Lanark Museum – Our Visit to the Past

Lanark sign

Just a short drive from the pretty town of Perth, along the Lanark Road, lush, green, farmers fields welcome us into the Township of Lanark Highlands.  We follow the blue skies, and warm, summer winds, into the village of Lanark, and pull up near our destination –  the Lanark and District Museum.

Ann and Arlene in front of museum

Greeted warmly by Anne Graham, we make our way up the well-worn steps, into a very special place, where the caretakers and guardians of our history, preserve our memories, our stories, and our heritage.

 

Events board Lanark Museum

 

If you walk along George Street in Lanark, you will see a sign out front, greeting visitors,  listing upcoming events, and welcoming all, with no charge for admission, and donations accepted.  Anyone seeking knowledge, or in search of their history, is assured that they’ve come to the right place.

Not far from the front entrance, a plaque displays the names of those who went above and beyond, volunteering their time and expertise, throughout the decades, to keep the museum running smoothly.

 

volunteers Lanark Museum

 

A photo on the wall reminds us of those who played key roles in the earliest days of the museum.  Their foresight and dedication to preserving our local history leaves a lasting legacy, that will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

 

Key players Lanark Museum

 

Many of us have ancestors from the area who served in the military, and the Lanark Museum has many displays highlighting our local heroes.  Perhaps your ancestor is one of these soldiers who has been featured in the museum’s display cases.

War memorials Lanark Museum

 

The museum also features a number of Rolls of Honour, listing the names of soldiers from the area who fought bravely for our country.

 

Roll of Honour case

 

There are a tremendous number of local photographs.   It’s great fun to see the old cars, some of the buildings no longer with us, and even recognize some of the smiling faces in these photos.

 

Local photos

 

The museum is fortunate to have the help of two students for the summer.  Meagan was kind enough to document our visit using her photography skills.

 

Meghan Lanark County

 

There is a wonderful display of original telegrams, some sent, and some received, by the Lavant Station, many years ago.  These are real treasures, and give us some insight into the past and how different life was in those days!  There are lots of familiar surnames on these telegrams, and some even provide a window into our family histories!

 

Telegrams

 

Along with the countless documents displayed there are also some lovely artifacts.  The old wash bowl reminds us of the times before indoor plumbing was standard in our homes.  We can imagine how different our ancestor’s lives might have been, and how carrying water from an outside well into the home was a daily event for these pioneers.

 

wash bowl

 

If your ancestors lived in McDonald’s Corners there is a wonderful remembrance displayed, honoring those who served their country, so well, and so faithfully.

 

McDonald's Corners war memorial

 

There are also a number of displays listing those soldiers who attended specific area schools and the names of those who served.

 

SS8 War memorial

 

Another of the many area schools and their lists of those in service.

 

SS 12

 

The Lanark Museum has many, many of these displays, and this is only a small sampling of what is available to view.

 

SS13 Drummond

 

Being a history buff, it wasn’t easy to tear myself away from all of the exhibits in the museum, and get down to business, and read a couple of stories from my books.  I chose two stories from “Lanark County Kid – My Travels Up and Down the Third Line”.  I read one about a childhood visit to Lanark, and shopping for back-to-school clothing at the Kitten Mill.

My second story was “Balderson Cheese – Craving the Curd”.  Our family often went on Sunday drives, and a visit to Balderson for a bag of soft squeaky curd, was something not to be missed!  In the story, we go behind the counter, and watch the Master Cheesemaker, Omar Matte, and the others, while they stir the vats of heated milk, and then press the curds into big wooden circular presses.  Considering that the factory is no longer there, it is a precious memory to have witnessed this process.

 

book table Lanark Museum

 

There are some really wonderful displays highlighting the Kitten Mill, and those who worked there over the years.

 

Kitten Mill 1

 

The Museum has done a wonderful job of preserving the artifacts and documents from the days of the Glenayr Kitten mills, and reminding us of the impact to employment and the economic influence to the village.

Kitten Mill 2

I think that many of us remember visiting the factory outlets, and all of the wonderful knitted clothing produced locally.

 

Kitten 3

 

One of the special highlights for me was a visit with the Shamrock Quilt.  While we can’t be sure of the date of its origin, I recall seeing it displayed at the museum many, many years ago, and was delighted to see it once again.  This quilt is embroidered with the names of local families.  If your family lived in the area it would be worth the trip to see this marvelous quilt, and discover your ancestor’s name embroidered in green.

 

Shamrock quilt 1

 

The Shamrock Quilt holds a special connection for Doris Quinn and myself.   My Dad’s Aunt, Julia Stafford, married William Quinn, and both the Quinn and Stafford families are among the many, many, names on this precious artifact.  It was a wonderful moment to be able to stand beside Doris, and see those names from the past, those who are no longer with us, but remain forever in our hearts.

 

Shamrock 2

Photo below:   Julia Stafford and Bill Quinn, on their wedding day, Sept. 14, 1909.

Julia Stafford Bill Quinn

 

The following, are just a few squares, a small sample from the quilt, to show how the names have been stitched and displayed.

 

Shamrock 3

There are many other squares that were not photographed.  Anyone with ancestors from this area may want to visit the quilt themselves for a more in depth look.

 

Shamrock 4

 

Another square of the quilt, but the quilt is enormous, and would be best viewed in person.

 

Shamrock 5

 

A final square from this historic piece.  Hopefully the museum will photograph and digitize the entire quilt.  That might be an interesting and very worthwhile project for the summer students!

 

Shamrock 6

 

The late afternoon held a wonderful surprise – a visit from an old friend Susan Newberry Sarsfield.  It was a real delight to visit with Susan, her Mom, and her daughter!

Susan at the Museum

 

Like all good things, our visit to the Lanark Museum came to an end, and our host Anne Graham, kindly walked us out and into the sunny July afternoon.

It was a day filled with history, and the importance of preserving our past.  There are few tasks more essential than being the caretakers of our heritage.  The Lanark Museum is the proud custodian of our region’s artifacts, memories, stories, and treasures.

 

street in front of museum

Many thanks to the kind folks at the Lanark and District Museum for hosting us, and sharing their collection of priceless treasures.  Thanks also to the visitors who stopped by to share some stories and recollections.   Anne, Norma, Gene, Doris – it was so nice to spend time with you – thanks for helping to make our day special.

 

As we said goodbye, and headed down the highway,  we are struck by the pristine beauty of the Lanark Highlands, the clear waters, the fresh air, and the greenery as far as the eye can see, on this beautiful summer day.

 

Until we meet again…..

 

 

Country road summer

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com
Stories for the Lanark Museum readings from:
“Lanark County Kid:  My Travels Up and Down the Third Line”
‘Lanark Sweaters – Soft as a Kitten’
‘Balderson Cheese – Craving the Curd’
ISBN 978-0-9877026-16

Merchants of Perth 1960s and 1970s at Christmastime

We wrote letters to Santa, placing them carefully in our mailbox on the Third Line, we circled gifts in the Sears Wishbook, practised our parts for the Nativity play, and if we were lucky we would visit Perth with Mother, and see the beautifully decorated stores along Gore Street and Foster Street, at Christmastime!

Merchants of Perth at Christmastime

m1-christmas-store-hours-1961

m7-town-hall

a-b-motors-dec-1970

m-achesons-mens-and-boys-wear-1963

m7-footbridge-stewart-park

aeroquip-dec-1975

m7-revere-hotel

albert-gale-dec-1965

m7-library

alices-beauty-salon-dec-1978

m7-mcmartin-house

allens-bakery-dec-22-1960

gore-st-1960s

 

m1-anna-mosl-1967

 

andys-window-cleaning-dec-1975

m5-nativity-play

antiques-dec-1976

m7-st-andrews-pres_

balderson-cheese-1978

 

m1-bank-of-montreal

m5-candlelight-service

m1-barries-meats

 

barker-barrister-dec-1966

m4-santa-coming-to-town

barr-motor-sales-dec-1965

 

beamish-1974

 

m7-st-james

ben-barbarys-dec-1970

 

benny-ks-dec-22-1960

 

bert-fournier-dec-1970

 

blair-and-sons-dec-1958

 

boles-grocery-dec-1975

 

boyd-real-estate

 

m-jp-brankin-fuels-1964

 

m1-the-bright-spot

brown-shoe-co-dec-1970

burchell-supply-dec-1958

 

burns-jewellers-dec-1978

cameo-beauty-shoppe-dec-1970

cameron-shoe-repair

canadian-tire-good-ad-dec-22-1960

m4-santa-parade-2

caribou-house-dec-1970

carolynnes-dec-22-1960

carson-farm-supply-dec-1970

m4-santa-parade-3

carson-realty-dec-1975

cavanaghs-1966

cavers-jewellers-mills-china-shop-dec-1975

m4-santa-parade-4

chaplin-and-code-hardware-dec-1958

 

chaplins-dairy-1969

chaplins-delivery-notice-1968

 

circus-surplus-dec-22-1960

m1-cleanrite-cleaners

 

conways-dec-1958

co-op-1974

coopers-furniture-dec-1970

couchs-taxi-dec-1970

county-motors-1974

 

craig-motor-sales-dec-1966

crain-insurance-1974

d-k-fabrics-dec-1970

darou-and-mcintosh-dec-1958

dicola-1957

dixie-lee-fried-chicken-dec-1970

 

dodds-and-erwin-dec-22-1960

m1-drummond-telephone

duncan-accountant-dec-1966

dunlop-coin-wash-1974

 

e-b

e-l

east-end-grocery-dec-23-1965

 

echlin-motors-dec-1965

farrells-store-stanleyville-dec-23-1965

franklin-fence-dec-22-1966

franks-barber-shop-1966

friendly-tv-dec-1970

fuller-store-rideau-ferry

general-insulating-dec-1958

girdwoods-dec-1970

 

golden-triangle-upholstery-dec-1970

greig-accountant-dec-1966

gwm-gift-shop-1974

h-m-centre-dec-1970

 

For delicious home-made candy-canes, stop by Haggis’ Candy store!

Haggis Candy cane

haliday-take-out-dec-1976

m-tm-hanson-plumbing

healey-transportation-dec-1970

hendersons-red-and-white-dec-1970

hodgson-and-sons-dec-1978

hoffman-and-son-dec-1958

m1-huddleston

 

hy-fund-studio-dec-1970

i-d-a-pharmacy

iga-dec-22-1960

iga-foodliner

international-silver-dec-23-1965

j-j-plumbing-1974

 

jack-and-jill-childrens-wear-dec-23-1965

jack-snow-1958

jamesbrothers1963-644x435

james-brothers-1958

ken-hannah-minnows-dec-23-1965

ken-hughes-motors-dec-1958

kerr-and-duncan-dec-22-1960

kitten-mill-dec-1978

leach-tire-dec-1970

levines-dec-22-1960

lightfords-dec-22-1960

m2-family-wrapping-gifts

macphail-tractor-sales-dec-1975

maximilians-dec-1978

mayor-and-town-council-dec-1975

mclean-noonan

mcnamee-plumbing-and-heating-1974

mctavish-motors-dec-1965

mcveety-electric-dec

 

mill-fab-dec-1976minute-man-dec-1975

 

montgomery-chiroptactor-dec-1966

moss-motors-dec-1965

nellys-shoe-store-dec-22-1960

nisbet-fina-1966

nixon-planing-mill-dec-1970

noonans-dec-18-1958-p-11

noonans-meat-market-dec-23-1965

 

northway-snowmobiles-dec-24-1970

oakes-bakery-1976

 

oroks-hardware-1978

pant-barn-dec-1975

 

perkins-bowling-alley

m1-laundromat

m1-pattenicks

PERTH BLUE WINGS 

m4-blue-wings-2

m4-blue-wings-1

m4-blue-wings-3

m4-blue-wings-4

 

perkins-motors-1958

perth-television-service-1974

m2-rudolph

perth-apothecary-dec-1975

 

perth-banks-dec-1970

m2-santa-and-the-kids

perth-co-op-1958

 

perth-fire-dept-1974

 

perth-flower-shop-1958

 

perth-hotel

perth-hotel-dec

m4-bordons-egg-nog

perth-motors-1970

 

perth-pinto-1974

 

perth-planing-mill-dec-1970

perth-tea-room-dec-1958

r-t
m-robiinsons-beverages-1963

 

reeds-smoke-shop-dec-1970

 

reliable-cab-dec-1975

m4-cow

revere-hotel-dec-1975

m4-christmas-stocking-little-boy

reward-shoe-store-dec-22-1960

rollys-restaurant-dec-1970

m4-santa-parade-5

rubinos-dec-1958

m4-santa-parade-6

russ-ellis-dec-1958

m-ryders-restaurant-1963

sawdons-appliances

scotts-chicken-villa-dec-1976

shaws-dec-25-1958

shaws1-644x336

siddalls-dec-22-1960

m4-santa-parade-7

small-brothers-1958

somerville-farm-supplies-dec-24-1970

m1-smiths-radio

soper-theatre-dec-1975

stan-cleroux-dec-1976

stan-tufts

stedmans-dec-1970

m4-santa-parade-8

m1-stanzel

street-travel-1974

sullivan-sanitation-dec-1976

tay-towne-cleaners-dec-1975

tay-valley-sports-dec-1975

tayside-bakery

 

teak-hair-dec-1976

the-mill-store-dec-1975

the-valley-book-shop-dec-1976

thomas-optometrist-dec-1966

thornburys-drug-dec-1970

tims-texaco-dec-1970

town-and-country-restaurant

van-pelt-carpenter-1974

 

vanderspanks-dec-1970

perth-birds-eye-view
m1-wayfare-restaurant-1967

letters-to-santa-1978

letters-to-santa-1978-2

m4-winter-farm

m4-new-years-rideau-ferry-inn

m7-santa-and-reindeer-flying

 

 

Hope you enjoyed our visit to Perth in the 1960s and 1970s!

This post is dedicated to the merchants of Perth, large and small.  Many work long hours to provide goods and services for the people in the area. Many sponsor local sports teams and community events.  As we fondly recall the merchants of days gone by, let’s remember to shop locally this Christmas season, and support the local artisans, craftspeople, and neighbourhood businesses in our community!

Merry Christmas!

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

vintage photos of historical Perth buildings – Perth Museum
Merchant ads from “The Perth Courier”

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Christmas Ads for these merchants included:

A & B Motors,  Acheson’s,  Aeroquip, Albert Gale,  Alice’s Beauty Salon,  Allen’s Bakery,  Anna Mosl,  Andy’s Window Cleaning,  Antiques Vandenbosch,  Balderson Cheese,  Bank of Montreal,  Barrie’s Meats,  Ralph G. Barker,  Barr Motor Sales,  Beamish,  Ben Barbary’s,  Benny K’s.,  Bert Fournier,  Blair & Sons,  Boles Grocery,  Boyd Real Estate,  Brankin Fuels,  Bright Spot,  Brown Shoe Company,  Burchell Supply,  Burns Jewellers,  Cameo Beauty Shoppe,  Cameron Shoe,  Canadian Tire,  Caribou House,  Carolynne’s  Beauty Salon,  Carson Farm Supply,  Carson Realty, Cavanagh’s,  Cavers Jewellery, Chaplin & Code Hardware,  Chaplin’s Dairy,  Circus Surplus Store,  Cleanrite Cleaners,  Conway’s Menswear,  Co-op,  Cooper’s Furniture,  Couch’s Taxi, County Motors,  Craig Motor Sales, Glenn Crain Ltd.,  D. & K. Fabric,  Darou and McIntosh,  Dicola Fuels,  Dixie Lee Chicken,  Dodds & Erwin,  Drummond Centre Telephone Co.,  J.D. Duncan,  E-Z Clean Coin Wash,  E.B. Code and Son Insurance,  E.L. Darou Insurance,  East End Grocery,  Echlin Motor Sales, Farrell’s Store,  Franklin Fence & Furniture,  Frank’s Barber Shop,  Friendly T.V. – Klaas Van Bergen,   Hazel & Eric Fuller Store,  General Insulating,  Girdwood’s,  Golden Triangle Upholstery,  Todd Greig Accountant,  G.W.M. Gift Shop,  H & M Centre,  Holiday Take-Out,  T.M. Hansen Plumbing,  Healey Transportation,  Henderson’s Red and White,  Hodgson & Son,  Hoffman & Son,  L. Huddleston,   HY Fund Studio,  I.D.A.,  I.G.A.,  International Silver,  J.& J. Plumbing,  Jack & Jill, Jack Snow,  James Brothers Hardware, Ken Hannah Minnows,  Ken Hughes, Kerr & Duncan,  Kitten Mill,  Leach Tire Center,  Levine’s,  Lightford’s,  MacPhail Tractor Sales,  Maximilian Restaurant,  McLean Noonan,  McNamee Plumbing,  McTavish Motor Sales,  McVeety Electric,  Mill Fab,  Minute Man,  Montgomery Chiropractor,  Moss Motors,  Nelly’s Shoe Store,  D.M. Nisbet Fina,  Nixon Planing Mill,  Noonan’s,  Central Tire Supply – VanDusen’s,  Oakes’ Bakery,  Orok’s Hardware,  Pant Barn,  Perkins Bowling Alley,  Anne Patterson Laundromat,  Pattenick’s,  Perth Blue Wings,  Perkins Motors,  Perth Television,  Perth Apothecary,  Perth Banks,  Perth District Co-op,  Perth Fire Department,  Perth Flower Shop, Perth Hotel,  Perth  Motors,  Perth Pinto,  Perth Planing Mill,  Perth Tea Room,  R.T. Parks & Sons,  Robinson’s Beverages, Reed’s Smoke Shop,  Reliable Cab,  Revere Hotel,  Reward Shoe Stores,  Rolly’s Restaurant,  Rubino’s,  Russ Ellis,  Ryder’s Restaurant,  Sawdon’s Appliance,  Scott’s Chicken Villa,  Shaw’s of Perth,  Siddall’s,  Small Brothers,  Somerville Farm Supplies,  Smith’s Radio,  Soper Theatre,  Stan Cleroux Real Estate,  Stan Tufts Delivery Service,  Stedman’s,  Stanzel Plumbing  Street Travel,  Sullivan Sanitation,  Tay-Towne Cleaners,  Tay Valley Sports,  Tayside Bakery,  Teak Hair Fashions,  The Mill Store,  The Valley Book Shop,  J.A. Thomas Optometrist,  Thornbury’s Pharmacy,  Tim’s Texaco,  Town and Country Restaurant,  Van Pelt Cabinet Maker,  Vanderspank’s General Store,  Wayfare Restaurant, Rideau Ferry Inn.

 

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http://www.staffordwilson.com

Book Fair at the Crystal Palace

Autumn’s brightest maple trees were the colourful backdrop for the 3rd annual Book Fair at the Crystal Palace in Perth, Ontario. Nestled along the historic Tay Basin, the Farmer’s Market hosted a number of local authors, along with their usual offerings of produce, craftspeople, artisans and home-baked goods.

Perth Crystal Palace

perth-farmers-market-logo

The yearly event is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and residents alike to meet with authors, share in discussions, ask questions, and discover the literary offerings produced in their community.

arlene-at-the-table0001

Anne Raina, author of ‘Clara’s Rib’, and Kay Rogers, Editor of ‘At Home in Tay Valley’ share a few words at the opening of the event.

anne-raina-and-kay-rogers0001

Author Gene Bassett was back this year with his books ‘Tall Tales’ and ‘Stolen Moments’. In Gene’s words, “Hopefully, these vignettes will give the reader time to pause, and give reflection to the humour and serendipity that keeps us in tune with life in all its ups and downs.”

gene-bassett0001

Larry Cotton, author of ‘Whiskey and Wickedness’ brought the full complement of books in his series.

larry-cotton0001

 

Kay Rogers was on hand at the event to promote “At Home in Tay Valley”, a collection of stories and memories from the people of Tay Valley.  Proceeds from the sale of At Home in Tay Valley will support an annual scholarship for a student graduating from Perth & District Collegiate Institute, or from St. John Catholic High School who has demonstrated a keen interest in history.

kay-at-home-in-tay-valley0001

 

Joel Leblanc and Thomas Uhryniw were busy, promoting the popular souvenir book marking 25 years of the Stewart Park Festival.

stewart-park-festival0001

A number of local readers as well as some out of town visitors stopped by to say hello.

chatting-with-a-visitor0001

What a treat to see a former classmate and neighbour from the Third Line – Dawn-Marie Brady, and share a few memories!

dawn-marie-brady0001

Signing a copy of my new book “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time” for Scott Reid, member of Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.  Scott kindly shared some fascinating stories and history of the historic Haggart residence in Perth. It was a pleasure to meet with such an avid reader and history buff!

scott-reid0001

Once again, many thanks to those who stopped by to say ‘hello’ on this busy Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks as always to our host the Perth Farmer’s Market for sponsoring this event, for promoting local authors, and most importantly for supporting literacy in the community.

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For more information about the Perth Farmer’s Market:    Perth Farmer’s Market

http://www.staffordwilson.com

35th Anniversary – Lanark County Genealogical Society

lanark-county-genealogical-society35-years

Maple leaves displaying a kaleidoscope of colour, and crisp fall air set the scene for the 35th Anniversary celebration of the Lanark County Genealogical Society.  As we drove along Highway # 7, the bright signs along the way reminded us that we’re entering the ‘Maple Syrup Capital’ of Canada, although the spectacular scenery leaves no doubt in our minds.

 

lanark-county-sign

The much-anticipated event was held in the Beckwith Township Hall, near Carleton Place, –  the perfect setting to mark this milestone for the genealogy society.

lcgs-35th-beckwith-twp-hall-20160001

lcgs-35th-anniversary-cake-20160001

A beautifully decorated cake served as the centerpiece for the buffet table, generously laden with all sorts of delicious choices for the celebratory luncheon.

After lunch, LCGS President Jayne Munro-Ouimet opened the program, welcoming one and all to the celebration.

Honoured to be the invited guest speaker, my presentation focused on ‘Genograms’, and how they can be used in addition to vital statistics, to illustrate patterns and traits in a family tree.

lcgs-35th-guest-speaker-20160001

 

LCGS member Mary Kerfoot spoke briefly on the Kerfoot family, and their proud history in Lanark County.

lcgs-35th-mary-kerfoot-20160001

 

The Historical Artifact Committee of the LCGS presented a Kerfoot Family Bible, featuring entries going back to the earliest times in the township.  The members of the committee recounted the story of how the family bible was rescued from a Salvation Army thrift shop in Victoria, British Columbia, and transported safely back to Lanark County.

lcgs-artifact-committee-20160001

L to R:  Jennifer Irwin, Rosemary Campbell, Beckwith Township Councillor Tim Campbell,  LCGS President Jayne Munro-Ouimet, Mary Kerfoot, and Brian Dowdall.

(Mary Kerfoot is a direct descendant of pioneer George Kerfoot)

lcgs-kerfoot-family-bible-20160001

Several presentations were made to distinguished members for their years of service and their dedication to the Lanark County Genealogical Society.  Below, Frances Rathwell and George Stewart receive their well-deserved recognition from the Society from Jayne Munro-Ouimet, LCGS President.

lcgs-jayne-frances-george-20160001

At the conclusion of the formal presentations, a book-signing and ‘meet and greet’ was held at the book table.

lcgs-book-table-20160001

 

A special highlight of the day was a gift from the LCGS of the heavenly liquid gold produced in the Lanark County maple trees each spring.  This particular bottle was produced at  Wheelers Maple Syrup near McDonald’s Corners.

lcgs-sign-arlene-20160001

It was a day to remember in Beckwith Township!  A proud and important milestone for the Lanark County Genealogical Society, marking 35 years of continual service in helping people far and wide connect with their family roots.

“On March 27, 1981, twenty-four genealogy enthusiasts met near Smiths Falls Ont., to discuss the formation of a local genealogy society. This group grew in scope and number to become the Lanark County Genealogical Society in 1982. In 35 years the organization has grown to include members from all over the world . The mandate of the Lanark County Genealogical Society is to assist members in researching family histories, and in the gathering, recording and preserving of genealogical information pertaining to Lanark County.”

Congratulations on 35 great years!

……..

To find out more about the Lanark County Genealogical Society LCGS

To discover the family history collections, land records, wills, and research aids held at the Lanark County Archives Archives Lanark

For information on Wheeler’s Maple Syrup Wheelers

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Lanark County Classics – Book Launch

A sunny, warm, late September day brought record crowds to the official book launch for “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”.

The Book Nook, a popular store on the main street of historic Perth, Ontario, was the setting for a steady stream of book lovers eager to read the latest collection of stories set in Lanark County, the picturesque maple syrup capital of Ontario.

The newly released stories in this series are set in Perth, Lanark, DeWitt’s Corners, Pakenham, Clyde’s Forks, Middleville, and the former North Burgess Township, taking the reader along on a journey back to the 1960s and 1970s in rural Eastern Ontario.

An early visitor to the store on Saturday, was Tara Gesner, from Metroland Media, a reporter covering the book launch for the local newspaper.

tara-gesner-metroland-media-sept-24-20160001

There were many new faces stopping by, after reading the glowing reviews appearing in several publications   Review of Lanark County Classics

book-launch-2016-1

 

A reader from Port Elmsley stopped by, interested in local history, and had certainly come to the right book launch for stories set around the region.

port-elmsley-resident-sept-24-20160001

 

Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, former classmate of the author has purchased the entire collection for her mother, who has been a fan of the series since the beginning.

dianne-sept-24-20160001

 

Nancy Townend, Pakenham resident, came to the launch after hearing that one of the stories ‘Perils in Pakenham’, was set in her lovely,scenic, village.

nancy-townend-sept-24-20160001

 

Carol-Ann McDougall,  resident of the Big Rideau Lake, featured in the story “Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story” Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story  brought a lovely, bright yellow chrysanthemum to grace the table of the book launch.  Carol-Ann has read all of the books in the Lanark County series, and has been looking forward to reading the newest collection of stories.

carol-ann-book-launch-2016

 

Carla Brown stopped by, as she often does, to purchase the latest Lanark County book for her grandmother Shirley Myers.

carla-brown-sept-24-20160001

 

Avid reader of local history, Tom Ayres was eager to get the latest book in the series.  Tom has read all five in the collection, and is the reader who requested the story on Antler Lodge, featured in the last book – Lanark County Connections. Antler Lodge

tom-ayres-book-launch-2016

 

One of the stories in the new book, Lanark County Classics is ‘Meet Me in DeWitt’s Corners. The story takes the reader back to the earliest days of the hamlet, recounts the history of this proud settlement, and the DeWitt family, whose name still graces the community today.   It was a special treat to have members of this founding family attend the book launch.

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Jane DeWitt Brady O’Grady – descendant of pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt, founding family of DeWitt’s Corners.

Jane DeWitt Brady O'Grady 2 Sept 24 20160001.JPG

 

Also, a direct descendant of Zephaniah DeWitt, and native of DeWitt’s Corners – William ‘Bill’ Cavanagh,  son of Helen DeWitt and James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh, and his wife Brenda.

bill-brenda-cavanagh-1-sept-24-20160001

 

Another native of DeWitt’s Corners, and descendant of pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt, sister of Bill, JoAnne Cavanagh Butler, daughter of Helen DeWitt and James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh:

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It was a real treat to share some memories of DeWitt’s Corners with Jane, JoAnne and Bill!

Along with the DeWitt descendants, long-time residents of DeWitt’s Corners, Elaine and Dave Morrow stopped by the book launch.  Both Dave and Elaine contributed their memories and stories of DeWitt’s Corners for the book.  Owner of The Book Nook, Leslie Wallack, is standing to the right of Elaine. Leslie and her staff were busy the entire day assisting visitors to this popular store.

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Beverly Miller Ferlatte also stopped by the book launch.  Beverly shared her memories of S.S. # 4 , Bathurst, School for the story based in DeWitt’s Corners.  Beverly’s grandmother Mary Jordan was a well-loved and respected teacher at the school for many years.  The school house has been converted into a residence and Beverly’s brother Brian is the current owner of this historic building.

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Janice Jordan Gordon was another contributer to the DeWitt’s Corners story in the book. Janice was very helpful in identifying the children in several class photos from S.S. # 4 Bathurst School.

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A book launch would not be complete without a visit from former neighbours from the Third Line of Bathurst, Margery Conboy and her daughter Diana. Margery and her husband Wayne Conboy also shared their memories of DeWitt’s Corners, and the historic cheese factory that remained at ‘The Corners’ until 1979.

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Another former neighbour, Dave Mitchell,stopped by the book launch.  Dave was also interested in reading the story on DeWitt’s Corners, and finding out more about the history of the area where he was raised.

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The Book Launch at The Book Nook was a great success!  Many thanks to host Leslie Wallack and her staff, for keeping up with the steady crowds, and for providing the delicious refreshments.

A special thanks to all who came, from near and far, to stop by and chat, to share some memories, and to be a part of the busy day!

………………………………………………

Stories in “Lanark County Classics”:

  1. Baffling Banshees in Burgess
  2. Meet Me in DeWitt’s Corners
  3. Mystery in Clyde Forks
  4. Multitudes in Middleville
  5. A Grand Era in Lanark
  6. Perils in Pakenham
  7. Perplexed in Perth

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

Autumn Passages

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

Humbert Wolfe

Harry Stafford cover

 

October began with a kaleidoscope of colour, stretching from ground to sky, as far as you could see, and it ended with grey horizons, bare trees, and cold winds; sometimes even snow.

Although some of our trees turned just one shade of orange or yellow, many of them were ablaze with every hue from the palest yellow, the brightest orange, three or four different shades of green, to the bright, clear reds, all competing for attention, as they fluttered in the cool winds of autumn. The colours were so beautiful, that often we would try to preserve them, by waxing the leaves, and placing them between the pages of a book.

red leaves  maple multi leaves

Walking through our yard, I’d pick out the biggest and brightest leaves I could find. I’d seek out the perfect ones that hadn’t been torn by the winds, or chewed by insects. I’d try to get a nice variety of bright green, lemony yellow, and of course the stars of the show were the brilliant oranges, and rich, shiny reds.

girl collecting leaves

I’d bring them into the house, and Mother would bring her tube of waxed paper, the iron, and the ancient, battered, ironing board. That old thing had seen better days!

ironing leaves

We’d place each leaf between folded sheets of waxed paper, cover them with a tea towel, and press down with the hot iron.

ironing board

 

When we’d finished, I’d take my treasures, and store them carefully between the pages of a thick book, and place them on a shelf, in the bookcase in our living room.

leaves in a book

 

Pressing the brightest leaves and saving them in a book was my way of trying to hold onto the season and make it last. It was the most colourful time of the year, and I wanted it to stay with us as long as possible.

Of course like most things in life, it didn’t last, and bit by bit, the north winds came, the nights grew colder, and one by one the leaves blew off the trees, and the cruel frost stole their colours away.

bare trees

Overnight, it seemed that our yard changed from a bright, happy carnival of colour, into a stark, eerie, cold and barren place, gloomy and silent, waiting for the onset of winter.

It was during those final weeks of October that I’m sure we could have rented out our yard to a production company to film a spooky horror movie. The tall, imposing maple trees stood bare and dark, against the evening skies. Most of the birds had gone south for the winter, and so the yard was quiet……too quiet.

spooky trees

The sun slipped down behind Mitchell’s barn earlier each night, and sometimes I’d be nervous walking up the lane-way, or back the side road.

bare trees sunset

I rode my bike a little quicker, back from Cavanagh’s store; not just because the air was cooler, but because it was deathly quiet, and the leafless trees cast long, ominous shadows across the Third Line, as I made my way back home.

Cavanagh's at night

Why did the places and things that seemed so natural and so comfortable a few short weeks ago, suddenly seem dark and ominous?

I think it all boiled down to three things: heat, light and colour.  Over the course of the eight weeks beginning in early September, to the last few days of October, we lost all three.

It happened gradually of course; not all at once. The heat left first, and although the first part of September was almost like summer, it was as though someone was turning down a giant thermostat, a couple of degrees each day. The light left slowly as well, a minute at a time, over the days and weeks, then came the end of daylight savings time, and the light was reduced to a brief eight hours or so each day. The colour was the last to go, and hung on bravely until the frost came, and the leaves turned a murky shade of lifeless orange, and were so brittle that they could be crushed like egg shells.

dried leaves

The transition from summer to fall that we witnessed each year might have seemed daunting, even depressing, to someone new to the area. Being Lanark County kids, we just took it in our stride, knowing that this, like our other three seasons, was only temporary. Dealing with the changing seasons, whether the change seemed like a positive, or negative thing, was a good lesson to carry with us in life. We learned to make the best of whatever was thrown at us.

jumping in the leaves    hiding in the leaves

So every fall, as the winds grew cooler, and the dusk came earlier, our thoughts would turn to Hallowe’en. Our stark, colourless yards looked spooky anyway, so we made the best of it! We didn’t fret because summer was gone; we made the most of the new season, by making plans for the scariest night of the year!

It was time to scrounge around in the attic, put together our best costumes, and get our candy sacks ready for that annual trek, up and down the Third Line!

…………………..

 

 

(excerpt from:  “Lanark County Calendar – Four Seasons on the Third Line” )
ISBN 978-0-9877026-3-0

LC Calendar

…………………….

http://www.staffordwilson.com

International Writer’s Festival Comes to Perth!

Writer's Festival Aug 2014

Perth Crystal Palace

Join us Saturday, August 23rd from 9 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Crystal Palace in Perth, Ontario.

In its first year ever, the Perth Chapter of the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival will be showcasing local authors at a Book Fair at the Perth Farmer’s Market set against the backdrop of the picturesque Tay River.

Whether you come by car and park along the historic streets of Perth, or sail up by boat and take in the breathtaking views along the Tay Basin, there will be something for all ages to enjoy.

The event features a number of local writers including Arlene Stafford-Wilson, author of:

• Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen
• Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line
• Lanark County Chronicle: Double Back to the Third Line
• Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third

Pick up a copy and have it signed by the author.
Mark this special event on your calendar.
For more information contact:

The Perth and District Chamber of Commerce (613) 267-3200 / 1-888-319-3204
or Leslie Wallack at The Book Nook thebooknook@bellnet.ca

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Book Signing at Mill Street Books, Almonte Nov 16 2013

Mill St Books Arlene at table #2  Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene & Mary outside Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene with Janet Dowdall Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene with Alan & Peggy Mackey Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene & Helen Gillan  Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene with David Somerville Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene with Mary & Terry Lumsden Nov 16  20130001Mill St Books Arlene with Wendy Gervais Nov 16  20130001
Mill St Books Kevin with Blair Nov 16  20130001

Mill St Books Arlene at the table Nov 16  20130001

Mill St Books Arlene with Blair Nov 16  20130001

What a beautiful, sunny day in Almonte! The unseasonably warm weather and bright sunshine caused the streets of Almonte to be busy with residents and visitors, spending the day exploring the picturesque town. Mary and Terry Lumsden’s cheerful store Mill Street Books enjoyed steady traffic throughout a busy day. Centrally situated, at 52 Mill Street, the store’s ideal location, along with the mild temperatures meant that there was never a lull in business and kept the owners occupied serving a steady stream of customers. It was an ideal day for a book signing and many friends old and new stopped by for a chat and to have their copy of ‘Lanark County Calendar’ signed – some to keep for themselves and some to place under the Christmas tree.

It’s always a pleasure to see Janet Dowdall, President of the Lanark County Genealogical Society. Janet took time out of her always hectic schedule to drop by and say hello and wish us well with the new book. As always Janet and I chatted about our latest genealogical trials and triumphs and caught up on some of each other’s recent research.

Another long-time Lanark County Genealogical Society member Helen Gillan stopped by. Helen has been a volunteer with the Genealogical Society for many decades now and has a wealth of information on local history and families. We had a great chat and discussed some of the Ferguson Falls area genealogy we’ve each been pursuing. It was great to see Helen again!

It was so nice to see former classmate and neighbour from the Third Line – David Somerville and his lovely wife Joan. David and I chatted about his novel and mused that this time next year he may be signing his book for me. We shared many laughs and agreed to get together for dinner soon where we’d have more time to catch up.

We met a lovely couple – Alan and Peggy Mackey, parents of friend Peter Mackey and had a great chat with them. Peter has been a driving force in the Executive at Unifor Local 6004 for many years and has come to the assistance of countless members throughout his career. It was a real pleasure meeting your folks Peter!

What a nice surprise to see Blair Boisvenue, busy hockey-Dad, who took the time to stop by and have a book signed for a family Christmas gift. It’s always nice to see Blair, and he and Kevin had a nice chat and agreed to meet for lunch soon and bring each other up to speed on what they’ve been up to.

Once again, many thanks to Mary and Terry Lumsden for hosting the book signing. Their store is beautifully decorated; all ready for the Christmas season. If you’re in the Almonte area, be sure and stop by and see their great selection of books for all ages and interests. http://www.millstreetbooks.com/Mill_Street_Books/Home.html

Finally, a trip to Almonte would not be complete without a visit to our friend Wendy Gervais’ delightful store Divine Consign. Despite the fact that Wendy’s store was quite busy, we had a chance to talk and catch up on some of the news since we last spoke. Wendy’s got a lovely selection of designer clothing and handbags – something to suit everyone. http://www.divineconsign.ca/

All in all, it was a busy day in Almonte, and so nice to see lots of familiar faces and to meet some new folks as well. The book signing was a great success, and we look forward to our next visit to Mill Street Books!

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

Silver Lake Sundays

picnic table

It always seemed as though Highway 7 was busy, cars and trucks rushing along, especially on the weekends, and even more so during the summer months. According to Dad, it wasn’t just the local people travelling between Perth and Sharbot Lake, but all the tourists that rambled along the Trans-Canada Highway, doing a little sight-seeing, and exploring the countryside. Whatever the reason, Highway 7 was busy as usual that Sunday afternoon so long ago, as we made our way to Silver Lake.

Although it was just a twenty minute drive from the old house, the ride seemed to take forever, our legs sticking to the hot vinyl seats in the back of the Buick, long before the days of air conditioning. It wasn’t until I saw the signs for the village of Maberly that I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing we’d be there in just a few more minutes. Dad flicked on his signal, I felt the car slow down, and we turned, and drove up the hill to the entry booth at Silver Lake Provincial Park. The park worker came over to the window, Dad showed his seasons pass, and he waved us through.

silver lake sign

Dad found a spot close to the picnic area, and we drove in and parked the car. That was the easy part. The tricky part was finding just the right picnic table. Dad liked a table to be in the shade. Mother preferred a place with a little sun. Dad said he needed to be out of the wind so he could light his little green Coleman stove. Mother liked a breeze to keep the bugs away. So the hunt for the best table usually took a little longer, sometimes a lot longer, than it should have. After all, we just wanted to cool off in the water, and that beautiful lake stretching out ahead of us, sparkling in the sun, was all we could think about. Who cared where we ate supper?

The hunt for the perfect table continued. Should we use one of the tables under the shelter in case it rained, or maybe one of the ones farther up the hill, off by itself? There was a good table close to the main beach, but there were a bunch of rowdy people sitting at the table right next to it, and Mother wondered aloud if that’s why no one else was using it.

They finally spotted a table halfway up the hill, toward the lower beach, and sent one of us up the ridge to ‘save’ it. Dad opened the trunk, and we each grabbed something, and made our way up to the table. The table cloth, Coleman stove, cooler, plastic cups and plates, paper napkins, transistor radio, saucepans, and cooking utensils, were all brought to the site. We hauled the picnic gear up the slope, and set it all down on the seats, while Mother spread out the red plastic table cloth. It wasn’t until we placed the big cooler on the table that we noticed that the table rocked back and forth. Good grief! I hoped to myself that we wouldn’t have to pick another table! Dad got the boys to lift one end, while he lifted the other, and re-positioned it until it was stable. What a relief!

While Mother took everything out of the cooler, Dad turned on his portable radio, extended the antenna, and went about setting up his little green metal stove.

transistor radio

 

I grabbed a towel from the top of the cooler, and headed down to the beach, finally free to jump in the lake and get cooled off. As I got closer to the beach, the noise and laughter from all of the kids grew louder, and I could see people jumping off of rubber rafts, and throwing beach balls around, and some little kids were filling up sand pails, and making sand castles along the shore.

I stepped cautiously into the shallow water along the sandy shore and it felt cool. Because I was right in the center of the main beach, I got splashed again and again by the other kids running in and out and jumping nearby. I walked out slowly, up to my knees, and then finally plunged in all the way, and the water didn’t seem cool anymore; it was just perfect. There was a kid close by with a diving mask on, and another kid with a fancy inflatable raft, and he was gliding along the surface using his hands to propel himself. I wondered what it would be like to have these expensive gadgets to play with in the water. We had an old beach ball that kept shrinking because it leaked air, and that was about it. Oh well, it was fun to splash around and cool off just the same.

I put my face in the water and opened my eyes. The bottom was sandy, with some smooth pebbles, and a couple of snail shells. There were some tiny minnows darting around, and lots of arms and legs of kids playing nearby. I pulled my face back out of the water, took a deep breath, and propelled myself down to the bottom, pushing the water back with my arms, moving farther from the beach. When I felt myself running out of air I resurfaced, rubbed my eyes, and looked back at the beach. There were lots of parents relaxing in lawn chairs, watching their kids swim. Little kids were playing close to the shore, and bigger kids were splashing around, squealing, laughing, and the bright July sun gleamed and glistened on the surface of the water.

I played in the water for hours, bobbing at the surface, swimming along the bottom, jumping into the gentle waves, and floating on my back and kicking my feet, then gliding backwards, staring up at the bright sun and the blue sky. I watched as new kids came into the water, and other kids left the beach, heading over to the playground, past the parking lot. By the time Mother came down to the beach to call me for supper I’d had plenty of time to swim, my fingertips were wrinkly, and I was ready to come out of the water.

silver lake swimmers

As we walked up the path to the picnic table I began to smell the gas from the Coleman stove, and the savoury scent of the hot dogs, and I began to realize how hungry I was. The fresh corn was already boiled and stacked on a tray. There was a bowl of baked beans, a homemade potato salad, some deviled eggs, homemade rolls, pickles, and a jellied salad. Everything tasted good, partly because I was hungry from swimming, but mostly because we were outside. Things always seemed to taste better outdoors in the fresh air for some reason. Dessert was Mother’s lemon squares. There was also a cookie tin of brownies, and some butter tarts. No one went hungry at our picnics; that was for sure.

Coleman stove  deviled eggs  corn butter tarts

After we’d finished and cleaned up, we decided to walk across the road to Barbary’s store. The traffic was very busy on Highway 7, so we had to wait quite a while until both lanes were clear, and then walked quickly across. The store was huge, and they had everything – groceries, camping gear, water toys, even life jackets; anything that you might need if you were camping, or visiting the lake. They had lots of souvenirs, postcards, and knick-knacks for tourists. Dad asked me if I’d like a chocolate bar, but I’d spotted something even better. The store carried Partridge Family bubblegum cards, and I was collecting them, so I asked if I could have those instead. Dad agreed and bought me those, and bought chocolate bars for everyone else, and he also picked up a fly swatter that he’d spotted hanging up by the cash register.

Parkside Service Centre May 15 1975

 

Parkside Service June 5 1975

We left the store, and once again waited a while until the road was clear, and walked quickly across. We strolled up the hill to the park entrance, through the gates, past the washrooms and change rooms, down the hill through the parking lot, and back up to the picnic table. We each picked up something, and headed down the hill to the car, and packed everything back into the trunk.

Once the car was packed, we went for a walk along the smaller, quieter beach on the other side of the picnic area. It was more peaceful at that beach, and there were only one or two kids with their parents down near the water. As we walked along I picked up some smooth stones, and a couple of snail shells, to bring back home. The early evening sun was lower in the sky, but still bright, and it bounced and played off of the water, and shimmered through the trees along the shore. The air was fresh and clean, and carried with it the soft scents of the lake and the nearby trees.

walk silver lake

Many Sunday afternoons were spent at Silver Lake. There were no splash pads, or giant water slides. We swam without water wings. Our only concern was how fast we could get into the lake to swim, and not how we looked in our bathing suits. The old car had no air conditioning, and our entertainment at supper consisted of a small transistor radio. If we wanted to call a friend we had to wait ‘til we got home and hope that none of the neighbours was using the party line. We filled our dinner plates time and again, stuffed ourselves with desserts, and never counted a single calorie. We didn’t send text messages; instead we talked to each other, and shared a few laughs.

family picnic

Although there have been many useful advances in technology since those days, I will always treasure our simple summer picnics. I yearn for the clear water, the beach-scented air, and quiet walks along the sandy shores. I miss the shrieks of genuine laughter, and carefree splashing in the warm waves. I dream of the distinctive smell of the Coleman stove, and the unmistakable flavours of the homemade comfort foods. Most of all, I long for the effortless, unguarded conversations that we shared between bites. Surely in today’s hectic, stressful world, constantly connected to the internet, we could all find some welcome relief in the peace, tranquility and simplicity of an old fashioned picnic at the lake.

 

 

 

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com