Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Stobbs conducted on 6 July 1978.
Mr. Stobbs was born in St. George at the C.N.R. train station where his father was the station agent. Mrs. Stobbs came to St. George when she was two. Her grandfather Bannister was the harness r maker here for years. Having lived here most of their lives, we gained a lot of useful information concerning the school, the main street, and other areas of the village.
Interviewer: How long have you been in St. George?
Mr. Stobbs: I was born here at the C.N.R. train station on the Branchton Road.
Mrs. Stobbs: I came when I was two from Toronto. I lived where Jack Carter lives, down by the Baptist Church. That’s where I was educated.
Interviewer: Were you both educated at the old school?
Mr. Stobbs: Yes.
Interviewer: Could you give me some idea of what that was like?
Mr. Stobbs: It was a Public School, we had, and there was a Continuation School behind there. That went up to four years of High School, (grade 12). After that you took a few subjects for grade 13, but not enough to get a year. So we ended up going to Brantford to B.C.I. Then we both went to Brantford Business College. That’s about the extent of our schooling.
Interviewer: How many students would have been in your classes?
Mr. Stobbs: Roughly 20, perhaps 30.
Interviewer: Who were some of your teachers?
Mr. Stobbs: Miss Morris, Mrs. Campbell, Miss Hogg, Miss Jarvis, Miss Burt, Miss McPhail and Mr. McDowell.
Mrs. Stobbs: Did you go to Mr. Gilchrist? He was kind of an old fixture around there, the principal, but I don't know whether he taught us. I remember A.E. Green, but not as a teacher.
Mr. Stobbs: Miss Morris taught me everything I know.
Mrs. Stobbs: You mean you learned it all in grade 1?
Interviewer: What clubs or organizations were there for the young people? What did you do?
Mr. Stobbs: I was raised by a Baptist grandmother and grandfather, so it was mostly church as far as I was concerned, actually. We did have teen dances which were held in the old Community Hall.
Mrs. Stobbs: I don’t recall any organizations, say like the Lions’ Club for example, that I can recall.
Interviewer: What do you remember about the Main Street in St. George? What were some of the stores that were here?
Mrs. Stobbs: Grantham had a meat market.
Mr. Stobbs: I was trying to start at this end. Where the library is now, what did there used to be?
Mrs. Stobbs: Well, there used to be an old Co-operative store, but that's quite a ways back. I must have been a kid. Some of these others might remember that. Bill Taylor, maybe.
Mr. Stobbs: And then the Community Hall. Then Wilbur Jackson’s electric store. Then Gerry Llewellyn’s drug store.
Mrs. Stobbs: Which was Isabel McNeilly’s father, (Gere’s wife’s parents!)
Mr. Stobbs: What was where Ron Moore is now? Strong’s Meat Market. Then the Commercial Hotel. Then Les Grantham's butcher shop. Then the grocery store. The hardware store, the barber shop, the harness shop and then something before you get to the bank.
Mrs. Stobbs: There was Fred Ellis’ grocery store that goes back to a Mr. Benson in where the Camelot Cleaners is.
Interviewer: Do you remember if there was a ever a Chinese laundry?
Mrs. Stobbs: I sure do. It used to be around the corner, and there used to be one on Main St. one time, but I don’t remember which little building, but there was one. There was also one where Olive McComb’s is now. There was also a Chinese Restaurant at one time. There was a family of Chinese, and one of the daughters is a doctor Wong is their name, and they moved to Dundas. Now that is quite a bit younger than us, really. The laundry was when I was a kid, and it was run by Henry Mark Baundry.
Interviewer: Was that where the present Camelot Cleaners is now?
Mrs. Stobbs: No, this was where McCombs are.
Mr. Stobbs: Then there was the furniture store across the highway and undertaker.
Mrs. Stobbs: That was my grandfather Bannister. He had the harness shop, the furniture store and the undertaking business. Fred Glaves took over after Grandpa.
Interviewer: Could you tell me a bit about the harness stop? What kind of products did your grandfather make?
Mrs. Stobbs: Well, all kinds of harnesses, like reins and collars and he did a lot of repairs. And Sam Ellis (shoe repair), rented a part of the harness shop. And Grandpa had one man work with him, Henry Sivyer.
Interviewer: Those men were always very supportive of the Baptist Church.
Mrs. Stobbs: Oh, yes, and the choir. Henry Sivyer sang in the choir and when he didn't he sang very strongly in the Congregation.
Interviewer: There were two shops that your grandfather had, then were there?
Mr. Stobbs: Yes, one was next door to the Barber Shop, where the Town & Country is now, and the furniture store, and undertaking was where Lee furniture is today. That was the parlour and everything the enbalming, and some funerals were conducted from there. But mostly house funerals then.
Interviewer: I was wondering about the station, what do you remember about the Station?
Mr. Stobbs: Well, I was born there. It was certainly a very busy place years ago. The trains would go from Windsor, through St. George to Harrisburg and right through to Hamilton and Toronto. Or they would go to Harrisburg and go north up to Gait and Guelph. And there used to be an awful lot of turnips loaded there and exported to the states, etc. And of course all my coal was unloaded there and came in there. I had the coal sheds right there at the station.
Mrs. Stobbs: There were a lot of passenger trains a day and that, weren’t there?
Mr. Stobbs: Yes, there were three passenger trains a day and a bus that used to meet the morning and the evening train and take the people back and forth to Brantford.
Interviewer: So is that how the people got back and forth from Brantford?
Mr. Stobbs: Yes, by train or bus.
Interviewer: So why was the train rerouted?
Mr. Stobbs: Well, I imagine that it's mainly because of the cars, etc. and they cut this line out and the passenger trains today are going through Brantford. So they just cut this spur line out between here and Paris. And Harrisburg had no water.
Mrs. Stobbs: But they still go through Harrisburg, don't they, to Gait?
Mr. Stobbs: There’s one train a day, I think there’s no railway station, but there’s a train goes through.
Interviewer: How many people would have been employed at the station?"'
Mr. Stobbs: My dad was the agent and for a long time, Ted Jackson used to work with him. I'm sure there was only two. The agent and the baggage man. And, of course, a lot of telegrams went through there every day of the week. I used to meet both trains every day with the mail. I used to take the mail bag from the post office here to the train and take them back to the Post Office. Twice a day. I did that for quite a few years.
Interviewer: What about the coal business, what did you do with that?
Mr. Stobbs: Well, I bought the coal in the States, most of it was American Anthracite. I got coke from Hamilton. It all came in by the carload, and I had my coal sheds right at the station and my scales. I had three trucks and we would load the coal into the sheds and then draw it out by truckload to all the farmers and all the people in town.
Interviewer: What did everyone use it for then?
Mr. Stobbs: It was all for heat then.
Interviewer: I was told that you had an interesting experience getting your tonsils out. Could you tell me about it?
Mrs. Stobbs: There was a doctor, by the name of Dr. Nash, who lived where the Stewarts’ live now by the Baptist Church. And I lived across the street, you see. It was the Carters house. I was taken across the street- not told, of course, because they didn't believe in telling you anything. I was not told what I was going over for, and the doctor had a child about my age, so I thought, great, I'm going to play with Ronnie. And instead of that, they immediately started to undress me, and I immediately started to scream, and that’s all I remember. But I suppose they put me out, and I went back home after. They bundled me up in blankets and took me back home.
Interviewer: So that was all done at the doctor’s?
Mrs. Stobbs: All done in the office, and I suppose that would be about sixty years ago.
Interviewer: What do you remember about some of the various doctors?
Mrs. Stobbs: Well, I don’t know. Things were quite different when they operated at home.
Interviewer: Who were some of the prominent St. George citizens?
Mrs. Stobbs: Dr. Addison. He lived where Ruth and Bernard Meyer live, and he was very ill. When I was a kid going to school he was dying, evidently, and they had him in the Bay window of that house in his bed. We'd all wave to Dr. Addison as we went home and to school.
This isn’t that far back, there was a doctor across where Ann & Elmer Rosebrugh lived, a Dr. Boawdie. There was a Dr- Reid at one time, too. They had the Dentist, Dr. Dinniwell. His wife is still alive and lives in Hespeler. And they lived where Simpson lives, and his office was right there. They came from all over to have plates made. I guess he was very good.
I think that's all the doctors there were. Of course, A.E. Green was some kind of a lawyer, I don't know whether he was a full-fledged lawyer or not.
Interviewer: Do you know anything about the Warer Company?
Mrs. Stobbs: Well, it was a privately owned company, and the people were Rose Patterson’s father (Dan Jackson), A.E. Green, and some others. I guess they pumped water for the village. Rose’s father had the Wagon Works, but it was up near where Jack Kay is now, I believe.
Interviewer: What about the Bell Foundry, or some of the other industries?
Mr. S.; Bell Foundry is where the Cleaners building now.
Mrs. Stobbs: It was darn near a Hock. It was a big monstrous thing, Bell Foundry, and they manufactured implements. I think it must have been five stories high. I always understood, and I don’t know if it's true or not, that there were companies that wanted to buy it out, and it was owned by Frank Bell, and he wouldn't sell unless they kept the Bell name. And nobody would buy and keep the Bell name, so it folded. It was torn down eventually, now whether that's a true, story, I’m not sure, but that is right, I think. I heard that story for years. I knew the Bell Foundry because I used to walk past it to school at the time, so I knew it very well.
Interviewer: What about some of the other industries, where else was there to employ the men?
Mr. Stobbs: Well, the Malcolm Condensing was there, of course.
Mrs. Stobbs: And the Wagon works, the Jackson Wagon Works, that's about it.
Mr. Stobbs: Well, the Feed Mill as well.
Mrs. Stobbs: Before they tore that Foundry down, what did Mitten and Williams do in there? They had a kind of garage, didn't they?
Mr. Stobbs: Yes, they did. With a lot of Dump trucks. I think that’s what they had. They operated out of the old Foundry.
Mrs. Stobbs: I can remember going uptown for a quarter’s worth of steak when we had company. I can remember my grandmother sending me uptown for that.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.