then sold his holdings to James Cockburn and Nesbitt Kirchoffer; the latter
subsequently, in 1871, sold his section next to the river to Nathan Grills
(1822 -1891) and his wife Elisabeth (Saunders, 1831- 1918). The parcel on
which you are now standing, transferred in 1887, to their son Richard and
his wife Harriet (Hooper, 1843-1921) and later to the youngest of their
three children, George W. Grills.
George and his wife Sarah Ann (Muffatt) lived and farmed here with their four sons until 1926. Three years later, the vacant two-story cabin burned to the ground, leaving the footprint you see today, overgrown with apple trees, rhubarb and lilacs.
out buildings were located at the base of the hill near the sheepwash.
The property was then sold to William Scott in 1934 for pasture until
the province bought it in 1968.
Often farm wives worked right along with the men helping with chores, milking
and other tasks. Children did their share of the work as well -- gathering
eggs, feeding hens, going for the cows, piling wood and other farm chores.
As with most farm families of that era, they were more or less self sufficient;
their large gardens and orchards provided the family with fresh fruit and
vegetables. Summer and fall were busy seasons for the entire family. By
late fall, apples, potatoes, carrots, beets, and turnips were stored in
the root cellar. The shelves were lined with crocks of pickles, jars of
jams, jellies, canned vegetables, fruit and meat. In the barn, the mows
were piled to the rafters with hay and straw and the granaries and silo
full to capacity.
Ella married Allan Curle and Margaret married Oscar Rannie. After William’s death the farm was sold to Margaret and Oscar and they too operated a mixed farm similar to that of the previous generation. A new barn was built, the house and outbuildings were modernized and a number of other improvements made.
This was a working farm until 1969 when the Province of Ontario purchased all of this property except the house and a few acres surrounding it. Oscar and Margaret’s four children were the fifth generation to live, work and play on this scenic farm.
Prepared by descendants and Friends of Ferris June 2015
I just heard about the Memory Book you will be putting together.
I then started to think about a few events my friends
and I put on a few
The "Teddy Bears Picnics". We would go into
the Santa Claus parade every
Many years ago when I was chair person for "Friends
of Ferris" we did do
Later I move down south for a few years and was no longer
Robert Lisle Memories of Ferris Provincial Park
Robert: “My first trip to the Park, I was counting how many sites there were - 163 camp sites. That was when we moved here from our farm to Campbellford in 2011. I wanted to find out about the history of the Park. I saw these old foundations - found the old Grills’ cabin foundation.”
Carol: One of the original settlers was the Grills family. How did you know about the Grills’ foundation?
Robert: “I had an idea because of what I had heard. It wasn’t very big. I also saw some artifacts which I left at the site. I climbed some of these trails and I was amazed at the work of the big boulders they used to make the fences in the mid to late 1800’s. Livestock were corralled near the present day wash house in Valleyview campground, then picked up to go to market. I could still spot some of the fields they were farming - patches here and patches there - all hand work.”
Carol: “They mostly grazed sheep - hence the sheep wash area where there’s a gentle slope into the water. What do you know about sheep farming?”
Robert: “I only know what I heard. Sheep are close grazers. They graze it down then the new growth comes back. Sheep are more particular than goats that way. They like the fresh new growth.”
you notice the stone walls? John Clarke was responsible for building the
stone wall near the Sheep Wash over a hundred years ago. He included a
stone stile in the wall. He didn’t use the gate…."
Carol: “You and Tina have been longstanding members of the Horticultural Club.”
Robert: “I had books about every type of plant but I wasn’t supposed to pick any of them.”
Carol: “In the 9 or 10 years that I have been giving tours through the Park, this past year we found the first Turtlehead. Another one we have found in the spring is the Jack in the Pulpit. What flowers do you remember seeing in the spring?”
Robert: “Trilliums - we have to respect them as our Provincial Flower even though we’d want to pick them and bring them home in bouquets - we can’t. I’ve been checking to make sure the identified trees through the Park have been marked right. Honey Locust (3), Hop Horn Bean, quite a few Ironwood, White Pine from a Red Pine, Red Maple vs Sugar Maple. I climbed that long trail and when I could look across west I could see right out of Campbellford to Seymour west. I miss it now. I think I travelled every trail I could find there.”
Carol: “How did you get yourself out if you got lost?”
Robert: “Well, moss grows on the north side of the tree so you find the moss and you’ll know the direction. Moss grows in the shade on the north side of the tree.”
Carol: “What other memories of the Park do you have?”
Robert: “I even took my skis into the park and skied through in the winter when I could see more of the Park. The last time I skied the Park was in the winter of 2011/2012 - that was the last of the skiing for me then.”
Robert is now almost 87 years old so he was about 82 years old the last time he skied Ferris Park. He says he takes “a day at a time and that’s all I want to do.” He says he loved cross country skiing. He thought about taking his Gordie Howe skates to skate on the pond in the Park; however, he first took them to the arena to try them out. He hadn’t had them on for 25 years. He discovered he couldn’t even let go of the rails at the arena so he decided he’s best not be taking his skates out on the pond at Ferris Park.
Robert: “Back in the 1960’s, Bill Scott had rented the land which is now the Park and we placed our cattle on the west side of the Gorge. One of our 2 year old cows swam across the river to the park and we found her with Bill Scott’s cattle. He knew it wasn’t his because we had her tagged.”
Robert adds: “F. M. Rutherford was the mayor of Campbellford back in the 1940s and had rented land for pasture, that is now the Park. Our cows were on the west side where Rutherford had also rented.”
Carol: “The Heritage Centre did an information session on the history of Dairies in the area, two of which were - the Anderson Dairy and Rutherford Dairy.”
Robert: “We had dairy cattle and when winter came on we’d truck them back to the farm from the summer pasture land. We shipped our milk to the cheese factory. Stanwood was our first cheese factory ’til it closed then Petherick’s Corners ’til it closed, then Rylestone Dairy.”
Tina Lisle’s farm was a Century Farm. Sadly, his wife Tina passed
away on the 6th of June, 2016. As Robert says: “I take one day at
a time and that’s all I want to do.” While he’s taking
a day at a time, he waters all the raised gardens of tomatoes, beans,
carrots, lettuce and other vegetables he helps to grow in the gardens.
Ferris Park - a poem
Carol, Theresa and Katherine et al
for this group in the springtime, summer and fall
beauty of the blue skies, sunshine or snowflakes can be
of the first ones, the Rannie’s and Grills
If you can’t
find us, look by the Bridge o’er the river
Patricia and Tracy and so many others
mindful and honour each of God’s creatures
we’ve fostered, the weather we’ve come through
Written by Barbara and Bill Isaac November 2017
Lessons in Ferris Park
in the woods or Detectives in Ferris Park
Above stories presented, as submitted, by Nancy Jolliffe, 2017
Shirley Davidson's Memories of Ferris Provincial Park
grew up in Campbellford, living on Front Street as a youngster, and would
visit the Woods almost every day. I liked nature so the “Sheep Wash”,
the stone walls and Ferris’ Woods, as it was called then, are all
a part of me. I was free to roam with no fears; to play in the bush where
all the trees, plants and animals lived.
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