A short drive up the road from where our father was born on the Stafford homestead in 1918, we spent a lovely afternoon at the Ferguson’s Falls Community Hall.
The autumn colours were in their full glory, a visual expression of why Lanark County is known around the world for its maple products. The maple leaves fluttered boldly against the clear blue sky, showing off their best yellows, oranges and reds. The contrast of the bright green grass below served to remind us that summer had passed just a short time ago, and now the fall had assumed its position of leadership in the seasonal line-up.
If you drive down Highway 15 through Ferguson’s Falls too quickly, you might even miss the cheerful crimson community hall sitting close to the road. The Mississippi flowed along peacefully behind the hall and the blue hues of the water were framed by the orange leaves blazing brightly in the trees along the shore.
By the time we arrived the hall was a hive of activity as displays from Lanark Archives were getting their final touches from the busy executive, and members of the Lanark County Genealogical Society were scattered here and there in the hall tending to their own presentations of local histories and publications.
The band ‘Memory Lane’ was doing their sound check and we snuck up close to snap a few photos of the folks who would be entertaining all of the guests at the hall that day. Some of the other members were busy slicing cakes and loaves and tending to the coffee and other delightful snacks that would be served following the presentations.
We set ourselves up at a table in the section of the hall designated as ‘the Author’s Corner’ and began a busy afternoon of book sales and signings. Many old friends dropped by to say hello and many fellow genealogical researchers came over to catch us up on their latest works in their never ending quests for family history. Barbara Purdy stopped by and Gail McFarlane and we shared our notes and updates as we have all been researching the Richards family of Prestonvale.
We saw a long-time neighbour Elaine Morrow from the Third Line and had a lovely visit with her catching up on some of the local news. Rosetta Van Alstine stopped by to say hello. Her little sister Anne was a classmate of mine at Glen Tay School. Louise Demers-Moore, LCGS Recording Secretary, made a visit to our table and she shared some of her own research stories.
Irma Willoughby, LCGS member brought her Gardiner family history to share and I spotted a name from the past – Betty Gardiner Johnson – another neighbour from the Third Line. I didn’t realize that Betty was a Gardiner! George Stewart and Janet Dowdall, President of the Lanark County Genealogical Society stopped by to welcome us to the event and have a chat with us.
Marina Ramsden from the Perth Public Library stopped by and we had an interesting discussion about the old library building that burned down and the new library and the way that technology has improved the library searches and cataloguing.
Two local dignitaries representing Drummond Township gave short speeches and praised the Archives Lanark for being the guardians of the old land records and local histories. Marilyn Snedden, past President of the LCGS introduced the guest speakers in her usual eloquent manner.
Doug Bell presented the Archives with a large trunk and the documents that had been in the trunk, an artifact, 200 years old, originally owned by one of the pioneer settlers a Mr. Frizzell.
The band played on and the refreshments were served and when it was time to pack up our boxes were considerably lighter having sold most of the books that we brought with us.
Congratulations to the Archives Lanark on its 10th anniversary! It seems like only yesterday that the Lanark County Genealogical Society was discussing the idea of establishing an archive. Irene Spence has worked tirelessly each weekend since its beginnings, assisting people with their family history research.
Thanks again for inviting us to be a part of your celebration and many thanks to those who made our books sales and signing a success!