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London Free Press July 16, 1938 pg 15

Gold Hunting Appealed but Farming Paid

Samuel Vipond, of Elma township, gave seven hard years to California prospecting
Generations of mining behind family yearning
Ancestors had long been engaged in industry in Northern counties of England

By W. H. Johnston

The late Samuel Vipond, who for more than 40 years was one of the leading farmers on the 10th concession of the Township of Elma, County of Perth, was born in the mountainous country of Northwestern England, where his forefathers had been connected with the mining interests for centuries.

In the 14th century the leading member of the family was knighted, and held a promient position, not only in his own shire but in the councils of the nation. About this time the spelling of the name was Vipont but originally it was DeVitrapont. The family came from the continent, presumably from Normany or Belgium, to England in the time of the Plantagenats. Finally, drifting to the north country they became interested in the mines of the Cumberland and Westmoreland district and for at least 500 years continued to be connected with them.

Samuel Vipond's grandfather was obsessed with the thought that there must be a great pocket of gold in one of his coal mines and spent a fortune and almost a lifetime seeking it. At last, after much disapointment he sold out and the new owners were made wealthy by the richness of the property.

Mr. Vipond worked in the mines from childhood until he left the old land for Canada. Many are the tales I have heard him relate of the workings, the dangers and wonderful knowledge of the work horses used, in those old subterranean passages.

On reaching manhood Mr. Vipond left the old life and came to Canada. Here he learned the trade of a stone mason and followed this occupation for a few years. In 1857, he married Miss Ellen Petrie. The blood of many centuries of miners flowed in his veins and the experiences of several years' work in the bowels of the earth were his, besides the traditions of his forefathers to which he had listened from childhood, fired an active brain and he longed for the excitement of the gold fields of California.

He tried to persuade his wife to accompany him and they would go to that distant state but her Scottish instincts advised against the adventure. She was willing that he should go and she would remain at home in their little home on her brother John Petrie's farm in Elma and care for their two children.

For many months the subject was debated and discussed from every angle. He desired to be a land owner and at last he promised that as soon as he made enough money to "buy a little farm" he would come back.

Off to California

In 1864, he left his home and as the railway had not been completed he traveled down the east coast, crossed the Isthmus of Panama and reached California by way of the Pacific.

It would fill a large volume to write of the many bright prospects that he found and then of the discouraging results of the essays of the ore later on.

Advenutres with the wild beasts and snakes of the sage and the woodland, the wild cattle of the hills and the wilder men of that wild and wooly state, gave him more thrills than most men could stand. But in his breast pocket he carried a copy of the New Testament. A portion was read each morning and evening and with a prayer for help he lived through it all.

During his seventh year he was persuaded to join in a mining enterprise that promised well. In fact, it was almost thrust upon him by one who knew him as a prospector for years. An English company bought it and Mr. Vipond's share was estimated at $4,000. At the time he was builing stone work at $7 a day for a firm who wished to keep him indefinitely.

But home was calling and though he had not received anything on the deal he left everything in the hands of his cousin, Joseph Vipond, and started for home on the railway, arriving in 1871 after an absence of seven years.

After several months of anxious waiting his share of $4,000 arrived. In 1872, he bought the homestead on which his youngest son, E. S. Vipond, resides and settled down to the commonplace and contented life of a prosperous farmer. Here, the remainder of their children were born and here the writer spent two happy summers in 1875 and 1876. Mrs. Vipond passed away in her 78th year in 1915 and he in his 87th year in 1919.

The old adage says it is hard to beat out of the flesh what is bred in the bone and their three youngest sons, one after another, beginning more than 30 years ago, developed into mining prospectors in Northern Ontario where one of them, Teasdale, still remains. It was he who discovered the Vipond Mine that for many years occupied a prominent position in the mining market reports.


Meg Fuller Perth County Coordinator

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The Townships of Perth County

Blanshard Township and town of St Marys
Downie Township
North Easthope
South Easthope
Ellice Township
Elma township
Fullarton Township
Hibbert Township
Logan Township
Mornington Township
City of Stratford
Wallace Township and town of Listowel

Outside Links (Not part of this site)

$ Perth County Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Stratford-Perth Archives
The Stratford Beacon-Herald the main newspaper for the area

The Listowel Banner is the main newspaper in the north part of the county

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Perth County Historical Foundation
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Township of Perth East
Township of West Perth
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