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.

George Leslie Mackay: Most Famous Son of Zorra

Hello Everyone,

This guest post is presented by Michael Stainton, who was a missionary serving the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan from 1980 to 1991. It was there he first encountered George Leslie Mackay. He is founder and secretary of the Canadian Mackay Committee.

In 1997 he organized the first international conference on George Leslie Mackay. In 2005 he was in Taiwan as a consultant to a documentary on Mackay, “The Black Bearded Barbarian”, produced for OMNI TV.  In 2006 he organized a conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia, in which Mackay was one of the missionaries discussed. In 2007 he organized a panel on “Missionaries in Unaccustomed Contexts” at the Canadian Asian Studies Association East Asian Conference, where he presented on “George Leslie Mackay and the Head Tax”.  He was consultant for the display of Mackay’s Taiwan Aboriginal Artifacts in the Royal Ontario Museum. Currently he is leading the campaign to get a Canadian stamp commemorating Rev. Mackay.

GL Mackay Plaque in Embro Presbyterian Church, photo by Eleanor Gardhouse

In this paper I try to demonstrate how the Zorra Pioneers created “the most famous of the sons of Zorra” – Rev. George Leslie Mackay. Growing up in that Highland Presbyterian frontier community equipped Mackay with the spiritual, intellectual, and practical skills which contributed to the unique success of his pioneering mission in Formosa from 1872 until his death in 1901.  The gifts that Mackay gave to Taiwan, and the contributions he made to Canada, are part of the story and continuing legacy of those Zorra pioneers.

It was two hundred years ago this year, in 1820, that Angus and William Mackay became the first Scottish settlers of Zorra. A decade later, in 1830, some 360 Sutherland Highlanders arrived, who, “left their native land, not as a matter of choice but from necessity forced upon them by the covetousness of Highland landlords” (W.A Mackay 1899:22). Among these pioneers were George Mackay (1799-1885) and Helen Sutherland (1801-1885). Both were born in the fishing town of Dornoch, not on the Strath Naver. There must have been several families from around Dornoch, because they named Embro after the village on the coast about a kilometer north of Dornoch.
In the forest and swamps of Zorra they settled on what today is the 10th line in East Zorra-Tavistock, a farm marked by a cairn at the gate (though the farm is no longer in the Mackay family).  Along with other Zorra pioneers they worshipped at the Old Log Church and are buried there. “GLM” was born March 21, 1844, the youngest of the six children.

Mackay Family Homestead 1894

Collective Memory

Collective memory (or social memory) is “an expression of collective experience: social memory identifies a group, giving it a sense of its past and defining its aspirations for the future … (It is) a source of knowledge … provides the group with material for conscious reflection (Social Memory p. 26). But such memory is not just about the past – “memory provides a perspective for interpreting our experiences in the present and foreseeing those that lie ahead”. (Social Memory, p. 51).

Growing up in Zorra Mackay would have learned the collective memory of “the dark and gloomy days of the “Sutherlandshire Clearances” when hundreds of tenant farmers, who shed their blood for its duke, were, with their wives and families were evicted.  … Ruined cottages, deserted churches, and desecrated graves were the “gloomy memories” they carried with them from Scotland.” (From Far Formosa p.14, hereafter FFF). Out of this Mackay took with him a strong sense of justice, and an approach to others that treated all as equals. This was noted by his contemporaries.

We must not conclude that collective memory determines the values and attitudes of those who share it, and thereby efface the agency of the individual, and certainly not such a powerful and unique personality as Mackay. But collective memory shapes powerfully and deeply. One only need to look the political power of the collective memory of residential schools or of slavery in Canada to understand this.

Joseph Beal Steere was professor of Zoology and Paleontology at the University of Michigan. In 1873 he travelled in China and Southeast Asia, spending 8 months in Formosa. Visiting Mackay in Tamsui:

I found the walls of the house he occupied hung with rough charts and maps for his teaching geography and astronomy, and he was drilling a little band of young Chinese … During my stay with him I was astonished at the enthusiasm and  zeal he had awakened in the young men who were studying with him, and I could not help attributing this to his innate American ideals (*Steere knew that Mackay was Canadian so uses American in the cultural sense)  of the equality of all men before God; of the universal brotherhood of mankind; and the habit, growing out of this, of treating all men as equal.  It seemed to me that he had a much more kind and frank way of treating the Chinese with whom he was associated, than had the European missionaries (* He meant the English Presbyterian mission in southern Taiwan) who with all their belief in the value of the human soul, have had such training in the difference between the high and  low that they show, unconsciously, in every act, that they are dealing with an inferior race. I may have put too much stress on this; but it seems to me a subject worthy of consideration of all missionaries” (Steere 2002. Formosa and Its Inhabitants. Paul Jen-kuei Li, ed. Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica. p. 162)

Spiritual Formation

Mackay’s “habit of treating all men as equal” did not come from some modern theory of human rights. It came from the evangelical Free Church faith into which Mackay was born (the Scottish Free Church schism came to Canada in 1844, the year Mackay was born. Embro Church joined the dissidents the same year), and lived to the day he died.

So, In his letter defending his controversial marriage to a “Chinese lady” in 1877 (Mackay to McLaren, Dec 17, 1877, Mission Reports Series 1 Vol 1, p. 177) , Mackay claimed the authority of Jesus –  “and as I from my heart believe that Chinese and Canadians are exactly the same in the presence of our Lord I act accordingly”.

Much has been written on how the faith of the Zorra Pioneers shaped GLM. He wrote of it himself (FFF 1896: 14):

Peace to the honoured dust of those brave pioneers! They were cast in nature’s sternest mold, but were men of heroic soul. Little of this world’s goods did they possess. All day long their axes rang in the forests, and at night the smoke of burning log heaps hung over their humble homes. But they overcame. The wilderness and the solitary place have indeed been made glad. And more. They worshiped and served the eternal God, taught their children to read the Bible ad believe it, listen to conscience and obey it, observe the Sabbath and love it, and to honor and reverence the office of the gospel ministry. Their theology may have been narrow but it was deep and high. They left a heritage of truth, and their memory is still an inspiration. … Men may talk slightingly today about that “stern old Calvinism.” They would do well to pause and ask about its fruits. What other creed has so swept the whole field of life with the dread artillery of truth, and made men unflinchingly loyal to conscience and tremorless save in the presence of God?

“The evangelical Calvinism of Mackay’s native Scotland shaped his evangelistic work in Formosa from the moment he arrived until his death. It included an unwavering belief in divine sovereignty and a deep sense of God’s providence which he conveyed to his ministerial students through sermons, catechism, and scripture, and in the study of science through the inductive Baconian method whose goal was to teach them “the wonderful creations of our God.” (Van Die 2012:31)

Mackay never left this faith, and on occasion vigorously defended it against the more lax urban practice of other Presbyterians. At the height of his fame, in the Montreal Anniversary Missionary Meetings in November 1880, Mackay the evangelical did not hesitate to criticize the very churches which were funding his work:

Rev. Dr. G.L. Mackay of Formosa …made a few closing remarks. When he surveyed the Church as a whole his heart was saddened by the apathy and indifference which largely prevails in regard to vital Christianity. … Many of the churches were dead. Even in this great wealthy and highly favored city of Montreal there were dead churches. Too much money by far had been expended upon church edifices, and too many congregations were as a consequence carrying a load of debt which they found to be an intolerable burden. The system is wrong, it is wicked, and its effect upon the mission schemes of the church is disastrous. Then he thought the Church was too easy and compromising in relation to the world. It is too ready to meet society and fashion and frivolity half way, and so delude people into thinking they could serve two masters. The thing is impossible. People may disparage the Covenanters, to call them misguided fanatics, but there was a sterling ring about the Christianity of these men, who counted not their lives dear to them that they might witness a good confession. We want society and the church to be permeated with a spirit like theirs, and then we shall be able to do great things for the Lord’s cause at home and abroad. (Presbyterian Record VI:2 February 1881:14)

That spirit energized Mackay for 30 years of exertion in Taiwan.  And the exertions of childhood in a frontier farming community gave him the physical stamina to match.

Frontier Dentistry

There was no dentist in old Zorra, though in 1852 there was one physician in West Zorra. In fact there were only two dentists in all Oxford County – in East Oxford and Norwich.  So you did DIY dentistry or suffered.  Though Mackay did take some basic missionary medical training at Princeton, we can assume that he first learned his dental skills in Zorra. This is clear in his account of how he pulled his first tooth in Taiwan (FFF 1896:351):

“My first attempt to extract a tooth was in 1873. On leaving Tek-chham with the students one day we were followed by a dozen soldiers who had been sent to watch our movements. One of their number was suffering intense pain from a decayed tooth; he said, “There is a worm in it.” I had no forceps but after examining it I got a piece of hard wood, shaped it as desired, and with it removed the tooth. It was primitive dentistry to be sure, but the tooth was out, and the poor soldier wept for joy and was most profuse in his gratitude.“

Mackay did not plan to pull teeth when he went to Taiwan, but here on the road was a call to “listen to conscience and obey it” in the spirit of Jesus. Out comes the farmboy pocket knife, his experience carving wood, the memory of how it was done in Zorra, and courage to give it a try.

Mackay discovered that (FFF1896:316):

“The priests and other enemies of the mission may persuade people that fever and other diseases have been cured, not by our medicines, but by the intervention of the gods;  but the relief from toothache is too unmistakable, and because of this tooth extracting has been more than anything else effective in breaking down prejudice and opposition.”

Frontier dentistry became central to his evangelism. There are over 200 references to pulling teeth in his Diary.

“Our usual custom in touring through the country is to take our stand in an open space, often on the stone steps of a temple, and, after singing a hymn or two, proceed to extract teeth and then preach the gospel.”

Singing Hymns

The hymns (or more correctly psalm paraphrases) sung in Zorra were sung acapella in Gaelic led by a precentor. It was not until 1900 that the Embro Church installed an organ. W.P Mackay (1899:79ff) vividly describes the effect on the congregation of  “those majestic Psalms in the old Gaelic airs, right heartily did the whole congregation join, until there was a volume of sound surpassing in power, if not in harmony, anything furnished us today by our choirs and “kists o’ whistles”.   

As they still do, these hymns communicate with emotional colour the elements of faith, planting it firmly in the heart of even boys who fell asleep during the two hour sermons and envied the Methodists because they did not have to memorize the Scottish Catechism.

There are hundreds of references to singing hymns in Mackay’s Diary. We can assume that he taught them to his students in Minnan (language spoken by the majority of people in Taiwan) and led them as precentor. Probably Mackay had obtained a copy of the early Minnan hymnbook of Rev. William Young of the London Missionary Society.

After breakfast and the Singing of Several hymns I told A Hoa that he could leave if he choose and return to Tamsui or remain inside or follow me into the Streets. In a moment he was at my side, the rest followed immediately so together we walked out and along the main road or Street. The villagers were in groups talking vehemently and casting terrible looks at us. Their eyes were the pictures of pent up rage. A Stone was thrown by a young Strong looking fellow. It nearly struck me on the side of the head. We turned about and began to sing a hymn, then I spoke, a few came quite near. We sang again, then walked on all round and returned to the house we occupied Where we read the Gospel by Mark clean through.” (Mackay’s Diary May 25, 1873)

At times this hymn singing seemed to have a powerful efficacy, with a volume if not harmony, surely unimagined in Zorra: 

Made a trip to Tho -a-hng and on our way back over the table-land and in the midst of a fir grove when quite dark several Robbers Surrounded us with long knifes in their hands. I suggested to Start up a hymn. One of the ruffians said roughly “Come on they have no money.”  It was long after many retired to rest that we got back. How strange! (Mackay’s Diary June 9, 1873)

Mackay’s favorite hymn, often mentioned in his diary, was Isaac Watts’ 1781  “I’m not ashamed to own my Lord”.

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord
Or to defend his cause,
Maintain the glory of his cross,
And honour all his laws.

Jesus, my Lord! I know his name
His name is all my boast
Nor will he put my soul to shame
Nor let my hope be lost.

It is still in the 1997 Presbyterian Book of Praise (#393), though not to the vigorous tune Lyngham sung by Mackay. It is not in Voices United.  Ironically is was dropped from the 2007 hymnbook of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Perhaps a sign that there are now a lot of “dead churches” where, especially in prosperous Taiwan today, “too much money by far had been expended upon church edifices”.

In its 4 verses the hymn encapsulates the faith that Mackay took to Taiwan from Zorra. Today when we honour the memory of Mackay we should also say “Peace to the honoured dust of those brave pioneers!”, those Highland refugees who helped build both Canada and Taiwan. 


There are two historical plaques in Embro commemorating Mackay, in English, French, Chinese characters, and romanised Minnan. He deserves to be so honoured.  It seems to me time that there should be a plaque honouring the Zorra Pioneers as well. This year, 2020, marks the 190th anniversary of their arrival in Oxford County. It would be an appropriate project for the Oxford Historical Society to see such a remembrance in place when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mackay’s arrival in Tamsui, on March 9, 2022.

In the meantime …. the Canadian Mackay Society is in the final stages of a campaign to persuade Canada Post to issue a Commemorative Stamp for Mackay on that same date. It would be helpful if members of the OxHS sign our petition to Canada Post, as well as for OxHS to write a letter of support. How wonderful it would be if at the dedication of a plaque in Embro there will also be a temporary post office at which the stamp is officially issued!   

Pictured on the right is the Mackay display at the Embro Presbyterian Church, photo courtesy of Eleanor Gardhouse.

Austin, Alvyn (1986). Saving China: Canadian Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom 1888-1959. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Chen Guan-chou & Louise Gamble,eds. (2012) North Formosa Mission Reports. Taipei: The Presbyterian Church in Canada & The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
Fentress, James and Chris Wickham (1992). Social Memory. Oxford UK; Blackwell.
Mackay, George Leslie (1896). From Far Formosa. Toronto: Fleming Revell
Mackay, George Leslie (2015). The Diary of George Leslie Mackay 1871-1901. Louise Gamble et al. eds.
Taipei: Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica.
MacKay, W,A. (1899). Pioneer Life in Zorra. Toronto: William Briggs
Mackay, W.A. (1901). Zorra Boys at Home and Abroad. Toronto: William Briggs
Rohrer, James R. (2010). “The Legacy of George Leslie Mackay”. International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Vol 34, No. 4 October 2010
Shenston, Thomas S. (1852) The Oxford Gazetteer 1852. Reprinted 1968. Woodstock: Council of the Corporation of Oxford
Steere, Joseph Beal 1873 (2002). Formosa and Its Inhabitants. Paul Jen-kuei Li, ed. Taipei: Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica.
Van Die, Marguerite (2012). “Growing Up Presbyterian in Victorian Canada”: Childhood Influences and Faith Formation. In The Life and Legacy of George Leslie Mackay. Clyde Forsberg Jr. ed. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

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

Woodstock Museum, NHS Collecting Photos & Stories About Life in COVID-19 Pandemic

Hello Everyone,

The Woodstock Museum, NHS is asking for your help in collecting stories and photos about life during this pandemic. The following quote and photograph are from the Museum’s Facebook page:

Send us your written accounts, artwork, photographs or video recordings about everyday life during the pandemic to museum@cityofwoodstock.ca with the subject “Writing COVID-19 History.” Future generations are depending on you to explain what social distancing was and why toilet paper was being hoarded in 2020!

This historic photo depicts men wearing masks during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in 1918. The Woodstock Museum was surprised by the lack of local firsthand accounts and artifacts documenting the epidemic during the final year of the First World War. (Photo from Library and Archives Canada)
This historic photo depicts men wearing masks during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in 1918. The Woodstock Museum was surprised by the lack of local firsthand accounts and artifacts documenting the epidemic during the final year of the First World War. (Photo from Library and Archives Canada)

Woodstock Sentinel Review published an article about the Museum on April 22, 2020, written by Kathleen Saylors. Here is the link to the Woodstock Sentinel Review article.

A further article and interview about the Museum’s request for submission can be found on the London CTV News site.

Submissions can be sent by email to museum@cityofwoodstock.ca with the subject: “Writing COVID-19 History.” For more information visit the Museum’s website or their Facebook page.

Woodstock As It Was!

Hello Everyone,

During this time of social distancing I thought I would share an article from one of the Society’s previous newsletters.

The following post are a collection of excerpts taken from an article written by Chris Packman, and was originally published in the OxHS Newsletter of January 2014. It is based on Eleanor Gardhouse’s presentation: Woodstock as it Was; which she presented to the Society on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, at the Woodstock Museum, NHS. The postcards are from Don Wilson’s collection.

“Truth, Duty Valour” was embossed on the Memorial Gateway to Southside Park Woodstock, at the south end of Victoria Street. In the park, on the east side of its driveway, was once a picnic pavilion from which the band from Norwich, the Lions Club, the Salvation Army or the militia would give concerts in July and August. Today, it’s gone.

The Southside Park pond, fed by Cedar Creek, had changing rooms for boys and girls. It was popular for swimming, and fun to jump off the dam at its exit. But you took care in the spring because upstream was a slaughterhouse: sometimes, stuff got in the water and Dick Sales, the drover, got scolded. Even when drunk, frequently, Dick could look at a cow, tell you how much it weighed and its dollar value. His brother Jack loaned money: useful if you needed a loan to buy a farm or a house. But miss a payment and Jack would foreclose.

There was a hydro power station near the pond. Close by was the city’s waterworks with a beautiful rock garden in front, created by a man who worked there. East of the power station was the railway line from Stratford, south to Port Dover. If you lived in Curries, and went to school in Woodstock, you’d hop on a train there into Woodstock.

Eleanor showed several pictures showing the changes over the decades in retail ownership around Civic (Museum) Square. An Imperial Bank was at the east corner of the Square, its front on Dundas St. Upstairs were rooms that bank staff could rent. The late Ed Bennett told Eleanor that, on Sunday afternoons, they used to fill the bathtubs full of water, put beer bottles in them to cool, then play poker all afternoon.

Eleanor reminisced, “At Christmas time, people used to come from all over to buy fine linens and beautiful clothes at the John White store, 425-429 Dundas. Right in front of where the elevator was, there were stools where young members of staff would sit. A customer would come in and go to one of the counters to buy something; a lady would write out a bill, take your money and put it into a little round container; pop it into a pneumatic tube and, whoosh, it would be gone. And, on the other side of the elevator, up high, with some steps going up to it, was a platform with a railing around it. That’s where the money would go. The person up there would put the change in the container and return it back down. The girls sitting beside the elevator would watch where the customers were, and the sales lady would signal one of them and you’d go over, pick up their parcel, and take it over to where, under where they were sorting the money, there was a table, paper and string. You had to learn how to break that string without hurting yourself. And you would carefully take the parcel back to the customer and present it to them.”

The John White store can be seen on the far side of the postcard.

West down the street was the Opera House [at one point, seating 1400]. After variations on this name, it began showing movies, as the “Capital Theatre”, until it closed in the late 1990s.

Going East, Frank Hyde Drugstore [397 Dundas] was right on the corner of Light Street. Next to it was the Princess theatre, at 399 Dundas, which opened in 1916 and showed movies until 1948. When you went into the show, there was only one aisle and seats on each side; very, very narrow. For 10 cents on Saturday, you could watch the Lone Ranger, or Buck Rogers. Nearby were two good Chinese restaurants: Food Rite, 407 Dundas; Canton at 411: very good Chinese food.

Eleanor showed a street picture, a few doors east of the old post office (now City Hall) that including two horse- drawn buggies in the street. The uniformed CN Express driver with a peak cap on one of them was Eleanor’s father, John Russell Adam. The next picture showed one of the motorized delivery trucks that replaced the buggies. Her dad has his arm around a little girl sitting on a fender, wearing his peaked cap. She still has the cap.

Photo courtesy of Eleanor Gardhouse

Down at the former GTR [now VIA] train station, when a steam train came in, its fireman would reach out, grab a chain to pull down a pipe leading from a trackside water tank, and top up the water reservoir in the train’s tender. This, in turn, fed the boiler.

Eleanor showed the station. “Now the telegraph office is right here and has a bay window so the person inside could look out, up and down the track, because his desk was right up in that window. If the train was not going to stop in Woodstock, but there had to be a message sent, they had a hoop made of bamboo, with a long stick on it. The telegrapher would tie the message to it and he’d stand out by the train track with his hand held up in the air. The engineer would simply reach out of his window as the train was going through, take the message off and then drop the hoop.”

“Now when a new messenger (telegrapher) would come, sometimes, not every time, Dad would come home and say, “New messenger”. If it was a warm day, Mom [once a trained telegrapher] would go and stand outside that window and she’d listen to what he would [hand key]. Now they didn’t always just send messages, they gossiped and told dirty stories.

When he signed off … you can’t imagine how surprised he would be when mother, this little lady with grey hair standing there, told him what he had just said.”

She had pictures and stories of some of the city’s hotels: Hotel Oxford, once the most ritzy in Woodstock, just across from the Museum; the Commercial Hotel on Graham Street, now renovated as the Econolodge; the

Royal Hotel on the corner of Brock Street and Dundas, that burnt on Christmas Eve, 1970. A credit union is now at that site. Ted’s log cabins were on Norwich, just before Parkinson road: a nice place to stay; or, Houser’s Motel, on the present site of Zehrs on Dundas.

Not forgetting places to eat: Ye OldeShu where Rochdale Credit Union is now (943 Dundas), or the Terrace Tea Gardens on the Beachville Road. Its owners closed it, moved it to Woodstock and opened on the site of what is now Bronson’s.

Eleanor closed with several aerial photographs taken in 1919. The city was smaller then; homes giving way to grassy fields north of Ingersoll Avenue.

Cancellation of ALL OxHS Events

Hello Everyone,

As I’m sure by now all of you are aware that all non-essential businesses are closed and all public meetings are cancelled.

This includes all of the Society’s regularly scheduled meetings for April and May.

Therefore, until further notice the Oxford Historical Society has cancelled all of its events.

Please stay healthy and remember to practice the safe distancing. The City of Woodstock has provided a simple guideline for everyone to follow.

Wednesday, March 25 Presentation Rescheduled

Hello Everyone,

The Oxford Historical Society regularly scheduled public meeting on Wednesday, March 25 will NOT take place due to the COVID-19 Virus.

The presentation Memories From the Vault, featuring Megan Lockhart from the Oxford County Archives, will now take place on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at the Woodstock Museum, NHS.

Woodstock Collegiate Institute, Early 1900’s

Memories From the Vault program is an interactive event in which Oxford County shares aspects of their archival collection (photos, newspapers articles, scrapbooks, artifacts etc.) with the participants, who in turn share some of their memories with the Archives. A great way to learn more about our history!

Invitation: Donor Presentation for Reconstruction of the Old Gaol

Hello Everyone,

I am forwarding on an invitation from Oxford County Council:

County Council will formally acknowledge the Flowers family on March 11 for a generous $250,000 donation from the estate of the late R. Bruce Flowers to restore part of the Old Gaol on Buller Street in Woodstock. A light reception and archival display will take place beforehand.

When:     Wednesday, March 11, 2020 
                9:00 a.m. Light reception and Old Gaol display
                9:30 a.m. Council presentation       

Who:        David Flowers, Jim Flowers and Shelagh Morrison, siblings of Bruce Flowers, will be in attendance, with David Flowers speaking 

               Warden Larry Martin will present each family member with a framed photograph showcasing the Old Gaol’s reconstructed features, accompanied by a miniature replica of the donor recognition plaque now affixed to the building

Where:     Oxford County Administration Building
                 21 Reeve Street, Woodstock
                 Main lobby and Council Chamber

The reconstruction project funded by the donation was used at the request of Bruce Flowers to restore the chimneys and bartizans (overhanging turrets) that were removed from the Old Gaol in 1954, a century after it was constructed. The Old Gaol, which currently houses public health services, was built in the Italianate Romanesque style and retains many architecturally significant features, such as Tuscan Gothic detailing and a central pillar foundation that carries the entire weight of the building.

For more information contact:                                        
Chloe Senior, Clerk, Oxford County                                 
519-539-9800, ext. 3001 | csenior@oxfordcounty.ca

Norwich & District Historical Society

Hello Everyone,

Here are some upcoming events happening at the Norwich & District Museum.

They are offering a Lunch & Learn session on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, from 11am-1pm, featuring Jeff Tribe. Jeff Tribe will talk about the use of drone photography in marijuana farming. Jeff Tribe went from newspaper fella to video communication and ended up at a cannabis factory. In this Lunch & Learn event he will talk about his experiences, give an overview of the cannabis market, and delight everyone with his story. For more information about this event go to N&DM’s Facebook page. This event will take place at the Norwich & District Museum.

The NDHS’s AGM will be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 7-9pm at the Norwich & District Museum. Matthew Lloyd, Curator of the Norwich & District Museum, will be presenting on Greek Archaeology. More information about this event can be found on the N&DM’s Facebook page.If you wish to attend either event contact the Norwich & District Museum at 519-863-3101 or email Norwich & District Museum.