South Norwich Historical Society Celebrates 40 Years

Carrie Lewis

By Carrie Lewis

Mayor Larry Martin completing the ribbon cutting honours at this years opening of the Otterville Station Museum.
South Norwich Historical Society marks 40th year.
Members and dignitaries were on hand June 9 for the seasonal opening of the Otterville Station, bar-b-que and special guest speaker Dr. Allan Brown.
This Historical Society’s mandate is to collect record and preserve the history of the former Township of South Norwich, including Otterville, Springford, New Road, Rock’s Mills, Miller’s Corner, Rosanna, Hawtrey, Summerville and Milldale. Formed in April of 1975 the first responsibility undertaken by the Society was the restoration of the Historic Otterville Mill, which to this day is maintained and operated by the SNHS.
In 1982 a comprehensive history of the former Township was produced by the Society in the 400 page book South of Sodom. And in 1994 the SNHS undertook another mammoth project in moving the CNR Station from the east end of Otterville to its new home on the west side near Woodlawn. The Station was restored to its 1881 Grand Trunk style and now houses historical artifacts donated to the Society.
A Bursary Fund was created thanks to a generous donation from the late Lt/Col Percy Cornell Martin. This fund administrated by the SNHS has benefited numerous area students.
Another book, A Safe Haven written by Joyce A. Pettigrew tells the story of the Black settlers of Oxford County and was published by the Society in 2006.
Then in 2007 the SNHS led the restoration of Otterville’s African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery and former Church site. This site is now recognized as a Provincial Historic Site and is listed on the UNESCO Itinerary of Memories.
In 2014 a peaceful viewing spot of the Otterville Dam was created commemorating the burning of the mill during Col. Duncan McArthur’s raid in 1814 in the midst of the War of 1812.
The work of this Society is far from over with its many annual community events and speakers that are always welcoming for all to attend. The 2015 events still to come are the Mill Meadow Chicken BBQ June 21. A Smoked Pork Chop BBQ is held at the Mill Meadow Aug.23 and the annual Civil War Re-enactment at the Otterville Station/Woodlawn site Sept. 12 and 13. For details like Historic Otterville Mill/Museum on Facebook and come out and join in with the South Norwich Historical Society.
(written by Gail Lewis)

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