after tea – shipped from sta then went to Post Office side and got things for ourselves and Thomas – back by way of Wilson’s through Ben’s – talk about ….. the marks above ….”

Thursday, August 15, 1901

“Madge goes to Toronto (first time we are separated). Town – put raspberry wood in a pile…plowed currants…finished hoeing black currants.”

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