Thursday, January 10, 2019

Karolyn Smardz Frost to speak on African Canadian History.

In recognition of Black History Month and Simcoe County’s own Black Heritage, the Huronia chapter is pleased welcome Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost to speak at our February 27th members meeting.
Our meeting will be held at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, Midland starting at 7: PM.
Our meetings are open to the general public at no charge.
Black church in Oro township

Karolyn Smardz Frost 

Both an archaeologist and an historian, Karolyn Smardz Frost explores North America's rich African American and African Canadian heritage and specializes in studying and teaching the Underground Railroad in the Great Lakes basin. She is an adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, and is consulting historical archaeologist for the Cataract House hotel excavations in Niagara Falls, New York.
She is also an accomplished author of lively and intriguing narrative non-fiction. In 2007 Karolyn won the Governor General's Award for I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad.  Her co-edited A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River Borderland (2016), won the Historical Society of Michigan Book Award.
Karolyn's newest volume, Steal Away Home (HarperCollins Canada 2016) tells the story of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who at the age of fifteen fled her Kentucky by way of the Cataract House hotel at Niagara Falls NY. Reaching Toronto she learned to write and began a correspondence with Fanny, the woman who had once owned her body, asking the price of her own family's freedom. Thus began a twenty-year correspondence between a freedom-seeker and her former mistress that has no parallel in the annals of American slavery.
A finalist for the Atlantic Book and Heritage Toronto Awards, Steal Away Home won the Speaker's Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the J.J. Talman Award for the best book in Ontario history over the past three years. The most exciting news yet is that Steal Away Home has been optioned for a five-part mini-series by Conquering Lion Pictures, which produced the Book of Negroes for television! Karolyn will speak about the archaeology of the Underground Railroad, and tell the tale of not one but two excavations illuminating the life of freedom-seeker Cecelia Jane Reynolds.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Our 1st Members Meeting of 2019

Happy New Year and compliments of the season.

Beginning the year 2019 in fine style, on Wednesday, 9 January, 7 p.m. at the Thompson Room of the North Simcoe Recreation Centre in Midland, our speaker will be Janet Turner, and her topic will be titled “The Molson Site: A Proto-Historic First Nations Settlement, Barrie, Ontario.”

Janet Turner, a secondary school Teacher, was given the unique opportunity to run a Summer School Co-op Education programme under the direction of Paul Lennox and Gary Warrick in 1985 at the Molson Site in Barrie. Co-op Education was in its infancy at this time, so 22 chosen students from the five Barrie secondary schools (grades 9-12) received two Grade 11 credits in “Archaeology” for the instruction they got over a five-week period from the archaeological crew. This was considered to be a salvage dig as major development was imminent.

Janet was raised on a farm in Innisfil Township and has always been intensely interested in the history of the area. The fact that The Molson Site, being located off Harvey Road and in Innisfil and not yet annexed by Barrie at the time, increased her enthusiasm for the project.
Janet had been trained by Dr. Dean Knight and Isobel Ball earlier at the Ball Site off Mount St. Louis Road and had subsequently written a Grade 12 Curriculum based on her experiences, which a Twin Lakes Secondary School teacher and other educators used.

Janet would like to share with others her experiences at the Molson Site as well as the conclusions drawn by Paul Lennox in his Archaeological Report, mindful of the spirit of Reconciliation.

The public is free to join us at no cost.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

TMHC Active Job Postings

Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants Inc. is now accepting applications for the following positions:

Please note:

  • Archaeological projects throughout southern Ontario
  • Field staff must be prepared for some overnight travel with accommodations and per diem provided
  • Most projects run out of London office
  • Field staff will be transported to site and paid their full wage for travel
  • Some fieldwork will be conducted jointly with First Nations Communities. First Nations members are encouraged to apply
  • We are an equal opportunity employer
  • TMHC Inc. welcomes applications from people with disabilities
  • Accommodations are available upon request for candidates participating in all parts of the selection process

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A New Book by Michel Gros-Louis

This book should be available in English soon.

John Todd This is the English translation of an introduction to Mr. Gros-Louis' book, 'Les Hurons-Wendats:regards nouveaux':

"This book deals with the history of the Huron-Wendat nation from 1534 to the present day, the culture that this nation shares with the 
other Iroquoian nations, and the language that is now extinguished, but which is a testimony to the occupation. of the territory. We will see how the legend supports the hypothesis of their occupation of the shores of the St. Lawrence at the time of Jacques Cartier and how this hypothesis is reinforced by linguistic data. It will also be noted that the toponymic data testify to the Wendat's occupation of the north shore of Lake Ontario even after the dispersal of 1650. The Huron language has not been spoken for about 90 years, but it has been well documented by the missionaries, especially the Jesuit Potter, which makes revitalization possible today."

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

CW Jefferys -The Order of Good Cheer

 The Order of Good Cheer was established by Samuel de Champlain in Port Royal, Nova Scotia (then known as Acadia) in 1606). It was the first gastronomic society in North America.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Our First Chapter Meeting

From Arch Notes May June 2007

Executive Officers for 2019

Please take note that as of the Huronia chapter's annual meeting held on December 12th 2018 the chapter executive for 2019 is as follows: - Executive for 2019
President: John Raynor
Vice President: Dayle Elder 
Treasurer: Jo Ann Knicely
Secretary: Peter Davis
Member at large: James Stuwart

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

: Sacred Landscapes and the Ancient Town of Nebo.

We are very fortunate to have Dr. Debra Foran, Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Laurier University, coming to speak at our upcoming March 14 Huronia OAS meeting. 

 Dr. Foran has worked with the Tell Madaba Archaeological Project (Nebo) since 1998. She became Assistant Director of the project in 2001 and Director in 2006. She has more than 20 years of field experience in the Middle East and has participated on numerous projects in Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia.

Dr. Foran will speak about her ongoing research in Jordan at the ancient Town of Nebo.  The site overlooks the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea and was an important strategic, trade and cultural site from the Bronze Age to the 7th century CE when it was apparently abandoned until the 18th century. 

Meeting Place:  Midland Public Library
Meeting Time:  7pm  
Meeting Date:  Wednesday March 14, 2018

I hope you can join us. 

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

The archaeology of the Black church in Oro

In recognition of Black History Month in Ontario the Huronia Chapter of the OAS is pleased to present the Archaeology of the Oro African Church by Ms Sarah Clarke from the firm of Archaeological Research Associates.Over the last two years the Historical Committee of Oro-Medonte undertook a study for the restoration and refurbishment of this building thought to have been constructed circa 1849 by the Black community members of Oro. They did this project on a pro bono basis and Sarah will lead a discussion of this work completed last year in concert with the restoration project of the church.

The event takes place at the Midland Public Library at 7 pm on Wednesday February 14 th. For those that love heritage we'll see you there.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

The Longhouse in Winter

Have you every tried to imagine what it would have been like to live in a longhouse during a winter like we are currently experiencing in Huronia?

I posted this photo and question to the Huronia chapter's Facebook group ( and there were a number of interesting comments and additional questions.

To address these questions I used what I could remember from various primary source documents such as the Champlain's journals, Sagard's Histoire du Canada and the Jesuit Relations.
One of the best descriptions of a longhouse that I found was in Sagard's Histoire chapter XI. It reads as follows:
"Their lodges, which they call Ganonchia, are constructed, as I have said, like arcades or garden arbours covered with tree-bark, twenty-five or thirty fathoms long, more or less (for they are not all of equal length), and six in breadth, with a passage down the middle ten or twelve feet wide running from one end to the other.  At the two sides there is a kind of bench, called Endicha, of the same length [as the lodge] and four or five feet high; on this they sleep in summer to escape the annoyance of the fleas, of which they have many, and in winter they lie below on mats before the fire, packed close together for greater warmth, the children in the most comfortable place and the parents next them; and there is no space between them nor separation either at the foot or at the pillow, no more above than below, and they make no other preparation for sleeping than to stretch themselves out in the same place where they were sitting and to wrap up their head in their blanket, without any other covering or bed.  This is an easy way of going to bed and it can be carried out at small cost.  The whole space underneath these benches they fill with dry wood for burning in winter, but the great logs called Ancincuny,91 which are used for keeping the fire in by having one end on the ground and the other raised on a stone or at the end of a billet, are piled up in front of their lodges or packed into the porches, which are called Aque.  All the women help one another in providing this wood; they do so in the months of March and April, and by this arrangement every household is supplied with what it needs in a short time.  They use only very good wood, preferring to go far in search of it rather than to take less trouble and get bad wood, or that which makes smoke, on account of which they always keep up a clear well made fire with a small quantity of fuel.  And if they do not find trees as dry as they like then they fell those which have dry branches, breaking the branches into splinters and cutting them to an equal length, like the faggots in Paris.  They do not make up faggots of twigs at all, nor use the trunks of the trees felled; they leave them to rot on the ground, because they have no saw for sawing them up, nor the means of breaking them to pieces unless they are dried and rotten.  We were not so particular, we used the first wood that came to hand, so as not to spend our whole time in going to look for it; for we ourselves and the women savages had to provide it.  They used to give us some, out of politeness merely, or as gifts in return for other presents of equal value, except when we were living in their lodges.  In a single lodge there are many fires, and at each fire there are two families, one on one side, the other on the other; some lodges will
91 Aneincuny in the Grand Voyage and the dictionary
have as many as eight, ten, or twelve fires, which means twenty-four families, others fewer, according as they are long or short.  There is smoke in them in good earnest, and this causes many to have very serious trouble with their eyes, as there is neither window nor any opening, except the one in the roof of the lodge, through which the smoke escapes.  These lodges have no partition or division to hinder you from looking from one end to the other and seeing what is going on.  Yet all remain at peace and without any confusion or clamour, each household in its own division with all its belongings, which are neither put away not locked up with keys or iron bolts.  At each end there is a porch, and the principal use of these porches is to hold the large vats or casks of tree-bark in which they store their Indian corn after it has been well dried and shelled.  In the midst of each lodge are suspended two big poles which they call Ouaronta; on them they hang their pots, and put their furs, provisions, and other objects, for fear of mice and to keep the things dry.  But the fish, of which they lay in a supply for winter after it is smoked and well dried, they store in casks of tree-bark, which they call Acha, except Leinchataon; they do not clean this fish and they hang it with cords in the roof of the lodge, on account of mice and of the vile smell which it gives out in warm weather, so bad that nobody here could endure it.
            For fear of fire, to which they are very liable, they usually put away their most precious possessions in casks of tree-bark, which they bury in deep holes dug in the corner of their fireside, covering them up with the same earth, and in this way these possessions are preserved not only from fire but also from the hands of thieves, because they have no chest or cupboard in their whole establishment except these little casks.  It is true that they rarely wrong one another, but still there might be rascals there who would do you an injury if they found the opportunity; for the object arouses the capacity to deal with it, said the philosopher, and opportunity creates the thief."

This blog post from ASI is also an interesting read. -

Saturday, December 09, 2017

AGM, Social and election of executive.

 AGM and social to be held at the Midland Public Library (upstairs boardroom) Wednesday December 13th - 7 PM to 8:45 PM.

An AGM is typically a profoundly tedious event. This year we will try to break that mould. Here is what we have planned:
• Coffee and cookies to ease into the meeting.
• A short presentation by Alicia Hawkins on the OAS strategic plan.
• Election of officers. Jamie Hunter, Kristin Thor and Peter Thor have agreed to stand again next year for President, Treasurer and Secretary respectively. We will welcome nominations from the floor for any of these positions.
• Come to the meeting with any ideas for archaeological projects and speakers for 2018
• A multiple choice quiz of your knowledge of Huronia archaeology led by Kristin Thor. Here is a sample question you can research so you will get at least one question correct.
o Who has found more archaeological sites in Ontario than anyone else and published them?
 At the meeting you will have three choices to select from.
o There is a prize for the person with the most correct answers, a 500ml flask of maple syrup. That would not be particularly interesting but for the fact that it was made by Kristin Thor's own hands by the same methods used in Huronia in Wendat times and in pioneer times; over an open hardwood fire in an open pan. You may not have tasted anything quite like it before.
A social time will follow to wrap up by 9 pm when the Library closes.

Friday, January 06, 2017

AGM and election of officers


Members Meeting -  Wednesday January 11th 2017 at 7PM
AGM and election of executive.
We are going to try once again to have our AGM and invite our members to elect our upcoming executive that will guide the chapter's  activities over the next year. Nominations for executive positions of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are invited and are open up to the time that the meeting is called to order. The agenda for the meeting will be brief and include a succinct report from our president, treasurer and secretary followed by any nominations, the election of officers followed by consultation with the membership for direction and plans for the upcoming year.
Please note that our current President will not be standing for election this year.
Our venue for the meeting will be in the assembly room on the lower floor of the Midland Public Library.  320 King St, Midland, ON L4R 3M6
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