Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Perry Kitchen conducted on 27 June 1978.
Mr. and Mrs. Kitchen (formerly Mrs. Beulah MacKay) now live in Brantford though both grew up in the St. George area. Mr. Kitchen was able to tell us about the industries in St. George along with more information on the Ditchen family, an old family in the area.
Interviewer: Have you always lived in St. George?
Mr. Kitchen: Always. Right around there, anyway.
Interviewer: Where were you born?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, the original homestead is the yellow brick house on Highway 24. Howard is there now. But A was born up a mile and a half north- just south of Campbell's garage.
Interviewer: When did you move to the village?
Mr. Kitchen: Just after I was married. I lived in St. George for about 35 years. I've been in Brantford for 2 years. I lived in the Howell's house. It was on the corner of Main and High, but they tore it down to build the new post office. The Nixon house was right next to it.
Interviewer: What did you do in the village?
Mr. Kitchen: Well. I was working for Cliff Lyons in gravel construction Then when I quite worked with Malcolms.
Interviewer: What industries can you remember that were around the town?
Mr. Kitchen: There was a saw mill, right down at the east end. Right about where Ray Pepper is. It was about 75 years ago. I don't remember who ran it. I wan just remember it. ^here was a creek across the road, to run it.
Interviewer: Did Salem Kitchen have a factory?
Mr. Kitchen: He owned Richardson's cheese factory. He kept a lot of pigs and made cheese and whey. He used the whey to feed the pigs.
Interviewer: Where was the factory?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, the factory was right where Malcolm's is now. He lived in the big house east of Malcolm's where I lived for a while, ^e owned that farm and he sold it to Malcolms. Malcolms almost went broke. Well, the factory burned down. They went around to farmers and asked them to take 60 cents a hundredweight "for their milk for the summer. If the farmers didn’t Malcolms was going to hive to quit. But, the farmers all agreed to it and it lasted two or three summers, Then the war came along and they got into condensed milk- that's where they made their money.
Then there was the -bell foundry. It was quite a big building. They employed a lot of men. It ran all the way from the corner to where the Lyons live now. Then you went along the street and came to Jackson Wagon Works.
Interviewer: Do you remember anything about another creamery or a dairy?
Mr. Kitchen: Yes, down there where the lumber yard is (High Street). Freddy Uren started a dairy there that ran for ten or twelve years. Marcula Morris’ father was the first milkman in town. He used to peddle milk on a wagon. Then, I think Russell took it over from him. They'd go out and pick the milk up from the farmers. It wasn't as sanitary as it is now but it didn't kill anyone,
Interviewer: What about the mill?
Mr. Kitchen: It was, there, the one that still stands. They used to make flour-grind the grain. Right across the road there was a cooper shop where they made barrels. Down the road there was another grist mill right across from Fred Stobbs. It was on the creek there. The old mill stone out of that mill laid across the road there for years. I don't know who had it but someone must Lave picked it up when those houses were built across the road there. Marcula Morris’ dad worked there for years.
Interviewer: What else do you remember about the Main Street of St. George?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, it hasn't changed very much. I don't think there's a new building on it. But, down where the hall is there used to be a grocery store and a drug store. When I remember it, it was Johny Kitchen, that was Erle Kitchen's father. I don t know who had it before him. Then you go up a little farther and there was Harry Nelles who had a jewellery store. It seems to me there was a bakeshop in that where the Wotpourri is now; Then there were two grocery stores. John Wood ran one of them, right next to the hotel, and there was one this side of him, I think it was McEwen who owned it. That was where the Shopn on Main Street is now. Next to that, there was a Chinese iaundrey. I forget who owned it. That his first name was Henry, though. His folks are in Dundas now. The younger ones come up to St.George quite often.
The butcher shop was next to that. I don't know who ran that before Grantham. Then there was the .post office. Charlie Keefer was the postmaster. That was where Mrs. Trevena is now. It wasn't that big then, though. Bob Hickox had a tinsmith shop next to the hardware store. I guess that the barbershop has always been the next store. Bannister had the harness shop next to that. Benson had a store next to that in the building where the cleaners are now. Originally there was nothing on the corner there but then they built the bank. Shore used to be a printing press. When I remember it, it was down there where McGlays live now. Teveron ran that. Across from that there was a livery stable. (St. George Parking Lot) and a blacksmith shop. Mel Corning had that and Harry Richards took that over.
Interviewer: Was that before Kern Gofton had his shop?
Mr. Kitchen: No, he was at another one on the north side of the village.
Interviewer: What was on the other side of the street?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, there is the big house where E.E. Kitchen lived.
Interviewer: Was he related to you?
Mr. Kitchen: He was my great uncle, he built Sunnyside. Before it was turned into a nursing home it was really something. I was furnished right from top to bottom- even, in the attic. There was a ballroom u p on the third floor. Oh, it was really something, well, they said it cost him $ 10,000 to build it, you wouldn't build it for $100,000 today.
Interviewer: How many rooms were there then?
Mr. Kitchen: I couldn't even guess. But there were only three people living in it. Mr. Kitchen and his wife and they adopted a girl named Isabel Callaghan? She lived with them until she died. I think she had tb.
He always drove a nice team of horses, he kept a man to look after them, There used to be a barn, he was a little sort guy. “Shorty” he used to call him. But Dr. Kitchen never let him drove them. He's let "Shorty" look after them and hitch them, but then he’d say, “Get over, I’m drying."
Interviewer: Who else lived around there?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, A. E. Green lived around there. He taught me all. I know- that’s the reason I don t know much, he was a funny teacher. If you wanted to learn, why he'd help you, but if you didn't want to, then it didn't really matter. A lot of his pupils really made something of themselves.
Interviewer: This was at the old school that still stands?
Mr. Kitchen: Yes, It was divided into forms, Marcula Morris taught the little ones for years. Evelyn White taught the senond room. Mr. Will Lawrason taught the third ones. Greenk, he couldn't teach the French and Latin. We used to go into the third room where Mrs. Lawrason taught for those classes.
Green, he was funny, he'd get talking and he'd, oh, maybe he'd talk about women's hats, and he'd sit and lecture there for an hour, it was kind of interesting.
Interviewer: What kind of organizations were around then?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, it didn't belong to many. If was a Mason, There was an Orangemen's Club. I remember it but I couldn’t tell you who belonged to it. There was a Odd fellows and a Forresters! They used to meet up stairs over some of the buildings on Main street. There were two lodge rooms on top of Ron Moore's. The Masons had one. Right beside it was another one that the Forresters used to use, maybe the Crangemen to but I don't really know.
Interviewer: Could you tell us a bit about the other Kitchens. We aren't very clear on who is related to who. Who was Earl Kitchen?
Mr. Kitchen: He was my brother. He was involved in the milk producers board and different things, but, that wasn't while he was here. -?hat was later when he lived in Woodstock.
Interviewer: What was Kitchen's school?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, that's over towards Paris. That was on my great-uncles farm, Lemuel Kitchen. He was a brother to Dr. E. E. Kitchen and Salem Kitchen. My grandfather Alfred farmed where I lived add my Dad lived. Then my Dad got married and moved to Brantford. He got a job looking me after the mail. I remember him taking me through the jail and shutting me in the dungeon.
Interviewer: How were the Moodies related to you?
Mr. Kitchen: Well, the was Mrs. S.G. Kitchen's nephew. They worked that farm, where Eby’s are now.
Mr. Kitchen: S. G. Kitchen didn't have any family. So they took Charlie and Lizzy Moodie and raided them. S.G. Sent Charlie and Jim Hutchison up to Wort William to start a farm, That fell through somehow though. Charlie worked for S.G. in St. George at the creamery for quite a while.