Charles W. Hayball Photographic Collection

Hello Everyone,

Information for this post was provided by Chris Packman, OxHS member, from his background notes on C.W. Hayball. The Hayball Project Work Group included Eleanor Gardhouse, who indexed the negatives, arranged for digital processing and fund-raised; Chris Packman who curated the images into a viewable format; Helga Packman who designed the logo graphics. The original logo graphic for this project is featured at the top of the page. All photos are from the CW Hayball Collection.

Woodstock Reunion July 1, 1927

One of the photographic collections that the Oxford Historical Society has is that of Charles W. Hayball. Charles Hayball, whose studio was located at 461 Dundas St. from 1912-1918, offered services as a piano tuner, pattern maker, photographer and photo supplier. By 1920 he moved his business to 391 Dundas St. In 1922, he moved to 5 Graham St., where he continued to operate a photography studio under the name ‘C W Hayball’ until about 1950. From 1950, until his business closed in 1970, his studio operated under the name of Hayball Studio. He also served on the Woodstock Council between 1936-1946, and was Mayor in 1940 and 1941.

Tenth Annual Convention – The Canadian Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary, Woodstock ON, October 1936

In the 1990s, several hundred of Charles Hayball’s negatives were found in the attic of his former studio at 5 Graham St. and were donated to the Oxford Historical Society. All of the photos were taken with a panoramic camera, on black and white film stock. They were each about 6 inches wide an up to 48 inches long. The negatives were of schools, family, buildings, business groups, military companies and various groups of women and men, and were photographed outside between the 1930’s and 40’s, in or near the Woodstock and London areas. In 2006, with assistance from Heritage Woodstock, a 166 negatives were selected and scanned by a Toronto company.

Broadway School, Principal J. R. Ball, May 30th, 1934

The Charles W. Hayball collection is just one of the many resources provided by the Oxford Historical Society.

Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?

Hello Everyone,

In our most recent newsletter, Pattullo Press Fall 2020, the Annual Joint Dinner article about Mary Pettit, was incorrectly reprinted from the October 2013 Oxford Historical Society Newsletter. My apologies for the misprint. Thanks to longtime member and former newsletter editor Chris Packman for bringing this to my attention.

The following is the corrected reprint of the original article. This article was originally published in the October 2013 Newsletter and was written by Chris Packman. Book cover photo from Dundurn’s Publishing website.

Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?

It was Oxford Historical Society’s turn to host the 2013 annual dinner meeting with OGS Oxford County Branch, this time on Tuesday, September 17, at South Gate Centre. At 6:30 PM, our group of 42 members and guests began with a pleasant beef and ham supper in South Gate’s main Hall.

Afterwards, guest speaker, Mary Pettit, a Stony Creek author, spoke about her recently-published book, “Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?”. It was a long-awaited sequel to her first book about the childhood in Canada of her Godmother, “Mary Janeway, Legacy of a Home Child”.

In about 1892, Mary Janeway, then aged eight, was shipped to Canada from an orphanage in Liverpool, Eng- land, with an older brother William, 10, and placed with families in separate Ontario farms.

There were thousands of orphaned or destitute children at the time in Great Britain’s urban centres. Various philanthropic individuals and groups attempted to help the children’s situation by shipping some of them to Britain’s colonies where there was a labor shortage, “ … to a better life”, in return for the expectation of decent food, clothing, shelter, and some schooling. Canadian farm families welcomed the relatively free extra labor the children might provide. But, for several decades, no one from any of the philanthropic groups checked to see how the children were doing once they been assigned to a family. Life on a pioneer farm was tough for all, though in more than a few cases the Home Children were abused, and few were ever accepted as family.

Mary Pettit’s first book ended when the diffident Mary Janeway, a week short of her 16th birthday, gained enough courage to leave her life as an unpaid servant of an Innerkip farm family, and took a train journey. But the reader, having followed the ups and downs of the hard life of this pleasant child, was left to wonder what happened next.

In the sequel, published in 2012, “Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?”, Janeway’s train journey ended in London, Ontario. There, and later in Woodstock, she continued work as a domestic, though now paid.

Mary Pettit has done a great deal of research into not only Janeway’s known and probable life as an adult, but also into the changing ambience of the times in which Janeway lived. After a while in Woodstock, she married a handsome but restless self-employed painter, Jim Church, and the two moved to a series of rented homes in Hamilton.

Unlike the self-contained nature of her early rural life on a farm, she now found and enjoyed the many services for city folk: local delivery by the iceman, the coalman, the milkman; electric buses to take her downtown; movies to go to; and, in time, a telephone, radio and eventually, electric labour-savings devices: a vacuum cleaner, and a ‘fridge instead of an ice-box.

Mary (Janeway) Church had two children; lived through the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, that hit one in four Canadians, and suffered family tragedy. She had an added shock when her husband was arrested in 1925, found guilty of a serious crime and spent 5 years in “Kingston Pen”.

By 1948, Mary Church was living alone, and working as a visiting homemaker for the Red Feather Organization (it became the United Way). As a homemaker, Mary began to help the Hewsons, a family that had just had their second child, a girl. She helped with the new baby, did light housekeeping and prepared meals.

The Hewsons became very friendly with Mary Church, named their new baby, Mary, and asked Mary Church to become the child’s Godmother. Mary Church was delighted and, in time, became akin to a much-loved aunt as little Mary Hewson grew up.

Mary (Hewson) Pettit’s talk necessarily skimmed the highlights of her latest book. “Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway” is a fascinating and well-researched story. More than a moving biography of a former Home Child’s adult life, it provides a human viewpoint on lifestyle changes from 1900 to the 1960s in Hamilton, one of Canada’s more vibrant multi-ethnic cities, as Mary (Janeway) Church might have seen it.

Community Partners & Sponsors

The Oxford Historical Society would like to thank the Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Grant Program for the generous grant that we received. This grant will be used in maintaining our Resource Centre, which is home to a large number of documents and records relating to Oxford County.

Along with the Canadian Heritage Grant the Society also receives grants from other organizations like Oxford Community Foundation and the City of Woodstock. These grants enable us to publish books, bring in guest speakers, hold special events like the Christmas Tour of Homes, and take part in many activities throughout the year.

The Society throughout the year works with many different organizations to bring about various events and publications. The Pattullo Press newsletter is published with the Woodstock Museum, NHS, as were the books Quizzical History and Defined Under Pressure. Together with the WERC centre we offer a Person’s Day celebration, an event held in mid-October to honour women being recognized as Persons and therefore could sit in Canada’s Senate. Tours and teas with the Woodstock Public Library and Château la Motte.

There are many more examples of how the Society and other local organizations have worked together to bring events and share local history with the residents of Oxford County. In honour of these associations a new page was added to our website: Community Partners & Sponsors page!

Vintage Christmas Card Sale

Hello Everyone,

Please see the attached post from the Woodstock Museum, NHS.

Stay connected with your loved ones this holiday season with the Woodstock Museum’s Vintage Christmas Card Sale.

Cards are sold in packs of 12 and feature four festive designs from the Museum’s collection, dated 1912 to 1945 C. The cost is $15 per 12 pack.

Purchases must be made in advance through our online order form starting October 13, 2020:

Pickup Information

Orders will be available for pickup at the Woodstock Museum during our regular operating hours.

There will be two pickup windows for cards ordered online by the following dates:

Order DeadlinePickup Windows
October 25 at midnightNovember 3 – 7
November 22 at midnightDecember 1 – 5

If you have any questions please send contact the Museum at 519-537-8411 ext. 2901, or send them an email.

Postcards! Postcards! Postcards!

Hello Everyone,

Do you keep your postcards? Have you ever collected them on your travels as a way to remember the sites that you visited?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you are not alone.

Postcards are a wonderful way to keep in touch with families and friends, a quick note to let them know that you’re thinking of them. Sometimes they are whimsical and other items they show local business, sporting events, tourist destinations. The photos used on postcards are often of a professional quality and thus are good keepsakes of your travels.

Not only do postcards serve as keepsakes they are also a very good source of visual historical records. They let you see how a city looked throughout the decades. The Society has two fantastic collections of postcards, both from long time members. The John Gruszka (J.G.) Collection contains postcards from most of the cities in Oxford County and the Don Wilson (D.W.) Collection contains mostly images of old Woodstock. Pictured below are three views of Dundas St., in Woodstock, Ontario from different eras.

Historic buildings and churches are often favourite photographic choices for postcards. Showing below are some of the historic churches from Oxford County.

Next time you’re travelling or are needing historical pictures for your project, contact the Oxford Historical Society – we might just have the postcard that you need!

Salvation Army Burnside Lodge

Many thanks to Dr. Elaine Becker for providing the information in this post.

Stamp issued by Canada Post in October 2010

Your help is needed!

Dr. Elaine Becker is in the process of compiling another local history which is related to an important immigration scheme that ran from 1923 to 1936 – the story of Burnside Lodge over the years and the young men who became valued citizens in this area of Ontario should not be lost.

Small scale operations began in 1903 when The Salvation Army established the “Migration and Settlement Department”.

The principles of the department were:

  1. The needs of the individual were of major concern, including his mental and physical condition
  2. Ascertain the reasonable prospect of the individual succeeding overseas
  3. The absorbing power of the overseas Dominion was taken into account
  4. The after care of the migrant was to be undertaken as a moral obligation by The Army

The work that was carried on at Burnside Lodge in Woodstock, Ontario should not be confused with any of the programs, such as the Dr. Barnardo group which brought orphaned children to Canada. The young men who came to Woodstock came by their own choice and planning.

The Salvation Army Boy Farmers Scheme

The Boy Farmers program was only a small segment of The Salvation Army’s immigration scheme. The Army sponsored and oversaw the migration to Canada of more than 250,000 immigrants from England and other European countries.

Young men between the ages of 14 and 20 applied to the Salvation Army to come to Canada under this plan.  If accepted for the training, they attended farm training at Hadleigh Farm in England and then were examined for their suitability to immigrate to Canada.  Once accepted they were booked for transportation to Woodstock or to Smith Falls, Ontario. They were employed by local farmers and their situations were supervised by an officer from Burnside Lodge.  They stayed at the lodge until everything was settled.

Some of the boys who would arrive in Canada

Burnside Lodge was located on the present site of the YMCA at 808 Dundas St, Woodstock ON

Some of you may remember the building on Dundas Street and have pictures or memories of the facility later used during the war for housing the Women from the training base at the fairgrounds.

We are working to compile some of the stories of the young men who immigrated to Canada to work on local farms.  If you can help in any way with this story or if you know any of the families who share those roots or any of the farmers who engaged the young men when they arrived, please contact the Oxford historical Society by email at, thank you.

Woodstock Museum, NHS – New Hours

Thanks to the Woodstock Museum, NHS for providing the information for this post.

The Oxford Historical Society is very pleased to hear that the Woodstock Museum, NHS has re-opened as of today, Tuesday, July 7, 2020!

Information about how the Museum is handling COVID-19 safety concerns can be found on their website or by calling them at 519-537-8411.

The Museum has started an email subscription list. To keep yourself informed about Museum activities follow this link to join their mailing list. Or you can send an email to and request to join their mailing list.

D. W. Karn Organ & Piano Co.

Many thanks to Longley Auctions for providing this guest post.

D. W. Karn & Co Advertising Cover

This information is taken from Longley Auctions FB page: D.W. Karn piano and organ company, formed in 1867, the year of Canada’s Confederation. It operated in Woodstock, Ontario and was owned by D.W. Karn, who was also the mayor and ran for Parliament twice. The first factory was located at Dundas and Reeve Street, later moving to larger facilities at Dundas and Wellington. This factory burned down twice and was later relocated to Dundas and Wilson.

Longley Auctions is a dealer in postal history and they came across this advertising cover for D.W. Karn & Co., and kindly sent it onto the Oxford Historical Society. The cover shown has a 3c Jubilee tied by a Woodstock postmark (1897) and shows the enormous factory. The cover is a front only (the back is missing). The item is available for purchase from Longley Auctions for $35.00, please contact them for more information.

More information and a display of some of the organs and pianos manufactured by the D.W. Karn Organ and Piano Co, can be found by visiting the Woodstock Museum NHS; or from the website Woodstock Newsgroup by Paul Roberts.

Correction notice: There was an error in the video contained in the post dated June 8, 2020 – Oxford County Library Local History. The Oxford County Branch Ontario Ancestors was mistakenly referred to as the Woodstock Branch of Ontario Ancestors (slide 13). The corrected video is located on the Society’s homepage.

If you have an article concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at

Oxford County Library Local History

Hello Everyone,
The Ingersoll and Tillsonburg branches of Oxford County Libraries had planned a Local History week event; but then Covid-19 came along and the events were cancelled. Not to be deterred the Society still decided to create a video for the event. Our video will also be posted on the Oxford County Library Facebook page.

Please enjoy the video!

OxHS Presentation May 2020

Victoria Park

Hello Everyone,

With the good weather comes a chance to go and explore parts of Woodstock.  One of the best areas to visit is Victoria Park, one of the oldest parks in the city where you can have a picnic on the lawn. 

In 1845 Victoria Park was the County Fairgrounds for the District of Brock. We became Oxford County in 1849. In 1872 the fairgrounds were relocated to an area close to the Thames River and the land was given to Woodstock for use as a park. On May 24, 1896 it was named Victoria Park in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, to celebrate her 60 years on the throne.

At one time there was a bandshell where bands would come to entertain park goes on summer days. The bandshell used to be located to the right of the Cenotaph but was later moved to the west corner across from the entrance to the jail.

The Cenotaph was erected in 1925 to commemorate the soldiers who perished in the Great War.  It is located on the southeast corner of the park. It now includes memorials for WWII soldiers and those of later wars. On April 11, 2015 a memorial for soldiers who died in Afghanistan was placed next to the Cenotaph. Every year on November 11, Remembrance Day ceremonies take place at the Cenotaph.

For many years the park has served as the sports field for the students of WCI.  It was the location for the military marches and reviews conducted every spring.  Students were required to participate as part of the school program.

On the northwest corner of Victoria Park are two of the four cannons that were gifted to the City of Woodstock in 1900. The other two are located in front of the Court House. The cannons were originally manufactured in England in the 1840’s and were shipped here to Canada to aid in our defense, in case the Americans attacked. These cannons were never fired in anger and overtime they became obsolete and were placed in various Canadian cities.

Today Victoria Park has two baseball diamonds and has recently become home to the Art in Victoria Park festival held in July.

If you are looking for something to do on these long days – why not enjoy a visit to Victoria Park?

Article, pictures and postcards are property of the Oxford Historical Society.

If you have an article concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at