The Twentieth Century - Part 1

By the early part of the twentieth century, Aultsville boasted several industries that included three sawmills, a shingle mill, the two brickyards and a tannery, run by Thomas Brown. Melbourne Street, where the tannery was located, became known as Tan Bark Avenue after the tannery began spreading exhausted tan bark onto the road. In those days the townspeople would bring their own hides directly to the tannery. After tanning they would carry them over to one of Aultsville's four shoemakers to be made into boots. The tannery likely closed sometime between 1900 and 1910.

Presbyterian church [ca. 1920]Immanuel Presbyterian Church

The business section, located In the centre of town, included dressmaking and tailoring shops run by a Mr. Kilpatrick, a butcher, a millinery shop, two granaries, Frank Markell's bakery and Art Dafoe's general store. Simeon Gove, a wheelwright, owned a carriage house that was later turned into a coal storage facility by his son Clifford. Austin Fetterly acted as both the village blacksmith and constable. Another church was added when the Immanuel Presbyterian Church was formed in 1900 by charter members from St. Matthews Presbyterian Church at Woodlands.

A popular form of entertainment for thrill seekers was raft-running, an early form of white-water rafting. Stanley Dafoe, his father and brothers, worked as raftsmen alongside Aime Guerin, a highly respected riverman, who was also chief foreman on the Garden Island Rafts from 1875 to 1909. For those who preferred lighter forms of recreation, dances were held on the main floor of the large two-storey brick fraternal hall. The main floor was also used for public meetings while the second floor was home to the Aberdeen Lodge of the IOOF, (International Order of Foresters) formed in 1895 and the Farran's Point Masonic Lodge, originally formed in 1871 and later relocated to Aultsville.

Despite Aultsville's conservative overtones, the village was not without its characters. One Howard Vincent was a well-known grave robber who became so notorious that all new graves had to be zealously guarded by the deceased's family members. Howard could be counted on to make an appearance at every funeral. When he was actively engaged in his chosen profession, he would pad his horse's feet with rags so no one would hear it clip clopping by. There was no word on whether Howard's funeral was well attended.

After James Jarvis retired, his son Doug formed a partnership with future politician Frank Shaver. It was a perfect match. Frank Shaver had started out as a schoolteacher. He then switched careers, learning the retail trade while working as a clerk in the Ault Brothers store. He was reputed to be a wonderful orator, a skill that led him into a brief political career in the ill-fated R. B. Bennett government during the 1930's.

In 1922 Jarvis and Shaver rebuilt the store on the site of the original Croil store and then turned the old family home into a warehouse. Typical of most country stores, the expanded Jarvis and Shaver store carried everything from paint, glass, mill feeds, clothing, groceries and certain types of medicines. One thing the general stores did not carry was fruit. Fruit and other necessary provisions such as coal, were delivered biweekly by freighters arriving from Kingston or Montreal. The partners' main competitor was Arthur Dafoe.

Jarvis and Shaver also acted as a type of clearing house for various by-products produced by local dairy farmers. In those days many farmers found it more convenient to churn their own butter. This would be delivered directly to the store where Jarvis and Shaver would load it onto the train for resale in Montreal. Skim milk, buttermilk and whey was also sold to Jarvis and Shaver who in-turn added it to the pig-feed they sold in their store. In the 1930's the partners added an egg-grading station. After the warehouse burned down in the late forties, they replaced it with a small egg-grading station.