There were five boys, viz.: Angus Malcolm, Daniel, Kenneth and myself [John Munro]. I am named for the late Rev. John Munro who was our minister for many years, and who named and baptized me. I will have something more to tell about him later.
The names of the girls are Margaret, Christy, Bella and Sibella. There were also two who died in infancy.
My father was thirty years old when he married Christy McDonald, daughter of Malcolm McDonald and Margaret Murray, who came over from Scotland at the same time as the MacIvors. They also had, as was fashionable in those days, a large family which I will try to tell you about later.
My father bought land about a mile east of his old home and started a family for himself, where he worked hard and raised his family. When he died about forty-two years later, he left a large cleared farm, clear of debt, with good comfortable buildings, etc.
They had none of the modern conveniences as we have now. Even for many years horses were scarce. Oxen were the chief motive power on the farm. The old-fashioned single plow was used. One man held it while a boy or girl with a whip drove the oxen. There was no gang of sulky plow, no disc harrow, no seeder, no binder, no mower or pitching machine; in fact, everything was done by hand. At first there were not threshing machines or separators. The loom and spinning wheel were used, as all or mostly all the clothing for men and women was made at home from the wool sheared off the sheep's back. Everyone who was able was required to do his or her part of all kinds of work on the farm.
When the family got big enough to go to school, a school- house, at first a log one, was built by everyone in the section helping. After the schoolhouse was built, it was hard to get qualified teachers, but someone would turn up. On several occasions men from old Scotland came over who were engaged to teach. Everyone who had children of school age would sign so much according to the number of children. Those teachers often were well educated men who left their mark on the young generation in more ways than one, very often.
They were generally hired for six months, and boarded around at the various houses.
As soon as the young folks grew old enough to do for themselves, they struck out, mostly across the line to "Yanky Town" as they called the States, and many of them showed the kind of stuff that was in them, and made their mark in that big country. They used to write such tales home about the fine jobs they had, that in many cases all the children, as they grew up, left the old folks to plod along, and that mostly accounts for strangers owning these fine old farms. But what could stop them? The Scotch blood was in them. So it is today.
As I said, my parents worked hard, and recreations were few and far between. After the toils of the day, my mother would sit down on the little foot tread spinning wheel or would be knitting socks or mittens for all hands, and my father would take off the shelf his flute, which he could play to perfection, and play all the old Scotch songs and dancing tunes. Perhaps some of the neighbours would come in to spend the evening, which was called "calying".
These people were a most kind hearted and social lot, and any one who was sick or needed help in any way was given it readily.
My father and mother were not exception to this rule. Their home was always open to friends and stranger alike. Father was a quiet, even tempered and high spirited man, the soul of truth and honesty. I will never forget a remark I heard him make. He said: "There are two kinds of people that I abominably hate, that is a thief and a liar, for wherever you find the one you may look for the other, as they generally go together."
For years, the latter part of his life, he was a martyr to dyspepsia, of which disease he died in October, 1872, 72 years of age. He was for many years a member of Mr. Munro's church session. I may have something more to say in connection with that later on. My mother survived him some eighteen years, and passed away at the advanced age of 90 years. I, being the youngest of the family, stopped at home and looked after them, and am still on the same place in this year of our Lord nineteen hundred and twenty-two, and have to confess that I am not young any more.