The Foreword is on the first page of The Tobey Book and it provides an excellent description of how the book was created. Listen to the words of Mr. Wilfred Manly Sprung who wrote the Foreword:
As a historian who is interested in the Brighton area, I can't help but respond to these words with a very loud Amen! Who was Wilmot Maxwell Tobey and what did he have to do with Brighton? Here is a brief BIO. Maxwell Tobey, as he was most commonly known, was born in Picton in 1877, the son of Milton Benjamin Tobey and Nettie Wells. His father left the family in 1881 and his mother brought Maxwell, her only child, to Hilton, north of Brighton, to live with her Wells family. As a result, Maxwell would grow up in Brighton Township and become intimately familiar with the community. In 1900, he graduated from University of Toronto with a Master of Arts degree and a Gold Medal in Mathematics. Obviously, a really smart fellow! Soon he was appointed as mathematician to the chief astronomer in Ottawa. In 1911 he was commissioned a Dominion topographical surveyor and in 1916 elected as a member of the Engineering Institute of Canada. A decade later, Maxwell Tobey was appointed assistant director to the Geodetic Survey of Canada. He retired in 1942 and lived with his second wife in Ottawa until his death in 1959. His obituary said that he was "a former Geodetic Survey Expert". I daresay that most of us have no idea what the Geodetic Survey of Canada is or was. As a historian, I will not attempt to explain this, so, you may want to ask your science-oriented kids or, if you want to investigate yourself, look at the web site for the Canadian Geodetic Survey.
A publication called "B.H.S. Broadcaster" dated November 27, 1934 has an article on page 4 about the Brighton High School Commencement that was held in the Brighton Town Hall the pervious Friday night. Classes for Brighton High School were conducted in the east half of the building on Elizabeth Street, (above, left), with the public school occupying the west side. The Opera House (above, right) was the common name for the upstairs room at the Brighton Town Hall, seen here in its role as a theatrical venue. The schools had small auditoriums so larger events like commencement were held at the Opera House. It was reported that "Mr. Maxwell Tobey, who has so kindly given a scholarship to the students of B.H.S. in honour of his mother, Nettle Wells Tobey, presented it to this year's winner, Lillie Boes." Lillie was an older sister of Arnold Boes who was well known around Brighton until his passing in 2007. We can see that Mr. Tobey was engaged in his home community in different ways.
The Foreword says that the material Mr. Tobey collected was handed over to his younger friend, Wilfred Manly Sprung after Mr. Tobey passed away in 1959. Now, let's explore the life of Mr. Sprung. Wilfred Manly Sprung was born near Hilton in 1906, the only son of Morden Cornelius Sprung and Nellie Amelia Thorne. He attended Brighton High School and Cobourg Collegiate Institute, and then we see that he was working in Toronto when he was married in 1929. In 1931 he moved to Ottawa and joined the staff of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, and a decade later was a member of the Internal Trade Branch of that organization. A newspaper article in the Ottawa Journal in 1941 says he was voted president of the Recreational Board of the Civil Servants in Ottawa, being instrumental in establishing club rooms and supporting recreational sports for young people. So, not just a math geek! When his friend and fellow Brightonite, Maxwell Tobey, passed away in 1959, Sprung took over the job of assembling and organizing and the material. By 1965, Mr. Sprung was living in Cornwall and working as a statistician with the St. Lawrence Seaway Commission.
Tobey Family Tree Just in case anyone is wondering, yes, there is a family connection between Maxwell Tobey and Gordon Tobey of Brighton. Here is a brief family tree segment to illustrate the relationship. We might say they are cousins. The original settler was John Tobey who married Hannah Van Dusen in Adolphustown in 1810 and soon moved to Marysburgh Township, Prince Edward County. One of their sons, was George Tobey who married Caroline Dingman. This family moved from the County in the 1870s to live north of Brighton. One of their sons was Jasper Dingman Tobey, who moved to the village of Tara in Bruce County, east of Owen Sound. We can follow the line down to son William Milton Tobey and his son John Lawrence Tobey who was the father of Gordon Tobey. That’s why Gordon Tobey grew up near Owen Sound. We should also remember that Gordon Tobey has contributed a good deal to this community, other than the high-quality houses he and his son Stephen build. In 1967, Gordon Tobey purchased the old William Butler house on County Road 64, east of Brighton, and conducted a massive restoration program which produced a gorgeous heritage home, one of the best restorations in the county, if not the province. He was also involved in the group that saved Proctor House and managed to restore that historic site, creating Proctor House Museum. So, thank you, Gordon, for all you have done in the community. In the family tree segment below, we can see that Maxwell Tobey was a grandson of George Tobey, through his father, Milton Benjamin Tobey. So, these two fellows are cousins, but of different generations.
The Editor While Mr. Tobey and Mr. Sprung did the initial work of assembling material for the Tobey Book, there was one more step in the process and one more person to consider. The second page of the Tobey Book provides this:
Here is Barbara Nyland, near her residence in West Vancouver, B.C.
The Tobey Book The work of Mr. Tobey, Mr. Sprung and Barbara Nyland resulted in what we simply call "The Tobey Book", which is available in the Brighton Public Library today. This picture shows the red book, entitled "The History of Brighton" with "Tobey" as the author. This is the book you can read at the library. The three three-ring binders are the original loose-leaf pages that contain the contents of the book. Many pages are type written and many have newspaper clippings pasted on. The contents from these three binders were compressed into the red book, with print on both sides. Several copies of the book were printed in the 1970s, a couple kept at Brighton library and several copies sent to area libraries. A recent survey discovers that there are two copies of the book in the Quinte West Library and one in Peterborough. Unfortunately, several copies were lost during the period they were available for circulation. Today, they are only available for reference inside the library. We certainly don't want to lose any more of them!