Saturday, 27 August 2016

Oliver Hamelin (1902-1984)

Oliver Hamelin was born in St. Raphael’s in 1902. He had learned the skills of blacksmithing from his father who was also a blacksmith on the 9th concession in Lancaster, Ontario, just east of the Glen Nevis side road. Hamelin and his wife moved to the village of Apple Hill around 1912 where he purchased his first ever blacksmith shop. 

Oliver Hamelin shod horses, built and repaired sleighs and wagons and installed steel tires on wagons and steel runners on sleighs. He also made handles for various types of farm tools and kitchen tools for the home. In his later and more experienced years, he made fireplace tool sets. Although Hamelin and his wife never had children, he loved children and they were always welcomed in his shop. His shop also became the social gathering place for the elderly men and women of the village. Oliver Hamelin was known to be an avid storyteller and was a favourite interview source for historians.  

Hamelin was the last operating blacksmith shop in the Glengarry County and among the last blacksmith shop in Canada. Hamelin was active in the same shop for 53 years. He passed away in the last week of June in 1984 at the age of 82. His shop is now located here in the village of Dunvegan at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum, where his shop continues to tell the story of the life of a blacksmith.   

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