Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Library and Archives Canada

I Do: Love and Marriage in 19th Century Canada

This web exhibition presents a glimpse into the challenges that people faced in finding a marriage partner in days gone by.

"Exhibition features include the digitized letters and journal entries of Mary Westcott and Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau. Included in the exhibition is correspondence from the personal files of William Donnelly, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Kathleen Blake Coleman and the Woodside family.
Accompanying the exhibition is a nominal database with digitized microfilm images of more than 10,000 Upper and Lower Canada marriage bonds. Bonds issued in Upper Canada (Ontario) cover the years 1803 through to 1865, while bonds issued in Lower Canada (Quebec) cover the years 1779 to 1858 (See Further Research for a bibliography). "

In the Flow of History for 200 Years~Prescott, Ontario Lecture Series



PRESCOTT, ON 19 March 2010 – Throughout the 200 years since Col. Edward Jessup founded Prescott in 1810, the community has experienced remarkable events and witnessed the growth Jessup would have dreamed of for his town on the St. Lawrence River.

To commemorate Prescott’s rich history during its bicentennial celebrations, a series of nine Sunday-afternoon lectures from April to October will explore the town’s vibrant heritage. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Centre Street will host the talks that begin at 2 P.M. Tickets for the complete series are $40 or $8 per lecture.

“Our program focuses on growth and change in Prescott, from its early days as a fort town to a growing community embracing change and technology into the 21st century,” said Gerry Brown, the Lecture Series Chair. “With focal points on the military, manufacturing and personal history, the series offers intimate portraits of hope, growth and change in Prescott.”

The talks delivered by historians, teachers and academics from Eastern Ontario begin April 18 with two presentations. Sandra Shouldice, who taught in Prescott for 31 years, will deliver an inaugural lecture on Prescott’s heritage. In a tribute to heritage volunteers and enthusiasts, author and historian Mark Jodoin will discuss the contributions of Edward Jessup, as well as Colonel Joel Stone and Captain John Deserontyon who founded Gananoque and Deseronto.

There will also be two lectures on May 30 and one per month from June to October. Through the lens of Prescott’s history the topics include: the War of 1812, the forwarding trade, the brewing industry and the Grand Truck railway.

To purchase tickets, contact the Prescott Bicentennial Office at 613-925-1861.

For information contact:

Gerry Brown

Prescott Bicentennial Committee



Sunday, April 18, 2 P.M.: Introduction to Prescott’s Heritage

Sandra Shouldice will give an overview of our 200 year history, beginning with a glimpse into pre-settlement Augusta. A further look at the town Edward Jessup created will entail its military significance beginning with the War of 1812, Prescott’s growth as a transportation centre, later industrial and commercial development and finally progress and changes in the 20th century.

Sandra was born and educated in Ottawa and taught in Prescott’s Central School for 31 years. After retiring from teaching in 1997, she took a more active role in Grenville County Historical Society, Retired Women Teachers of Ontario, Friends of Windmill Point and the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, for which she received the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. Her real interest in and knowledge of area history comes not only from personal research but from a background of family stories dating back to her Loyalist roots in Augusta.

Sunday, April 18, 2 P.M.: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Mark Jodoin, author of Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada, will pay homage to American and Canadian heritage volunteers and enthusiasts in the St. Lawrence, Hudson and Lake Champlain valleys. Mark will detail Loyalists such as Major Edward Jessup, Colonel Joel Stone and Captain John Deserontyon who founded Prescott, Gananoque and Deseronto. The three are among the 11 founders of Ontario whose stories are told in Shadow Soldiers.

A writer of historical fiction and non-fiction, his articles on colonial history have appeared monthly in Esprit de Corps magazine. Mr. Jodoin is a member and past president of the Rideau Township Historical Society and a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He began his career as a broadcast journalist with TVOntario and Global Television News in Toronto in 1979 and he later became a marketing entrepreneur working in Montreal, Houston, Los Angeles and New York. He resides in Ottawa.

Sunday, May 30, 2 P.M.: The Forwarding Trade in Prescott

John Reynolds presentation, beginning with the activities of the native Amerindians along the St. Lawrence, will follow the development of river travel. From the introduction of river craft larger than canoes to the coming of the railroads, and construction of a total system of locks on the Rideau and St. Lawrence, a whole way of life came and went. As interesting as the stories of events, are the stories of the individuals whose fortunes rose and fell with the prosperity of the river trade.

John Reynolds comes to us by a roundabout route. Born south of London, England, he has travelled most of Canada as a meteorological technician and a United Church minister. His undergraduate work was in History and English with post-grad Theology. John is retired after 20 years in the Prescott area. He has been active in the Forwarders’ Museum and from this grew his interest in local history.

Sunday, May 30, 2 P.M.: The Battle of the Windmill

Bob Garcia examines the final fling to free Canada from British domination. The bloody, short and significant 1838 Battle of the Windmill was a turning point emphasizing the strong ties between Britain and her remaining colonies in North America.

Bob is an historian at the Ontario Service Centre of Parks Canada, with research responsibilities for Parks-operated national historic sites across the province. From 2002 to 2007 he was the historian supporting the Fort Henry National Historic Site stabilization project. He joined Parks Canada in 1991 as the Resource Centre Specialist for Fort Malden National Historic Site. There he was involved with archives and collections management, exhibit design and the delivery of visitor experience programming. Bob was educated at McGill University, Concordia University and at the University of Western Ontario. Bob is a past president of the Essex County Historical Society and has had a long time interest in Canadian military heritage.

Sunday, June 27, 2 P.M.: The Brewing Industry of 19th-Century Prescott

Donna Warner asks, “What did our ancestors do in the winter?” Besides trying to stay warm, they brewed. Learn how our resourceful ancestors managed to transform what they had at hand, like spruce buds, into beer. Present day craft beer will be available for sampling.

Donna is the owner of Heritage Brewing and Scotch Irish Brewing located in Ottawa. After working as a teacher, a mother, a software implementer, she stumbled into brewing when her husband and his friends bought equipment from the Quinte Brewery. For the last 10 years she has worked to bring craft brewing back to Eastern Ontario where it once flourished. She is passionate about beer, especially the fresh, flavourful beer that a craft brewery can produce.

Sunday, July 11, 2 P.M.: Fort Wellington’s Involvement in the War of 1812

Raised in the shadows of Fort Wellington, Paul Fortier grew up with a deep interest in local and military history. As a young man he was instrumental in having the doors to the windmill at the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site opened to the public and later was behind the identification, designation and restoration of the Stockade Barracks on East Street, Ontario’s oldest surviving military structure. Paul spent 10 years as a military curator and historian for Parks Canada and then that with another 10 years as a manager at the National Archives of Canada.

After 20 years with the government, he left to head his private company Jessup Food & Heritage which has delivered unique food services at historic sites in Ontario from Fort York in Toronto to Upper Canada Village. Today Paul resides in Kingston and recently oversaw the acquisition and transformation of Kingston’s oldest surviving church structure into a modern banquet and event venue operated by Jessup Foods. His love of Prescott and its fascinating history remains strong.

Sunday, August 15, 2 P.M.: 150 Years of Railroad - The Building of the Grand Trunk

William (Bill) Boulton will focus on the growth and importance of railroads for transportation and shipping. He will outline stations, past and present, and will detail Prescott’s rail lines and links with Ottawa and shipping on the St. Lawrence River.

Bill grew up in Lansdowne, graduated from Ottawa Teachers College and Ontario College of Education. He taught two years at Poole’s Resort, an eight-grade country school just west of Mallorytown Landing. He joined the Ottawa Public School Board in 1957 teaching Industrial Arts and retired in 1989. Bill is a founding member and past president of Leeds and 1000 Islands Historical Society.

Sunday, September 19, 2 P.M.: Prescott, the River and the War of 1812

Victor Suthren is a writer, seaman and historian specializing in North American colonial history of the 18th century. He has written 13 books, 18th-century naval fiction and non-fiction works, including a biography of James Cook and a history of the War of 1812. In October 2009, Victor published a major survey history of Canada’s relationship with the sea, The Island of Canada.

After university and summers in the Fort Henry Guard in Kingston, Victor entered the Canadian Parks Service as an historian, serving in Louisbourg and Halifax. He joined the staff of the Canadian War Museum in 1975, and from 1986 to 1997 was the Director General. An experienced seaman in traditional tall ships and longboats, he is the Honourary Captain to the Chief of the Maritime Staff in Ottawa. He is also commissioned in the Reserve as a Seamanship specialist. Recently, he has designed and led events featuring ‘tall ships’ and longboats, and has advised a number of film productions. He and his wife Lindsay are residents of Merrickville, Ontario.

Sunday, October 17 - 2 P.M.: Love, Lust and the British Soldier in the War of 1812

Love at first sight, loose morals, adultery, prostitution, domestic disputes, and the challenges of raising a family in the army; all were part of the love life of the British soldier. Robert Henderson’s lecture will reveal some of the strange, funny and entertaining affairs of the heart that occurred to soldiers 200 years ago, and along the way dispel the stereotype of Victorian-like propriety at that time. Each attendee will leave with the impression people two centuries ago were not that different from people today.

A former military curator for Parks Canada and archival technician at the then National Archives of Canada, Robert has spent 25 years in the military heritage field. After graduating from Carleton University, he filled a number of interpretative and educative roles at various historic sites, including Fort Wellington and Fort Malden. Since 1995, he has provided heritage products and services to museums, collectors, and the film industry through MilitaryHeritage.com. His interest in preserving and promoting the significance of the War of 1812 brought him to create the website www.warof1812.ca.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 Season Event Calendar

Please plan to join us this season at the Backus-Page House located in the John E. Pearce Provincial Park. Come experience history, nature and fun here in the Heart of the Talbot Settlement. The Pearce Park is a free day use park with approximately 3kms of trails that act as part of the Trans Canada Trail network. The Backus-Page House is a restored 1850 Georgian style (primarily) residence that is home to a living history museum. Contact the Carriage House Office for admission prices and fees for events and programming. Admission to the museum is by donation.

Season Opening Weekend Celebration

Saturday May 1st
Tyrconnell Heritage Society Members and Special Invite Reception (members please check your newsletter).

Sunday May 2nd
Open house 12pm-4:30pm
Indoor children's games and toys, exhibition activities, barn and kitchen demonstrations, hands on spinning (drop spinning) make up some of the day's opportunities for fun.Cookies and cake will be available for sale along with light refreshments (coffee, tea, juice). Admission by donation.

Relive the Talbot Settlement Days
Sponsored in part by the Building Communities through Art and Heritage Program

Friday May 28
Pioneer Education Day
The Backus-Page House plays host to a cadre of reenactors and literally hundreds of students during our Pioneer Education Day. Scheduled activities offer the opportunity for visitors to catch a glimpse of a bygone era through period demonstrations and an exploration of the skill and lifestyle of early pioneers in Upper Canada. The public is welcome to attend but is advised to call ahead for times and admission prices (519-762-3072).

Saturday May 29th- 10am-4:30pm
Talbot Settlement Reenactment
The grounds of the Backus Page House will come alive with sutlers, reenactors, First Nations history interpreters and live entertainment. Come enjoy food, shopping, displays, performers and military reenactments. Gate opens at 10am. Call 519-762-3072 for additional information and admission prices.

Open Trails Day

Saturday July 10th 12-4:30pm
Come spend the day at the beautiful John E. Pearce Provincial Park. Learn about the distinct Carolinian characteristics of the area while enjoying a guided trail tour with local nature experts. Tours begin at 2pm. There will be barbeque burgers and hot dogs available for purchase or take a chance and bid on one of the box lunches to be auctioned off. Funds raised by auction will go to support programming at the Backus-Page House. Bring your own digital camera and compete in our picture scavenger hunt. Come enjoy the provincial park in your own backyard.

Pioneer Adventure Day Camp

July 26th- 30th and August 9th-13th
The Backus-Page House summer day camp is committed to providing children ages 6-12 with a safe and fun summer experience. Located in the beautiful John E. Pearce Provincial Park, outdoor and indoor activities will combine pioneer hands on demonstrations, creative crafts and organized games. Come take part in adventure and discovery, make new friends and learn about our pioneer past and the great outdoors. Contact the Carriage House Office for camp fees and registration times at 519-762-3072.

Heritage Farm Show

Saturday September 4th
Come out Labour Day Weekend to enjoy our annual Heritage Farm Show at the Backus-Page House located just south of Wallacetown. Demonstrations planned over the two day event include threshing, baling, working farm horses and historic farming interpretive displays. There will barbeque available for purchase. Call for 519-762-3072 for admission prices and times.

Sunday September 5th
Sunday the site will host a pancake breakfast starting at 9 am. The gates open for the show at 10 am and there's a church service at 11am on the lawn of the museum.There are a variety of implements to be viewed for those who enjoy history, agriculture and changes in technology. While on site don’t forget to tour the Backus-Page House Museum where costumed interpreters will be available to take visitors on a trip back through time to the year 1850. Call 519-762-3072 for admission prices and times . Pancake breakfast is extra and not included in price of admission.

Harvest Dinner

Saturday November 20th
Join us for a fundraising dinner a la 1850s haute cuisine served family style at Lakeview Gardens, Eagle Ontario. Bar at 6 pm and dinner at 6:30 pm. Entertainment, live auction and silent auction to follow in support of the Tyrconnell Heritage Society and programming at the Backus-Page House. Please call 519-762-3072 for more info.

Backus-Page Christmas Dinner

December 4- 7pm
A limited number of seats are being offered to enjoy a 19th century Christmas Dinner to be served at the Backus-Page House Museum. This multi course dinner will feature local fare prepared with 1800s recipes. Come savor the taste of the Talbot Settlement.Tickets go on sale May 1st and only 14 seats are available so be sure to get yours early. Cost $100 per seat. Inquiries may be directed to the Backus-Page House at 519-762-3072

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ontario Visual Heritage Project‏

The Ontario Visual Heritage Project: Elgin was funded with a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and support from the Elgin-St. Thomas Tourist Association.
Click the link below to explore the history of Elgin County and St. Thomas interpreted through an entertaining visual medium. You will need a Quick Time viewer (which can be downloaded for free here) to view these short videos.

Ontario Visual Heritage Project‏

Friday, March 12, 2010

Merinda Pearce- A Woman’s World

Women’s diaries are a wonderful resource for those of us who would like to understand what it was like to live in a bygone era. Women would write about what could have been considered the commonality of their daily schedule. Journal entries might include recipes, details of chores completed, who came to visit or what was the new rage in hats for that season. Sickness, births and deaths, weddings, harvests, all the events and tasks that marked the span of a woman’s day could find a place of note. These small details, the minutia of a life lived, when combined paint a picture of a place and an existence fixed in time.

Merinda Williams was born in 1842 near Iona, Ontario. She married Thomas Pearce in 1865. Thomas came from fine pioneer stock being the grandson of John Pearce who along with the Patterson, Storey and Backus families help found the Talbot Settlement. For the last 14 years of her life, Merinda kept a personal journal. Her entries are brief for the most part but clearly illustrate what life was like between 1892 and 1906 here in the Dutton Dunwich area.

Today is March 12, 2010. It is a Friday. The week has been wonderfully mild and graced by sun lit skies until today. The sky is overcast but the fine drizzle that fell this morning seems to have moved on. The shoreline here is home to strong winds that can gust for days but there has only been a sigh of a breeze for the past several days. The mild weather and drizzle have made a hazard for walking with mud and slick leaves but deeper down the soil is still frozen and hard. There are small shallow patches of snow in the open fields despite the recent mild weather and under the tree line and shaded woodlot paths it lays a little deeper.

In 1893, March 12th was a Sunday. The weather for that week was bright but it seemed that the snow was lingering longer. The names of towns and families that are still common to the area shout out of the text. Reading Merinda’s entries for the same time of year one cannot help but see that time laid like a curtain over the contemporary landscape.
Here are excerpts from Merinda’s diary for this week in March over 100 years ago…

“ 8th- Bright & nice. Men getting noggins scalded, Sammy staid home to help. Had to shovel snow around camp. Been a great winter for snow. Good sleighing began last December and staid firm on till now. Mr Andrew Lunn brought James Lunns wife & baby in afternoon & had tea with us. Very nice baby, glad to see them. Rain commenced before they went away. Nearly 10pm and Sammy & Willy are out bathing old Dolls leg with hot water. Thomas not well.

9th- White frost yesterday and today. Thomas paid Jackson after breakfast and let him go, he has very little sense, poor man, too messy for anything. Thomas tapped 110 trees and had noggins scattered. In afternoon we saw someone coming up lane and behold it was Bertha, Frances, Eva & Stewart Pearce. Willie, Leslie, & Harry Sifton had started to drive up the lane with democrat and broke down in gully. So girls had to walk to the house, of course they all had to look over the house in every nook and corner. (as does everyone who come around) From cellar to garret. Staid until 11, Thomas and Sammy led them to road.

March 10th 1893- Fine. Mr Sloan helped tap trees and got all big bush but 40 trees done. Sammy rode to P.O. in evening, took Damas beef.

11th- Thomas to Shedden in morning, Mr Sloan & boys gathered 26 buckets of sap. Rain came on at 9 and continued all day and evening."

The sap is running here and now in Dutton Dunwich. Conversation at the local eatery touches on the weather, how many trees got tapped and how fast (or slow) the sap is running. While many things have changed it also seems that just as many stay the same.

Merinda Pearce's diary is one of numerous interesting documents archived at the Elgin County Archives in St Thomas Ontario. If you'd like to venture a little further afield visit the Archives of Ontario to discover even more resources.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Your Wardsville Barn Quilt Project

For those members in or close to the Wardsville area an invitation is tendered to participate in the Your Wardsville Barn Quilt Project.
March 13, 2010
1) Workshop 9 am - 5 pm. (or drop by for an hour to view the process).
2) Special Announcement 10 am - 11 am.
Where: Beattie Haven Retirement Home, 23328 Beattie Line, R.R. #1, Wardsville ON N0L 2N0
Lunch by Beattie Haven kitchen - RSVP below.

If you can attend this Saturday workshop we are hoping you might also supervise an evening of volunteers sometime during March and/or April. Or you could lead your group's own painting evening. There are lots of options; we can arrange whatever works. The painting parties start March 13th and will be completed before May 30th. One mural is complete; 29 left to go. It's going to be great fun.

ON LINE RSVP March 13, 2010 Wardsville Bicentennial Barn Quilt- Painting Workshop

Wardsville is unofficially kicking off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 - 1814 which begins in less than 24 months. Wardsville challenges Elgin and Middlesex counties to learn more about our heritage deepen the connection among our local artists, artisans and community, and support and celebrate our hard working volunteers.

To commemorate the hardships and losses suffered by those early settlers - our families - from 1812 to 1814, Wardsville is organizing the Wardsville Bicentennial Barn Quilt Project.
The first Barn Quilt called "Farmer's Wife" has been completed by Rick Sommer. This mural which measures 8 feet by 8 feet pays homage to Mrs. Ward and all the other women who had to be fierce warriors to survive. It is currently being installed at the Wardsville branch of the Thamesville Credit Union.

There are 29 left to paint. The first training workshop is being held Saturday, March 13, 2010 in the basement of Beattie Haven from 9 am to 5 pm. The goal is to engage citizens through the visual arts, as well as through expression, celebration and preservation of local historical heritage.

In the basement of Beattie Haven, the block designs will be blown up to 8' X 8' and painted on special outdoor plywood. The plywood will be primed; the design stencilled and then painted with outdoor latex paint. The finished product will be protected with a sealant for outdoor display.

The 30 barn quilt murals which will be hung in various places throughout Wardsville area are based on a 30-block commemorative quilt that tells the story of George and Margaret Ward. Each block has a unique design and symbolizes a chapter in the Ward's life. The "Soldier", "Salute to Colors" and "Victory" blocks represent George's long history with the British Military. "Farmers Wife" and "Tree of Life" honour Mrs. Ward and all the women who worked beside their men while raising a family in conditions we cannot imagine. All quilters are called to add their stitches. This heritage quilt will go up in Beattie Haven's quilting room soon. Call Eleanor Blain for details 519) 693-4616.

These 30 highly-visual blocks will be stragetically placed in Wardsville and surrounding area to create a Barn Quilt Story Telling Trail, the first in North America. There's a barn quilt movement in the United States, but it seems that Wardsville is the first to coordinate such an ambitious series of barn quilts inspired by local history. Call Denise Corneil 519-693-7002 or http://wardsville.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Today's Mailbox ... You could be a star!

The Backus-Page House office administration belongs to a number of email list services that connect the Tyrconnell Heritage Society to a world wide contingent of historical organizations. These list services allow peer institutions to share information and resources. Topics explored include practice and theory with members of the online community working to address issues of concern. A daily sampling of topics reveal a broad base of inquiry. A museum in Spain might be looking for answers on how to create a proper disaster recovery plan while somewhere in New England an institution is trying to determine how early scarecrows appeared in pioneer settlements. Each day brings something new to the table for discussion. Yesterday a correspondence was forwarded that might change the life of a true lover of history. If you fit the profile this could be your lucky day....

For everyone who ever wanted to be a star.

Subject: Hardest Working Man In History

A new History Channel show in development called THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN HISTORY.
Required- MALE 35-45YR HOST
Your love of history may finally pay off! A new television series is searching for an impassioned, engaged history buff with on-camera experience to take us on incredible journeys through time. Must be excited to immerse yourself in the storytelling, even when it's grungy, thankless and tiring. You love history so much that you'll put up with nearly anything to get to the heart of a good story. If you or someone you know fits this description please send bio/head shot/video to
krinella@grbtv.com .
(If you don't have videos online then send picture and bio to start).

Kristen Rinella
Casting Associate
Hardest Working Man In History
GRB Entertainment

If fame is your aim perhaps you should have history in your sight. =)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Historic Yummies to Fill Contemporary Tummies

Are you looking to perfect your potted meat technique? Do you want to know what pearlash is and what to use it for? Then take the time to explore Pat Reber's blog at Researching Food History Cooking and Dining and her website Hearthcook.com . Pat's blog and linked website are a great resource for those interested in (to quote Pat) "thousands of links pertaining to open hearth, bake oven, wood stove and other pre WWI forms of cooking and related subjects". Links also include access to more than 650 e-text historic cookbooks and about 300 museums with cooking demonstrations.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An 18th Century Woman Blogspot

'An 18th Century Woman' is a blog published by Kimberly Costa (click the link to visit). Kimberly lives in the States and owns and operates Pudding Lane Designs, an 18th century living history business with a focus on women's lives. Her services offer quality 18th Century Colonial America interactive programming for all ages. A lover of history, clothing and textiles since childhood, Ms. Costa brings her audience with her into past, allowing them see and experience what daily life was like during the American Colonial and Young Republic periods. To visit Kimberly's business website to learn more about her company click '18th Century Woman.com' .