Birthdays & Anniversaries
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January 29
Join Date
January 8, 2010
11 years
Jeff Pearsall
January 11, 1992
29 years
Victoria Weir
January 12, 2012
9 years
Jan 15, 2021 7:00 AM
Career on stage and ?
Jan 22, 2021 7:00 AM
Brighton Library update
Jan 29, 2021 7:00 AM
Feb 05, 2021 7:00 AM
ENSS Threads during COVID
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Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile
Brighton Rotary News Jan 8 2021
We have a Brighton Rotary Channel. Check out:
Members: 6
Guests: Ernie Margetson from the County, Don Samis and Will Samis (brothers to R Clay) and our guest speaker Hugh Fraser joining us from St. Catharines.
1. Happy Holiday card from the Belleville General Hospital Foundation.
2. Holiday Card from DKSHA youth orphanage and school in India that our club has supported over the years. Thanking us for our support and wishing us a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the children and staff.
3. We received a $141 COVID relief cheque from the Rotary D7070 insurers.
Smile: blush
A friend told me he had a body of Greek God, and I had to explain to him that Buddha is not Greek.
  • Janet Samis now has a family doctor and is at home.
  • Due to provincial shut down we will not hold bottle drive this month.
  • R Liesje is putting together sketches for Hoselton ornaments.
  • Looking for speakers for February.
Upcoming Rotary Events:
  • 2020 Rotary District Conference theme is 'Heroes and Champions' and will be now April 9 to 11, 2021, at Pan Pacific Toronto (formerly Weston Prince Hotel).
Sharing Pot: all are encouraged to share as they are able or willing.
Happy Bucks: for presentation, has family doctor, for Ernie joining us, Hugh and Ernie will get together for Hugh's next book regarding barns in County, Christmas break, cross germination between Niagara and County, reminder of history of farming / fishing and boat building in the area, President mutes everyone to dominate meeting, new jeopardy game for better trivia questions (we are in trouble).
Rotary Minute: Happy New Year!
Swing Beam Barns of Niagara
R Clay introduced Hugh Fraser, a friend of his brother Wills. Hugh lives in St. Catharines. He is an Agricultural Engineer, retired from the Ministry of Agriculture. Hugh is an author of Swing Beam Barns of Niagara. Hugh is a consultant (OTB Farm Solutions) and auditor of the grape industry farms.
Hugh shared with us that in 1987 he went on a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Queensland Australia with 5 others. He gave many presentation to Rotary Clubs in Australia and on his return to Canada at the time.
Also his brother is a recently past District Governor in the Chatham area.
Swing Beam Barns of Niagara is Hugh's first book self published in 2019. He is working on a second book. He publish 1,000 books that was his 2nd most expensive investment. He has sold 700 books from his driveway. He self published to keep control of the final product. He said with publisher, author does 90% of work and publisher gets 90% of profits.
His book focuses on 50 Swing Beam Barns build from 1819 to 1884.
Hugh grew up on a dairy farm in southwest Quebec, near New York and Ontario border. He milked cows by hand in an 1894 barn. Lived in a 700 square foot house his grandparents lived in.
He is semi retired. He is a Director with Ontario Barn Preservation.
He admires the skill of the barns built out the huge timbers of the time. They are beautiful structures. Massive hewn timbers. To find one is like finding dinosaur bones or mammoth tusks. They are not built anymore because the trees don't exist anymore.
His book defies being categorized. His wife tells him this is because he only reads 1 or 2 books a year. His book is a like historical fiction because he wrote fictional vignettes based on imagined family at time of barn building and actual events of the time. These stories talk about historical and social issues of the times. Also deals with technical issues, sometime humorous. Could be considered a coffee table book. He has been surprises with the variety of people who like it and have purchased the book. Most barn books have pretty pictures of the outside of the barn. His focuses on the inside. Some of the barns are in rough shape, have been added to or changed. Hugh measures and investigates to find the 'original' barn as it was build in the early to mid 1800's.
Some of the barns have 'marriage mark' or carpenters mark. Some have a diamond shape for fertility or diamond has smaller triangles on points for a religious / good luck symbol on gable ends. Sometimes date carved into beam.
They build the swing beam barns until about 1875 as the area was primarily wheat production. Wheat was more expensive then compared to now with prices of $30/bushel (4 times more than a farmer gets now).
The Swing beam would only be supported at the ends, creating an open concept barn. This allowed farmers to have horses pull wagons into barn, then unhitch horses. Very difficult to have horses back up a wagon.
The beams are typically 12 inches but can be up to 30 to 40 inches deep, spanning up to 50 feet and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Hugh found a beam of white oak, very rare in the Fort Erie area.
Farmers could stand in the open concept barn and have threshing floor and swing flail to beat the shears of wheat.
Hugh said the original natives of the are were called Neutral Indians by Champlain. But the Iroquois wiped them out about 1650. So in southwestern Ontario the area was left wild until United Empire Loyalist came about 1800. Dense forests were allowed to grow in the area. But the loyalists quickly cut down the big trees. He showed picture of 48 inch wide board at Black Creek Pioneer Village from about 1800 to 1810.
His short vignettes that he created for each barn / story he describes as 'A teaspoon of history, sprinkled with a pinch of a tale.' They are fictional stories built around real life of the times.
He showed an old hockey stick the owner claims as the oldest in the world.
He has a 1840 picture of Niagara Falls claimed as the first picture of the falls and a selfie too.
Hugh started his book in 2015. The first year he felt overwhelmed with data, but once he sorted out how to present he got organized and put it together, self publishing in 2019.
When asked, Hugh said dating the barns is a process to come up with best guess. Typically larger swing beam the older the structure. They were all built in a time span of about 50 years in early 1800's. Hugh looks at size of beam, the way it was built, how connected, nails used, also family ancestry for the farm. He describes his process in his book.
Hugh's contact info is: He sells the book for $65 plus postage. He signs each book. I have his address if interested.
R Clay thanked Hugh.
Service Above Self