Springfield Farm, 1869-2019
A Historical Perspective of the Land, the Holinshead Family and Huntsville
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Huntsville teacher Shelley Yearley, whose family’s farming life in north Muskoka began just two years after Confederation, recounts in her well-researched account of Springfield Farm the saga of pioneer settlement, the evolution of farming practices, development of the farm as a tourist lodge, the role of British “home children” in farm work, and dozens of other down-to-earth aspects of community evolution during a century and a-half.
Particularly instructive in this engaging book is the author’s candor and her comprehensive treatment of subjects. Often books about Muskoka begin with settlers arriving in “an empty wilderness” and disregard 7,000 years of prior habitation. “For thousands of year the Muskoka region was occupied by Indigenous people,” writes Yearley, who then incorporates rich material about that long foundational chapter in the District’s history.
Her well-illustrated book compiles memories, photos, and documents of the special place called Springfield Farm at Huntsville’s Fairy Lake which William and Lucy Jane Holinshead established in 1869 upon arriving from England for some of Muskoka’s free land. They raised crops, livestock, and eleven children. Their farm, still in operation today, evolved with Muskoka through generations of their family. Shelley Yearley uses the farm as a mirror to also reflect the larger Muskoka and Canadian community of which it was, and remains, an integral part.
Publisher: Shelley Yearley, Huntsville, 2019
Cateogry: Memoir, history, Muskoka farming society and tourism, Indigenous
Price: $45.00 CDN
Format: Softcover, 227 pages, extensive photographs, 8½ x 11 in