The village of Buckshot (later Plevna) got started when Elisha and Elijah Playfair settled on either side of the Frontenac Road, where it crosses the Buckshot Creek, in 1861. Elijah did not stay long but Elisha, with the help of his son John, made his presence known. By December 1864, he had his house built and a school, a sawmill in operation and a flour mill ready to operate. George Kerr took over the holdings of Elijah Playfair and in September 1876, he purchased Elisha Playfair's holdings except the sawmill and flour mill. He then sold all his holdings to John R. Dawson (G W. Dawson's father) in April 1877 and John R. then bought the mills from Elisha Playfair in May 1877.
The village of Plevna used to be called Buckshot, but when the post office was established, the post office department objected to the name.They agreed it could be used on an interim basis, but requested that a new name be forwarded to them for their approval. By 1877, they gave the local population an ultimatum to come up with a new name or they would name it for them. For years, arguing had been going on with locals split into factions, each with their own idea for a name. Sam Barton Sr. said that the situation was nearly as bad as the situation that had existed for years at Plevna in Bulgaria. The suggestion of Plevna brought a new name into consideration, one that was neutral and could be accepted by all without losing face. Plevna was recommended to the post office department and on November 1, 1877 Buckshot became known as Plevna.
When the Dawsons purchased the land which became the village of Buckshot, they had the village surveyed in April and May of 1877 and a village plan registered by June 27, 1877. The plan was registered and remains registered as the village of Buckshot, despite the name change to Plevna.
Information from interviews with; Andy Armstrong, Ostler and Dawson families.
George W. Dawson (originally from Sligo, Ireland) arrived in Plevna in 1877 and took over a store on the south side of Frontenac Street (now 509), west of the bridge (likely the first in Buckshot/Plevna) from George and Abigail Caprin. By 1882, Dawson built and opened his new store on the NW corner of Frontenac and Church Streets (now 506 and Buckshot Lake Road) that became the largest in the area. He gave up running the store when he was elected MP in 1891 and moved to Ottawa.
Gilbert Ostler (originally from Yorkshire) started clerking for Dawson in 1888. He took over the running of the store in 1891, purchased it in 1897 and operated it until his death in 1944. Both Dawson and Ostler families lived in the attached residence. The families were related through several links, including Gilbert’s nephew Harry’s marriage to George Dawson’s daughter, Grace. Ostler’s wife Claribel and daughter Ione continued to run the store until it closed in 1956 -57.
Thomas Armstrong clerked for George Dawson in 1880/81. Later his daughters, Laura and Martha, clerked for Gilbert Ostler. Other clerks included A.W. Wood and Ross Thompson.
The Dawson/Ostler store was spacious with room for all kinds of groceries, dry goods and hardware. Shipping invoices from 1881 showed fabrics and other sewing supplies, including 6 doz. spools of thread ($2.13) and 2 doz. Thimbles ($0.22), dry goods such as tea (52 lbs./$15.60), rice (25 lbs./$0.98) and nutmeg (1 lb./$0.98), as well as medicines, lead pencils and copy books (each $0.20 a dozen). Ostler had space for clothing and cloth, though many families ordered from the Eaton’s catalogue.
The store did not sell fresh goods, fruits and vegetables or meat as these were produced locally. Dawson and Ostler also provided a market for customers’ goods including butter, eggs and fur (muskrat pelts earned $1.00 in the 1920s, and mink $15.00). At Ostler’s, you could buy licences, hunting for $1.00 and trapping for $5.00. Ostler’s later sold gas across the street, initially in gallon bottles, then in tanks with glass tops.
The store was designed with ample room for customers to sit around. In effect it was a community centre where people could gather on Saturday nights to discuss current news and exchange gossip, or even to doze. The store would always have been popular as it housed the Post Office and the Post Office Savings Bank. George W. Dawson had been Postmaster as of 1877 until 1891 and Gilbert Ostler served from 1896 until 1944. Gilbert also served as Church Warden at Holy Trinity Anglican (established and built through the efforts of George W. Dawson) for some 50 years.
The Ostler store had an early “generator” a Delco that was gas-based and powered lights in the store. It was kept in the drive shed across the road. Ostlers were known widely for their beautiful gardens.
In the late 1950s or 1960s, the McInnes family lived in the store, took in boarders and operated a garage.
The property was owned at one point by Clarence Tooley.
Bev Whan later had an ice cream parlour in the building.
In 2001, Janet Kellar and Dave ran a pizza takeout from the store “Poppa Dave’s Pizza” and a craft/gift shop within. They closed it in 2002.
It has been rented as a home a few times and is now for sale.
This store was originally built by Bill Ohlmann and Fred Gorr, who both owned the mill at the far end of Hill's Lake or Sand Lake corner. They then split partnership and Fred retained the mill and Bill carried on at the store. The store was located at the present day liquor store site. The store also had propane gas and Bill also had several dump trucks. The stores at this time carried charge books, where people purchased items written down in a book and paid later. Francis Marr, Mildred Hannah and Greta White helped work in the store and Post Office. Art Cameron and Roger White drove gravel trucks for Bill for many years. Across the road from the store was a field, where Bill had the Superior Propane tanks. Most of the lakes around at this time did not have electricity, so they used propane stoves and refrigerators, also even gas lights! The store carried everything from chocolate bars, blue jeans, wool jackets, all food items (mostly in tins), corn, peas and similar vegetables, cereal, writing books and pencils! Just inside the front door was a large coke cooler, which had cold water in it to keep pop cold.
A gentleman told of being in the store one day and Ken Gorr came in with a large northern pike over his shoulder. Bill weighed it on the scales and it weighed in at 25 lbs. This was life at the general store! It was a great gathering place for local people to visit and get the local news.
In Feb. 1965, the Ohlmann's were involved in a car accident. Allan, the son, had cut his finger badly and so the family and their niece were coming back from the hospital when hit by a car whose driver had been drinking. The niece was thrown free but broke her leg in several places. The family were all pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The Post Office was in the store until 1965 when it moved to the home of Herb and Grace Tooley. The contents of the store were sold off and the building was bought by Charlie Tooley.
Information from interviews with Floyd and Barb James and Jesse Lavery
Adolph Lemke and his wife, Nettie (Tooley), both grew up in Plevna. Adolph, the son of Gustave Lemke and Willamina Hartmann grew up in the homestead on the Sand Lake Road. Nettie was the daughter of Luther Tooley and Emma Wood. Around 1952, they built a residence in Plevna in which they lived on the bottom level and they rented the apartment upstairs to teachers in the area. There were two entrances- one into their residence and the one to the upstairs apartment. Adolph and Nettie built a lunch counter, added items to sell such as knickknacks, and later groceries from National Grocers and gas pumps. In May 1968, the Lemke's sold their store and moved into a home in Plevna.
Floyd and Barbara James and their three children, Kelly, Karen and Bobby, bought the store. Floyd, son of Amp and Cora James and Barb, daughter of Bill and Leola Gorr changed the name to James General Store. They no longer rented the upstairs, but used this as part of their living quarters.The lunch counter became their checkout counter. They expanded the store with a cool room for milk, vegetables, etc. and the other half to drop-off bottles. The back became the butcher shop with a walk-in cooler. Floyd operated a butcher shop. If you wanted a large amount of meat, you could order a half or quarter and have it cut and wrapped; for hunters venison or moose were cut and wrapped here. Besides a large assortment of grocery items, milk products, fresh vegetables, fruit, ice and meat, they also stocked dry goods, hardware items, clothing, toys and gift items. The grocery items were trucked into the store by National Grocers, Quattrochis, Schneiders and Lewis meats as well as milk, ice cream, ice and bread deliveries. At Christmastime, they would always have chocolate drops and hard Christmas candy. They continued to sell gas and oil and pump it for the customers. They were always open seven days a week until the later years, and they started closing on Sundays. They would let people bill groceries etc. and pay later; they would even deliver to people when they needed it.
In June of 1990, Don and Jessie Lavery of Markham purchased James General Store. They kept the name “James General Store” and continued to serve the customers as the store had always done. Don continued with the butcher shop, cutting and wrapping the way the customers wanted. They continued with the gas pumps, groceries, hardware, souvenirs, fishing supplies that the store had always provided. In 1994, they opened a lunch counter with a couple of tables that served as an internet cafe. They had home baking made locally and brought into the store. That stopped in 1997 or 98, when they installed a bake shop and served their own home baking .They had a lottery machine, movie rentals available and in 2000, full postal service was available.
In August 2005, they sold the store to Don and Sandy Raycroft, who moved most store services and the post office down the road to their bigger store. The gas pumps were removed.
Next the building was sold to Charlie Tooley, who held it about five years later before selling to a couple who opened the present Shamrock Bakery. It is closed during winter but offers a full bakery selection, lunches and a takeout buffet on Friday nights during the summer.
Information from interviews with Jackie Jackson, Joe and Laura Brouse and Andy Armstrong.
William Davy built and opened the store on Lorraine Street (#506) about 1911. It passed to Allan Card, John Flake, Luther Tooley. Joe Brouse owned the store briefly in the 1920s. Jackie (Brouse) Jackson was born there in 1928 and lived there until the family moved to the corners in the early 1930s, where Home Hardware is now. Luther Tooley took over the store again, then Adolph Lemke, who sold it to Clarence and Irma Tooley, and they sold it to Bill and Florence Kellar in the late 1940s or 51 at the latest. Jackie Jackson worked for the Kellars for about 15 years. She was there in 1955 and was the first to greet Laura Kellar when she arrived (an adoption) at age 9. The Kellars were still there when Laura Lee Brouse, Laura's daughter, was born in 1967.
Bill Kellar put in the laundromat in a small separate building, and a shower, which summer cottagers could use. Water was channeled from the creek. The store was sold to Dave and Jean Summers in about 1968 or 69. The Summers sold to Arnold and Shirley Miller and their daughter, Donna, ran the store. The laundromat was ultimately used by the Millers as a small store. The main building was then used as a flea market by Wynne Cameron and at one point a video store and mail boxes were in the side room.
The early store had a sign in the window as you went in advertising Salada Tea. Underneath it said "is good tea." Red Rose Tea (white with ceramic letters) was on the door push. Tooley's used coal oil lamps until hydro was put in about 1954. Parcels were tied with brown paper from a large roll and then tied with cord that went from a cone up to the ceiling, over a hook and down, and was then cut. Ice cream was wrapped in newspapers. Bills were kept from the first of the month, bunched with a clip in a metal index folder. They were added up at the end of the month. Everyone got credit except a few who were known risks. The cash register was totalled at the end of the day. They had a square tea box full of unpaid bills. A lot was bartered. If someone owed $5.00, they might trade say, eggs, or come work at the store to pay it off. When Jackie Jackson was little, her mother would give her eggs in a pail to take to Tooley's store and they would give her credit based on the number of eggs to use against purchases.
Laura Kellar/Brouse had a cigar box with change for the kids. She was "tickled pink" when she got to operate the cash register. When Florence took off the totalled cash tickets at the end of each day, she wrote significant events of that day (unfortunately, these were lost after her death). Fruits and vegetables were mostly not brought in until much later as everyone had gardens. Root vegetables and onions were kept in cold cellars and green vegetables such as beans and peas were canned, as were meat and fish. Joe Brouse did bring in bananas as Jackie remembers her mother talking about a big banana spider that got loose. Blocks of ice (cut from lakes in the winter) were sold from coolers. The pop machine stored the bottles below in cold water. They cost $0.10. Cases of pop were just left piled outside. None were stolen. Kellars sold dishes and knick knacks. They also gave plates, and at one point, white enamel pots with flowers with gas purchases. Summers continued that practice. The store did not have special items for Christmas or Easter, though it was decorated at Christmas with garlands and a big center bell. People made their own decorations and candy and at Easter boiled and decorated eggs. The store carried hardware items including paint, turpentine, pails, dippers and nails sold by the pound in large barrels. In later years, it also carried plumbing items, some clothes and fabrics and notions.
Sewing machines were common. Singer used to come around to sell machines and they could be ordered from Simpsons or Eatons. They stitched much heavier fabric than nowadays. Martha Brouse sewed canvas for the binder machine. Animal feed and block salt were sold in a separate building next to the garage. Bait was sold in bait stores – not the general stores – by Manson Kellar and Frank Gregg. At one point, they paid 2 cents a piece for frogs. Bill had a chicken coop for family use and a pen for animals. He kept nutria – an animal that looked like a giant rat. U.S. visitors would buy the big wheels of cheese and pea meal bacon to take back home. People had a great time sitting in the Tooley store listening to stories.
One year for Halloween, some people traded signs on the Tooley and Ostler stores. Ostler needed a team of horses to get his back.
Store goods came from a number of sources. Salesmen would travel in the area and stores would choose items they wanted. Quattrochi's from Perth brought in most lines of groceries and produce in the 1950s and beyond. Johnny Lockridge of National Grocers from Kingston brought canned goods. He would come through with a very thick catalogue. Bread was obtained from Oakes' Bakery and Westons in Perth and Elwood Beamish was the driver. Woodland Dairy, also out of Perth, provided dairy products. Rawleighs and Watkins were coming around as of the1930s. One of them brought cow salve and a red liniment in a bottle that was used for many things. Wilmer Flieler,from Arden sold Familex, selling salves and liniments. Dodd's kidney pills, and Pinex mixture for coughs. After operations ended, the property fell into disrepair and the buildings were demolished in 2008.
KELGOR Forest Products
Grindstone Road Sawmill
Land O' Lakes Lumber
This hotel was built on land owned by George Kerr, so he may have been the first operator. The 1871 census shows a hotel in Plevna operated by Christopher Perry and his wife, Harriet. In 1879, the owner is shown as Marion McPherson (wife of Angus), then in 1884 it was Jonathan Muldoon. Thomas Watton was the owner in 1895 and Joe Brouse took it over in 1912. Damon Albert purchased it next, and the last owner to operate it as a hotel was August Lemke. August then used it as a residence and it is now occupied by his daughter, Marjorie and her husband, Raymond Klatt.
In 1932 Judd Tooley started a lodge on Mackie Lake. There was a log building on the property being used as a hunting camp. The building originally belonged to James Proudfoot and stood on Proudfoot Bay at Fortune Lake but was moved to Mackie prior to 1920.
Judd and his wife, Louise, operated a dining room for the tourists coming to his cabins, and for hunters stay in the fall.
Clarence Lemke and his wife Sarah (Tooley) operated a lodge on Sand Lake. They had several cottages and also had a store in the lodge.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
George W. Dawson was a prime mover in getting Holy Trinity Church built. He made a plea to the Mission Board on April 26, 1882, and a church was built in 1886. He deeded the land to the church in 1894. He and A.W. Wood personally did the decorative work at the front of the church, including the rood screen, pulpit and lectern. Prior to this, services were held in the I.O.O.F. hall (International Order of Ontario Foresters) across the road. In early years, Gilbert Ostler's barn was used by people attending church to park their buggies.
Plevna United Church
The lot was purchased in 1890 for the Plevna United Church.
Section School #2
This school, probably the fourth or fifth to open in the area, was built by Elisha Playfair around 1863 (though not used for several years) and enlarged during the 1890s and again in 1922.
Playfair had a sawmill and built a frame school when others were constructed of logs. Thos. Deacon was held in this school while awaiting trial for murder. It was used as a Building Supply Centre for a number of years and is now a private residence on Lookout Lane in Plevna.
Section School #4
This, log school, (located in the area of the current junction of Mountain and Grindstone Roads) was opened in 1863, possibly the first in the area, and originally numbered as No.2. Children from Buckshot/Plevna, in Clarendon, attended here with students from Miller Township. When it closed, all students went to SS No.2 in Buckshot/Plevna.
Clarendon Central Public School
This school was constructed in Plevna in 1962/3 and it opened for students April 10, 1963. Students from Fernleigh and Ardoch were already being bussed to the SS#2 in Plevna as the other one-room schools in these areas had been closed. The old school would not hold all the students as the new school was being built, so the grades 7 and 8 attended school in the old green hall across from the Anglican Church. That day in April, all the students walked from the old school to the new one and what an exciting time it was. The school now had inside bathrooms and water fountains. In 1965, the students from Ompah and Canonto were bussed to Clarendon Central. In 1967, Janet Kellar designed the crest for Clarendon Central P.S..