Canadian Genealogy |Ontario Genealogy | Victoria County | Agricultural Transformation

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Rise of Dairying, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

Far more important than minor changes in crops, and to a certain extent shaping the choice of crops, has been the development of dairying. This is, indeed, one of the outstanding features of Victoria's second half century. The pioneers, who were practically all Irish, English or Scotch, brought with them an ancestral love for fine cattle. In early times they kept all the stock that their little clearings would maintain, though even this often means a very limited collection. As the forests slowly retreated, the herds grew in number and extensive mixed farming became a reality. In some of the older parts of Ontario a period in which wheat growing predominated intervened between the pioneer period and the modern mixed farming period. Such was the case in York county, which, in 1850, produced over two million bushels of wheat. In Victoria, pioneering was much delayed and dairying followed close after the era of lumbering.

From 1870 to 1900 the cooperative cheese factory was the focus of dairy enterprise. Since that time the creamery has gradually displaced the cheese factory.

The cooperative companies were easily organized. Half a dozen or more farmers in a locality drew up an agreement in accordance with a special Act passed for the purpose and registered this agreement at the county registry office. Sufficient money was subscribed to build a factory and equip it. A committee of management was appointed. Fifty or more farmers agreed to send their milk daily to the factory, where it was made into cheese by an expert. Careful record was kept of the milk supplied by each patron and also of its quality in value for cheese. The products were sold and the surplus, after deducting the cost of making and selling, was divided among the patrons according to the amount of milk that each had sent. In Victoria County in 1897 there were 1047 patrons of cheese factories. Their contribution of milk was about fifteen million pounds and their net returns $95,954.

In 1870 there were no cheese factories in the county. In 1896 there were sixteen, as follows:

Name Secretary and Address
Palestine Samuel Truman, Kirkfield.
Lorneville James McAlpine, Lorneville.
Maple Leaf John Read, Downeyville.
Omemee H. Stephenson, Omemee.
Cambray E. G. Lytle, Cambray.
Cameron, Manley Maybee, Cameron.
Little Britain O. J. B. Yearsley, Little Britain.
Mariposa David Rogers, Linden Valley.
Valentia, Joseph Mark, Valentia.
North Ops, John Jackson, Lindsay.
Reaboro, Joseph Brown ,Reaboro.
Bobcaygeon, Geo. W. Taylor, Bobcaygeon.
Dunsford, John McDonell, Dunsford.
North Verulam, Emerson Tiers, Fairbairn.
Red Rock Wm. Paul, Red Rock.
Star Morgan Johns, Bobcaygeon.

However, the perfected invention of the cream separator brought about the abdication of the cheese factory in favor of the creamery. It was a long step forward when the cream could be automatically drawn off for shipping to the creamery and the skim milk saved at home for the pigs and the calves. In 1896 no creameries had yet been registered anywhere in the county; today the following butter manufactories are in operation:

Name Secretary and Address.
Omemee, L. A. Southworth, Omemee.
Victoria Lindsay Creamery Co., Lindsay.
Kinmount, J. A. Austin & Son, Kinmount.
Fenelon Falls R. A. McIntosh, Fenelon Falls.
Coboconk, J. A .Ham, Coboconk.
Eldon Newman Bros., Lorneville Jct.

There are also seven cheese factories still surviving from the hey day of the nineties. They are the following:

Name Secretary and Address.
East Emily, John Collins, Ennismore.
Reaboro, Mrs. Wm. Nevin, Reaboro.
Star, John Robertson, R. R. No. 1, Dunsford.
Dunsford, J. B. Kennedy, Dunsford.
Red Rock G. W. Taylor, Bobcaygeon.
Victoria Yankoo & Lobban, R. R. No. 3, Fenelon Falls. Bobcaygeon, G. W. Taylor, Bobcaygeon.

Figures of Prosperity

The farming community has had a long, hard struggle, even down to quite recent times, to establish prosperity in the face of inadequate remuneration. Within the last few years, however, market prices have been more commensurate with the farmers expenditure of toil and money. In 1897 the gross value of the year's crop was $1,901,251, and the capital investment $16,270,748. The net result of the year was probably a loss. In 1919, however, the gross crop value was $7,182,660 on a capitalization of $31,073,425. In 1897 chattel mortgages for the county had totalled $678,587. By 1919 these mortgages had shrunk to a mere $37,400, and the shadow of debt was nearly gone.

The value of Victoria County's farm property, as estimated for 1919 by the Ontario Department of Agriculture, was made up as follows: Land, $15,730,097; buildings, $6,656,548; implements, $2,291,074; live stock on hand, $6,395,706; total, $31,073,425. The valuation of the farms of some of the counties near by was as follows: Haliburton, $3,682,259; Peterborough, $26,677,241; Durham, $30,424,892; Northumberland, $34,133,102; Ontario, $46,085,17.

Agricultural Transformation

Victoria County

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