Was the Samuel Smith log cabin really previously occupied by two brothers?
Jim Gill played a key role, as President of the Long Branch Historical Society at that time, in the initiation of the 1984 preliminary archaeological survey at the Parkview School grounds. The wider context for this narrative is Military History. I mention this because the link in the previous sentence has been read by many visitors to the Preserved Stories website.
In an email of Nov. 12, 2011 Jim Gill commented:
Hi Jaan Just a small point on your speaking notes which brought back a flood of memories of my time in Long Branch–21-35th ST– I recall some information that we had at that time that suggested that Sam Smith did not build the house in question but that it was previously occupied by two brothers whose name escapes me something suggests that they were trappers or fishermem as the Etobicoke creek/river was a prime salmon location.
I very much appreciate the feedback from Jim Gill, whose involvement with the Long Branch Historical Society goes back a long way. In a book about Etobicoke, Robert Given does as I recall refer to the cabin having been built and lived in previously. I’ve checked with Bert Crandall regarding this point. He believes that Givens may have gotten information, about some brothers who were said to have built the original Smith cabin, from an article in one of the local Etobicoke newspapers. The person quoted in the article is not known (based on other statements about other topics related to Samuel Smith) as a consistently reliable source. It’s more of a story or legend, in Bert’s view, and is worth referring to as one of the stories that we hear about regarding the cabin.
Currently (Dec. 7, 2011) we’re working on getting permission to include a 1949 aerial photo from the Ontario Archives in the online video regarding the Samuel Smith homestead. We’re also arranging permission to include photos of artifacts uncovered during the 1984 archeological survey.
I grew up in Long Branch, first at 70-42nd. st. and from 1949 until 1969 at 80-41st. St. Prior to the homestead being demolished in 1955/56 (approx.) I visited/played on the property and inside the farmhouse.
The homestead/farm apparently, originally occupied the land bounded by Lake shore road, 41st. ST., James St. and 40th. St., with a large barn located on James St. on the site of two 3 story apartment buildings. The homestead was located at the end of Grand ave. (??) just north of the end of Villa Rd. The farmhouse was clapboard covered, 1-1/2 story and when I visited, was full of the old furniture from the previous occupant (farmer). One room had been the library and had bookshelves on one wall, with the books still in place.
When the house was demolished, the contractor had to stop, the original cabin had been built onto and was still in existence. It was a single story structure, built of squared logs of approx. 12″ X 12″ X Length. I recall that the cabin, after being dismantled was moved to the new Black Creek Pioneer Village for re-assembly.
When I was growing up, i would see the farmer cutting hay using a two-horse team hitched to a sickle bar mower. He also was apparently hired by the town to cut grass and weeds along the surrounding streets. I believe the property, as it existed in 1950/1951 was sold to allow the construction of a (for then) Superstore. Dominion Stores, formerly located at the corner of 33rd. St. and Lake Shore road, (4 shopping carts|, 1 cash register) the Dominion Store was for the time, a Superstore, causing several Butcher stores in Long Branch to close. At the time i believe there were six Butcher or Grocery stores between 40th. St. and 30th. St.
Apparently I have gone on beyond the topic of the homestead. If anyone reads this and wants more Long Branch memories, my e-mail is above.
This is a most interesting and valuable comment. To contact David Webster, please send a message care of the Preserved Stories website. The message will be passed along to him.
I’m not aware of evidence that the cabin ended up at Black Creek Pioneer Village. In the event anybody has information, related to this topic, please contact me. On all matters related to history, I like to go with the evidence.