Mr. Martin Hart for 80 years of the Greenís Creek District and now a resident of Ottawa is one of the veterans of Gloucester Township. Mr. Martin Hart of 163 Florence street is a son and Mrs. Michael McEvoy of 232 Stewart street is a daughter. At present Mr. Hart is staying with the McEvoys. Peter Hart, Father of Martin Hart came to this country considerably prior to the start of the Rideau canal in 1826, worked for a time for Philemon Wright and Nicholas Sparks, The founders of Hull and Ottawa and also for a year or two in the Rideau Canal Construction. In 1844 Peter Hart bought Lot 12 on the second concession of Gloucester, Near Greens Creek, and started to hew a home out of the bush. It was on this bush farm where martin Hart, who tells these stories, was born in 1846.
Lively Episode Shiner Days At Head of the Long Sault Two Irish Raftsmen Attacked By a Crowd of French Strangers Were supposed to be Shiners but were not . A lively Fight. An Axe Finally Brought Victory to The Minority Forces. Father of Ottawa Man one of the Men Attacked From time to time Old Times Staff has told little stories about the days of the ďShinersĒ (origin- Philemon Wright had let to the Peter Aylenís of Aylmer Irish Lumber Crews the right to harvest a section of Oak (du Chene) around the present day Masson/Buckingham area. The French referred to this group as Des Cheneurs - oak cutters- anglized later to Shiners). In the thirties and the forties and of various wild acts of which the Shiners were accused and also the many lively scraps that took place between the Shiners and the French rivermen. It will be remembered that the Shiners were practically all Irish rivermen and there was a standing war between them and the French rivermen. The Shiners were a rough hardy lot who were credited with a desire to drive the French off the river. Fighting Came Easy The Shiners got so used to fighting that they got into the habit of committing overt acts against English speaking people as well as French and made themselves obnoxious to villagers of all nationalities. They were the terror of Bytown in the thirties. Citizens were afraid to be on the streets at night unless they were in numbers. All women stayed discreetly in their homes once dark came. The feud grew in scale that the French rivermen got to marking every Irish face as that of a Shiner and it often happened that Irish rivermen had no sympathy with their belligerent brothers and even Irishmen who were not rivermen at all were attacked by the French whenever opportunity offered. Exciting Episode Mr. Martin Hart tells how his father, Peter Hart, when a riverman in his thirties had to fight for his life against an attack in force of Frenchmen at the head of the Long Sault Rapids on the Ottawa. The raft on which Peter Hart had been traveling (from the Chats to Quebec) had been snagged at the head of the rapids and all the raft except for himself and another Irishman had gone ashore. Started an Attack After the crew had gone a unruly crowd of Frenchmen who seemed to be farmers rather than rivermen came on the raft and started to beat up Peter Hart and his Irish companion. Both Hart and his companion put up a lively fight but were badly outnumbered. The crowd threw Hartís companion into the water. This chap was a poor swimmer and had to cling to the raft while hart fought the crowd. Ran for a weapon Finding himself about to be overpowered, Hart ran to a part of the raft where tools were kept and picked up an axe. Half a dozen of the strangers were on his heels but hey turned when they saw hart with the axe. Hart muttering wild yells and threats charged the crowd with the axe swinging it wildly One Carried Off The strangers retreated for awhile but finally tried to surround Hart and take the ace away. But Hart was so active that he actually forced them to leave the raft. But before they did so one of their number fell from a blow on the shoulder from Hartís axe. This man was carried off. A little later the rafts crew returned and then all was well. Peter Hart never found out whether he had killed the man. Shantymen of the Sixties Didnít Fare Well Chicago Pork, Bread, Beans were Staples of Food According to Mr. Hart the lumbermen of the sixties didnít feed their shantymen very well. At that period the staples of food were bread, pork and beans (Chicago pork at that). Butter or syrup was unknown. There were no regular eating houses and no tables. The men sat around the caboose wherever they could, dished beans out of the pot and cut their own bread. There was no such thing as getting fried bacon on Sunday morning. In some camps occasionally beef was provided, but not in many. The American firms shantying in Canada were the first to provide a wider menu. Mr. Hart had to do with the shantying for 22 years in all, acting as a teamster. He teamed for the Gilmours on the Kazabazua plains as far back as Otter Lake; teamed for the Eddy Company up at fort Eddy and for firms operating around Sault St Marie. The above are excerpts from one of John Kenny's Web Pages.
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