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2012 April

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Huron County Historical Society

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110 North St, PO Box 3
Goderich ON, N7A 3Y5



Executive for 2010-2011

David Armstrong president 519-524-1156
Ralph Laviolette secretary 519-440-6206
Mac Campbell treasurer 519-524-7935
Ralph Laviolette newsletter, notes 519-565-2454
Elaine Snell membership 519-523-9531
Brock Vodden councilor  
Rhea Hamilton-Seeger councilor  
Pam Stanley councilor  


Next Society Meetings.....

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

General meeting and Dinner,
Exeter United Church,
42 James St, Exeter

5:00 p.m. Guided Tour of the newly renovated Exeter Town Hall, 322 Main Street South (parking on street or at the back of the building).

5:30 p.m. Convene at nearby Exeter United Church for a Roast Beef dinner at 6:00pm with trimmings and dessert, $20 per person payable at the meeting.

7:00 p.m. Brief business meeting and update.

7:30 p.m. Presentation by Bob Heywood – Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Exeter Town Hall and the 150th Anniversary of the Exeter United Church.

8:00 p.m. Guided Tour of the Exeter United Church.

Visitors and guests are welcome to any portion of the evening…..

Please call Ralph Laviolette 519-565-2454 for dinner reservations.


Membership renewal.....

The date shown above your name on the address label is the year to which your membership is paid up. If you are in arrears, consider this a reminder that the membership fees are now $20.
To reserve your member’s copy of Historical Notes, keep your dues up to date. Past copies of the Notes are available at the Museum, $8 per copy.
And, if you are in arrears, mail-in your membership today.

Note our current address for mail and memberships:

HCHS Memberships, Box 3, Goderich ON, N7A 3Y5.


At the last meeting......

On November 16, 2011, members and guests gathered at the Huron County Museum auditorium in Goderich for a presentation about Heritage Trees by Edith George, advisor to the Ontario Urban Forest Council and past director of the Weston Historical Society, and Jack Radecki, arborist and Exec Director of the Ontario Urban Forest Council.

Ms George and Mir Radecki gave a detailed presentation about the identification and preservation of heritage trees in Ontario, particularly poignant to Huron County at this time.


Letters to the editor.....

Always welcome. Send to Ralph Laviolette, the HCHS editor at the address above or email Ralph.


Archives Facilities project…..

Members will recall that in 2009, the Society undertook a project to make recommendations for a competent storage solution for the many public and private family and other collections in the County. 
The working group that attended many of visits to neighboring archives reported its findings to the November 16 meeting and is now finalizing its recommendations for a discussion at the upcoming general meeting.


Progress on Historical Notes.....

The 2012 edition of Huron Historical Notes is now underway. It will feature the celebrations planned for the 125th anniversary of the village of St Helens, near Lucknow, in the north-west part of the County. Notes featuring the village of Egmondville and another Pot Pourri edition are also in the works. If you have an interesting anecdote to share, or a story of historic interest to tell, please contact editor Ralph Laviolette.


Newsletter Photo


Newsletter Photo


Brief notes about Exeter.....

Settlers to the current town-site came into the Huron Tract as early as in other areas along the London Road but flooding from the Ausable River impeded the first settlers staying. The Willis family arrived in 1832, the McConnell family in 1833.  McConnell built a sawmill on the river, then a gristmill, with funds raised for blazing a trail from London.  Due to the unpredictable river flooding, communities arose instead at Centralia, Rodgersville and Devon.  In 1843, settlement picked up – Saunders arrived, Carling began a general store and tannery and Pickard brought a mercantile business and started a flourmill and other industry.

McConnell’s Mill about one mile north of town became Francistown. Both sites amalgamated in 1873 as the village of Exeter.  Belden’s Atlas of 1879 recorded that it was “One of the loveliest villages in the western section of the province.”  In 1870, the London, Huron and Bruce built a railway station, a school appeared, and the Divisional Court was moved from Crediton.  A building boom ensued. Entrepreneurial settlers – Trivitt, Southcott, Atcheson, Trick and Drew  - were also early business starters.  The Exeter Times was begun in 1873, the Advocate in 1881. Around that time, there was an Exchange Bank, a Molsons Bank, the Verity Manufacturing plant, seven general stores, wagon and carriage factories, seven lawyers, four doctors, woolen and flax mills and a driving park.

Exeter was one of the last towns in Huron County to incorporate, in 1951.  It continued to grow as RCAF Centralia began and it continues to grow rivaling the county seat, Goderich, in population and business activity.
Sources: Scott’s 1966 History of Huron County, Belden’s 1879 Atlas pf Huron County.



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