Friday, January 11, 2019

Recipes from our WW2 Page Family Christmas Dinner

Better late than never!  I meant to post this before Christmas. 

Below are the recipes sent to us by Iris Page and her daughter Michelle that were favourites with Morley and Grace Page's families at Christmas.  We served these at our most recent WW2 themed Christmas Dinner in the Museum on December 1 and 2, 2018.  In conversations with locals we established that the shortbread recipe was the one most of the community used including Marion Pearce and Marion Foreman which makes sense since they were neighbours and/or friends.  Thanks again to Iris and Michelle for sharing. 

1 cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, gradually add flour ¼ at a time. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut into shapes, decorate with cut up candied cherries.
Bake at 325 for 9-12 minutes will be done when golden around the edges

Cherry Squares:
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
Mix like pastry and press in 11x7 pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes
2 egg whites (beaten stiff)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2 tsp flour
1 cup glazed cherries , chopped up
½ tsp vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together and spoon on top of cooled bottom
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Butter Mallow Squares:
¾ cup soft butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup flour
Mix like pastry, put in 9x12 pan and prick well. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes
2 envelopes of unflavoured gelatin
½ cup cold water
2 cups sugar
½ cup warm water
½ tsp vanilla
Food colour , red or green
Options – ½ cup maraschino cherries, cut up and /or ½ cup walnuts in small pieces, if you do both then use ¼ cup each

Soften gelatin in cold water
Combine sugar and warm water in a pot, boil for 2 minutes
Dissolve gelatin in hot syrup
Beat with mixer until stiff
Add vanilla, food colouring and cherries/walnuts, mix
Pour over shortbread bottom
Cut with hot knife

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Is This Old Lady Crane?

Can anyone help Sandra Sales identify the woman in these photographs?  

"These are photos of a woman that our family lore says is “Old Lady Crane” - or Mary (Willson) Crane. Mary Crane was the daughter of Captain Gilman Willson of Port Talbot, who was a captain alongside Leslie Patterson in the War of 1812. Mary Willson was married to Peter Crane, the son of Thomas Talbot’s helper, George Crane, and his wife Isabella Finlay. Mary (Willson) Crane lived from April 14, 1814 to March 23, 1892. She is buried in the Tyrconnell United Church Cemetery.

The woman in this photo is dressed in the traditional mourning garb of the late 1870s and 1880s and wears a wedding ring. Mary Crane’s husband, Peter, died in 1882. Mary spent her final years in the house she and her husband built in 1861 on Concession 9, Lot 6, south half. Her son Benjamin Crane had taken over the farm by the time she died.

Because only family lore identifies this woman, I would like to see if there is any other labelled copies of this photo around. Or I would like to get the photo out to people who might be interested in this family.  

Sandra Sales"

Comments and photos can be sent to and I will forward on to Sandra.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fun Fact Friday #25 - You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry...🎅

      Did you know that Santa Claus was a real person? 

The first depiction of the red suit Santa wears.
Thomas Nast c. 1869
     Of course you did!  Most people know that he is based off of somebody known as Saint Nicholas, but historically, we do not know much more about him. According to tradition, or legend, Saint Nicholas was known to to be the secret gift giver to children on December 6, the day the Church celebrates him and supposedly the date of his death. In Europe it became a custom for people to place nuts, apples, and sweets in shoes left beside beds, on windowsills, or before the hearth on his day.

      It is a popular notion that these traditions of gift giving in North America come from the Dutch when they founded New Amsterdam (New York) and then passed around from there. 

       Ever since the anonymous poem "The Night Before Christmas" was popularized in 1823, Santa was depicted as an elfin figure with "a little round belly/That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.". Even today the image of the jolly big guy continues to thrive.

Learn more about the history of Christmas traditions at the Backus-Page House Museum. Book a tour today!
29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON

Friday, December 14, 2018

Fun Fact Friday #24 - O Christmas Tree 🎄

The Royal Family's Christmas Illustation
      Did you know that it was Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, that popularized the modern and familiar Christmas traditions?

      Prior Prince Albert's influence, Christmas was scarcely celebrated and treated much more religiously than it is today. By 1870, in Canada, the holiday had become a community and family celebration. This is also when familiar attributes such as Santa Claus, Yule logs, holly and mistletoe, caroling, and Christmas trees became extremely popular. 

      Although the royal families had been decorating Christmas trees since at least 1800, Prince Albert's family were the first ones to display their tree in an illustration that was published in 1848. The general public liked this idea and started doing it themselves and it was eventually brought over to Canada due to British immigration. 

Learn more about early Christmas traditions when you book a tour at the Backus-Page House Museum.
29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fun Fact Friday #23 - What Wood You Do In The Winter? 🌲

Late 29th Century Canadian
      Did you know that most farmers in the 19th century were also lumberjacks during the winter months?

      It is well-known that farmers cannot continue growing their crops when it's negative degree weather outside. Farmers during this time also could not just do nothing during the months from November to February. So, instead of farming, men would productively use their time felling and collecting lumber. This time of the year was best for cutting down trees because the sap would be frozen.

      Then, during spring, the lumber would be sent to saw mills and the lumberjacks would be farmers again. After the fall harvest, loggers were back on the job, building camps and clearing roads to get ready once again for winter. 

       Book a tour today at the Backus-Page House Museum to learn more about life during the winter in the 19th century.
2924 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON

Friday, November 30, 2018

Fun Fact Friday #22 - Hockey Night In Canada 🏒

Port Stanley, ON Today
      Did you know that Port Stanley and the Stanley Cup are named after a father and son?

      Colonel Thomas Talbot was a major part in the distribution of land along the shores of lake Erie in early 19th century. In 1824 Talbot decided to rename a settlement after his dear friend, Lord Edward Smith Stanley. This is now known as the small beach town, Port Stanley. Lord Stanley enjoyed the area so much and would visit when he could. He eventually became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and had three children with his wife, Emma. 

2018 Stanley Cup champion, Alexander Ovechkin
      One of those three children was Fredrick Stanley. Fredrick was a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary and then the sixth Governor General of Canada. He was also very interested in sports. His sons became avid ice hockey players in Canada, playing in amateur leagues in Ottawa. Finally, in 1892, he donated a treasured national icon, the Stanley Cup. This now-famous cup bears Stanley's name as tribute to his encouragement and love for sport in Canada.

Come visit the Backus-Page House Museum for more information at:
29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fun Fact Friday #21 - Hard Work Pays Off! 🔨

       Did you know that most settlers that prospered in the early 1800's were not the most proper or wealthy?
What a settlement might have
looked like in 19th century Upper Canada

      During the early 19th century, members of the British gentry believed that they would easily rise to the top of the colonial society in Canada. They thought that with their brains, manners, and education they would be at the top of the list for owning land compared to their "poor and ignorant" fellow immigrants. 

      Upon arriving in Upper Canada they found that they were completely incorrect. They lacked the essential skills and abilities required of pioneers is a hostile frontier landscape. Unlike the "poor and ignorant" settlers, the "proper" settlers did not know how to hunt, farm, build, or even handle the extreme weather conditions found in this part of the world. Most found themselves suffering with the threat of forest fires, wild animals, frostbite, and starvation.

      Canada during the 19th century was a place for hard working people to start a fresh life and prosper with the skills they had. The four founding families in the Talbot Settlement were a few of those hard working people. 
Come find out more about them at the Backus-Page House Museum:
29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON