Distinguished Sons and Daughters

"Entrance to the Zoo" by David Milne

David Milne
Canadian Artist

David Milne was one of Canada's foremost artists. He was born near Burgoyne where his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. David Milne, had come from Scotland. Mr. Milne received his early schooling in Paisley. As a youngster he showed an aptitude for art. One of his Paisley teachers perceived his unusual capabilities and encouraged him to go to New York, which she believed to be the cultural settlement of the continent. He went and stayed there for eleven years.

There he became associated with the Art Student's League. He served with the Canadian Army during the First War, and was among the talented Canadians named as official war artists. He completed more than one hundred water colours which were accepted for “The Canadian War Memorial Collection”. Earlier a number of Mr. Milne's canvasses had been accepted for hanging at the Armory Show in New York and at the Wembly Exposition. In later phases of his career, Mr. Milne devoted most of his time to landscapes and many of his works are hanging in Canadian city galleries including those in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver. There are several of his finest creations in the National Gallery at Ottawa and in many private collections Mr. Milne returned to live in Canada in 1928, subsequently residing for brief periods in the lake regions, before going to Toronto where he died at the age of 73.



The unveiling of a plaque in honour of David Milne in yhe Willow Creek Park in 1962.
From L to R; Alan Jarvis, a personal friend of the artist; Mrs. John Reickert Mr. Milne's niece; Stuart Robertson, President of the Bruce County Historical Society and Stanley Milne, hephew of the artist.

David Milne in his New York Studio

Isabella Valancy Crawford

After Isabella's death i.n 1887 at thirty-seven years of age, J.W. Garvin, great Canadian critic and literary scholar, was responsible for bringing out a collection of her poems. Among her well-known lyrics are “Malcolm's Katie", a love story depicting pioneer life, “Said the Canoe”, and “Old Spookses' Pass”.

Isabella Valancy Crawford was born in Dublin, Ireland in‘l850, and came with her parents to Paisley in 1858, Her father, Dr. S.D. Crawford was Paisley's first doctor. Tales of wealth in British North America, and a large family to support, influenced this cultured gentleman and his family of twelve rather delicate children to settle in Paisley. They resided in a small frame house now. affixed to Cumming Equipment, » located where Westminster Presbyterian Church now stands.

The young girl never attended school. She was taught at home by her parents and was schooled in English, Latin and French.

The quiet beauty of Paisley and its primitive surroundings influenced the vivid verse she wrote. The few lines which follow show the effect of an intimate interest in nature on her writing:

“The Earth Waxes Old"

I saw the tall fresh ferns down prest
By scudding doe and fawn,
I saw the grey dove's swelling breast
Above the margin of her nest,
When north and south and east and west
Rolled all the red of dawn.

After residing eight years in Paisley, the family moved to Lakefield, Ontario. Shortly after, Dr. Crawford died and Isabella assumed the role of providing for the family. (Although references differ, it seems that most of the children died in early life.)

For a time, Isabella and her mother lived in Toronto. Single handed she fought her battle for recognition. She would take her poems to the Globe and to the Telegram and sell them for next to nothing.

Isabella died in 1887 and was buried in Little Lake Cemetery in Peterborough, where the family had lived for a short time. Tragically too late, she was regarded as “the most gifted poetess of the 19th Century".

She was a Canadian at heart. She learned first to know and to love this land, and like the pioneer in her poem, “looked not backward” but “forward to the ploughing of his fields".

Jean Cameron
Canadian Artist

Jean was born in Elderslie township, near Paisley, and received her secondary school education in Paisley Continuation School. She later attended the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto. As a secondary school teacher, she was head of the Home Economics Department of the Stratford Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

Her education in art consisted of a two-year course at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and studies at Franz Johnston's Summer School of Painting, near Midland, Ontario. She did portrait studies under the instruction of Archibald Barnes, R.C.A., and water colours with Harold Olson, A.S.A., of Salt Lake City, and with Wm. Schimmel, A.S.A., of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Since 1939, she has exhibited in the Ontario Society of Artists, the Royal Canadian Academy, the National Gallery of Canada, the Western Ontario Gallery (in London, Ontario), and in both the United Society of Artists of Great Britain and the Society of Women Artists (both of London, England). She is a member of these latter two societies.


Her paintings are the property of several public galleries in Canada, and of many private collections in Canada and the United States. In February, 1974, a collection of 75 paintings was exhibited in the First United Church, Victoria, B.C.

Her work features landscapes, and chiefly flowers in still life. Excellent composition and exceptionally good, clean, beautiful colours characterize her paintings.

Since her marriage in 1952 to Alfred Sherriff of jasper, Alberta, Mr. and Mrs. Sherriff have operated a high-class gift and Jewellery shop located in their own apartment block in Jasper.

In the 1960's ................ "Nick" Kort

In the 1960's, Mr. M. “Nick” Kortt lived in Paisley in the home now occupied by Dr. Spracklin, government veterinarian. Many residents of Paisley wi]] recall Mr. Kortt's wood carvings, which won for him national recognition, and his wooden flowers and jewellery with silver inlay. Mrs. Kortt's candles and enamelled jewellery also made popular gifts to either give or to own. In September 1966, Mr. Kortt demonstrated his handiwork for thousands of visitors to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

Alexander Maitland Stephen

Alexander Maitland Stephen, a native of the Paisley-Hanover area, studied law and then went west at the height of the gold rush. After serving in the Imperial Army in World War 1, he returned to Vancouver. Through his mother, a Scottish lady, he probably gained some proficiency in the field of writing. His Rosary of Pan was published in 1923, The Land of Singing Waters in 1927, Brown Earth and Bunch Grass in 1931, and Verendrye in 1935.

His two anthologies of poetry, The Voice of Canada (1926) and The Golden Treasury of Canadian Verse (1929), are well-known collections of Poetry. He died in Vancouver in 1942.

The Old Brindle Cow
by Thomas O'Hagan

Of all old memories that cluster round my heart,
With their root in my boyhood days,
The quaintest is linked to the old brindle cow
With sly and mysterious ways.
She'd linger round the lot near the old potato patch,
A sentinel by night and by day,
Watching for the hour when all eyes were asleep,
To start on her predatory way.

The old bush fence she would scorn in her course,
with turnips and cabbage just beyond,
And corn that was blooming thro' the halo of the night,
What a banquet so choice and so fond!
But when the stars of morn were paling the sky,
The old brindle cow would take the cue,
And dressing up her line she'd retreat beyond the fence,
For the old cow knew just what to do.

What breed did you say? Why the very best blood
That could flow in a democratic cow;
No herd-book could tell of the glory in her horns
Or whence came her pedigree or how;
She was jersey in her milk and Durham in her build,
And Ayrshire when she happened in a row,
But when it came to storming the old “slash” fence
She was simply the old brindle cow.

It seems but a day when I drove her to the gate
To yield up her rich and creamy prize;
For her theft at midnight how she would yield a double dower,
With peace of conscience lurking in her eyes.
But she's gone-disappeared with the ripened years of time,
Whose memories my heart enthrall ev'n now;
And I never hear a bell tinkling through the forest dell,
But I think of that old brindle cow.

From a book of poems by the author
dedicated to the pioneers of Bruce County, printed in 1899
Mr, O'Hagan, an area resident taught in “]ackson's” School in the late 1870's.

Return to top of Page
An Historic Album of Paisley
Return to top of Page