Dr. Fred Wigmore, was a well-known and highly respected surgeon in Saskatchewan beginning in 1939. He became a member of the Moose Jaw Clinic in 1941, joining Dr. Thomas McCrea Leask, Dr. H. Gordon Young, Dr. George Parkins, and Dr. Fred Heal.
Prior to WW2, Dr. Wigmore served as the medical officer for KORC (The King’s Own Rifles of Canada) the local Moose Jaw reserve infantry battalion at that time). During the war, he served overseas with the #7, #6, and #22 Canadian General Hospitals of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. Fred was interviewed and recorded in 1980 by his youngest daughter Connie. The following transcription is edited from the original tape recordings. The personal photos included in this transcription were provided by his daughter Barbara.
The first edition of this booklet was edited by Gerry Carline, whose idea it was to focus on the wartime experiences; the second edition (2019) was edited by Connie Wigmore.
I had quite an adventure working on a 1937 Fargo half-ton truck in 1968-69 which had belonged to Bruce MacLennan, our neighbour. As a very young person, I remember Bruce driving Dad, George, and I on an errand in the 1937 Fargo. I was in the middle staring at the controls, “when turned” would push out the bottom of the windshield.
I saw this truck in 2017 in Summerside, sporting a blue and black paint job and all dressed up to the way it would look in 1937.
Bruce and Maybelle MacLennan lived directly across the road from our home farm on the Smith Road. One day in 1968, Bruce asked me if I would like to own his old truck. Yes! Yes! He said I could use the engine from his 1952 Dodge car to make it run. Bruce had bought this truck from Donny Barlow and built a wooden bed on it to haul his hay to the barn.
Bruce and I towed both truck and car up behind our barn beside the chicken house. I used our tractor with the front end loader to remove the engine and strip down the truck. My shop was the “Sunny Day Green Grass.” Cans of liquid wrench were my friends helping take off all the many parts with rust on them. This ’37 was stripped down to the bare frame, with the cab removed also. Many long days were spent cleaning everything with a wire brush and scraper. So it went getting it ready to paint the motor, the tranny. I painted the frame silver and the other parts primer and black.
Many parts needed came from the farmers Dad knew. Gordon Carew from Hunter River helped with a complete 1947 Dodge half-ton truck. Many parts were used from this truck, the main one being a complete metal box with a tailgate. Albert and Blois Weeks helped me with the welding on the cab and other places needed to complete the Fargo.
I took the engine apart in my “Sunny Day Green Grass Garage” and Eldred Weeks helped me with the head work and replaced 2 valves on the bottom end (crank). If needed you could buy brass shims, different thicknesses that looked like small sheets of paper. When you determined the thickness to use, you took scissors, cut to size and installed. Then you would have better oil pressure and many more happy miles, not kilometers! I remember a day it took me 6 hours to install a clip, without the proper tool, on the engine. With a good cleaning, painted silver, this engine was ready to run.
Bruce told me this story about the time he needed the internal part for the Brake Master Cylinder on the Fargo. Bruce went to town and told the part person what he wanted. The clerk tells Bruce he will need to bring in the Master Cylinder to make sure they sold him the correct part. Bruce handed him a bag with the Cylinder inside. The parts person with a surprised look said, “How did you drive that truck here?” “Using the emergency brake,” answers Bruce.
Nearly all the 1930-40’s automobiles would run with a 6 Volt DC Battery, not a 12 volt. Also on this Fargo truck the negative battery post would be connected to the starter, and the positive post would to the frame and cab ground. This battery would be located under the cab floor.
At this time I was studying electronics at the Provincial Vocational Institute in Charlottetown finding wiring information on the truck. I wired up all the electrical system from front to back, adding turn signal devices to the column allowing you to have signal lights and 4 way flashers, definitely an added feature.
My concept was to build a hot rod looking truck. The Fargo came with A-V-Looking front end. The head lights would be fastened to the front sheet metal going round the rad shell. The front fenders and running boards were removed, to use small boat trailer fenders over the front tires. For the front bumper I used a narrowed 1949 Dodge car bumper.
Inside this truck cab was a custom built center console, making the prototype from cardboard and thin wood. Wilfred Wills built me a complete wooden console. The transmission long handle came up the center through a slider with the floor emergency brake handle to the right. At the back was a raised section to hold a radio. 95 percent of all the gauges, switches, buttons and dash lights were on this console, connected to a junction box that ran up under the dash. Laying on it was a long rubber hose with a large rubber bulb on the end going to a bike air horn fastened in front of the rad.
With my electronic background, I designed and installed electric door openers on each door, no fancy kits available then! Both door handles were removed and welded shut. The opening device was made from levers, pulleys, chains and an electromagnet which came from a 6 volt Chev starter. When opened the primary and secondary coils were rewired together. When the door opened you could hear the pull of the magnet. Where did I put the stitches to open the doors? No wireless device on a keychain then. The location of the right and left door switch went down inside the gas filler tube located on the cab beside the driver’s door. Two more switches were in a hiding place on the center console. After I installed the metal truck box from the 1947 Dodge truck, the new gas tank location was moved to the back of the truck under the wooden floor between the two frame rails with a very short filler pipe.
The back bumper was made from hollow pipe with flat washers welded on each end. Two welded arms went back to the frame to hold it in place. The back tail light I used a newer tail light, two on each side to allow for the brake signal and driving.
Each year many family, friends, and visitors enjoyed a drive on the farm in the ’37 Fargo truck. One time it was due for a tune up and small problems to be taken care of. With no plates, I drove many miles to the mechanic shop to have the work completed. Along the way, there was a paving crew stopping the traffic. Going by the workers I started blowing the bicycle horn. They all started waving at the old 1937 Fargo and with much luck, I made it there O.K.
The day came for me to drive Bruce’s ’37 Fargo to his yard and have Bruce take me for a ride again. We started the drive grinning from ear to ear as we drove out his longer driveway turning left towards South Granville. Driving slow Bruce was explaining, sound, sputters, the shifting from gear to gear. This truck came with a fast idle cable. I replaced this with a longer choke cable coming out on my side of the cab. I gave this a sudden pull and the truck took off. I shut it down fast. You should have seen and heard his reaction! On the way back I told Bruce what I did. We both finished the drive all smiles!
Stacy MacInnis stands inside the old Elliotts station in Pleasant Valley
Stacy MacInnis remembers bundling up on cold winter mornings when he was five years old and going next door with his mother to stoke the coal stove for waiting passengers at the Elliott family’s train station in Pleasant Valley. Fast forward more than 50 years – it’s a summer day and MacInnis, now 59 and his mother gone, has moved the station to his own homestead in Burlington where the Woodleigh Replicas once stood.
While repairing a part of the coal room wall, he spots his grandmother’s name among the many names carved into the tinder-dry wooden board.
“It hit me, I felt like I was saving a piece of heritage and creating a stronger connection with my ancestors,” MacInnis said.
Stacy MacInnis received a 2016 PEI Heritage Award from His Honour, the Honourable H. Frank Lewis, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island at a ceremony of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation. MacInnis was one of several Islanders and groups awarded with a Heritage Award for his restoration of the 1888 station.
“I did it as a labour of love, I didn’t expect any reward for it,” he said.
Not every train station was a grand piece of architecture. The so-called flag stops, like the one at Elliotts Station, were very simple structures. Like many of its kind, when the Elliotts station was decommissioned in the 1960s, it was moved to a local farm to take up a new life as an outbuilding. That’s the end of the road for most buildings like this, and after fifty years as a storage shed, the old flag stop had deteriorated to where it was barely recognizable -- ready for demolition.
But the old Elliotts station always held a fascination for MacInnis. In 2014, he bought it and arranged to have it moved to his property in Burlington. There he brought it back to life, with new roof and shingles, but its original door and windows. The Heritage Award was recognition of his efforts to restore this small, but important example of both our railroad and architectural heritage.
The Elliott family was a staple of Pleasant Valley in days gone by. They had a wood mill, a grist mill, and a pond at the flag stop where the station stood. In winter they cut large chunks of ice from their pond to package in sawdust and ship by train to Charlottetown ice boxes in the days before electrical refrigeration.
The train station has two rooms, one waiting room where benches line the walls and sliding doors into a coal storage room.
MacInnis plans to showcase his photography and display train artifacts to make it feel like a little museum. He has painted the rusty red shingles to their original color.
His mother, Cecilia MacDowell, who tended its fires all those years ago, died six years ago at the age of 90, before MacInnis even got the idea to restore the station.
“She thought it was such a shame it was falling down,” he said. “She would have laughed to see it now.”
Source: Government of Prince Edward Island, https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/news, February 23, 2017
The Pleasant Valley 4-H Club celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015. Emma MacKinnon, daughter of Verna Lynne Weeks and Stephen MacKinnon, is a member of the club and produced this video as a provincial winner of the PEI Heritage Fair. She interviewed Everett MacLellan of Pleasant Valley, a founding member of the club. Watch the full video at http://kids.canadashistory.ca/Kids/YoungCitizens.