KKD Villager March 2020

Aged Refugee of Flood 1st Secures His Dog The London Free Press, April 28, 1937

James Stevenson, 80 year old resident of Kilworth and a former London jeweller, was taken from his water- filled home yesterday after a thrilling rescue in which 50 residents gathered to aid provincial police and boatmen. The elderly man had refused to leave his home, which is one of the show places of the neighbourhood. In the early evening Monday an appeal was made to him to leave but he remained while water rose to fill the lower floor. Through the night neighbours tried to paddle to the house in a rowboat but the current was too strong. About 1 o’clock yesterday morning an appeal came to provincial police. A heavy motorboat was transported from the city but it could not be launched. Again neighbours tried to traverse the churning water in a rowboat and again without success. Finally before daybreak, another light power boat was brought from the city and launched. Piloted by J. Fronton, of Grey Street, with Provincial Constable Ben Milligan in the boat, the light craft was let down stream with a long rope. A score of residents held the ropes and guided the craft downstream. After several attempts, with motor running wide open, the boat was taken through the eddy to the house . . . driven to a small attic bedroom Mr. Stevenson was awaiting any transportation -the corner of the house sunk, tilting the structure and its position was precarious. As the boat was hauled by a hook to the attic window Mr. Stevenson handed out his small dog then climbed into the boat. The return trip in the boat was even more dangerous than the course to the house but the boatman landed his human cargo safely ashore. Nearly 40 newspaper articles relating local stories can be found in the book Kilworth - The Woodhull Settlement. Copies are sold at Bookmarks The Spot, Mt. Brydges, Hyde Park Country and Feed Store on Gainsborough Road and Dishington’s Tea Room in Lambeth. Call Beth at 519 686-0951 or email bethads@rogers.com

Stevenson house May 2, 1937. The flood waters have receded and left the house in terrible condition. James Stevenson moved back to his previous home in London at 37 Evergreen Avenue. James died three years later at age 83 and is buried in the Woodhull Cemetery next to his wife Susan Kilbourne.

James Stevenson had renovated the old Comfort house that was once also a dried goods store. The building was moved circa 1912 to the southeast side of the Kilworth bridge and was viewed as one of Kilworth’s prettiest homes, a white clap-board house that graced the banks of the Thames River.

Stevenson house May 2, 1937. The flood waters have receded and left the house in terrible condition. James Stevenson moved back to his previous home in London at 37 Evergreen Avenue. James died three years later at age 83 and is buried in the Woodhull Cemetery next to his wife Susan Kilbourne.

Photographs provided by Middlesex Centre Archives The Heritage of Lobo Township 2015-0011.

Issue 30 - March 2020 Page 7

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