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100 Years Ago in Chapple - 1923



By Rilla Race, Chair, Chapple Heritage Committee

The Year is 1923. George W. Hughes is once again Reeve in Chapple, with George Lindsell, William McMillan, Joseph Elviage and Laughlan McKenzie as council.

In January a letter from George Hughes to his customers says that F.C. "Frank" Gill would now be taking over the management of his store in Barwick as of February 1st of this year. George built his Barwick store in 1920. In later years the store would be known as the Gill Store, operated first by Frank and thenby his sons Arnold and Cal. This general store operated until 1961. The building continued to be owned by the Gill family.

In 1998/1999 the store building was donated to the Township of Chapple and became the home of the Chapple Museum, which is still in operation as a seasonal museum. 

Charles and Ray Davis - bandmuseum

In June of 1923 a fire swept across the district, destroying barns and homes in its path. An unprecedented drought of about six weeks left the bush so dry a spark would ignite a blaze. From many places along the river word came of barns and dwellings destroyed and in some cases families were left without anything but their farms.

One family in Crozier was reported to have spent a night on the roadside without even a blanket or other clothing but what they had on when driven from their home. 

In the townships of Crozier and Miscampbell, the greatest loss of property occurred.

"From Barwick comes the word that the fire which destroyed many buildings on the American side leaped the river and ignited several buildings in the village. By hauling barrels of water to the danger spots the fire fighters managed to save the situation."

On August 12, 1923 the Chapple War Memorial was dedicated. It is estimated there were about 2,000 people present, including veterans from across the district as well as many other organizations were represented. There were bands, a choir and speeches. The full program for the event is on display at the Chapple Museum.

Over 120 young men from Chapple enlisted to fight in W.W.1, most of these enlisted on one of three local battalions - 52nd, 141st and 94th. 

Shoe Shop SignBull Moose94th Battalioncenotaph2cenotaph4

LEST WE FORGET these 18 young men of Chapple!

Private Wesley Charles Weston, son of Thomas and Ellen - enlisted in 94th Overseas Battalion (OSB) on December 22, 1915, died August 17, 1917 in France at age of 20.

Private Everett Kernahan, son of George and Barbara, enlisted February 25, 1916 in 141st OSB, died October 27, 1917 at Passchendale, age 37. His name is on Ypres-Menin Gate Memorial.

Private Joseph Ephraim Crawford, father of Cliff Crawford, enlisted March 3, 1916 in 141st OSB, died September 28, 1918, age 31. Buried - Raillencourt Communal Cemetery Extension. 

Private Homer Corbet Harrison, son of James and Bertha, enlisted January 21, 1916 in 141st OSB, died October 28, 1917, age 20. Buried in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery. 

Private Peter McMillan, son of James and Catherine, enlisted 141st OSB April 11, 1916, died August 23, 1917, age 28, name is on Vimy Memorial. 

Private Everett Herbertson Stirrett, son of Robert and Margaret, enlisted in 141st OSB February 28, 1916, died January 15, 1918 at age 23 (killed by sniper), buried Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery. 

Private Andrew Hyslop Grant Muir, son of William and Isabella, enlisted 141st OSB January 20, 1916, died August 28, 1918, age 23. Buried Vis-En-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt.

Private Robert Trader, born at Long Sault, son of Mary Trader, enlisted 141st OSB February 28, 1916, died October 29, 1917, age 21. Buried Ypres (Menin Gate Memorial).

Private Percy Hill, son of Wm. H and Martha, enlisted 141st OSB March 10, 1916, died October 1, 1918, age 21. Buried Bucquoy Rd. Cemetery, Ficheaux. 

Private Albert Franklin Stafford, son of Robert and Margaret, enlisted 94th OSB January 19, 1916, died April 28, 1917, killed in action, age 20, name is on Vimy Memorial. 

Private Harry Shaw, son of William and Ann, enlisted December 22, 1913 in 94th OSB. He married in England in October 1916 and on April 12, 1917 he died of wounds received in action. He was 45 years old. Harry is buried in Bruay Communal Cemetery Extension. His son Henry William was born October 3, 1917 just a few months after his father's death.

Private John Wamsley Foy, son of Thomas, enlisted February 21, 1916 in 141st OSB. He died June 27, 1918 at age of 21 and is buried in Villers Station Cemetery, Villers-Au-Bois. 

Private Aaron Wellington Hubbard, son of George and Sarah Ann, enlisted December 22, 1915 in 94th OSB. Aaron was discharged on May 30, 1919 when miliary was demobilized and he returned home a that time. In June 1921 Aaron died of "trench fever" attributed to his service overseas. He was 35 years of age. 

Private Edgar James Robertson, son of John K. and Margaret, enlisted in the 209th OSB on May 25, 1916 in Saskatchewan. He died on
August 8, 1918 at age 32 and is buried in Villers-Bretonneux Militery Cemetery. 

Private John Mackenzie, (brother of Laughlan and Norman who lived in Barwick) enlisted December 23, 1915 in the 94th OSB. He died April 24, 1917 in France at age 41. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Nord. 

Private Reginald Horace Green, son of Lionel, enlisted August 18, 1915 in Winnipeg in 61st OSB. He died August 16, 1917 at age 28. His name is on Vimy Memorial.

Private William Harris, (brother of Bertha Matthews of Barwick), enlisted November 23, 1915 in the 68th OSB in Regina. He died June 30, 1916 at age 28 and is buried in Menin Rd. South Military Cemetery. 

There is one name on the Barwick Cenotaph that I could find no information on todate. R. Wensley does not appear in the list of Canadian Soldiers of W.W.1 or in the records of the 44th Battalion of which is said he was a part. 

If anyone has any information on this soldier, please submit it to the Township of Chapple Heritage. 


Chapple Heritage is continuing to collect materials for family histories. Information of the following families, all in Chapple before 1910 has now been archived: James Tierney, Hugh Caldwell, Samuel Rice, Edward Holmes, Adam and James Hoover, Joseph Gibbens, Joseph Fearon, Arthur Ion, John Ritchie, Dan Smith, Arthur James Smith, William Shaw, Herman Howell, William Dumbrill, John Kidd Robertson, Robert James McGauley, George Thomas Hubbard, Cale Smith, John Hillcox, Robert Stirrett, Andrew Frood, George W. Davis, John and Archie Kerr, John and William Sim, Oliver Obens, William John Anderson, Thomas Knechtel, William and John Gordon, and John and William Evans.

Materials relating to a number of other families who setteled in our township before 1930 is also being worked on at present: James Abbott, Dr. Blakely, Dr. McIntyre, George Both, M. T. Cathcart, Harry Choquette, Fred Cousins, Joseph Elviage, Richard Esson, Malcolm Gillies, Frederick 'Dick' Harvey, James Johnston, Kernehan, James Lavender, Lindsell, Lovell, Love, Traiton Luckens, Madill, Archie McDonald, John McNabb, Forbes, James McPherson, William Muir, Pentney, Nels Peterson, Kate Ruttan, William Scott, William Shannon, Jospeh Syncox, Duke Toner, Albert Tull, James Warren, Thomas Weston, Dick Wilson, T.B. Wilson, William Wright, Eli Johnson and Wolden family.

There are probably other families, not yet identified, that will also be included. For the most aprt, we are searching family histories that have not already been published in the Chapple History Book. If you have information or photos that you would like to provide for any of the families mentioned, please contact  Rilla Race at brrace2@gmail.com .

While much of the focus is on the earliest settler families in Chapple, histories from later than 1930 are also welcome.


Chapple Heritage Committee still has copies available of the township history book ‘Between the Ripples….stories of Chapple’ at a cost of $35 plus shipping.

If you are interested in the early history of our township and some of the original settler families, please contact the Township Office. If your family lived in Chapple in our early years, please let us know about them. You can contact either theTownship of Chapple Office or Chapple Heritage at P. O. Box 54, Barwick, Ontario P0W 1A0. If you have photos or historic information about our township, please share it with us.