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Mount Brydges Soldiers Monument

In the early part of the year 1919 a special meeting of the ratepayers of the Township of Caradoc was called by the Reeve, James Peters.  The town of Mount Brydges was considering erecting a memorial in the form of a building or other structure in honor and memory of the men of the Township of Caradoc who had enlisted in any armed forces during the Great War of 1914-18.  It the desire of the people of Caradoc to honour the memory of those who had made the supreme sacrifice in defence of freedom, so dear to the hearts of all British subjects.  The meeting was presided over by the Reeve while the township clerk, John Brodie, was asked to act as secretary. After long and interesting discussion it was decided to appoint a committee to further consider the matter and report to a later meeting.

At the second meeting the committee recommended that a monument be erected on the grounds in Mount Brydges on which the town hall was located and that the names of all those from the township of Caradoc who had given their lives in the war should be engraved thereon. It was further recommended that a marble tablet be placed in the town hall on which should be inscribed the names of all the men and women who had served in any way.

Early in June 1920 this committee was able to report that the monument was completed. The statue surmounting the pedestal had been obtained from Italy. The names of all those from Caradoc who paid the supreme sacrifice were engraved on the base.

The unveiling was held June 16,1920.

Unveiling Soldiers Monument Mount Brydges

Unveiling Soldiers Monument Mount Brydges

Researched and written by John Sargeant


This month’s artifact is a little different.  To highlight the current exhibit Strathroy-Caradoc Then and Now: A Photographic History.  We have chosen to show a 1911 postcard from the Main Street (Adelaide Road) in Mount Brydges superimposed with a new image taken by Museum Volunteer Jerry Rozek.

In the image you see two buildings prominently featured.

The first building on the left was constructed in 1880 to house the village post office, a general store and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) Hall on the second floor, addressing many of the needs of the local population under one roof. The store was established by Edward and Eliza Tuck, and carried a broad selection of merchandise. Following the untimely death of her husband Edward in 1886, Eliza took over the operation of the general store on her own. She eventually re-married John Betts, who managed the Commercial House hotel, and they carried on the dry goods business together for a number of years until the business was purchased by the Steer Family.  The first Mount Brydges post office was established in 1856, with Edward Mihell Jr. appointed as postmaster. Henry Bartlett was the postmaster at the time the office relocated to this building around 1913.  The I.O.O.F. name remains visible on the stained glass that highlights the three segmental arch windows on the second storey that give the building its distinctive character. The Odd Fellows, a benevolent fraternal organization, were actively involved in a variety of civic and philanthropic efforts in the community.  Much of the original architectural features of the building’s façade remain intact today, including the attractive cornice moulding that stretches across the façade above the storefronts. This beautiful structure played a significant role in the commercial activity of the early village.

The building to the right housed similar businesses. On the first floor the Union Bank of Canada and a general store and on the second floor the Independent Order of Foresters. It burned down in 1914 and was replaced with another two story building. Eventually this second building was torn down to make way for the Royal Bank of Canada that you see today.

Information from this blog can be found in the Mount Brydges Heritage Walking Tour.  An electronic copy can be found on the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc’s site or visit the Museum to pick up a brochure.

On July 30th Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened a new exhibit titled “Strathroy-Caradoc Then and Now: A Photographic History.  This exhibit consists of over 30 past and present images of Strathroy, Mount Brydges and Melbourne.

As part of this exhibit we are showcasing cameras that are in the museum collection and telling the history of photography.

The earliest camera on display dates back to the 1920s and it is a Kodak Brownie No 2A Model B.   These cameras were produced by the Eastman Kodak Company in the Rochester New York and the Canadian Kodak Company in Toronto.  The name Brownie came about from a comic produced by Palmer Cox who wrote numberous books with these characters  These cameras had a leatherette covered card box that would slide off the metal piece for loading.  These cameras would use 116 film size and produce images that were 6.5 cm x 10.5 cm (2 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches) in size.

These cameras were inexpensive and easy to use making it an ideal purchase for the average person.


For more information on the Brownie Camera please go to Kodak’s Brownie camera site

For more information on Palmer Cox please go to The Photographic Historical Society of Canada

This month we will be looking at a spinning wheel in our collection that is currently on display in the Quilts and Coverlets exhibit.

The Solomon Dell Lever Spinning Wheel was invented by a gentleman who was one of Strathroy’s original 14 settlers and one of the town’s greatest inventor.  Coming to area in 1837, he opened a tavern and a house of entertainment, and tinkered with machinery to improve farming implements.  The story goes that he walked all the way to the Crown Law Department of Upper Canadian in Ottawa to get his wheel patented in 1867.  The patent stated it was for “a new and useful lever spinning wheel, not known or used in this province by others before [my] discovery [of it].”  Dell’s spinning wheel differed from other wheels because he added a treadle, spinners could either stand or sit to control the yarn tension with their feet, rather than walking back and forth.  During this time in early Canadian history settlers had to be self-sufficient and many houses had a spinning wheel.

At the Provincial Exhibition held at Kingston in September 1867 he won under the category of Agricultural Tools and Implements chiefly for hand use for his invention.

Another patent that Solomon submitted to the government was for an improvement in hand drills that you can see on the Library and Archives Canada website.  On this website you will find patents from 1869-1919 and if you type in Strathroy there are 98 results, everything from improvements to a snow gate to refrigerators and bolt-cutters.   There is one Mount Brydges result, a fanning mill shoe and two for Melbourne; a device for restraining vicious animals and a wheel.

Dell was also a noted hunter, killing 800 deer in his first forty years in this district and earning the nickname “The Western Hunter of Ontario.” Some called him “the greatest hunter of his age.”


Quilts and Coverlets: Piecing Stories Together is on until July 26th and as part of this exhibit we are showcasing two quilts from the local Barn Quilt Trail, the Longwoods Quilt and the Trail of Tears Quilt.  For more information on these quilts visit Trail of Tears and Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail 

Next month we look at a quilt that was produced on a Jacquard Loom.


So it’s February 14th and love is in the air.

Why not check out the Victorian Valentine’s blog  post from last year to see how they celebrated over 100 years ago

The Historical Atlas of Middlesex County was first published in 1878 by H. R. Page and Co.  On the title page it states that the atlas was dedicated by Special Permission to His Excellency “The Earl of Dufferin K.P. K.C.B. Governor General”.  Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple Blackwood, was Canada’s third Governor General, from 1872 – 1878.  Upon his appointment he travelled to every accessible part of Canada, often on horseback and canoe, initiating a tradition which has been followed by his successors.

Within Canada there were over 40 atlases produced between 1874 and 1881, covering most of the eastern part of the Country (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes).  Each of the county atlases consisted of a historical text, township and town maps, portraits, views and patrons’ directory with business cards. But more important, names of residents were marked on the lots of the township maps in these county atlases. Unfortunately only the names of subscribers were recorded on the township maps for the Dominion of Canada supplements. All of these atlases were sold by subscription. Prominent county residents paid an additional sum to have biographical sketches, portraits and views of their residences or businesses included in the atlases (Information from the Canadian County Atlas Digital Project from McGill University).

Within the Middlesex County Atlas you will find sketches relating to the Firemen’s Hall in Strathroy, the Residence of I. B. Burwell (in Caradoc), Alexander Johnston of Kittridge Ave, Strathroy,  Richard W. Williams on Longwoods Road Caradoc, and James Manson of Strathroy.  Businesses include the Lager Beer Brewery on Caradoc Street Strathroy, and the Albion Hotel in Strathroy.

Personal sketches of some of the prominent Men in the County include Alexander Johnston a general store owner at the age of sixteen in 1860, and Dr. W. B Lindsay, son of Mr. G. H. Lindsay of Mount Brydges.  Business sketches include John Heard and Co Artificial Stone Works, Isaac Moore’s Hotel and Bixel Brewery all of Strathroy.

Maps include all of the townships in Middlesex County including and even preliminary village maps that did not come to fruition, like the Village of Adelaide.

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The Museum has a number of copies of the Middlesex Atlas and it is a very valuable resource when doing research for genealogy and exhibit purposes.  It has since been reproduced in 1972 however even the copies have become scarce over the years.

Come back tomorrow for B is for …..

In honour of the recent Beaver and Cub tours held at the museum and conducted by Brianna, I am dedicating a post to Scouting.

The Beaver program (ages 5-7) emphasizes having fun well learning basic social skills and gaining self confidence.  Cubs (ages 8-10)  is built around games, crafts, music, storytelling, play acting, and the outdoors and individual interests and skills are recognized through simple awards.

Strathroy, Mount Brydges, and Melbourne are part of the Sydenham Area under the Tri-Shores Council which has 4,900 youth in the Scouts Canada Program and over 1,200 adult volunteers who deliver and support the program.

Strathroy’s first Scouting group was organized shortly after the founding of the Boy Scout Movement by Englishman Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1907.  Since this time Strathroy and area citizens have been active in promoting the movement.  Among the early leaders were E.J. Wright and Ian P. Bateman.

During the years of the Second World War activities increased.  At that time there were two groups in Strathroy with an approximately 200 Scouts and Cubs.  The Scout House located at the northern end of Alexandra Park was built in 1957 at a cost of $22,000 on land donated by R.B. Pincombe. 

For more information go to the Age Dispatch article published during the 100 year anniversary of Scouting.

The museum has a number of pieces from the 1930s-1980s, from books to uniforms, below is just a sample of what can be found within the collection.

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Since Valentine’s Day is upon us I thought I would peruse the collection for cards and other holiday themed items.

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Highlighted above is an invitation to a Dance held in Mount Brydges by the Caradoc Pleasure Club.  If anyone has any information on this club, please email

Happy Valentine’s Day from Museum Strathroy-Caradoc.

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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