George A. Attridge

George A. Attridge

FEBRUARY 14, 1875 - JUNE 30, 1963

George Attridge was a farmer and community leader of Kent County. He was born on a farm in Orford on February 14, 1875. Throughout his life he liberally dedicated his time and energy for the advancements of agriculture and the needs of farmers in his township. He was right at the forefront of nearly every agricultural movement in Kent, involving himself with several notable organizations. More than this, he also held a deep passion for livestock, being highly involved in fairs and show-rings.

He was instrumental in organizing the Western Ontario Consignment Sales Company, whose auctions of purebred livestock were essential to the facilitation of local farmers’ sales. Shortly after its founding he was made manager of this organization. A few years later he aided in organizing the Peninsular Live Stock Association of Chatham and the Peninsular Winter Fair, for which he served as director, hosting successful auction sales for several successive years. He discharged the onerous duties of superintendent, an act that garnered satisfaction from both exhibitors and the Fair itself. He was also involved with the McGregor-Banwell Fence Co. of Walkerville, and was in charge of overseeing railway construction work and fence construction, having as much as 1,000 miles under his care in one year.

Furthermore, Attridge had a large role in developing the infrastructure of his community. He had the distinction of securing the first rural telephone line from Ridgetown, and he was instrumental in securing the first rural mail delivery system in East Kent. He also dabbled in education, serving as president of the Trustees’ and Ratepayers’ Association of East Kent, a position he held for a considerable amount of time. This association established one of the most well-known oratorical contests in the elementary schools of Ontario at the time, which were met with success and popularity. They were so popular that the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Manning Doherty, donated a gold medal to the winner of each final.

However, his true passion was for livestock, something that he maintained throughout all of his life, his specialties being Clydesdales horses. He was a markedly successful exhibitor of such animals at leading fairs. A man with well-known flair in the showring, he won first prize for the yearling Clydesdale stallion at the Royal Winter Fair of 1923, among other awards. However, Attridge was always one with a perceptive eye and a shrewd sense of business: during the war years, when the horse market became less buoyant and cattle values materially advanced, he transferred his energies largely to Shorthorn cattle instead, keeping up with the changing times. However, he never gave up his first love, and he would continue to keep and breed his own Clydesdales even after the war. In addition to his livestock, he was also an avid grower of tobacco, growing over thirty acres of Flue Cured Tobacco in 1924.

Whereas many men high up in the affairs of larger movements were often neglectful of local needs, Attridge was not such a man. He was “an alive, active, and aggressive citizen” according to a local newspaper- a countryman through and through and a strong example to those around him. Although his vision did not extend to a national or even provincial level, Attridge held the respect and esteem of all of his fellow community members. He spent his entire life devoted to furthering the interests of his beloved community, and his loyalty and dedication to those around him were nothing short of admirable.

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture