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POSTCARD MEMORIES: Memories of Gardener's Apiaries

In 1913, the Gardeners picked up roots and moved to Steele's Corners

I had my kitchen floor sanded last week and there was a bit of sanding dust on top of things, even though I had every thing covered in plastic.

I came across a tin can that belonged to my grandfather, Harold Bell. It is actually a honey pail with his name Harold A. Bell in black marker on it. It was a four-pound pail and stamped on it was Gardener's Apiaries RR# 1 Gilford Ontario L0L 1R0.

This brought memories back of times I went with my grandfather to buy honey from Russel and Howard. They lived in a cement house close to the road on the southeast corner of Highway 11 and the 14th Concession of West Gwillimbury.

When we stopped by, they always had something to say to us children and passed the time of day with my grandfather. If they were not there, sister Aleen would get the honey. Usually, Pop would get a full tin and leave another tin, and when my grandparents were getting low they would call for a refill and it would be ready when they arrived.

The “boys” would also cut wood for their own use and would sell to the public. For a time in the 1940s, they raised mink for the fur industry. They kept the honey business until they retired.

Their father was Willie Gardener (1869-1950) and their mother was Miriam Patience (1873-1945) of Cookstown. After marriage they settled in on the south half lot 9 Concession 14 West Gwillimbury. In 1898 they had a child that did not live.

Together they raised five children: Lulu May (1900-1917), Charles Henry Oscar (1902-1912), George Eli “Russell” (1906-1988), Alice “Zella” (born 1909) and William “Howard” (1912-1988).

In 1913, the family picked up roots and moved to Steele's Corners.

They lived on the above mentioned property. Here their family expanded with the birth of Emily “Maude” (1906-1984) and Aleen (1906-1984).

The house I am familiar with was built in 1914. On this three-acre parcel of land they had the house, a cow and some chickens (for milk and eggs), a large garden with some fruit trees, a driving horse and bee apiaries. For some of you reading this you may wonder what is a driving horse? Back in “them times,” if you had to get around the area or to town you needed a mode of transportation as there were very few cars around. So the household would have a horse and buggy (for personal use) and a wagon to transport things or pick-up supplies. Sort of like today were many families have a car and truck.

Zella and Maude were to only two that married. Zella and husband, Harvey Bedford, moved to Barrie and had one son and three grandchildren. Maude and husband, Harold Wright, moved to Guelph.

Aleen worked in Aurora for some time and returned home in the early 1940s to look after her ailing mother and kept house for her father and brothers.

Aleen and her brothers Howard and Russell attended Ebenezer United Church. As regulars they also were involved in various organizations of the church.

Mom, dad and six of their children are buried in Ebenezer Cemetery on Highway 11, just south of Fennell's Corners.