The Hamlet of Hereward was established in the late 1860's which is now known as East Garafraxa. Our family has been farming in this area for over 5 generations and in 2021, planted 3,000 lavender plants and make spa-quality infused lavender products.
"Hereward" took its name from fiction. "Hereward the Wake" published in 1866, was a bestselling historical romance for English author Charles Kingsley. It recounted the adventurous life of Hereward, the son of Lady Godiva, and his exile as a "wake" or outlaw in the last days of Saxon England, his two marriages, his rebellion against the Conqueror and his eventual capitulation to the King and restoration as lord of the Manor.
At the corner of the 9th Line and 15 Sideroad (County Road 5), on the road to Belwood, a solitary house is the only tangible reminder of the Hamlet of Hereward. The old home is the last of the cluster of buildings that surrounded the intersection and formed the heart of an active rural community.
Alex Burnett (Stephen's Great-Great Uncle) came from Antrim Ireland with his brother John (Stephen's Great-Great-Grandfather) around the time of the potato famine. Alex owned "The Rossin House" hotel at Hereward, on east half lot 16, Concession 9, Garafraxa. He also had the Post Office for a time and lived on the west half, lot 16, Concession 10
John Burnett and Sarah Phair married on December 24, 1862 and lived on Sarah's Father's farm west half, lot 3, Concession 9, Garafraxa. Sarah and John had eight children with four dying in infancy. John had visited Ireland in 1887 and returned to Canada in poor health. He died the following year.
This was a great little find from the Museum of Dufferin that was sent to us by a friend when she was searching through archives.
**Another interesting fact is that this postcard is written by a member of Stephen's ancestors!!
The postcard features the Southside of Broadway in Orangeville and is dated October 22, 1914, and has a postmark from the Hereward Post Office.
"Black and white postcard of the business district on the south side of Broadway in Orangeville from John Street to Mill Street. One green Canada postage stamp on the back top corner.
Inscription on the back handwritten, brown ink:
"Miss Martha Graham, Acton, Ontario
Oct 5 22
Arrived safely about six o'clock tonight. About five miles out of Acton it poured and we thought we were going to have to seek shelter for the night but got along fine" - Mamie
Postmark: Hereward, Ont.
Inscription - Postal Frank, Hereward 1914
Studio: Phillips and Wrinch Ltd.
Link to the file here
Our story started many years ago, when the Hamlet of Hereward grew up in the late 1860's as a settlement of the northwest part of the township was completed, and the demand for services grew. On November 1, 1867, Hereward gained official status (at least in the eyes of the federal Post Office Department). On that day, a post office was opened to serve the Hereward Community.
Our family settled here over five generations ago, with Stephen's Great-Great-Uncle Alex Burnett and Great-Great-Grandfather John Burnett who both arrived from Antrim Ireland at around the time of the potato famine.
The Burnett family still lives in this area and is actively involved in the farm community. Stephen's Great Grandfather purchased the farm that he grew up on and which has now been passed down through each generation. Stephen's Grandfather and Grandmother actively farmed the land as well as some of the surrounding farms, one of which we call home.
Stephen's mom and dad expanded the operations to include raising beef cattle and eventually a substantial cash crop operation growing wheat, corn, soybeans and canola. Both Stephen and his brother were involved in the farming at an early age and now his brother and their family have once again expanded the operation to include a large agribusiness of cash crops, seed sales and run the main farming operation.
Although active in other business adventures, Stephen never left the farming community and we purchased a piece of one of the original farms that his Grandfather had farmed around the corner from the original farmstead.
Over the years, we have continued to grow crops on the farm and have expanded the operations to include many of the typical cash crops of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. In 2019, Julie envisioned a new crop idea for the farm and spent the fall of 2019 planning. In the spring of 2020, Julie and Stephen planted their first crop of lavender and watched and waited for the fall results. The first year was a modest crop as they wanted to see how this new crop would work at the farm. They harvested the fresh lavender and with sweet scents through the air they began the drying and infusion process. News of the new crop and the excitement of the naturally infused lavender oils spread like wildfire through the countryside.