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The Story of Herbert S. Cobb

During the spring of 1899 my father arrived in Canada as one of Dr. Bernardo’s little immigrants!   He spent two years in Novar, Ontario and then was sent to the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brimacombe near Seagrave.  He attended Seagrave Methodist Church, “a small frame building” as he wrote in his memoirs.  During harvest time he would work from 5 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m.  A Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Mitchell took an interest in him and persuaded the Bernardo Home Authorities in Toronto to let them take him from the Brimacombe’s into their home and educate him.  He was at the Brimacombe’s from April 1901 until February 1902. Mr. Mitchell worked for his brother-in-law, Mr. Robert Thompson (a member of the building committee for this church), who owned the general store.

During the summers my father worked for several farmers such as Duncan Towne, Issac Clemens, Dick Martin, Albert Lois, Orchard and Cephas Sleep.  He started to attend the village school and for the next four years had teachers such as Mr. Ward, a Mr. Brewster, Miss Annie Metheral whose father, Rev. Moses Metheral, was the minister at the Methodist Church in Seagrave and then Miss Hazel Thompson a niece of my father's foster mother and daughter of Mr. Robert Thompson.  He attended 2 years while she taught.  She prepared him for the entrance examination, which he wrote in Port Perry and passed.  He attended another year and took high school leaving.  That summer, 1905, his foster parents move to Toronto and he stayed with the Thompsons and worked in the store.


In the fall of 1906, Mr. Thompson, who was plagued with ill health, sold his business and retired to Whitby.

My father returned to Toronto and lived with his foster parents and worked in a grocery store.

Meanwhile, the Methodist Church was scourging the everywhere for young man to serve in the West as student missionaries.  My father applied and was accepted and sent to Saskatchewan and spent the next four years as a student minister in about 4 different towns.  In 1911, he returned to Ontario to attend Albert college for the next three years and then in the fall of 1914 he entered Victoria College in Toronto.  In November 1915, he enlisted in the Army

After the war he returned to Victoria College.  He was ordained into the Methodist Church June 1921 at Whitby, Ontario.  He married Ella Mae Wight from Bowmanville on June 1, 1921 and they went west to Saskatchewan where he served the Methodist Church and in 1925, the United Church of Canada in such places as Griffin Harris, Wolsley and Weyburn.  Returning to Ontario, “the land of milk and honey”, as my father used to say, in the summer of 1938. He served charges such as Tillsonburg, Dawn Mills (near Chatham) and St Enoch’s United Church, Toronto from which he retired in January 1956

My father preached at Seagrave United Church on:

· July 4, 1948  - an evening service

· September 18, 1955  - Anniversary Service and

· October 2, 1956  - Golden Anniversary Service

Robert Herbert S. Cobb born August 10, 1890 in Horsham England, died June 17, 1973 in Willowdale, Ontario

This account was related to us by Miss Helen Rotterman, daughter of Rev. Cobb, on the occasion of the Centennial Celebration.

Do you know that the Thompson family never received a thank you letter from Seagrave for their gift of pulpit chairs?  When the Whitby post office was undergoing renovation, the letter was found, caught in some paneling long after it was originally posted.

Related by Leona Wanamaker at Centennial Celebrations