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Remembering When With Byron Martin

May 19, 2024

Byron Martin and Jim Fawcett at 50th Anniversary of Bobcaygeon Arena, April 2005

By Karen Hogg

Originally Published circa 1985

Byron Martin recalls the history of his farm and over 40 years of helping with the Bobcaygeon Fair.

Byron Martin and his wife live on a Farm on County Road 8, 2 miles west of Bobcaygeon. The farm was first occupied by Byron’s Uncle, James Martin, who along with his brother William Martin came out from Ireland.

These men stayed at the ‘Beehive’ on Sturgeon Lake, which is now owned by Allan Stanley. “The Beehive was used by new people to this land as a place to stay until some property was acquired and a small hut or dwelling was built to live in,’ Byron Said. Following the early settlers, the farm was occupied by Thomas Martin and his brother George. This is the farm where Byron and his wife now live.

Byron’s wife, Kathleen (Kay), was raised in Stouffville, Ontario, and moved to Bobcaygeon where they operated the Bobcaygeon Creamery for several years. Kay and Byron have two children and five grandchildren. They grandchildren enjoy coming to the farm to help with the harvesting of hay and grain crops and especially at maple syrup making time.

Making maple syrup, explains Byron, has been carried on in his family since they moved here. “They used wooden spiles and wooden pails to tap the trees and gather the sap,” he added. That’s changed some now with the installation of the evaporator and aluminum spiles and some pipe line. “Last year we tapped three thousand trees and we usually make over three hundred gallons of syrup a season,” Byron noted.

The grandchildren also share a love for trout fishing and fish the creek that runs through the countryside and has been known as Martin’s Creek for longer than most can remember. The creek has always been a source of water for the Martin livestock. Over the years, Kay and Byron have taken great enjoyment from participating in local sports events, namely baseball and softball in the summer and hockey and curling in the winter. Sports and over forty years of helping with the Bobcaygeon Fall Fair have brought Byron many hours of hard work and pleasant memories.

Years ago, Byron’s father helped with the fall fair, when the Boyd family used to bring their buffalo to the fair for people to see. “I don’t remember the buffalo,” Byron said, “but I remember the last remnants of a twelve-foot board fence which was used to corral them. The fence was where the hockey arena is now, he added.”

The fair has had many such changes and not least are the new buildings which have been built on the fairgrounds. Byron, who has been involved since 1939 looks forward to the 1985 fall fair which is fast approaching.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Byron first attended St. Alban’s Church on Concession 8. That church although now dismantled, holds fond memories of Christmas Concerts with old oil lamps for light and Church services warmed by wood stoves with rows of stove pipes running the full length of the Church.

“Now we attend Christ Church in Bobcaygeon with its lovely coloured windows,” Byron said. The stained glass windows he speaks of are varied and Byron admits that he especially likes the one with the picture of a man ploughing a field with a simple plow and a team of horses. On the bottom of the windows, is inscribed “They plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land.” That’s the way it used to be done, says Byron. He concluded the interview with the quote, “Faith allows us to witness the great deeds of God,” as well as the progress of man.

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