by John D. Wilson
Summer has all too quickly passed. Here at the Museum we markÂ this passing with the return of our summer guides to their studies.Â We were pleased again this year to provide summer employment forÂ young people from the community. Again this year we wereÂ blessed with intelligent, enthusiastic and courteous guides. SeveralÂ visitors commented favourably on their experience in working withÂ these young ambassadors. We wish Fadila, Kelsey, Logan andÂ Chad the best in their studies.
Many visitors from near and abroad have come to the Museum thisÂ summer, most searching for their ancestral roots in this community.Â We were pleased to welcome back several old friends, including,Â Marilyn of Connecticut who has set a record of 16 consecutiveÂ years with us, our biker friends Ed and Kathy from Massachusetts,Â on another tour of the Maritimes and Karen, an old friend fromÂ Alaska.
We welcome Owen, Paul, Eric and Richard to the Board, whereÂ they join Garnet, John, Isabel, David, Elliot, Dean, Bill, CarolynÂ and Keith. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group to serveÂ the needs of the Society.
Planning is underway for a General meeting together with a publicÂ meeting during Fire Prevention week (Oct 4-10). A speaker hasÂ been arranged for the annual Heritage Banquet in February. Planning is underway for our participation in aÂ symposium to be held in the spring of 2016 on Hants Countyâ€™s involvement in World War One.
Beginning in September, the Museum will be on reduced hours â€“ Wednesdays, 10 a.m. â€“ 3 p.m. Please feelÂ free to join us and meet our volunteer staff. Also, please monitor our Facebook page (West HantsÂ Historical Society) for regular updates of activities. Looking forward to October, there will be a generalÂ and public meeting, and also guest speaker Richard Smith, who will be talking about the history of theÂ Windsor Fire Department.
Fun at the Museum
by Fadila Chater
This summer we had several exciting events; guest speakers, yard sales and even GhostÂ Hunts. There was something for everybody. One such event was our Mock ArchaeologicalÂ Dig that we held at Fort Edward, with a turnout of 80 participants. The kids had a great timeÂ digging through the sand for buried artifacts and cooling down with the freezies that we hadÂ available. Windsor has an interesting and diverse history, we wanted to make that historyÂ accessible and fun for the younger generations. There was no greater feeling than having aÂ 7-year-old exclaim â€œI never knew the Fort was up here,â€ or being able to tell parents theÂ purpose of the trade dollar and history of the Hants County Exhibition.
We also participated in the Avon River Days Street Fair, we had a number of people comeÂ to our booth to buy sweets and books, and to learn more about us. Some people had neverÂ heard of the West Hants Historical SocietyÂ and what we do. It was great to see theÂ smiles on their faces as they found theirÂ families in Loomerâ€™s â€œWindsor AreaÂ Familiesâ€ that we had brought from ourÂ library.
On August 22nd, we had our first GhostÂ Hunt. With the help of Margo Griffith andÂ friends, attendees met at our museumÂ location and using special ghost-trackingÂ devices, were able to contact the spirits ofÂ the town. We had a visit from George Stanley, the famed murderer, who killed a man inÂ Ellershouse by decapitation. We also met another ghost in the basement of our museum whoÂ had died of a heart attack. Who knew our building was so haunted!
Adopt a Soldier:Â Remembering HantsÂ Countyâ€™s Soldiers
By Chad Morash, StudentÂ Archivist/Curator
Summer students at theÂ West Hants HistoricalÂ Society along with theÂ interpreter at the fort and our very own officeÂ manager Sherri Allen haveÂ been busily working on theÂ World War I project.
Hours have been spentÂ pouring over newspaperÂ articles, scrapbooks, legionÂ records and online databases searching for the names of the brave men and women whoÂ served in the First World War. The culmination of this project has been the construction of aÂ â€œmaster listâ€ of Hants County citizens who participated in the war. The total number ofÂ names compiled in the list reaches the 297 mark. This project is ongoing, having beenÂ started last year by Ian Bauer, a former student employed at the Society. Looking forward,Â the aims of the project include finding more detailed information on each of the individualsÂ involved and to create a lasting memorial of all those who fought in the Great War.
The Connecticut Connection:Â The Story of Ezra Churchill Smith and his Descendants
By John D. Wilson, President
It was 16 years ago when MarilynÂ DeJoseph of Newton, ConnecticutÂ learned that her great-grandfather, EzraÂ Churchill Smith, was born in Cogmagun,Â Nova Scotia. Intrigued, but having noÂ knowledge of the area or of possibleÂ family connections, Marilyn made her first tentative visit to the West HantsÂ Historical Society. Buoyed by someÂ research success and having made a fewÂ local family contacts, she decided toÂ return the next year. And so it has beenÂ for the past 15 years that Marilyn hasÂ returned, to her ancestral homeland, often accompanied by her mother and recentlyÂ by her granddaughter, Elyse Knapp.
Over the years, Marilyn has made contact,Â and friends, with many of her extendedÂ family in Nova Scotia. She has also tracedÂ her ancestry from Ezra to Benjamin toÂ John Smith. She has found that John SmithÂ was born in Nova Scotia of EnglishÂ ancestors, was a blacksmith and marriedÂ Francis; otherwise he remains elusive.Â Marilyn and Elyse have now returned toÂ Connecticut, but intend to return next year.
We at the West Hants Historical SocietyÂ wish to acknowledge and congratulateÂ Marilyn for her determined pursuit of herÂ ancestral history. We look forward to herÂ return in 2016.