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CHARLES DOBIE : LOCAL HISTORY
BALDERSON, ONTARIO

Photos of a Fair, at Balderson, Ont., c. 1912.

The two photographs below are from the Dawson Kerr collection in the Perth Museum, Perth, Ont. Mr. Kerr was raised in in the village of Fallbrook, Ont., just a couple of miles north-west of Balderson, where this fair was located (see Don McGregor's email to me below). I had previously speculated on this website that the location of the fair was Fallbrook, but Don McGregor has set the record straight. The two photos show different views of the same crowd.

Photograph of fair or circus tents with crowd

Complete first photograph of a fair, Balderson, Ont.

Photograph of some people in crowd around fair or circus tent

Closeup of some people in front of the tent in the photo above.

Photograph of fair or circus tents with crowd

Second photograph of a fair in Balderson, Ont. The windmill seen over the top of the barn was installed c. 1912.

Photograph of people in crowd around fair or circus tent

Closeup of some people in the photo above.

Extreme closeup of a group in second photo

Extreme closeup of group in photo above.

Extreme closeup of banner in second photo

Closeup of the banner in the second photograph places the location in Lanark County.



On Sept. 29, 2005 I received an email from Donald McGregor, who grew up on his grandfather's farm which is shown in these photographs. I've combined his original email with two others of October 17 & 18, in which he answers my question about the fate of the original Balderson Presbyterian Church. He says in part:

" . . . The second complete set of photos is definitely identified as taken place at Balderson. The location is on the farm of James C. McGregor, presently occupied by James C. McGregor a great-grandson, and Howard J. McGregor a grandson.

The fair was set up with the tents just south of the present barn built in 1948, along side the Lanark Road (Hwy 511). I grew up in Balderson on this farm -- Donald C. McGregor b. 1941.

The building on the extreme right of the panoramic view is a machine shed which was once the original Balderson Presbyterian Church built about 1839 and moved to this location . . . by my grandfather J. C. McGregor.

The "Old Church" as it was called in my farm days was moved to the very spot where the School Fair tent was located. The new Presbyterian Church was officially dedicated Sept 1904, although the old church was located temporarily close to the original location. It was therefore moved to the McGregor farm 1905. It remained as a machine shed for about 65 years until it was moved from the roadside location to an adjoining field in 1970. It remained there until it was torn down in July 1975. I was there the day that it was pulled down by chains from a tractor. Ironically, the morticed joints assembled by the earliest Scottish Presbyterians in 1839, sturdily held in place, and only after several attempts did the frame finally succumb and was pulled to the ground. Howard McGregor and his son Jim were responsible for moving and relocating and demolition.

The windmill as seen over the top of the barn, that part which is still standing at the east end of the barn beside the road, was installed in about 1912 ???

This photo has been placed in a Lanark Highlands Historic Publication in the 1990's and has been identified as Fallbrook as a location -- wrong.

In the Perth Courier, there was reference to a prize list from this fair which I would believe included schools from the Bathurst and Drummond Twps. My uncle Neil McGregor participated in this fair and won a prize. He was born in 1901, and if attending this school would have been 10 - 11 years old.

(Quoting an) article from the Perth Courier re: School Fair at Balderson 1912 & 1913. Ten school sections were represented at the fair which probably included the schools of Bathurst and Drummond. The Balderson School was a union of both Bathurst and Drummond. In 1912 Neil McGregor won a prize for potatoes and in 1913 he placed 4th with another pupil for an oratorical presentation "Stick to the Farm". Ironically it was Neil's brother John (b. 1899) who was to be the farmer while Neil worked for a bank in Montreal.

The elm trees are evident in the photo. These trees lined the west side of the Lanark Road (Hwy 511) in front of the McGregor property. At one time there were close to 20 stately elms which must have been planted mid 1800's. Several were gone before the 1940's and the last was removed in the 1970's for widening of the road. Also Dutch Elm disease had taken its toll, and wind storms. "


Can you provide names, corrections or comments?


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