218 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
impossible to get enough cash to pay taxes and other unavoidable bills, but to the people of that day there may have been some compensation in the fact that whiskey was only eighteen cents a gallon.
"A real boon it was that venison and fish could be had in abundance. I shot many deer in my younger days in the settlement and also helped to make war on their natural enemies, the wolves. The latter were so numerous that it was impossible to keep sheep.
"For years the settlers were without a regular mail service. It was not until 1816 that a mail route was established from Watford to Talbot. Even this was slow and irregular and the cost of postage fearfully high.
"There were no ministers in the early days and marriages were solemnized by magistrates. Although my father was not one of the original settlers, he was here seven years before he heard a sermon. The first service was held by the Presbyterians in 1819, and a Methodist mission was established shortly afterwards.
"But all were brothers then, and this greatly helped in making hardships endurable. If there was a barn to be erected, all assisted in its erection. When a wedding was to take place, the whole neighbourhood was invited. But the great social events of the settlement were the neighbourhood dances, which were held every week in winter, the neighbours taking turns in providing house room. The biggest room in the house was cleared, the great logs roared and crackled in the open fireplace, and flying feet kept time with the wild whirl of the music."