Stories From Our Past — Week of Sept. 27, 2018

Each week, the Gazette looks back on stories from the past. Here is what happened this week, by year…


-The federal department of public works hired local contractor Frank Harris to extend the east pier at Wellington harbour by 225 feet. The extension would stop sand build-up at the entrance to West Lake, allowing fisherman to navigate the waters more easily.

– The Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited Picton and instructed local police chief Bert Biddle to have property owners destroy marijuana weeds growing on their land. Biddle said he had found one plant that had grown 11 feet high.

– Farmer Albert Frey had one of the most unusual catches on Smith’s Bay as he had to pull one of his sheep into a boat. It had been chased into the water by a dog.


– Dozens of farmers used tractors and plows to fight a brush fire on Bethel Road that threatened to engulf farm buildings on the north and east ends of the street. High winds spread the fire across four farms before it was brought under control.

– Arlie Martin, 12, dove into the Outlet River to save Barney Johnston, 7. The two girls were boating when Johnston fell into deep water. Martin was able to bring her friend to the surface, then the shoreline.

– The Ontario government awarded a special $5,000 grant to fund road improvements on the north side of Big Island. Sophiasburgh reeve J.K. Welsh convinced highway minister George Doucette the province should pay the full project cost.


– Glenwood Cemetery did not receive a federal grant for the first time in three years. As a result, the cemetery’s board had to scale back its planned maintenance. That meant some toppled gravestones would not be fixed and weeds would remain.

– Municipal clerks were preparing for elections Nov. 13. New changes to electoral laws coming into effect removed candidates’ occupations from the ballot and allowed councils to set limits on election expenditures and require disclosure of campaign contributions over $100.

– The Sandbanks and Outlet Provincial Parks had over 200,000 more summer visitors in 1978 over 1977. Ideal 1978 weather and a delayed 1977 opening were factors.


– Officials from the County fire department and the Ministry of Environment were baffled about the cause of an 18-inch blue flame noticed at 81 Main Street during the Amazing Loyalist Adventure street party. Fire chief George Pettingill said it may have been a pocket of natural gas.

– A mother and her 11-month-old son were rushed to hospital after an explosion in a pump house near their Point Peter home. Both received first and second degree burns on 20-30 per cent of their bodies. The injuries were not considered life threatening.

– The county’s elementary schools were up 136 students and PECI 27 students on their first day, compared with the first day in 1997. School staffing would be readdressed.