Passage 4: Henry McGuey tells Rory MacKay about Stopping Places

“Well, I’ve seen lots of times that my Dad had fifty teams of horses there overnight. We kept a stopping place and he had a big shed made, you see, and all he charged them was twenty-five cents to put the team up overnight…it was lots of money in them days… It was hard to make that twenty-five cents in them days. You worked a long time…

We had a building for various fowl, you know, like a hen house… [There was also] a milk house. There was no separators in them days. You had to milk your cows and put your milk in pans. And the cream came to the top. You take the cream and put it in a dasher churn, and then you must churn with the handle…[to make butter]. My mother had her own butter… She made too much, more than we could use, and sold it to the camps.

Well the dining room was set up, a long table… and then there was benches on the side here where you sit down and… that table, now that I tell you, it could be twenty feet long because sometimes maybe you won’t have maybe fifteen men, sometimes you have twenty-five. You didn’t know what was coming or going, so you had to have it big. And sometimes you had to serve one meal and then serve another one after…

At the stopping place you could serve you pretty near any steak you want. If you want moose meat we could give you it. If you want venison, we’ll give you it. If you want beef, we could give you it, and if you wanted rabbits, it makes no difference. We had all kinds of stuff and no laws against us doing it… You got what was cooked. That’s right. If you want good homemade beans, that’s the time you got them… They didn’t have to bring their own plates. They were already there for them…

The company they were working for paid my dad. He, my mother used to mark it down when they stayed and send the bill into the camp…

Oh, well, my sisters and mother done the cooking… Oh we had enough for ourselves. But that’s all except turnips and carrots. We grew all that stuff for ourselves… Yes we had chickens. And we want our own eggs and we want, you know, we could get all the partridge we want. The bush was full of partridge. But we wanted eggs you see. So we had our own eggs…

Yes, sure they got turnips. At that time you growed so many of them. You just had to give them to the cattle. And a lot of them liked turnips, and we, my mother, used to have a big pot of that cooked too, you know…we say be at breakfast at six… If they wanted it earlier they could have it, but six o’clock was the time they’d be up.”


Rory MacKay, Henry McGuey
c. 1900
Ontario, CANADA
© 1976, Algonquin Park Museum Archives. All Rights Reserved.

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