The Story of Eaton’s

Here is a delightful booklet published circa 1925 that tells the story of Eaton’s. If you are interested, more information about this iconic Canadian company can be found online at the T. Eaton Company fonds.

The T. Eaton Company started up in 1869 . This 27 page booklet was donated this month to The Archives by Ina Nelms.
Marion Dobie remembered

Marion Dobie remembered

Giles took on the persona of Miss Dobie and presented three acts interspersed with a delicious ham and scalloped potatoes meal served up COVID-19 style with the help of one assistant.

When COVID-19 struck, Antje  Giles, community spark plug and entrepreneur, moved her back burner projects to the front burner and dove into the history of long-term local school teacher, Marion Dobie. Miss Dobie taught at Tait’s Corners school house 43 years.  

Miss Dobie was “married” to her beloved school and worshipped by her students.  

Back Row L – R: ______, Mary Eardley, Mary Margaret McEachren, Marion Dobie, Mildred Ayres, Eileen Poole. Front row: Lucy McRae, Stanley Jackson, Gordie Urquhart, ____, Dorothy Jean McCallum. As remembered by Dorothy Jean, who was in the audience. Photo taken in th early 1950s.

Giles took on the persona of Miss Dobie and presented three acts interspersed with a delicious ham and scalloped potatoes meal served up COVID-19 style with the help of one assistant.

Two performances on Saturday, September 19. Twenty people attended each sold out performance.  

L-R: David Nelms, Ina Nelms, and Alicia Nelms
Antje Giles brings history to life on September 20 at the Tait’s Corner’s School House
The original bell.

Photos by Mary Simpson. Many thanks to Hayter Publications Inc. and Marie Gagnon-Williams for publishing the story.

Underground Railroad Code: fact or fiction?

Presented by quilter, Micki Angyal. 

On Feb 19, 2020, forty five people attended Micki Angyal’s presentation about the quilt code possibly used by slaves to communicate along the Underground Railroad. Stories have been handed down the generations about the code but there is no hard historical evidence. Of course, it was a SECRET code, so the lack of evidence is no surprise.

After the U.S. Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, the law forced free northern states to return escaped slaves.  Conductors like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass led many escapees to Canada. The journey north was not easy. Secrecy was necessary for escape and information could only be passed by word of mouth, using codes, signs and signals created by slaves. One such code was using quilts.  Various blocks in the quilts gave the slaves clues as to where they had to go.

Stan Grizzle, our 2019 Black History Monthpresenter attended and he recalls his grandmother telling stories about the quilts being used to communicate.  

Mary Simpson told the group about the Damascas Ontario 4-H Life Skills Club up in Wellingtown County.  In 2015, the 4-H members painted a series of 4X4 barn quilts depicting the coded designs Micki told us about. 

English Teacher Lonnie Grover from Glencoe & District Historical Society shared the creative project  she teaches with a fellow Mathematics teacher using barn quilts as an inspiring theme for learning.

Wardsville Volunteer Infantry Company

Wardsville Volunteer Infantry Company

Formed as #6 Company on January 6, 1983

Presentation by Ken Willis 15 Jan 2020

After Confederation 1867, the Province of Ontario (Canada West) was under British governance. Due to fears of what would happen after the American Civil War (1861-1865), the British authorities formed volunteer militia companies in hundreds of communities across Ontario, including our own.

The British authorities were concerned about a secret society of Irish patriots who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States with the intent of ending British rule by taking Canada by force and exchanging it with Britain for Irish independence. This secret revolutionary organization was founded on St. Patrick’s Day in 1857, by James Stephens in Dublin, Ireland. It was called the Fenian Brotherhood.

It is fascinating to imagine local kitchen table discussions about the Irish “terrorists” . Only our ancestors didn’t just talk about local politics at the coffee shop. They obeyed orders, formed militias and showed up.

On 3 Jan 1863, Wardsville volunteers formed independent militia company No. 6 within the 26th Middlesex Battalion headquartered in London. It was commanded by James T. Ward.

So what happened?

In early 1866, with tensions very high and Fenian attacks were anticipated along the St. Clair River. The Wardsville company was dispatched on March 8th to the Sarnia area and the local men “went under canvass” in full readiness to meet the enemy — in March .

But the Fenians didn’t show up. Instead, the Fenians attempted to invade Canada at Campobello Island at the Maine, US / New Brunswick border. It was a complete disaster.

The British authorities relaxed, but the clever Fenians took heart and re-organized an invasion across the Niagara River. They captured the undefended town of Fort Erie and its railway and telegraph terminals. The revolutionaries arrested the Town Council, Customs and border officials before cutting outgoing telegraph lines so help could not be summoned.

To find out the details, click here for a download of Ken’s Paper or read on:

The Fenians are Coming!

Who We Are

Mission:  to promote, encourage and foster the study of local history and genealogy including original research.

The Historical Society primarily focuses on local history within the bounds of the current Municipality of Southwest Middlesex, located in the south-west tip of Middlesex County.

The area includes:

  • Village of Glencoe
  • Ekfrid Township [Former]
  • Mosa Township [Former]
  • Appin
  • Newbury
  • Melbourne
  • Middlemiss
  • Wardsville

Local Expertise:  Many of our members are experts in regional history:

  • land registry records for West Middlesex 1790-1973
  • regional settlement in the 1800’s
  • life and culture throughout the past 200 years
  • involvement in WW1 and WW2
  • history of local families
  • significant buildings and structures
  • local agriculture
  • building design and methods, and
  • textiles, sewing, quilting.

Objectives:  The Glencoe & District Historical Society is an incorporated non-profit volunteer organization. It is a member of the Ontario Historical Society and the Ontario Genealogical Society. Our objectives are:

  • To promote, encourage and foster the study of local history and genealogy including original research.
  • To collect and preserve information, including books, manuscripts, typescripts, charts, maps, photographs, photostats, microfilms, tapes and related material for such historical study.
  • To reproduce some of the talks presented to the Society, as well as other research and materials, particularly relating to the region and to sell such reproductions.
  • To encourage, support and solicit research information on heritage buildings in our District as well as lend our support to other community groups who are active and interested in the preservation and restoration of heritage buildings.

The founding president Reverend George Hamilton held a strong passion regarding the preservation of local history and believed in the importance of sharing knowledge and engaging people with an organization that would provide an environment focused on encouraging these interests.  The Society was formed in April 1978.

Glencoe historians pay homage to Gough Cemetery

by Marie Williams-Gagnon, Hayter Publications Inc.  

Seated in the shade of an old pine tree, a group of over 40 gathered to honour those interred at the Gough Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, July 28, 2019. The community memorial service, an annual event held at a different cemetery each year, was hosted by the Glencoe & District Historical Society.

The Gough Cemetery is located at 5018 Scotchmere Dr. in Adelaide-Metcalfe.After Society president Ken Beecroft welcomed guests and area historian Ken Willis offered a dedication and prayer, historian Harold Carruthers provided some background on the Cemetery itself which is on the property settled by the John and Eliza  (Kellestine) MacGoughr (later Gough) family in 1845.

The couple had a large family of 13 but their son Nelson died in 1849. His was likely to be the first burial at the site, followed by those of his sisters Hannah in 1855 and Elizabeth in 1865. Since that time, the predominant family names of those interred on the tiny property are Ash, Boyd, Gough, Hetherington, Moore, Olde, Towers, Williams and Yager. Society member Marilyn (Gough) McCallum provided a detailed history of the “MacGoughr” family that voyaged to Canada from Ireland in 1831.

The family was among the earliest settlers of township in the early 1830s with Metcalfe itself not existing prior to 1846 when Ekfrid and Adelaide were divided. “They endured all the hardships of pioneer life having cut out of the wilderness homes for themselves on land given to them by the Crown.” McCallum detailed the life of settlers John and Eliza MacGoughr who received title on the property.

Sometime in the 1850s, the “Mac” and the “r” were dropped from their name. She shared details about family members, including those buried at that particular cemetery. She recalled visiting the cemetery as a child. “We would tread softly, touch the stones, speak the names…of those who came before.”

Lorne Munro added some information about the Kellestine family before the service closed. The property was sold to Charles Towers in 1909. The Cemetery is personally maintained by Heather and Charlie Towers who were recognized for their efforts and the new fence they constructed at the front of the property. They took over the responsibility from Reta and Alex Johnson and Vern and Shirley Towers who had maintained it over the years. 

Staying out of the heat while gathered in the shade, Glencoe historians and family members joined together at the Gough Cemetery in Adelaide-Metcalfe for a service of remembrance. The Glencoe and District Historical Society holds services at a different community cemetery each year. Photo by Marie Williams-Gagnon, Hayter Publications



Grand Opening of The Archives

Certainly the major event of our spring schedule was to host our official opening at 178 McKellar Street, the new “Archives”, on a bright and sunny May 15th. Much planning and preparation went into making this wonderful day a success. The extended hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. planned for our event enabled visitors to come and go as their time allowed. The ribbon cutting at 11 o’clock was attended by SWM Municipal Council, our G & DHS Executive and about another fifty-five or so people. This gathering also was present for the re-dedication of the Rotary Memorial at the front of the Archive building, and for the awarding of lifetime memberships to long serving members Ina Nelms and Louise Campbell. Congratulations to them.

Throughout the day guests and visitors were encouraged to sign the guest book and enter the draw for prizes. Visitors also toured the building and displays, chatted with volunteers and members and enjoyed the refreshments provided. In the early evening, we were pleased to have historical author Guy St. Denis talk about his fascinating new book “The True Face of Sir Isaac Brock“. 

Much appreciation goes out to those who made this day possible and to the approximately 180 people who came through our doors. We were pleased to have the opportunity to share “who we are and what we’re about” with our community.

The Archives Open!

Glencoe:   The Glencoe & District Historical Society has moved its archives from the old Carnegie Library building on Main Street Glencoe to the old Registry Office building, which until very recently was the home of the Glencoe Library.

Two years ago when the Historical Society started hearing rumours that a vision was taking shape for a new library, the members starting dreaming of moving their collection to the building that would be vacated, 178 McKellar Street.  

On February 16, 2018, the Society made a formal request to the Southwest Middlesex council and in early June, Council gave permission to the Society to move in.   The members were thrilled and grateful.  Not only was Southwest Middlesex gaining a modern new library but the community would gain an accessible archives just down the street.  

Glencoe & District Historical Society formed in 1978  and their growing collections could no longer be contained in the old building.  Worse, was the access problem.  Access into the building involved a difficult set of stairs; the bathroom was in the basement; precious books and collections were deteriorating without climate control; member meetings had to be held in another venue; and parking was poor.  The dear old Carnegie library just did not work anymore.Packing began in September and the move took place November 26.  On December 13, 2018, the Executive held their first meeting at the new facility.

This historical reference library houses archives from various community groups.  There is a book shop.  It has the original land registry documents and deeds.  Computers are available to the public for research.  There are special scanners, microfiche readers and photocopiers.  A meeting area that community organizations are welcome to use (donation welcome).  A reading room.  Family histories. Historical photographs.  Cemetery records.  Come visit and see for yourself.

World War I Battle Sites of France, Belgium and Germany

Notes by Ken Beecroft.  Presentation by Jim May.  Wednesday November 21, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.

The Members’ Meeting, held at Glencoe’s Historic Train Station, followed today’s Program presentation, which featured guest speaker, Jim May.  Jim spoke about Jim and Jane’s 2017 autumn trip across northern France, Belgium, Bavaria and Austria, to the battlefields and historic places, significant to Canada from the Great War. Jim pointed out that the itinerary of the tour was geographically based and not chronological to events of the First World War. Overall, the tour commenced in the Belgian city of Bruges, and ended in Salzburg, Austria.

 

The May’s travelled with a guided group of fifteen Canadians, including friend and seasoned traveler Heather Wilkinson. Their trip started in the Picardy and Flanders area of northern France. Jim talked about of summer of 1916, and the Allies “Big Push” Offensive in the Somme Valley.

What was supposed to be a quick victory over the Germans turned into a long costly campaign. The Royal Newfoundlanders especially paid dearly, along with other heavy Commonwealth losses. The tour group visited Hawthorne Ridge Cemetery #2 near Beaumont Hamel. They travelled to Hill 62 in western Belgium, near Ypres. Intense fighting in this area caused significantly heavy Canadian casualties. He talked about the Menin Gate in Ypres, commemorated in 1927, and a place of pilgrimage ever since.

Jim described the official and unofficial type of war monuments in the area. They travelled to Vimy, where he described the terrain and overall history of that April 1917 battle. Jim spoke about the design and construction of the Vimy Monument, and it’s unveiling in 1936 by Edward VIII. Jim’s presentation was accompanied by a slide show of the various sites and monuments.

 

Jim presented a treasured portrait of a family ancestor who died during the war, Pte. Ellwyne Arthur Ballantyne 4th Bn.Ellwyne was killed on the western front in 1917 and was buried at Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery in France. Jim was particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Ellwyne’s grave at that Cemetery.

Upon conclusion at 3:05 p.m., President Lorne Munro thanked Jim for his presentation and slide show, and presented him with an honourarium.