Monday, August 21, 2017

Farm Meme Monday #4

Pinterest @rhiarules2003                                                                                                                                                                                  More:
Bring your cowculator to the Heritage Farm Show, September 9 & 10, 2017 at Backus-Page House Museum to see if we hit our goal of 150 pieces of equipment on site to celebrate Canada150 and Ontario150.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Behind the Scene Sundays with Sabrina

🌺Behind the Scene Sundays with Sabrina 🌺

            First off HI , I'm Sabrina Merks, resident of Dutton and I'll be attending St. Lawrence College for musical theatre performance in the fall. You may have seen me in the Elgin County area wearing many hats, such as volunteer at The West Elgin Dramatic Society or have seen me as one of the cashiers at Dutton Foodland, or even possibly as current reining Miss Elgin County Globe. I spent my past year at Sheridan College in the performing arts program and I'm excited to be Assistant Museum Manager for whats left of our summer here.

           Tuesday & Wednesday were quiet with the addition of giving tours. I enjoy giving tours and letting people grasp our little corner of history here in Dutton Dunnwhich. We also had a few items donated this week, some from my own personal collection. Im very much a music person, *obviously* and my dad one day found some very old sheet music and gave it to me. One of the books was called, Music Of The British Empire and inside it is the original version of O'Canada. The other book of music was book filled with how to teach children to play piano, but the really cool part was who owned it. We had to do some digging but on the inside cover of the book was name Clara Heine. So we pulled out our laptops and starting digging. Luckily Angela is a way better detective than I am was able to find out that the family was one from Dutton Dunnwhich. You never know what you might find in your own backyard.

            Thursday was our Day Camp day. This weeks theme was all about Biodiversity. The children learned all about animals and plants in the area and how early settlers may have encountered them. Unfortunately it poured rain for most of the day so all of the activities had to be inside, which doesn't make for a lot of fun when everything you're learning about is outside.  The kids still had a great time and thats all that matters.

Friday we had a few visitors and I was able to get 2 more years of nomenclature done. Im hoping to have all of it done by Wednesday. If you don't know or haven't heard about my struggles with the nomenclature I have to go through all of the years 1996-2016 and classify all of the man made objects. It takes a long time because you're consistently flipping through a book. However the task is very important, and will help us out in the long run. 

Thats been my week,
Tune in next for another update
Sabrina Merks



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Sighting - It’s All About The Animals

Saturday Sighting - It’s All About The Animals
          What’s up Canada!  You know who it is!  It’s me again, Ben the MNR guy at Backus Page House Museum.  I’m here to give you your weekly Saturday Sightings.  Everybody here knows what a tree frog looks like right?  Okay good!

          Lately the staff here at Backus-Page House Museum has been seeing a lot of tree frogs in this area.  They have been everywhere on trees and in the grass, its crazy!  The past week the staff here had emptied our World War 1 sand bags and has stored the bags into containers.  While doing this we saw a snake and a HUGE spider.  This year a lot of deer have been sighted in this area so if you’re driving by please be careful.

          We also had day camp this past Thursday where the kids learned about animals and how they live.  If you are interested in signing a child up for day camp give us a call here at Backus-Page House Museum and we will be able to assist you.

          That is your weekly Saturday Sightings with Ben the MNR guy.  Hope to see you soon and remember to stay cool.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tourism Thursdays : Theres Always Something To Do In Elgin

🏡Theres Always Something to do in Elgin🌽

       Travel the Talbot Trail and find unqiue treasures! On Saturday August 19th. Talbot Line (Hwy # 3) from Port Burwell - Rodney. Home owners all of the county will be hosting yard sales, and who knows what you may stumble upon! Be sure to start early, with almost 100km of the talbot trail to cover, there is lots to see

                On Saturday August 19th,  join us for a free celebration of fun, food and laughter in the park! There will be wagon rides, jump & bounce activities, BBQ food, games, snow cones & more! Downtown, merchants will have sidewalk sales & coupon promotions!
  • Sidewalk Sales downtown all day
  • Art in the Park (Palmer Park)
  • Farmers Market (Palmer Park)
  • Crafts and Baking (Palmer Park)
  • Live Music (Palmer Park)
  • Free Family Activities including jump 'n bounce games
  • BBQ with the Aylmer Splash Pad Group
  • Sno Cones & Candy Floss
  • VogelJoy Concert for the whole family

            On Saturday,  the ECC will hold their annual BBQ, Yard, Bake and Book Sale beginning at 8 am.  They will be serving breakfast sandwiches, then pulled pork on a bun, hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages for lunch at very reasonable prices.  At 10:30 am the Canadian Raptor Conservancy will present their Birds of Prey Show. This all ages event is sponsored by the Optimists Club of West Lorne.  Don't miss the opportunity to see Eagles, Hawks, Owls and more at the ECC! At 1 pm Band "Exit 137" will entertain. Bring your lawn chair and join us.

         Farmfest 2017, this Saturday from 5pm- 1am. Talbotville Market Berry farm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door. TICKETS available for purchase in the farm market. Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm  Sunday 9am-5pm Cash, Debit , Visa, Mastercard. Everyone Welcome ! Proceeds from this event go to the Canadian Cancer Society. With a great line up of music you cant go wrong. 

🐮🐣Whats Happening at the Backus-Page House 🐮🐣

              Come and see a variety of heritage skills being demonstrated, explore your rural roots and experience the living history museum first hand! September 9-10, 10am-4pm. 
The Back Pages Band is playing 12 – 4pm on Saturday, September 9
The Pierce Family Band is playing 12 – 4pm on Sunday, September 10

Thanks for reading.
Sabrina Merks

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

World War Wednesdays: SS Caledonia

Advertising card for the ship, Norway Heritage
     For those who remember the series of posts from a few weeks back about local First World War hero Maj. George Stirrett, this week's edition ties in as a bit of a spin-off. On June 9, 1915, Stirrett and the rest of his squadron, including Lieut. Billy Bishop, sailed for England on the SS Caledonia. I decided to investigate further into the history of that ship, a la the traditional WWW boat stories that seem to be a trend, and the results were quite interesting!
 Photograph of Caledonia dated 1904, possibly shortly after being launched, but it probably was actually taken in 1905 around the time of the ship’s maiden voyage on 25 March. Courtesy of the Peabody MuseumSalem, Massachusetts.
     The SS Caledonia was a 9,223-ton British passenger ship built for the Anchor Line by David and William Henderson and Company at Glasgow, Scotland. She was approximately 500 feet wide and could reach a top speed of 16 knots. Launched 22 October, 1904, her maiden voyage was 25 March, 1905. Primarily used for trips between Glasgow, Scotland and New York City, she could accommodate roughly 250 first class passengers, 350 second class passengers, and 850 third class passengers.
Main staircase and lift, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives
Italian veranda cafe, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives

Corridor Lounge, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives

Another view of the Corridor Lounge, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives

Italian smoking room, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives

An alcove in the Caledonia smoking room, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives

Caledonia stateroom with private bath, Gjenvik-Gjønvik Archives
     Between 1905 and 1914, the Caledonia was "one of the premier passenger liners that steamed between Glasgow and New York City on a weekly basis," and her fastest time between the two cities was 6 days and 20 hours. A 1911 travel brochure printed by the Anchor Line boasted of the Caledonia's amenities:
     "First Cabin passengers are furnished with a liberal table, including all the delicacies of the season, and everything necessary on the voyage. Wines and liquors pf the finest quality can be had on board at moderate prices. The Dining Saloons, Music Hall, Ladies' Boudoir Promenade Decks, and by means of electric bells, are in communication with the Steward's department. Every steamer carries a duly qualified Surgeon and experienced Stewardesses, and is provided with a select Library, including all the latest Guide Books of European travel. Staterooms are located on the Main and Upper Decks, are large, have electric lights, and are perfectly ventilated and elegantly furnished, accommodating two, three, and four passengers each. All Staterooms are provided with electric bells connected with Steward's department."
A stateroom on board Caledonia. Photograph taken from an Anchor Line travel brochure dated 1911, Naval Warfare Blog. 

First class dining saloon aboard Caledonia. Photograph taken from an Anchor Line travel brochure dated 1911, Naval Warfare Blog.

 First class music saloon aboard Caledonia. Photograph taken from an Anchor Line travel brochure dated 1911, Naval Warfare Blog. 

Anchor Line dinner menu from S.S. Caledonia on 4 July 1905, during a trip from Glasgow, Scotland, to New York City, Naval Warfare Blog.
     Rates for adult passage ranged from $67.50 to $125 depending on the accommodations, children between the ages of 1 and 10 traveled for a half fare, and infants under one year made the trip for only $5. 

     When the First World War began in August 1914, the British government requisitioned the Caledonia and converted the elegant liner into a troopship with the capacity to carry 3,074 troops and 212 horses. For over two years, the ship carried soldiers and their equipment to France, as well as to various locations around the Mediterranean. 
     On 5 December, 1916 (a year and a half after Maj. Stirrett's voyage), while on a trip carrying mail  but no troops from Salonica, Greece to Marseille, France, Caledonia was attacked by the German submarine U-65 under the command of Cpt. Hermann von Fischel. She was torpedoed without warning approximately 125 miles east of Malta. Although his ship was sinking, Caledonia's commanding officer, Captain James Blaikie, steered the troopship towards the U-Boat and tried to ram her. Caledonia actually managed to hit the submarine, causing severe damage, but the U-Boat stayed afloat as Caledonia sank, with the loss of only one life, and there was evidently enough time for the rest of the crew to abandon ship and make it to the lifeboats before Caledonia went down. Fortunately, the absence of troops on board the ship helped keep the number of fatalities low.

     Captain Fischel of U-65 was so enraged by being rammed that he took Captain Blaikie prisoner from one of the lifeboats. For a time, Germany threatened to execute Captain Blaikie for trying to sink U-65. But, the British government made it known to the German government (through the US ambassador in Berlin, since the US was still neutral at that time) that a German officer would be shot in retribution. Ultimately, Captain Blaikie was sent to an officer prisoner-of-war camp at Freidburg, Germany. 

     I came across two different news reports from two very different newspapers that covered the sinking of the Caledonia: 

From the Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW, Australia, Tuesday, 12 December, 1916 (courtesy of the National Library of Australia)
Sinking of the Caledonia
German Official Report
(Reuter's Message)
Washington, Monday
     The German Embassy has received an official message from Berlin that the British Anchor liner Caledonia was sunk by a U submarine on December 4 after she had tried to ram a submarine and that the captain was made a prisoner.

From the Cornell Daily Sun, Ithaca, New York, Sunday, 11 December, 1916 (courtesy of the Cornell University Library)
Sinking of Caledonia Officially Announced
By The Associated Press
     Berlin, Dec. 10- The British steamer Caledonia was sunk by a German submarine on December 4 after she had tried to ram the undersea boat, it was officially announced today. Her captain was taken prisoner.

     Information this week is courtesy of the Naval Warfare Blog. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse inside and overview of a ship with a fascinating story!
      Thanks for reading, 
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Behind the Scenes Sunday with Sabrina

🌸🌸Behind the Scenes Sunday with Sabrina🌸🌸

              First off HI , I'm Sabrina Merks, resident of Dutton and I'll be attending St. Lawrence College for musical theatre performance in the fall. You may have seen me in the Elgin County area wearing many hats, such as volunteer at The West Elgin Dramatic Society or have seen me as one of the cashiers at Dutton Foodland, or even possibly as current reining Miss Elgin County Globe. I spent my past year at Sheridan College in the performing arts program and I'm excited to be Assistant Museum Manager for the summer.

           This week has been quite busy on Tuesday we had the waterfront cyclists come through and we had 100 cyclists on site. We gave tours all that morning and it was crazy busy, we gave 23 tours of the house! So many people from all over Canada came through as well. The cyclist started in Point Pelee national park are working their way up to Toronto. They were on their way to Port Stanley that day and used our museum as a pit stop. 

            Day camp was on Wednesday and we had 4 very eager explorers with us. this week we learned all about food. We Talked about the food groups, planted seeds in our garden, played games, made all sorts of cool crafts and were able to talk about food back in the 1850's which I might is rad.  
             The rest of the week I have just been working away at the nomenclature, trying to get it done ASAP. Which is difficult because if you know me I tend to be able to focus on a task for an hour or two then need a break. Often when I need those breaks, I write blogs or go outside and water the garden or even give a tour. 

              Saturday morning was a little different as well. So I come on site minding my own business when I see another car. I don't think anything of it people use our park or facilities all the time. Its when I get out of my car im greeted by the amazing sound of bagpipes, and i think to myself .... did we have an event or .... As I walk closer I see that its Brian one of the board members playing his bag pipes. We chat and laugh, and when I go into the museum I open all the windows so I could hear him play. It was a great way to send Saturday morning.

That has been my week everyone. 
Tune in next week for another update
Thanks for reading