Oh little town in Canada...
September 1, 2014 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Can you name a small town in Ontario Canada (that may no longer exist), that has (or had) a name similar to "Five Stakes" within 60 miles (96 km) of Cathcart, ON?

I am reading a photocopy of a journal my 1st cousin 3x removed kept of his bicycle trip from Beloit, WI to Canaseraga, NY (and back) in 1897 and cannot identify this town he mentions. He's on his way home. He came through Buffalo and visited Niagara Falls.

Yesterday (August 31, 1897), he got brunch in Grimsby and supper at Burford. He "staid the night at a little one horse town called Cathcart."

Here is his entry for today:

September 1, 1897 -- Started out this morning at seven o'clock and about five miles from Woodstock [a town in Canada] my hind tire went down. I pumped it up and found that it was the same old leak. I got the inner tube out and patched it and changed the tires. It commenced raining about noon but I kept at it until about four o'clock and stopped at a little town called Five St-kes [unreadable]. It is a nice level country all through where I have been today. I lost my knife somewhere yesterday. I only made 60 miles today.

Tomorrow he'll make it to Clearville and Wheatley.

I'm sharing his daily entries on our family/ancestry facebook page, and plotting his stopping points on a map. It'd be great to know where this town was.
posted by vitabellosi to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Five Stakes was a village in Elgin County. I believe it would now be Southwold, Ontario.
posted by northernish at 1:26 PM on September 1, 2014

Response by poster: Great!! Thanks northernish!
posted by vitabellosi at 1:31 PM on September 1, 2014

Best answer: As an aside: "only" 60 miles in a day, while it would indeed be a relatively modest ride for an experienced touring cyclist today, was probably another matter entirely with 1897's bicycle technology and road conditions.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:34 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Specifically, it is named Talbotville officially and can be seen on this 1877 map on the right where the two highways intersect. The Canadian historical county atlases should help you match up historical and contemporary places in Ontario.

And I have to agree - some of those back roads are still pretty bad (I was driving outside Woodstock yesterday) but back then they were atrocious! At that time the highway through my town was a corduroy road - I can't imagine how that must have felt on a 19th C bicycle.
posted by saucysault at 3:49 PM on September 1, 2014

Best answer: The name connection, btw. It was a good spot for your ancestor to hop on the Talbot Line/trail (hwy 3).
posted by saucysault at 4:12 PM on September 1, 2014

Response by poster: It's been quite fun following my cousin's trip. He's been visiting family, including my 2x great grandparents and 3x great grandparents. He came through Buffalo on the final day of the Grand Army of the Republic Encampment, and viewed the new Whirlpool Rapids Bridge the fourth day after it was completed.

I marvel that my great aunt, whom I knew, was two years old when this cousin visited her and her parents. She was in the room with someone born in the 1870s, and, later, in the room with me -- born in the last year of the 1960s.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:40 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

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