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Delaware block Located at Gideon Tiffany Monument, Gideon Drive, Delaware, ON

Location.  Location.  Location. Delaware in 1812 was strategically located.  Where the Longwoods Road (also called the Detroit Road), the Commissioners Road, and the Thames River joined, there was a village of settlers and  tradesmen making a  peaceful, productive life for themselves in

Delaware block and Gideon Tiffany monument

the wilderness.  But then war came …

Letter to the Editor,
Genesee Valley Advocate,
New York , United States of America
June 18, 1815.

Dear Sir,

It has been almost twenty years since families of the Genesee Valley began to relocate in Delaware, Canada West.  We came here to escape the tyranny  of certain segments of American society, and to pursue our lives in peace in this bountiful land. At this we succeeded till 1812.  Living at this most beautiful crossroads,  we were too often at the centre of hostilities.

Armies, British and American with displaced bands of natives passed through our village.  They were often in desperate need of food.  Our livestock and crops and equipment were taken, buildings destroyed, and fence rails burned as fuel.  Our homes and businesses were plundered and as a final blow our mills were burned by the enemy.

Some of our very neighbours became traitors, leading marauders into the heart of our country.  Women and children were  terrorized as the men were away serving in the militia.  Express riders  carrying important dispatches often dashed through the village adding to the unease we felt. We housed and fed soldiers and their mounts even though our stocks were greatly reduced.  Wounded were cared for in our village, and the dead buried in our cemetery .

But now in the spring of 1815 hostilities are over (except for a few scattered events) .  We will now start again in this devastated land.

The soil is  rich, and some forests remain.  The Thames River teems with fish, and with our skills, the river will again power mills and enterprise.  Surveyors will return to lay out townships and roads, farms and villages.

Delaware needs settlers, hard working families with skills to rebuild the country. We would welcome you.

Yours very truly.
A Delaware settler.

Pine Tree

7004 Longwoods Road.  Sponsored by Lonely Pine Consulting.

Magnificent stands of Eastern White Pine gave the Delaware area its early name, ‘the Pinery’. The tallest conifer in eastern Canada yielded soft pale wood of great value to the local economy and the developing United States. Many of the magnificent eastern white pine ended up as masts on the Royal Navy.

It was this pine forest and its proximity to the Thames River that attracted entrepreneurs  to the area in the 1790s.  With the arrival of waterpowered sawmills, the boom times began. In 1804, the Delaware mill was producing 3000 feet of lumber daily.  Rafts of freshly sawn lumber were skillfully guided down the Thames, supplying the needs of Detroit.  The raftsmen returned every 10 to 14 days, bringing supplies back to Delaware.  Settlers turned the lumber into houses, barns and places of business.

In 1805, Detroit was devastated by fire and the lumberjacks journeyed upriver to Delaware to spend the winter making planks and shingles to rebuild Detroit.  This was no easy life:  felling  huge  trees,  delivering the logs to the mill, milling them, and rafting the final products  downriver.  No wonder Delaware had the reputation of a rough and tumble community!

Settlers and the neighbouring Chippewa carved the pine logs into huge canoes.  They were vital for the transportation of all goods, especially transporting grain to the mill for grinding into flour.   The Chippewa used canoes to transport their valuable trade goods and corn to local settlers and neighbours downstream.

Pine Tree, written by Frances Kilbourne:

Source: Glenn Stott, TRACINGS; An account of the settlement of early Delaware.

Barn Quilt Installs nearly completed

Mr Mitton of Thamesville and Homeward Bound barn quilt

Home Ward Bound and Mr Mitton from Thamesville

The weather was perfect this past weekend for the Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail installations. Twenty-five out of the 30 paintings are now up. Barn quilt hosts are enthused with the new pieces of “art”.  Passersby are questioning “what is happening” in our rural area? “What are those things on the barns?”

For those who know, please spread the word. The Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail is a 65 km stretch of rural highway running from the Delaware Speedway on Gideon Road to Tecumseh’s Monument east of Thamesville.

Take your honey for a drive and “head on down” the barn quilt trail.

Barn Quilt Paint Workshop November 23

Great evening.  Good Turn out.  Quilters have their designs chosen, colours selected, and a joint fabric order for both quilts.  The painting teams are getting signed up.  First come; first serve to adopt five quilt blocks each, set up a workshop, and have a weekend painting party.   Delaware Lions.  Tait’s Corner Community.  Upper Thames Military Re-enactment Society are in.  The painting schedule starts in the New Year.   We hope that whoever hosts a painting venue will be able to offer it to more than one group.  Call Denise Corneil at 519 693-7002.  Sponsors are being sought.