Grandfather Bernard

       In Dragons of Histh is a picture of the gathering of the
Boothby clan.To the left is Bernard Boothby,top hatted industrialist
owner of Moothby Mills.This character was Grandfather
Bernard in real life.


          Bernard was the son of a German settler in the dutch town
of Barger Compascuum.Barger Compascuum was a peat industry
town and was much bigger and lively in the early twentieth

       In the 1920's Bernard had a business in which he and
his workers would ride a horse drawn wagon into the peat
workings and slice out the peat with shovel and

        He did well,but it was hard backbreakng
work for his employees.The peat would be sent along the
many canals in the area to industrial plants and as fuel.

       He also owned a large acreage near the original town
centre,which is about a mile from its current location.
Thus he raised his young family near old abandoned
windmills,churches and peat huts.

        He briefly hired grampa Herman,but the work
was too much for my other grandfather.

       Bernard was active in local politics and served
as a councillor who was involved in various

          During WW2 Bernard played a minor role
in the war effort against the Germans.He was employed
as a crop surveyor.

         He quickly learned to always record a lower
harvest than had actually occurred.The farmer
kept the unreported harvest and Bernard did his bit to
reduce the amount of food flowing into Germany.

           He also grew potatoes on his acreage,a task with
which my mother helped him.

       Though he did not play a major role in hiding
fugitive Jews from the Gestapo and NSB'ers,he
did once hide two Jews in a shed behind his house in
the town.

          After the war he continued with his peat cutting
enterprise.In the early 60's the writing was on the
wall for the peat industry .He was part of a committe
working on a new project called A'Ole Compass.

       I only saw him while I was very young and my
main memory of him was when he showed us the old barn
church that had served as the first RC Church in 1873-1874.

          He died a few years later when his heart gave out.
No doubt all that heavy labour from about 1920-1960
contributed to his weak heart.

        The years flew by and the only trace of him I still
had was a toy wooden horse and cart.I smashed it up,
but thankfully my parents kept it and gave it back to me
years later.It was a model of a horse drawn wagon
from my grandfathers peatworking days.

        When I returned to Barger Compascuum I
revisted the project Bernard had been working on
in 1966.A'Ole Compass was a recreation of the pioneer
village of B. Compascuum around 1880 or so.

        One thing I noticed was that one of the peat workers
cabins looked an awful lot like the one Bernard raised his
young family in during the 1930's.

         I like to think that when they built that particular
re-creation,my grandfather had a hand in what it
looked like.

        Thus though he died decades ago his spirit lives
on for thousands to see each year in A'Ole Compass.

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