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Wellington County Historical Society presents: "Wiring Wellington County: A History of Early Rural Internet Initiatives," October 20, 2:00 p.m., Wellington County Museum and Archives, County Road 18, Fergus. Presented by Helen Aitkin, former manager, TeleCommons Development Group.

WCHS treasurer Kathy Bouma presenting a cheque to Willa Wick (Harriston Historical Society) with the rest of the WCHS board members.

You won’t know if you don’t go”, a true enough statement, and one that should be remembered when groups put on a function with the anticipation that it will be well attended.  To that end, the Wellington County Historical Society executive traveled to Harriston for their August meeting.  Seven members were hosted by their sister society which has display rooms on the third floor of the Carnegie Library.  “We’re trying to start a tradition”, said one member, “where we as a board visit other societies to see what they do rather than just hear about it in emails or reports”.  This is the second time the county board has been summer-hosted by Harriston.

After the meeting the seven member team viewed various displays in the Harriston Society’s John Webb Room, and the three-room exhibit, in the Art Gallery, of artifacts and memorabilia depicting the 160 years of the Harriston Fall Fair.  The county board was amazed at the numerous collections that had been accumulated for this two month display.  The Harriston group is very fortunate to have both a permanent display room plus storage area.  As one visitor put it, “you have all this, and all we have is a few totes in a corner of a storage room at the Museum”.

All were particularly impressed with the creativity and layout of the Fall Fair display which has little niches mimicking the various categories of a real Fair.

After a quick impromptu meeting the Harriston Society was presented with a donation.  This fulfills part of the society’s mandate of fostering public awareness of the history and heritage of Wellington County. “With the hundreds of 8x10” pictures you have on display, and the inordinate amount of printer ink and photo paper you have gone through, this will help defray your stationery expenses” said Wellington society treasurer Kathy Bouma as she presented a cheque to Harriston Co-Chair Willa Wick.

The conclusion was a jaunt around town where the group saw the murals, vintage themed store window displays, and many of the original buildings as portrayed on the new brochure Downtown Harriston Historical Tour.  This represents a self-guided walking tour, and was a summer project of the Historical Society with support from the Town of Minto and the Harriston Rising Committee.

Board of directors 2019 to 2020

The Board Directors for 2019-2020  from Left to right:  Kathy Bouma, Cynthia Rabstein, David James, Ian Easterbrook, Evelyn Robson, Willa Wick, Nikki Logan, Ron Hattle and Helen Aitkin.

Hailey Johnston with a bouquet of flowersWCM&A  Curator – Hailey Johnston receives thank you for being the guest speaker at the AGM.  Hailey spoke on the work behind the scene at the museum.  It focused on preservation of artifacts, acquiring pieces and the storage of items.

Jane Robertston in historical costume as the Ennotville librarian
Jane Robertson as Ennotville's first librarian

The WCHS meeting on May 5, 2019 was held at the Ennotville Historical Library with guest speaker, Jane Robertson, Librarian, speaking on the history of the Ennotville Library, how it came to be and how it has endured for so long.  Jane dressed in costume representing the first librarian.  The Library was started in 1847 by the early settlers who came to the lower Nichol area.  Many of them had brought a few books from the old country, which they passed from home to home.  Soon, they wanted a central location to make it easier to exchange these books.  Land was donated in the hamlet of Ennotville, and so started the library.  Through the years this building has housed a number of activities including a campus of the Mechanics Institute, a Sunday School; a community centre with dances and card parties; and a voting station for elections of local council, Ontario legislature and federal elections.  Available for rent for small family functions, meetings and celebrations. The library is a volunteer run organization which gratefully excepts donations.

Ennotville Library
Ennotville Library

Ron Hattle, Sue Weir and Haley JohnstonWCHS president Ron Hattle presenting Sue Weir & Haley Johnston appreciation gifts from the historical society on their presentation “Stitched Together – One Quilt, One Community” which was held on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 at the Wellington County Museum & Archives.

Nikki Logan
Nikki Logan

Nikki Logan originally comes from the countryside outside Dundas, Ontario, however she and her husband John have made Fergus their home for the past twenty years.

Researching the history of their old stone cottage piqued an interest in the historical development of Wellington County and the various peoples that settle here.

Nikki worked for many years in Health Care and now in retirement enjoys reading, swimming, genealogy and collecting old stuff! Her family including five active grandchildren keep her busy.

She looks forward to working with the Wellington County Historical Society and giving back in some small way to this great place they chose to call home.

The topic for the annual writing contest was “My First Summer Job”. This was the 75th anniversary of the essay contest which was started by Jean (Mrs. Tom) Hutchinson in 1943. Director Willa Wick presented certificates and cash awards to the winners. In the adult class, first prize was captured by Ian Easterbrook of Fergus; second went to Silvana Sangiuliano of Belwood; third place was Evelyn Robson of Belwood, and honourable mention was awarded to Julie Goudie of R R #2 Fergus.

In the student division first place went to Lily Van Hisseling of Fergus, while second and third place winners were brothers Jonah and Joshua Doupe of Belwood.

The Society expresses thanks to the judges and to everyone who submitted entries. We encourage everyone to try their hand at writing a short essay and participate in the competi-tion. The subject for the 2019 competition will be announced in the Society’s winter newsletter.