Hockley Valley: The hills, the trees, the river and the people.

Obviously we had to create a Hockley Valley design, because when you think of Dufferin County it is one of the first places that come to mind. It is rich in natural beauty and community support, and probably has been that way since 1837 when John McFarlane arrived. It was on our list in terms of creating something special, but really the idea took off when the good folks from the Hockley Community Hall dropped us a note. They wanted us to support their new music series…and of course we said YES!, (we love local events!!) and that’s when we began researching the story of Hockley to create the best design.

The history of Hockley is all about the people. Firstly the name John McFarlane I was naturally drawn to. My family has deep roots in Dufferin County going back to the early 1830s…so a name like McFarlane stands out to you, when it the same last name as yours. Unfortunately all the people who could verify our family history are long gone, but perhaps there is a connection from Ireland in and around that time. John McFarlane arrived in Hockley Valley in 1837 and he established his farm, stables and hotel for travellers/new Canadians coming to find their land and begin opening up the country. There were few roads…mostly cow paths or moccasin trails at the time and itt is believed that the Jesuit Priests and French Missionaries using Huron guides, followed the well used trail through Hockley in 1640 on their way to Onguiara (present day Queenston). Hockley Valley was an ideal spot for the development of a community. Natural beauty, water for mills and livestock, good source for fishing and hunting, and protected from the winds creating a microclimate for apple trees and agriculture. Everything a settler needed to thrive. Good job John McFarlane! You picked a hot spot! Now look at what you’ve done!

The story of Hockley does not end here…it received its name from Thomas Hockley who was the first postmaster in 1863. In 1908 a tragic story struck Hockley and surrounding communities. In 1908 during a flash flood William Wisdom and his wife Bella were swept away in front of their children after a sudden rainstorm. The 8 orphaned children were raise by extended family members and others in the area. The river has always been a focal point for the community…it’s beauty, it’s strength and it’s vitalness for the economic development of the community of Hockley.

So how do you bring all of this into a design?

You listen to the people who live and who love their community. They tell you of the hills, the views, the wildlife, the people, and of course, the river. All these things may seem complex…but for us it was really simple.

The folks involved with the Hockley Hall really care about their community. We really loved listening to them, and really wanted to create a design for Hockley that represented their area and place in Dufferin County. There are 4 components to the design… the hills, the trees, the river, and the people. Three components make up the shirt…the fourth one, well you’ll have to come down to the Hockley Hall to find that one. When you purchase one of these shirts proceeds go directly back into the Hockley Hall. How great is that? It goes back to the community. It goes back to the people…right where it all started. The history of Hockley still is, all about the people.