The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007 – John Wilson Family

John Wilson had expanded his store and it remained as a grocery store for some time. When his two sons James and William were old enough they went into business with him. At that time the store was divided into two parts with Bill running the Ladies Wear and China Shop and James operating the Men’s Wear and Shoe Dept.

An advertisement in the Springhill Record in 1900 for John Wilson, Corner Main and Church Street stated: “Think a little. Just a little thinking will go a long way toward making thin purses fat. If you could put the money you earn into your pocket book and let it stay there, you would soon get rich. But as you can’t do that, we will show you the next best way to make money. Come here for your goods. By doing that you won’t have to have as much money as you would have to leave other places. Come on and put us to the test.”

The store continued in business until 1966 when Bill retired. After his retirement the parts of the store was rented out to other businesses such as the T. Eaton’s Order Office and Elton Clarke had a clothing store there. The building was burned in the fire of 1975. C.I.B.C. now has their new bank on this spot.

Bill Wilson, along with being a partner with his brother in running the store, was also known for his great singing voice. He was a great athlete and was an original member of the Springhill Fencebusters. “Big Bill” played his first senior ball game when he was 15 and was on the Fencebuster Team when it won the Nova Scotia Championship seven times between 1921 and 1936. Two of his biggest thrills were: 1. batting against Halifax with Vince Barton and Iron Man Mellish Lane pitching in a playoff game. The score was 6-6 when Big Bill hit a homerun, a triple, two doubles and two singles driving in nine runs and scoring the tenth on the longest homerun ever hit on the2. Another time he came to bat four times with the bases loaded, against a combined Cumberland team with Ernie Canning pitching. That time he hit four consecutive doubles.

Known as a great hitter, he had great speed and took great satisfaction from beating out infield grounders. He could also hit left handed. He played with the Fencebusters until he was forty and ten in his last year with them he was the coach and Charles Paul was the Manager. He also did some part time playing and pitch-hitting.

William “Big Bill” Wilson was also a hockey player who played with Springhill, Oxford , Mount Allison All Stars and also played a few games with Amherst . His chief position was defense. Having great speed and accuracy made him a high scorer for his team. It is said that Bill should have made professional hockey with his powerful skating and terrific shot but he didn’t want to give up his amateur standing, his love of baseball and the family business kept him in Springhill. Bill was also a fast runner. He once ran the 100 mile dash in 9 seconds, and often in 10 seconds flat.

After he retired from the family business he moved to Pugwash where he spent the rest of his life. He passed away in 1967.

James Bryson Wilson never married and lived with his sister Gladys on Elgin Street . After his retirement from the family business he became active as a honey and blueberry producer. He died July 19, 1987 .

Gladys Wilson never married and died Apr. 4, 1989.