The Fenians are coming!

The 1866 Fenian Raids under Captain Anthony O’Malley.

Ken Willis will talk about the Wardsville Volunteer Infantry Company. The Company was actively protecting southwestern Ontario along the Saint Clair River in Sarnia area from March – June 1866 for fear of an invasion of the Fenians.

Everyone welcome! 7:00 p.m. at The Archives, 178 McKellar Street. Glencoe.

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.   
Rural challenges

Rural challenges

by Marie Williams-Gagnon, Hayter Publications Inc., Sept 2019

Spending a few hours involved in a municipal economic development strategy session this past week proved both enlightening and frightening, as would be the case in any rural community across Canada.

It’s no secret that rural communities face their own advantages, along with their own unique challenges. The reasons rural communities both suffer and thrive  have changed over the years, as have their demographics. 

In 1851, nearly nine in 10 Canadians lived in rural areas. The early census’ of this nation contained questions about the number of acres of land attached to a dwelling, the number and type of animals owned as well as the horsepower of equipment used on the property. During that time period, the Canadian economy was based on the primary sector more than today, led by agriculture and natural resources like wood or coal.

The proportion of those living in rural areas has steadily declined, eventually falling below 50 per cent between 1921 and 1931, due mainly to shifts within the Canadian economy.

Between 2006 and 2011, Canada’s rural population did increase by 1.1 per cent, compared to the nation’s overall growth rate of 5.9 per cent. However, in the same period, the rural proportion of the population declined. Ontario is one of four provinces that have the proportion of their population living in rural regions near to or lower than the national average. In fact, Ontario sits second lowest at 14.1 per cent. In a nutshell, today fewer than one in five live in a rural area.

The 2019 demographics indicate that rural communities overall are still facing a declining population, although many from cities are heading out of the urban centres for more reasonable housing prices. While the shift in search of housing is welcome news, it also comes with its own challenges as urbanites learn to cope without round-the-clock store openings, the anonymity of city living, internet options and, at times, even the scents of rural life.

Some opt to simply use their rural homes as residences, putting any involvement within their new communities on the back burner. They have continued to shop, dine and seek entertainment in the cities, places  that they commute to everyday for work, instead of seeing what their local communities have to offer. 

As many who live in rural areas are aware, there is a lot to offer and many opportunities beyond the farm life although agriculture may have the main economic impact, often followed by motor vehicle parts manufacturing and construction. 

While rural Ontario is not attracting the major immigrant population that cities are, it is changing in other ways. No longer are children automatically expected to take over the family farms. As a result, some have opted to sell to neighbours who have often severed the rural homes off and amalgamated the land to create larger farm parcels. 

Businesses, which no longer need a storefront thanks to the internet, are growing in rural areas but empty storefronts create unease among potential residents. The challenges small rural businesses face are multiple, ranging from attracting customers who are apt to drive to the city for perceived deals to simply getting the financing to even open their doors. Community businesses, which can be ignored by both newcomers and long-time residents, inevitably remain a target for fundraisers of all types which ultimately cuts into profits.

Rural municipal governments face their own challenges with the need to attract and retain both residents and businesses, to find funding for downloaded services while handling both application bottlenecks and increased regulations for everything from wastewater treatment to building permits. These communities face hurdles attracting and retaining health care professionals and keeping the doors of schools, arenas and churches open. 

On the horizon are even more challenges as baby boomers become retired seniors, needing support and housing. Without suitable housing to accommodate an aging population, rural communities may lose even more residents. That is something that census figures are already demonstrating with the number of seniors living in rural Canada being lower (15 per cent) than those living in small and medium centres. Rural Canada is also unique with a small proportion of young adults aged 15 to 29. In 2011, 17 per cent of people living in rural areas were aged 15 to 29, a proportion lower than the national average of 20. Many leave their rural homes in search of higher education and employment, never to return.

There are no magic answers. What must happen closest to home is getting involved in rural communities, buying local and supporting the businesses that in turn support local events and teams. The success or failure of the local economy hinges on the support of the community.

“A successful economic development strategy must focus on improving the skills of the area’s workforce, reducing the cost of doing business and making available the resources business needs to compete and thrive in today’s global economy.” –Rod Blagojevich

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Marie Williams-Gagnon, Hayter Publications

Gough Cemetery

July 28, 2019.  Community Memorial Service.  Gough Cemetery, 5018 Scotchmere Drive, Glencoe, Metcalfe Township, ON.  2:00 p.m. Bring a lawn chair. No rain date.   In case of rain, the event will relocate to The Archives, 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe, ON.

Black History

February 20, 2019. “I Continue the Journey”.

Stan Grizzle and his father both have devoted their lives to fighting racism.

Join us for this important event during Black History month. 2:00 pm. 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe.  

70th Anniversary of the Melbourne Legion Branch #510

70th Anniversary of the Melbourne Legion Branch #510

Written by JoAnn Galbraith.

Melbourne, ON: On Wednesday evening October 17th, the Glencoe & District Historical Society celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Melbourne Legion Branch #510 at their building in Melbourne. President Lorne Munro welcomed those attending and introduced the guest speaker, JoAnn Galbraith.

JoAnn announced that this year (2018), the Melbourne Legion Executive decided to update Legion records and compile photos and dialogues that Veterans and their family members have accumulated over the years. Tom Jeffrey, Wendy Robertson, Red Noble, Richard Hathaway and JoAnn Galbraith were chosen to carry out this important archival work.  For the evening.

JoAnn prepared a large display of Legion photographs and research material. She then explained the history of the first Legions which were established in 1925 after WWI.  These were special places where veterans could gather to reminisce and support one another.   Read more

McKellar Family Celebrates 180 Years

 

This story printed with permission from Marie Williams-Gagnon.

The descendants of Archibald and Nancy McKellar gathered together, Saturday, August 25, 2018 to celebrate the milestone anniversary of their arrival and settlement in Metcalfe Township. The reunion was held at A.W. Campbell Conservation Area at Alvinston. Although it was a rainy and inhospitable day, about 100 interested family attendees enjoyed food, games, contests, stories and photos, and exchanged genealogy information.

The McKellars, both natives of the parish of Kilmicheal-Glassary, Argyll, Scotland, migrated to Canada in 1831 and eventually made their way to Metcalfe Township in west Middlesex County. This was certainly a time of hardship and toil for the early pioneer family.

The original homestead farm located at Lot 24, Concession 6, was purchased and carved from the forest in 1838 and has been continuously in the family since then, handed down, inherited and purchased by direct descendants. The current owners are sixth generation, Hugh McKellar and his wife Andrea Boyd.