This is the best account to date of the entry of the Wereley family into the Stormont County area of Canada West, now Ontario.


From Cornwall, Ontario, Canada Newspaper, Friday December 22, 1933:


Going back into the family history about 127 years, when his granfather came as a United Empire Loyalist from New York State and settled on 200 acres of land in the 4th concession of Osnabruck, near Lunenburg, Alonzo Wereley, now in his 81st year, related some interesting incidents of the past in that section to Down The Lane a few nights ago.

And, not to be outdone, his genial wife, Mrs. Wereley, had her say also, and, as only a period of four months separate the couple in age, and they were born but a few miles apart, one could verify in large measure what the other related, and in this way the visit was not only interesting, but enjoyable.

Mr. and Mrs. Wereley were seen at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Geo. Fyke, 29 Fourth St. east. They have spent the last six years in Cornwall with their daughters, Mrs. Fyke and Mrs. Thos. A Sanderson, 39 First St. east.

Alonzo Wereley's grandfather, Peter Wereley, together with a brother George Wereley and two sisters, Mary Wereley, who afterwards became Mrs. Frederick Poapst, and Margaret Wereley, who married a Mr. Coons, all came from New York State as U.E. Loyalists. Peter was born in 1789 and at the age of 17 he and his brother and sisters were among the first settlers on Crown Lands in Osnabruck's 4th concession. He died in 1871 at the age of 82 years and Alonzo Wereley is carrying on the family tradition as to age very well.

"I often heard my grandfather tell of the depredations of wolves in those early days said Mr. Wereley. Wolves were very plentiful and one day one of his cows came home with her faced all scratched and bleeding after fighting to keep the wolves away from her calf."

Peter and George Wereley settled on adjoining farms, each having 100 acres and Peter often carried feed in a sack on his back across the length of one farm to the other.

Alonzo Wereley was born two miles east of Lunenburg on June 8,1853, and was 80 years old last June. He was a son of James Wereley, also a native of that section. Alonzo was educated in the school in School Section 15. At the age of ten years he was on the end of a plow and at 12 years drove a team in a shanty at Casselman all winter. In 1875 he went to Sacramento, Calif, and ranched and worked in the mountains for a year and a half.

He then returned to Lunenburg and a year and a half later struck West again and engaged in lumbering near Carson City, Nev. and then went to Bodia, Calif. where he secured employment in a gold mine.

The lure of the homelalnd again got the better of him and he returned East in the fall of 1880, and has resided in this section ever since.

Mr. Wereley drew ship's knees from Crysler, hauling them to Wales where they were sold to Sam Warren, father of Fred Warren. This was before the C.P.R. was built through Finch, the Grand Trunk being the only railroad in this district.

"There was plenty of hard work on the farm when I was a boy and young man," Mr. Wereley said, "but I am glad I have lived to see so much advancement in farming, with all the modern machinery now in use. To look back on those days, farming is a much easier task now, and one can get to town now in an automobitle in a short time, where it used to take hours on horseback or on foot."

Alonzo Wereley was one of a family of five children of James Wereley and his wife Sarah Ann Dixon, a daughter of Robert Dixon. The children were Alonzo, Angeline (Mrs. Ellsworth Stoffer, dead]; Agnes (Mrs George Shaver] now 73 years old, and residing in St. John Mich., Emma [Mrs.W.R. Osgood] aged 67 years and also a resident of St. John, Mich.

Mrs. Wereley died in 1871, at the age of 36 years, and Mr. Wereley afterwards married Mary Ann Scott, of Finch Township. Of the union six children were born - John, now of Crysler,; Jessie [Mrs. Frank Hackett], of Oswego, N.Y.; Charlotte [Mrs. Stanley Mattice dead; Davis, of Finch village; Allan, dead; Margaret [Mrs. Orris Dezell] Lisbon, N.Y., dead.

Mr. and Mrs Wereley were married Nov. 29, 1881, at Wales by W.A.Lang , of the Pres. Church, Lunenburg. Mrs Wereley's maiden name was Etta Catherine Shaver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Shaver, of Osnabruck Centre, where she was born Oct. 12, 1853. Mrs. Wereley's mother died when she was but six months old, and she was raised by her granparents, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Morgan, and her aunt, Miss Diana Morgan, near Wales.

Mrs. Wereley's father was born Sept. 12, 1814 and her mother Oct 15, 1822 both in the township of Osnabruck. "I remember," said Mrs. Wereley, "that my grandfather, Gilbert Morgan, made the first horse-drawn hay rake used in the township, and what a curiosity it was. Wheels were provided for it by taking them off the buggy when it was not in use, and when the buggy was wanted the wheels were remove from the rake and put back."

She related that hay was mowed by hand with scythes and farmers frequently had bees among themselves to help one another cut. "and beleive me farming was real laborous in those days" she said with a twinkle in her sharp eyes. Made What He Needed

"Grandfather also made chairs, churns and other household needs; was a cobbler and carpenter when occasion demanded such service and was, in fact, a Jack of all trades. I still have a chair made by him and so has my daughter, Mrs. Fyke. The chairs were all hand-made, the seat being made from the bark of trees and fastened crossways and sideways to the frame. This gave them a springy repose to one's weight and they were quite substantial and comfortable."

Members of the families of both Mr. and Mrs. Wereley did their own spinning, grew their own flax and made their own clothes. Spinning wheels and all appurtenances connected with the trade were all handmade.

Tallow Lights

"How did you light your homes in your girlhood days?" we asked Mrs. Wereley

"This was done," she replied "by placing a quantity of tallow in a dish or plate. A rag was twisted and place in the tallow and when it became saturated it was lighted and threw a glow through the room."In reply to a question as to whether matches were is use, Mrs. Wereley replied that flints were used for lighting purposes. That was before the tallow candel and its holder and snuffer came into use, and no doubt the twisted tallow saturated rag gave the idea to some inventive mind and the upright candle was the outcome, with the wick running through the centre. When the candle was introduced people marvelled, of course, and as with many improvements since, the wonder was that someone dod not think of the idea long before they did.

"Rodney Morgan, of the 2nd concession of Osnabruck was the first farmer to own a coal oil lamp so far as I can recall," said Mrs. Wereley. "That was aabout 65 years ago and you may be sure it brought added comfort to the Morgan home. Soon others discarded the tallow candle for the oil lamp, and both these were eventually succeeded by electricity to a large extent in city and town as well as in many homes in the country."

But the lowly tallow candle and coal oil lamp are not to be despised even in this advanced age, for when the electrics fail, which is not frequently, fortuanately, these ancient modes of lighting are gladly resorted to for illumination.

Osnabruck in Early Days

Both Mr. and Mrs. Wereley remembered when work on a farm was harder than at present and when modes of travel were vastly different and not so rapid and convenient as they are today. In saying so Mrs. Wereley was no doubt reminded of her courting days, for she stated that "boys and girls had to do their courting on horse bacck or else be forced to walk long distances.

Buggies and other conveyances were not so plentiful as they later

(article is incomplete - ends here)


It is interesting to note that, although this article seems to cite Peter "Psalter" Wereley as the main player in the relocation of the Wereley family to Canada, it was actually his older brother, George Wereley, who acquired the property and conveyed a portion to Peter. George acquired the property in 1816 from Catherine Valentine, who acquired it earlier that same year from John Hare. Hare was granted the concession by the crown in 1797. Peter Wereley did not own land there until 1817. The source for the article, Alonzo Wereley, was of the Peter "Psalter" Wereley line, and this most likely was the cause for his bias toward Peter over Great-Uncle George. Note also that the Wereley name was commonly spelled Werley, Wearly or even Weerlie in those days.