Time Capsule

The Spence Farm

Talking Walls Photography

Talking Walls Photography

This property belonged to Mr. Spence. Mr. Spence didn’t have a formal education but his working experience in raising swine and cattle made him a leader in the farming community.

Mr. Spence took part in Junior Farming judging competitions at the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. In 1928 he won the Top Novice Award at the C.N.E.

He then began to show his pigs at the Chatham Agricultural Fair (now defunct), transporting them by a team of horses and a wagon. Mr. Spence bred Berkshire swine, of which some ended up being exported to the USA and Mexico. In the 1930s he registered his farm with the Canadian National Livestock Records.

In the late 1940s, he began a local marketing agency for hog producers. Farmers would bring their hogs to the Spence farm on Tuesdays where the animals would be weighed and tattooed. The pigs were then shipped by truck to the Coleman Packing Company in London.

Mr. Spence was a supporter of the Ontario Co-operative movement and worked hard in the development of the Thamesville District Co-operative Association. This contribution was recognized in 1964 with the presentation of the Co-operative Pioneer Award.

Mr. Spence was a founding member of the Quality Swine Co-operative in Shedden, sharing its goal of developing better swine. He was interested, too, in Shorthorn cattle, and was one of the first breeders to import polled Shorthorns from the United States, with the well-known Lynwood Farm bloodlines from Purdue University.

A 25-acre woodlot, still standing, is a living legacy from a man dedicated to conservation and sound land stewardship.

Mr. Spence received many honours and awards. The Kent County Hog Producers’ gave him special recognition in 1973 for more than three decades of service as a Director. A Life Membership from the Canadian Lacombe Breeders’ Association the following year was “In appreciation of his contribution to and long association with” that organization.

The Ontario Swine Breeders’ Award of Merit for outstanding service to the purebred swine industry came in 1975. This was “In recognition and appreciation of the many years of loyalty toward our industry, and in special recognition of outstanding human quality and integrity.”

Mr. Spence passed away in 1983. His wife passed away in 1993 at the age of 89.

The house may have been vacated after his death, or perhaps his wife moved into a long-term care facility. The house’s contents are certainly indicative of the late 1980’s era.

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