“So They Came – the young men farmers”

Hello Everyone,

Dr. Elaine Becker’s newest local history book on the story of Burnside Lodge is coming together.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The young men responded to advertisements or word of mouth information with application to the Salvation Army.  If they had the proper backing and references, they were sent for training at Hadleigh Farm Colony. The young men were trained and tested and then sent to Canada or Australia for employment with local farmers.  In Canada they went to many centres but Smith Falls or Woodstock Ontario were primary centres with officers assigned for follow-up.

The boys were warmly greeted and were transported to the lodge or marched from the train station as the occasion allowed.  They were fed and, on many occasions, spent the first night there before proceeding to their appointed local farms.

Before proceeding to the farm, The Salvation Army made financial agreement between all parties for the Army to protect the wages of the young men.  The wages minus any funds advanced to the young man were kept in trust by the Army and records were kept to ensure fair wages were received. 

Elaine is now at the stage where she is looking for volunteer(s) to help design the cover.

If you are interested in designing the book cover for “So They Came – the young men farmers”, please email Elaine at ebecker2@sympatico.ca.

Reminder – Zoom Meeting Tonight – Wednesday, May 26, 2021 @ 6:30pm

Don’t forget to join the Oxford Historical Society in welcoming George Emery, Scott Gillies and Vicki Brenner for their presentation on George Emery’s newest publication: Public Festivals in Ingersoll, 1855-1930.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30pm via Zoom. The Zoom information is listed at the bottom of this post.

From the book’s introduction by George Emery: “The book enriches the literature on Ingersoll’s local history. It describes Ingersoll’s street festivals in their late-19th-and early-20th-century times and furnishes guidelines for their interpretation.  It supplements newspaper descriptions with photographic images, drawn from the rich archives of Ingersoll’s Cheese & Agricultural Museum and the Ingersoll Library. In the process the book showcases those archives as gateways for research on our community’s local history Gateways, indeed! The digital files on the Oxford County Library local-history website offer access to documentary sources –from the comfort of one’s home.  Moreover, the Ingersoll Historical Photo Gallery, developed in collaboration with Scott Gillies of the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum, provides a brilliant introduction to 30 some dimensions of Ingersoll’s past. The library’s rich digital files, in turn, lead directly to photographs and artifacts in Scott’s Cheese & Agricultural Museum–simply a gem of a place to visit.  Through its several book publications, the Ingersoll & District Historical Society is an essential third agency for promoting knowledge of our local past.

The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81906248857

The Zoom link will open approximately 10 minutes before the start time of a meeting

For all Zoom meetings use this ID#: 81906248857, no password is required.


If you have pictures and articles concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at info@oxhs.ca.

Zoom Meeting Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Please join the Oxford Historical Society in welcoming George Emery, Scott Gillies and Vicki Brenner for their presentation on George Emery’s newest publication: Public Festivals in Ingersoll, 1855-1930.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30pm via Zoom. The Zoom information is listed at the bottom of this post.

From the book’s introduction by George Emery: “The book enriches the literature on Ingersoll’s local history. It describes Ingersoll’s street festivals in their late-19th-and early-20th-century times and furnishes guidelines for their interpretation.  It supplements newspaper descriptions with photographic images, drawn from the rich archives of Ingersoll’s Cheese & Agricultural Museum and the Ingersoll Library. In the process the book showcases those archives as gateways for research on our community’s local history Gateways, indeed! The digital files on the Oxford County Library local-history website offer access to documentary sources –from the comfort of one’s home.  Moreover, the Ingersoll Historical Photo Gallery, developed in collaboration with Scott Gillies of the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum, provides a brilliant introduction to 30 some dimensions of Ingersoll’s past. The library’s rich digital files, in turn, lead directly to photographs and artifacts in Scott’s Cheese & Agricultural Museum–simply a gem of a place to visit.  Through its several book publications, the Ingersoll & District Historical Society is an essential third agency for promoting knowledge of our local past.

The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81906248857

The Zoom link will open approximately 10 minutes before the start time of a meeting

For all Zoom meetings use this ID#: 81906248857, no password is required.


If you have pictures and articles concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at info@oxhs.ca.

Zoom Meeting Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Please join the Oxford Historical Society in welcoming Brenda Boswell for her presentation: Women and The Bicycle Craze – Change and Resistance in 1890’s Oxford County, for a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 starting at 6:30pm.

Bicycles took much of the world by storm during the late Victorian age. The bicycle provided a tool for women to ride into a whole new world. This presentation will explore how the bicycle helped women move into this new era and the societal resistance that came with it.

It includes research by Rebecca Beaisaert, on turn of the century bicycle clubs in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg.

The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81906248857

The Zoom link will open approximately 10 minutes before the start time of a meeting

For all Zoom meetings use this ID#: 81906248857, no password is required.

Public Meeting Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Please join the Oxford Historical Society in welcoming Brenda Boswell for her presentation: Women and The Bicycle Craze – Change and Resistance in 1890’s Oxford County, for a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 starting at 6:30pm.

Bicycles took much of the world by storm during the late Victorian age. The bicycle provided a tool for women to ride into a whole new world. This presentation will explore how the bicycle helped women move into this new era and the societal resistance that came with it.

It includes research by Rebecca Beaisaert, on turn of the century bicycle clubs in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg.

The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81906248857

The Zoom link will open approximately 10 minutes before the start time of a meeting

For all Zoom meetings use this ID#: 81906248857, no password is required.

Oxford Historical Society 2021

Postcard from the Don Wilson Collection

Dear Members,

As President of the Oxford Historical Society, I would like to introduce the Executive Board for 2021:

  • President: Kathie Richards
  • Vice President: Vacant
  • Treasurer: Elaine Becker
  • Secretary: Laura Centore
  • Membership: Judy Klages
  • Archives: Eleanor Gardhouse
  • Communications: Laura Centore
  • Members at Large: Don Wilson & Jim Groulx
  • Museum Liaison: Karen Houston

These are the same people who served in 2020 with the same vacancy in the Vice President’s position. We do encourage members to nominate someone who would be willing to serve on the Board.

While 2020 was a difficult year due to Covid-19, we are hoping for a better 2021.

Since we are unable to hold in person meetings at this time, your board is working towards offering presenters via Zoom. We hope to have the first of many public meetings in March.

Even though the Society had to scale back operations, we were able to respond to numerous research questions, produce 4 Pattullo Press newsletters, and keep in touch with our members through our blog. We will continue to do so during 2021.

In 2021 we hope to publish a new book and possibly republish an old favourite!  In keeping with the modern times, we are looking at offering some of our publications as eBooks.

It was decided that over the next few years we will look at digitizing our collection and allocate the holdings to other appropriate organizations, with the goal of eliminating the Resource Centre. This decision was based on several factors – not enough volunteers to staff the centre, the expense of maintaining the centre (in excess of $6000.00 annually between rent and insurance), and there are now other organizations better suited to maintaining an archival collection like the Woodstock Museum, NHS and the Oxford County Archives.

Even without the Resource Centre the Society will still participate in events like the Spirit of Christmas Tour of Homes, publish member’s works, organize speaking events, publish the Pattullo Press, respond to inquiries and perform many other functions as we do now.

The Society is continuing to research grant and funding opportunities. In the past we have received grants from the City of Woodstock, the Federal government, and Oxford Community Foundation.

We will keep you informed.  Do keep in touch with us and other Historical Society members.

Kathie Richards

Historic Homes of Woodstock

99 Light St. Woodstock, ON

Woodstock is fortunate to have many impressive historic homes. These homes help to tell the history of Woodstock and of the various residents who contributed to the Woodstock that we know today. I have selected a sampling of a few of the homes for your reading pleasure.

The home shown above, 99 Light St., is located at the southwest corner of Buller and Light. It was built by William L. MacKay, the owner of several early clothing stores and a noted horticulturalist. His gardens, especially his peonies (Woodstock’s flower), were widely known. The home is in the Queen Anne style, it is a two storey wood-clad home with a hip roof with gables. There is a stained glass window in the stairwell and another stained glass window between the chimney flues decorated with pink flamingos. The open verandah is supported by Doric columns.

This home, 95 Vansittart Ave., is located on the southwest corner of Buller and Vansittart, and was once called Venlaw House. It has a steep-pitched truncated roof and a gable roofed 3-storey tower topped with a finial. The open brick porch protects the door, sidelights and transform. John Forbes, who owned the Commercial Hotel and a livery stable, built it in 1880. Upon his death in 1886, the family of John White lived here for 30 years. John White was twice Mayor of Woodstock and founded the John White Co, a dry goods store located at Dundas & Riddell, in 1860. In 1913, it was one of the first businesses to have electric lights and an electric elevator. John White was known as the “king of dry goods dealers’ in SW Ontario because of his progressive ordering-from-source and discounting policies.

In 1878, James Bell, built this home at 165 Light St., in the classic revival style. It is located on the west side of Light St. between Drew St. and Ingersoll Ave., For most of the 1900’s it was the home of the Poole family. Peter Poole established Poole & Co. in 1895, a local independent grocery store located at 417 Dundas St. When Peter Poole died in 1937, his son Jack took over the operations of the business. In 1953, Peter Poole’s grandson, John, moved the store to 190 Huron St. The store celebrated its centenary in 1995, having been operated by 4 generations of the Poole family. This grocery store outlived the Dominion and Loblaws stores in Woodstock due to their personal service.

Information for this article provided by Kathie Richards, President of the Oxford Historical Society, and the pictures were taken by Eleanor Gardhouse, Archivist of the Oxford Historical Society.


If you have pictures and articles concerning the history of Oxford County that you would like published on the Society’s blog please email us at info@oxhs.ca.

Burnside Lodge Sentinel Review Article

Stamp issued by Canada Post in October 2010

Hello Everyone,

The Woodstock Sentinel Review published an article on Thursday, December 3, 2020 about Dr. Elaine Becker’s upcoming book on Burnside Lodge and the Salvation Army’s program of bringing boys to Canada to work on area farms.

Here is the link to the Sentinel’s article: https://www.woodstocksentinelreview.com/news/local-news/area-historian-looks-for-connections-with-burnside-lodge/

If you have any information or a connection to Burnside Lodge please contact Dr. Becker at ebecker2@sympatico.ca, thank you.

Woodstock Museum, NHS Survey Request

Woodstock Museum, NHS

Hello Everyone,

The Woodstock Museum, NHS is requesting assistance to determine what types of programs to offer next year. They would very much appreciate you taking the time to complete the short survey.

Here is the link for the survey: Woodstock Museum Survey

This survey is also being sent to Museum members, so some of you may receive it twice but you only need to complete it once.

If you have any questions about the survey please contact Kerrie Gill, Education Office, Woodstock Museum, NHS. She can be reached at 519-537-8411 ext. 2903.

The Woodstock Museum, NHS thanks you in advance for completing the survey.