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GLOSSARY OF TERMS, PEOPLE AND TRADES


After reading George Copping’s Journals, Heather Craik Moser of Dunrobin, ON and Sharon Craik Kenney of Tswassen, BC created a glossary to explain obscure words and references of bygone days.Heather and Sharon kindly offered their Glossary to be shared with others. Beverly Prud’homme and Daniel Parkinson have made it specific to George Copping’s Journal and have added items and names.
Heather and Sharon are sisters and descendants of James Brown (1813- 1882) and Mary Robinson (1826 - 1908). In 1826, at the age of thirteen, James was granted a ticket of location for the NW 1/2 of lot 25 of the 7th Range.James, his mother, brothers and sisters are all mentioned in the Copping Journal. See: Brown.Mary Robinson’s uncle’s store is mentioned in the Journal. See: Robinson.
Daniel and Beverly both claim Susanna Brown Parkinson as a great grandmother.As well, Beverly is a 3X great grand daughter of George Copping and Elizabeth Saggers. The Prud’homme familynow own a part of one of the original Brown lots.


Allen, Mr. - John Allen, a native of Scotland, was a cobbler or shoemaker.He and his wife arrived in Montreal in 1820 and had a ticket of Location at Rawdon in 1823.

Arshambo, Monsieur - a miller and early Canadien settler. Possibly this is Francis / François Archambault who received Letters Patent in 1855 for 4 / N 2.

Awl - a tool for making holes in leather so it can more easily be sewn.Used in cobbling and harness making.

Barracks - George makes frequent mention of his boys’ presence at “the Barracks”, the militia headquarters where drilling and military maneuvers took place during the time of the 1837 Lower Canada Rebellion. An article which appeared in the December 1959 issue of The Rawdon Bulletin states that a building was erected in the very early years, sometime after 1797, for use as drill hall and sleeping quarters for a militia.R. K. Naylor, who was Anglican minister at Rawdon 1912 - 1925, claimed that in 1837 a church which had been built c.1824 by Mr. Burton, the first Anglican minister at Rawdon, was “sold to the government and moved to the Rawdon village and used for a barracks in 1837.”This has not been documented.A story from 1856 indicates the barracks was still in use for military purposes when the close of the Crimean War was celebrated with a huge bonfire at this site.An active militia was headquartered here during the Fenian raids of the 1860s.

The building was used at various times from the 1830s onwards as a Presbyterian Church with burials in a small cemetery beside it.At times it served as a community hall, a concert hall and a location for meetings of the Plymouth Brethren.In 1917, Dr. Robert E. Welsh, a Presbyterian minister, purchased it as a private residence.It passed through various hands before becoming a guesthouse, Silver Birches.Today, known as Bouleaux Argentés, it is a residence for facilitated living. It can be found at 3567 Church Street in Rawdon.

Bateman, Mr. - Hiram Bateman was a tanner. George takes cowhides to him either to sell or have made into leather. He was located "down" from the Coppings and near the village but his exact location is not known.

Bees- a gathering of neighbours to complete a task more quickly.The men had ploughing, mowing, stump pulling, logging and harvesting bees as well as house and barn “raisings”.The ladies of the house, assisted by neighbouring women, fed the workers. Women also held bees in their homes for time consuming household tasks such as quilting and preparing wool or flax for spinning.These were important social occasions as many women minded the isolation of living in the country far from their families and peers.Unless religious or personal belief forbade it, a bee ended with music, song and dance far into the night.

Blacksmith - The blacksmith shod horses and oxen with iron shoes made in his forge.He produced nails, bolts, harness parts, axes, scythes, awls, hammers, horseshoes, hinges, pots and chains and anyother items of iron.He fashioned the metal rims to protect sleigh runners, wagon and buggy wheels. The Coppings used Mr. Norrish who was also a gunsmith. See: Norrish.

There were other blacksmiths in the community at this time.On the 1831 census Thomas Robinson, John Carroll and Joseph Larenau gave this as their trade. In 1839, according to an entry in the St- Jacques church register, Richard Lee was also a blacksmith in Rawdon.

Blistering - a remedy for toothache, boils, congestion or infection used for people and livestock.A scalding hot poultice of some organic substance such as flour, meal, grain or stale bread and boiling water was made.This would be put into a cloth and tied in place until it cooled.The heat would help to draw an infection out. 

George mentions using such a poultice on the back of his neck to cure toothache!Apparently it was not particularly effective as two days later George is still complaining of a toothache.

In the case of colds, chest congestion and coughs, the preferred poultice was one part mustard, four parts flour for a child with more mustard used for an adult. The patient’s chest was smeared with goose grease or lard and the plaster was laid, mustard side down, on the patient’s chest until it cooled. More grease was rubbed on the area after the plaster was removed. The heat of the plaster and burn irritation to the skin caused blood to rush to that part of the body and helped to break up the congestion or infection. Plasters were also made from pitch.See Pitch Plaster.

Boiling - as in, “He is boiling today”. See: Potash Making, See: Syrup & Sugar Making

Booth, Mr. - either John or James Booth; both were natives of County Leitrim and had arrived with their families at Rawdon about 1830.They may have been brothers but their relationship to each other is not clear. Mr. Booth did the plastering of the new Copping house.

Bourne, Rev. R.H - Rowland Hill Bourne replaced the Reverend C. P. Reid (1834 - 1836) and was the incumbent minister at Christ Church, Anglican from 1837 - 1846.He was a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.He married and was widowed while at Rawdon.In the early days the parish was jointly Church of England and Church of Ireland.

Bow or Ox Bow - a wooden collar, single or double, made to yoke an ox or oxen to farm equipment for pulling.A heavy, curved piece goes over the top of the neck and a lighter- weight, steam- bent (bowed) piece extends from the collar, under the neck and up to the collar again.The ox’s head is locked in with a wooden pin.Chains are attached to a circular ring on the bow and that chain attaches to whatever is to be pulled or drawn by the ox. The French Canadian style of ox- bow, called a head yoke, went over the animal’s horns instead of his neck and was less effective.

Breaking Roads - Pushing through the woods with a horse or ox drawing a weighted sledge or sleigh in order to break the brush and small saplings down.This was done as often as required to keep the trails open.

The term used in reference to winter roads meant continuous driving through an area to pack the snow down and so keep the road open.

Brown - Robert Brown, c.1783-1831, and Margaret McMullan, c.1776-1846, were from County Antrim, Ireland. The family arrived at Rawdon in 1824-5.Robert and his three sons had adjoining lots on north side the Seventh Range, Lots 25 -28.Robert was reported killed in 1831, an inquest was held, but the circumstances are not known.Margaret and her family struggled on. The children Gawn, William, Jane, Elizabeth, James, Susanna and Agnes (Nancy) are each mentioned in the Journal.George records frequent exchanges of goods and visits between the families.The Coppings attended balls, bees and weddings at the Browns.Mrs. Copping went to have “blood took” by Margaret indicating she had some practical medical skills.James apparently had tailoring skills as hecut out a jacket and trousers for Joseph Copping.

Calf Bed - uterus. George meant a heifer or cow had a prolapsed uterus when he said “the calf bed came down” after the animal had given birth. Unless it was put back the animal would die.This is extremely hard work to accomplish and requires technique, patience and a lot of arm and shoulder strength.

Canadian - at this time, this meant a French-Canadian.

Carpenters - The Misters Genenerux (sic. Genereaux?) were father and son.They were hired to clapboard George Copping’s house, make door and window frames, lay floors and build stairs for him. The Copping house was being rebuilt after a fire had destroyed their earlier home.The Genereux’ were not holders of property in Rawdon and may have been from elsewhere as George refers to their leaving, being gone and returning.

Chopping - as a verb, refers either to the felling of trees or the cutting of the undergrowth and saplings with an axe.

As a noun, chopping referred to partially cleared land that had not yet been brought fully into cultivation. Documents related to granting of Letters Patent refer to number of acres cleared and number of acres of chopping.

Clockman - Mr. Fairbank.There are two references in the Journal.The first is on Friday, 6th. April, 1838 . . . “and Mr. Fairbank, the clockman left his horse here tonight” and the second on Wednesday, 5th Feby, 1840,“The clockman called for the remainder due.”

Beverly Prud’homme has this Copping family clock. It was manufactured by the Twiss family, a father and five sons all in the clock business, who were originally from Connecticut but established at Montreal. One brother, Russell lived at St- Jacques and is buried in the Methodist Cemetery at Rawdon.He died on May 14, 1851 in a hunting accident at age 43.Possibly Mr. Fairbank was an employee, the name does not appear in church, census or other contemporary documents.He may have been adjusting the clock and / or collecting payment.

Clog - a heavy, short length of log tied in the middle and usually attached to the horse’s front foot by a rope.It was intended to make it difficult for an animal to go far or jump fences.George says he made “a clog” for the black horse because they couldn’t keep it in the pasture and out of the crops.

Cooper - barrel maker.Barrels were used as storage containers and to transport potash, butter and other produce to market. William was the barrel maker in the Copping family.On the 1831 Rawdon Census, there was one cooper listed; he was named Thomas Wallace.

Cradling Oats - See: Grain Harvesting.

Cut - castrated, as in “We got the hog cut today.” Castrated animals gained weight faster, were more docile and the meat did not have the strong taste associated with full- fledged males.See: Hog.

Cutting Potatoes See: Potatoes.

Draw - to carry, move or convey a load of anything from one place to the other.

Drill-See: Potatoes.

Dugas, Mr. - a miller and entrepreneur, he was born in the USA but was probably of Canadian or Acadian origin.His first name was variously spelled Philemon, Philémon and Firmin. He was one of the earliest (c.1815) settlers and investors in the Rawdon area.He served as land agent, at one point and owned a farm, and two mills, a sawmill and a gristmill as well as a general store.He was the enumerator for the 1825 and 1831 census and one of the earliest school commissioners.One of his daughters, Julie, was married to John Copping. 

&c. - old way of writing etcetera or etc.

Fan - see Grain Harvesting.

Fit - used in reference to a crop, it means ripe, mature and ready for harvesting.

Flax / Linen - Women were responsible for the processing of the flax fibers as well as weaving and making the clothing. These fibers were rough, tough and often cut hands and fingers. There are several references in the Journal to “the women having very sore hands” from working with the flax.
Flax / Linen Making Terms:
Beetling - beating with a heavy wooden mallet or beetle to release long 
fibers from the flax stems.This flattens the stems prior to scutching.

Scutching & Hackling - breaking the flax to release the linen fibers from the beetled or beaten stems. Elizabeth Copping assembled 10 to 12 women to help her with this chore, according to her husband. In the Journal, it is spelled “scuthing”.

Spinning, Dying& Weaving - a spinning wheel was used to twist the fibers into a fine thread or yarn which would be woven into cloth or used as thread for sewing.New linen was roughand scratchy and often used as bed sheets before being made into clothing. A few washings helped soften the fabric.Coloured yarn or thread was obtained by the use of vegetable and plant dyes prior to spinning.

Stripping – tearing off the outer covering or tough sheath of the flax stems.

Gaol - Old English spelling for jail

Grain HarvestingThe grain was reaped or cut down with a scythe, cradled and then bound into bundles or sheaves with twine or a piece of straw.The sheaves were then stooked in the field.This meant stacking six or more sheaves to form teepee shapes. The stook would shed rain and allow the grain to dry in the sunlight and air before threshing.

Removing the grain from the stock of the plant was called threshingThe grain stems with the ‘ears’ of seeds intact, were trampled or flailed on the threshing floor to release the individual seeds from the ears or seed heads.Use of the flail often resulted in a backache such as described by George.

The grain then needed to be winnowed or fanned to remove the chaff (oat husks), broken straw and other impurities. George used a fan and riddle for “cleaning grain”.

The threshed grain was stored in cribs, bins or barrels. When needed, it was taken to a mill, a few bushels at a time to be ground into flour or meal.Hence, we read of many journeys to the mill.At the mill, rolling removed the hulls and some oats was used in this form to make porridge.

The best grain was reserved as seed for the following year. However, most of the grain crop was used for animal food and during hard winters the straw, too, could be fed to the animals to supplement a meager or dwindling supply of hay. Mostly, straw was used as bedding for the livestock and sometimes to stuff mattresses, particularly for the children’s beds. Chaff was given to the poultry to peck through.

Grain Harvesting Terms
Cradle- a rake-like scoop with a long handle and tangs of wood that pointed sideways.It was used in gathering the mown grain that was then tied into sheaves for drying. Cradling was the act of gathering the grain to make sheaves.
Fan and Riddle - the fan was used to blow away the chaff while the riddle or sieve strained out the larger coarser bits.George mentions purchasing a fan for twenty pounds of beef in 1840.
Threshing Floor -the wooden floor of a barn or outbuilding where grain is flailed or threshed to separate it from the straw prior to being taken to a mill to be ground for flour.
Grass seed – hayseed, not the type used for modern day lawns.

Greening, Edward, Barney, and Owen - SeeGreenan.

Greenan - Edward Greenan was an Irish Catholic settler who figures prominently in the Journal in 1836.He was located at 8 / N 17 and received his Letters Patent in 1839. George also referred to Owen and Barney (actually Bernard) Greening.Other Greenans at Rawdon were John, James and Michael.Their relationship is not clear but John and Bernard (see 1831 census) may have been brothers and the others their sons. The name is also spelled Green, Grennan, Guinan and Guinon in some documents.

Griffith, Col. - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Griffith, a Protestant, possibly of Irish birth arrived in Rawdon 1826- 30.He is listed on the 1831 census as being a retired British officer with 300 acres residing at 1 / N 27. In 1843 he received patent for 2 / 28 & 7 / N 19 as well. He was land agent for the Crown from 1832- 35 or longer.

Hay Harvesting - Hay was cut with a scythe and left lying on the ground to dry. When sufficiently dry, it was raked by hand with wooden rakes into piles, or coles as they were sometimes called.These coles were loaded onto a wagon and drawn into the barn where it was forked into the mows. When the barn was full, the remaining hay was piled in a convenient place in the field to be hauled in winter by horse and sleigh when needed. There are references in the Journal to the Copping boys doing just that.

Heifer - a female calf or young female which has not yet given birth.

Hobbs, Mr. - Miller.George Hobs or Hobbs, as it was usually spelled, was a Loyalist born in New York State possibly of German origin and came to Rawdon from Prince Edward Island.

Hog -Technically speaking, a hog is a castrated boar. In writing of having the “hog cut”, George was using hog in the broader sense of a male pig.

Hooey, Mr. - made shoes for the Coppings. John Hoey received Letters Patent in 1836 for 100 acres at 11 / S 27.He was listed as a shoemaker on the 1851 census and was a Roman Catholic, born in Ireland c. 1786.

Indians - Although not recorded as residing in Rawdon at the time of settlement, Indians still camped there as they followed their trails through the Township hunting and possibly farming along the rivers.These were probably of the Algonquin tribe, which was indigenous to the area.

Jeffries, Col. - Correctly spelled Jefferies. Lieutenant Colonel John Jefferies owned about 1000 acres on the First and Second Ranges and lived on Lot 20 South of the 2nd Range.He was Justice of the Peace at the time of the Journal. He campaigned to have a church built in Rawdon Village to supplement or replace the earlier one on the 2nd range.Old George and “the Boys” supported this project and a wooden structure was built on the corner of Church and Third Avenue facing onto Church Street. This structure was replaced in 1857 by the present stone building.

Jerseyone of the Copping cows.Can one assume that she was so named because of her origin?If so, this is one of the earliest references to Jerseys in Canada.In later generations, several Copping men were breeders of purebred Jersey cattle.

Keo’s Schoolhouse - used as a schoolhouse through the week and on Sundays as a Sunday School that seemed to be attended by adults as well as children.George Keo or Keogh, whose Ticket of Location at the 8th Range, Lot 24 South dates from 1821, was situated due north of the Coppings.He was Irish Protestant.

Andrew Keo / Keogh / Kehoe an Irish Catholic was located at 8 / 20. Was it a co- incidence that they were neighbours or were they related?

Law, Mr. - George makes frequent mention of the Law family, natives of County Down, his near neighbors at 6 / N 25. Usually the reference is to “Mr. Law” or to “Mrs. Law” which is confusing as there were at least three families of that name.He refers specifically to Hugh, Henry and William Law’s girls.

Hugh Law was first noted at Rawdon in 1822 and the other members appear to have arrived after 1831.Hugh was married to Jane Marlin.William Marlin and his wife Nancy (Law) are also frequently mentioned and are possibly brother and sister to Hugh and Jane.

Henry was recognized for his knowledge of the illnesses and problems of animals and as such George called on him to put back the calf bed or uterus of a cow which “came down” when giving birth. Henry is also mentioned as having made the coffins when two little Copping grandsons died.

Letching Potash - leaching the lye from the ashes. See: Potash Making Terms.

Lime - is prepared by heating limestone to a high temperature in a kiln so that it disintegrates into a powder. Lime was needed for agricultural purposes and was sprinkled onto fields or garden plots to ‘sweeten’ the soil and promote better plant growth.

Lime was also needed to make mortar and plaster.In colonial times it would have been mixed with mud, straw, or even manure to make a mortar mixture to fill in the spaces or chinks between logs in a log cabin or out building.The interior walls of the houses were finished with lath and plaster.

Lime or hydrated lime (mixed with water) was used to disinfect farm buildings and outhouses.The lime the Coppings used was refined at St Jacques de Montcalm, approximately 12 miles away.See: Pot Ash - for use of lime in that process.

Livestock - horses, sheep, pigs and cattle are frequently mentioned.Often this was because they were “in” the oats, garden or potatoes.In George’s words, "The hogs and pigs are in mischief."Hence, references to fence building and mending, the making of clogs, the altercations between neighbours and the compensations that had to be paid for damages. 

Despite this, George loved his animals and referred to them by name; there is as much detail about them as of his children.

Horses were expensive to purchase and maintain. At this time, although George had a horse, they were still considered a luxury on the farm. Most early settlers made do with an ox and the poorest had neither. The Journal records how these draught animals were often borrowed. 

George also writes of buying and trading turkeys and of turkeys hatching. Though not mentioned, we can be sure that there were chickens and other fowl.

MealGrain, which has been coarsely, crushed (corn, wheat, oats or peas) for animal and poultry feed. 

Miller - one who grinds grain into meal or flour.Hobbs, Dugas, and Archambo (sic Archambault) are those mentioned.There were others in the community at this time.

Melting - See: Potash Making.

Melting wood - hardwoods that burned especially hot for use under a rendering or syrup kettle.

Moulding up - See: Potatoes.

Necessary - George’s euphemism for an outhouse.

Norrish, Old Mister - Blacksmith. William Norrish, a military pensioner, was a native of Devonshire, England.He was born in 1779 and only a year older than Mr. Copping.He immigrated to Rawdon with his family in 1832.He was also a gunsmith.

Peas - George makes many mentions of planting and harvesting peas.They were one of the staple crops cooked in soups and stews providing nourishment during the long winters. They were also a fodder crop - there is an old rhyme about the farmer growing peas, oats and vetches. George speaks of “harrowing in” which implies the seed was broadcast and then a harrow was used to cover the seed with soil.The boys “mowed” the plants; they were then stored in a dry place and the pods were removed and opened up or “threshed” as needed.He is seen to be “cleaning up” and threshing peas at all seasons.Some were ground for meal as he mentions taking peas to the mill.There were many varieties of peas; he refers to Brown peas (possibly the seed came from his neighbors, the Browns), peas of Mrs. Allen’s sort, big peas and sugar peas.The latter would be green peas for use as a vegetable.

Pitch Plaster - Pitch is the sap or resin exuded from evergreens such as pine or spruce. George mentions getting a pitch plaster from someone to help his sore shoulder. See:“Blistered or blistering”.

Pitch from the spruce tree was also chewed like gum and possibly provided vitamins as did spruce tea.

Plane - an instrument for shaving lumber to smooth it or to reduce the thickness. It has a sharp chisel- like blade embedded on the bottom of a wooden form and is pushed over the wood’s surface.

Potash - the main source of revenue for the early settlers at Rawdon.The European market for potash was very strong and with abundant local forests it seemed a limitless resource.

There were several potash houses in Rawdon that would be used by both the family who owned them and their neighbours.George’s sons each managed to purchase and settle their own farm with the proceeds from potash production.They made regular, monthly trips to Montreal with a barrel of potash. This operation, carried on twelve months of the year, was very labor intensive.

Trees were chopped and piled in long lengths to be burnt. Once lit, the piles were tended day and night until they had burnt out. It was essential not only to have fresh ashes but that the ashes not be contaminated by rain or any other foreign matter. These ashes were carefully collected, sifted and placed in leaching vats or tubs. The bottom of the vat was slanted, perforated and lined with straw and possibly lime. Lime, although not necessary, produced a superior product called pearlash. The Coppings seemed always to use it. Boiling water was poured over the ashes and leached into letching pans placed under the vats. This residue was then evaporated over an open fire leaving the potash salts in the pan.

Potash Making Terms

Boiling - As in, “He is boiling today”.- boiling the residue from leaching to reduce it to the white powder of refined potash.The potash was then packed in barrels for storage and safe handling during shipping. 

Care had to be taken at all stages of the process before the potash was dry.Any liquid splashed or spilled on skin could cause severe burning and splashed into the eyes it could cause blindness.

Letches - leaching vats where hot water was slowly poured through the wood ashes to ‘leach’ out the potash or lye solution.

Melting - the liquefying of ash with water during the letching or leaching process.

“Save his ashes.” – taking action to keep the ashes dry whenever it rained.If the ashes were left out in the rain, the lye would be leached out and render the potash worthless. The term has come down to the modern world in the sense of the need to protect one’s assets.

Troughs - wooden channels for conveying the liquid residue from the leaching process into the drying pans.

Potatoes - an important source of food for both man and animal. They were planted in the spring from ‘eyes’ cut from the previous year’s supply.In smaller or confined areas, they were “hoed in” a hill of earth.In larger areas or fields drills were made with a plough.See below for drill and moulding.

In the fall, they were dug and stored in a root cellar that George called a "potato house" or in a cellar under the family house.The best potatoes were kept for eating and seed, the others were usually cut and cooked for the animals. 

During the winter the potatoes were turned over regularly to prevent spoilage, the rotten ones discarded and any sprouts removed. At planting time the potatoes with the most eyes would be chosen and cut for seed.

Potatoes - associated terms

Cutting Potatoes - dividing a seed potato into pieces with a knife - each with one or more ‘eyes’.The ‘eye’ is one of many dimples in the potato surface where a sprout will appear.

Drill - a row of earth raised with a horse and plow. Seed was then placed in ‘the 

furrow’ or drill and the drill was plowed again to cover the seed.

Moulding up - hoeing around potatoes or other root plants to mould them up with earth to encourage rooting, thus producing more and larger tubers. When livestock got into a plot and trampled the plants, they had to be hilled or moulded up again in the hope that they would live on to produce a crop of mature tubers.

Reshaw, Monsieur - a maker of cedar shingles.The man’s given name is written variously as Clemour and Clemmer.He was likely Clement Richard, a French Canadian.There were several property owners with the surname Richard on the Township map drawn in the late 1840s.

Riddle - a sieve or mesh for passing meal through to separate coarser material from a finer one. See: Grain Harvesting.

Robinson’s - Robinson’s was a typical general store.Settlers brought their produce here to sell or exchange.

There were several unrelated Robinson families living in Rawdon at this time. The Robinsons mentioned in the Journal are a branch of a family from County Fermanagh who arrived about 1823-24. In later times, they owned a department store (or stores) in Ontario (and possibly elsewhere).

Rope - George made rope from bark to tether the livestock.He would have used bark from a tree with a tough and pliable fibre.

Salt - Salt was not found locally and had to be imported.Its weight would have made it an expensive commodity.At times, in the Journals, George speaks of people going to the store and neighbours to get some.These trips were not always successful.

Sawmill - George mentions Mr. Truesdelle’s and Monsieur LeMarle’s.There were many sawmills at Rawdon at this time.The name LeMarle does not appear in the listing of those receiving Letters Patent and so may have been a short term resident. See: Truesdell.

Scythe - a very long, sharp, curved blade attached to a long handle for cutting grain and hay. This required a wide, side-to-side swinging motion with both arms fully extended.Use of the scythe required great skill and strength.George often speaks of a sore back after he has been scything. See: Haymaking and Grain Harvesting.

Sharp / Sharpe, Mr. - George Sharp (the family added an “e” in later generations) and his family were from Kilglass, Sligo, Ireland and arrived at Rawdon between 1832 and 1838.He is mentioned shearing the Coppings’ sheep. 

Shoemaker - or cobbler.Mr. Hooey (see: Hoey) is mentioned making shoes and boots as is Mr. Allen.George Harkness, John Burns and John Stephenson are also named as shoemakers on the 1831 census.

Sledge - a low, sleigh type conveyance made of plank. Pulled by horses or oxen it was used to move rocks, boulders or other such large bulky items. It was also called a stone boat.

Sleigh - a winter conveyance for goods and people.When George speaks of a sleigh being shod, he means having the blacksmith attach strips of metal under the runners of the sleigh allowing it to glide with greater ease through the snow. The metal sheathing would also prevent the runners from wearing out quickly.

Spinning - twisting and winding thread or yarn from wool and flax with a spindle or spinning wheel. George and Elizabeth Copping’s daughter, Mary, is mentioned as spinning at home and at her brother’s.Some families kept at least one black sheep to provide black yarn.

Spinning Wheel - a spindle driven by a by wheel and powered by a treadle or crank.

Splitting out some rails - splitting logs into rails to make fences for fields and pastures. Cedar was usually used as it is easier to split and does not rot as quickly as other wood.

Splitting Shakes - making shingles for roofing or siding. Cedar was commonly used and is very flammable; a spark from a chimney could spell disaster. For this reason a ladder was kept nearby to allow ready access to the roof. Many early houses had a ladder permanently installed on the roof.During the winter snow on the roof helped prevent such fires.

George, the eldest son, seemed to be the shingle maker in the family as there are references to his making shingles as well as family members getting shingles from him.

Syrup & Sugar Making - is an example of the self-sufficiency of the early settlers as in many families maple was the only sweetener used.It was cheaper than imported sugar and molasses.Thus, sugar production was an important aspect of the domestic economy and a source of welcome cash as maple products were much sought after in the marketplace.

Syrup and sugar making was done in early spring when daytime temperatures rose above freezing and fell below at night it causing the sap, which had collected over the winter in the roots of trees, to rise up to the trunks. Maple trees were tapped by boring through the bark and into the core of the trees. Small hollow, wooden spouts were inserted to catch the sap as it roseand divert it into wooden troughs, placed below. 

The sap was collected and taken to a large sugar kettle, hung on a tripod, to be boiled down. It was boiled until it reached the desired thickness for syrup, then poured into stoneware jugs for storing until needed. Approximately forty gallons of sap is required to make one gallon of syrup. 

To make sugar, the sap was boiled to a higher temperature. The kettle was then quickly removed from the fire and the molten sugar poured into moulds to harden. Once hardened the sugar was removed from the moulds to ‘air dry’. Moulds varied in size from one to eight or more pounds. The colour of maple sugar ranged from the palest to a dark brown, depending on the quality of the sap used and the care taken in producing it.

Towards the end of “the run” when the sap was not fit for sugar, vinegar was made. The Copping family made very little syrup, some vinegar, but mostly produced sugar. 

Syrup & Sugar Making Terms:

Spouts - small hollow, wooden tubes inserted into holes bored into maple trees to channel the sap into waiting troughs.

Sugar Kettle - a large cast iron pot or kettle used to boil down the sap in the making of maple sugar.

Sugary - George Copping uses the phrases “in the sugary” and “at the sugary” to refer to the sugar bush or woods where the trees were tapped.The Copping farm had a large percentage of sugar maples on it.George also uses the term for the shack or cabin (cf. Fr. cabane) or shanty (cf. Fr. chantier) where the syrup and sugar were made and was built close to the maple forest for convenience. 

Troughs - wooden troughs placed under the spouts to collect the flow of the sap.

Tanner - bought raw hides from the settlers and sold them leather to make shoes, moccasins, crude machine belts, harness and other items.He would use potash or lye in his tanning process. See: Bateman.

Threshing& Threshing Floor - See: Grain Harvesting.

Tough - strong cord or thread possibly made from linen fibers.

Train - George is using the Quebeçois term for a bobsled. This was a sleigh with two sets of runners or “bunks”. These bunks were held together with a long pole and chains which allowed the length of the sleigh to be adjusted.Whether or not it was fitted with a box depended on what it was to beused for. Logs or lumber were piled directly onto the bunks and tied securely with chains and binder to keep it in place for the haul.This type of sled was very useful in the bush as the runners being flexible; it was easier to get around steep or sharp curves and trees.

Travoy - a Quebeçois term used by George and refers to the shafts used to hitch a horse to a sleigh, carriage or wagon.

TroughsSee: Potash Making. See: Syrup & Sugar Making.

Truesdell, Mr. - Daniel Truesdell was a miller of Loyalist origin but was probably born at Sorel, Quebec.He married a Dugas daughter.The surname has many variations but his Francophone descendants are now mostly known as Trudel.

George Copping purchased a ¼ pound of tobacco from Truesdell on May 18, 1840.Truesdell had likely grown the tobacco himself.Tobacco was commonly grown for personal use and as a cash crop in that area.

“Up the township” - the higher ranges.In Quebec, the French word range was used for concession. George’s farm was on the sixth range thus Johnstons and Sharps who were on the 10th Range would be “up the township” from him.

Water Furrows - channels dug to divert and drain waters away from a field, road or building.

Wipple Tree- whippletree, also known as a whiffletree or a pair of swingletrees.It is a cylindrical wooden crossbar with metal collars and hooks at each end and one in the middle for attaching to the front of a plough, wagon, sleigh, etc. Traces from the horse’s collar were hooked to the ends of the whippletree enabling the animal to pull the equipment on command.A blacksmith made the metal parts that would be reused when the wood broke from long or heavy use.


March 2002

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