Not One of Them Smokes or Drinks

In Attendance on a Recent Sunday at a Service 

in the Eastern Methodist Church, Napanee

A Sketch of Each by Thomas W. Casey



   On a recent Sunday morning in the Eastern Methodist church here, the congregation noticed five large and healthy looking old gentlemen - five brothers - sitting together in one pew. Some ladies remarked it is but seldom one sees five such fine looking, hale, white-haired gentlemen. They were the five McKim brothers, the sons of John McKim, formerly of Switzerville, and Lydia Switzer, his wife, who were the early pioneers of "Second Town," when this country was yet a wilderness. These five were all the sons that were ever born to them, and all have lived to be venerable old men, with children and children's children around them. Their united ages is now 395. They have become pretty widely scattered, as most  large and old families are, and it occurred to our fellow townsman, J.N. McKim, Esq., of Graham street, that it would be a very pleasant thing to have a family re-union, and have all "the boys" together once more before death may separate them. He accordingly arranged it and all met at his comfortable home on Saturday, 9th, inst. It was the first time in many years they had all  thus met together and it brought back to them the remembrances of their boyhood days long since on the old farm at Switzerville, on which their parents settled ninety years ago, where they always afterwards lived, where they died and where these 'boys' were born, reared and educated, and from which they scattered out to rear homes and raised families for themselves.


   The youngest of these "boys" is now past his three-score and ten, and the eldest past four-score, and yet all remain in good health, of both body and mind, though all must begin to feel the burden of their years and the active labors of busy lives. We understand that they have all been life long abstainers from alcoholic liquors and tobacco, their brains have not been muddled with fiery stimulants and their nerves have not been deranged with narcotics, and, therefore, they enjoy the blessings of a green old age, such as few need ever expect to enjoy who go on indulging in these needless and harmful practices. Such examples should not be lost on our rising young men. Shakespeare gave this important lesson, which seems to find a good illustration in the living examples we now refer to:


                "Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;

                For in my youth I never did apply

                Hot and rebellious liquors to my blood;

                Nor did with unbashful forehead woo

                The means of weakness and debility;

                Therefore, my age is as a lusty winter,

                Frostly by kindly."


   On Sunday morning they all attended Mr. McKim's class in the church and then the public worship. They are all Methodists - and official members of the church, we believe - and believe in the old-fashioned Methodist class meetings. On Monday all went and had their photograph group taken as a memento of possibly their last family re-union on earth. Later on they took their leave of each other, with, no doubt, this comfortable assurance that

                "Where immortal spirits reign

                There we all shall meet again."


The brothers are:


   Peter McKim, J.P. for the past few years a well-known resident of Kingston, now eighty-four years of age. He married in his young days Miss Charlotte Guess, daughter of William Guess, one of the early pioneers of Kingston township. They settled in the village of Waterloo, now Cataraqui, where their married years were all spent. They reared a family of seven children, two sons and five daughters, most of whom are still living, we believe. Mr. McKim was long a prominent resident of Kingston township and filled well and faithful the duties of township clerk and clerk of the division court. Later on he received a government appointment in Kingston and moved into the city, where he now lives. His remembrances of Kingston extend back to the time when the now "Old Limestone City" was but quite a small village.


   Hiram McKim, J.P. now police magistrate at Sydenham, Frontenac county, aged eighty-two years. He is still active and efficient in his duties. He married Sarah, a daughter of Christopher Switzer, for years a well-known resident of Camden, near Centreville - a distant relative of the Switzers of Ernesttown. They reared a family of five sons, all of whom are still living. Mr. McKim for many years carried on a successful business in leather tanning at Murvale, Frontenac county, where hemlock bark was long abundant and cheap. He is a man of much intelligence and greatly respected for his sound judgement and honesty of purpose. For years he was one of the best known of the justices of the peace in Frontenac, and transacted a large proportion of all the business in that line in his locality. He still enjoys a strong body and a clear mind.


    Miles McKim, Esq., Westbrook, aged eighty years, married Miss Mary Clokey, of Kingston township, and became a prosperous and successful farmer in that township. They had one daughter, still living. Some years ago he retired from the farm, with a competency and located in the village of Westbrook, where he is spending the remainder of his days in quietness. He has always been held in esteem by his neighbors, and still takes a lively interest in church and temperance work.


    J. Nelson McKim, Esq., our fellow townsman, now seventy-five years of age, but still a good type of a healthy, vigorous and active man. He married Miss Jane Shibley, daughter of John Shibley, Esq., long a well-known resident of Portland township. She is yet also in excellent health. They lived on the old family homestead, near Switzerville, until a few years ago, when he left the farm and came to reside in Napanee. The farm is now owned by Henry Evans. They have reared a family of eight children, all of whom are still living. The sons are Anson and Nelson, the well-known advertising agents and publishers at Montreal, - and very successful business men - and Walter Palmer, a farmer in Manitoba, and as well conducting a large furniture and undertaking business at Deloraine. The daughters are Adelaide, wife of George Shorey, of North Fredericksburgh; Hannah, wife of James Rose, formerly of Switzerville, but now a farmer in North Dakota; Cassie, wife of George Rose, also a native of this locality but now in Manitoba; Frank, wife of A.R. Boyes, formerly of Napanee, but now in charge of the Iowa industrial school, at Eldora, Iowa; and Shibley, at home with her parents. Mr. McKim has been a class leader in the church for years, is a liberal in politics, as are all the members of the family, and has been for sixty-seven years a pledged temperance man. He is probably the oldest pledged temperance man in this locality, having signed at Switzerville in 1830, where one of the first temperance societies in the province was established. A large proportion of the men reared there in  those times were members of that old society.


   Christopher McKim, Esq., of Cleveland, Ohio, aged over seventy years, but still as active and sprightly as many of our young men. Nearly fifty years ago he married Miss Mary Ann Aylsworth, of Fredericksburgh, daughter of the late John Aylsworth, Esq., and sister of our ex-mayor, J. Aylsworth. He was in business in Centreville for some years and an officer of the Camden township council. Afterwards he located in Napanee, where he was in business for some years. He moved to the city of Cleveland about twenty-five years ago and has resided there ever since. They have but one child, a daughter, the wife of our old friend and fellow townsman, Charlton Mills, Esq., who also resides in Cleveland; but they all retain a warm regard for their old home, neighbors and friends at Napanee.

T.W. Casey