NORTH DUNDAS — They were local farm kids and high school sweethearts: Estella and Ed Rose started married life with a modest herd of 10 Ayrshire and 2 Holstein milk cows on a 100-acre farm they bought on credit from the previous owner. Because their fledgling operation west of Winchester combined both dairy breeds, they dubbed the farm “TwinVenture” — a name that possibly also foreshadowed Estella Rose’s adventures in both agricultural and community circles.
“We moved in with our cast-off furniture in a homemade forage wagon. Our first milk cheque was less than $50,” she recalled during her induction into the Dundas Agricultural Hall of Fame in April. “The barn had wooden stanchions and no running water. Ed carried pails of water to each cow daily. It had been a barn where barn dances were held. The stair steps were still there,” added the former 1950s Dundas Dairy Princess and longtime active 4-H participant and leader.
Estella Rose helped bring money into the household by working as a hairdresser, a vocation she pursued for more than 60 years. She also dove into local politics in response to the possibility of a mega-landfill being established in her home township of Mountain. She went on to become reeve of Mountain Township and later, deputy mayor of the amalgamated municipality of North Dundas as well as the first female warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
As a local politician, she continued to be a strong voice for the agricultural community and for protecting the environment. Loss of farmland to development, use of biosolids as fertilizer and deforestation are all issues that continue to animate Rose, who emphasized the importance of being aware of the health of the soil, air and water for a healthy environment. She marvelled at having lived her entire life within five miles of where she was born, noting that a farm is the best place to raise a family and experience hard work and its rewards. It’s also a great place to retire.
She was inducted along with the late Stan Vanden Bosch of Chesterville. She was also humbled to be included among the likes of previous inductees Dianne Harkin and Alvin Runnalls (both deceased), after working with both of them.
The Hall of Fame was established by the Dundas Federation of Agriculture in 2017 to recognize and honour individuals who have made significant contributions to agriculture and the rural community in Dundas County. The addition of Rose and Vanden Bosch brings the number of honourees to 10.