Chapter 7.1.1

Fredrick Marvin Quanz


         Frederick Marvin Quanz, first son of John and Caroline Quanz, was born March 5, 1895 on the 14th concession of Carrick Township. Fred grew up on a farm on the 4th Concession of Wallace with his two brothers Harvey Eldon and Ervin John and one sister Alvera Marguerite. During his life he had careers in farming, barbering, farm implement dealership store manager, and carpenter.


         Veronica (Frona) Katherine Walter, daughter of Henry and Annie Walter, was born on the 7th Concession of Wallace Township on December 29th, 1895.


         Fred and Frona were married June 13, 1917 at the 6th Line Evangelical United Brethren Church.  Their reception was held back at the Walter family farm on Concession 6. The following pictures show those who attended the reception.


         Fred died November 7, 1972. Veronica died December 20th, 1991. Both are buried in the 6th Line Cemetery Wallace Township.





Fred and Veronica Quanz Wedding - June 13, 1917

























Fred & Veronica's Wedding Party - June 13, 1917

L to R: Gordon Walter (Veronica's brother), Fred Quanz (groom), Veronica Walter (bride),

Sybila Miller (Fred's cousin), Alvera Quanz (Fred's sister).







         In 1921, Fred and Veronica (Walter) Quanz purchased the farm, at Concession 6, Lot 35, from Cornelius Walter, becoming the third generation of the Walter family to own this farm. Dairying with purebred Holsteins was predominant, with hogs, chickens and beef feeders included. Hay, fall wheat, oats, barley, mangles, turnips and occasionally buckwheat were cropped to feed the stock. Staple vegetables were grown in large amounts to feed their family through the winter.


         Their son, Harry Laverne Quanz, was born here on Sept. 2, 1921, and their son, Walter John Quanz, was born here on March 13, 1928. A daughter Marguerite died in infancy.










Fred, Veronica, Harry and Walter Quanz - 1928











Fred, Veronica, Harry and Walter Quanz - 1928






         In 1930, the farm was rented to Harry Pletch. The family moved to Kitchener and Fred took up barbering. They lived on both Glasgow Street and St. Ledger Street. After 2 years they moved to Elmira then the family returned to the farm in 1934.



K-011 Fred Quanz Family Picture 001













Fred Quanz Family Picture

Walter, Harry

Fred, Veronica (Frona)










         In 1941, Harry moved to Fort Erie and later that year married Betty Zurbrigg of Palmerston. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. and after the war they moved to Kitchener. Harry was employed at J.M. Schneiders until his retirement.


         In the 1940s the Farm Forum met at the local schoolhouse (S.S. #7, Wallace). Walter was elected president - the youngest person in Ontario to hold this office. In 1948, the farm was sold to Albert McDowell. Fred, Veronica and Walter moved to St. George. Walter was employed with two of Canada's top Holstein herds, Glenafton Farms at Alliston and Sheffield Farms, St. George. In 1949, he married Ruby Bramhill. In 1951, he joined Bramhill Service Centre, Palmerston. Walter served on Minto Township Council for 10 years - six as Reeve. He was Warden of Wellington County in 1987.


         In 1950 Fred and Frona moved to a large home in Listowel at the corner of Blake Street and York Street. This was the home of Frona’s parents Henry and Annie Walter. Fred worked for the Davidson Car Dealership in Listowel. Fred also did carpentry work for many neighbours and continued his barbering.


         In 1968 they moved to Albert Street in Palmerston where they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.



VQ-170 - Fred and Veronica Quanz Anniversary 1972.jpg








Fred and Veronica Quanz

 50th Wedding Anniversary






         Fred passed away on Nov. 7, 1972. After several years Veronica sold their home and moved to a mobile home in Palmerston, then to a senior’s apartment. In 1990 she moved to Wellington Terrace in Elora where she lived until she passed away on December 20, 1992.


         Children of Veronica (Walter) and Fred Quanz:

1.     Marguerite Quanz – born November 4, 1918 on the 6th Line of Wallace. She passed away the same day and is buried at the 6th Line Cemetery.


2.     Harry Laverne Quanz – born September 2, 1922. Married at Palmerston United church on October 15, 1941 to Elizabeth Marie (Betty) Zurbrigg who was born September 22, 1921, daughter of Harold Zurbrigg and his wife Elsie Alder. They resided in Fort Erie after their marriage. Harry served in the Air Force as Sargent, Air Gunner, in World War II. As of 1976 they resided in Waterloo, Ontario where they built their house. Harry was employed in Distribution and Warehousing at J. M. Schneiders and Betty at Anaesthesia Associates.


Children of Harry and Betty Quanz:

                                                    i.     Karen Elizabeth Quanz – born December 11, 1943. She married on October 14, 1964, to Allan Lee Grover who was born April 29, 1943 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Divorced. Karen lived in Waterloo, Ontario until she passed away on January 17, 2009 in Waterloo.


Children of Karen and Allan Grover:

a)     Lee Harry Grover – born September 24, 1967 in Prince George British Columbia.


b)     Dawn Marie Grover – born January 22, 1969 in Prince George British Columbia.



                                                  ii.     Kenneth Laverne Quanz – born October 12, 1946, in Kitchener. Graduated from Stratford Teachers College and taught at Centennial Senior Public School, Waterloo. Ken married on July 11, 1972 to Lily “Lil” Mae Johnson born December 11, 1948. Lil graduated from Teachers College, London, and taught at New Hamburg Elementary Public School. They reside in Baden, Ontario.

Children of Ken and Lil Quanz:

a)     Peter Laverne Quanz – born August 22, 1979 in Kitchener Ontario.


b)     Catherine “Kate” Elizabeth Quanz – born December 2, 1982 in Kitchener Ontario.




3.     Walter John Quanz – Born in Wallace Township on March 13, 1928. Married in Zion E.U.B. Church, Wallace, on July 16, 1949 to Ruby Bramhill born May 31, 1930, daughter of Clendon Bramhill and his wife Violet Bridge. Walter and Ruby were married in a double wedding with their first cousins Marguerite Quanz and Donald Bridge. They resided about 1 mile west of Palmerston, where Walter was in partnership in the Bramhill Service Centre Farm Equipment dealership.


Children of Walter and Ruby Quanz:

a)      Richard John Quanz – born May 22, 1951. Married Elaine Parker born September 26, 1950. Both attended Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener where they met. They married on August 26, 1972 at the New Dundee Missionary Church. They reside in Markham, Ontario.


b)      Joanne Mae Quanz – born November 10, 1953. Accompanied her grandmother Frona on a trip to the Holy Land.


c)       Janice Marie Quanz – born March 6, 1957. Janice graduated as a registered nurse and moved to the United States to work in a hospital. She married James Nelson who passed away from a heart attack and then married Garry Ramsey. Jan and Garry reside in North Carolina.


d)      Quinton James Quanz – born October 23, 1962 in Palmerston Ontario. Stillborn.





Some Early History of the 6th Line

By Walter Quanz


         In 1921 Fred and Veronica (Walter) Quanz purchased the farm – Lot 35, Concession 6 – from Cornelius Walter, becoming the 3rd generation of the Walter family to own this farm. Dairying, along with purebred Holsteins, was predominant with hogs, chickens and beef feeders included. Hay, fall wheat, oats, barley, mangles, turnips and occasionally buckwheat where cropped to feed the stock. Staple vegetables were grown in large amounts to feed their family through the winter.


Harry was born here on September 2, 1921.


         In 1926, the frame of the straw shed was raised – jacked up by numerous screw jacks. Many hands were required for this task and if jacks were not in a totally upright position, they would “jump” with considerable force. One jack “jumped” and hit a neighbour, Ben Greer, on the side of the head. He was attended to on-site, but no thought was given to taking him to the hospital. This was not uncommon in that day. He recovered completely. New concrete stabling was also installed.

About this time the Gabriel Mehring home burned. The frantic efforts to save the house could be seen from our home ¼ mile away.


         The gravelling of roads in this era was done by horse drawn wagons and many men with shovels and rakes. The wagon boxes were especially built for hauling gravel. Plank sides would lift up and the floor, consisting of 2x4s could then be turned over to unload the wagon in minutes. Everyone on the concession had to supply a team and wagon a given number of days plus an allotted number of man-hours. Harry, at age 7, drove a team and wagon for one day. Gravel for this section of the road came from the Henry Mehring farm.


Walter was born here March 13, 1928.


         About 1929, after hours of discussion, a dredge was brought in to straighten and deepen the Maitland River from the 6th Concession bridge to the south limits of the David Greer farm. The dredge was a monstrous piece of equipment, powered by a gasoline engine. Too heavy for transport by trucks of the day, it crossed farm fields to take the shortest route. It moved under its own power, slowly, in a walking fashion three posts/legs on each side it crossed both front field, west to east, into Ben Greer’s field, then onto the road and down to the river.


         In 1930 the farm was rented to Harry Pletch, the family moved to Kitchener and Fred took up barbering. The family returned to the farm in 1934.


         In January 1937 while Elwyn and Vera (Quanz) Krotz were visiting with us, Vera became very ill. Dr. Pratt diagnosed it as pneumonia and attempted to treat Vera at home, calling in a special nurse to be with her 24 hours/day. Her condition deteriorated necessitating moving her to Listowel Hospital 8 miles away. Auto traffic in winter was not possible at that time. A neighbor, Milton Kress, volunteered his sleigh. It had a deep, closed on all sides, box. A thick layer of hay was placed in the bottom, the patient was wrapped and covered in wool blankets with hot bricks. After a valiant fight Vera recovered.


         In the winter time – usually in January – two heavy hogs and possibly one beef were killed to provide meat for the family. Pork sausage, summer sausage, head cheese, cured hams, were either smoked or canned for summer use. All this work was manual so friends or relations would come to help.


         Maple syrup time was a time of hard work, tapping trees, gathering and boiling sap, bringing home the syrup. During heavy runs of sap, two or three neighbors would alternate stoking the fires at night in the bush. For the young people, an evening of further boiling of syrup to produce “taffy” was a happy social event.


         In 1941 Harry moved to Fort Erie and later that year married Betty Zurbrigg of Palmerston. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. (Royal Canadian Air Force) and after the war they moved to Kitchener. Harry was employed at J. M. Schneiders until retirement.

In the 1940s the Farm Form met at the schoolhouse. Walter was elected president – the youngest person in Ontario to hold this office. Walter was employed with two of Canada’s top Holstein herds Glenafton Farms in Alliston and Sheffield Farms in St. George. In 1948 the farm was sold to Albert McDowell. Fred and Veronica and Walter moved to St. George. Fred and Veronica retired in Listowel and later moved to Palmerston.


         In 1949 he married Ruby Bramhill. In 1951 he joined Bramhill Service Centre, Palmerston, agents for the full line of Case, New Holland and Ford Farm and Industrial Equipment.


         Walter served on Minto Township Council for 10 years – 6 as Reeve and Warden of Wellington County in 1987.




Early Memories of Walter John Quanz


         I remember the day that I was born. It was on a cold and frosty winter morn. Well I don’t know for sure but my brother Harry says it was a sunny cold winter day. There was some activity when he left for school that morning and he was to go to Grandfather Quanz’s place after school, which was kitty-corner from the 6th Line Cemetery.


         I have a very clear picture in my mind of Mother driving a team on the binder with one gray horse and one bay horse. Dad was stooking as she was operating the binder. This was in the field behind the driving shed, which was painted red and there was a small gravel pit in one corner of the field at this time. I would have been about 1 ½ years old. This was all that I remember at that time but the picture is very clear.


         The next thing I remember was in Kitchener. We had apparently moved off the farm and Grandpa Walter had built a new house at 23 Glasgow Street in Kitchener. It was a dark brick with two moon-shaped holes in the porch. I remember the layout of the house as you entered front door, living room on the left, stairway to upstairs on the right. The dining room was on the left behind the living room and the kitchen on the right.


         Next door was a red brick house. In it lived a family from England with a boy my age. I spoke no English at the time and that boy spoke no German. They say we got along reasonably well with each other. We must’ve been 12 years old. We lived there about two years. Dad had gone to barber college and worked as a barber downtown next to mitigating jewelers. I remember the shop and all his Jewish friends who had stores around him.


         Grandfather Walter moved back to Wallace Township to a farm he got back on his hands due to the Great Depression. We moved in with Mother’s Aunt Clara and Uncle Norman Ruppel and their daughter Idona. There never was a dull moment there as Uncle Norman was always a lot of fun. Mother and her Aunt Clara were more like sisters than aunt and niece with just a few years difference in their age.


         Next we moved to St. Leger Street in Kitchener where Dad had a barbershop in the front part of the building and living quarters in the back part and upstairs. This was near the edge of the city as across the side street was a large sand hill and pit.

After some time there we moved to Elmira. I remember moving day. A fellow by the name of Dutavetz, with a stock truck, moved us and at the last minute there were about six pots with flower plants sitting there yet and the mover pitched them up on the truck and broke them. I still see mother crying.


         We arrived in Elmira where dad had a barbershop. A couple days after arriving there was a knock at the door and the neighbour lady came to visit. She asked where the rest of the family was and Mother said the oldest son Harry was at school and that there was just the two boys. She laughed and said the story went around that a family with eight boys was moving in. Mother and Mrs. Reith had a good laugh.


         Our neighbours were good friends. Wilfred worked for a bakery delivering bread. In the wintertime brother Harry would go with Wilford to open gates as they delivered a big sleigh-load of bread etc. to the farmers in the area. They would leave in the dark and return in the dark. Across the street, on the other side, lived an “Old Order Mennonite” who was the manager of Elmira Public Utility. He could not have a phone in the house so had a little building next to the house with the phone in it, so people could contact him if there was a problem. How would he hear it in the house? One Halloween someone called and he ran out to answer the phone and some boys tipped it over onto the door. I don’t know who got him out.


         At this time the Depression was in full swing. I can still see mother rinsing out the milk bottle with water and using it when she was baking. Silverwood’s bottles had cream at the top and we had a special spoon so we could dip some of the cream off for special things. I remember having Harlbutt’s Stories of the Bible read to me every night. I knew most of them all by heart but still liked to hear them. We attended the Evangelical Church where Rev. Chas Cornwall was the pastor. He was a good preacher and a great friend. I remember going to the prayer meeting with my mother every Wednesday night.


         I also remember getting a wooden horse and wagon for Christmas which I prized very highly. A friend and his girlfriend came one evening and they danced around the table. I don’t remember any music and they bumped into my present and broke it. Lillian Bender felt bad but not any worse than I did. She gave me other gifts for a couple of years has she worked in a bookstore in Kitchener. I remember Dad telling us one night that a fellow was into the barbershop. He drove a motorcycle and said that he’ll be in hell or Kitchener in five or seven minutes. He died a few minutes later on Dead Man’s Curve just outside of Elmira. I am sure statements like that should never be made.

         We later moved down to Mrs. Schaeffer’s house. This was Oscar Schmidt’s mother and she lived in the other part of the house. Across the road was Seiling’s Hatchery. I used to hide my toys under the couch when I would see Jerry Reith coming down the road to play. He was rough and often broke or damaged my toys. Jerry later became a Catholic priest.


         I started school in Elmira. I went to kindergarten. Olive Devitt was my teacher. I really liked her. We used to get a little bottle of milk or chocolate milk in the morning. In Grade 1 my teacher was Miss Young. I did not like her and I don’t think she liked me. It was while I was in Grade 1 that Dad got the farm back on his hands and we moved back to Wallace Township. This was in the Depression and at the time of Dad’s sale when we left the farm many things were sold on a note, however the Farmer’s Creditor Act was passed and Dad lost most of his money as they only paid a few cents on the dollar.


--- End ---




Harry and Walter Reminisce

         Harry and Walter and their families spent some time together after Christmas dinner in Palmerston and talked about old times. They reminisced about things that happened in their youth and growing up on the 6th Line Wallace. Here is a transcript of what they talked about.


Walter: When you were in the Air Force you came home one winter and the roads were all closed.  Dad had spent that fall and winter rebuilding a cutter that he finally had all done.  I think he had the seats reupholstered in red and we got a little driving horse from Noble.  We had decided to take her down and pick you up at Clint Noble’s.  Everything went fine but coming home I got cold. We were going up the road near the school so I got out and started to run to warm up.  That’s what you used to do if you got cold; you just got out and run behind the cutter for a while to warm yourself up.


John: What was the horse doing?  Was anyone else in the cutter?


Walter: Oh yeah, Dad and Harry were in the cutter.  We had a real steep hill going down our lane.  There was a box in the back of the cutter and when I got out of wind I jumped in the box instead of up with them.  We went down the hill and I don’t know what happened whether the runner got too close to her foot or what but she started to kick and smashed the cutter all to pieces, cleaned all the front of it off.  The hooves for coming up by their noses until she had everything smashed to pieces and then she stood there like a sheep.  Had I been sitting on their knee like I was earlier I would’ve had hoof marks all over my face.  It is a good job I got off.


Walter: And then Harry can give you a couple of experiences.


Harry: I took the horse and cutter to Palmerston one night when I was on crutches.  I went home the Cheese Factory side road.  When I was the other side of the Cheese Factory, as I moved my feet I realized there was only one crutch there. I had to find a place to turn around and go back to see if I could find the crutch.  I found it just at the edge of Palmerston.


Walter: And there was a bicycle. After you ride it so long the cones would tighten up on it and then it wouldn’t go.  So then you would turn it around and push backwards for while and then they would loosen up again.  When he had done this part way home he gave up and just picked the thing up and carried it.

He used to come in the woodshed door and up the steps into the house. In the morning the bicycle was in among the wood there and it wasn’t placed there any too gently.  As I understand it he just came in through the door and he gave it one heave onto the wood pile.  That was the last time he rode a bicycle.  He walked to town lots of times after that.


Harry: I never even looked at it the same way after that.


John: Wouldn’t it have been easier to fix why the cones were tightening up?


Harry: I did.  But when you’ve got a used bicycle and when it goes that way when you are out and supposed to be enjoying your self and you walk 10 steps this way then 10 steps that way, as soon as I got the shed door open I let drive for the far corner of the wood pile.


Ken: But that wasn’t the last time he rode a bicycle.


Harry: No, that wasn’t the last time. I rode a bicycle later on when I was down in Kitchener.  That was a new bike; that was a little different.


Ken: That’s the one that you used to bash in cars wasn’t it?


Harry: The cars couldn’t move fast enough.


Walter: He and Raymond Dechert were fixing an old Model-T up in the barn.  We had quite a steep barn-bank there and I don’t know what they were fixing but that old Model-T took fire.  You’ve never seen two fellows hurry more to push an old car out of the barn and down the hill.


Harry: All Raymond could say was "oh gee, oh gee".


Jean: He wasn’t a very good influence on you was he?



Walter: We cut a lot of wood. We had what they call a “drag saw” with a little gasoline engine and an arm connected to a saw and it would cut the blocks off the logs.  The belt was slipping this day, I wasn’t there when it happened but I mind Harry being hurt.


Harry: Yes the belt was slipping.  So I told Dad that I would run in and get a bag and dry it off.  I went in the stable and got a burlap bag and I very neatly held it in my hand.  I pushed it in at the bottom of the pulley to dry it off but somehow or another this burlap bag and my hand got caught and took my arm around.  I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t even check to see if my arm was broken.  I just walked toward the house.  As I got about halfway to the house I look back and there was Dad standing there looking as flabbergasted as I was.  He couldn’t believe what happened.  It happened so quickly and you wonder what happened.  It turned out there was no broken bones and even the muscles were not strained.  I’ll tell you at that time it was a shocker.


Walter: We cut some logs in the winter and in the spring that meant skidding logs.  We had one big Clyde horse and one little general purpose horse.  He was a tame horse to work with but he wasn’t very heavy.  I was back there in the bush helping Dad.  He was skidding them out and he had this one big log.  He just hooked the chain around it and he was pulling out.  Once you got it going you had to let them go.  This little fellow would get his feet going but he would slip because he was so light.  This log took a roll over toward the fence.  This was new land and it had pitch holes in it yet.  Dad didn’t want to stop the team so he stepped on the log to step over to the other side.  As he was standing on the lot it took a flip and I can see it yet as he went headfirst into the mud.  There are times when you can laugh and times when you just shouldn’t.  Did you ever watch someone fall into that muck and see how quickly they get up?  He was looking around for the team.  I’ll never forget that.


Harry: We used to go into the bush in the spring and boil Maple Syrup.  You’d have to go back to gather the sap, look after the boiling to make sure it didn’t run out.  Now, at butchering time, as they got near to the end of the summer sausage making, there would be a small amount left. Instead of the big bags of summer sausage they would use a natural casing and they would be this long – more like a salami now.  For some reason or other these would disappear when we went back to the bush.  I think Mom and Dad knew were it was going.  If we were going back I would go downstairs and shove one of them out the window; we would take it back and eat it.


Walter: We used to boil eggs in the sap and have them for lunch back there.


Harry: And when you are finished with the syrup, to bring it home to be finished, you would pour it into pails and try to get an equal amount and each pail.  You had a wood yoke and you would put a string with a small twig with a crotch that would create a hook that you could hang the pails on.  You used your hands more for steadying the pails than to carry them.


Jean: You were wading through quite a bit of snow then too.


Harry: And a lot of rotten snow.  Suddenly you would go down through the snow into water.  You couldn’t see the water.  You go in up to your knees and your foot would be very cold for the rest of the walk to the house.


Walter: You’re carrying the pails of syrup and you are down into snow right up to your crotch. You have to try and get your feet out of the hole so you can go on.


John: The pails were sealed?


Harry: No, no.


Walter: The pales were steel or sealed?


John: So if you fell you would spill the syrup.


Harry: Oh yes and that was hard earned syrup.


John: Why would you not put it into a sealed can like a milk can and cart it out on a sleigh?


Walter: Now you’re starting to show your age.  We didn’t have sealed cans in those days. There were some years when you could use the sleigh and the team in the bush but there were other times when the snow was too deep.  You could hardly get the horses back in there.


Walter: To ship our milk we would take it down to Clint Dippel’s.  We had a good team and if they once got to know the route you could just let them go and they would walk. That’s where we met the truck. The Canada Packers truck would come and pick it up on the highway there.


I mind this one night I was tired and I hadn’t got too much sleep that night for some reason. It was a long ways there but our team knew where to go so I headed them up the road.  We started before it was quite daylight and I settled down behind the cans and fell asleep just going up near Shoemaker’s.  All at once I heard this noise beside me and here it was Howard Cress from across the road with a great big load of grain heading for the chopping mill.  My team wouldn’t get off the track and he was up the side slapping around.  He got past and didn’t upset the load.


We had a crokinole party at Uncle Irvin’s the previous night and I forgot to take the crokinole board home. So I called and asked them if they would take it out and sit beside the mill cans and I would pick it up on the way home because we want the board at home.  Of course the team was walking along good.  When we got there I jumped off the sleigh and grabbed the board.  The one horse, that hadn’t been on the job for very long, didn’t like that I jumped off so he started to run and I ran after him. I could run along beside the sleigh and keep up to him but I couldn’t get on.  Aunt Leta saw it so she called the minister down at the church and Rev. Wettlaufer got his hat and went out to the road.  He caught the horses and turned them around and come back if to meet me.   We had lots of experiences.


Walter: Mrs. Klein Dippel used to make something that the rest of you don’t know anything about.  Jean probably does and Harry does.  She used to bake bread. I forget which day of the week she made bread – it was Monday or maybe Thursday – one day a week. You would make little buns so wide and so high out of this bread dough.  You put a cast iron pan on the stove and you fry them on this side and then turn them over and fry them on the other. And then you eat them with sweetened milk like an apple dumpling. They are a “dumph noodle”. And that is what we would eat for a meal.


Harry: Something that Mom used to make was onion pie.  That was the main course for a meal.


Walter: I’ll never forget my one Grandmother. She used to make potato soup eight days of the week. If I ever see potato soup again it will be too soon. And I think she miscounted the cups of water that she put in it. But you’re talking of back in the 30s when I guess you were glad to have even potato soup. Water was cheaper than potatoes.


Harry: Mom used to make a soup she called the poor man’s meat. It was a bean soup with carrots and bacon. It was not the kind of bacon we are used to but the farmer’s kind of bacon that is that it is sliced. And I asked Mom different times how she made it. Did she have a recipe? But she said “I don’t know - beans, some bacon.” She didn’t know unless she was going to make it. It was good.


Walter: I had forgotten about poor man’s meat. Jean never experienced any of this because she came from a family where they raised chickens.


Harry: Always ate the best in chicken.


Jean: Yeah, chickens and eggs; cracked eggs that couldn’t be sold. The chickens that you used couldn’t be sold either.


Walter: Well when they quit laying they were headed for the pot.


Harry: Dan Fisher said he was in one of the new chicken places out on Victoria Street and he asked one of the fellows how he prepared his chickens? The fellow said you don’t prepare them you just kill them.


Ken: That wouldn’t be the rooster roaster would it?


Walter: That is one of “The” experiences, when you look back to boyhood days, the first time you were going to get a chicken ready. The first one I ever done I had to take two whacks at it to get the head all off and then I let it go and he chased me all around the barn. I was afraid he could still see me.


Harry: Jean has had some of those experiences too.


Jean: One time we were given a turkey. We had a couple of houses in Wallaceville and the one fellow we had used to helped catch turkeys that we were shipping to Campbell Soup or wherever, lived there. A couple of turkeys got away and he had them in the barn down there and he gave us one. I brought it home I was going to have it for eating. We had a boarder at that time and he was from the city. He knew nothing about what happened on a farm if it needed butchering. The fellows weren’t around so I asked him to come and help me kill the turkey because I wanted to get it ready for Sunday dinner. He thought he could so he held the darn thing but I told him he had to hold the wings and hold tight. I had the axe and I chopped the head off. It started flopping around the way they do. The thing flopped up at him and he ran. You know couldn’t eat that dinner.


John: Grandma always seemed so sweet and gentle to me. I was quite young when I was visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Listowel and they were the usual grandparents tending more to spoil us then to be stern with us. Were they fairly stern with you as young boys? Were they very strict?


Walter: Harry got a licking for something that he had never done. That bothered Dad a little bit although he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t guilty. Apparently Harry was told to water the hens one night and when Dad went there they had no water. Now I have listened to the story 50 times and Harry said he gave the hens water. Dad said they couldn’t possibly have drank that much water that fast. So I don’t know what happened. But I think that was one session.


Harry: One Sunday morning my mom had got me ready in a white sailor’s outfit with blue trim. And then they went to get ready to go to church and of course me being quite concerned about the farm, I went out to check the mower and to make sure everything was working right on the mower. Those weren’t pleasant memories.


Ken: There was no grease on the mower was there?


Harry: Not when I finished no. There was one other time when we were getting ready to go away, I don’t know whether to church or not, but I was told to do something. I guess I was slow responding so Dad grabbed his razor strap and went after me. That startled me so much I got up and started to run around the table. I guess I had such a surprised look on my face Dad had to stop and broke down in laughter.


Walter: Dad being a barber there was always a good supply of razor straps around. And I can assure you that they were used and if you think you’re going to go very far with your head between his knees and your pants down and the razor strap coming I’ll tell you it can stunt your growth in a hurry.


John: Was it usually Grandma or Grandpa who did the disciplining?


Harry: It was both. Mom could make you feel bad but it was Dad who laid on the hand.


Walter: Mother would make you feel so bad you wished she would have given you a licking. But no they didn’t spare too much of that. We all got accused of some things that we didn’t do, that we should have done and of course that we did do.


Harry: We used to have a lot of good times. We used to have a family sing-along on Sundays, Mom played the organ and we had a lot of visitors. Sunday was a time for visitors – we either went somewhere or someone came to our place.


Walter: I spoke at our church one time and I said I don’t think our cows would have given so much milk if there hadn’t been singing because I can hardly ever remember milking but that the hymns were playing. Dad had a good pretty good tenor voice and so did Harry, I decided I wanted to sing bass and ended up not being able to sing anything. I always wanted to sound like Oscar Dippel.


Harry: I remember that Dad had a favourite poem – “If all the world were apple pie and all the sea were ink, and all the trees were bread and cheese, what would we have to drink? (By Mother Goose). That was a favourite poem.


Harry: Remember that time when we had no refrigerator no freezer and in the winter they would fry down beef and can it in a jar. Boy that was some of the best beef you ever had.


Jean: And chicken too.


Harry: We didn’t do chicken.


Walter: I’ve tried that since and I like beef that was steamed and you couldn’t beat it with anything.


Elaine: My grandmother used to do that. We used to go there and have her steamed beef from the jars.


Walter: We always had some ham cured, you’d hang them up.


Jean: You’d butcher in the wintertime and prepare the meats for the summer. You’d have summer sausage and you would have hams. You had canned beef and canned sausage.


Walter: It was a treat to have baloney and wieners.


Harry: That is still my number one cold meat. On occasions you cut it thick and fry it.


Walter: One of the delicacies that you don’t know anything about. We used to have these cured hams and you would get them down in the summer and you would slice this cured ham real thin and not fry it or anything just eat it with sliced onions – man that was good. Cured it in a couple ways either with salt brine or sugar cured. Now the Quanzes salt brined and the Walters sugar cured. I liked the sugar cured hams better. But I’ll tell you that those salt hams if you had a really good helping you had no trouble getting those eight glasses of water into you that you’re supposed to have. After these hams were cured either in salt brine or sugar cured then you would smoke them.


Harry: Once they were hung in the smokehouse, and that was grandpa’s job - Grandpa Walter or Grandpa Quanz. Once the meat was in there smoking that was holy ground. You didn’t go messing around and he was the only one that went in there.


Walter: We used to smoke a lot of pork sausage to my mind. When we were first married Dad asked if we would like to have a half a pig. That was when we lived in St. George and I said that was all right. He said well then give us a hand when we’re going to butcher. Ruby and I came up and we butchered down at Uncle Irvin’s and we got along fine until they started to get the casings ready to put the sausage in. And that’s when Ruby swore off eating pork sausage for several years. All are sausage after that was done up in crocs and we fried it in patties.


Elaine: How long does it take to cure the ham and how long to smoke it?


Harry: We used to do it five weeks or four weeks.


Elaine: Would there be a fire going?


Harry: No, no. Cured it wouldn’t freeze. We used to keep ours in the woodshed.


Jean: You would cure the ham before you would smoke it.


Harry: You would cure it for five weeks and then hang it in the smokehouse. You’d have a fire going with coals from the stove. Grandpa would get a good fire going in the stove and then take out the live coals and then he would put them with little pieces of wood from the woodshed. Sometimes a little bit of sawdust but mostly the chips and he did not ever want a flame. And if it went out there was a tendency for the meat to freeze that was no good. If it was too hot it would let a lot of fat out. And that’s why I say it was holy ground; no one was allowed to touch that except grandpa. The smoking would take about two or three weeks. It took quite a while.


Jean: At our place you would start the fire smoking in the morning until it went out then you would leave it and then start again the next morning.


Harry: Grandpa would try to never let the fire go out. There was maybe not much smoke but he was always afraid of it freezing. It depended on the weather of course.


Walter: I mind when I started going to school. I came up and stayed Granddad’s before I went to school and I went to school with Harry. I can’t tell you winter or summer time or in the fall. I think it was in the fall for a little. Harry used to take a hard-boiled egg, sandwich and cookie. I really can’t tell you why I went to school with Harry whether Mother was sick or how come it was that I was there but I went for about a week under special permission. I was for five at the time.

And then of course we haven’t touched on - in the winter time, we would go skating on the iced ponds different places. A bunch of the young people would go skating together.


Harry: You’d carry your skates as you walked back to the pond, sit in a snow bank to put your skates on. Then after skating you would change back in your frozen boots again. Boy did we have fun.


John: Especially out in the bush. I went out with Allan and Lyle Bender a few times back into their bush to just skate where the water had frozen over. You’d skate around the trees.


Elaine: Or on the dam in New Dundee. You could skate away back or way up the creek.


Harry: The nicest skating like that was at Henry Bender’s after there was a January thaw. You would go back into the first field and if you’re real lucky you could skate all back through the cedars.


Elaine: Talking about food did you ever have Ponhaus or Liverwurst?


Harry: Ponhaus. No I don’t think so.


Elaine: Ponhaus is corn cornmeal and you make it into a loaf pan and cook it and slice it and fry it. Then you would put your heated liverwurst over it.


Ken: Another thing we used to try at home was head cheese.


Elaine: That’s what I call liverwurst, head cheese. I grew up calling it liverwurst but now we know what his head cheese which is the same thing to me.


Harry: That was Grandma Quanz’s job and when we butchered down there she took the pig’s stomach and would put pieces in like cooked rind and tongue that was coarse ground. After they had tied it off, and put it in boiling water and cook it for about three minutes and then take it out and put it on the table. It was sort of a scalding instead of cooking. They would put a board on it and stones on top to press it so it was flat. It was round but it was flat on top and you leave it that way for a day or so and then they would smoke it.


Walter: You said there was some rind in there. The rind would taste all right and if you get a good scald than the bristles all come out. But if you don’t get a good scald you take a good sharp razor or knife and give him a shave you know. I was forced to eat some of that stuff. You didn’t have to brush your teeth because there were enough bristles on that rind that they cleaned the teeth and all the way down it went. I didn’t care for that stuff at all.


Walter: I will have to tell you one more thing. The last wood we cut was for Oscar Dippel. Ivan Middleton and I cut that wood but we were down to just cutting in the afternoons because we had to do the chores at home. Oscar said that he’d like a little cut and so we said we were ready to come. He said don’t come until next Monday because they were butchering on Thursday. So we went the next Monday and went back to the bush and chose which tree. Don Bridge went back with us. Ivan and I started to cut this tree down. By the time he had the horses tied up we had the tree down. Don started to trim the limbs off and we started to cut off the blocks. We done pretty good but you really had no appetite when you got there.

That night we had some fresh liverwurst and fried potatoes, Ketchup, dill pickles and I think pie - it was good. Tuesday we went back to do the same thing and that night we went up for supper and had some fresh liverwurst and fried potatoes, Ketchup, dill pickles and pie. Generally whenever you went to cut wood you had a variety of food for your meals. But it was good.

So the third night I said what do you think we will have for supper tonight. We likely have something like fried sausage but no we had fresh liverwurst and fried potatoes, Ketchup, dill pickles and pie. We were there five nights in a row and each night we had the same meal. It got to be quite a joke among us. If you ever see Ivan Middleton ask what meal he likes with cutting wood. The last night his wife said “well that’s the last of the liverwurst”. But it was good we really enjoyed it.


John: I still say that the best meal Grandma and Grandpa Quanz ever made was potato pancakes. They were cooked on the stove out in the back kitchen on good old iron skillet.


Walter: We had one other woodcutting episode. George Schuster said he wanted a little cut so we jumped on the sleigh and headed back to the bush and about a third of the way back there was a great big old elm tree. So George stops the team and said this is the one we will start at. And with that Ivan and I jumped off and started sawing right away. We didn’t know until after, George told Dad that he never intended to cut that tree. He stopped just to see what we would say but by the time he got his thoughts put together we had notched it already. Oh it was a tough brute to split.


Harry: Raymond Dechert and I went to Kaufman’s to cut some wood because we cut some wood for Dave Greer. It was early December so was cool and just a wee bit of snow. Orval went back with us and he said “well that tree should keep you going for a couple days and then I’ll see what else you should do”. Then he went back to the house. When we went up for supper he asked us if we would come back tomorrow so we would finish the trees that we started on. We said we were finished and there is maybe 15 minutes work left but he wouldn’t believe me.


Walter: Well that is some of the things we remember.


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