Morewood’s Oldest Citizen: 1938

“Simon BOGART was known in the Morewood area for two reasons, first as the mail driver who carried the mail between Morewood and Chesterville for several years, yet perhaps he received most attention from being the second husband of Mary Jane BOGART.”

“This remarkable lady was supposed at one time to be the oldest living woman in Ontario, if not all of Canada. She lived under the reign of four British Sovereigns, and gave loyalty to all. Because of her age, she received considerable mention in the press. Then on her 104th birthday, December 21st, 1938 a cable of congratulations arrived from His Majesty King George and Queen Elizabeth of England.

Mrs. BOGART was born in the county of Fermanagh, Ireland on December 21st, 1834. Her father, the late William COVENTRY came to Canada in 1845 to prepare a home and receive his wife and four children in Osnabruck, Ontario. The family crossed the ocean in a sail boat during rough and turbulent weather, taking 51 days – at which time Mary Jane COVENTRY was only 11 years old.

Father COVENTRY was a weaver by trade, so was able to provide carpets and wool goods for the pioneers of the district. He also taught Mary Jane to become an expert weaver. She moved with her family from Osnabruck to Cambridge Station, Ontario.

Mary Jane was twice married: First to Eli BOGART after which the newly weds settled on a homestead east of Cannamore, Ontario where she helped clear the land. She also added to the family revenue through her weaving. Their marriage lasted 16 years as Eli died in 1884. Soon after she married his brother, Simon BOGART and they moved to Morewood – where he died in 1900.

Following his death, Mrs. BOGART went to live with her only child and daughter Ellen BOGART who was married to a farmer (Walter LOUGHRIDGE), then living about 2/3rds of a mile west of Morewood. The health of Mrs. LOUGHRIDGE was always delicate, but for a long time before she died in 1917 was so precarious she required much nursing and attention. Her mother not only helped look after her, but also after the two children, the older boy being mentally challenged. Yet, if that was not enough, at the age of 96 Mrs. BOGART insisted on going to the barn morning and evening to milk six cows.

When she was around 90, I remember being in Father’s store in Morewood on a rather warm summer day, seeing Mrs. BOGART come into the store carrying a market basket holding 20 dozen of eggs. She had walked carrying the basket of eggs the 2/3rds mile from the LOUCGHRIDGE farm. Even a young woman might have considered it a task to carry the eggs from a car parked at the store door.

Mrs. BOGART was essentially a home woman, devoted to the needs of her family, and never travelled to any extent, having only once been in Ottawa, about 25 miles distant. She was a particularly well read woman and always kept herself informed on current events. The Lady often expressed the opinion that young girls did not wear enough under clothing, saying she wore five or six petticoats. On one occasion she was heard to remark ‘If they could only dress warm like I do, they would be healthier and live longer’.

Mary Jane BOGART was an ardent conservative, having dwelt in Upper Canada before confederation was only a dream of statesmen. She followed closely, the career of Sir John A. MACDONALD.

In church work and fraternal activities, she gave freely of her time and talents. Over a long period of years she was singularly devoted to the Methodist Church and the Women’s Auxiliary of the Loyal Orange Lodge Number 459. She was proud of the fact, that she never missed an Orange Walk, long as able to participate. After Church Union in 1925 her efforts were directed to the United Church.”