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«#2 1155 Doe Lake Road Lot 8, 4, Muskoka Township, Cockscomb– Quilt square not yet in place Land was registered on May 22, 1882 as sold to Samuel B. ...»

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#1 1006 Taverner Road, "Pinwheel Parade"

Beginning of “The Road to Ryde”. Road is named after a pioneer family in Ryde. The Road to Ryde

was officially opened on May 3, 2014. Celebrations of 135 years of Ryde Township will take place on

August 16, 2014.

#2 1155 Doe Lake Road Lot 8, 4, Muskoka Township, "Cockscomb"–

Quilt square not yet in place

Land was registered on May 22, 1882 as sold to Samuel B. Crossfield. Registered date

until July 12, 1891; all pine, spruce and other to be sold. (Company is unnamed).The barn has a stone wall and was built with barn board in the early 1900s. The present owners have been there since 2002 and summer beef cattle. Private residence without access to property.

#3 1605 Doe Lake Road Lot 2, Conc. 2, Muskoka Township, "Wild Goose Chase" Property in date at the Registry Office indicates November 9, 1880. In 1871 George Morrison came to Canada at the young age of 19. In 1878 he married Margaret McLean of Sparrow Lake and brought his bride directly to the farm bordering on Doe Lake. At the time there was no sign of a road, merely a trail from Reay a distance of three and a half miles. They began life in the bush with oxen their only farm animals. The scythe, the hoe and the grain cradle composed the farm implements and it was a hard struggle to overcome the forest so that even those tools could be used.

It was not until 1882 that the road was opened so that Gravenhurst could be reached with a wheeled vehicle. Early in the 1890s a two story frame house was built and it is suspected that the original log house was then used as the barn. Later in the 1890s a 40 x 60 bank barn with a stone foundation was built to house the horses and cattle. This replaced the log structure. The stone foundation was built by Mr. Niklaus Speicher with Albert Speicher working as an apprentice learning the trade. In October 1901, Mr. Morrison was seriously injured while working a stumping machine at the farm. His son John traveled on horseback some seven miles to Gravenhurst via the trail through Reay to fetch Dr. McLeay. Unfortunately, Mr. Morrison succumbed to his injuries. Mrs. Morrison and the family continued to operate the farm until 1912 when it was sold to John (“Jack”) White.

Subsequent owners until 1964 were Ortwein, Donahay, Norman, Melbourne, White. Private property without public access.

#4 1758 Doe Lake Road Lot 1, Conc. 1, Draper Township, "Saw Blade"

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#6 Harmony United Church, Doe Lake Road and Waters Road, Draper Township, "Eight Point Star" Condensed version of a report prepared by Heather Coupland and Helen Waters for the hundredth anniversary which was celebrated on July 16, 1995. For full version, see website.

On November 22, 1894 The Trustees of the Harmony Congregation of the Methodist Church purchased the southwest corner of Lot 6, Conc. 1 of Draper Township from the Woollings. It is believed that the organ came from the Uffington Church. The young male pastoral students would board at one of the homes in Uffington or Barkway, often at the home of Wes and Florence Rebman. They would travel the gravel country roads by bicycle from church to church each Sunday. Fond memories of Mrs. Rosie (Fred) Seehaver linger, the ever faithful organist. In the 1950’s the church was painted by members. In 1954 Rosie would be the moving force to organize bake sales to pay for the replacement of the roof with aluminum for $104. In the 1960’s Shad Tingey (Dawn) donated several loads of gravel for the parking area. In 1974 ceramic plates with a sketch of Harmony Church were sold to raise money to repair the chimney, foundation and roof. The art work was donated by Jack Ralston. During the 60s, 70s and 80s the church was painted by Marvin and Helen Waters and family. Paint was donated by Larry Dawson (June).” The church holds an annual service in July.

#7 1083 Barkway Road Lot 15, Conc. 13, "Maple Leaf" Godfrey Speicher registered this land on August 12, 1898. He and his wife Elizabeth raised nine children. They owned both sides of Conc. 13 at this site, thus the house on one side and the barn on the other. (It now has two separate owners.) The bank barn 40 x 80 was built in approximately 1900 by Richard Rusk. The wooden structure was lifted and a new wall was built underneath by Godfrey Speicher, a stonemason and farmer. His father Niklaus with his brother Albert likely completed it in 1909. The Speicher family kept cows, sheep, a few pigs and hens. They made crocks of butter and later sold cream by shipping in cream cans. In the summer Mrs. Speicher made cheese for their own use and also sold some. The sheep were clipped every spring and the wool was taken to Bird’s Woollen Mills in Bracebridge and exchanged for cloth, blankets, yarn and some cash.

They, as did other settlers in the area, took logs to ‘Weismillers Mill’ in Germania and hemlock bark to the Tanneries in Bracebridge. They also took wood to Gravenhurst in winter for the price of $2.50, $3.00 or $4.00 per cord. Mr. Speicher doctored animals in the community as veterinarians were scarce at that time. He built chimneys, cellar walls, fireplaces, some culverts and abutments for small bridges. On July 5, 1940, the property was transferred to his son Charles, who also raised his family there. Members of the Speicher family still reside in Ryde.

From 1975 to 2006 this barn and surroundings buildings were the home of South Meadow Farm Antiques. Today this property is a private residence with no access to the public.





#8 1144 Barkway Road Lot 16 Conc. 12, "Goose Tracks" Crown land granted to Samuel McCord on March 19, 1881. There were various owners after this time and on October 25, 1910 the Heffern family sold to William Lowe. The Lowe family first resided in Lewisham and then moved to Barkway. They built this house around 1900. It was the first brick home in this community and was called ‘The Willows’. William Lowe and his son Jack built it and hauled all the bricks by horse and cart from Bracebridge, 17 miles away. William Lowe devoted a good deal of time to township affairs.

He did much to improve roads, removing the old wooden bridges and replacing them with cement bridges. Those wooden structures were low and often floated away when the water was high in the spring. He later became a Colonization Roads Inspector and later took over as the Superintendent of bridge building, just as roads were being built throughout Muskoka in the 1920s.

Jack, his son, purchased the property from his Father and Mother on July 17, 1942 and lived here most of his life with his wife Maude and children. Jack’s daughter Mildred Rowe says that she remembers ‘when we would have at least two squares at a time for square dances in our house. We had a lot of fun.” The present owners have been here since 1986 and state “a new owner before us dug out a basement and rewired and replumbed the house in 1971. That owner later sold the house to the Kilbournes. A five acre and a two acre lot were sold for residences from the NE and SE sections of the 100 acre property in the 1970s. The Kilbournes used the property to grow Christmas trees – hence the plentiful Scotch Pines on the property.” They also state that the original mailbox is in use today.

This is a private residence without public access.

–  –  –

#10 1326 Barkway Road Lot 16, Conc. 10, "Crossroads" Land was registered from the Crown to John Farley on September 30, 1875. Mr.

Farley sold all pine to Georgian Bay Lumber Company for five years. This amount was registered on title on September 5, 1880. Mr. Farley sold all lands to Horace Yeoman and it was registered on February 25, 1885 for $2,000. (After this time various owners of all or part of Lot 16: Martin Clement, Marshall Davy, Samuel Downey, James Post, John Boon, Ella Thompson, Walden Clement, Stephen Dart and Phyletus Brace.) On October 9, 1920, Phyletus Brace sold to Jacob (& Elizabeth) Rebman for $2,000. In 1936 Jacob passed away while driving horses. Albert Duggan was with him at the time and was able to take control of the team. Wes Rebman, their son and his wife Florence acquired the farm property at that time. They had been residing on a farm on Merkley Road but moved to this location at the four corners of Barkway to live with his widowed Mother. Wes Rebman with the help of others raised the barn and put in a foundation at that time.

The original bank barn was 36 x 50 and made mostly of pine, built to house cattle and horses. Both cream and milk were sold.

Aubrey Rebman, son of Wes states that Mr. Plewis picked up the milk with horses. He had a coal oil heater to help keep him warm. After that time Lorne McWade picked up milk in cans.

Eileen Taverner (Rebman) daughter of Wes and Florence tells of “lots of chores to be done on the farm but we had fun too. I remember the home made skis I had and the sleigh rides in the winter. We had Christmas concerts and Friday night dances at the Orange Hall across from our house. My Mother would bring over a big pot of tea and put it on the wood stove at the hall.

Candy bars were a nickel, there was lots of penny candy. Coke was the big drink for about 10 cents. Postage stamps were 1-2 cents each for post cards and 3 cents for a letter, and coal oil was 50 cents a gallon.” Mrs. Taverner still resides in the village of Barkway.

On May 15, 1987 the Rebman family sold this farm to Ed & Nancy McNaughton. There have been other owners since that time. This is an active horse farm and arena with access only by permission.

#11 1006 Ben Lake Road East, Holy Manger Church, Lot 16, Conc. 11, "Day and Night Star" Originally a Methodist church built in 1890. On May 4, 1964 title was registered as being purchased for $600 by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) from Harold Cooper, William Goheen and Ray Brunson as trustees of the Barkway Methodist Church. The Cowley Fathers of the SSJE who resided in Bracebridge, had begun their work in the remote community of Lewisham, and were continuing their services here in Barkway. Today Lewisham is a ghost town. The original Church of the Holy Manger of Barkway had its beginnings from a re-constructed hewn pine log building that had been a homestead, hay barn and a sheepfold. (This building is now gone.) With this background it was appropriate that the church including the present day one, would be called the Holy Manger. The name of the small church at Barkway is unique, as is the altar which is in the shape of a manger. On January 26, 1965 title was transferred from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist to the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Algoma (Anglican) for $1.00. Holy Manger Anglican church continues today under the mission church of St. James Church, Gravenhurst. Services are the first and third Sunday of each month during the summer months and the first Sunday of the month during the winter.

#12 1005 Merkley Road, Lot 16, Conc. 1," Northern Lights" (quilt on barn, viewed from Barkway Road) Samuel Downey registered from the Crown on March 19, 1881 and built the house and bank barn around 1905. (Since this time there have been various owners: John May, Charles Peterson, Freeman Plewis, James Shepherd, John Rebman (Feb.28, 1905), James Long, Wm. Semple and Harold Taverner.) Sandford Edwards owned a mill where the barn now stands. The spring by the barn was used by neighbours and the school children across the road. When the house burned, the Rebman family was housed in the town hall which stood beside the old school house on the corner. The house was rebuilt as it stands today. The original wood shed is attached to the house as it was saved from the fire, as was the barn.

John Rebman raised his seven children here. Of the children Pearl and Lawrence Rebman stayed in the area but the rest of the children moved out West. This property remains in the family. There is cleared land as well, and it is periodically home to cattle. This is a private residence with no access to the property.

#13 1007 Merkley Road, Barkway United Church, Pt. Lot 15, Conc. 11, "Spider Legs" The church structure is much the same it was over one 100 years ago.

Archival records indicate that there was a congregation in Barkway (“appointment #1” of the Uffington Circuit) in the 1870’s. A missionary in 1880 reported in the Christian Guardian that he had four appointments in Ryde, and that the Free Methodists were his most persistent rival. The church was originally a log church. In a newspaper article dated March 31, 1949, Florence Rebman noted that the Barkway Church was built in 1882 and that Chief John Bigwin attended when he was at his trapping cabin at the Gartersnake River. The church has window sills that are approximately a foot in depth. At a later date shiplap siding was added to the exterior, and the interior shows planed lumber which may have been put on when the original structure was built. The interior boards are horizontal with vertical wainscoting. The lumber used inside and out probably came from Samuel Downey’s Mill which was at the pond behind the church.

On June 24, 1899, the trustees of the Barkway Congregation of the Methodist Church [John Rusk, William Merkley, Henry Long, Jacob Rebman and Samuel Downey] acquired the church property from Samuel Downey for one dollar. The oil lamps, the Windsor back chairs, the organ and the stove are all part of the original furnishings. Pews from the Presbyterian Church in Gravenhurst were added when the Presbyterians renovated their church. The Barkway United Church celebrated its 115th anniversary in July 1997. Many who attended were descendants of those family names that appeared on the Circuit Register in 1886 – Long, Hacking, Fielding, Heffern, McWade, Downey, Rusk, Ruttan, Rebman, Merkley and others who joined later. The people of Barkway are to be commended for their efforts to maintain the architectural heritage of one of the oldest buildings in the community.



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