Thursday, 11 February 2016

Gibraltar's Pioneer, John Ernest (Ernie) Bullock

There are some unique folks in life that you never forget, and our country neighbour John Ernest (Ernie)Bullock was one of those special individuals.  He was born in Gibraltar on January 4th, 1906 to parents John Bullock and Harriett Ann Hogg, and spent his entire life here in Osprey Township.  He lived on a small farm on the Gibraltar Sideroad but a stones throw away from our cottage on the Sixth Line.  To me, he was the epitome of the "true pioneer." His little farm had no regular running water, instead drawing it from a pump on the property, was devoid of an electric connection, relying on coal lamps for illumination and a wood stove for heat and cooking.  As I recall, his farm had a small barn with a few cows, a horse, some chickens and ducks.  He had a small garden, and some fields on which he grew crops as well.  Without benefit of any modern conveniences or machinery, he made due with what he had.

One of the most amazing things about him were his weekly trips into Collingwood to go shopping.  He did it either of two ways - on foot or by bicycle, dressed in heavy black wool wearing a hat! All the way from Gibraltar down the mountain and into town!  My mom and I would often see him walking or riding past our home on Osler Bluff Road and offer him a ride.  He was always very hesitant about accepting, but usually after some cajoling we could get him to accept with the suggestion that we just take him part way.  This never happened, cause once we got him in he'd start chatting with us and telling stories and we'd end up taking him either all the way into town or all the way back up to his farm in Gibraltar.  He often told us how he bathed in "goose grease", but he certainly didn't smell of it.  One thing about him is that he had the bluest eyes you could possibly imagine.  He passed away on April 18th, 1992 at the age of 86.  He died a week before my own grandfather, and with him a way of life that few will ever appreciate.

When I did this sketch, I did so without benefit of a photo and relied strictly on my memory.  I'm not sure if I channelled him correctly, but if someone happens to have a photo of Mr. Bullock I'd happily appreciate seeing it.  

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy this post!

Sandy .......  

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