Freighting by Team and Sleigh in 1917
Written in 1947

     According to the old timers, the past snow storm of the great publicity, was just a mere bindle of snow compared to the howling blizzards they experienced in “the good old days.”

     About thirty years ago, Kenny Murray, with his trusty team and sleigh, freighted goods from Wiarton to Stokes Bay for Jack McLennan, who had the store here at the time. Kenny recalls one trip when he and his husky helper, Henry Wardrop, made a journey that was a battle toyal with the elements.

     When they left Wiarton at one p.m. it had started to snow, and before they had gone far, a howling blizzard was in progress. At nine o’clock that night they reached Pike Bay, both half-frozen, and the horses no longer sound in wind and limb. They put the horses in at the Wayside Inn and fed them. The storm still continued and they wanted to stay the night. For some reason or other the keeper of the Inn would not let them stay – no reason given.

     So out they went and on they mushed. In some places the snow was so deep they had to shovel in front of the horses for yards, and rods – maybe miles as the story goes. By this time the storm had turned into a sleet storm and men and horses were shrouded in ice. The lantern, the only light they carried, got covered with ice and the flame smothered. So there they were, like Moses in the dark; but wait – all is not lost; there was a box of lantern glasses among the freight items. They replaced the glass and when it got coated with ice again, the glass had to be broken off and replaced. It is not known how many glasses they used up before they reached Spry Corner at three o’clock in the morning. Here, with their last bit of energy they turned into Frank Steip’s home and managed to put the heaving horses into the stable.

     They then walked like a pair if icicles into the house. (No, the door wasn’t locked – not in those days when wayfarers were welcome at any time.) The frozen pair found a good fire roaring away in the box stove and gratefully sat down and dripped. After some yelling on their part Frank finally awakened, and came downstairs. Good friend that he was, he quickly got them something to eat and a strong pot of tea. He then arranged a bed for them for the balance of the night. When morning came, they continued on their way and reached Stokes Bay around noon. They were none the worse for their adventure, and made many more trips which tested their skill and endurance, always managing to outwit Old Man Winter no matter how mean he was. This was of course, inthe “good old days when men were men, and snapped their braces and chewed tobacco.” Kenny Murray was our Dad.

Page 80 of Old Timers’ Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
(Bruce Peninsula)
By Helene Scott