Mac McLoughry was born and raised on a beef farm near Markdale in Grey County, worked 42 years with the Ontario Department of Agriculture and was made an Alumnus of Honour in 1984 by the Alumni Association of the University of Guelph. At the end of his third year in school, in 1916, Mac got the opportunity to work as an Assistant Agriculture Representative in Lanark County. WWI was on and Manpower was in short supply. It was in Lanark that Mac learned to drive a car. While lecturing short courses, he decided he wanted to be an Agricultural Representative.
In 1918, Mac’s father and brother took sick and he returned to help at home during the summer. That summer, he also worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to make the rail stations look better through better landscaping.
Mac graduated in 1922 from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and was appointed as Assistant Agriculture Representative in Victoria County. He was later appointed Agricultural Representative in Waterloo County where he remained for 27 years.
While in Waterloo, Mac developed a great rapport and understanding with the Mennonite and Amish farmers of the county. During those years, he carried on the school fairs started by his predecessor, Frank Hart; promoted tile drainage; promoted soil and water conservation; educated farmers about the problem of nematodes; set up a swine testing program; and helped develop work in artificial insemination (AI).
In the early years of AI, research was needed on ways to extend the life of semen. Mac convinced the Honourable Tom Kennedy, Minister of Agriculture, to make the necessary funds available to Dr. McNabb at the Ontario Veterinary College (O.V.C.) to carry out the research.
Mac was transferred from Waterloo County to OAC in a new position as Associate Director of Extension to provide liaison between research and extension. This position lasted for 12 years. In 1964, at age 70, Mac retired after spending one year as Director of Extension.
AudioElliott (Mac) McLoughry interview
Harvey Pettit (00:00:01):
This is an interview with Elliot McLoughry, familiarly known by all his friends as Mac. By Harvey Petitt on January the 29th, 1985 for the University of Guelph Alumni Association, Alumni in Action Group. Mac celebrated his 90th birthday in 1984. We are sitting in a comfortable room at the Preston Springs Gardens Retirement Home, Cambridge, Ontario, where Mac has lived since March, 1982. Mac has been a widower for several years. After graduating from OAC in 1922, Mac was employed by the Ontario Department of Agriculture, now known as the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for 42 years, retiring in 1964.
Harvey Pettit (00:01:08):
In 1977, Mac prepared a manuscript requested by Dean Clayton Switzer, and titled My Student Years At The Ontario Agricultural College. A copy of this manuscript is in the University of Guelph archives in the McLaughlin Library. The last sentence in the manuscript reads, "The story of those 42 years is another story, and a long one. This is the story of those 42 years." Mac, before you start to recall your past experiences, I would like you to mention the award that you received from the University of Guelph Alumni Association in 1984. I know that you cherish this award.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:02:08):
I appreciate greatly the fact alumni of the Ontario Agriculture College and University of Guelph saw fit to award to me the great honor of being the alumnus of honor. When I take a look at the fact that I received it, I wonder on what basis they must have awarded it, because I've never felt that since receiving it that I really deserved the honor. However, that doesn't alter the fact that I deeply appreciate it and am happy to have this opportunity to tell everyone who listens to this tape how much I appreciate it.
Harvey Pettit (00:03:11):
As a member of the Ontario department of agriculture, Mac, what was your first appointment?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:03:17):
My first appointment came in a peculiar way during our third year. In spite of the fact that the war was on, Ontario department of agriculture, which it was called then issued a request to have a number of undergraduate students, that is those of us in our third year apply for assistant agricultural representatives. Now those years, the faculty at the college and the Ontario Agricultural both were quite anxious that young men would get some training in the field before they graduated. And therefore I took the step to join the department at that time. I made application and on January the first 1960, I was appointed to Lanark County with Perth as my headquarters. Now I had no idea what the job of an agriculture representative was and I took the train to Perth. When I arrived in Perth, Mr. Harding, who was agriculture representative, met me at the train and took me to the office and he said there was a meeting at Almonte that night, and he wanted me to join him at the train, at which time we'd start out to go to Almonte.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:05:21):
I had no idea what was expected of me. However, I prepared myself, went on the train, was down at the train. In those days they also gave you a booklet, and as an agricultural representative, you received a discount of a third on your ticket, when you bought a ticket on the train. I waited at the train and waited, and then finally I climbed up into it and the train sauntered out but with no Mr. Harding. Well, I ended up in Almonte and went over to the hotel and the hotel keeper affirmed the fact that there was a meeting that night in the hall, and it was a very cold night, 22 below zero. When I arrived, I went in and I was really very badly worried because of the fact that I had never even spoken at a meeting in my life before and just didn't know exactly what to do.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:06:42):
However, when I came downstairs to go in for my supper, there was a big man there as tall as myself, and if anything broader and he told me that he was up here to speak at the meeting and he was George Rothwell the Head Animal Husband man of the federal government. And was I relieved. Well, the two of us went over to the hall at the appointed time and waited around and waited around and our total audience that evening was the caretaker. So that is the first meeting I ever attended as an agricultural representative. After that Mr. Harding was called the army and Mr. Jim Allen came up and took care of the county until May when Mr. Fred Forsyth was appointed. During the period with Mr. Allen, we had a short course at Almonte and I taught there at that short course, and finally I developed love and desire to become a good agricultural representative.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:08:16):
When Mr. Forsyth took over the office after the short course was over Mr. Allen went away and I was in charge of the office until the first of May when Mr. Fred Forsyth came and took charge. Now, this was the first opportunity I had to drive a car, and remarkable the amount of education they gave me in those days in teaching how to drive. Mr. Forsyth and Mrs. Forsyth and I were coming from Carleton Place to Perth, Mr. Forsyth got in the backseat with Mrs Forsyth and told me to take the wheel. And that's how I learned to drive a car. I drove on down to Perth. Then after being in Perth up to that period of time, the first of May, I was transferred to Middlesex and was an assistant to Pat Finn. Now the experience in Middlesex of course was much different to the experience in Perth. They had a more intense of agriculture, and you had to be on your toes a lot more than you had to be on your own in Lanark County.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:09:51):
The first job I had there was to go and survey for a drain and I surveyed it wondering whether I'd have it right or not, but I had Mr. Finn check my figures and they were all right. From then on, of course we did a great deal of draining surveying. Then we had the school fair program and finally I went back to the college again that Christmas, and finished my third year with year 18. After the year 18 rolled around, I didn't have any special work at all to do and I was going to go to Toronto to see if they'd have a place for me as an assistant for the summer, and then I'd go in the fall and finish my course. However, on the way down, I met Mr. Thomason, who was then the professor of horticulture at the Ontario Agricultural College. And he said, "What are you going to do, Mac?" And I said, "Well, I was just going down to Toronto to get a job if I can with the agricultural representative service."
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:11:15):
He said, "Well, don't go there, I've got a job for you." And I said, "What's your job?" And he said, "Well, it's landscape gardener for the Canadian Pacific Railway." At that time, he explained to me, the Canadian Pacific Railway was trying to beautify their stations and increase their passenger population, and make more money that way. However, as you know, the passenger business as far as the railway's concerned is practically gone now, but in those years it was quite important. Well, with the Canadian Pacific Railway, I was given a pass which was good on any Canadian Pacific Railway line between Port Arthur and St. John. And I covered most of those areas at one time or another. Now, the way I worked with the railway was the fact that my father and brother had taken sick the spring of '18, and they needed help on the farms to some extent of the peak season, but they didn't need it the rest of the year.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:12:50):
So during the real peak season on the farm, I didn't work for the railway or do any work of any kind outside of the farm work. However, after during the spring months from March onto say even into the middle of July one year when the crops were short and they didn't need me so much at home, I worked with the Canadian Pacific that way. Now the Canadian Pacific at that time paid me 100 a month and everything plumed which was very high wages for that period. I went then to MacDonald College to talk to Dr. Buckley there, and while at the MacDonald college, the reason I went to MacDonald college was I wanted to see their setup and I wanted to talk to some of their men, their fancy gardening people particularly. Because Mr. Thomason, when he told me about the job had said that he'd like to have OAC man on the job because five or six others were on. And they were all from MacDonald College.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:14:23):
While not working with the Canadian Pacific Railway of course, January and February were very psych months, although they would've kept me on and paid me those two months. I went out with the Ontario department of agriculture and taught a short course. And in that way I was assistant to a great number of men and learned a great deal which was of the operation of the different people and how well they manage their offices. And from every man that I worked with, I got information and help. In that period, I worked in Middlesex, Lambton, Elgin, Waterloo, Lennox and Addington, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville and Carleton. And then after I graduated in 1922, they appointed me to the Victoria County and I was assistant in Victoria County before I was appointed here. It rather remarkable as to how your career isn't all together of your own making during the period in which I was assistant and teaching. After I went to Victoria, I talked about fever and was three months in bed, for those days they didn't have the antibiotics to correct the fever.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:16:24):
After I recovered from the fever, I was two months off after Mr. Duncan asked me to go to Waterloo County and in Waterloo county I went to Dundas county as an assistant on a three months course. In fact, I went in a couple months ahead of time to drum up interest in the course and finally the course was over and just at that time, no appointment within the department was in evidence and the Better Livestock Train was traveling Ontario, and they requested me to go on the Better Livestock Train and talk about and take care of dirty cattle. This I did and finally, when I got back to Toronto with the night that we broke up the train, I was asked to take Asian bull and the cow to St. Thomas and I was so tired. I laid on a bed of hay until the Cabo would pick me up and take me to St. Thomas Harbor. The next thing I knew they were shining the car in St. Thomas and I'd slept all the night on the bed of hay with that bull and the cow.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:17:58):
Thought one of them got loose wouldn't I be in a mess however that did not happen. After I was in St. Thomas, I came on to Toronto and called Mr. Dublin's office and he said that he had two openings as for an agricultural representative. One was chemical and the other was golf or Waterloo County. One was Wine County at Kemptville, another Waterloo County. He said, which did I want, and because imagine my wife had come from Athens, Ontario, that's near Kemptville I suggested that I'd like to go to Kemptville. Harbor the next morning, I was just getting out of bed because I was pretty tired and I was getting some extra sleep. When the telephone rang, Mr. Dunlin told me I had been appointed to Waterloo County. Well, I was going to suggest that he change this appointment, then I thought, well, I'll try it up there for a while anyway. And I lasted in Waterloo County 27 years when I transferred to, well, as associates director of extension.
Harvey Pettit (00:19:29):
I believe that the agriculture representative service started in 1907 in Ontario when there were six men appointed. And it seems to me from what you've told me up to now, that you certainly were in the early years of the service in this province.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:19:56):
That is quite true. We were still at the stage where we were trying to have the approval or get the approval of the farm people and incidentally also the people in the towns and city, because we wanted to support in all areas. Mr. Hart told me that when he first came to the office in Waterloo County, he sat in the golf office and they arranged a short course in agriculture at the collegiate here and also some experimental plots at the fairgrounds or Victoria Park. And those ventures were indeed very poor and didn't work out at all. Then he heard of a small little gathering that Chad began the hand of school children, where they brought in some vegetables and some other stuff and exhibited them. So they thought of a thought of school affair came to his mind. Now the first school fair Mr. Hart had, and that was the first real school affair in Ontario was held to Riverside School, just near golf.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:21:23):
He gave out ribbons and also a certain amount of money as prize money. I was asked to write or at least I suggested that I write about school fairs for the library at middle and going over my files, I ran across the file which an article by Mr. Hart had been written in 1909. Now I used that manuscript, which was quite a hefty manuscript as a matter of fact, and given an introduction and also ending, give me my opinions on just what the school affairs had done for Ontario. I think the school affairs were one of the biggest things in putting the agriculture representative on his feet and getting him acquainted of the farm people than any other organization or operation, which we tried. Of course they had the farmers' clubs and a number of other items at that time.
Harvey Pettit (00:22:47):
School affairs, when were they discontinued?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:22:51):
I think about 1930, when the war broke out, in about that time, I'm not certain the exact year. The school affair of course acted this way. Mr. Hart gave them some seed, now it might be a pound or two of barley, a particular good kind of barley and the child or the boy or girl would grow on the plot. And he was supposed to inspect them during the year, which was done. And in that way, he'd probably get in to... he might say, we say visit 10 people and just see the child, but on the level he see the father and mother and he talked them. And also in those days you work with a horse and buggy, if you're any distance away from your home, farm people would certainly see that a man is prominent and is important as they represented as well taken care of and fed
Harvey Pettit (00:24:01):
Well, I remember the school affairs. I went to a public school in the country and I think it was in September, we had them and I got a setting of hatching eggs from some source. I later found out it was from the OAC and I set those eggs under a Rudy hen, hatched the chicks and then in the fall with the school affair, we sold some of the chicks in competition or some of the birds in competition. So I thought they were a great thing at that time.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:24:44):
I don't think we give as much credit, the Ontario culture calls were a number of things that they've done as we should. Now, this is one particular area where at that time they had supervised plots under the agricultural representative out in each county and the eggs or the chicks finally, we used to hatch chicks and distribute them, they were distributed. And they certainly improved the laying ability of the hens of the ordinary plot then, which was just about a 100 hand. In addition to that, they sent men out to teach them how to call the flocks so that there was an important program at that time carried on by the Ontario Agricultural College and particularly the Poultry Department. Then of course, they finally developed the crossbreeding that has produced this great white laying hen which Mr. Shaver sells chicks all over the world from these particular strains. And he as I understand, has based his research work on the findings of Dr. William at department of Ontario [inaudible].
Harvey Pettit (00:26:21):
And Mr. Shaver is located in Waterloo County.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:26:24):
Harvey Pettit (00:26:26):
Now, previously you mentioned about teaching short courses, and I found this rather interesting. I believe you said the first course you went to Almonte, and I can tell you that after I graduated, I taught a few short courses. And the first short course that I taught was in Eastern Ontario and it also was in Almonte, that was in the 30s. Short courses continued for many years, did they not? As in important part-
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:26:57):
Short courses continued right up until the war broke up and then boys and girls went to various places. They went into the army and they were shorted of help at home so short courses needed to be abandoned then, just had to be, because the boys weren't there to take them.
Harvey Pettit (00:27:28):
Now, I believe that soil conservation was one of the big projects in the counties. And when you were talking previously, you mentioned about doing survey in Middlesex County for drainage work, and I imagine that continued on in Waterloo County.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:27:50):
I never made a survey in Waterloo County, strange than they seem. I turned all that work over to Mr. Ferguson and the drainage department, professor Ferguson, the drain department of Ontario what's we call it. Professor Ferguson, by the way graduated 1918 and therefore had been a classmate of mine. So I kind of had a little bit of a lever to help me get extra help here in drainage work.
Harvey Pettit (00:28:26):
I think I read that one of the first demonstration farm ponds was in Waterloo County. Is that correct?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:28:33):
That's right. We developed a sought conservation committee here under the county council and they had considerable money to spend. So in connection with that, there was farm improvement projects and a number of other projects of that type. And one of those projects was a farm pond, which we were the first to have.
Harvey Pettit (00:29:08):
Now, since we've been talking about soil conservation, makes me think about plowing matches. Imagine you have some memories about plowing matches in Waterloo County.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:29:19):
Well, Waterloo County's one of the first counties that ever had plowing matches at the same time, to some extent I'm critical of them. On the other hand, I'm not critical to this extent, but anything that directs people's attention to soil and good soil management is a value in our operations. And this is one thing of course the prime has done, but at one time we'd five township matches in the county. Now they're all just down to one here in [inaudible].
Harvey Pettit (00:30:01):
You mentioned about working with professor Fred Ferguson in the drainage work. I imagine you had many cooperative things with OAC because of your location here in Waterloo County, close to the college.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:30:20):
College and myself and the branch had a very close relationship. Now with the Veterinary College, we had a couple of projects. One was of which Dr. Jones did the research that we got into artificial breeding investigation work more or less pushed into it. A number of our Waterloo County farmers, Jersey breeders went down the United States and discovered that there were artificial breeding down there and apparently fairly successful. Although in some areas, they weren't having very good results as far as the percentage to conception was concerned, they decided they'd however like to try it. So they bought a bull called Royal dreamer and proceeded to use his semen. Now, Dr. Hes, the veterinarian, they hired to do this type of work or rather to who's hired to inseminate the cows used a speculum in his insemination work. And in that way, it appeared as though the semen for some reason or another had gotten cool and died and therefore his conception rate was practically nil, of all the cows, he inseminated they only got two Jersey calves.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:32:15):
Then the host team then decided they would like to try it. So they hired Dr. Johnson. They set him down to the stage to one of the urines down there to learn how they did it. Well, he learned the method which is even used to this day and came back up here with that information. Nevertheless, had very poor conceptual rate too and it looked like as if the men that were helping him, the veterinarians who were helping him were crying disease from one herd to another. And also the fact that there was something wrong in way the semen was being handled. Well, Dr. Johnson then came to me about it and I thought, well, maybe it was linked up with their soils program because we do know that a bit of a copper that if it is in the food of a cow or a man, then his heart's affected. So I thought probably some soil deficiency had developed of ours and therefore we must have a problem.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:33:36):
However, I went to Dr. McNadd and told him about it and said, would he do some research investigation work about it. Dr. Nabb told me that he had no money to do it. Well. I said, would he do the research work if I got the money for him, he said, sure he would. So I called Dr. Kennedy, who was the minister of agriculture and I knew personally and told him what the problem was and wanted to know who had some money to do this experiment of work. And he said, "Well, certainly, how much do you want?" Well, I said, "I really don't know Dr. McNabb will be carrying on. He'd have a fair idea what it would cost. Well, Colonel Kennedy said, "Well the next day if Dr. McNabb and I could meet him." So we met him in the president's office and he turned the dark to me Nabb and asked him how much money he'd need for the project. And Dr. Nabb told him, he said, "Well, I'll see if you get the money." So that's how we started to do research work in artificial breeding.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:34:57):
Well, Dr. McNabb discovered that disease was being spread by the semen of the semen of the bulls and therefore they introduced antibiotics. And that was the introduction. And then from there of course the college worked with Ontario across the college, worked with the unit which was originally a hosting unit. But then went into the larger unit when Mr. Watson gave different grants of that to artificial breeding program. And they also found that the inseminators had to be particularly careful going from farm to farm as to having mud on their shoes and so on. So that's how we got into North Ontario with the Ontario Veterinary College, how we got into artificial breeding research, and some other research projects of course, who made some nice stuff we were close by and they like to work with us. And our Pennsylvania and German farmers were particularly cooperative and therefore they like them still further because every time a man come out there, he had a lovely meal given to him and he was really taken care of.
Harvey Pettit (00:36:36):
Well, you may have had a lot of problems with your artificial insemination work to start with, but it's really been a success story, hasn't it?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:36:43):
Yes. It's been a success story and if Dr. McNabb hadn't done this research work, the matter of artificial breeding would've been set back many years because the problems were beginning to build up. And it looked as though both in Europe and in the United States that they hadn't the answers and therefore Harvard actually now came up with the answer. It went ahead really quickly.
Harvey Pettit (00:37:21):
Now you mentioned the OAC cooperative work. I think one of them involved nematode infection, did it not?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:37:33):
Yeah. The immigration of nematode was a funny thing. The oat would be all under certain conditions, probably two or three inches high and have a whole field of them like that. You'd pull them up on the root they would be shortened with apparently worm had worked up the root and cut off the nutrition wall, and then the plant would send out secondary roots and the nematode would destroy an old crop. Now, professor James, Brian and myself, we worked out a rotation in regards to the control of the nematode and it works randomly, the farmer followed that rotation.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:38:41):
They would have insurance probably a 60 bushel acre call, or after they didn't fall, they'd probably get two bushels acre. Now nematode, we had to hold meetings with farmers and tell them about the rotation and Dr. James walked on at Ontario College. We had a field and he did a great thing to reach search on it and proved that our rotation was the only thing that they could come up with, that would really handle the problem. Now, nematode of course, seemed to, if you fall wheat with the crop, there's awful bad because fall wheat multiplies it and if had other it seemed that it even affected corn. All our scientists said that there's no such thing, that nematode wasn't bothering the corn and yet, if you had a bad infestation in between corn afterwards, we didn't have a crop of corn.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:40:04):
Well, I had a scientist from Holland over with me and I told him about it, he said, "Well, Mike, if a thing happens often enough, you may figure out that there's something wrong and what you figure is probably about, right what that situation is. Now, since then of course, there is research work going on with the federal government and with the federal government, particularly heading it on. And even though Ontario College has or at least they had a couple man, Donald, I think it's Hall where the federal station is. Because nematode effects peach trees and a number of other crops now they find. And a matter of rotation or a matter of using nematode killer is the only thing that will handle. And of course this cooperated work was done at the college and with the college. And we had fair amount of success I would say.
Harvey Pettit (00:41:22):
Waterloo was one of the big livestock counties in Ontario. And I think one of your early projects was a bacon hog fair.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:41:32):
Well, we held a bacon hog fair for the simple reason that we wanted to get grading of hogs on the move in Waterloo County. If you took a look at a pen of pigs in Waterloo County, you'd have very fat pigs, some of them spotted, some of them have built almost any variety you could think of except a good bacon type. Well, we established this hog fair to give these people an idea of what we're looking for in regards to a bacon pig. And if a man brought a pig to the fair, and it looked like there's a good anywhere near the type that we wanted, well, then we give them $2 for a premium. And this caught on fire and both packing plants cooperated and this wasn't long until we had grading here in the county, it's hog grading on the who of men course, finally it got to be carcass grading and so on.
Harvey Pettit (00:42:58):
Well, it was the forerunner. Was it not of swine testing programs?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:43:03):
Yes. Well, I was asked to help them establish a swine testing station in Waterloo County and for a while we had established at new Hamburg and then the federal government bought a site in Waterloo from Mr. Fred Snyder and they built the station there. And then later the station has been moved West of new Dundee and is quite a big station.
Harvey Pettit (00:43:46):
I know that livestock sales are big in Ontario, were there livestock sales in the early years, when you first started in Waterloo County?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:43:58):
Harvey Pettit (00:44:00):
Were they weekly sales? Farmers would bring their animals into the sales and the buyers would be there to?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:44:09):
No, most of our cattle were handled by growers, but we didn't have very many livestock sales.
Harvey Pettit (00:44:22):
Well, they do now have them.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:44:24):
They have now up at, there's big sales. I just don't know what they do now. I'm sure.
Harvey Pettit (00:44:36):
Well, it's very interesting. You may have heard this. I heard it on the television just this week, as far as selling livestock, I know that a number of Ontario people go out to the Western Canada to buy yearling cattle for fattening purposes. And this program was on country Canada. Do you watch country Canada or not?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:45:03):
No. I can't watch don't you see I'm blind.
Harvey Pettit (00:45:06):
No, that's right. Pardon me. And they said that as a trial, they've set up using satellite. They show pictures of the livestock in the pen, out in the West. And then the buyer down here in Ontario can see the picture on the television and then he puts in his bids and apparently the first try, it was reasonably successful.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:45:36):
Well, I don't know anything about that.
Harvey Pettit (00:45:38):
It's a new venture. Now you were in Waterloo County during the period of the second world war from 1939 to 1945. And one of the important things during the war was the food supply. I expect that you were very much involved in promoting food supply in your county.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:46:06):
Waterloo county was considered the outstanding county as far as production was concerned of any county in Ontario. The claim has been made that Waterloo County during the war produce more food per unit than any other county in Ontario.
Harvey Pettit (00:46:30):
And you also told me I believe once that you were chairman of a war finance committee that was involved with selling victory bonds.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:46:40):
Well, as I was the chairman of the rural section of the war finance committee here in the South, that took in as far as Stratford and down through Tavistock and back in through part of Renfrew and then Galt and Preston and Hespler.
Harvey Pettit (00:47:07):
Now in Waterloo County, many of the farmers are Mennonite and they're very hard working people. But because of their faith, they put special or different values on things than you and I would. I imagine you had a lot of experiences working with the Mennonite people.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:47:38):
Often when people speak of Mennonites, you see it isn't exactly as you would look at it. They have in mind the old order midnight on the North probably, and the old order [inaudible] in those particular areas. Whereas the Mennonite people have probably about 16 or 17 different conferences, and they operate on different bases, these conferences. Some of the conferences have modern music and so on and they gather together in the congregation, the same as you would in United church or in the Catholic church, any church don't you see. Well, then you have the old older at night that have a plain church with just benches and the table and the women sit on one side of the meeting house and the men on the other. And that's true with the group of Amish. Then of course you have some of the Amish people what you might call a house or barn Amish that just meet in houses or barns or someplace like that, so that you have a great variety. Now you mentioned Mennonite people, you see I'm at the loss to know who you mean.
Harvey Pettit (00:49:19):
Well, I guess I wouldn't know who, I mean, I just-
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:49:22):
Tell me the various strata or the various division. You see you have the Dunkers over at the New Dundee where they believe the Baptist and fully immersion, that's the reason they're called Dunkers. Then of course you have the older men in the North that had buttons and so on as close, and then you have the Amish living right along the side of them towards Wellesley and back up in there. They have [inaudible sentence]. There's beautiful surge and they're all well dressed and some of them have no blind on their houses or curtains you see, and have no carpets or no pictures on the walls, some others have. So it depends on which conference you belong to.
Harvey Pettit (00:50:26):
Well, I believe that some of the men, the nights don't believe in such things as tractors or cars, but I imagine they would be using horses even today.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:50:38):
Some of them use horses still, and they don't believe cars and they're very few and far between them than you'd think.
Harvey Pettit (00:50:49):
But they are good farmers.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:50:52):
Well exceptional. Well, the Mennonite people are wonderful people and I have appreciated my association with them over the years. When I came here, they had nothing to do whatsoever with the department of agriculture. And I wondered how I might get to know them. One day I was going by one of their bishop's places and I dropped in to see him. And he was plowing around the field, which was a method some of the news in that community. And I was walking over to speak to him when I noticed that he was talking to a salesman. Well, the salesman said something, he just turned around and drove on around the field, leaving the salesman stand there without anybody with him. So the sales man then picked up his bag and went, I thought, well, I picked up my whole day to come and see this man with the result that I was on the point of turning around going back.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:52:30):
And I thought, well, I can't lose much by being turned down anyway. So I went over and he stopped. He said, "Who are you?" And I said, "I'm McLoughry" and then of course she said, I've been wishing to meet you for several months. He said, "Will you come in, we went to dinner." He says, "The misses will have extra plate for you and we'll have a talk after dinner." So that was my introduction to start with the Mennonite people. And from there of course, I met more and more of them and finally I knew most of them. A matter of fact, we had 2,500 farmers in Waterloo County and I figured that I knew 90% of them by their first name, unfortunately my memory isn't very good now. But at that time I knew all these people. During the war years, of course, they could have made application for essential farm workers. They did not do this, at least they weren't even asked the younger people, the ministers of the churches just sent in lists of their young men who were members and they were immediately written in conscientious objectors.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:54:09):
Now, of course, if a man didn't want to be listed that way, he could take an oath that he was no longer one. And as I understand, if a man Changed his mind that way or took his oath, he wasn't on a conscientious objective. They put him in the army then left his family without his support or his help. The first introduction I had and connection with the problems leading to the call up of alternative servers or conscientious objectors was the fact that the federal government in cooperation with the Ontario government opened a camp at Montreal river for these people to work in. And they'd sent a 100 and some of the young men up there. Well now the young men had just wasted their time all winter and that didn't look very possible or sensible to me when I learned what had happened. Then when they were coming back down they decided that, although they'd promised to let these boys go back to their home farms, they decided on their way down that they weren't going to allow this.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:55:40):
That they were going to establish a camp to send out these people to help out with the farming need, was the greatest. However, the Mennonites appealed to me and I thought that it was only fair if these people had been told that they'd be going back home, it was only fair that the word was kept. And I went about to see that was done. Now Mr. King at Oliver, of course was born in Kemptville knew the situation. And Mr. [inaudible] I knew him awfully well, who was the minister of trade and commerce at that time. And I also knew Mr. Devon Trada, he was minister of agriculture there and I graduated with him from the college in the same year and we'd written our thesis together. And then also Mr. Norman, was the minister of lands in this particular area. So I had a pretty good base to make an appeal that things be properly done. Now, I suggested that it was all right that they could let these people go home. And it was all right that they wanted to recall them.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:57:24):
But in any case, they had to keep their word. Well, they were pretty cross of me. As a matter of fact, the deputy minister of agriculture called me into Toronto about it and said that I know this [inaudible]. I said I had, when it became a problem of my people. So he said, "Well, I was to do what the federal people wanted me to do, was let these people when they come from camp, went to another camp." I said, I won't do that. They're going back to their own people and from there these people can call them as long as they can do what they like. Well, the deputy minister said that as far as I was concerned that I wasn't working with the department anymore. Well, I said, that's fine I'm not worrying particularly. I said, I have already been offered a job with the federal department at least the army as a personnel officer in the Navy. Well, he said, that's okay.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (00:58:30):
However by the time I got back to Ottawa and back to [inaudible], I'd phoned Mr. Dewan, the minister of agriculture and also Mr. Hypo and I also phoned Ottawa directly to McKenzie King. So by the time I got back home the telephone was ringing and the deputy minister wanted to speak to me and I said, fine. He said, look and he said, that was a mistake today. He said, you aren't fired. And I said, well, that's fine. I didn't think I was. So we went forward from there. Well, Lynn, the deputy minister said, well, seeing that I appeared, all these alternative service or conscientious objectors placing them on farms and the arranging for them was my business from there in, and I bought something for my pain. Well, during the years we had 2500 interviews. And these interviews occurred, of course cost the promise and I also was being asked to look to [inaudible] to see if I couldn't get them to sort of meet the requirements out there. But I never got there because the war stopped fortunately for me.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:00:13):
Then we had a problem in Windsor, which is interesting to everybody. And the people in Leamington [inaudible] were mostly Russian men from Russia. They were well educated and the majority of them had a boy in the army in the noncom combative services. It was the people of that area broke into their church and burned their Hymn books, because the Hymn books were written in German. Now the reason that these people held their services in German was because of the fact that Catherine, the great, when she was head of Russia wouldn't allow them to learn Russian in case that they would influence her people in the Mennonite religion. So they had always retained the German and their church in that way. So I was told by the employment officer [inaudible] that all the conscientious injectors had to be moved out Essex and told him that what we're doing and would he like to come over.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:01:43):
And he said, no, I not going over, I don't have anything to do with those people, which was all right. He said, also you better take a Roman policeman with you because the people are threatened to shoot you. Well, I said, I guess probably they'll miss anyway. So we are just going down the way we are. So when I went down there, they had a little room there, a sort of a beverage room and it was packed with people. I went in to have a drink of ginger rail and sat down by a table and if ever you went into a meeting where you could cut the atmosphere like ice. That was the one that I went into there because they sure dislike me. Anyway, I let it be known that the next morning we're having a meeting in the city hall in regards to the very topic that they were concerned about and that everybody was welcome.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:02:52):
And to let everybody know. So we got various men on the streets to get around and tell people. So the next morning, we went over to the city hall to this meeting. The place was packed. Now the first thing was that the Mr. Sean, the secretary of peace churches committee, he got up and made a state in regards to the people, just what their ambitions and so on were and where they come from and so on. And then I followed and I told them that I thought it was kind of weird that they would be acting the way they do, that over in Europe we're fighting to see that the people of this world and this country would be able to live according to their desires and according to their way of wanting to live. This of course kind of went down hard with them. I said also that I'd been asked by the officer in charge here of labor to move all the conscientious objectors that were of callable age out of the community. And I was prepared to do that.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:04:26):
And I also suggested to them that the reason for the church serves being held in German was as we mentioned before, because they were forced in Russia to use German instead of Russian talking with each other. Now, after the meeting was over while the people dispersed we got down to the business with the employment officer in regards to the people who were going to move to other locations. The first one come up and the man says, well, John, isn't a conscientious objector. I said, yes, he is. Well, he said, his brother's overseas. Well, I said, I know that. And he said, well, we can't do without John. He said, if I let John go. He says, honestly they are going to see I'm part and I said, I can't help that. You asked me to have everybody that was a conscientious objector moved out of here.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:05:36):
And I said, here's 47 people and we need them in various parts of Ontario. Well, then he said, we'll take a look at them. So we looked over all of them and he found that every one of them had those, that in regard every one of them with some reason why he should not be moved out of the community. And therefore we left without moving anybody. And from there in, we never heard anything more from Lemington in regards to conscientious objectors after war was over. Now, these were the problems that we ran into as a matter of misunderstanding as to the attitude of these people. And I want to point out of course, there's an act of parliament that gave them the privilege of not serving in their armed services.
Harvey Pettit (01:06:48):
After 27 years with in Waterloo County, by the early 50s, you had a change in your employment. And I wonder if you could explain to us now what happened then.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:07:06):
Well, really it wasn't a change in employment, it was a change employer. It wasn't a change in employer, it was a change in the work I was doing. I was transferred over of well, the Ontario Culture College as the first associate director of the extension branch in a liaison's capacity between research and extension. In other words, I was trying to dig up all the research work that had been finished that might be useful to the farm people and get PAMs or bulletins written on it and forwarded to them. And also I had to interact the two, people in the field, various scientific discoveries, because they were usually written up in scientific language. And therefore people weren't too familiar with actually what was said, but was probably quite simple.
Harvey Pettit (01:08:26):
Well, it was a matter of getting the research information out to the farmers.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:08:32):
Harvey Pettit (01:08:32):
By field men.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:08:34):
Yeah. And there's another thing that I had to, and that was in visiting their cost representatives office, I found that there's research work that was not being done. Well, then I brought it back to a special committee of the farm at the college and they looked into it and worked on it.
Harvey Pettit (01:08:59):
Well, it worked two ways. Then you were bringing information in from the counties to the university and the college, and you were taking information out to the counties.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:09:07):
Right. Both ways. It worked both ways.
Harvey Pettit (01:09:10):
Now you also got involved with the junior farm loans, did you not?
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:09:14):
Well, I was vice president of junior farm loan corporation and we loaned a great deal of money then. Of course, now it is all paid off because it carries small interest rates and also expansion or inflation took care of the debt.
Harvey Pettit (01:09:45):
Now, after 12 years as associate director of extension at Guelph, then there was another change.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:09:53):
Well, after 12 years as associate director of extension to college, then they transferred me to Toronto as director of extension. There are a number of problems there that needed to be straightened out by someone who was not going to be with the department for too long because resentment could not then be held against him. And a matter of fact [inaudible] so I was successful in settling the matter so fairly that three of them men involved were very happy to tell me since then it was the best thing that ever happened.
Harvey Pettit (01:10:41):
When you were just director of extension for one year and in 1964 at the age of 70, you retired.
Elliott (Mac) McLoughry (01:10:50):
Harvey Pettit (01:10:53):
Thank you, Mac for your memoirs. It is being said that Elliott McLoughry was a pioneer during a time of great technical advance in farm practices, a well deserved tribute.