Back – John & Nancy Huck (50th wedding anniversary); Theresa & Bruce Reinhart (66th Wedding Anniversary), Helen & Fred Synnott (50th Wedding Anniversary) Front – Romie & Mary Voisin (Community Builders), Jean & John Zettel (66th Wedding Anniversary)
Sunday, September 27th was the 38th anniversary of the celebration of Heritage Day. St. Boniface Church was full as families from near and far came to celebrate this special occasion.
The song “The Cross on the Hill” which was composed by a former member Helen Moyer was sung at the beginning of Mass. Gift bearers were Fred & Helen Synnott who were one of the couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries. Eucharistic Ministers , Lectors and Readers were all members of the Society.
Following Mass 25 cars formed a cavalcade to visit where the first Mass was said. In the early day of New Germany, Mass was celebrated in the settlers homes. The first Mass was said at the home of Christian & Barbara (Allgeier) Rich in 1832. In 1997 a special stone was erected at the end of the lane which is the home of Fred Drexler. Fred’s sister Theresa Hodgkinson gave the history of this site.
Next stop was the Klein cross just outside of Maryhill which was erected in 1846 by Andrew Klein and his brothers. Ken Kurtz a direct descendant gave a brief history on this cross. Legend is that during the rough Atlantic crossing which took 6 weeks, Andrew Klein vowed that if the family arrived safely he would erect a shrine to the glory of God. This original cross made of peeled cedar and was about 14 feet high.
The second cross was Robert McNanny and his brothers of Irish descent who lived on this farm until 1860 and it is thought they may have erected the cross in about 1832 again in gratitude for a safe arrival after a stormy Atlantic crossing. This original cross was also made of cedar and was about 15 feet high. The original cross was donated to Doon Pioneer Village in Kitchener. The Sebastian Drexler family purchased the farm in 1876 and took the responsibility for the care and maintenance of this cross for several generations. Brian Lorentz a direct descendant of the Sebastian Drexler family gave the history of the Drexler -McNanny cross. This new cross has been constructed as closely as possible to the original. In 2010 the cross was reconstructed and replaced with the wood of a hydro pole.
Helen Peacock spoke on the third cross which was erected by James Keleher in 1908 as a memorial to his pioneering parents who purchased the farm in 1869. This cross was erected as a memorial to his pioneering parents who purchased the farm in thanksgiving for the prosperity the family enjoyed in the new land.
All the plots of land that the crosses are located on are owned and cared for by the Maryhill Historical Society.
Thank you to Doug Keller and Tom & Charlene Schell who have maintained and decorated the areas around the crosses as a reminder of our early pioneers.
There were 130 people in attendance who enjoyed the lunch which consisted of ham, scalloped potatoes, coleslaw and all the fixing along with several different kinds of pies, coffee, tea and water.
President Marlene Bruckhardt welcomed everyone and who spoke about the tour and also introduced the members of the society. Master of ceremonies was vice -president Tom Schell. This year four couples were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries and were honoured.
Fred & Helen Synnott, John & Nancy Huck received framed certificates commemorating their wedding day. Two couples Ross & Shirley Hollinger and Doug & Barb Bauman were not able to attend. Celebrating their 60th was Vincent and Grace Kurtz but they also were not able to attend. John & Jean Zettel and Bruce & Theresa Reinhart were not able to be present last year for their 65th wedding anniversary so were honoured this year for their 66th wedding anniversary.
A new event this year was – “Community Builders” and Romie & Mary Voisin were also presented with a framed certificate.
Celebrating their 80th birthdays this year will be Doris Paprocki, Robert Speaker, Michael Seitz, John Seitz, Dolly Provost, Cecilia Hummel, Mary Godwin, Alma Moser and Rosemary Morgan. 100 year birthdays were Emma Janzen, Rita Heffernan, Irene Bitschy and Anna Mahoney. These people will all be receiving special mementos.
Also recognized this year were people who came from Kelowna, British Columbia, Lewiston, New York, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mildmay, Sauble Beach and Ayr.