Wall of Fame salutes pioneers
The Glengarry Agricultural Wall of Fame honours the many who have contributed to the industry and their communities over the years. The last induction ceremony was held in 2013. Here are profiles of those inductees.
John Wilfred Kennedy
Wilfred Kennedy, fifth of eight children born to John Kennedy and Catherine McDougall, was born in 1879 in Apple Hill West, as it was then called, and resided on lots 9, 10 and 11, Concession 13, Indian Lands, on the northwest corner of Highland Road and County Road 43.
Wilfred graduated from Alexandria high school and Cornwall Model School, taught for a few years, then returned home to run the family farm for a few more years, before attending the agricultural college in Guelph. In 1907, Wilfred became a member of the Holstein-Friesian Association of Canada, under the Glengarry prefix, one of the earliest registered farms in Canada. In 1915, he married Helen Meehan, daughter of Joseph Meehan of Lindsay, Ont. They had two daughters, Sheila and Katherine, and six grandchildren. The family farm was very progressive for its time, with a new barn in 1919 for 36 dairy cows, its many work horses, two silos and ample hay storage. He also incorporated clay tile drainage in his fields in the early 1920's.
He served as a member of Kenyon Township Council from 1913 to 1916, as deputy reeve in 1917-18, and reeve, in 1919. In October 1919, he was elected MP for Glengarry County in a by-election, in which he represented the United Farmers of Ontario. He was elected both in 1921 and 1923, and remained as sitting member until the general election of 1925. Following the sale of his farm in 1927 to Charles and Sada MacIntosh, he resided in Maxville. Later, he purchased the Willis Business College in Ottawa, and became its principal. Wilfred was past master of the Maxville Masonic lodge, served for a number of years as chairman of the Official Board of the Maxville United Church, and was instrumental in the erection of the present building on Main Street in Maxville.
Leslie B. Murray
Leslie B. Murray was born in 1884, and farmed at Glen Falloch, near Martintown, under the Murraydale prefix. Never married, he lived with his sister, Clara, widowed sister-in-law, Esther, and brother, George, who farmed with him.
Les endeavoured to improve the quality of his Holstein herd and was especially interested in the characteristics of his herd sires, incorporating bloodlines from the Quebec herds of Mount Victoria and Raymondale. He stated that 'the herd sire is half the herd.' By 1937, in the middle of his farming career, most of his cows were purebred and were being tested on the ROP program. Some of his heifers were testing in the four per cent butterfat range.
The Murraydale farm was sold in 1955 and Les and his surviving siblings moved to Martintown. Thomas Aiken, the new farm owner, later sold one of Les's bulls, Murraydale Maplenix Laddie, to the Kemptville breeding unit. 'Laddie' was nominated as an All-Canadian Junior Yearling in 1957. In 1960, Les was awarded Glengarry’s first Master Breeder shield.
After he passed away in 1962, his Master Breeder shield was presented as an award by the Glengarry Holstein Club. The L. B. Murray Memorial Trophy was presented annually to the cow with the highest composite BCA. The award was retired in 2008.
Les participated in many activities in the community. He was president of the St. Lawrence Valley Holstein Breeders Club from 1937 to 1943. In seven consecutive elections, he was acclaimed to the Charlottenburgh Township Council, and subsequently served as deputy-reeve and reeve. As a member of the United Counties Council, he was chairman of the reforestation committee, a movement which was sweeping through Ontario at the time. Les was also a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Martintown.
Dr. Harold K. Abbey
Dr. Harry Abbey was born in British Columbia and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1947. He met, and married, Jeanette Fraser from Harrison's Corners in 1947, as well. The newlyweds travelled to British Columbia, where Dr. Abbey worked for the government, following free-range cattle and testing them for TB. The following year, the Abbeys moved to Kingston, where Harry worked with large animals in an established business. In 1949, the couple moved to Lancaster, and Dr. Abbey opened a large and small animal practice, which he operated in the same location for the next 40 years.
He introduced new concepts for large animal procedures, particularly in the reproductive field. He was the first person to recognize that soils in Eastern Ontario were deficient in selenium, and advocated that this mineral be added to all cattle rations. He stressed feed testing and proper ration balancing. He pioneered the use of magnesium in treating 'downer' cows. In 1967-68, he worked for a federal food and drug lab in Hull, Quebec, testing new drugs. In 1969, he was commissioned by Agriculture Canada to improve the facilities and testing procedures at the federal quarantine station at Grosse Isle, Quebec.
Dr. Abbey was a very active in community activities in Lancaster. He was reeve of Lancaster Village Council from 1951-1954. He was a member of the committee which initiated a new medical clinic, as well as the committee which started the Boy Scout and Cubs program. He was a member of the founding committee of the Lancaster Curling Club. He was also a member of St. Joseph's Parish Church and the Knights of Columbus.
Harry and Jeanette were the parents of four children: Frank, Sharon, Diane and Kevin. Dr. Abbey passed away in 1989.
Neil Fraser was born on February 18, 1946, to William and Olive Fraser, and grew up on their farm, Kingsbrae Holsteins, at Dalkeith, where he developed a keen interest in all things Holstein. His enthusiasm led to him being solicited to assist with show herds at local fairs, and later he worked with the renowned Kengor herd, at the regional level, in addition to shows in the Glengarry area. Neil married Sylvia McGowan in 1970, and the couple bought their own farm at Lot 34, Concession 9, Lochiel Township. They began milking under the Gleneil prefix in 1971 and, eventually, raised two sons, Stephen and Ian.
Neil participated in herd improvement programs such as Classification, ROP, and genetic improvement. As a result of his dedication to improving the quality of his herd, he received a Master Breeder shield in 2005. His off-farm activities have included participation in the Glengarry Holstein Club, which elected him president in 1989. Neil also contributed his time to EBI, first as
a director, and then president. He also served a term as director on the Semex Alliance Board.
Gleneil has always been part of the local cattle show circuit, and continues to operate today under the guidance of Neil's son, Ian, who returned to the farm in 1998. Through the years, Neil worked on the cattle committee of the Maxville Fair Board, and he has also served on the Board of Managers of St. Columba Presbyterian Church.
Phyllis MacMaster is the daughter of Donald E and Doris MacMaster, and while growing up on her parents' farm developed a keen interest in agricul- ture. She was an enthusiastic member of both the 4-H and Junior Farmer programs and proceeded to study at the University of Guelph. She graduated in 1976 with a degree in Consumer Studies and subsequently in 1979 with a degree in Animal Science. Phyllis was hired by Art Bennett, Director of Extension Services for the Ontario Department of Agriculture, in April, 1979 as the Agricultural Representative for York County, the first woman to fulfill this role in Ontario's history. In 1984, she became Agricultural Representative for Halton County.
Phyllis has been highly regarded by the farmers she represented and has demonstrated her love for prize animals by becoming a part owner of some. 'A Helens Astronaut Kay' and 'Montieth Miss Kansas' are young cows she owned with Jeff Nurse, of Montieth Holsteins.
In 1991, Phyllis moved closer to Glengarry when she accepted the position of Agricultural Representative for Dundas County. That same year, she became an official judge for Holstein Canada, and is regarded as one of the finest in Ontario.
In 2003, Phyllis was hired in the newly-created position as Nutrient Management Specialist, and in 2010, this position became Environmental Specialist for OMAFRA in Kemptville. Phyllis served on the committee which initiated the Hays Classic 4-H show in Toronto, as well as on the committee which launched the Inter-County 4-H Judging Competition.