Dunnville Farm

Dunnville Farm - 16 of 33

Elizabeth and Isaac moved from Hamilton to Dunnville in 1904, a small town conveniently positioned close to the railroad that allowed them access to trains for transporting home-grown produce and travelling to visit family and friends.  No official document remains today that would indicate where they had lived, other than a couple of photographs of the family standing outside of Vasbinder Farm.  Owned by Samuel Vasbinder with the address GR Concession 2, Moulton - now recognized as the corner of Concession Street and Diltz Road - this large house could have been rented out to the Foxes to live in.  Samuel Vasbinder was born in 1845 and was the son of Philip Vasbinder and Elizabeth Jane Bacon who, with two other sons, had homes in Upper Cayuga.


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When the large inheritance from England came to possession in 1909, Isaac and Elizabeth were able to buy their own property outside of the town, build (or fix up) a house, and make a living for themselves. The farm house was connected to gas wells; all lights, heat, cooking, etc were powered with gas.  They operated it as a mixed farm raising both livestock and cash crops, selling produce at the Hamilton Market and also providing for their grown children.  Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren took visits to the area to pose on hay bales and tractors.  Barn kittens were cuddled.  Dorothy Fox spent summer days up in the hayloft reading books.  Family gatherings turned into family reunions which spanned between Walter and Maude's own nearby farms as well.   When Isaac passed away, his remaining children received a share of money, a portion of which they gave to their brother, Buds, so he could buy the property and take over operations. Buds continued to grow produce with his wife Lexie until the early 1970's.  The farm was sold in 1978 - it's value inherited equally among Buds and Lexie's nieces and nephews.

Today the property is listed at 899 N Shore Drive in Dunnville and remains as farmland.


The GTR line that bordered the Fox property is now the end of the multi-use Wainfleet Rail Trail accessible to the public.

Dunnville Gazette, November 11, 1910

Barns and Outbuildings of I. Fox Burned
Fire which broke out in the barns of Isaac Fox about eight o’clock last Friday evening resulted in the total destruction of the buildings, and the dwelling adjoining had a narrow escape. Mr. Fox, who brought the property from Mr. D. Price early last year was a heavy loser, as he carried no insurance.
The origin of the fire is unknown. An alarm was sounded from the town and later, when it was seen that the home was in danger, a second alarm, and the efforts of the willing workers who responded were successful in saving the dwelling. Mr. Fox was able to get his stock out, with the exception of three pigs, but his crops and implements, with the buildings, were completely destroyed.


From:  Dunnville Ont., March 27, 1910 (sic)

To:  Mr. George Fox
436 Pandora St
Victoria, B.C.

Dear George: - Received your most welcome letter on March 23 and was glad to hear that you are well and hope you are taking the right way. We were all sick with a cold this winter but are all right now, I received your post cards they were very nice.

Dick, Arthur, Walter, Fred and myself are home, Wilfred is married two years will be this summer. They have a little boy his name is Arthur and they live in Toronto near Anties. He has bought a lot and are building a little house on it and will be going in it on the first of April.   We think he is doing fine.  His wife is Scotch, her name is Martha and rather good looking - just the kind you ought to have - she would make you stay out of bad company.

Reg has been in Hamilton two years. He has been up twice but his wife Rachel hasn't been yet but keeps promising to come but hasn't.  They have two little girls their names are Alice (Janie) and Agnes. Reg don't seem to be making any headway.

Herb and Lyda are living on Gibson Ave and is still working on the machinery.  They have three boys besides the one that is dead there names are Bert, Wesley and Walter, they were up to spend Christmas with us and expects them up this summer.

I guess you were surprised when you heard about the fire, you might be sure it was a big one while they seen it twenty-one miles away.  We had 90 tones of hay, 500 bushel of grain and a very large stack of straw, all the farm machinery, a new binder and seed drill, 35 chickens, $200 worth clover seed and all the glass and shades belonging to the frames.  We got the horses, cows and pigs out and with the help from the neighbours they saved the corn-crib, ice-house, work-shop and the house.

It started about eight o'clock and by half past nine every thing lay in ashes. I wrote a letter to Herb at 2 in the morning and we were still watching the fire.  It was November the 4 we had been on the place a year and two days and began to have the place fixed up when this started that same day.  They had finished making the cow shed larger and they had left their tools there and they went.  Herb came up and help them to put up a stable and pig-pen, the colts and yonge cattle hadn't been in that night.

We had a sale and sold four horses and thirteen cattle and we have ten cattle and seven horses left.  Dad bought four cattle and two horses on notes since the sale.  They are getting the timbers ready for the barn and they expect to have it up by June.  We had good crops except the tomatoes and they were a failure all around on account of the rains in July.  Eagleshams felt very bad about the tomatoes.  We felt the blow very bad but will get through if something else doesn't happen.

Did you hear about Tena (Jena?) Eaglesham going under a operation and that her husband was dead and she has two little boys.  I think this is all this time.  We still have Maude the horse but Jute is dead and Charley.  Many thanks for the five dollars.

Write soon.
Yours truly, Maude.

P.S. Antie was in England for three months and Uncle George's.  Reg is in Toronto.  Fred and I were down there for two weeks and Reg came back with us.

Dunnville Farm - 23 of 33

Dunnville Ontario
April 23, 1912

Dear George: - Received your letter a long time ago.  Sorry that they haven't answered your letter before this but they have been so busy with the cattle as there was Dick, Arthur and myself were down in Hamilton all winter working.  I was working at the tailoring.  Arthur and I are home, Dick is still in Hamilton, don't know when he is coming home (But we expect him soon.)

Just after xmas Fred got hurt with one of the horses.  He was leading the horse out to water and with the cold the horse knocked him down and then stepped on his face.  The corkes of the horses' shoe put two big holes in the side of his face just below the temple.  They hadn't any Doctor.  Dad stayed up all night with him he is all right now but for a cold.  They haven't done any plowing yet as the ground is so full of water. They had a flood here - the river over flowed, the people living near the river had to move away till the water cleared away.

We were very much surprised to hear the news of your letter that you didn't like Australia as we all thought it was the only place.  The last letter I wrote you we got it back hope we won't get this one back.  They have built a nice big barn done a lot more work and spent a lot of money since the fire.

Yours truly Maude Fox

p.s./ Jefferies has bought a farm in Muskoka.  Eric in in bad health and he is going to live there for a while and one of the girls are going to keep house for him but the rest of the family is going to stay in Toronto.

Wilfred and Martha is doing very good they have bought two lots and built a small house one one.  We don't know anything about Reg.  He and his family were in Montreal last June, he left her and then she came back to Hamilton, her and the children was living with Herb for nine weeks and then she went to live with her married sister and mother they live on Barton St.  near Smart Turners.  Since Rachel left Herbs she has turned very ugly with them so that is way she appreciate their kindness so now they don't speak.  We are all well and hope you are the same.  M.F.  (excuse scribbling)

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Dunnville Farm - 19 of 33
Isaac Arthur and Elizabeth and Children - 3 of 6 (1)
Books belonging to Dunnville Farm