Robert Frizzell was born in 1870 and died in 1958. His first forge was located on the lane way of the house across from the store. There were two houses across from the store, one which sat very close to the road and belonged to Goldie Smith. The other was a further back off the road, this belonged to Mr. Frizzell. He later moved closer to the western boundary of Cornwall, his second forge was located almost directly across the highway from the old feed mill (which was located close to Eliot River Elementary School).2 One of Robert’s grand-daughters is Audrey MacPhee who also grew up in Cornwall and now resides in Clyde River. Audrey was so kind as to share her memories of her grandfather and his second forge. Audrey can remember running in and out of her grandfather’s forge as a young girl. His forge was a common place for the local men and farmers to meet. They would sit around on nail kegs while her grandfather was working and tell ‘yarns’ (stories). Some may have been true while others may have been stretched. The men did not always have the best of language and as a result, the forge was where Audrey learned to swear, a habit which she was trained out of very quickly. She also remembers the men at times giving her a nickel or dime because she was so cute.
Audrey also helped her grandfather in his forge. He had many different tools in his shop including hand-cranked bellows, hand-pump bellows, nails, tongs, anvils, and vices. She would turn the hand-cranked bellows to stoke the fire for her grandfather. He had a good sized hearth made of stone which was held together with some kind of concrete; the fire place itself was set in back. He would hold the horse-shoes over the fire with a set of long tongs until it was red hot then work it over the anvil and vice to mold it to the appropriate size.
The date in which the forge ceased to operate is unknown. However, Audrey believes that her grandfather was no longer operating the forge when she started school. Robert died in 1958 and unfortunately the forge burned down in the 1960’s.
Memories and stories of Robert ‘Bob’ Frizzell’s Forge
Tough as nails
“I always remember Erroll and Leigh. Erroll is a little older than me, talking about Bobby just picking coal out of the fire and putting it in his pipe to light it. His hands were so hard and he knew how to do it. It was kind of amazing.”3 – Shared by Don Lowther
“Things I enjoyed doing would be going to Bob Frizzell’s forge with my dad to have the horses ‘shawed’. That was a great adventure because you could see Mr. Frizzell with his pipe in his mouth pumping the bellows to make the fire white hot and putting the horse shoes in and shaping them to the shape of the horses hoof and you could smell the burning hoof you know when you put the hot shoe on it and then always like to hear the sizzle of the water when the hot shoe went in the cooling tub ‘psshhhh!’ And (laughs) just watching him you know, clean up the hoof and nail the shoe on and all of this. That was a fascinating thing to do, that was one thing I loved to do.”4 – Shared by Lawson Drake