17 April 2012

A Baker's Dozen

A hungry crowd
"There's a great hunger for history out there".  We hear this so often; it must account for the full houses at our monthly Historical Society meetings. On Tuesday April 17, an attentive crowd dined out on an amazing smorgasbord of stories from our Community Archives.

Weeks of work by Archive Angels researchers and our intrepid tech team yielded an entertaining lineup of anecdotes from Hastings County's history. The furious behind the scenes activity involved finding stories in the collection, locating  visuals to go with them, meeting with the technical folks and planning brief presentations. A common concern: "How do I fit this story into 4 minutes!?"

From 1812 platoon exercises to a  young woman's horseback mission to meet the U.S. President s to the heart-warming story of Harry the fire-horse, the citizens of Hastings County were entertained and edified through the magic of Power-point and a good sound system. The thirteen volunteers who presented used archival photos and scanned documents from the Archives' extensive collection - from artists' sketches, to nineteenth century newspaper advertisements, to directories, newspaper collections and family fonds, to cross-written letters, to Billy Bishop's aerial photography, to illustrate their chosen bits of local history.

The stories were short and sweet. This was partly to do with the fact that the Quinte Living Centre doesn't allow sleep-overs (we couldn't talk as long as our subjects warranted) and partly because we want to make sure folks left with plans to visit us at the Community Archives in the Heritage Centre - we wanted them to leave the feast still a little bit hungry for more stories from the Archives.

Pictured after the presentation from left to right; Mary Jane Throop, Sharon White (Archivist), Katharine Mills, Kieran Delaney, Nick White, Bill Kennedy, Al Cleary, Adele Dibben, Lindi Pierce, Jeanne Delaney, Annis Ross, Lois Foster, Gerry Boyce, Lorna Garbutt, Diane Sule, Marney Black, George Pearce and Elizabeth Mitchell

This is the complete story line-up from the April 17, 2012 Historical Society event 'Stories from the Archives':
  • Sharon White - introduction
  • Al Cleary - Belleville Fire Department and Harry the horse
  • Elizabeth Mitchell - Hastings County Directories
  • Lois Foster - The Antheneum
  • George Pearce - J.B.Collip, unsung hero
  • Annis Ross - Terry Forin collection
  • Gerry  Boyce - Hutton of Hastings, the story of the book
  • Diane Sule - Gwen Lazier, in her own words
  • Adele Dibben - Aerial photographs
  • Jeanne Delaney - Intelligencer time capsules
  • Mary Jane Throop - Billa Flint, entrepreneur
  • Lindi Pierce - War of 1812 in Hastings County
  • Kieran Delaney - Scanning and digitization
  • Bill Kennedy - Outlook newsletter production
Not able to be present was Donna Fano who, in addition to preparing her own presentation, spent many hours with other volunteers turning their research material into those short but sweet presentations. 
Words Lindi Pierce, pictures Nick White

A Shorter History of Hastings County

I’m Sir Francis Rawdon-Hastings
As you see!
My titles of English Nobility
Do proceed from me!
Marquess of Hastings!
Earl of Huntington!
Baron of Hungerford!
I’m the Earl of Moira Too,
For which the Moira River is due!

Loyalist John Meyers; he built a grist mill
Making Meyers Creek
The gristiest town by a mill site!

McNabbs may come and McNabbs may go
But their Riverboat house remains
At the beginning of West Bridge Street Hill!

John Dunbar Moody reflects:
Oh Susanna; don’t you cry for me;
I’m The Sheriff of Hastings County
No more farming for we!
We come from Peterborough County
With an infant on our knee
But now its life in the clearing
No more Bush for we!

How much Flint can a Billa Flint, Flint
When a Billa Flint does Flint, Flint?
Enough to become a Senator
And name York River- Bancroft;
After his Mother-in-law!


For a longer history you need to go to the Archives!

Composed and Cried by Bruce Bedell (the Society's Crier) in honour of the "Stories from the Archives" presentation by the "Archive Angel" volunteers.