In the year 1831, James Tudhope and his son George, sailed from their native Scotland, to start a new life on the 11th Concession of Oro. They worked for two years to clear the land and to prepare for the rest of the family to join them. James sent for his wife Christian and eight other children, unfortunately James died before their arrival and the eldest son George was forced to raise the family. Two years after the arrival at the homestead, Christian also died, and a 23 year old George took over the reins as the head of the family in the new world. George would eventually become the clerk of Oro Township in 1835, a post which would be held by members of the Tudhope family for the next 134 years.
The youngest son, William overcame many struggles, but his fierce state of mind and do anything attitude carried him through life. Being of a mechanical mind, he became a blacksmith and eventually a carriage maker in Orillia. Eventually the business grew larger and more successful, and in 1880, William stepped aside to allow his son J.B. to take over the family carriage business. He expanded the business into furniture and chemicals, as well as maintaining the original carriage works. His business grew rapidly, and his wagons were shipped to western Canada to help open up new territory on the prairies.
J.B. recognized a new business that was starting to take shape, that of the horse-less carriage, or automobiles. In 1907, the first Tudhope-McIntyre automobile rolled into existence. The car was every bit an equal to Ford?s Model T, and the business showed great promise. In 1909, while preparing his automobiles to be shown at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, disaster struck. A huge fire raged through the entire complex and destroyed the factory. The entire town rallied behind Tudhope, and encouraged him to rebuild and rehire the vast workforce that supported the town of Orillia. Tudhope did just that, and later that year, the Tudhope Motor Company re-opened and production started again. Unfortunately, by 1913, the company was in dire financial crisis, not being able to compete with the resources of the powerful Ford Motor Company and eventually was sold to other investors. They made some headway during the First World War, but the writing was on the wall, and the Tudhope Motor Company was soon finished.
If you look at the map from the 1880 Canadian County Atlas, it will show the lot belonging to G.B & W.F Tudlope, when in fact it should be a surname of Tudhope, as this was the homestead of one of the most influential families in the Oro area. Their family history is synonymous with that of Oro Township and the Orillia.
The farmhouse has been long abandoned, and is mostly boarded up. A few random buildings remain, as does the foundation of a large barn across the road. I have no idea when this house would have been built, but it definitely has had a long vintage. Imagine the lives that where lived here, the decisions that where made at the dinner table, and the stories which where passed down from one generation to another. And like the Tudhope Motor Company that was spawned from within these walls, this farm has also closed its doors to the past.