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Maryhill historical society celebrates 40th general annual meeting

The 2018 executive and directors: Suzy Motz (Publications) , Diane Beitz (Birthday), Doug Keller (Building Maintenance & Wayside Shrines), Ken Hanson (Secretary), Linda Kennedy (Website), Diane Strickler (Archives & Genealogy), Fran Vegh (Treasurer), Tom Schell (past president), George Isley (president). Missing – Elizabeth Bruder (Fundraising), Carol Neumann (membership) Mary Ann Stroh (Halter Home Resource Centre), Lee Ann Wetzel (vice-president).


The 40th Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society of St. Boniface and Maryhill Community was held on Sunday, November 19th at 2 p.m. in the Maryhill Heritage Park Community Centre.

Thank you to Mary Campagnaro and Marlene Bruckhardt for acting as scrutinners and to Tim Vegh who conducted the meeting with a keen sense of professionalism.

PRESIDENT – Tom Schell welcomed everyone and a special welcome to Murray Martin Ward 3 Woolwich Councillor and guest speaker Marilynn Crow and her husband Bill.  The meeting opened with a prayer followed by a minutes silence to remember our deceased members.

Tom Schell gave his president’s report by extending his sincere appreciation to all Board Members and committee chairs for their support, effort and the volunteer time they have contributed to the Historical Society during this past year.  In January. a planning meeting was help to set some objectives for this year.  Some were a continuation from 2016.  The first objective was a web site to serve our members as well as the greater community.  Thanks to a grant from the Township of Woolwich we now have an informative web site that has more information added weekly.

Another goal was to work with other community groups in the area.  Thanks to Canada’s 150th birthday we were able to partner with the Knights of Columbus, Ariss-Maryhill Lions Club, Maryhill Firefighters and the Catholic Women’s League.

A special thank you to our local politicians’ who took time to celebrate with us.  Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament, Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament, and Murray Martin Woolwich Township Councillor.  These gentlemen have been very supportive of the Maryhill Historical society for some time.  As well thank you to Peter Tillich for the donation of a sugar maple which was planted behind the Halter House to mark Canada’s 150th.

An initiative that was long overdue was to complete an inventory of all items in the Halter House Resource Centre.  He along with Mary Ann Stroh, Diane Beitz, Diane Strickler, and Carol Neumann met once a week for a few hours to complete this task.

A proposal to have signs placed at the four entrances to Maryhill and three at the Freiburg corner is one project that we are hoping  to have completed for our 40th anniversary celebration.   We are hoping to receive permission to place these signs.

Tom spoke on the very rewarding experience it was to serve as president.  He was fortunate to have a very co-operative board that was forward thinking and always positive.  Board member were always willing to volunteer their time to help at various events and functions.  He appreciated their advice and help throughout the year and wished incoming president George Isley and his board much success.

SECRECTARY – Ken Hanson reported that our current membership is 381 individual members and  317 households.  A total of 3770 volunteer hours by the board and society members.  The 13 member board met 9  times and the executive met 8 times with numerous committee meeting.

STANDING COMMITTEES – There were 10 standing committees chaired by a board member which  included board members and volunteers.  The committees do the hands on activities of the society.  Our 13 member board receives help from regular volunteers.

ARCHIVES & GENEALOGY – Diane Strickler  has prepared historical pages for the website, handled queries for archival materials, provided research assistance electronically and at Halter House.  Events in the area  appear regularly  in the Woolwich Observer blog: https://observerxtra.com/blog

BIRTHDAY CLUB – Diane Beitz  reported sending birthday greeting throughout the year which including those celebrating their 80th birthday’s this past year.  Our thanks to MP Harold Albrecht for his help.

BUILDING MAINTENANCE & WAYSIDE SHRINE COMMITTEE – Doug Keller spoke on the new Klein cross that was erected and thank you to Ken Kurtz who donated the beautiful corpus.  The Halter House has received several upgrades during this past year.

FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE – Lee Ann Wetzel with the help of daughter Taylor ran two successful fundraisers this year with the silent auction and raffle.  This is our only major fundraiser.

HALTER HOUSE RESOURCE CENTRE – Mary Ann Stroh was happy to report that the inventory has been completed but would still like to do some critiquing.  Traditional Open House’s for society and community were held weekly on Sundays 11-3 p.m. from June until September.  Unfortunately visitor numbers were down again this year.

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE –  Carol Neumann reported that our membership year is now according to the calendar year.  Membership dues will increase on 1 January 2018 – single annual $25, single lifetime $50.  These will be the only two categories.  Current membership categories will be grandfathered.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE – Ken Kurtz was pleased with the Canada 150 celebration with flag raising ceremony in the morning with Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament, Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament, and Murray Martin Woolwich Township Councillor in attendance.  Over 100 were in attendance over the day.  BBQ lunch was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.  The village historical wagon tours thanks to Diane and Herb Beitz were a big hit.  Ariss-Maryhill Lions Club, Maryhill Firefighters and local antique auto and farm machine groups had displays.  The day ended with Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Boniface.

Heritage Sunday on September 24th celebrated our 40th anniversary.  Mass at 10 a.m. was followed by a tour of the site of the first mass and the three Wayside shrines, lunch, silent auction and raffle.  Couples celebrating their 50th & 60th wedding anniversaries and several birthday milestones of 80 and over were honoured with designed framed certificates.  The New Horizon group co-ordinated by Joan Haid and ladies Sandra Hachborn and Linda Trakalo  were honoured.

PUBLICATION COMMITTEE – Ken Hanson  reported a new website was launched in February by Ken Hanson and Linda Kennedy.  Susan Motz has sent the membership ‘s 3 newsletters and one calendar this past year which is very popular.  We are working on establishing electronic distribution of newsletters to address postage costs and have applied for a grant to set up a WiFi at the Halter House.  Our website has a section devoted to Maryhill Historical Society in the news and out connections with other Heritage groups.

WEBSITE – Linda Kennedy is pleased with the new website which includes community and heritage links as well as sections devoted to our archives, history and current news archives.  Current and historic photos are prominent.  We have had over 6000 hits since the launch in February.

Reaching out to the community and building partnerships: Ariss –Maryhill Lions presented our Society the community award as part of their 100th anniversary of Lions. President Tom Schell, secretary Ken Hanson and treasurer Fran Vegh were able to attend the Canada 150 celebration for Guelph-Eramosa and promote our society.  Diane Strickler and Mary Ann Stroh received the Canada 150 Volunteers award from MP Harold Albrecht and MPP Michael Harris.  This is the 2nd year that a St. Boniface school grade 8 student received the Maryhill Historical Society History award.  The Halter Home is used for meetings of the community groups – Maryhill Heritage Park, Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League.  The Community groups can post information on our website.  Tom Schell, Ken Hanson, Linda Kennedy and Diane Strickler met with Chris deGreer who is doing research on exploring significant landscapes in Woolwich and Wellesley Townships.  This story can be read in The Observer.

The new 2018 executive: President – George Isley, Vice-president – Lee Ann Wetzel, Secretary – Ken Hanson, Treasurer – Frances Vegh, Past President – Tom Schell.  Directors / Officers:  Archives & Genealogy – Diane Strickler, Birthday –Diane Beitz, Building Maintenance   & Wayside Shrines – Doug Keller,  Fundraising – Elizabeth Bruder, Halter Home Resource Centre – Mary Ann Stroh,  Membership – Carol Neumann, Publication – Susan Motz, Website – Linda Kennedy.

Bill Crow, Marilynn Crow, Marlene Bruckhardt thanking our guest speaker.

Guest speaker was Marilynn Crow of the Puslinch Historical Society who spoke on her book – To The Seventh Generation 1823 – 2015.  This included the history of their family and the family farm in Puslinch. Her book records the changes in farming practices, rural architecture and the lives of farm women and men through two centuries.   She also spoke on the joys and pitfalls in doing her book.

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