The Following is taken from the
GRANDY LEADER MAIL
in 1898. The date is calulated by the fact that the lady died at the age of 85 in 1900...
Pioneers of Abbotsford
Last New Years Day we had the pleasure of an interview with Mrs. Mary McKerly of Abbotsford, Quebec.
She is the 83 year old widow of the late Mr. William McKerly, and has resided in Abbotsford from early childhood. Mrs McKerly is a native of Alston Moor, County of Cumberland in the north of England, which county contains the old historic city of Carlisle, through which passed in turn in ancient times invading armies from England to Scotland intent on conquest, and doing each other all the mischief possible. This section was also scene of border warfare and marauding expeditions into each other's country; and the facts of the troopers were celebrated in story and song, but happily in our day better conditions prevail.
Her father's name was Mr. William Wallace, and her mother's name before marrying was Miss Betty Watson and when they came to this country they had quite a large family, of which she was the youngest. Some went to Upper Canada.
Those best known in this vicinity were Mr Job Wallace, father-in-law of the late James Irwin of Granby. Mr. Joseph Wallace, father of Mr. William Wallace of Granby, who settled in Cannan, and Mr. Thomas Wallace who recently died at Waterloo at an advanced age Born in 1808). The family settled from Liverpool in 1820 and at the same time also came Mr. Isaac and Mr. Jacob Wallace; these two were the survivors of triplets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but at this time Abraham was already dead. From the same place came that well known and much respected minister of the Church of England, the Reverand Thomas Johnson, who after a long residence there ended his days at Abbotsford.
The party sailed from Liverpool in 1820, and after nine weeks reached Quebec, and then came on to Montreal in one of the old steamers. (The late Thomas Gill of Abbotsford, also came from the same County of England in 1832). Mr, Wallace; Mrs. McKerly's father, came on to Abbotsford, where his son, Job had proceeded him about two years before. She remembers that on their arrival they dined with Mr. Gibb Fuller, now deceased. They located at the east side of Yamaka Mountain, on a place where there was an old rude cabin, But as they had masons in the family, they built a stone house as soon as they could.
Neighbors at first were few. She remembers the Bissells, Mrs. Fraser, and two French Canadian families, the Allaires and Deroched, all now deceased, As incidents of that time, she mentions that Mrs. Frasier had apples to sell and the boys used to raid her orchard at night.
Mrs. McKerly's father used to give green peas to people who were short on provisions. Her bothers went to Granby Mill a distance of eight miles with a bushel of corn on a hand sled, with blazed trees to guide them, and were obliged to come back without their girst, the mill was so full. Mr. Wallace had to pay 25 cents a day for the use of a plough, and he had the first pair of cartwheels in the place that had iron tiers or bands around them. When he commenced he had only six shillings in his pocket, and he owed his brother the amount of his passage money. He was a miner in England, and consequently, he did not know much about farming. When he began clearing the land he chopped all around the tree on his own great danger and then sat down and shed tears over the hard prospect before him. But then plucked up courage until success rewarded his efforts.
The first Methodist Meeting in Abbotsford was held in Mr. Job Wallace's home where Mr James Gibb's house now stands.
Mrs McKerly had to walk four miles to school in the winter time. She traveled across lots, through deep snow. Her house lay across the high hill or spur of the mountain then as now known as the "Hog-Back", and she had often to sit in wet clothes all day, her body chilled by the unnatural exposure. She had sometimes, Indians pass on the road, and sometimes she heard wild animals in the woods. The old road passed farther up the mountainside than at present. She well remembers her first teachers, Mr. John Jackman, and Miss Polly Longly. She remembers the names of her school mates, all the Fish boys, Thomas Wallace, Betsy Scolic, Mary Scolic, Isaac Wallace, Ann Wallace, and the Deazes boys; John dam, Franklin, Hugh and Michail; Lamantha Amanda, Claressa and Hanna Bangs; William Watson and Hannah Watson and others.
In time Mrs. McKerly got married to her first husband, Mr. David Beebe. At first their bed was supported by boring holes in the sides of their log cabin and into these; cross bars of the right length were inserted. And the outer one of the bars was nailed to an upright piece and when all was done, the bed was place on this temporary arrangement and it was ready for use.
She thinks her Uncle Thomas Watson also came out at the same time. He was a most worthy, industrious man, and well respected. In those days it was customary to name a new building which was sometimes whimsical or otherwise. Mr. Watson's new house was named by Mr. Humphrey Jackman, "The Star In The East", the house of industry, let everyone take a pattern of the owner.
Mrs McKerly remembers some of the early Methodist Ministers, particularly Mr, Turner, Mr. Williams and also hearing Reverand Abbot preach. She remembers the Episcopal Church was built by all the people.
The social entertainment in those days were quiltings and huskings.
Mary Watson Wallace Beebe married William McKerly, her second husband of Scottish descent. His first wife was buried at sea. He emigrated from Newton Cumnavedy (perhaps Newton Cunningham?0 Londonderry, Ireland. He had one daughter, Anne (Bartlett) by his first marriage.
It is said he and Mary were haunted by David Beebe until adjured "For God's sake, leave us and never come back", the ghost disappeared forever.
Their son Willie migrated to Oregon and was killed there in a log jam. Said to have gone by boat. Their daughter, Martha married William Mathew Ferguson, moved to Wyoming with descendants there now. Son Mark and daughter Mary stayed single and lived in Abbotsford. Mark born 1850 died 1925, Mary born 1865, died in 1946. Son David, born 1857 married Emily Booth, daughter of James G Booth of West Buefford, daughter Gladys, married John Booth
The Fergusons were from Cookestown Ireland. They were weavers. John Ferguson , wife Eliza Johnston emigrated about 1841 with six sons and three daughters. One of whom later married John Booth of Warrden. Margaret married James Irwin of Granby.
Mrs. McKerly has never wandered far from home and has never been in a car.
MY VERSION OF THE STORY
Other related stories and those told by Willaim Mathew and Martha McKerly Ferguson's children and grandchildren: