Berniece Porter

By Jeff White


On a farm near Lake Charles, Marshall and Murilla Porter lived a normal life with love, and appreciation for the land. In February 1920 the first of two children was born. Bill Porter was their first born son. He helped greatly around the farm until he moved away in his late teens. On May third 1923, Murilla gave birth to a baby girl and gave her the name Berniece. Something was wrong with this infant, Berniee as mentally challenged and would never live a normal life. Time passed, the children grew and the farm prospered. When haying season arrived the whole family helped to get the hay in. Berniece would drive the horses while Bill and Marshall would load and unload the hay from the field to the barn. Marshall never had much for equipment and called on a neighbour for help. Albert Barfoot who lived down the road would bale their hay every year until Marshall bought one of his own. Ab Barfoot became good friends with the Porters and he and his wife Mary would visit frequently.


Marshall, Murilla, Bill and Berniece went out west one summer to see the great Calgary Stampede. This was great because Berniece never got away from home much and needed to see more than just her surrounding area. Bill and Berniece went to school at Lake Charles. Agnes Greig was the teacher there and since Berniece was challenged spent lots of time and effort on helping her with her schooling and was very supportive of her.


Berniece finished public school but never went on to high school. Instead she stayed home and helped her mother out around the farm. In 1963 the Porter family sold their farm to Don Johnson, and packed up their belongings and moved to Scott Street in Wiarton. Berniece was unsure when Bill moved away from home but he got married to Given Belrose and had three lovely children Laurene, Donna and Faye. The first tragedy was of the family occurred on January 12, 1977 when Marshall—better known as Marsh to his friends and family—died unexpectedly. Berniece and her mother continued to live at their home in Wiarton. Bill later developed cancer and traveled to Toronto for treatments but in 1980 Bill died of his cancer which was another blow to the family considering he was only sixty. In 1982 Murilla and Berniece packed up their belongings and moved to Owen Sound. Although they had family in Owen Sound, they never had visitors, so when Murilla gave a choice to Berniece of moving back to Wiarton to Gateway Haven or staying in Owen Sound, Berniece replied, “Let’s go to Wiarton because it’s not like we get any company over here and at least we know people in Wiarton.” In 1985 they moved back to Wiarton, to an old age home—Gateway Haven.


Gateway Haven was their home now and when Murilla dies at least Berniece would be taken care of. The last tragedy of the family was to come when in 1988 Murilla died and Berniece was now the last of her immediate family. Berniece has enjoyed her life at Gateway Haven. Every so often entertainment is brought in for the residents. Every spring the Legion rents a bus and takes some of the residents on a field trip as a sort of getaway, which Berniece participates in and looks forward to. Berniece continued to live at Gateway Haven until her death.


From An Anthology of Stories the EWR4A and Gateway Haven Friend-to-Friend Programme  

Explorer's of Bruce

Mir Hassamudddin - Shenstone Motor Inn Elaine Mathewson
henry_paliga Abdon Aguillon
Debbie Giles Ed Giles
Margaret Adams (Copeland) Jennifer-Lea Oaks Jacalene Burrows (Wiggins)
Katie Lutz Asha and Averee Hamann Jim McTeer Katherine Gowing Gerda Roppel Bev Johnston Joyce Johnston Val Kerr Liz Stobo
Ray Pennington Marcus Lorch, Shepard, Lily Louis Schafer Laurel and Dan Silenzi Jan and John Donnelley Larry Catteau Gay Ratcliffe Gretta Fletcher
Wendy Henderson Larry Weber Maureen Daly-Doersam David Myette Rosanne Moore and Tim Amos Dr. John Van Dorp
Ron Logan Bette Cameron Rowena Tindall Elaine Robins Lloyd Ruffett Lois Hutton Steve Gurney Lilian Chatburn Nathan S Landon
Dr. Harold Robinson Watching the 1987 Canada Cup hockey game Samuel Crawford Retube Bruce "A" Now! Robert Sutherland Plaque at Bruce County Courthouse Thomas Scott moving a house Mel Schroeder Karen Ribey
Ron Oswald Alexander McNeill with his dog There is a season for everything and God gave us memories so we could have roses in December. Lucknow Pipe Band Eldon Lowry Bob Kerry Dennis Hunter Sergio Holobrosky
Captain Alfred Hackett Tish Ford Hugh Ferguson family in front of car Pearl McKelvie Paterson Kerr Elsie Dobson William Wilfred Campbel Joan M Borho Jeanette Steeves The Late George Redden, Carrick Township
Donald McLellan, the Old Reeve of Bruce Township Alexander McCarter, Walkerton William Millar Ex-Reeve of Kincardine Township William Millar, JP of Kincardine Township John Little, one of the first settlers of Brant Township William Johnston, or King Johnston first settler in Brant Township Dr. Margaret MacKellar Howard Krug Bruce County Warden Tessie Greig
Sergeant William Victor Tranter in uniform Rachel Hepburn John S. Tolton, Walkerton Thomas Todd, one of the first settlersin Brant Township Edward McDonald, Deputy Reeve of Walkerton Peter Stewart McLaren, Bruce Township William Carnegie, Mildmay James Taylor, MD, Tara James Murphy, MD, Mildmay
Richard Rivers, President of the Northern Exhibition Society, Walkerton Malcolm Campbell, Lucknow Samuel T. Rowe, Paisley Thomas Pickard, Glammis Paul Ross, Ex-Mayor of Walkerton Michael Fischer, many years Reeve of Carrick Township William Collins, Walkerton James Allen, Reeve of Amabel Township George Gould, Arran Township
Andrew Bingham, pioneer of Carrick Township Richard Guinn, deceased, one of the first settlers of Brant Township John Grainger, Brant Township Charles Wickham, Kincardine Township David Gairdner, deceased, Late Clerk of Kincardine Township Yours Truly, Thomas Bearman, Elderslie township James Reekie, deceased, settled in Kincardine Township 1854 Ira Fulford, one of the first settlers of Teeswater John Douglass, Arran Township
Robert Baird, Kincardine, Warden of Bruce County John Gillies, MP for North Bruce Duncan Kerr, Brant Township Peter F. Brown, First Settler in Teeswater John Hunter Luke Gardiner Alexander McNabb, Crown Land Agent, Southampton A.S. Elliot Robert Graham
Ann-Marie John Valentine Alexander Sproat Sir William Hearst Hannah Rusk Kelly Colonel Hugh Clark Francis Paddy Walker John Harnage Scougall in his office