Flora Neale (nee Paton) was born in December of 1915 and died on July 3 2009. She was the beloved wife of Joseph Neale, and mother of Audrey, George, Joan, Bill and Marion. She was born to parents Andrew Paton and Lydia 'Jane' Chaffey. She was part of what became a seven child family. Two siblings, Samuel Bruce and Annie died in infancy, while Jessie, Andrew Jr., George, John and Flora survived to adulthood.
Flora is listed as having the second highest standing in Grade 10 at Rollo Bay West School, for January 1932.
Joseph Neale was born in Bear River in 1909, the son of William Neale, an orphan boy who came to Canada from England at an early age, and was adopted by Joseph Colghan, who had a farm in Bear River. He later married Joseph's daughter, Ada, and they inherited the farm. Joseph, one of their three children, continued to farm on the homestead. Joe became a farmer at an early age having to leave school to take up the farming, since his father worked for the J.J. Hughes Co., in Souris. In 1936, Joe married Flora Paton, and they had five children. They had a mixed farming operation, and in later years, a fruit farm to supplement their income. Plums, black currants, raspberries and strawberries were grown on this farm. His wife, Flora remembers selling the strawberries for twenty-five cents a box. Joe prepared exhibits for the Souris Exhibition, where he won many prizes for his cattle, poultry and vegetables. He enjoyed raising chickens, and in the fall, he would have approximately seventy-five chickens to sell, along with geese and other poultry. Joe was a highly respected citizen in the district. He had one of the few cars at that time, a Model-T-Ford. It had plastic curtains instead of glass windows. He was often called upon to go for a doctor, something he did quite willingly. In winter, when the road was impassable, he and the other men in the district would have to open the road with horses and sleighs so that the doctor could come to see a patient. At times, the pitches were so high, that the horses would walk out of the harness if it wasn't secured tightly. Some mishaps occurred on Joe and Flora's farm as well. On one occasion, friends of Flora came to visit. They had their three children 61 with them. The children were fascinated with the farm, and asked if they could stay for a visit. Like most children, they liked to explore and were playing in the barn loft when Peggy, a five year-old, and the youngest of the three visitors, fell through a hatch and landed on a pump installed in the barn to water cattle. Peggy was experiencing difficulty in breathing and time was essential, so Flora and the local minister took her to Charlottetown, where she was operated on immediately, averting a near tragedy. In the busy season of the year, Joseph hired a handy man named Henry Wilson. Henry had his own way of doing things. Once, he had a wart on his finger that he wanted removed. So one night, he put some lye on the wart, and covered it with a band aid. The pain was so severe he held his hand out the window all night to get some relief. In the morning, although he was exhausted, the wart was gone, and he never had another one after that. On another occasion, he had to go to the hospital for an appendectomy operation. He didn't like being confined to bed; so, the next day he left and walked home, a distance of approximately five miles. Some time later, Joseph sent Henry to the back field to fetch the grey mare. The horse started to move swiftly; so, Henry grabbed the horse by the tail and wouldn't let go. This really infuriated the horse, which started to gallop furiously. He dragged poor Henry through the pasture field and cast him into a nearby bush. Henry was careful not to grab the grey mare by the tail after that. One Sunday morning, Joseph's wife, Flora, was in labor and Joseph went to summon a neighbour, Celia Sheehan, to stay with her while he went to Sour is for the doctor. Celia was ready to leave for church at the time, and was worried about missing Mass. She knew that Flora needed her, so she went to Flora's assistance instead. Celia was very happy for Flora, when the baby arrived, but disappointed because she and Peter were childless and wanted a child so much. 62 Flora was grateful for Celia's help, and told her that she would pray for her. When Celia was forty years old, their daughter, Helen, was born on May Day. God had heard Flora's request. One winter, Joseph was recovering from an appendix operation and needed medicine. So Flora went to Souris to get it. Flora didn't have very much experience in driving the horse. So, before she left, Joseph gave her a few instructions. He suggested that she hold the reins tight, so that the horse would have support since the shoes were dull. She had just crossed the Souris West bridge en route home when the horse slipped on some black ice and almost landed on her knee in the box sleigh. Another man trailing behind her came to her rescue and advised her to hold the reins looser rather than tighter, which she did, and she arrived home safely. Joseph was a hard working man by day, and a sound sleeper at night. On one occasion, Flora and two of the children went to visit her mother in Rollo Bay West, and planned to stay over night. However, her mother had company. So, she and the children returned home, only to find the house in darkness and the doors locked. Joseph wasn't expecting her home that night and had gone to bed. She tried to wake him, but was unsuccessful. So she fetched a long pole and tapped on the windowsill of the bedroom, making enough noise to alert the neighbours. However, Joseph slept on. Finally, she and the children managed to gain entrance by raising up the outdoor hatch leading to the basement. They were successful in getting indoors, and went off to bed. Joseph was quite surprised to see them home the next morning, and remarked that he had never heard a sound. In 1951, Joseph was suffering from Phlebitis and was unable to follow the horse drawn machinery. So he and his family moved to Charlottetown, leaving the farm that he loved and cherished. Joseph died in 1992, but he will be remembered as a highly 63 respected citizen. He was a good farmer who believed in making his own living, and in helping his neighbours when the need arose. The surname Neale does not exist in Bear River today, but it will be remembered through the legacy of this great family.
From "Fun Frolic and Forerunners", Kay MacIsaac. To be cited/integrated.
- ↑ The Guardian. 25 February 1932. Page 11.