The Appin Community Garden Project

By Dylan Grubb, Appin, ON

The sense of community is one of the best aspects of living in a small town. Amongst these many things that gives Appin this feeling is the community gardens. Inspired by the World War II victory gardens used to help provide produce to towns and cities in Canada, the project started early in the spring of 2023.

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The Fenians

The Feniens are Coming!

Wardsville Volunteer Infantry Company Formed as #6 Company on January 6, 1983

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

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.

The Fenians are Coming!

Presentation by Ken Willis 15 Jan 2020

Tartan Days at The Archives

Tartan Days at The Archives

It was a damp day July 15, 2023 for this year’s Tartan Days but people were coming and going at 8:00 p.m. at the Archives. It was a festive atmosphere all day long until things wound down after 3:00 p.m. At 1:00 p.m. Mayor Allan Mayhew and Deputy Mayor Mike Sholdice opened up proceedings attended by 43 people.

A short history of the following was shared by members of G&DHS:

200 years since Ekfrid Township were incorporated (1821) – Marilyn McCallum

200 years since Mosa Township was incorporated – Ken Willis

170 years since early days of Dundonald (Glencoe) building homes and businesses along the rail line (1853) – Harold Carruthers

125 years since the Glencoe Town Hall was built (1898) and the cornerstone was laid. 

150 years since the Incorporation of the Town of Glencoe in 1873. – Harold Carruthers

45 years since the Glencoe & District Historical Society was established in 1978. – Lorne Munro

Also: 100 years since the Glencoe Library was built by the Carnegie Foundation (1923).

60 years since Quad County school and Mosa Central School opened at Pratt Siding (1963) 

Harold Carruthers showed the time capsule that is being prepared, similar to what was recovered from the cornerstone of the old Glencoe Town Hall when it was demolished in the early 1960s.  It’s been 125 years since the Glencoe Town Hall was built (1898) and the cornerstone was laid.  If you have any ideas what should be included, let us know.

Funny coincidence: next month at The Blyth Festival Theatre, a new play called the Chronicles of Sarnia is premiering and starring our very own Mark Crawford, actor and playwright. Check it out: here is the plot:

Chronicles Of Sarnia

WORLD PREMIERE. Written by Matt Murray; Directed by Miles Potter 

Passionate, retired history teacher Erin has convinced the City of Sarnia to create a 100-year time capsule for future generations to open. She organizes a town-wide meeting for community input, with a replica of the capsule itself, ready to momentously unveil.

But in spite of homemade Nanaimo bars, only her husband, a department store employee, and a young woman who is there for… complicated reasons, show up. Oh, and the janitor.

Refusing to reschedule, Erin, undaunted, takes this tiny group in hand and sets about distilling the essence of, well, of Sarnia.

Scots Gaelic – Past, Present and Future

Trevor Aitkens grew up in Brooke township, Lambton County, and lived with his grandmother who spoke Gaelic.  On March 15, 2023 he filled the Tait’s Corners School house with students interested in learning a few words.

Trevor shows us given names on the left and surnames on the left.

Given names, surnames and place names. DONNCHADH = Duncan. DOMHNALL = Donald. AONGHAS = Angus. DUGHLAS = Douglas.

Trevor, our teacher, took us on a flight across the globe’s Celtic lands. We only had a few life preservers (we were crossing the Atlantic). Costa is wearing one of the preservers while he holds a beautiful bouquet of lucky heather.

Gaelic originated in Scotland in 500 AD and was in common use up until the battle of Culloden in 1746. After this point, support waned for the language to the point where it was in danger of becoming extinct.  During the latter half of the 19th century, it was the 3rd most spoken language in Canada and actually had a bill tabled in the Senate to become an official language.

Surnames on the left and Epenectrics on the right. Epenectrics: adding a vowel for sound purposes.

Scots Gaelic doesn’t like a lot of consonants together. AINMEAN = Names. MACEACHARNA = McEachran (descendants of the horse lord). MACFHIONLAIGH = McKinlay. MACCRUIMEIN = McCrimmon ( pipers). MACILLIOSA = Gillies. MACILLEATHAN = MacLean.

Many thanks to Simba, the camera man, and Ayako, the Zoom engineer. The Glencoe & District Historical Society is committed to making its programs accessible.
The old Tait’s Corners School house is filled with students. We shared the lesson via Zoom too.

Trevor regrets now that he didn’t learn Gaelic when he had the chance. He studied a number of other languages but realized later that he needed to pay homage to his own heritage. Trevor stumbled upon a night school offering in Mississauga in 1998 and practices the language until this day. He attracted a big audience to the Tait’s school house.

There’s no written J, K, Q, V, X, Y, Z but some of those sounds exist. There’s no Z sound or X sound.

Recent trends point towards an increase in the number of Gaelic speakers. A number of people who have no connection with Scotland are interested in learning and preserving the language. People are waiting for the 2021 Scotland census to see if there in an increase in Gaelic learners and speakers.

Gaelic Bible
JoAnn Galbraith, our Middlemiss historian, clutches a volume of Gaelic Prayers
Harold Carruthers expresses our appreciation on behalf of the live and on-line audience.

The #4 Bombing and Gunnery School

Three perspectives on the local  #4 Bombing and Gunnery School during WWII were presented at the Archives, 178 McKellar St, Glencoe October 12, 2022 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  

Blair Ferguson, local author of Southwold Remembers: The #4 Bombing and Gunnery School brought some great artifacts. Blair is an authority on the local training facility which is located at the Fingal Wildlife Management Area. His book is filled with stories about the people who worked there.

Andrew McGill is a local photographer and farmer. Andrew presented his family’s personal connection to the Gunnery School.   

Paul Anderson, author of Eric Stirling – The Missing Son – A Recollection of His Life, (published privately) joined us from his home in New Zealand via Zoom. Young Eric Stirling joined the airforce and like so many young guys from the Commonwealth, he was trained in Canada at the #4 B&G School. He never made it home.

The young men were SO young. The movies cast actors in their 30s so we forget that WWII was the first adventure off the farm for many young soldiers. Eric was 24. Many were not even 18.

Information Technology Report

for G&DHS general meeting 2020 – 2022

Aim: To plan for and manage the digital information and on-line applications owned by G&DHS. 

Domain:  Social media apps; Google Workspace; digital archives; on-line privacy and security.

Circle of volunteers includes: Tyler Thomson, Colin Varga, Mary Simpson, Ayako Macdonald, Ken Beecroft, Harold Carruthers, Angela Foreman–Bobier, Ryan Tuer, Marie Williams-Gagnon, Richard Hathaway, and more.  Thank you everyone for all you do.  

The goal for 2023 is to get better organised, establish policy and procedures, and include more people in the work of heritage preservation and the objects of the historical society.  This report prepared by Mary Simpson, for Annual General Meeting, Apr 20, 2022, Glencoe & District Historical Society. 

In-House Administration

Glencoe & District Historical Association has set up its own private and secure Google Workspace which allows our volunteers to have access to many Google tools.  

We are sharing these tools and workspaces with Your Wardsville to see how G&DHS can support collaboration and communication among local community groups. 

Everyone now has their own email address:   The President, Ken Beecroft, is the recipient of the front office email via:  

Social Media: meeting up with the World

Cardinal rule of social media: read, listen, and then engage.  Social media is a polite conversation.  

Glencoe & District Historical society website;   

Our FaceBook Page:  A great place to promote the work of our fellow groups.  Marie Williams has started posting content.  Harold Carruthers and Ken Beecroft, President, are doing a great job monitoring the questions and comments coming to the Facebook Page.  

Our Eventbrite Page to promote events

Our FaceBook Events page to promote events.

Our Google Map Page: where to find us. 

Our YouTube Channel:  where we upload and curate our video content.

Preserving digital records online

We are pleased to be collaborating with Middlesex Centre Archives.  

Find a Grave:  Ken Beecroft is a super Find a Grave contributor.  It’s a great hobby for many people.  

Our Cemetery List and Interactive google Map.   We have a public account that anyone can use and so does the Glencoe Library.  

History Pin:  A cool app for curating collections of pictures from our archives.  Also, we can upload walking and driving tours.  

On this Spot:  Middlesex County.  We are promoting this project by local historian Michael Baker and the Elgin County Museum.  Internet Archive, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites.  This is the place where we think we can store important reports and document.  

Gathering Our Stories

Our goal is to build a story gathering pipeline.  Working with a team of people from our community and the  Tyrconnell Heritage Society, we are digitally recording personal stories that relate to our local Canadian history. In particular, aim to collect local stories that help explain the past 100 years of Canadian history – which happens to be a required course for Grade 10 students in Ontario.  If you are interested in participating please fill out the form at this link: I have a story to tell.  

Phase One: We recorded three stories from Al McGregor, and short stories from Ina Nelms and Don Webster.  These were submitted to the Oral History project run this winter by the Tyrconnell Heritage Society. 

Phase Two:  Work out a process for story collection, describing, organizing, and uploading online. Collaborate with Tyrconnell Heritage Society.

Report prepared by Mary Simpson, for Annual General Meeting, Apr 20, 2022, Glencoe & District Historical Society.  

Future Generations WILL Care about their history!

Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever!

Ken Beecroft, Ina Nelms, and Harold Carruthers, members of the Glencoe & District Historical Society speak about the need for a County of Middlesex archives to ensure our critical paper and digital records are preserved for the use of future generations.

Unlike other Counties in Ontario that have established archives (Lambton, Kent, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Perth, Huron), Middlesex County has no such thing. In February 2020, representatives of historical societies and interested citizens met to gauge the interest in establishing a Middlesex County Archives. These aging keepers of history were frightened about the potential loss of local history. The group worried about what would happen to their precious historical documents due to aging volunteers and lack of funds.

What will the County of Middlesex decide? Stay tuned.

This video message published 29 July 2021

Edited by Colin Varga

Directed by Mary Simpson Social Media team, Glencoe & District Historical Society

Old River Farm's flags

Today is the Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history as well as the recognition of the ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Since 2013, September 30th has also been Orange Shirt Day, which is an Indigenous-led commemorative day to honour the children who were sent to Indian Residential Schools and stripped of their culture and freedom. September 30th was chosen to honour the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation who, on her first day of school, had her new orange shirt taken from her. 

It is a day to engage in commemorative events, to make space for meaningful conversation, and to reflect upon how we may support reconciliation efforts individually, as organizations, and as a profession. 

Let’s listen to the teachings of Indigenous Elders, colleagues, and organizations. Let’s read the official reports. Let’s learn from the experiences of colleagues working in archives as they reflect on our institutional histories and our current relationships with Indigenous communities. Some of these resources are shared below. 

Many thanks to the Archives Association of Ontario for providing this text for our historical society to share. Check out their ‘Towards Truth and Reconciliation’ resource page

How our historians preserve our history

Wardsville, ON: Recently a civil servant working for the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex approached Ken Willis, member of the Glencoe & District Historical Society, with questions about the history of Little Kin Park in Wardsville.  Ken spent a few hours consulting local records and submitted an intriguing historical report to the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex.  

Where were these records and how was it they even existed?  Ken Willis was appointed the Official Historian of Wardsville in the late 1970s by Wardsville Village Council.  With the formation of Southwest Middlesex in 2001, the new amalgamated council reconfirmed Ken as Wardsville Historian. Years later, he is still acting in that capacity.  Ken has filled a museum with artifacts, curates the Wardsville Archives, and is the authority on village history.

With little effort Ken was able to access the Vestry Minute Book of St. James Anglican Church 1933-1946.  The Wardsville Archives had this document because years ago, a stranger approached Ken at the Wardsville Post Office, and said “Here, take this, I understand you are the local historian.  You should have this.”  

But there was more.  Ken quickly accessed the relevant deeds from the wall of filing cabinets filled with land deeds at The Archives in Glencoe.  Their existence is another tale of local people making sure the land registry records for this part of the County were never thrown out after they were digitized.  

The Glencoe & District Historical Society is urging businesses, non profit organizations, and residents to think about their legacies.  What records are being preserved to ensure that future generations never forget those who went before?   

Ken Beecroft, President, Glencoe & District Historical Society explains that “many businesses and community organizations have faded away from memory, but their history won’t be forgotten because people took the time to store their records safely. Recently, concerned members of Glencoe Skating Club, Mayhew’s Clothing Store, Tender Tootsies ‘slipper factory’, Trinity United Church (Glencoe) , and Glencoe Masonic Lodge donated their records to The Archives which is managed by members of the Glencoe & District Historical Society. 

“The organizations have folded but their stories live on.  But what about our municipal records?  What about the County of Middlesex records?  What if the loyal volunteers at our local Archives start to falter?” Ken asks.

Historical records are an important community asset.  As we plan for new infrastructure to serve generations to come, planners and elected officials need a thorough understanding of local history.  

Indigenous Peoples’ history is critical. Marilyn McCallum, a volunteer with the Appin Museum and The Archives, has been noting references to Indigenous Peoples’ history when researching local history but sources are sparse.  Facts about land use pre-colonization need to be checked out with Indigenous People historians who have access to the oral histories passed down through the generations.   

Cemeteries of Southwest Middlesex can be viewed at  

The Need for a County Archives

County of Middlesex: Unlike other Counties in Ontario that have established archives (Lambton, Kent, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Perth, Huron), Middlesex County has no such thing.  In February 2020, representatives of historical societies and interested citizens met to gauge the interest in establishing a Middlesex County Archives. These aging keepers of history were frightened about the potential loss of local history.  The group worried about what would happen to their precious historical documents due to aging volunteers and lack of funds.

The Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archives (CEMCA) was born. After two meetings, COVID-19 prevented formal meetings but planning continued.  In February 2021 virtual meetings commenced via Zoom. 

The first concern was municipal records. County and Municipal governments are legally mandated to store public records for historical, governance, and legal use.  The Ontario Municipal Act (2001, S.O. 2001. C. 25 Section 254) states that municipal offices must preserve certain documents. They must be publicly accessible and available in a timely manner. 

From a survey of Middlesex County Mayors and Administrators, it was learned that municipal records are stored in a variety of locations.  Some are stored on-site, others are stored off-site which makes accessibility and environmental control more difficult.   To be environmentally safe, records need to be kept in conditions with controlled temperature, humidity and ultraviolet light protection. 

Next concern: the records of local historical societies, private collections, the papers of famous people, family treasures, the records of non-profit organizations and countless other precious documents.  Even small local archives such as the wonderful collections of the Glencoe & District Historical Society are at risk.  They have a modern building and active volunteers preserving the growing collection but the Society could fail — just as so many other local organizations have shut down, before and during the pandemic. 

In June 2021, CEMCA developed a series of “Facts Sheets” that were sent weekly to County and Municipal Councillors and Administrative Staff. Information included: Municipal Act and Responsibilities; What is an Archives?; How Will the Municipality and Clerks Benefit; Where Are the Records Now?; Who Would Use the Middlesex County Archives; Resources Required; Challenges and Opportunities. See  or email

Committee representatives from each municipality are contacting their councillors and making presentations to their local councils. On September 28, 2021, CEMCA will formally ask the County Council to establish a Middlesex County Archives.

Who benefits from a County Archives? future generations!!  Not to mention students, scholars, educators, genealogists, family historians, tourists, municipal clerks, town planners, developers, lawyers, architects, and heritage advocates.

Video featuring Ken Beecroft, Ina Nelms, and Harold Carruthers, members of the Glencoe & District Historical Society,  speak about the need for a County of Middlesex archive to ensure our critical paper and digital records are preserved for the use of future generations.

Southwest Middlesex has a duty to save records  

Once they’re gone, they’re gone.  

Let us lose nothing of the past, it is only with the past that one builds the future. Anatole France

An Archives is a program, not a Project

Total Archives and A Middlesex County Archives

The Canadian Government created the Public Archives of Canada in 1872.  In Europe, archives retained government records only with personal papers going to libraries as manuscripts.  The Dominion Archivist of Canada determined that all personal records of historical and cultural value should be collected as well as government records, with both being stored in the Public Archives.  This Total Archives approach was a departure from other countries and is known as a Canadian contribution to archival theory and practice.  Over time, multi-media records were added to collections in addition to traditional paper records.  Many other national, regional archival programmes, as well as those in municipalities or universities, have adapted the total archives concept.  The area municipal and university archives adopt this strategy as does the Provincial Archives of Ontario. 

The benefit of this approach is that archives hold records for researchers about family history such as searching houses, land or any other item of interest. The government records also provide some of the information required in these searches.  Having municipal records available – if they are open to the public – are advantageous to researchers and also to Municipal Clerks or staff, who sometimes are contacted by genealogists with family history requests.  Municipal staff benefit by being able to transfer those questions to properly-trained staff who have access to, not only government records, but also personal papers and other resources.  This removes the need for municipal staff to answer questions in an already busy day and provides researchers with a one-stop location.   Genealogists account for over 40% of archives’ users who travel to areas specifically to visit Archives.  While there, their tourist dollars support restaurants, hotels, local merchants and other local amenities.  

An Archives is a program, not a project. Continued funding and municipal support are required to ensure the success of the Middlesex County Archives.

Written by the Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archives, July 2021

Southwest Middlesex has a duty to save records

Municipal Act and Responsibility

Legal Mandate

  • Federal and Provincial Governments in Canada have mandated that public records be officially archived for legal, governance, and historical purposes.  
  • The division of records kept usually coincides with jurisdictional boundaries: Federal, Provincial, County, and Municipalities.  (Library and Archives of Canada Act, S.C.2004).
  • Ontario has further mandated that preserved public records be available to the public.  (Archives Act, RSO 1990; Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006; Archives and Recordkeeping Amendment Act, 2019.
  • The Ontario Municipal Act 2001, S.O. 2001. C. 25 Section 254 further states that municipal offices must preserve certain documents and they are to be publicly accessible. Those records need to be adequately stored.  It further indicates that municipal offices could deposit their records in an archives.

Many neighbouring Ontario counties have created their own archives to fulfill their legal obligations and to preserve important heritage materials. These include Elgin, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Grey, Bruce, Lambton, Haldimand, Wellington and more recently in 2020, Norfolk.  Middlesex County has not done so yet.

Often records are not easily accessible due to the location of the records in the municipality.  They are either stored off-site in another municipal structure or are not available for access to the public.  Whether in digital or hard copy, records need to be accessible in a timely manner, especially when there are MFIPPA requests.  

Environmentally controlled (EC) storage facilities are necessary for preserving records.  The temperature must be 18-21 degrees Celsius, which is colder than an office environment. Relative humidity (RH) should be between 45-50%.  If both elements are not met, mold can occur if humidity is too high, and paper can deteriorate if the temperature and RH are too low.  Based on the surveys returned from the municipalities in Middlesex County, none of the records are in EC areas. A few municipalities indicated the records are stored in their community centres. While these facilities may have air-conditioning, the RH control is still an issue.  

Even if municipal records are covered in Records Retention Schedules as per the Municipal Act 2001, S.O. 2001. C. 25 Section 253, some records have historical value that can be retained for researcher and/or historical value.   When records no longer serve administrative value, they could still have cultural value for information.  Less than 3% of municipal records are archival. While it might not be a lot, municipal records like tax assessment rolls, building plans, environmental assessments and other documents should be considered for placement in the Middlesex County Archives. 

Written by the Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archives, July 2021

We Need a County Archives

Middlesex County does not have a county archives to protect our history for future generations.

Report from the Committee To Establish A Middlesex County Archives (CEMCA):

Unlike other counties that have established a County Archives (Lambton, Kent, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, Perth, Huron etc.) to house municipal as well as important historical materials, Middlesex County has not. In February 2020, representatives of historical societies and interested citizens from across Middlesex County gathered to ascertain the interest in establishing a Middlesex County Archives. The group had concerns about what would happen to their precious historical documents due to aging volunteers and lack of resources.  The group gave resounding approval to the initiative and the Committee to Establish a Middlesex County Archives was born. After two meetings, Covid-19 halted those for the year but work remained ongoing.  In February 2021 virtual meetings commenced via Zoom. 

How best to achieve the goal? The primary focus had to be municipal records. Through legislation, County and Municipal governments are mandated to officially store public records for legal, governance, and historical purposes.  The Ontario Municipal Act 2001, S.O. 2001. C. 25 Section 254 further states that municipal offices must preserve certain documents, and that they are to be publicly accessible.  Those records need to be properly stored and available in a timely manner.  It further indicates that municipal offices could deposit their records in an archive, to be secured. In addition, many historical societies hold historically significant documents and still more remain in private hands. Without a County Archives, there is concern about the location and condition under which many valuable historical documents are being stored.

CEMCA, through a survey to Mayors and Clerks, and another survey to Historical Societies within Middlesex County, ascertained much data – most materials were not stored in secure, environmentally-safe areas and most were not easily accessible.  That is a problem for municipal as well as local historical documents.

In June, CEMCA developed a series of “Facts Sheets” and other pertinent information to be sent weekly to County and Municipal Councillors and Administrative Staff. Information included: Municipal Act and Responsibilities, What is an Archives? How Will the Municipality and Clerks Benefit? Where Are the Records Now? Who Would Use the Middlesex County Archives, Resources Required and Challenges and Opportunities. To see any of this information, please check Middlesex Centre Archives webpage: or email

Committee representatives from each municipality are contacting their councillors and/or making presentations to their councils. On September 28, 2021, CEMCA will be making a presentation to County Council to formally ask that a Middlesex County Archives be established.

Who benefits from a County Archives? Municipal clerks, town planners and developers, lawyers and architects, heritage advocates, scholars and educators, genealogists and family historians, tourists. The biggest benefactors will be our future generations!!!!!!!

How can you help? Contact your county councillors by writing, email or telephone to express your support for the Archives. For more information, please email

Let us lose nothing of the past, it is only with the past that one builds the future. Anatole France

Jodie Aldred – Documenting Life on the Farm with a Camera and Drone

Jodie Aldred is a farm girl whose off-farm job is photography. Check out her Faces on Farms page and her Instagram page and another link.  Here is the Ag in the Classroom video she made for school kids with her Dad, Dug Aldred.
“I’m glad a world pandemic made people realize “YOLO” is still a trend. “You only live once.”
“So although it has taken a pandemic… I hope people including myself remind ourselves. Remind ourselves the hustle and bustle of everyday life, building a career, making money, socializing with friends… sometimes is worth pausing every once in a while. Hopefully next time you pause isn’t because a world pandemic forced you to. It’s because you truly are taking time to enjoy your family or those you care about. Because after all… you only live once. For Covid19’s gentle reminder of what matters…”
Melbourne Legion 70 years

Melbourne Legion 70 years

Written by JoAnn Galbraith

On November 18th, 1949, twenty-four area veterans met in the Community Hall in Melbourne with the idea of possibly forming a Legion in the village.  With backing from Glencoe Legion Branch # 219, Melbourne received its Charter February 1st 1950. In 2017, a history committee was formed  to make plans for the anniversary celebration.

Several displays of the Legion’s history have been shown to the public since the committee was formed.   Richard Hathaway scanned all the photos and memorabilia while JoAnn Galbraith has reviewed the records and minute books with a possibility of publishing a book with the Legion’s history  in 2020.   

Fifty Legion members and special guest attended a  complimentary dinner at the Legion on Saturday night November 30th. Folks viewed a slide presentation of photos from the 1950s to present day.  Also on display were original photos and documents.  

At each table setting was a place card with the front cover consisting of a photo of the first Legion building 1949 and the present one in 2019.

Zone A 5 Commander Gerry Cross gave a brief history of Branch #510. Bob Davenport, on behalf of Reg Lovell Glencoe Branch # 219, gave a brief history of the affiliation between Melbourne Legion and Glencoe Legion since Branch #510’s formation.  

Regrets were received from Peg Luce, Zone A 5 Deputy Commander, and former Federal Minister Bev Shipley.  

JoAnn Galbraith, a member of the executive and the history committee, was introduced by President Tom Jeffery.  

Pin History

JoAnn told the history of her collection of Legion pins from 1783 to 2019.  The United Empire Loyalist pin represents those who were treated as traitors because of their allegiance to the British throne following the American Revolution were evacuated to Canada in 1783. 

The 1812 to 1815 pin represents the war 1812-15. A large percentage of those that took up arms in the 1812 War were Loyalists who fought against the American forces who were trying to take over their new homeland.  The 1812 pin also represents the Battle of Longwoods.   A memorial service is held annually at the site where the Battle occurred March 4,1814, usually the Sunday prior to March 4th. 

The American flag pin represents the Civil War. The Vimy Pin marks the birth of Canada as a nation as of the April 8th battle 1917,  a WWI pin dated 1918.  A Poppy pin and the origin of its existence since 1918.  A World War II pin, a Melbourne Legion Branch pin. 

JoAnn gave a brief history of the Melbourne Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary. A First Nation’s pin representing the Native Veterans. A Canadian flag pin represented Vietnam, Korean and Afghan Veterans.  A “D” Day  Looney 2019 pin and a Poppy Wreath pin inscribed with “We Will Remember Them”.  

Even though JoAnn is only an affiliate member of Melbourne Legion Branch #510,  her family members have been very involved during war time.  JoAnn’s great-great grandfather, Thomas Lucas was a Lieutenant in the 1812-15 war,  a son of a loyalist, who is buried in Cade Cemetery in Strathroy Caradoc. Her cousin Alonzo Lucas gave the Supreme Sacrifice in World War I. His parents are buried in Cook Cemetery. Her second cousin, Private Warden Lucas, a WWI Veteran, was a member of Melbourne Legion Branch #510. Her Uncle Bud Lucas, Royal Canadian Navy World War II, was a member of Caradoc-Mount Brydges Legion #251.  

In the new Mount Brydges subdivision in Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc called Edgewoods, a number of the streets are named after Veterans of Caradoc Township and the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc. Lucas Avenue is a tribute to the four Lucas Veterans  who at one time or another were residents of Caradoc Township.  Two of the four are buried in the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc.

On the back of the place card was a list of  Melbourne veterans who gave the Supreme Sacrifice in World War I & II.   
The Lands and The Lucas’s

The Lands and The Lucas’s

Transcription of JoAnn Lucas Galbraith’s presentation:

JoAnn Lucas Galbraith’s roots in the area began in 1866 when her great-grandparents Charlie and Annie Zimmerman Lucas acquired property in the former Ekfrid Township in 1866 which now would be described as property just east of Springfield Road and Riverside Drive in Southwest Middlesex.  The subject of her presentation was two of her United Empire Loyalists lineages, Clement Lucas the first, was born 1725 in England and Robert Land born 1738 in the state of New York and of their descendants, she had on display all the paperwork required to prove she is a direct descendant of a United Empire Loyalists which qualifies her to be able to affix the initials U.E. to her name.  Clement Lucas and his family emigrated from Ireland to the state of New York in 1772.  

Robert and his wife Phoebe Scott Land settled in the Delaware Valley in 1856 where he was appointed  a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, a position he held when the 13 colonies broke from England in 1775. He was also a veteran of the seven year war.  Robert and Phebe move to and settled at Cushutank Pennsylvania where he was also a farmer and a wood turner.   At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he was a courier for the British along with being one of Chief Joseph Brant’s volunteers and worked as a spy and recruiter for the British Indian Department in Pennsylvania and New York.  In 1779 he was captured by the militia brought to court and charged as a British spy found guilty and sentenced to hang.  His conviction was overturned by George Washington and while out on bail,  Joseph Brant and Band and escaped to Canada West and settled in the Niagara area.

JoAnn Lucas Galbraith of Middlemiss was guest speaker at the Glencoe District Historical Society meeting in Glencoe on Wednesday night October 16th.
JoAnn Lucas Galbraith of Middlemiss was guest speaker at the Glencoe District Historical Society meeting in Glencoe on Wednesday night October 16th.

A Quaker friend of Roberts by the name of Ralph Morden was hung in his place. While en route to Niagara Falls , Joseph and his band met a group of natives who had captured Roberts son Abel as a slave.  If Abel could run the gauntlet Brant could claim him as a slave.   Robert settled in the Niagara area near Lundy’s Lane 1782, he hunted and fished for a living and is said to have grown the first wheat and corn in the area.  Phebe Land and her family had taken Refuge along with Clement Lucas and his family in New York City a safe British Haven.  In 1783 after the war the Loyalists who had gathered in New York we’re loaded on sailing ships and evacuated to Nova Scotia / New Brunswick.  Clement Lucas and his son Clement II, who had married Phoebe Land, a daughter of Robert Land and Phebe Land (wife of Robert) and her son Abel all acquired land in Nova Scotia / New Brunswick.  In 1791 lieutenant John Graves Simcoe’s land-grants in Upper Canada sounded attractive. Phebe and Abel having heard rumours that an English man by the name of Land was living at the head of the lake in the Niagara area.  

Phebe, daughter Abigail and son Abel packed up and decide to move from New Brunswick.   Robert and Phebe who had lost contact for 11 years were finally reunited 1791. By 1794 Robert Land, his sons and daughters had acquired over 1000 Acres of what today is downtown Hamilton.  Robert and his sons and daughters laid the foundation of what today is the city of Hamilton.   Robert and Phebe  had eight children, seven who grew to adulthood, William died, while Phebe was living in New York and is buried there.  

Ephraim Land was a son of Robert and Phebe and was a signer of the first bylaws of the Barton Masonic Lodge. The Land men were very involved with the Masonic order. The Masonic apron worn by Chief Joseph Brant is in a museum in Hamilton. Joseph joined the Masonic order being one of the first natives to join.  During the War of 1812-15 Ephraim’s wife Mary , hid the Masonic regalia and jewels and their values under a peony bush in their garden.  

I have a list of all the descendants of Robert and Clement who fought in the 1812-15 war. There are a number of those who left their mark in Canadian and American history descended from Robert and Phebe. Here are a few examples John Land Birney 1836-1921, son of Abigail was said to have invented the first glass milk bottle.  John, Robert and Phebe Lands oldest son was imprisoned during the American Revolution.  He was able to retain some of his dad’s land after the Revolution. Today his home “The Old Red House” is a landmark in Wayne County Pennsylvania, being one of the oldest houses still remaining in Pennsylvania.

Mary Christina Pettigrew was a founding member of the Toronto branch of the U.E.L. Society.  Charles Henry Land, grandson of Ephraim married Evangeline Lodge. He was a dentist who invented a gold and porcelain inlay system, a process of artificially replacing enamel on defective teeth.  Evangeline Lodge Land married Charles August Lindbergh a lawyer and US Congressmen they had one son.  Charles Augustus Lindbergh who started out as an engineer but after two years he enrolled in a flying School in Lincoln Nebraska. He served as a Wingwalker , Barnstormer, and was one of a small band of hardy Aviation Pioneers who risked their lives by flying mail. He was lured into his great adventure by a $25,000 prize for the first transatlantic non-stop flight from New York to Paris. He is still today known by his nickname The Lone Eagle. 

JoAnn Lucas Galbraith has traced her Lucas line back through DNA to the Vikings. The original name Lucas possibly comes from Latin word Lucca or Luce which means light bright or shining which may mean to lighten dark places.  It can be either Greek or Celtic.  According to my grandfather they were Huguenots who emigrated from Hungary during the time of Mary Queen of Scots and William of Orange.  Through family research I’ve traced them back to the 1600s in England. My 4th great-grandfather Clement the first,  was born in England 1725. Clement the second,  my third great-grandfather was born in Ireland 1764. 

Clement the first and his family emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1773 hoping for a better life.  During the American Revolution he and his family like a number of other British subjects took refuge in the city of New York. In 1783, the  Clement the first and his family were loaded onto a ship called Bridgewater and relocated to a spot called Parrtown in New  Brunswick. Clement as a UEL  was given Land by King George the third for his loyalty  to the British Crown. Clement the first died in 1806  and is buried in New Brunswick.   Clement the second , who had married Phoebe,  a daughter of Robert Land and Phoebe (Scott) Land,  left New Brunswick with some of their family in 1807.

As a son and daughter of a UEL where allotted land in Nelson Township, in what today is part of the City of Burlington.  Clement the second and Phoebe had eight children, their eldest son Thomas as a son and Grandson of a UEL was able to purchase 200 Acres of Crown Land for a 6 lb 19 Shillings and four pence in Nelson Township.   Thomas who married Mary Llewelyn daughter of another UEL had a family of 11. In 1861 Thomas and Mary decided to join his younger brother Clement the third who had acquired land in 1855 near what today is the Village of Mount Brydges.  Clement and a number of his family are buried in Cook Cemetery as well, Thomas and Mary were buried in Cade Cemetery in Caradoc Township now Strathroy-Caradoc.  

Charles the eldest son of Thomas and Mary decided to move closer to the family, purchasing land in Ekfrid Township in 1866.  Following the death of his father Thomas,  Charles had married Annie Zimmerman whose family had moved from Pennsylvania in 1793 and settled near Beamsville.   Charles and Annie had a family of 13, two of the youngest Charles II my grandfather was born Ekfrid Township in 1868 and Matilda in 1870.  Today 153 years later there are number of 10th Generation descended from Clement Lucas and Robert Land who live in the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex and  and 164 years in Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc. 

Lucasville near Petrolia was settled by another Lucas line that came to the area and from Ireland in 1811 Landing first in Quebec and then settling in Brook Township in 1820.  

The history of my family was taught to me , one would say the day I was born.  I had a great aunt born in 1850 , great uncle 1852, great aunt 1857, my grandfather Charles 1868 , and my dad 1909, who loved to pass the family history on. In 1977, I inherited genealogy that had been researched  back to Clement the second , which my Uncle George born in 1893 had helped to compile from 1864-1937.   The house my grandparents Charles and Elizabeth Bawden Lucas purchased in 1896 and raised their family of 11 in , still exists today in Middlemiss.  The house I live in was built in 1890, and one time was owned by my great grand-mother Annie Zimmerman Lucas.  Today there are 11 houses in Middlemiss that one time or another were owned by descendants of Charlies and Annie Lucas.

On Sunday October 20th , the Dutton-Dunwich Doors Open Heritage Tour , featured as one of the sites the Bobier/Lucas house near Tryconnell purchased in 1883 by John Lucas, eldest son of Charles and Annie where a number of his descendents occupied the house for 85 years.  Another home as part of the family history is the John Lucas house where Clement the second passed away in , is a tourist site at the Agricultural Museum near Milton since it opened in 1975.  The Clement Family through generations have been recognized for their musical and artistic, medical  and writing talents. There are so many in the family who have excelled with their talent but I have just selected four. 

Clarence Reynolds Lucas born 1866, great great grandson of Clement the first, a composer, writer and music critic, was born near Brantford on the First Nation Reservation where his father Daniel Van Norman Lucas was a missionary.  He died in Paris France in 1947. In 1997 the National Library of Canada received 350 original lost works by Clarence of compositions, for voice, choir, piano, organ, chamber, ensemble,  band, and full orchestra, several overtures, as well as correspondents, photographs, books, and newspaper collection.  

Clarence’s documents will be preserved as part of Canada’s publishing heritage.  Clarence is recognized as one of Canada’s leading composers of music and was well-known throughout Europe and the United States.   Wilfred Lucas third son of Daniel was born 1871 in Canada, died 1940 in Hollywood California. In 1908 he got caught up in the excitement of the film industry to work in the flickers, in the United States. He started directing a number of films from 1908 to 1939. He was bested known for starring in the Laurel and Hardy comedy rolls.   Wilfred had one son John Meredith Lucas 1919 to 2002 who was born in Hollywood.

“The history of my family was taught to me, one would say, the day I was born.” 

He was a director writer and producer and served as crew on several films in production. He is known for directing and producing screenwriting, some of which are Zorro TV series 1957,  Sign of Zorro 1958, Alfred Hitchcock 1955 TV, Ben Casey 1961 TV,  Star Trek episodes number 37 to 69, and Star Trek TV series 1966.   Professor G. H. W. Lucas  son of Charles and Elizabeth was born in 1894 until 1974 B.A. M.A. and PHD. ,  attended Public School in Middlemiss,  High School in Melbourne,  London Central Collegiate,  University of Toronto.  He held a number of medical appointments one being The Banting and Best chair of medical research 1924-1926,  Professor of Pharmacology 1926-1963 University of Toronto, Professor of Emeritus  1963. 

He was author and joint author of over 30 scientific publications, member of some 30 scientific Societies in Canada and U.S.. He was a co-discoverer of the cyclopropane anaesthetic gas with V.E. Henderson.  In a new subdivision in Mount Brydges the streets are named honouring Veterans.  Lucas Ave, is named after Thomas Lucas War of 1812-1815, Alonzo Lucas WWI, who gave the supreme sacrifice, and Charles Hazel Bawden Lucas WWII, all of who at one time reside in Caradoc Township.