Category Archives: Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail
This documentary covers the same territory as the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail: the social history of the War of 1812 – 1814.
As the title suggests, A Desert Between Us and Them is about the people involved on the ground in the two-year war between the U.S. and Canada, either as combatants or as collateral damage. There is no focus here on aspects of the war which are more widely (if vaguely) known by the average Ontarian. No mention at all, for example, of the burning of the White House in Washington by a daring band of Canadians. Laura Secord gets one shout out but her contribution to the war effort is not described.
Reference: An Oct 1st story from The Windsor Star: “TVO film brings ‘real’ War of 1812 to life” ( See the full text at http://www.windsorstar.com/entertainment/film+brings+real+1812+life/8971819/story.html )
Just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with the Quilt Exhibition! I wish I had had more time to spend reading up on each quilt and doing some quilting on the frame…but regardless, each time I popped my head in the tent I was completely blown away by it. It looked fantastic and you and your team brought a layer to the event that was unique and engrossing and told stories that were not otherwise told.
Thanks so much for your work on this, and please pass on my appreciation to all of the quilt artists, volunteers, and fellow staff that contributed to this project.
Art and Event Initiatives Coordinator
Tourism and Culture Division
Planning and Economic Development Department
City of Hamilton
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Hosted by by ROKS Farms, 2115 Gideon Drive, Delaware, Middlesex Centre, ON
Joint sponsored by ROKS Farms and Sew Creative, Mount Brydges
Painted by the Delaware Lions Club
When the adjacent Longwoods Road was a mere blazed trail through the wilderness, the Thames was the route of choice for travelers. Long a valued route for natives, traffic on the river increased as settlement grew. From the late 1700’s vast amounts of lumber from the Delaware mills was rafted down river in the spring flow. This lumber built Detroit, Sandwich (Windsor), Amherstburg. On their return trips the rafters brought goods for the settlers. Even in winter the frozen surface was busy with sleighs as commerce continued.
The Thames and its tributaries provided power for mills sawing lumber and grinding the locally grown grains to flour. The river teemed with fish, a welcome food source. Fur bearing animals , a source of income for trappers , lived in and along its banks. Prone to flooding ,the river at times caused destruction and heartbreak as mill dams were washed out, crops and fences destroyed.
During the war, the river was used winter and summer to transport fresh military staff and supplies, being on the route from Niagara to the action in the Lake St Clair area. Sick, wounded ,and defeated armies, their native allies, prisoners of war, and terrified civilians, made the journey up river to Delaware . From there they proceeded on land via the newly made Commissioners Road to Niagara.
On a summer’s day as the river quietly flows to Lake St Clair, its tumultuous history seems so far away.
But listen and watch ….hear the songs of the native paddlers , the deafening roar of the spring beakup, the shouts of the raftsmen, the refugee’s whispered conversations, Governor Simcoe and his colorful 1793 party passing by. The river has seen it all.
Written by Frances Kilbourne, February 2012