Our team

Welcome to the Glencoe & District Historical Society. Read the bios of the Executive — a great group who would love you to become a member.

Ken Beecroft, President – While growing up, I enjoyed reading books which were set in past times. Whether they were about ancient civilizations, medieval Europe or Mississippi rafting adventures, the characters captured my imagination. Later in life, I enjoyed stories about the World Wars, the Depression, and pioneer life.  I treasure the family lore told by my family members who are now gone. I regret not asking them more questions and taking the time to listen.

Thanks to a patriarchal uncle many years ago who fostered my interest in our family tree, I quietly and naively began a life-long search to learn not just tombstone data, but the details of my ancestors’ lives. That quest continues.

The tools and resources available to genealogy researchers today are way beyond that which was available thirty years ago. Organizations such as Glencoe & District Historical Society preserve and promote history in a society that doesn’t appear to respect the past, has little regard for the future and appears to live for the now.

JoAnn Galbraith: Vice President. I was born in Middlemiss in my grand-parents’ house. Living in this house with my grandparents were my parents, an uncle whose wife was expecting, a bachelor uncle, and my first cousin, who my grandparents had raised. While owning a business in Dutton, I met my husband Jack. In 1960 we were married and purchased the house built in 1890 for my great-grandmother. Jack and I raised our five children – John, Jamey, Jayna, June and Jennifer – in that home which I still live in today.

My interest in family history and the area began the day I was born. My ancestors loved telling stories of living in the area and the family lineages. In 1977, I inherited genealogy records that had being researched by an uncle who was born in 1894.

When Reverend George Hamilton approached me with the idea of forming a Historical Society in 1978, I joined up and accepted the position of 2nd Vice President. I am also a charter member of the Ekfrid Museum in Appin.

Lorne Munro, Past President – I became interested in historical events in the 1970s. My interest grew after attending the 25th Anniversary banquet of the Glencoe & District Historical Society at the Glencoe Legion in 2003. We presently have eight family genealogy books in our home that I manage and update. Ancestry.ca has been a great help and I correspond with family members to gather information.

During my tenure as President in 2018, the Society’s collection moved from our rooms on Main Street to the old library at 178 McKellar Street, Glencoe. I have served as secretary, first vice president, president (a couple of times). I’m slowing down now, just working on Wednesday afternoons in The Archives and enjoying any other projects that come along.

Ina Nelms – I was always interested in history.  I grew up on the original homestead cleared by George Simpson and Sarah Whitely in 1837, Glenmore Farm, along the Thames River in Mosa Township beside the Simpson Bridge.  I remember Dr. Seaborne requesting a piece of the old original log house that was lying in ruins when I was young.  Dr. Edwin Seaborne’s daughter, Dee Dee Seaborne married Bill Moss, also was a descendant of George and Sarah Anne. 

I always enjoyed history in school and my father, mother, and older relatives all knew their ancestors and family tree branches very well.  I am a descendant of various clans: the Pearces, Moorhouses, Stalkers, McEachrans, and Simpsons.  I’m an Honourary member of the Glencoe & District Historical Society and have been the social convenor for the monthly program for several years.  I enjoy supporting this wonderful society of friends who work so hard to preserve our local history, story, and documents. 

Harold Carruthers – What first piqued my interest in history was sitting on my Grandmother Carruthers’ knee to study old family picture albums and letters from Scotland. She would patiently explain to me who each person was and what their connection to our family was.  I was likely only about seven at that time, and as a young boy there likely would have been more fun things to be doing but I have nothing but pleasant memories of those times.

A few of my projects were: Restoration of the Grand Trunk Wabash Station (1978-2001); area postcard/photo collection (1968-present); transcribing area cemetery records (1970-1983); early settlers (1978-2000); preserving original transcripts; heritage sign project; and collecting Peter McArthur books. I have assisted in supplying information for nine books. A very special project was returning the registry records back to Glencoe after an absence from 1991 to 1997, with the assistance of MPP Irene Matheyssen.

Marilyn McCallum – I love the puzzle of history. It is at no time limited; it is never complete. As we progress, new tools and new sources reveal themselves. Accepted facts about the past are revealed and finally emerge when the pieces are put together.

My interest in history was piqued by my father who always told stories about the people, the happenings, and the buildings – present and long gone in Melbourne and area. Years later, I was asked to compile and type a book on the history of Melbourne and I eagerly accepted! I also work with the Ekfrid Museum in Appin.

Dennis Harmsworth – My grandfather, Henry Harmsworth, was born in England and was decorated in the Boer War. He had a chance to emigrate after his commission. He commiserated with his brother and sister, and they picked Canada over Australia, India, and Africa. In 1907, he stepped off the boat in Halifax with a wife, baby, and $2. His cousin in Thamesville had a job lined up on a farm in Wardsville. Henry stayed one year (he was no farmer) and went back to Thamesville to work on a saw mill for the rest of his life.

My love of history is only overshadowed by my love for English literature . My Dad loved history and passed that love on to me but I did not get a chance to attend university — my only regret in life, as I would have loved to have been an English professor. I am curious about everything and have also tried to pass that love of history on to my six children.

Ken Willis – There were not many subjects in elementary school that I enjoyed but History was one I did.  When I entered High School, English and Ancient history came easily to me.  I could remember ages, events and the people involved… I got good grades!  As I look back now, I wish there had been more about local history because my ancestors played an important role.

Eventually I began researching Wardsville, my home town, and have carried the title of “Official Wardsville Historian” since 1986.  I have been the curator of the Wardsville Historical Museum since 2002.  In 1993 and 2000, I wrote two books on the history of Wardsville. I have published the historical writings and poems of my grandfather, W.A. Edwards.  In 1991, I helped write the book “Golden Days of High School”, contributing a chapter on the former Wardsville High School.  I was a founding member of “Your Wardsville” Community Association in 2009 which worked with playwright Marion Johnson and her producer sister Nancy Johnson to stage their play about the Duncombe Rebellion of 1837.  

In 2010, I joined with scores of Wardsvillians to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Wards Station by George and Margaret Ward, a bicentennial heritage event that was a huge success. 

Currently, I continue to research past Wardsville and area residents, write papers and present the results of my work to societies and other interested parties.  I enjoy my Historical Society membership duties, doing research for those seeking their family roots in the area.  

Mary Simpson – I failed history in high school.