The Life and Times of Cora Yuill


July 26 1995-BY-Cora Yuill-Edited Text from the Almonte Gazette

Cora Yuill looks back on life as she turns· 90 

I was born on August 17, 1905 at Halls Mills, the third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Munro. My sisters were older, and my brother was younger. Wilbert, who lives on the old farm at Halls Mills and my brother Earl, who used to deliver mail from the post office, drove for Eddie Munro for quite awhile.

My two sisters were both gone some years ago. Eva Fulton lived above Renfrew and Florence Watt at Galbraith. I started school at Halls Mills when I was six years old and had four teachers. There was Mary Gleeson,  Aggie Lett, Luella Thompson and Mildred Royce. I tried my entrance exams in Lanark but failed, so I stayed at home and helped on the farm.

I used to work in the fields and coiled bay and stooked grain, so I know what farm life is like. Those were the good old days. We had each other and our parents were good to us but we had to work hard. I thank God they were spared to take care of us and they always saw that we got to Sunday School and church on Sunday.

Eva was married on June 22, 1921 and moved to Admaston to start her married life with Jim Fulton. I was lonesome, but Florence and I had each other and always got along well. I don’t think we ever had a quarrel. I used to go to Eva’s for holidays sometimes. If they were down home, I would go back with them. When I was small I used to love staying around with Dad where he was working. One day I fell on a hand saw and cut the left side of my forehead. I am 90 and the mark is still there, so I guess I will be taking it with me when I go.

I never worked away from home, but I was always busy. I had pen pals  and I met some and some seemed nice. I didn’t mind spending money on postage but stamps were 3 cents then. Many a time we would go down to Dave Barr’s store and maybe get some candies. Mother would do the grocery shopping, but it didn’t take much money as she baked the bread, churned the butter and made her own pies.

When Florence and I went to Hall’s Mills school Ethel Valiant would go with us and many a time we would all play together. Sometimes we would stay home from school pretending that we were worse than we really were.

Arthur and I were married in November of 1931 and we had three daughters. They are all married but the children but are scattered. Grandchildren are a great part of my life. We used to have a Model T Ford and drive to town on Saturday nights. The children would get some little treats and we would come home about 10 pm at night. We would meet a lot of dear friends but now they are gone and are just precious memories.

Today I am in the Fairview Manor and that is likely where I will spend the last of my days. Thank God he has been good to me and I have my girls –all married with children of their own. God Bless Them all.

Cora Yuill


From the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page

Cora Yuill –-Cora Yuill made friends all over the world without leaving Lanark County. A prolific writer who at one time kept in contact with close to 100 pen pals, she enjoyed giving of herself while expecting nothing in return. It’s this warm and generous spirit friends and family now recall. Cora died peacefully at Almonte General Hospital with her family present Oct. 18, 1995. She was 90.
Born Aug. 17, 1905, at Halls Mills, Ont., Cora was the daughter of the late Robert Munro and his wife the late Ida Watchhorn. She attended Halls Mills Public School and then went to write her entrance exams in Lanark Village in 1920. On Nov. 18, 1931, she married the late Arthur Yuill. They farmed for many years in Darling Township before they moved with their family to Ramsay Township in 1947. It was during the early 1940s that Cora began reaching out to others through letter‑writing. A “friendship book” she sent to a friend made its way to Nova Scotia, initiating her first pen pal. An advertisement placed in the old Winnipeg Free Press sparked another 36 pen pals in 1948. From there, her hobby blossomed as more and more people contacted her. Until the early 1980s, she’d built up long-distance relationships with more than 100 people, most of them in North America but many in England, Ireland and even Australia. 
Cora also loved writing poetry. Her works were featured regularly in Gazette. She also had her favourites placed in booklets which she as she generously offered to friends. She often used her talent to look back with fondness on her life – her childhood, time spent at school in the one-room school house, growing up with her brothers and sisters, raising her own family. These were what she often referred to as “the best old days.” One person who knows Cora’s warm heart is Stephen Cotnam. He befriended her several years ago while visiting her brother-in-law on a church outreach program. Over the years, he said, they developed a friendship which just grew stronger. “She was a peaceful lady, a lady full of grace,” he said. She realized her dream of traveling “through her writing. I think that gave her some distant connections.” Cotnam said Cora was always generous with her time. “I found I enjoyed the visits as much did, maybe more,” he said.
During her eulogy, he referred to three of her poems. The third entitled “End of Summer” ends with the lines: We must make the best of the life we’ve been given And maybe some day we’ll have a place up in Heaven. “I had felt, in a sense, she’d been able to bring a little Heaven on earth,” Cotnam said. Cora was a devoted mother and loving friend. She was a member of the United Church in Clayton where she enjoyed singing in the church choir. Her last five years were spent in Fairview Manor after moving out of her log home on the Old Perth Road. Her daughter Dorothy Legree said she “truly enjoyed” singing in the choir and enjoyed many a happy day at the manor. Cora is survived by her five daughters Dorothy (Randolph Legree), Blanche (late Lawrence Desjardins), Alma (late Stuart Malloch), Eilleen (Dan Boothby) and Della (James Graham).
She is also survived by her brother, Wilbert (Florence) of Clayton, Ont., sister‑in‑law Olive, 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her sisters Eva Fulton and Florence Watt and by her brother Earl Munro.—-Mary Cook.

The funeral took place Oct. 21 in the chapel of Alan Barker Funeral, Home, McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place, at 2 p.m. Rev. Eilleen Heppwhite officiated. Honourary pallbearers were Dave Cleary, Donald Miller, Eldon Munro, Delmer Munro, Bernard Fulton, and Logan More. Pallbearers were Cora’s grandson Richard Legree, Dale Boothby, Kelly Graham, Donald Malloch, Paul Desjardins and her great-grandson Daniel Boothby. I am going home to Heaven, To the many mansions there, Going home to be with Jesus, Free from sorrow, sin and care

Obituaries collected by the late Mrs. Isabel DRYNAN

Prepared & set up by: Keith Thompson

I found this poem today written by Cora Yuill in 1984.–Clayton Ontario History
I liked to sit in my rocking chair
And dream of days gone by
Sometimes my thoughts were happy
And often time I could cry.

When I was young and living at home
With my parents and younger brother
We had our chores and work to do
To help our Dad and Mother.

Oft times on summer evenings
And we had nothing else to do
We would take a drive to Clayton
And spend an hour or two.

The hall where the dances were held
People came from everywhere
They came in buggies or maybe a car
Without a worry or care.

We liked to hear Jack Drynan
And Clifford Stanley call
But they both are gone some years ago
With memories of the old Clayton Hall.


 Last two photos from Steve Evans book Heart and Soul

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Related reading

Halls Mills Ghost Town- Another W. H. Wylie Connection

The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario

Thanks to Glenda Mahoney–A cousins trip to Bracebridge this weekend to see cuz Cindy. Barb Nairn Deb Caluori Marie Desjardin Cindy Tub man Coralee Shuttien * and Shelly Mariner. Cora Yuill’s grandaughters

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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