The 12 Hardships of Mr. McRae

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The 12 Hardships of Mr. McRae

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The pioneers had their disappointment as well as their hardships.  About the year 1795 the settlers living near Merrickville decided that the time had come to have a few comforts of life. I imagine that anything was a comfort, as they had so little.

At a village meeting all the men decided that a number of them should carry a bushel and a half of wheat to Brockville  (think of of the distance) sell it, and with proceeds purchase a dozen crockery bowls, a dozen iron spoons, and whatever could be procured with the balance. There were 12 men at the meeting and they were to make the purchase secretly and give the gifts to their 12 wives.

What would make a woman happy in those days?  Just think of feasting on an iron spoon instead of eating with a homemade wooden spoon! Mr Rae was given the honour of the trip made on foot,  that was over a winding foot path through the wood.

Mr. McRae started on his two-day journey before daylight and arrived at Brockville on the night of the second day exhausted after sleeping on the floor of a settlers cabin. The following day he exchanged his wheat for a dozen white  crockery bowls with blue trim and a dozen iron or steel spoons. In addition he procured a pound of cheap tea, some fine combs, and a few toys for the little ones.

That day he set off for home with a happy heart and by evening he had arrived at North Augusta, having a lighter load. But when crossing a log over a stream, the bank gave way and he fell into the shallow bed of the stream almost 10 feet below. The bed of the stream was full of stones. When he got up after his fall Mr. McRae discovered that not one of the pretty white crockery bowls had survived the accident.

That night he passed a sleepless night on a bed of hemlock boughs in the bush. He felt ashamed to go to a settler’s house, and it was with a sad heart that he set out for home to break the news to the expectant settlers. Had this been a soap opera or a TV Hallmark movie the story would have ended with a bright happy ending. Some how Mr. McRae would have come home with 12 crockery bowls making everyone happy. Unfortunately Mr. McRae ended his story by saying that his  fellow settlers “endured the loss with Christian fortitude. “

 

 

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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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