306 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
during the week, including Saturday forenoon, and then walked to Edgar to preach on Sunday. But walking was nothing to him. One morning he started from what is now the east end of Barrie and reached Toronto on foot before sunset.
"The most picturesque figure in this negro settlement, which at one time included over twenty-five large families, was a negro preacher named Sorrocks. This man, himself a runaway slave, had a wonderful influence over his people and during his frenzied preaching some of his hearers became frantic and tried to climb the walls of the church on the way to heaven. The greatest time of all with them was the service that watched the old year out and the New Year in. That continued from dark till dawn.
"At one of these midnight services," continued Mr. Smith, "three young white men from Crown Hill caused a disturbance and the preacher called on a Brother Eddy to eject the intruders. Brother Eddy advanced boldly towards them, but, as he came near, one of them, rising to his full height of six feet and more, asked,
" `Going to put me out?'
"Brother Eddy, after looking the giant up and down and studying the situation decided not to try it, but instead asked for a chew of tobacco.
"Still these negroes were rather dangerous customers at times. After living for years in what was then the wilderness north of Barrie, they seemed to revert in a measure to the savage nature of their African ancestors, and it was a