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Fraser & Patersons Store
Alexander Fraser built and operated a general
store in the village of Westmeath since well before 1900. The two-story
structure was located on Main Street adjacent to the only bridge and creek in
the village. Inside the front door, an 8-foot wide stairs led to the second
floor where there were large items like furniture and linoleum. A table with
the original tag ?Fraser & Paterson? is in use in a home today.
The store catered to the needs of the lumbering industry. Frasers
owned large timber limits on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Cattle bought
from farmers were kept in the lot at the front of the Westmeath Public School.
In the autumn month?s, the cattle were brought to the side of the store,
weighed on the only scale in the area, and retuned to the separated lot at the
school. Then large herds of cattle were driven by foot, crossing at Spotswood?s
ferry to Waltham and up the Black River to the camps. Hay and oats bought from
farmers for feed accompanied the expedition.
The general store was also an outlet for farmer?s produce.
When Alexander Fraser went into partnership with John Paterson, the store was
enlarged. A new building behind the store housed much of the bulk goods. Bert
Goddard worked at the store for years as a clerk. John R. Fraser a cousin of
Alexander?s was the store?s bookkeeper. The store sold mostly in bulk. Usually
customers brought in a container to have filled from the bulk one. Clothes and
fruit were also sold at the store. Eventually a generator installed between the
store and the creek provided lighting. It was the only building or home to have
such a luxury.
G.B. (Gordon) and Stella Schultz bought the store in the
mid-thirties and operated it in much the same fashion until the mid-fifties.
G.B. built living quarters on the second floor, removing the stairs inside the
front door, and continued to live there after the store closed. After the
Schultz?s the building changed hands a few times. The unit at the back was
dismantled over time. Otherwise, the Fraser & Paterson Store maintained its