An Afternoon to Remember – Tay Valley Township’s 200th Anniversary Launch

Book At Home in Tay Valley0001

Despite the overcast skies and threats of rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic crowds that packed the Eco-Tay Centre on Saturday afternoon to mark the launch of Tay Valley’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

The well- organized event ran like clock-work, beginning with the volunteers warmly greeting visitors at the gate, accompanied by the well-designed, colourful signage proclaiming that this was ‘the place to be’ to celebrate the history of Tay Valley Township.

Tay Valley Township sign0001   Tay Valley Signs0001

Eco Tay Barns0001

The event was held in a huge, rustic, barn, one of the many lovely buildings on the property known as the Eco-Tay Education Centre. The Eco-Tay Centre, owned by Michael Glover and Annie Dalton is the site of the Ritchie family homestead, the original settlers in 1816.

Calendars 200th anniversary0001Button At Home in Tay Valley0001Button # 2 At Home in Tay Valley0001

The barn was a hive of activity, with something for current and former residents and history-lovers of all kinds.   Kay Rogers, Editor of ‘At Home in Tay Valley’ was busy at the book table, signing copies of the popular book, while visitors waited in line, eager to purchase the historical publication. Over 60 of the contributors – writers, artists, videographers and story-tellers were present at the event, and the room was abuzz with lively conversations and reminiscences of days gone by.

Kay Rogers signing books0001

A beautiful cake, artfully decorated with the Tay Valley 200th anniversary logo was the centrepiece for a table covered with delightful goodies to please the most discerning palate.

200th anniversary cake upright0001

Not far from the book table, positioned near a doorway, and back-lit by the sun, was perhaps one of the loveliest quilts imaginable, displayed with pride, created and stitched by the Lanark County Quilters Guild. This awe-inspiring quilt features 200 quilt squares, and an actual map of the original 1816 settlements. The 200-square quilt was fashioned specifically for the 200th anniversary celebrations, and certainly showcases the fine work done by the members of the Guild.

Quilt # 1 200th anniversary0001Quilt # 2 Detail 200th anniversary0001

Quilt # 4 Detail 200th anniversary0001_1Quilt # 5 Detail 200th anniversary0001

A special announcement was made around 2:00 pm that the guest of honour would be arriving shortly. Entering the building with a military escort, the Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Canada, was welcomed by all present.

The opening ceremonies were led by Lanark County Warden, and Reeve for Tay Valley Township Keith Kerr, officially declaring the launch of the 200th anniversary celebrations. Her Honour, Elizabeth Dowdeswell graciously thanked Tay Valley Township for inviting her to participate, and she shared some inspirational thoughts on the importance of preserving local history for future generations. Kay Rogers shared her experiences of editing the 200th anniversary publication, comparing it to an old fashioned ‘bee’, where many hands make light work.

Opening Ceremonies 200th Book Launch0001Hon Elizabeth Dowdswell's address0001

distinguished guests0001crowds at Eco Tay0001

It was a pleasure to meet with the distinguished guests, as well as some familiar faces from the neighbourhood – Maxine and Keith Jordan, Verna Perkins, Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, Nancy (Miller) Chenier, and Beverly (Miller) Ferlatte. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet Eco-Tay owner Michael Glover, and Lanark County Tourism Manager Marie White.

Arlene & Dianne Eco Tay0001_1Arlene & Bev at Eco Tay0001

Verna & Arlene0001

Arlene & Lt. Governor of Ontario0001

Arlene & Marie White0001

The Lieutenant Governor, along with County Warden Keith Kerr toured the grounds of the Eco Tay property, and exchanged thoughts on the 200th anniversary plans in place for 2016, and the highlights of events taking place in the months to come.

Walking the grounds of the beautifully maintained property, and the lush green landscape stretching in every direction, it was a time to remember and reflect on the original owners. The Ritchie family, who in 1816 cleared the land, built a home, and started their lives in the new world. It was a day to remember all of the original settlers to Tay Valley, and how they laid the foundations for our communities and our futures.

Grounds at Eco Tay0001It was an occasion to reflect on those that came before us, and a day to celebrate the achievements of the past 200 years. Many thanks, to the organizers and the volunteers who made the event such a success. Special thanks to Kay Rogers who gathered our stories, our photos, our artwork, and our history, and assembled it all in “At Home in Tay Valley”, so that future generations may remember who we were, and how we lived.

http://www.staffordwilson.com

July Thunders Through Our Yard

thunder storm

“Louder and louder the deep thunder rolled,
as through the myriad halls of some vast temple in the sky;
fiercer and brighter came the lightning;
more and more heavily the rain poured down.”

Charles Dickens

 

 

Thunderstorms in the country followed days of still air that was heavy, and thick with humidity. The leaves on the poplar trees outside my bedroom window fluttered, and eventually turned their backs toward us, as though they were bracing for what was to come. The birds scurried back to their nests to take shelter, and the squirrels and chipmunks sped quickly toward their homes without looking back.

The sky changed from a playful, summer blue as the heavy, dark, grey clouds rolled in over the old house. The largest, darkest clouds appeared menacing and powerful as they hung low over the yard, turning midday into night.

I could see the first streak of lightning as it lit up the sky around Mitchell’s barn. Seconds later, the thunder crash was so loud that I instinctively ran downstairs, hoping to find some comfort in the grownups who had gathered in the living room.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”, Mother would say, matter-of-factly, as Great Aunt Clara sprinkled holy water over the lamps and the around the doorways. “Let’s play a game and count the seconds after the lightning flashes to see how close the thunder follows.” Mother said. I wasn’t in much of a state to play a game and wondered if this was her way to take my mind off of the dangers of the storm.

The rain was coming down in sheets, and the wind was pounding it against the kitchen windows so hard that I thought that any minute the glass would break. Another bolt of lightning lit up the house, followed by an ominous crash, and I wondered if it had hit one of the big maple trees outside. Great Aunt Clara scurried into the living room without glancing my way, as though she knew that I’d see the sheer terror in her eyes.

This went on for several minutes, that seemed like hours, until the flashes became less frequent and the thunder moved off into the distance, and the whole house and all of its occupants seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

I went back upstairs and watched from the window until the dark clouds moved along in the sky, back toward the railroad tracks. It was as though someone had turned the lights back on and patches of blue dotted the sky again and the sun burst out from behind the big grey mass overhead.

There would be many storms in the heat of July, and they all began and ended the same. It would commence with menacing skies, deafening thunderclaps and a shared fear of the unknown. It would end with calm skies, nervous laughter and gratitude for the abundance of rain that had quenched the thirsty farmlands around us.

…………………….

 

 

 

Excerpt from “Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”

 

LC Calendar

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Free Online Lanark County Land Records 1763-1865

Tobias Stafford petition

Did your ancestors immigrate to North America between 1763-1865? This online database contains more than 82,000 individuals who arrived in present-day Ontario, Canada between 1783 and 1865. Keep in mind that may pioneers from America landed and settled first in this particular area of Canada before moving on to the United States.

Lanark County land record

To obtain a grant of free land, each pioneer settler was required to submit a written petition. He had to supply the necessary certificates from a local judge confirming his age, that he was of good character, and if available a discharge certificate from the military. Usually, the documents were returned, so they are not included with these land petitions.

The process of granting the land followed four essential steps:

• Assigning of specific lots to each settler;
• The land assigned was surveyed to establish exact boundaries
• Settlers were required to clear and cultivate a small section of the land
and build a dwelling house
• Finally, when all of these requirements were satisfied, the deed was issued

Click on the link below to search for your ancestor:

Index of Land Petitions of Upper Canada

Type your ancestor’s name into the search fields:

Land record search

Search land records

This link is an index to the petitions, with full details on where the actual petitions can be found for each individual listed. Remember to note the microfilm, volume, and page numbers, so you may easily find your ancestor’s land records using the next link:

To see the actual images of your ancestor’s land petition:

Digitized Image of Land Petition

land search results

The digitized images are presented in PDF, but there is also a link on the page to the JPG file if you would like to print the record, or save it to your computer’s hard drive.

Once you have the microfilm number, in my case it is C-2739 (see above), then click on the Land Record link below, and it will take you to the page with the digitized images.

Land Record

 

land record link to microfilm

Your record may be on the first page, or you can use the ‘Next’ button at the bottom of the page to move forward to the page where you’ll find the link to your ancestor’s record:

 

link to microfilm

Click on the link to your record, and look for the listing that matched the results in your first search:

 

(this shows you the Petition number, the Volume number, the Reference numbers, etc.)

land record search info

microfilm listing

Use the arrow to move to the pages that you are looking for.  In this case, for my record it is in Vol. 421, RG 1, L 3, and document 59f-59g:   (you may have to check the tops of the pages for the page number you are looking for.  Make sure that you are in the correct section according to your initial search results)

land record page number

….and here is the record for my ancestor, Tobias Stafford, on concession 11, lot 10 of Drummond Township:

land record Tobias Stafford

 

If you are researching your family history, a land record is a valuable addition to your genealogical records.

Finding the land records for your family can be fun to do with the kids or grand kids, and can teach them a bit about their own family history.

grandkids

 

Lanark County also has an interactive map showing historic land ownership.

Click on the link to the site below, click on the township and concession where your ancestor lived, and you will see the listing for the land grant:

Historic Land Ownership for Lanark County

Lanark County historic Land ownership

 

genealogy image

 

The original records are available on microfilm at the Library and Archives Canada.

Contact the Library and Archives Canada

If you are not able to travel to Ottawa, you may email or call the LAC to find out if these microfilms may be loaned to your local library (NAC Series RG 1, L 3)

For more help in finding your Lanark County ancestors’ land records, contact the Archives Lanark:

Archives Lanark

(images of land records and search pages are from the Library and Archives, Canada, 395 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4)

 

Good luck with your search!

http://www.staffordwilson.com

“Lanark County Calendar” Book Launch

Arlene &  Leslie Nov 2 20130001

One of the best things about visiting Perth is seeing old friends, and yesterday was no different during the launch of ‘Lanark County Calendar’.

Many thanks once again to Leslie Wallack, owner of The Book Nook for hosting the book launch. The Book Nook is a bright, cheery store filled to the rafters with books of all kinds and features a broad selection of titles by local authors. It was a perfect setting to introduce ‘Lanark County Calendar’ to local readers.

We had barely finished setting up the books at the ‘feature table’ when Tom, an avid reader of local history, stopped by for a visit, and was the very first to pick up his signed copy of ‘Lanark County Calendar’. Despite the cool November weather, traffic into the store was steady throughout the day and brought many visitors and friends from days gone by and some new readers as well.

Maxine Jordan, an old friend from Calvin United Church as well as former neighbour from the Third Line in Bathurst Township stopped by for a chat and a copy of the new book. We also had the pleasure of spending some time with Elaine Morrow and her husband Dave, also long-time residents of the Third Line and we had a chance to catch up on some of the goings on in the old neighbourhood.

A couple of former classmates stopped by and it was wonderful to have the chance to chat and find out how they were doing. Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, a classmate who goes back to the one-room schoolhouse near Christie Lake, as well as being a former fellow 4H Club member, came by for her copy of the new book and we shared a few laughs and a quick chat. Another school chum from days gone by Marie Kerr stopped by the store and was great to see her as well. I hadn’t seen Marie for many years so was an unexpected treat to spend a few minutes with her again.

Another friend, who is in the process of building her dream home near beautiful Rideau Ferry, Carol-Ann McDougall stopped by. Carol-Ann surprised me with a lovely bouquet of red carnations with congratulations on the new book. Many thanks for this thoughtful gesture Carol-Ann and for taking the time to stop by.

Thanks also to Sean and Meaghan Christie for joining us on this special day and helping to make the launch a success.

The day breezed by quickly with so many visitors to The Book Nook and we are grateful for a successful launch of the new book and look forward to visiting Perth again in the near future.

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Book Launch – Lanark County Calendar

LC Cal Book Launch Ad

Join us on Saturday, November 2nd from 1 – 3 p.m. at The Book Nook – 60 Gore St. E. in Perth, Ontario for the launch of ‘Lanark County Calendar – Four Seasons on the Third Line’.

There is a waiting list, so to reserve your copy for the launch, please call 613-267-2350.

Just in time for Christmas – a signed copy makes a great gift.

For out of town – Order online at http://www.staffordwilson.com

In her fourth book, author Arlene Stafford-Wilson invites us to spend the year with her and watch the seasons change on the family farm in Bathurst Township in the 1960s and 70s. Join her in the magical weeks leading up to Christmas in the country. Spend the days of early spring with her as she collects the sap for maple syrup season. Share the lazy days of childhood and the long walks down country lanes picking wildflowers on hot summer days. Come along as she goes to the Perth Fair and be there as the Lanark County maple trees show off their spectacular fall colours. Experience the change of seasons in Eastern Ontario from winter, spring, summer and fall in this Lanark County Calendar.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson, author of ‘Lanark County Chronicle’, ‘Lanark County Kid’, and ‘Recipes and Recollections’ grew up in Lanark County, on the Third Line of Bathurst Township. She began writing stories and poetry while attending one room schools at Christie Lake and the Scotch Line. By the age of eight several of her poems had been published in children’s magazines and by age 11 she entered and won a writing competition in a national publication. Former Newsletter Editor for the Lanark County Genealogical Society, she has authored articles for both Canadian and Irish Genealogical publications.
Her first three books continue their popularity and sell out time and again in local book stores.

January Feast at Mother’s Birdfeeder

Blue Jay

There was nothing fancy about the rickety old wooden bird feeder in the orchard behind the house. Our father was not going to win any awards for his design, that’s for sure. The bird feeder was constructed of five short pieces of wood, cut from an old weathered plank, and consisted of a floor, a roof, and three side walls. The pieces were nailed together, and mounted on a two by four, hammered into the ground, about twenty feet from the back kitchen window.

It was Mother who requested that the feeder be built one winter. It had been a brutally cold January, and snowy too. The winds from the north seemed particularly harsh that year, and it had been weeks since I’d ventured up the Third Line to visit my friends at DeWitt’s Corners. I’d been outside a few times helping with the shoveling, and even slid down our neighbour Chris Perkins’ hill on my toboggan a couple of times, but it was just too cold to stay outside for very long.

Because of the heavy snow and frigid temperatures, Mother had been very concerned that the birds wouldn’t be able to find food and would perish. Once Dad had finished putting up the bird feeder, Mother went to straight to work preparing something she thought would be hearty and filling for her feathered friends.

She brought out the heavy, well-worn, cast iron frying pan from under the sink, went straight to the old refrigerator, and picked up her bowl of bacon drippings. Every time Mother cooked bacon she poured the leftover drippings into a melamine bowl, and stored it in the fridge. She used the drippings to add flavour whenever she fried eggs, and for frying onions to have as a side dish with supper.

bacon-drippings

While the bacon drippings were heating up in the pan, Mother brought out a heavy plastic bag where she stored old crusts of bread, and she began to break them into crumbs. She rubbed them against the palm of her hand over a mixing bowl, until they were in fine pieces, like the crumbs for Christmas stuffing. Next, she brought the bowl of crumbs over to the frying pan and poured them in, a bit at a time, and stirred them with a wooden spoon, until they were coated in bacon drippings.

cast-iron-pan

She scraped the crumbs back into the mixing bowl, and set it on the kitchen table to cool, while she put on her boots and coat. She grabbed the bowl and headed out the door into the back porch, and out to the new feeder in the orchard. Dad might not have built a fancy-looking feeder, but he had placed it at just the right height so that Mother could easily lay her bacon-coated crumbs inside.

Mother came back in the kitchen, took off her coat and boots, and we waited patiently by the window. I pushed back the curtain, and pulled up a couple of kitchen chairs so we could watch. By this time Dad had put away his tools, had come in from the garage, and was making himself a cup of coffee. He warned me not to make any sudden movements in front of the window, or I would scare the birds away, so I sat there quietly and we waited.

Less than fifteen minutes passed when we saw our first ‘customer’. We were all excited, and even Dad, who hadn’t seemed particularly interested at first, was over by the window to watch the show. The first bird at the feeder was a blue jay. He had a little blue ‘hat’ and wings, and a big round white belly. There was a blue and white pattern on his back and he had a lovely, long tail with many different shades of blue all the way to the tip. His eyes and his beak were shiny and black, and he pecked away eagerly at the crumbs in the feeder for several minutes.

blue-jay-1 blue-jay-2

He continued to peck at the crumbs, looked around nervously, pecked again and then looked straight at us with his big black eyes as if to say ‘thank-you’, then he flew away through the orchard and over the back field, heading toward the train tracks.

blue-jay-3

 

The bird feeder was a success! Dad was smiling, knowing that his efforts had been worthwhile. Mother was pleased that her very first ‘customer’ had enjoyed his meal, and hopefully would bring his friends back to dine as well, and keep in good health during the cold spell.

snowstorm bluejays

Mother’s birdfeeder would remain in the old orchard for many decades. The construction was basic, the feed was always the same – bacon grease and breadcrumbs, and over the years thousands of birds would dine at the feeder while we watched from the kitchen window. Blue Jays were always her favourites, although I saw a few handsome red Cardinals and many Black-Capped Chickadees over the years as well.

chickadee   winter-bird-cardinal

On these harsh, frigid, January days, when the winds are relentless, and the snow piles up around us, I think of our small feathered friends back on the Third Line. I wonder if the old feeder is still standing in the orchard, and if anyone thinks to put out a few crumbs and some drippings for our beautiful, hungry, winter birds. In the stark, white landscape they provided a welcome splash of colour, and their songs gave us hope through the long, silent winter.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

……………

 

 

 

 

“January Feast at Mother’s Bird Feeder”

is an excerpt from  “Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”

l-c-calendar