You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

A new feature for the Collection’s Blog in 2014 will be Artifact of the Month.
With the frigid temperatures outside I thought that the perfect artifact for January would be a thermometer.
C. W. Gill Independant Grocer

This thermometer ca. 1930s is from the Gill Grocery Store in Strathroy and was used for advertisement purposes.
Advertising thermometers first appeared in the 1900s and were widespread by the 1920s. Intended to be hung outside, the earliest were made of metal like this one.  They were made by many different companies including beverage, food, automotive, and agricultural firms. Thermometers from Coca Cola and Pepsi are collector’s items today.
Note on this thermometer the scenic image; many times there were added images that did not relate to the company. Also note that the thermostat’s measurements are in Fahrenheit, it wasn’t until 1975 that Canada converted to the metric system.

The Gill Family name is associated with early businesses in Strathroy. Business included; Mihell and Gill Store, Gill Bros. Groceries and Provisions and C. W. Gill Independent Grocer.
Charles Wesley Gill was born on October 12th 1887 in Strathroy. He was the son of Aaron Gill, who immigrated to Canada in 1855 and was a butcher and Sarah Jane Grills.
In the 1911 census it notes that he is a salesman for a grocery and he is living at home with his parents.
His brother Frederick was also in the grocery business until he became sick and eventually died in 1922.
In 1914 a year after both his parents passed away he married Wynifred Bowely, daughter of James Bowely of Strathroy.
Charles W. Gill was one of the town’s few independent grocers, having two stores located on the corner of Frank and Centre Street, and Caradoc and English Street. He would sell bacon for twenty-seven cents per pound and one hundred pounds of sugar for five or six dollars. Some of the items he sold, such as flour or sugar would be found in barrels which you would ask the clerk to scoop out of. Cheese would come in blocks which the clerk would cut up and weigh for the customer. Egg grading was generally incorporated in the function of grocery stores. In 1943 C. W. Gill’s store on Caradoc Street was a licenced Egg Grading Station. Mr. Gill maintained his stores until closing up in the early 1950’s.
C. W. Gill died on July 3, 1955 and is buried at Strathroy Municipal Cemetery.

Location of Gill Grocers.  Corner of Frank and Centre Street

Location of Gill Grocers. Corner of Frank and Centre Street 1929

Information from Vintage and Antique Thermometer http://www.collectorsweekly.com/advertising/thermometers
Strathroy –Its’ Businesses and Industries 1832 – 1978 by Janice Kell, Lucy Kowaluk and Rita Van Trigt

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WWII Veteran

Clifford Arrand Adelaide Township WWII Vet

Clifford Arrand was born in Adelaide Township in 1917. His family owned a large farm where they did custom threshing and serviced the community with farm supplies. He enlisted in the armed forces November 1939 in London and took his basic training in Woodstock where he was classified as a Gunner. After training he took leave to take employment at the Strathroy Flour Mill making flour for shipment overseas. He married Frances Wilson in 1944. Clifford was later recalled and after spending time in New Brunswick he landed in Europe in January 1945. He fought with the 95th Battalion 2nd Division for B Company with the Essex Scottish (based out of Windsor ON). After a number of hard-fought battles he was in Germany when his battalion received word that the Germans had surrendered on May 4th, 1945.

After the war Clifford and his wife Frances bought a farm in Adelaide Township and worked in mix farming for years. Clifford also worked for the Department of Highways and would travel where the work was, taking his young family and living in a trailer during the summer months. After retirement they sold the farm in Adelaide Township and moved to Strathroy.

Here is a YouTube video of Clifford at a school talking about his experiences in WWII.  Clifford passed away on December 17, 2013.

Information from

Adelaide Township: WWII Armed Forces … Their Stories

Adelaide Township … A History

Both compiled by the Adelaide Township Heritage Group.

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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