Jeff Green | Jul 17, 2008
Feature Article - July 17, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - July 17, 2008 Basking in the history of Bedford TownshipBy Julie Druker
It is no wonder that June Quinn, Chair of the Bedford District Historical Society located at Glendower Hall at 1381 Westport Road, sometimes is amazed at the amount of information that she finds floating around in her head at any one time.
That amount recently increased exponentially since the society held an Open House on Canada Day. Roughly 40 local history buffs turned out to dine, chat, exchange stories and personal histories and to explore the wealth of historical information on display at the hall.
June was thrilled by the turn out. “It really gives people a thrill to see and touch history, especially if relates to them personally.”
A history buff herself who has delved thoroughly into her own family history, June thought originally that she’d write a book about the people from Bedford Township. She soon realized, after having spoken to many locals, what needed her immediate attention. She explains, ”More than writing a book, what was needed was a historical society where stuff could be gathered and generations could come and see their ancestors.”
So the society began three years ago this coming November and it presently boasts 15 members. Most of the artifacts that have been gathered and donated are stored and displayed in the office and library sections of the Hall. These artifacts include old documents from the town hall, schools, and churches, maps, photos, etchings, family histories, and the John Laughlin Collection of over 40 books donated to the society in December of 2007. Hours of work have gone into collecting, documenting and organizing the materials. One could spend hours exploring the history of the area and learning some very interesting facts.
For example, did you know that:
In 1896, Andrew Grey held military training sessions for local farmers at the Burridge School House? Or that the Corcoran family of Godrey,who sold their farm in the 1940s, returned every year for 15 years to celebrate their annual family reunions in the fields that no longer belonged to them? Or that a tornado touched down on Green Bay in 1963 and caused a considerable amount of damage?
Art lovers will appreciate a copy of a colored, etched landscape scene from the area titled “Wolf Lake from Fermoy Village” which was copied out of the Canadian Illustrated News and is dated November 25, 1876. The original art work is located at the national Archives in Ottawa.
After a visit to the society, one comes to understand the general history of the area.
Logging began in Bedford in the 1830s. Trains came along after that in the 1860s. In 1854 the post office opened up in Godfrey and Fermoy and the stagecoach was then extended to Westport.
Westport Road used to be called Mast Road after the huge pines that were cut down from these forests and used as masts for English ships. These fresh cut pines traveled the Westport Road and likely headed to the Rideau Canal or to Kingston, where they were loaded onto ships and sent to shipyards in England.
Also of interest is the old framed photo of the Council of Bedford Township dated from 1900 and whose frame bears a bullet hole from one gone astray, likely from the gun of a young rabble rouser.
The stories are endless and the history fascinating. All one need do is take a bit of time and stop by The Bedford District Historical Society located in Glendower Hall at 1381 Westport Road. You’ll definitely come away knowing more than you did when you stepped in.
It is open every Tuesday from 1pm-7pm in July and August. The society is also in great need of volunteers to help organize the large amount of artifacts and information coming in. Anyone interested in volunteering is greatly encouraged to do so. For more information call June Quinn at (613) 273-7241.