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Historical Society Annual Meeting

Picture – Frank Rider, Ron Schmuck, George Isley, Suzy Motz, Linda Kennedy, Carol Neumann, Fran Vegh, Diane Beitz, Ken Hanson, Tom Schell and Doug Keller. Missing – Diane Strickler

The 41st annual meeting of the Historical Society of St. Boniface and Maryhill Community was held on Sunday, November 18th from 2-4 p.m. at the Maryhill Heritage Park Community Centre.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT – George Isley reported that we have had another year of success and continued engagement in the community. The January meeting began with a brainstorming planning session to established goals and objectives with the focus on 5 areas – Fundraising, Roles and Responsibilities, Recruitment, Community and Communication. Major strides were made in each of these areas and we continue to seek and add new Board members and attempting to match an individual’s skill sets with each position.  Each person brings valuable strengths to ensure a good working group. We continue to work in tandem with local organizations and governments and have sought endorsements and support for our initiatives within the business community as well. Canada Day and Heritage Day are our two main celebrations and continue to become stronger and entertaining for all who join in.

“I am pleased to advise that after a brief sabbatical, Susie Motz , has agreed to produce our very popular calendar for 2019.  We will continue to issue quarterly newsletters. With the cost of postage, it is gratifying to have the ability to send and receive the newsletters electronically. Many members have provided e-mail addresses to assist us in that endeavour. Thank you for that. Our relationship with our local municipality, Township of Woolwich, continues. We were grateful to receive a grant in 2018 to enable WiFi and cable access on site.  Our members can now connect to the Internet when visiting the Halter House to do additional research. Early this fall we became members of the Archives Association of Ontario. Through this membership, a thorough assessment of our Society has been made, at no cost. We expect that assessment report will enable your Society to put a plan in place for added security and preservation of both the records and contents of our Heritage property.”

We appreciated the feedback on not only our success and accomplishments to date, but the advice and suggestions for improvements or ideas that we could consider for future implementation. Comments are always welcome.

“In conclusion, it’s been a gratifying experience for me personally as I complete this first year as your president. I wish to extend my thanks and appreciation to each person who served as a volunteer or on a committee. You truly are strong contributors to our success to date. And to the Board members, your diligence, dedication and cooperation in working towards our goals and ensuring the society is vibrant and strong, is worthy of celebration. You provided positive input and much enthusiasm in all our endeavours. Volunteerism should be “a giving back” experience, but one that you also should enjoy doing as an individual. Without each of you, we wouldn’t exist or have come this far. Thanks to all. I look forward to a very productive and successful 2019.”

SECRETARY’S REPORT – Ken Hanson reported that we have 345 individual members  in 315 Households .  There were 2,355 volunteer hours by Board and society members to be submitted to Ontario Historical Society for 2018 .  The  Website Site Stats: 2017 – 5929 hits & 2018 – 7571 hits with a daily average of 21 hits.

We had a successful application to Woolwich Township  which enables us to bring cable and Internet Service to the Edward Halter Home which  visitors can do  research at Halter House. About half the membership now receives the newsletter via e-mail and about 30 receive by hand delivery. For the first time in November 2018 the notice for the AGM and proxies for the Annual General Meeting were sent electronically.

Diane Strickler, our archivist was awarded the Dr. Jean Steckle Award by the Waterloo Heritage Foundation in May. The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in heritage education through teaching, writing, or by example, and who has encouraged and mentored others in the understanding and appreciation of the natural or cultural heritage in Waterloo Region.

Our  Open House for the society and community was held weekly on Sundays 1-4 from Mid-June to Labour Day. Numbers were better this year – the return to traditional hours seemed to be more conducive to Sunday visitors. The Schmuck Family held a successful family gathering at the Halter House in August. It is our intention to encourage more of these gatherings in the future.

Standing committees are now established as needed each year as a result of the 2017 amendment to the constitution. There were 8 standing committees for 2018. These committees are chaired by a board member and include board members and volunteers. The committees do the hands on activities of the society. Our 11 member board received help from regular volunteers for our Canada and Heritage Day events.

TREASURER’S REPORT – Fran Vegh duties this year included the usual book keeping and banking for the society.  The preparation of the year-end report for the AGM and the many reports and correspondence with government agencies and historical societies.


ARCHIVES  & GENEALOGY- Diane Strickler prepared archives column for newsletter and articles for website, handled queries for archival materials, provided research assistance  electronically and personally for 41 families. Anstett / Beingessner / Carl / Doherty/ Eggensweiler / Frank / Gehl / Gilles / Goetz / Hauck / Herziger /Hummel / Karl / Kestner / Kisterer  / Klein / Kurtz / Lehman / Leonard / Massel / Messmer/ Messner / Montag / Olinski / Reilly / Reinhart / Rellinger / Rich / Roth / Scheibel / Schell / Schmidt / Schmuck / Schratz / Schwartz /  Seifried / Seitz / Steffler / Weishar / Weiler / Wunnenberg. Added 2018 various records to archives. Diane also writes regularly about events in the MHS in her blog: https:// observerxtra.com/blog/. Liaison with Waterloo Historical Society. Diane will be guest speaker on 19 November at Bruce County Genealogical Society in Southampton . Organized displays for our participation in Kitchener Genealogical Fair, Wilmot Heritage Day and the Waterloo Heritage Foundation/Waterloo Historical Society combined meeting. With Mary Ann Stroh spoke at the Maryhill Inn on 11 Feb for Heritage Day. Received donations of artifacts and paper records for the Archives.

BIRTHDAY CLUB – Diane Beitz has sent birthday cards to those celebrating 80th birthdays and above . The over 80s are also recognized at our Heritage Day Lunch with a special souvenir mug.

BUILDING AND SHRINES – Doug Keller reported that electrical and fire alarm inspections and minor repairs to Halter House had been made.. Septic Tank has been pumped and the Sump pump has been replaced.

CHURCH – Diane Strickler recorded the Baptismal, Marriages and Deaths records and indexed then for 2018.  The years Baptism 1918, Marriages 1937 and deaths 1947 are now available in the Historical House.  This is according to the Archives of Ontario. Mary Ann and Diane took Woolwich Township Historical Committee through church and cemetery.  Avery Sauve received Altar Server award in June. Greetings were sent to Sister Eleanor Olinski celebrated  her 100th birthday this year.

COMMUNITY-  Diane Strickler worked on Maryhill 4-H pictures – August 1971 – January 1972 – August 1974.  VETERANS – Received information on Chester & Norman Weiler. Completed History of the Maryhill Market.

FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE – Diane Beitz spoke on our 5th annual Silent Auction and the long standing Raffle which are our main fundraisers. All members were mailed a letter with the summer newsletter and one book of tickets. The over 50 items for the Silent Auction and the Raffle and the main cash prizes of were all donated. We are pleased that our members supported this fundraiser..

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE – Carol Neumann mentioned our membership year is the calendar year. The membership dues increased on 1 January 2018: Single Annual $25, Single Lifetime $50. These are the only two categories. Past membership categories were grandfathered.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE – Tom Schell was responsible for Canada Day and Heritage Sunday.  Our 5th annual Canada Day celebration was held on a very warm Sunday July 1st . The day began with a flag raising ceremony at 11am with MP Harold Albrecht, MPP Mike Harris and Councillor Murray Martin in attendance. Almost 100 people enjoyed the antique and collectible displays of Doug Keller and the BBQ lunch by the Knights of Columbus. Music was supplied by Frank Rider and Peter Zettle. The Village Historical Wagon Tours, thanks to Diane and Herb Beitz. were a big hit again in 2018. Ariss- Maryhill Lions with Hilda and Larry Wainwright , and seeing eye dog Otis were also in attendance. Maryhill Firefighters and antique cars were also part of day.

Heritage Sunday – Our 41st celebration was held on September 23 with over 80 in attendance. The 10 am Mass was followed by a Tour of the Wayside Shrines led by John Zettel and Linda Kennedy in John’s green 1928 model A Ford. Lunch was catered by the St Boniface CWL for the first time. We were pleased to have Mayor Sandy Shantz and Councillor Murray Martin in attendance. Our Community Honouree this year was Dr. John Schaman and The Ontario Aerobics Centre. The program consisted of Silent Auction and Raffle, recognition of 50th and 60th  Anniversary Couples and several birthday milestones of 80 and over.  For the first time the winner of our Maryhill Historical Society History award was invited to attend Heritage Day. Cameron Rebelo, the winner attended with his family. All honourees received specially designed framed certificates.

PUBLICATIONS – Ken Hanson reported on the  Newsletter – Samantha Isley and Ken Hanson produced four newsletters: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The Annual Calendar was produced by Susie Motz and the Website was maintained by Linda Kennedy which received 7571 hits in 2018 . March and September had highest number of hits. Average hits per day is 21 since launch in Feb 2017. Our website includes local community and heritage links as well as sections devoted to our archives and history. Current photographs and advertising of our upcoming heritage events are also part of the website.

RESOURCE CENTRE -[Mary Ann Stroh reported the Inventory of Halter House was completed and is now published. It will be used as a vital component of the Maryhill Historical Society Archives project in 2019. Thank you to Mary Ann Stroh, Diane Strickler, Tom Schell, Carol Neumann, Diane Beitz. This was the first complete inventory in many years.

SCHOOL – Diane Strickler updated information from St. Boniface School. This year St Boniface School was 120 years old in October!  This is the 3rd year that a History Award was presented to a Grade 8 student – Seth Doerr, Alex Zettel and Cameron Rebelo.  Received Newspaper Picture of SS #6 – West Montrose 1932 with names. Newspaper Picture of SS #7 – Winterbourne 1897 with names, Winterbourne Softball Team, and Picture of Vance School 1949-1950.


  • Ariss- Maryhill Lions, Maryhill Knights of Columbus , New Horizons & St Boniface CWL are active partners.
  • Participated in Wilmot Heritage Day and The Kitchener Genealogy Fair and Joint meeting of the Waterloo Historical Society and Waterloo Heritage Foundation.
  • Halter House continues to be used for meetings of community groups -Community Park, Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League and small family gatherings – this year the Schmuck family.
  • Community groups can post information on our website-New Horizons.   We have mutual memberships with Waterloo and Wellington Genealogical and Historical Societies.
  • Board continues to work with Woolwich Heritage committee on creating a Heritage designation for Maryhill Village.

The new executive for the 2018-2019 are: President – George Isley; Vice-President – Frank Rider; Secretary – Ken Hanson; Treasurer – Fran Vegh; Past President – Tom Schell.

Directors / officers for the new year are: Diane Beitz, Doug Keller, Linda Kennedy, Suzy Motz, Carol Neumann, Ron Schmuck, Diane Strickler and Mary Ann Stroh.

Guest speaker was Karen Wagner.  She has an undergraduate degree in English and History from the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto. She has worked at a number of Archives during her career including the Archives of Ontario, United Church Archives, Anglican Church Archives, Region of Peel Archives and the Stratford-Perth Archives. Karen has been the Wellington County Archivist since 1998. In partnership with the Wellington County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society she has compiled the publication, “Family Research in Wellington County”.

She talked about the Wellington County Museum and Archives, and the artifacts they host along with the help they offer.  She gave  tips on researching our family history – how to search, what to look for and what we can expect to find.   She provided a 2 page list of websites that are particularly useful for searching family history.  There were a number of questions by the interested audience.

The next meeting will be  January 20th from 1 – 3  p.m. in the Edward Halter Home.

Anyone who would like to become involved for an hour, a day, a week or a month or more is welcome.  For more information please contact any of the members of the society.

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