The rich history of Perth and surrounding townships was highlighted recently with the year-long celebration of the Perth Military Settlement 200th anniversary in 2016. Although there are still many descendants of those original families living in the area who know their history, more recent arrivals have also tended to seek information about, and embrace, the full story of Perth’s bygone days. Fortunately, a wealth of resources are available, in both print and online form.
For those who look to the internet and social media, David Bromley maintains a website www.perthremembered.com, with a companion Facebook page called Perth Remembered. Bromley is a full-time coordinator and professor of graphic design, in the School of Media and Design, at Algonquin College in Ottawa, and has been in the graphic design industry in Ottawa for more than 40 years.
The website is described as “a pictorial journey throughout the history of the Town of Perth and Lanark County.” Bromley goes on to say that the site “was created as a personal tribute to the town that so many have loved over the years and to coincide with the town’s 200th anniversary in 2016.” Bromley designed the popular logo for the 200th anniversary, which was used by local municipalities and supporting organizations throughout the year.
The Facebook page boasts more than 4,000 followers, a remarkable number for a local page. It states that: “This page is intended to capture Perth and District’s rich history in pictures and stories by retrieving those memories so that they are not lost and forgotten.” Although Bromley has a vast collection of old photos, he also accepts submissions. The procedure is described in detail on both the website and Facebook page.
There is also plenty of information available through the Perth & District Historical Society: www.perthhs.org. The website has a page listing books by local authors, including: A Matter of Honour and Other Tales of Early Perth, by Susan Code McDougall; The Merchants, Professionals and Tradespeople of Perth, by Gus Quattrocchi, who passed away on January 14, 2018; and Forgotten Hero, Alexander Fraser (1789-1830), by Ron. W. Shaw & M. E. Irene Spence. Many of the books listed can be found at local bookstores.
As the website states: “A historical society has been active in Perth, with only one or two gaps, since the late nineteenth century – and became the present-day Perth & District Historical Society. In 2007, the society was re-structured under the guidance of a coordinating committee, which became the nucleus of the present ‘Executive Committee’.”
Another great online resource is PaperofRecord.com, a paid subscription service, which begins with the old Bathurst Courier and Ottawa Gazette dated Friday, August 29, 1834 – a broadsheet of four pages. That edition included a reprint from the Edinburgh Review about “First session of the reformed Parliament.” All editions to The Perth Courier up to and including April 15, 1987, are available for viewing and download.
Paper of Record states that the project was “conceived by electronic publishing and web pioneer, R.J. (Bob) Huggins in a local Ottawa, Mexican restaurant in 1999, PaperofRecord.com® is a Global pioneer of searchable newspaper image documents presented in their original published form. The Toronto Star, (circulation 650,000) became the first newspaper in the world to have its entire history from 1892 to present.” It can also be accessed by members of the Perth & District Union Public Library through their website.
“C Squadron of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) conducts a cavalry charge against the Germans at Moreuil Wood. The squadron suffered horrible casualties, but the action was key to halting the German advance in Operation Michael. Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.”
“Lance-Corporal Paul and Pte. Wm. Watters, escaped prisoners of war: Chafing under the restraints of being prisoners of war in Germany, Lance-Corporal Paul of Poland, and Pte. Wm. Watters of Toronto, made a bold and successful attempt for home and country dear, and succeeded in making their escape from a most carefully guarded camp, getting by the guards and sentinels after spending eighteen months under trying conditions.”
“Pte. Alphonsus Murphy returned to his home in Bathurst last week from overseas. He has been granted a furlough after two years with the Canadian Army Medical Corps.”
“The March honor roll for Perth Public School, Room VII included: Leonard Cordick, Edith King, Mary Clement, Mildred McLaren, Erma Wilson, Rhona Shaw, Amy Wilson, Marion Gamble, Lyle Cordick, Willie Clement, Wilhelmine White, Donald Brown, Alan Wilson, Minnie Leggett, Dorothy Dodds, Charles Nixon, and Margaret Sheppard.”
James & Reid, Dealers, advertised the “Ford One-Ton” truck for a price of $750.00 “F.O.B. Ford, Ont.” In spite of that advertised price, the wage versus cost of living ratio would hardly measure up to today’s standards. The Consumer Price Index was just a youngster at the time, but would soon to go to about minus 13 in 1920 because of the post-war recession, and then a sustained dip to minus 10 during the Great Depression of the 30’s. Since then, it has never gone below zero.
So there you go history buffs. Experience the joy of researching Perth’s fascinating and colourful past.
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