Fonds 01-019 - W.T.C. Boyd fonds

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W.T.C. Boyd fonds

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    • 1878-1917 (Creation)
      Boyd, W.T.C.

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    14 cm of textual records

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    Biographical history

    William (Willie) Thornton Cust Boyd was the son of Mossom Boyd (1815-1883) and Letitia McGhee Cust (1819-1881) of Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

    Along with his step-brother Mossom Martin Boyd (1855-1914), William T.C. Boyd operated the large family-owned enterprises founded by their father, of which the major were lumbering, Hereford cattle breeding, and cattle/buffalo cross-breeding. The Boyds were involved with the planning of the Lindsay, Bobcaygeon and Pontypool Railway, and with the Trent Valley Navigation Steamship Company, of which William T.C. Boyd was President from 1900 to 1904. Boyd was also an active partner in the firm of Boyd and Company along with his step-brother Mossom and cousin John Macdonald. From 1897 to 1899 he served as counsellor for the village of Bobcaygeon, and from 1900 to 1901 as reeve. He married Meta Bridgman in 1889, and had 8 children.

    Custodial history

    This fonds was in the custody of Mr. & Mrs. Herb Orgill before it was donated to Trent University Archives.

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of 27 diaries of William Thornton Cust Boyd dated 1878 through 1917. Five of the diaries, 1884-1888, include financial records. The diaries recount the private and public life of Boyd, and include references to his wife, Meta, and their children, and social activities with family and friends including boating excursions and picnics. He refers throughout to Richard Birdsall Rogers (1857-1927), superintending engineer of the Peterborough Lift Lock, in social and business terms, and the two often conduct business relating to the Trent Valley Canal. Activities which Boyd participated in regularly include yachting and boating (on the "Calumet", "Ogemah", and "Ajax"), curling, hunting, gardening, tree planting, playing cards, skating, canoeing, and attending the theatre. He recounts details of the illnesses, deaths and funerals of acquaintances and family members, including his step-brother, Mossom (Mossie) Martin Boyd. Boyd recounts in detail the building of his house by John E. Belcher ([184-]-1915), architect, civil engineer, and surveyor. This house is now operated as Case Manor Nursing Home. The diaries speak of local and federal politics, World War I, and the activities of the church. They also detail the activities of the Lindsay, Bobcaygeon and Pontypool Railway Company, the Trent Valley Navigation Steamship Company, and the day-to-day operation of the family lumbering and cattle/buffalo enterprises.

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    Fonds acquired in 2001 from Mr. & Mrs. Herb Orgill.


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        Associated materials

        See Boyd family fonds (88-011) for the Boyd family tree. For related records see Mossom Boyd last will and testament (75-1024), Sheila Boyd fonds (75-1025), and Marjorie McLean Oliver fonds (01-010 and 01-016). Associated material located at the Archives of Ontario and the National Archives of Canada.


        02-014, 04-011, and 04-003 are additions to this fonds.

        General note

        The 1905 diary has no entries.

        General note

        Note: Some of the diaries' entries have been randomly selected and listed below to provide researchers with a sampling of the content and tone of the diaries.

        Box 1

        Diary 1: 1878

        March 5: "Gainer's hotel, on the Monk Road, was burnt down this morning at 8 a.m."

        April 10: "The new Novelty was launched today between 3 & 4 o'clock. Mother christened her. It got stuck on the ways as soon as she struck the water, did not get her of[f] yet"

        July 1: "Took the part of Queen Victoria in the Physiogs today, rode John Bell's Black mare, a very big crowd from Lindsay & Peterboro"

        July 15: "Eleven men refused to work in the mill today, on the ground that they did not get grub that they liked"

        Aug. 7: "Started for Big Beull Lake today to camp out the party consisted of Mr. & Mrs. Oliver with two children & nurse..." [see Marjorie McLean Oliver fonds (01-010) & (01-016)]

        Sept. 21: "The block of logs at Jones' clearance broke loose last night & came down into the river filling it from the head of the cannal up to Petrie's mill; a great many went over the dam into Pigeon Lake. All the Island men & a great many of the mill hands are at work on them today"

        Oct. 25: "Laid corner stone of the Baptist Church today"

        Nov. 26: "Day of the opening of the Victoria Railway into Haliburton"

        Dec. 25: "Very dull Christmas indeed with only Papa, Mother, Charlie, Manie, Katie & Emma & Mr. Cople at dinner"

        Memo at the end of diary : "I left School to commence business on the 10 Nov. 1877"

        Diary 2: 1879

        Feb. 27: "Got two new hand telephones to use in connection with the old ones"

        Diary 3: 1880

        Dec. 25: "Christmas day, but can hardly realize it being my first Christmas away from home"

        Note: The following 3 entries for the years 1881 and 1883 are found in this diary:

        Dec. 28, 1881: "Mother died today about 3 p.m."

        July 24, 1883: "Father died today about 9 p.m."

        Sept 5, 1883: "Mossie was married in Lindsay today to Lillian De Grassi..."

        Diary 4: 1884 (diary includes financial records)

        Note: This diary includes a page entitled "Chief events" with events dated 1881-1892

        March 25: "Was awakened by Frank about 2 am saying the Victoria [boat] was on fire, wakened Mossie & went out & found her all in flames, went straight for the Church bell to give alarm then came & worked at the fire till we put it out (4 am)... Mossie asked all... to come down to house where treated them to whisky till daylight"

        Diary 5: 1885 (diary includes financial records)

        March 30: "Rebellion of the Indians & half-breeds broken out in N.W.T. Troops ordered out from all over Ontario & on their way to assist in quelling it"

        May 16: "News from the West that "Riel" was captured"

        Diary 6: 1886 (diary includes financial records)

        March 3: "Went to the opera with Gardy & saw the "Mikado" again"

        Aug. 27: "Took two canoes & went on the Water Witch as far as Buckhorn & paddled rest of way. Arrived Burleigh Falls about 1.30 p.m. where we met Dick Rogers, Alf Belcher & Mr. Aylmer & after inspecting the works of the T.V.C. [Trent Valley Canal] left for home again..."

        Sept. 11: Toronto - "Spent all afternoon on the Bay, sailed with Gardy in a race of 3rd class yachts of the R.C.Y.C. & came in third against seven or eight others"

        Diary 7: 1887 (diary includes financial records)

        Aug. 3: "Dr. Bonnell buried his youngest child this morning which died yesterday"

        Diary 8: 1888 (diary includes financial records)

        Sept. 5: "R. Rogers up tonight with the new government steamboat "Empire" on her first trip"

        Nov. 29: "A daughter was born to Lil & Mossie last Thursday"

        Diary 9: 1889

        Feb. 12: "Married to Meta Bridgman today"

        April 1: "Jno [John] Belcher came from Peterboro at 9 a.m. to meet me with plans of house..."

        April 9: "...found Mossie ill in bed"

        April 11: "Got up at 4 am to look after Mosse who has inflimation of the left lung & is very bad"

        June 16: "Mossie took his first outing today & went for a drive"

        June 23: "Mossie & Lil had the baby christened "Lillian Doris" this morning"

        Nov. 14: "My first born arrived at noon today"

        Diary 10: 1890

        Jan. 26: "Had Thornton Bridgman christened"

        April 2: "Spent most of day helping to nurse the baby who has an affection of the spine"

        June 5: "Moved into new house today..."

        July 15: "Another son born to Mossie & Lil about 11 this a.m."

        Diary 11: 1891

        Jan. 8: "Mossie went to Uncle Hartley's funeral today"

        April 27: "Another son born to us"

        June 7: "Sir John A. Macdonald died last night about 10 p.m."

        July 26: "Had the baby christened... named him Paul Magee"

        Diary 12: 1892

        June 12: "A daughter born to Mossie & Lil this afternoon"

        Sept. 21: "Lil & Mossie had their last-born christened "Mildred Collinette" this eve'."

        Nov. 26: Lindsay - "Several cases of dyptheria in the village & 3 deaths"

        Dec. 29: "A daughter born this morning at 3.20"

        Diary 13: 1893

        May 28: "...had "Kathleen Cust" christened"

        Dec. 7: "...Kathleen... our poor little darling passed away having succumbed to attack of membranus croup"

        Dec. 28: "Paul... our poor boy gradually sank away & died in my arms at 1:30 this a.m."

        Diary 14: 1894

        April 21: "Another daughter born to Mossie today"

        May 10: "After dinner hired a carriage & drove out to cemetery to look at the graves of our children & to see about having them properly kept"

        Nov. 14: "By 6 a.m. twin girls were born"

        Diary 15: 1895

        April 21: "...babies christened... Rosalind Letitia... Gladys Rosetta"

        June 15: "Launched the new yacht which took the water at 1 p.m. Since decided to call her the "Calumet"."

        Diary 16: 1896

        March 8: "Meta gave birth to a son"

        April 26: "...had baby baptized as "Eric Mossom"

        June 15: "Sturgeon Pt. Hotel burnt down this a.m."

        June 24: "The buffalo died this afternoon"

        June 25: "...spent bal' of afternoon at farm with Mossie & a taxidermest from Peterboro cutting off & preparing the buffalo's head for stuffing..."

        July 6: "Visited the cemetery & planted some flowers on our little one's graves"

        Diary 17: 1897

        Jan. 4: "... elected as a village counciller"

        Aug. 19: "Meta gave birth to another boy at 8.25 this a.m."

        Sept. 19: "...had baby christened Herbert Cust"

        Diary 18: 1898

        June 1: "In afternoon attended meeting at council chamber to reorganize the Trent V. Canal Assoc' & was made 2nd Vice President..."

        June 23: "Had wire saying Gardy died last night 11 p.m."

        June 24: "In eve' his [Gardy's] will was read... myself gardian of his three children"

        Diary 19: 1899

        Feb. 12: "... been married 10 years today"

        April 16: "Our eighth child (a girl) was born"

        June 22: "Arrived Ottawa... spent most day interviewing the Ministers in regard to getting government aid for CPR connection from here to Lindsay & Pontypool"

        Aug. 20: "Had our last baby baptized "Meta Aileen"."

        Diary 20: 1900

        Jan. 4: "Uncle Geo. Dunsford died this morning"

        Jan. 23: "Spent most a.m. with Dick Rogers driving about... Looked at work where the great lift lock is going in"

        Feb. 5: "... had meeting of Trent Canal Nav' Co at which I became president of the Co."

        March 1: "All of Canada celebrating the defeat of Boar army & relief of Ladysmith by Gens Roberts & Buller"

        Aug. 27: "Attended first meeting of the re-organized LB&P Ry Co [Lindsay Bobcaygeon & Peterborough Railway Company]... where self elected Pres."

        Oct. 1:"... locked yacht up for Mossie who went Lindsay with her re new buffalo which arrived there today from Banff"

        Diary 21: 1901

        Jan. 22: "Queen Victoria died today"

        Diary 22: 1902

        April 3: "Everything looking pretty blue today owing to Thornton's absence & Meta's proposed absence on trip to England having to give up household duties on a/c of health"

        April 25: "... went over to town hall to hear Pauline Johnson"

        June 8: "War is over in South Africa, peace terms signed by the Boers yesterday"

        July 8: "In eve' the family celebrated this my birthday"

        Aug. 9: "Public holiday being day on which King Edward VII is crowned"

        Diary 23: 1903

        Feb. 17: "Had an attack of neuralgia of the nerves of the stomick..."

        Sept. 29: "Rogers telephoned asking for the yacht to meet him with Sir Sanford [ sic] Fleming & party at Lakefield tomorrow"

        Diary 24: 1904

        July 9: "Opening day of Hydraulic Lift Lock at Peterboro. Went down by Ogemah, got off at old Chemong Station where met by rig & drove across to Lakefield by 9.45 am with her & "Stoney Lake" to No 5 dam when Parliamentary party after lunch (in big tent there) boarded the two boats about 1.30 pm & proceeded down (in pouring rain) to Lift Lock which was formally opened by both boats being let down, at 2.30 p.m."

        July 28: "Official opening of the LB&P Ry [Lindsay Bobcaygeon & Pontypool Railway]... whole village having a holiday to honor arrival of first passanger train... attended a directors meeting... had my resignation as President of the Road accepted... After went over to Hotel with "the Board" & had a bottle of wine over it"

        Diary 25: 1905

        (no entries)

        Diary 26: 1905-1910

        Jan. 12, 1905: "...learned that the Royal Hotel (old Reid House) had been destroyed by fire early this a.m.... spent a.m. in & out of office & afternoon driving Aunt Rose out to Thurstons to see about a girl (Note: "Aunt Rose" is Rose Hamilton and is nursemaid to W.T.C. Boyd's children; Meta's mother married a Hamilton and Rose is Mr. Hamilton's sister)

        July 8, 1905: "This is my 46th birthday"

        Jan. 10, 1906: "...spent all day attending Forestry Convention convened by Sir Wilfred Laurier"

        Jan. 17, 1906: "...witnessed the marriage of Logie to Miss Wright..."

        March 17, 1906: "Sleeper on C.P.R. All day on train. Very few passangers. Trains going west crowded as this is a phenomenal for the settlement of "the West"."

        March 26, 1906: Ottawa. "Spent all day at the "House" trying to get appointment with Minister, with Col' Sam Hughes' assistance re' Candle L. limits, which accomplished at 6 p.m."

        March 30, 1906: "Children gathering & boiling maple sap"

        April 18, 1906: "Great earthquake in Sanfrancisco & whole city subsequently wiped out by fire"

        June 13, 1906: "Being Meta's birthday had pic-nic at boathouse with all the family..."

        Oct. 6, 1906: "Spent from 11 to 4 with John Belcher re' wiring of house for electric lights..."

        Oct. 12, 1906: "Had great encouragement from Stewart before parting, that the Kawartha Lakes rout would be taken hold of in big way by them & C.P.R."

        Oct. 13, 1906: "Wrote to Frieda, who is in Brantford for her 18th birthday"

        Oct. 31, 1906: "Tonight being "Halloween" children all out having fun"

        Nov. 28, 1906: "All day at house with electricians & carpenters to rush work & got electric light turned on tonight for first time"

        Jan. 2, 1907: "Spent most of this day arranging & preparing for trip to England. Towards eve' walked up to farm with Mossie to look at recently purchased Shire Stallion"

        April 27, 1907: "...arrived at Kate's house about 9.30 where found Alfred very low & not expected to recover"

        April 28, 1907: "A very sad day with Alfred who is gradually sinking & finally died at 8 p.m...."

        May 24, 1907: "In eve' had fire works for the children, with usual party to look on"

        July 6, 1907: "Section Trent Canal between Balsom & Simcoe being officially opened today"

        Dec. 1, 1907: "Children all got the whooping cough, had it for some days now"

        March 4, 1908: "W.J. Oliver died yesterday in hospital at Quebec"

        March 22, 1908: "phoned Rogers re' sale of Empress & Manita offering both for $9500"

        May 7, 1908: "Had long talk with Mossie & decided would have to go away for a while as I have become incapable for business"

        May 16, 1908: "Quebec. Just putting in time as no use at home"

        Sept. 28, 1908: "took Wm. Thompson to old mill to show him re' removal of contents as Corporation dismantling it"

        Oct. 9, 1908: "Had wire from Bird of Vancouver advising of Jas Irwins death at Winnipeg. Went to see Annie & told her"

        Nov. 23, 1908: "Saw Mossie off by pm train with three carloads cattle for sale at Windsor"

        Feb. 5, 1909: "Mr. Comber had to cease children's school as Mrs. C. & Dorothy have scarlet fever"

        Feb. 28, 1909: "...went for a walk with Mossom de G. Gladys & Herbert, via the old mill (which is being pulled down)"

        March 11, 1909: "Tom Stewart called at office today, saw him off by p.m. train"

        April 2, 1909: Toronto. "Great enthusiasm over Missionary Movement & meetings attended by over 4000 people"

        April 19, 1909: "Thornton came home from Montreal tonight for McGill vacations"

        Sept. 14, 1909: "Tom Stewart & Mr. & Mrs. Strickland spent last eve' with us"

        Sept. 30, 1909: "Bob'n [Bobcaygeon] Fair Day. Spent a.m. decorating rigs. Had early lunch, got Herbert & Aileen started with donky cart & drove English vehicle in the procession with Olive & spent bal' day at Fair"

        Dec. 30, 1909: "After dinner put name of house (EDGEWOOD) on gate posts"

        Jan. 3, 1910: "In a.m. got Thornton started for Peterboro with team on big sleighs, taking party to a ball there tonight, also a sleigh load went from other house"

        Jan. 12, 1910: "Spent a.m. about town with Dick Rogers & had dinner at his house"

        Jan. 21, 1910: "Toronto. met Lug[ ] down town at Allen's where chose a fur coat & $100... went to St. Alban St. School where entered Herbert as a pupil... Mossom who is at University here, in to see us"

        Feb. 7, 1910: "...attended a statutory meeting of Cowichan Lumber Co. & TVN Co [Trent Valley Navigation Company] in office here"

        March 3, 1910: "Drove six or seven miles west & spent day there with Logan & Millage cutting spruce logs for use on farm bldgs"

        April 4, 1910: "Doctor pronounced Herberts sickness as mild case of scarlet fever"

        April 10, 1910: "Picked a lot of mayflowers, which are out in great profusion & got them ready for mailing tonight to children"

        May 5, 1910: "Meta having given up the Toronto house arrived home with servants tonight, children being at Havergal"

        May 7, 1910: "King Edward VII died last night"

        May 10, 1910: "Mossie in this eve' to say good by as he & Brownie are leaving for B.C. in the morning"

        May 15, 1910: "Herbert released from quarantine after six week's confinement with scarlet fever"

        Sept. 7, 1910: "...spent bal' eve' with Rogers looking over his contract for construction of No. 2 section of Trent Canal"

        Dec. 16, 1910: "In eve' walked down to the Lake with Meta & children, the latter on snowshoes, to admire the moonlit snow scene"

        Diary 27: 1911-1917 (Note: This diary has two pages of excerpts from Mossom Martin Boyd's and W.T.C. Boyd's wills)

        May 29, 1911: "Spent most of day re work being done on church grounds by "bee" of farmers, mostly driving back & forth to gravel pit"

        June 11, 1911: "Coronation of George V, observed as a public holiday"

        April 16, 1912: "News rec'd today of sinking of worlds largest ocean liner, the "Titanic" by collision with an iceberg & 1200 lives lost"

        April 19, 1912: "Papers today give loss of life by sinking of S.S. Titanic as 1601"

        June 8, 1912: "Annie Irwin died last night"

        June 13, 1912: "Towards eve' drove to farm, Meta with me, her 43rd birthday"

        May 21, 1913: "Spent a.m. driving down to O'Brian's place re' buffalo there, escaped from Island & to Jas Oliver's..."

        May 24, 1913: "Went to concert by Stricklands orchestra, with Meta tonight..."

        May 29, 1914: "Tonights papers tell of dreadful disaster of C.P.R. "S.S. Empress of Ireland" off Remouski"

        June 8, 1914: "Distressing news of Mossie... my poor brother was dead... died at 1830 Rattenhouse Squ. Philadelphia..."

        June 17, 1914: "Feeling useless, stunned by this terrible state of affairs & no Mossie to advise me"

        June 20, 1914: "Meta home by eve' train (late) & Tom Stewart by same train, to be consulted by me re "will" etc."

        June 21, 1914: "Decided to take Thornton in as partner in my half of the estate, he to have 1/6 of it"

        June 24, 1914: "Succumbed to worry & grief"

        July 23, 1914: "Slept fairly well but still suffering from nervous collapse"

        Aug. 4, 1914: "By eve' papers, a general European war is very imminent it is reported that Austria, Servia, Russia & Germany have declared war"

        Aug. 5, 1914: "War declared last night on England by Germany"

        Nov. 3, 1914: "Suffering from the usual terrible depression"

        April 15, 1915: "War tax stamp duties came in force today"

        May 5, 1915: "Spent most of a.m. about the house & most afternoon writing to Dick Rogers whose son Heber is reported as being killed in the battle of "Langemarck"."

        June 24, 1915: "This is Olive's wedding day"

        Aug. 15, 1915: "Met Thornton... went with him to Myrtle to see him off for Montreal, where he is going to enlist! & train for "overseas contingent", to fight for his country in this cruel German War. My heart is nearly broken"

        Aug. 20, 1915: "John Belcher died in Peterboro this forenoon..."

        Nov. 3, 1915: "No improvement in my condition. God help me for I know not what to do"

        Dec. 18, 1915: "Nerves badly shaken. Can do nothing but mope"

        Dec. 25, 1915: "Left here by 5.20 pm train with Kate for a trip South, on a/c of a nervous break down"

        Dec. 31, 1915: "Charleston S.C. And so ends another year a dreadful one, with one of the greatest wars ever still raging with Thornton in England training for the "front", no end of it in sight yet. God knows what will be the end & what next year will bring"

        Feb. 3, 1916: "Parliament Buildings at Ottawa totaly destroyed by fire!"

        June 6, 1916: "Very heavy fighting in France in which very many Canadian troops were engaged & great losses sustained on both sides. Am very anxious about Thornton"

        June 20, 1916: "Our brave dear son has gone! ... Thornton has been officially reported killed in action between June 2nd & 4th. God help us to bear this blow"

        July 21, 1916: "Herbert came home from his officer's training at Niagara, for holidays"

        Nov. 24, 1916: "Word rec'd today by Mrs. H.O. Boyd of death or missing of her son Mossom Richard, after a battle in France"

        Feb. 9, 1917: "United States has broken diplomatic relations - Germany carrying on unrestricted submarine warfare with all the nations"

        Feb.14, 1917: "went to 17 Queen's Park nursing home" (loosely inserted note)

        March 9, 1917: "My nervous depression very bad"

        April 13, 1917: "Boydie Symonds reported 'killed in action' in France! When will this horrible war be over?"

        April 15, 1917: "Letter from Herbert who is still training in England, dated end of Mch."

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