Doug Symons’ Tribute

Hello Everyone,

Please read this guest post from the Woodstock Museum, NHS.

Give a shout out to historical stories!

In honour of the re-release of Doug Symons’ popular book “The Village that Straddled a Swamp”, the Woodstock Museum would like your help in reminiscing about a favourite piece of writing or photo from the book, and also if you have memories of Doug personally you’d like to share.

Please look through the book, choose an article, a photo, a quote or two about a certain local history site or story you find meaningful or interesting to you and share that story with the Museum. We would like to do a short bit of filming to pay tribute to Doug’s writings in a specific local history way. Some memories may be included in an upcoming exhibit related to “The Village that Straddle a Swamp”.

If you want to participate but are unsure of what to highlight we have some prepared prompts for anyone not familiar with the book. A voice recording may also be an option. If possible, we would like to set up a time for you to come into the museum during the first week or two of November.

Contact Kerrie Gill to set up a time at (519) 537-8411 ext. 2903 or kgill@cityofwoodstock.ca    

Forest City Murder: A Wordsfest Online Event

Hello Everyone,

The following post is provided by Words, The Literary and Creative Arts Festival. This is a literary event featuring a list of onsite and online events. It is hosted by Western University and runs from November 5 – 19, 2021.

On Friday, November 12, 2021 at 7pm, via Zoom they will explore two notorious cases of homicide in 19th-century Ontario. The event details are as follows:

Zoom Registration: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_b0-czODtQ-ePiVKmV1pe3w 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/918336352423829 

The story of the Black Donnellys has become a fabled piece of Ontario history. The Donnelly family emigrated from Ireland to the township of Lucan Biddulph in the Ontario countryside. They found themselves, after a few years, in conflict with the local people. In February of 1880, an organized mob murder four Donnelly family members and burn their house to the ground. Another sibling is shot to death in a house a short distance away. William Donnelly and a teenage boy are the only witnesses to the murders. The surviving family members seek justice through the local courts but quickly learn that their enemies control the jury and the press. Two sensational trials follow that make national and international headlines as the Donnellys continue to pursue justice for their murdered parents, siblings and cousin. 

We will visit with John Little who has published a two-volume historical account of the Donnellys (The Donnellys, Volume I: Powder Keg, 1840–1880 / The Donnellys, Volume II: Massacre, Trial and Aftermath, 1880–1916). We will also visit with Keith Ross Leckie whose new novel, Cursed! Blood of the Donnellys, is a fictional account of the notorious family and that time in Canadian history. 

Around the same time, Thomas Neill Cream is suspected of killing a female patient in London, Ontario. He flies to Chicago where he would kill as many as four people. After serving ten years in an Illinois prison, Cream was set free in 1891 – and headed for England to unleash his wrath on the prostitutes of London. In his new book, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer, Dean Jobb explores the story of how Dr. Cream killed as many as ten people in three countries, a rampage that eclipsed the crimes of the notorious Jack the Ripper. The Lambeth Poisoner, as he was dubbed, became one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Jobb reveals how bungled investigations, corrupt officials and failed prosecutions allowed Cream to evade detection or freed him to kill.

Biographies: 

Dean Jobb is an award-winning author and journalist and a professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program. He specializes in true crime and my monthly column on the genre, “Stranger Than Fiction,” appears in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. His articles and book reviews appear in CrimeReads, Inside History magazine, the Chicago Review of Books and the Washington Independent Review of Books. During my 35-year career as a newspaper staff writer and freelance journalist he has written features and commentaries on an array of subjects – history, current events, law, business, politics, media ethics, science, travel, and the craft of nonfiction.

Keith Ross Leckie, author of Coppermine (Viking, 2010), has worked in the film and television business as a dramatic scriptwriter for more than thirty years. His credits include multiple movies and miniseries, including Everest!, Shattered City, Milgaard, The Arrow and Lost in the Barrens. He is currently working with Bell Media to develop a dramatic series based on Blood of the Black Donnellys. 

John Little is the bestselling author Who Killed Tom Thomson? He has authored over 40 books on subjects ranging from philosophy and history to exercise and martial arts, in addition to being an award-winning filmmaker. Little is a contributor to Salon.com, the Toronto Star, and has been interviewed by CNN, Canada AM, NPR, A&E, People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and the Family Channel.

For more information about the above event or to find out about other Wordfest events, please contact them through their website: wordsfest.ca

Tonight: Zoom Meeting – Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Please join the Oxford Historical Society at our next Zoom meeting as Elaine Becker discusses the research and stories that went into So They Came: Young Men Farmers.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at 6:30pm via Zoom. The Zoom information is listed at the bottom of this post.

Excerpt from the book: “Destination Woodstock – The stories of young men who left home and family to make a new way of life in Canada is both thrilling and encouraging. They were not outstanding in any other way than that they had a hope for the future. They came from families facing untold challenges of unemployment, illness and death, as well as the lack of hope for the future”

Learn about the role that the Salvation Army played in bringing the immigrants to Canada, what was involved in researching Burnside Lodge, tracing family members, creating the list of immigrants and many other aspects of the book.

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.

Old St. Paul’s Online Auction 2021

Hello Everyone,

Please see this guess post provided by Joanne Birtch, Chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee at Old St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Woodstock.

Old St. Paul’s is often referred to as Old St. Paul’s Woodstock’s Heritage Church as it is the oldest church building in Woodstock and it contains some of the city’s most valued monuments. It is also host to The Inn, Oxford County’s shelter for the homeless.

Due to Covid restrictions they are not able to host the an in-person auction so this year they have moved the auction on-line. The above poster lists the website and auction date for Old St. Paul’s.

If you have any question please contact Old St. Paul’s directly through their website.

Zoom Meeting Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Please join the Oxford Historical Society at our next Zoom meeting as Elaine Becker discusses the research and stories that went into So They Came: Young Men Farmers.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at 6:30pm via Zoom. The Zoom information is listed at the bottom of this post.

Excerpt from the book: “Destination Woodstock – The stories of young men who left home and family to make a new way of life in Canada is both thrilling and encouraging. They were not outstanding in any other way than that they had a hope for the future. They came from families facing untold challenges of unemployment, illness and death, as well as the lack of hope for the future”

Learn about the role that the Salvation Army played in bringing the immigrants to Canada, what was involved in researching Burnside Lodge, tracing family members, creating the list of immigrants and many other aspects of the book.

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.

Virtual Curator Talk: The History of the John White Building

Hello Everyone,
This is a guest post from the Woodstock Art Gallery:

Virtual Curator Talk: The History of the John White Building

Thursday, October 14
3pm

Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rp5CksgdRyyVU96eBdKLyA

Join Assistant Curator of Education Julia deKwant for a virtual curator talk on the current exhibition, Ten Years in the Building: The John White Co. Inc.

This exhibition celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Woodstock Art Gallery’s move to the historic John White Building. With artifacts and photographs from the Woodstock Museum NHS and Oxford County Archives, the exhibition traces the building’s history of commerce and enterprise beginning with the formation of the John White Co. Ltd., which spanned three generations of the White family and 100 years. Follow along as Julia explores the curatorial practices used in the creation of the exhibition and the unique challenges of placing historic artifacts within an art gallery space. Q & A to follow.

The exhibition is currently on view until January 22, 2022.

George Leslie Mackay 2022 Calendar

Hello Everyone,
This guest post is provided by Michael Stainton, in honour of George Leslie Mackay.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of George Leslie Mackay’s arrival in Tamsui on March 9, 1872, and the beginning of Canada’s engagement with Asia, the Canadian Mackay Committee has produced a bilingual English-Chinese wall calendar with historic and contemporary pictures from Taiwan and Canada, plus informative text and dates.

To order this commemorative calendar, please see the contact information in the ad below.

Street Names of Woodstock

Ever wonder where some of Woodstock street names came from?

Mrs. E. J. Canfield did too! So she did some research and in 1932 presented a paper to the Oxford Historical Society at the AGM. Her paper was subsequently published in its original text by the Society and in the Sentinel Review on Friday, May 20, 1932.

In 1970, Mrs. W. R. Ward added to Mrs. Canfield’s research. Her supplement was added to the original document and was published by the Oxford Historical Society.

Then, between 2017 and 2021, Kathie Richards and Elaine Becker, both of the Oxford Historical Society, updated the research to include the majority of Woodstock’s street names.

The Oxford Historical Society has made both of these documents, the 1970 version and the 2021 available for download. They are also located on our Resource Page.

Mrs. Canfield’s Street Names of Woodstock 1932 & OxHS Street Names of Woodstock 2021.

So They Came: Young Men Farmers

Hello Everyone,

The Oxford Historical Society is very pleased to announce that ‘So They Came: Young Men Farmers’, is now at the printers and will soon be available for sale!

Elaine Becker will be at the Market Square in Woodstock, ON at the BIA tent on Thursday, August 19th from 1-2pm, for the first sale of the book.

The cost is $20.00 (includes HST).

This is the story of the brave young men who left family and country to begin a new life in Canada.

Elaine wishes to thank all of the contributors for the information that has helped to put real faces on these young men. She hopes to see you at Market Square.

After August 19th, the book will be available for sale at the Woodstock Museum, NHS.

Please share this post with others who might be interested.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and contributions!

Resource Centre Re-opening!

OxHS Resource Centre, photo by Chris Packman

Hello Everyone,

As of Tuesday, August 3, 2021, the Oxford Historical Society Resource Centre will be re-opening. We will be available By Appointment Only. Research and photocopying fees may apply.

To make an appointment please contact the Society at info@oxhs.ca

The Society follows all Covid-19 protocols as mandated by Southwestern Public Health, which includes wearing masks, social distancing and limiting the number of visitors allowed in the building.

Oxford County requires ALL visitors to their buildings to complete a short health form. There are signs at both entrances to the building listing instructions for completing the form.