Interesting point you made about the Tackaberry and Hellyer stores. Yes, about equal numbers of families were loyal to each of these two stores, at least in my time groweing up in Lion's Head.
When I was growing up in the 1960's and 1970's, there were two main grocery stores in Lion's Head. The one we shopped at mostly (we were not 100% loyal but very close!) was the store owned by Austin Tackaberry, the son of John Nathaniel or John N as my grandfather Warder always referred to him as. The reason was quite simple, my grandfather had been friends with the Tackaberry family and had gone there since John N had it. (I think he orginally had it with John Tackaberry Sr, Richard's younger brother who my grandfather always referred to as old John, although uncle and nephew were relatively close in age. The store was called Tackaberry and Tackaberry). I'm not sure how early this was but it would be probably at least into the 1930's and 40's. In the 40's I believe Austin took it over and he and his wife Frances (nee Bruin) ran it into at least the 1980's I believe. It was across from my father's garage and I could tell you many interesting stories about it such as the summer day when a runaway dog knocked out a little old lady or when my grandfather's wrecker went through the plate glass window! Austin's son Bevan helped out when he was not driving a transport and Bevan's wife worked in the store. Their daughter Tami Tackaberry went to school with me and was in the same class as me from grade 1, when we both started school, until grade 13 - one of the few people to go all through school with me! What I remember about her was that most of the class considered her the most attractive girl in the class, she was the best figure skater in the area and she was usually the top student in my class (although I beat her in grade 7 and 8 finals in public speaking and in grade 13 - beating Tami in anything was always something to be proud of!!)! The store was eventually sold and converted into the present funeral home building on main street.
The Hellyer store goes back quite a long way. Bob Hellyer married Morgan Grieg's daughter. The Grieg's had owned the store for many years (again in my time and before) with Morgan's father Roy running it before Morgan. I remember Mr. Roy Grieg, as a very very old man who still came in regularly to check on things! Today the running of the store is moving to Steve and Kathy Hellyer (nee Eichenberger) both of whom were in my class in Lion's Head as well (Kathy was a friend and a main academic competitor of Tami's)! This makes 4 generations of Grieg-Hellyer's that have owned and operated this store. Prior to that, Roy was in a partnership with a gentleman named George Hummel, having taken over for the Moore's who had the store before them. There may have also been someone in-between if my memory serves me. The Moore's I believe established the location where the present store is now or very close to that location. The original store or one of the original stores on the present location burned down in the early 1930's and my father, who was a child, watched from his home - concerned because my grandfather White, who was a fire fighter and the Reeve of the town was working with the other members of the volunteer fire department to try to put it out!! Both the Grieg and Hellyer family are also pioneer families in the Lion's Head area and it is nice to see that these very early families still have such an influence on the area.
Ernie had a small variety type store south from where the John N store was. He sold ice cream and a small assortment of groceries. My grandfather Warder (who I think was a character judging by his crazy stories) told some entertaining stories of betting someone that he could eat ice cream as fast as Ernie could scoop it into a bowl. The person took him on and my grandfather made it look like he was keeping up by secretely passing off some of the ice cream to someone else - Ernie went along with this practical joke as far as I understand the story. Besides being a favorite haunt for ice cream and fun on a Friday or Saturday night, Ernie's place was where people went to hear Foster Hewitt announce the Maple Leaf games on the radio. My Warder uncles told me many stories of getting together with the Tackaberry boys and others their age to listen in on the games!
For my part I remember going into the store a few times when I was a child to purchase cold drinks etc when it was owned by Ernie's son Elwood. In later years it was converted into the OPP office. In the 80's I got up my courage and asked the new young High School teacher out on a date from the converted apt in this building. There must have been some good luck from the Tackaberry's going for me because I ended up marrying the teacher and we have been enjoying life together ever since! I remember being embarrassed one night when Elwood very casually asked me to move my car very very late at night (probably more accurately I would have to admit it was in the early morning!) while I was visiting my future wife!
I would be very interested to know how sure you are about the big important man being George Moore. I have not pieced together all the Moore family properly in my mind. George Moore came early to Lion's Head (late 1860's or early 1870's) and then left. The historical data seems to indicate he came (along with brothers) from the Tara area. A little later, R.E. Moore came to Lion's Head (in the 1880's) as part of the emerging booming economy in the area and he was suppose to have connections with the VanDusen's in Tara, a prominent family - I think his wife was a VanDusen (so is he related somehow to George, I'm not sure). I know very little about George but R.E. was a very "Big" personality and someone I could see being called a "big shot". My grandfather Warder always seemed to speak of R.E. in almost reverent terms indicating that perhaps he was viewed as the person with the greatest claim of being the father of the village (most influential in making it anything).
However, George may have also been described as a "big shot" as the story goes that he tried to claim to be the founder of Lion's Head or the first person in Eastnor around Lion's Head as did Richard Tackaberry. It would appear that either he and/or R.E. probably were in competition with Richard. George could still have been the "big shot" especially if he was an early pioneer and in competiton with you great-...-great-grandfather.
The brick house that you are probably refering to is the Moore house on Scott Street. It was a very early brick house as well. It was probably the first house with electricity as the Moore's were pretty prominent in the area and pretty well off. (that is something that I have never heard before, your story about people going to see the lights in their house) I believe it was originally built for R.E. but I would have to check to be sure.
My grandfather's house is at the south end of Lion's Head just as you come up the hill from downtown on the left side. The lane going into the house is opposite the street (Bury) that connects to Tackaberry Street by the arena. It is set in from the road. The original owner, Frank Stuart, was the first merchant in the area and probably competed for a time with your ancestors in the grocery store business (Richard and Nathaniel)! Currently this house is owned by one of my Warder cousins, Pam Hall (nee Warder).
Well, I better go but it was very interesting to learn about some of the things you mentioned in your note. Very interesting. Let me know if you find out anything about your family (or anyone else) as I find history in general and Lion's Head and area history in particular, very interesting.
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