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This Side of Heaven

This Side of Heaven: Determining the Donnelly Murders, 1880

NORMAN N. FELTES
Copyright Date: 1999
https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442682627
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442682627
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  • Book Info
    This Side of Heaven
    Book Description:

    What motivated a group of men in southwestern Ontario to enter the Donnelly farmhouse in 1880 and bludgeon the family to death? Feltes' rigorously Marxist approach situates the murders in a compelling web of economic, social, and geographical structures.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8262-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Siting and Surveying
    (pp. 3-30)

    As well as the books by Waller, Robinson, and Cronon that I have mentioned, my first visit to Lucan in 1993 impressed on me the importance of ‘place’ in the story of the Donnelly murders, the need to think through anew and to clarify historically the notion of the ‘place’ in which they occurred. ‘Place,’ or ‘space,’ is a recurring topic in this book, and among the ‘texts’ I need to read is the geography of Biddulph Township: the landscape, but the landscape as determined historically – that is, by a particular geological structure, the limestone bedrock, the deposition of...

  6. 2 Ideologies of Settlement
    (pp. 31-58)

    In a determinate way, then, its survey appropriated the Huron Tract for settlement, one important consideration being the necessity to encourage loyal immigrants in order to resist the influence of American settlers. But even within this particular determination there are again distinctions to be made, such as how loyalty was to be ensured, what its practices might be. Nor can the settlement of Biddulph Township be represented in a simple narrative, by an easy summary, as:

    From 1827, the Canada Company surveyed the tract, and it sold off the land over the next fifty years in different amounts and different...

  7. 3 Access and Circulation, Delivery and Through Passage
    (pp. 59-96)

    ‘The most orderly process of settlement ... followed the roads,’ wrote James Scott, historian of the settlement of Huron County. Scott’s reference here is to the Huron Road and the London–Goderich Road, yet not all settlement, of course, could take place along these colonization roads. As settlers moved inland, the relations between road and settlement became more complex, even reversed. ‘Occupance of land,’ counters Thomas McIlwraith, ‘was not delayed for want of access,’ and in another place he writes: ‘It is a safe generalization that an opened road was not necessary to the selection of an inland lot, nor...

  8. 4 The Trace of the Wheat Staple
    (pp. 97-125)

    I want now to look more closely at the cargo of those wagons, schooners, barges, and railway cars, to examine aspects of the agricultural history of southwestern Ontario. Like settlement and transportation, agriculture is at first glance an intractable topic, apparently static and ahistorical, like the glacier, or even ‘timeless,’ like the forest encountered by the first settlers. But as second nature, the agricultural history of nineteenth-century Ontario may be traced, first of all, by simple, empirical chronologies: the succession of harvests, the varying prices for produce, and the stages of its export history, marked by successive tariffs here and...

  9. 5 Biddulph Township in the 1870s: Social Formation and Conjuncture
    (pp. 126-178)

    ‘Social relations are always spatial,’ David Harvey writes, ‘and exist within a certain produced framework of spatialities. Put another way, social relations are, in all respects, mappings of some sort, be they symbolic, figurative, or material.’ It would not be enough, that is to say, for us to focus on Biddulph Township in the 1870s as some sort of straightforward ‘place’; the word ‘place’ carries ‘a surfeit of meanings.’ Harvey quotes another theorist to the effect that ‘space is a practised place,’ and I have been attempting to map the framework of determinate practices that produced Biddulph Township as a...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 179-202)
  11. Index
    (pp. 203-208)