Reminiscences of Poole Family

(As copied from the original text presented to Ethel Poole
from Donald Poole March 3rd, 1998)


Mr. Thomas Poole was the first of the Poole family to come to the
country from Malinburg, Gloucestershire, England He started out a single young
man brave and venturesome to carve a name for himself in this new country.
Sailing from Liverpool in April, after a long rough voyage in the sailing boat
(for steam was unknown as a power then) they came within sight of land, when
there came a west wind taking them back a weeks journey. Also during the journey
the boat sprang a leak and the pumps quit working, he wanted them to put oil in.
After much persuasion they poured in oil and the pumps started working. He
arrived in New York about the middle of June just after the city had been
destroyed by fire. He did not meet with much success there, for upon seeking
work at his own trade he was strongly advised to return home by next boat.
However his ambition and pluck asserted itself again and he tried a new place,
this time coming to Canada to Little York or what is known as Toronto. On
arriving here he found a good job at his own work. He was master mason and we
all understand what that means for in England what they do, they do thoroughly
and to have a “trade”means and apprenticeship for years. Well when the
foreman of the work saw the morter, he was transferred to head mason of the
bridge gang. From that on the superiority of his work was readily acknowledged.


Having decided now to remain in Canada banked his money only to lose it
during the rebellion of 1837, when the bank was robbed. He continued at his work
around Toronto, building a good many stone houses and quite a number of brick
houses some of which are standing today.


In 1837 he built the stone house on this Copeland homestead at Burnhamthorpe
for Robert Copeland on his 400 acres that the government had given him for
guarding the lines in the war of 1812. Here is where he meant Mary Copeland,
Robert’s daughter and was married in 1838. After living at Goleases’s Corners
near Burnhamthorpe, Mr and Mrs Poole were persuaded to come further west by
Charles Gray (a cousin of Mrs Poole) who owned the farm now owned by Mr Wm
McConachie. So they bought the 200 acres on the west side at Merrills mill on
west side Branch Creek. This at that time was an unbroken forest with only paths
leading through the woods. He came there first with a dog and axe and a gun. He
cut pine boughs and made a place for sleeping until he could get a place cleared
and built a log shack. Then his wife came up. A fire was kept burning in front
of the door to keep the wolves away for there were many wolves in those days.
After more land was cleared a log house and barn was built and one of the first
homes in these parts was started. He cleared the land in winter and worked at
his trade in summer. Today the standing memorials of his work are the Brady
House Norwich where the telephone office now stands, the foundation of the Gore
Church, the brick house he built for Joe Hoggard father of James Hoggard two
miles north of Little Lake Store where John Frew lives. Afterwards he built the
brick house by the same pattern on his own farm east of the Gore which was
destroyed by fire on January 1st 1937. The lime stone for this house was taken
from the front field west of the lane and was burned in a kiln east of where the
house stood and the bricks were burned at the old brick yard on the Carroll
place owned by Jim Irwin one mile east of Norwich. The apple trees on this farm
were got at Mt. Pleasant nursery. Mr. Poole also built the house east of Norwich
on east side of railway track on north side of road, the house two miles west of
Norwich turning south, on west side of road for Hulets, and Kingsford house at


During Mr and Mrs Poole’s life on the farm they had many hardships. In early
life they had a yoke of oxen named Rebel and Tory. Later the had a yoke of white
oxen they called Lion and Lamb. Lion was a big boned shaggy fellow while Lamb
was smaller and smooth. They often took long drives with ox team to Paris,
Brantford, and Delhi and would be gone a day and a night Before the road east of
Norwich was built they had to go south to Ranelagh road and then come back on
the Norwich road a mile east of the village with oxen as horses were not used
much in those days. This made a long trip to town. Mr. Poole sometimes walked to
town as there was a foot path leading through the wooeds and the trees were
blazed with an axe to keep from losing the way. Once in taking this journey for
flour he was late, a thunderstorm came up and he could not see only when the
lightning flashed when he would go a short distance and would have to wait until
it flashed again. Mrs Poole also took a long trip to Toronto with her brother
Robert, who came up from Toronto on horse back, but in taking the baby it would
not ride on the horse so they took turns in riding while the one that walked
carried the baby. Then she returned alone. Robert bringing her a few miles on
the way and she got a ride ten miles walking the rest of the distance.


Mrs Poole cooked over a fireplace and baked with a brick oven outside by
which method taking four hours to bake bread. If the fire went out she had to go
to the neighbours to get fire sometimes before breakfast. They as many pioneer
homes used maple sugar for domestic cooking and their clothing was spun and
woven by the work of their own hands.


Mr and Mrs Poole raised a family of nine children. Five sons and four
daughters. The oldest son, John volunteered to serve in the Fenian Raid. At
London the train kept steam up all night ready to go but they did not get the
call to go. So on their return home they were brought to Woodstock by train and
from there to Norwich in open wagons and it rained all the way.


Mr Poole had no brothers, left two sisters in England.


Mrs Poole was Mary Copeland. Her brothers and sisters were


Thomas Copeland


Johnathan Copeland






Jane———–John Hoggard











Thomas Poole April 29, 1806


Mary Copeland April 1. 1824


Susan November 11, 1839


Johnie October 13, 1841


Elizabeth April 23, 1844


Ann Rode August 1, 1846


Samuel July 1, 1848


Hannah January 4, 1850


Jane August 16, 1852


Thomas October 20, 1857


George August 12, 1860


Baby July 18, 1862


Henry Edward Aug 12, 1864





Thomas Poole November 29, 1882 76 years 7 months


Mary Copeland Poole December 6, 1886 62 years 8 months 6 days


Susan 1861


Johnie August 2, 1909


Elizabeth(Betsy) October 1, 1898


Ann Rode August 1, 1847


Samuel May 18, 1918


Hannah November 1, 1889


Jane 1933 or 34


Thomas November 20, 1935


George September 26, 1941


Baby July 18, 1862


Henry August 14, 1945


Aaron August 14, 1995 (Road accident)


Samuel June 14, 1999