George Emery’s New Book: Public Festivals in Ingersoll, 1855-1930

Hello Everyone,

Please see the announcement about George Emery’s new book, with an excerpt from the book’s introduction – penned by George:


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.  Cathy Mott and her colleagues have set the bar high for publication. In each case, they vet the submitted manuscript, dress up its formal presentation, pay the printer’s bills, and manage sales to our townspeople. Their hard work is much appreciated by the editors of this volume.”

This book is available for $30.00, either from the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum or contact Debbie Johnston, see her email and phone number in the image above.

Public Meeting Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Join Oxford County Archivist Liz Dommasch and Archives Technician Megan Lockhart for an evening with the Archives. Liz and Megan will be discussing the variety of programs and services the Archives offers to their patrons and community members.

The Oxford County Archives is the official repository for archival records created by, for and about Oxford County including municipal and community records from community organizations, businesses, personal archival collections, schools, churches, and more. The Archives offers a variety of research services and has a reference library available for patrons who are looking for family history information or information on the general history of Oxford County. Staff at the Archives also provide basic conservation services and have developed a variety of educational and public programs which allows members of the Oxford County community to learn about local heritage and culture, and engage with archival collections.

The Oxford County Archives’ website contains a number of online exhibits about local history, educational resources for teachers, students, and families, as well as fun interactive activity pages and online puzzles:  Learn more about what the Archives is and what they do with guest speakers Liz and Megan.

Join the Oxford Historical Society and the Oxford County Archives for a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 6:30pm.

The Zoom link is:

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

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

Back in the Day…

Beachville Lime Kilns, postcard from the J. Gruszka Collection, property of the OxHS

Hello Everyone,

This guest post is provided by the Ingersoll Senior Centre, via Oxford Historical Society members Doug & Janice Ferguson.

On-line presentation series hosted free of charge by the Ingersoll 50+ Activity Centre. All district residents over 50 years of age are welcome. You do NOT need a Centre membership for these presentations, nor do you need to live in Ingersoll.

Beachville Bedrock

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 2pm

Dr. Stephanie Radu, curator of the Beachville District Museum, takes you through the limestone valley, tracing the story of the early companies and the generations of people who worked there, and describing how 20th century advancements changed the lime business.

The Street Where You Live

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 2 pm

The history and stories behind the naming of a number of Ingersoll streets where you travel, where you work and play, and where you live. Told by Scott Gillies, curator of the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum.

Discovering Your Oxford Roots

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 2pm

Whether you are a researcher or simply a curious browser, a treasure trove of Oxford County’s past is available through Oxford County library resources. Better still, much of it is as close as your computer. Your guide is Vicki Brenner, Digital Literacy and Local History Technician at the Ingersoll library.

Reserve for each at 519-485-3869 or

These are Zoom events. After you register, you will be sent an email with a link. At presentation time, simply click on the link and you will be connected.

Reminder: OxHS Meeting Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Please see the reminder about tonight’s meeting:

Hello Everyone,

Please join us on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 6:30pm, for an exciting talk given by Kathie Richards. Kathie will discuss the book “Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them” written by Jennifer Wright. In her book, Jennifer Wright looks at some of the worst diseases and plagues throughout history and the selfless heroic individuals who fought them.

This meeting will be held via Zoom. The meeting ID is 819 0624 8857. No password is required.

Click this link, or copy it into your browser –

We hope to see you there!

OxHS Meeting Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Hello Everyone,

Please join us on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 6:30pm, for an exciting talk given by Kathie Richards. Kathie will discuss the book “Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them” written by Jennifer Wright. In her book, Jennifer Wright looks at some of the worst diseases and plagues throughout history and the selfless heroic individuals who fought them.

This meeting will be held via Zoom. The meeting ID is 819 0624 8857. No password is required.

Click this link, or copy it into your browser –

We hope to see you there!

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

An Ornamental Christmas!

Hello Everyone,

This guest post is provided by Kathleen Watkins, the Culture & Heritage Program Coordinator for the Annandale National Historic Site in Tillsonburg, ON.

1950’s Etched Christmas Balls

This year, in celebration of Christmas, the Pratt Gallery created a virtual school program “An Ornamental Christmas” highlighting the history of Christmas ornaments.

Here is the link for their YouTube video: An Ornamental Christmas

Pictured on the left is a reproduction of a 1900 European Christmas ornament.

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:

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