Richmond Winters Long Past

by Marion Scott
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]In a winter with such variable weather, it is interesting to look at the past.
In 1818 the soldier/settlers had a dreadful first year; many were still living in tents at the end of November when the cold and snow arrived. At least 2 settlers froze to death before spring. Travel was treacherous as it was on foot.
In 1940, travel was still treacherous. In the biography, “J.J. Dallaire, Barber” Ed. Dallaire recounted his sister Lorraine’s experienceĺ. At that time many Richmond young women worked and lived in Ottawa during the week and came home for the weekend. ” During the winter of the big snow…Lorraine,  Eileen (Rushleau), and the rest of the usual gang on the Richmond bus started  from Ottawa to Richmond without knowing what was in store for them. When they got to Fallowfield, around Charlie Owens’ place, it got bogged down and couldn’t go any further. Some of the passengers went into Charlie’s. ..and some went to Hartin’s but some others were a little more brave and started walking home in behind Charle’s and back of Dunbar’s to take a little short cut. They got lost in the snow storm and Lorraine recalled that she was sitting on a fence in this blizzard with Eilleen…and her suitcase was open and all her clothing was falling out and the same with Mary Trimble. They were completely lost and just frozen in the middle of nowhere ….
Some way or other word got to the village about the bus and about some of them starting to walk home. Dad ( Joe Dallaire ) got word to Lindsay Arbuckle, because his girls were on the bus too, and Lindsay came to the village with his team and sleigh and picked Dad up on the way and they went looking for the girls in the middle of the storm.
This was getting onto midnight when they left the village but nobody knew what was going on or where the girls were…. you couldn’t see your hand in front of you. Anyway, they stopped at every house on the road and finally found them at Bill Dunbar’s …How they (the girls) made it that far across the fields, in snow to their waists, half frozen, lost, and above all in great fear we will never quite understand.”
At that time the Richmond Road was sometimes blocked for days.
Even in the 1950’s Goulbourn roads were often not plowed. I remember one night when my family decided to go to Brockville to see the Richmond Royals play hockey. My aunt, Violet, and uncle, Howard, decided to come with us but they had a problem as they farmed on Shea Road which was impassable.  My dad drove along Huntley Road from the village. Stopped. Waited a few minutes. My aunt and uncle came scrambling over the towering snowbank.  They had walked through the fields from Shea Rd. to Huntley Rd. We drove to Brockville and back. At midnight my relatives reversed their route and I remember seeing their dark forms as they made their way home – back across the moonlit fields!

Hub Staff NOTE:  If anyone has photos/stories of past storms or newspaper articles or photos of the Richmond Road being blocked please submit them to feedback@richmondhub.ca  We will ensure copies get to Marion too!