The Dakeyne Farm
by Annie Wilson
The name Dakeyne Farm originated from the Dakeyne Street Lads Club in Nottingham England. This club was formed from The Boys Brigade that was founded by the late Sir William Smith of Glasgow, Scotland. It was the oldest organization for boys, and other clubs have since formed from this club – The 2nd Nottingham Company of the Boys Brigade was the best club – If you joined this club you were somebody – and you became someone – age group 12-17. Being a member of this club brought you many advantages – you were well educated, and by being educated brought you a high position in the war and labor posts. They believed that men who were the best workers and best educated came out on top.
Look ahead – you only have one life here. It’s your duty to make the best of it.
The 2nd Nottingham Club became the Dakeyne Lads Club under Captain Oliver Watts Hind, a British officer and youth worker. In 1912 Hind along with 2 well known farmers of England came to Nova Scotia and bought a two hundred and fifty acre farm in Mt. Denson. This farm was registered in the name of John Player of Players Tobacco Co. of London England. The farm remained in the player’s name until 1920 when it was transferred to the Boys Brigade Incorporation, London England. The reason it was under the Players name was because it was sponsored by the Players Company.
Hind established the Dakeyne Farm to provide a home for boys from ages 13-17 who on their own, or with parents’ consent came to Canada to learn farming – It was to keep the boys active and give them a better opportunity to better themselves. In 1913 when the boys arrived in Canada by Ship – They docked in Halifax and then were brought to Windsor by train. Some arrived in the cold of winter and some nearly froze to death waiting to be picked up by horse and wagon and brought to the farm. Some tell of the hardships they endured trying to get here, others of the time spent.
In the first year of the farm 14 boys were sent out from Britain – 10 were placed on farms the next year. The rest stayed to help the others the next year, and so on –
Some of the managers of the farm were Charles Lockhart, Arthur Smith, John Smith, Roy grant, Gunner Nelson, Mr. Skem and Arthur Curry.
The farm trained boys in many methods of farming – They had Dairy, dairy products, beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, hay, berries, and apples. They grew their own produce and sold it to help cut costs. The livestock was shipped from England – Duel purpose shorthorn – for milk and beef.
In April 1913 the barn was built with two silos – this housed the cattle and stored the hay and grains. The barn was written with these words – Dakeyne Farm Falmouth Nova Scotia In connection with The Dakeyne street lads club Nottingham England.
The farm was in operation from 1913 to 1935 when due to less emigration of boys and the lack of need for farm workers the farm went downhill. The club from England tried to get the government of Nova Scotia to take over the farm but was refused so in 1935 they approached Mr. John Ingram Wilson to buy the place. He offered them a price and they were over a year before they got back to him and accepted their offer. He took over in 1935 – the Dakeyne Farm.
As the years come and go many of the Boys (as we still call them) have returned to the farm to have a look around and see the changes. We’ve certainly enjoyed having them come with their stories and tales of days gone by. Among the many travelers were Albert Glover, Arthur Smith (manager), Cyril Sunderland, Reg Walker, Ernie Walker, Bill Kelvey, John Webb, Charles Davenport, and Roy Grant (manager). Each one that came had a story to tell.
On one occasion while showing the house off we happened to open the door to the vestibule and the window was stained glass with one odd pane. Cyril Sunderland said Oh you’ve still got the same window in – I broke that when I was playing football – and had to replace the window – Couldn’t get a match for the other 3 panes.
Another was telling us about the road repairs done on #1 highway – about how they stored the dynamite on a shed along the road. – They stole along the river bed – when the ferry the Rotundas came up the river they let it off thinking to scare passengers aboard and nearly sunk the ferry – had to pay damages of $25 each at the time.
Some remember the fun times… The old swimming hole – the skating and hockey on the dykes when it froze over – the cricket games – and many sports events – Others remember the ride to the Anglican church every Sunday in Windsor – In the old horse and wagon the democrat haul a white house. Some tell of how the other kids in town made fun of them and called them names – But those were the good old days – Most of the boys did well in life.
Due to the lack of water on the farm was built a reservoir of brick at the top of the hill. It was 14ft wide by 14 feet high and rounded in at the top cone shaped – this supplied the water to the barn and houses – on three properties. The water was pumped to the reservoir by the windmill from a spring near the road and then gravity fed to the house and barn.
An ice house was built – put back of the shed to store the ice for the icebox. Inside the house was a long sink for the boys to wash up at – out back was their dining area – and the large kitchen was a big double stove for cooking. On the second floor was a room for the boys. It was used a rec room – with a library and games – on the third floor the boys slept – one side had their beds and the other had their trunks and clothes.
A large bell was on the house and it was used to call the boys for meals and emergencies – The bell later was given to the Mt. Denson School which was later blown down & broken.
Among the many activities of the Boys was a hand bell choir and some of those bells are still around.
These among a few other stories are told of the Dakeyne farm – It’s a beautiful place and still is an operating farm only mostly dairy and a lot more will be made as the years come and go.