BRACEBRIDGE - The facts are not clear surrounding an old German newspaper which appears to be a home and farm authority for Germania.
This newspaper was found in a collapsed Germania home and is believed to have come from "the Old Country." Initially the owner speculated there was a newspaper in Germania at the time the house was built, but history doesn't support that idea.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
The newspaper was found in an old collapsed house in Germania, full of holes, ripped, and with bits of plaster still stuck to it. It was stuck between two scorched, whitewashed beams and is believed to have been used as insulation, a common practice for many houses at the time.
The paper, Der Haus und Bauernfreuud, is written in German script with an English sub heading, indicating the paper was “The Germania Agriculture … The Home and Farm Company” and that it was established in 1873.
The owner of the newspaper said a German friend read the paper and said it spoke about the Civil War.
“Some of these articles I would believe my great-grandparents probably read,” she said.
Initially the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous to avoid any looters on the property, thought there may have been a newspaper in Germania at some point.
But history is at odds with the idea.
Elaine Smith, a Gravenhurst resident, still has the death announcement of her grandfather who lived in Germania, one of the first settlers in Muskoka. He moved to Western Ontario from Germany in 1865, then moved to Muskoka the year Canada became a Confederation in 1867 where he lived in a one-room shanty. In 1870 he married a 16-year-old girl, bringing her by rail to the end of the tracks in Washago then travelling by foot to their new home in Germania.
At the time Bracebridge had very few shops and houses and anything transported to Germania needed to be carried on their backs through bush trails on foot.
The Germania school section was established in 1868, only five years before the mysterious paper was established.
Smith said she remembers someone who kept diaries during her own school days in the 1930s, “but she made cheese, she didn’t have time to make a newspaper.”
Ruth Holtz, reference librarian at the Bracebridge Library, said there are no records at the library that would indicate there was a newspaper in Germania.
“So the only other possibility would be that it would be from the old country.”
At a time when transportation was difficult and money was hard come by, Smith said she can’t imagine anyone being able to afford subscribing to a paper from Germany.
“I don’t know, this must have been a paper that came over in their luggage from Germany,” she said.