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Coone Demaiter Pynaerts Van Praet

The Pynaert Family


    Newly immigrated to Canada from Belgium, Marcel and Margaret Pynaert purchased a tobacco farm located on the present day Jane Road between Bothwell and Thamesville in 1952. Their son Paul, along with his wife, Dianne Chys, continued the operation from 1958 to 1985 when they sold off their shares and started filling their greenhouses three times a year with cauliflower, broccoli, squash, muskmelon, watermelon and cabbage plants. 

    During their 42 years of growing Virginia flue cured tobacco, with a corn and soybean cover crop, the Pynaerts, unlike other local growers, had the good fortune of having a direct pipeline from Union Gas to power their kilns, starting as early as the 1940ís. This was a luxury most farmers in the area dreamed of having.  Modern equipment was slowly added to the farmyard, including a tying machine in 1961 and a priming machine (high boy) in 1967 making the grueling work of harvest much more efficient with less hard labour.  

    As every farmer knows, a farm could not operate without a reliable pickup truck.  Paul and Dianne decided to take a road trip, heading east, to seek such a reliable automobile. The search for a truck lead Dianne and Paul to Tillsonburg where they located one that was in their price range of $250. Equipped with air (through holes in the floor boards) and no speedometer, the beast made its way to its new home. It served them well despite the fact that it rusted away piece by piece until there was nothing left of the truck but the engine and frame. 

    Many faces came and went through the years.  Ted, one of the kiln hangers, was remembered for always managing to rip his pants on a daily basis as he straddled the tiers in the kiln much to the embarrassment to the young ladies on the table gang. Another was Richard, an Oakville man studying to become a Minister, who is remembered for his quiet nature as he would only talk with the lady of the farm, Dianne, and no one else.

    With hard work comes laughter.  Practical jokes were often played, including the classic of greasing the end of the tobacco slat so the kiln hanger could not get a grip. 

    With these memories, we will remember the Pynaerts as one of the many faces of tobacco growers from the Bothwell area.  




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