Welcome to the Grey County Tweedsmuir History digitization project. Search and view photographs from 77 Tweedsmuir History volumes from the archival collection.
There have been more WI branches in Grey than profiled here in reference to Tweedsmuir Histories made available by the project. If you are interested in a branch you don't see here, see Federated Women's Institute of Ontario resource charting branches across Ontario since in 1897. [External link]
Tweedsmuir Histories are intensely local, scrapbook style history books, compiled by Women’s institute branches and named after Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir, the Governor General of Canada from 1935-1940 and his wife. Lady Tweedsmuir was an enthusiastic Women’s Institute member in England and, while in Canada, she was made an Honorary Life Member of the Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario. As she and her husband travelled across Canada, they took great interest in all aspects of Canadian life, and she advocated for Women’s Institute branches to compile community and village histories.
In 1940 her suggestion materialized when the Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario began the initiative for branches to compile “Village History Books”. In 1945 an article entitled “Suggestions for Compiling Tweedsmuir Village Histories” was published in Home and Country, the official newsletter of the F.W.I.O., and by 1946 the word “village” was dropped to encourage those branches not covering villages or towns to begin their own histories. Upon hearing of the history books becoming an official project, Lady Tweedsmuir sent this message to the Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario:
I am so glad to hear that the Women’s Institutes of Ontario are going to compile village history books. Events move very fast nowadays; houses are pulled down, new roads are made, and the aspect of the countryside changes completely sometimes in a short time. It is a most useful and satisfying task for Women’s Institute members to see that nothing valuable is lost or forgotten and women should be on the alert always to guard the traditions of their homes, and to see that water colour sketches and prints, poems and prose legends should find their way into these books. The oldest people in the village will tell us fascinating stories of what they remember, which the younger members can write down, thus making a bridge between them and events which happened before they were born. After all, it is the history of humanity which is continually interesting to us, and our village histories will be the basis of accurate facts much valued by historians of the future. I am proud to think that you have called them “The Tweedsmuir Village Histories.”
— Lady Tweedsmuir
Although each Tweedsmuir book follows a basic model for what type of information to include, and how to organize it, they each have their own style. While some volumes have hand-made or decorated covers, and typewritten entries, others have more plain covers, or are handwritten. Some are like photo albums, full of photographs and mementos, while others contain more newspaper articles and still others have many stories and first-hand accounts of events and happenings. Despite these differences, they all contain a wealth of information covering church, school and property histories, as well as branch contributions, community events, local war efforts, biographies of important people and more.
Operating under the motto “For Home and Country,” the many branches of the Women’s Institute have been serving Grey County for more than 120 years. The first branch established in Grey County was the Kemble Women’s Institute. Organized just six months after the charter branch at Stoney Creek in 1897, it was the third branch established in the world. Over the years, 101 branches have come into and out of existence, with 8 remaining active today, often with amalgamations.
The Women’s Institute was founded by Adelaide Hoodless to fill the need of educating rural women in matters of homemaking and child care, but before long, their mandate spread to include the betterment of life in rural communities, and indeed, the world at large. Though not always credited, the Women’s Institutes of Grey County have been paramount to many developments and causes. Too numerous to list them all, some significant contributions include: establishing home economics and music classes in public schools, financing and putting up street signs, assisting with 4-H clubs, helping to establish the County of Grey - Owen Sound Museum and the Grey County Archives (now amalgamated at Grey Roots Museum & Archives), donating funds and materials to hospitals, Children’s Aid, schools and libraries, and holding fundraisers, bake sales, bazaars, teas and auctions.
Another contribution which has been highly overlooked is the village history books that have been compiled since 1940. The village histories, called "Tweedsmuir Histories," have been compiled by individual branches of the W.I. and contain an abundance of valuable information that not only record the activities and contributions of each branch, but also detailed history about the area served by the branches. In an effort to make these books more accessible we have digitized them, put them online and created a search tool to help find information on a given topic, person, location or W.I. branch. The majority of the volumes are fully searchable, leaving only a few handwritten books partially searchable.
The digitization process involved scanning the covers and every page of each Tweedsmuir. To avoid damage, the pages were removed from the books and scanned individually, then returned to their original position. For pages with photographs on them, an additional high-resolution scan was done for each photo to enable the clear viewing.
The result of all this hard work is “For Home and Country: The Women’s Institutes of Grey County.” We hope you enjoy this online exhibit and all of the unique information contained within. Complete with a search tool, the Tweedsmuirs will be a valuable resource for genealogists, historians, students, teachers and anyone with an interest in local history. The content of these books is relevant to the Ontario public school curriculum for grades 2, 3, 7 and 8. View teachers' programming:
This project was made possible through financial contributions from the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, Library and Archives Canada (administered through the Canadian Council of Archives), as well as the Grey County Historical Society, the Dromore W.I., the Gleneden W.I., the Zion Friendship Group, the Woodland Springs W.I., the Osprey W.I., the Ayton W.I., Ruth Thomas and Viola Bothwell. We are also grateful to our many community supporters including the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library, the Grey Highlands Public Library, the Grey Unit of the Retired Teachers of Ontario, and the Owen Sound branch of the Retired Women’s Teachers’ Organization.
We appreciate your input, please contact us with corrections, comments or suggestions.
Women's Institute Founder - Adelaide Hunter Hoodless
The youngest of thirteen children, Adelaide Hunter, was born to Jane Hunter on February 27, 1857, her father, David Hunter, having passed away just a few months earlier. Born near St. George, Ontario, it was here that she received her formal education.
After marrying a businessman, John Hoodless, at the age of 24, she moved to Hamilton where the couple raised a family of four. When her first child died at the age of eighteen months from drinking unpasteurized milk, she felt it could have been avoided if she had been more educated. This tragedy inspired her to set about making sure that more women were educated in matters of “domestic science” and she began pushing for courses to be taught in Hamilton public schools.
Having created a stir in that endeavour, she had garnered a reputation for being an entertaining speaker and was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Farmer’s Institute in 1896, where the main focus of discussion was the health of farm animals. When she took the podium she advocated that the health of family be put above that of the animals, and in doing so, moved one man, Erland Lee, to invite her to speak at his local Farmer’s Institute’s next meeting. At this meeting, to which both men and women had been invited, it was suggested that some type of organization for women be established to study and improve homemaking, in the way that the Farmer’s Institutes worked to improve farming. So a meeting was planned for the following Friday night, to give some time to advertise, and an attendance of thirty-five was expected. Support was much stronger than anticipated when on February 19, 1897 one hundred and one women and one man (Erland Lee) crowded into Squire’s Hall, in the village of Stoney Creek, to organize the first branch of the Women’s Institute.
Knowing the time limitations of rural women, the Women’s Institute held “short courses,” often in the homes of members, and taking only an afternoon, so that the members could gain important knowledge and skills without sacrificing responsibilities at home. The topics covered at the short courses were highly varied and limited only to that which pertained to “a better understanding of the economic and hygienic value of foods,” “the scientific care of children,” and “any line of work for the uplifting of the home or the betterment of conditions surrounding community life,” as defined in the constitution of the Women’s Institute. The guests and instructors at these meetings would give a talk and then begin the lesson, which almost always took a “hands on” approach. Some branches would send a delegate to a given short course, who, upon returning, would teach the rest of the members at the next meeting.
Clearly satisfying a widely felt need, the popularity of the Women’s Institute grew quickly with 30,000 members from 888 branches recorded in Ontario in 1914. From the sorrow of a grieving mother grew an international institution with Women’s Institutes today recording 9 million members in 70 countries. Though the beginnings were humble, Adelaide Hoodless felt the need for an ongoing effort to better the lives of women and rural people everywhere, or as one paper put it “She had the prophet’s vision of what ought to be and nobly took upon herself the burden of the voice crying in the wilderness.”
The village of Aberdeen, located north-west of Durham at the intersection of Side Road 18 and Concession 2 in the former Bentinck Township (now part of the Municipality of West Grey), had an active Women’s Institute from 1926 to 1972, when dwindling membership caused it to disband. The Aberdeen Women’s Institute served a large area, covering most of Bentinck Township including Durham, Hanover and as far as Elmwood. The Tweedsmuir History compiled by the Aberdeen branch is filled with photographs, newspaper clippings and member contributions chronicling the history of the village, its church, school and surrounding properties, as well as institute initiatives and activities.
Aberdeen Tweedsmuir Vol. 1 (.pdf 16.8MB)
Annan WI WIF63
The Annan Women’s Institute was organized in 1903 and was very active in serving the villages of Annan and Leith (on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay in the Municipality of Meaford, formerly Sydenham Township) and Owen Sound, until disbanding in 2003. The first available records are from 1916 when the members of this branch were working with the local Red Cross on war relief efforts including knitting and sewing clothing and blankets for soldiers in the First World War. Other contributions to the community, made by this branch, include holding teas, bazaars and concerts for fund raising, sending Christmas boxes to soldiers, financial donations to the hospital, donations to the Owen Sound Children’s Shelter, as well as donations of drinking fountains, playground equipment and first-aid kits to local schools. Volume one includes member biographies, branch history and activities, by-laws, scholarships and awards, special events and a table of contents for all 4 volumes. Volume two includes local groups and entertainment, pioneer and doctor histories and historical accounts of local schools, churches and cemeteries. Volume three includes Annan and Leith village histories, war efforts and wedding anniversaries. Volume four includes more branch and member histories, W.I. anniversaries, local events, gatherings and stories, in addition to Annan and Leith property histories.
Established in 1925, the Arnott Women’s Institute served an area along Highway 10 from the village of Chatsworth to the village of Holland Centre until disbanding in 1967. Arnott is located on Highway 10, roughly halfway between these villages in the former Holland Township (now part of Chatsworth Township). This single volume Tweedsmuir History, started in 1962 and comprised of photos, newspaper articles and curator contributions, includes everything from a history of Chatsworth village to announcements of local weddings, community events and Institute activities.
During the Second World War, members of the South Sarawak and Keppel W.I.s came together to form a branch of the Red Cross to help with war relief efforts. With Red Cross activities dwindling in 1946, Mrs. Gordon McPhatter called the women of Keppel and Sarawak Townships together to form the South Sarawak and Keppel Institute, which was renamed the Bluewater Women’s Institute in 1964. This branch served the area from Owen Sound to Big Bay and all of Keppel and Sarawak Townships (now the Township of Georgian Bluffs) until disbanding in 2006, before which time it helped establish the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, put up street signs in Sarawak and Keppel Townships, donated to local hospitals and schools and showed support for many local and international charities. Volume one, compilation begun in 1964, contains photos and member accounts of branch history and anniversaries, member biographies, awards, scholarships, and special projects. Volume two contains property, church and school histories, as well as biographies of important people and families.
Bothwell’s Corner WIF14
Since its inception in 1937 until disbanding in 2000, the Bothwell’s Corner Women’s Institute has been very active. From weekly radio broadcasts in the 1960s to helping establish the Grey County Museum, in addition to war relief efforts and attending W.I. rallies and conventions, this branch has made numerous important contributions to the area. Located at the intersection of Grey Road 15 and Highway 26 in the Municipality of Meaford, east of Owen Sound (formerly Sydenham Township), the Bothwell’s Corner branch served an area from Owen Sound to the 5th Concession and from Annan to Side Road 15. Their first Tweedsmuir History was begun in 1957 and each is a collection of photographs, newspaper clippings and member contributions providing information about Institute activities from inception to disbandment. Volume one includes member biographies, branch contributions, Institute anniversaries, 4H Club activities, and a record of numerous courses attended. Volume two contains wedding anniversaries, clubs, history of the Sydenham Agricultural Society Fall Fair, cemetery history, religious life, histories of local industries, local businesses, hospitals, railway, sports and recreation, local war efforts, community events, and a history of the school section. Volume three is comprised of Bothwell’s Corner village history, property histories and biographies of important people.
Briar Hill WIF62
The Briar Hill Women’s Institute, founded by Mrs. Lorne Snider of Bothwell’s Corner, was active from 1949 to 1973, operating out of the former Sydenham Township (now the Municipality of Meaford) on the western shore of Georgian Bay, between Annan and Balaclava (roughly lots 7 to 28, concessions B and C). The Tweedsmuir History was created in 1954, and contains photographs and member accounts of church, school, business and property histories, as well as Institute member biographies.
Campbell's Corner WIF59
From 1925 to 2004, the Campbell’s Corner Women’s Institute served the community on the outskirts of the town of Hanover, Ontario. During the First World War, the women of Campbell’s Corner organized a Red Cross sewing and knitting club to aid in war and relief efforts. As the need for Red Cross initiatives dwindled after the war, the women decided to continue their good work and founded the Campbell’s Corner Women’s Institute. Over the course of the next 79 years, this Branch made significant material and financial donations to the Red Cross, war efforts, disaster and war relief efforts, the hospital, the Owen Sound Children’s Shelter, and other charities. The group also made substantial improvements to the Campbell’s Corner School sponsoring, curtains, first-aid kits, a furnace, and a school bell. Campbell’s Corner is located at the intersection of Grey County Road 4 and Grey County Road 28 on the eastern edge of the town of Hanover.
Cedarville, located on Grey Road 14, five concessions north of Conn at Feairs Drive, in the former Proton Township (now part of Southgate Township), had an active Women’s Institute from 1907 to 1993. Serving an area from Highway 89 in the south to Southgate Road 10 in the north, and from Side Road 20 in the west (in the former Egremont Township, now Southgate Township), to Side Road 12 in the east (Grey Road 14 by lot 8 in the former Proton Township, now Southgate Township) the Cedarville branch was busy attending conferences and conventions, organizing bus trips, and donating both time and money to many causes and charities. This branch also held many community events and informative meetings with many guest speakers and demonstrations focusing on improving rural life. The Tweedsmuir history compiled by this branch was begun in 1945 and completed in 1987 with a few additions afterwards. This volume contains many photographs and member accounts of branch history, branch financial records, community contributions, wedding anniversaries, local events as well as histories of the village, the W.I. hall, the school section and the post office.
Cherry Grove (Cherry Dale) WIF68
The Cherry Grove WI was established in 1918 and operated until 1940, disbanding to become a branch of the Markdale Red Cross at the beginning of the Second World War. In 1953, members from the Rosedale Women’s Institute met with members of the disbanded Cherry Grove Women’s Institute to create a new branch: the Cherry Dale Women’s Institute, whose history is included in these two volumes. Cherry Grove is located in the southwestern portion of the former Euphrasia township (now part of the Municipality of Grey Highlands), roughly from lots 1 to 10 in the 10th and 11th concessions, east of Highway 10. During its years of service, under different names, the institute contributed to many charities and relief efforts, donated materially and financially to the school section and was instrumental in the development of area Sunday school services. Volume one contains the history of the institute and its members, in addition to various articles and photos depicting local events and people. Volume two contains, primarily, histories of area properties.
Clarksburg, just south of Thornbury, grew quickly as a small town. Within two years of it’s founding, Clarksburg had a population of 200 residents. Jack Dickson, one of the first to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope in the 1880s, was a Clarksburg native. Clarksburg also had one of Grey County’s earliest Women’s Institutes, organized in 1910. The Tweedsmuir was started in 1946 and chronicles the development of Clarksburg and the Clarksburg WI. It is mostly hand-written.
The Dromore Women’s Institute had a 100 year term of service from 1907 until 2007. Operating out of the small village of Dromore, which occupies lots 15 to 20, on the 17th and 18th Concessions in the former Egremont Township (now Southgate Township, south-east of Durham), this branch served the surrounding area as far as Durham, Holstein and Priceville. During its century-long period of service, the Dromore W.I. was very busy in the community looking after the cemetery, donating to the school section, sewing pajamas, knitting socks, and making quilts and cheer boxes for soldiers, advocating for hydro and telephone service development, hosting rallies, attending conferences and conventions, spearheading efforts to attract doctors, supporting local hockey and funding a public speaking trophy for students. The Tweedsmuir History compiled by this branch is in two volumes. Volume one, being compiled from 1955 to 1980, includes branch history, pioneer life and settlements, village history, church history, school history, war efforts, marriages, wedding anniversaries, Canada’s centennial celebrations and community events. Volume two, compiled from 1980 to 2007, comprises memories of bus trips, member biographies, branch activities, community events, church events, weddings and anniversaries, school contributions and biographies of important people.
Since formation in 1919, the Gleneden Women’s Institute has been operating out of the village of Gleneden, serving a large area stretching from the hamlet of Nenagh (three concessions north of Gleneden), to Holstein, down to Mount Forest and into Minto Township in Wellington County. Gleneden is located two concessions north-west of Mount Forest, west of Highway 6 at the intersection of County Road 63 and Concession 2 W.G.R. (West of Garafraxa Road, now known as Highway 6) in the former Normanby Township (now the Municipality of West Grey). One of the few remaining active branches in Grey County, it began compiling a Tweedsmuir history book in 1963, which has now grown to be in four volumes. Volume one contains curator contributions, articles and photographs of township history, Gleneden, Nenagh and Mount Forest histories, local soldiers, branch history, school history, farm histories, special meetings and member biographies. Volume two comprises mostly photos and articles showing branch activities, plays, parades, anniversaries and contributions to the community. Volumes three and four record biographies of important people, fall fairs, bus trips, annual meetings and conferences, community events, deaths, church and cemetery histories.
Active from 1947 to 1991, the Goring Women’s Institute held many bazaars, sales and social functions to fund their widely varied charitable donations and quilting efforts. The Institute, which met mostly in members’ homes near Goring (located in the north-western corner of the former Euphrasia Township on Grey Road 12, now part of the Municipality of Grey Highlands), served an area from Markdale to Owen Sound. In 1954 a Tweedsmuir History was begun, containing many photographs, and hand-written histories of schools, churches, properties and branch activities.
Grey West WIF37
The Grey West District Women’s Institute operated from 1949 to 1997 serving branches in Keppel, Sarawak, and Derby Townships, as well as the city of Owen Sound, Ontario. The purpose of a District W.I. is to promote and supplement the efforts of branches and to increase their productivity through District meetings & cooperative educational programmes. Increasing membership and the emergence of new branches in the 1940s was cause for district re-organization in Grey County in 1949. From this reorganization, the Grey West District Women’s Institute was formed, serving branches previously covered by North Grey and Centre Grey Districts. Branches in the Grey West District were: Clavering, Desboro, Golden Valley, Grimston, Kemble, Keward, Kilsyth, Owen Sound, Oxenden & Lake Charles Grandview, Pine Corners, Rockford, Rockview, Salem, Sarawak, Shallow Lake, Bluewater, Springmount, Sunny Valley, Marmion, Zion and Wolseley, and North Derby.
The District encouraged members to take part in a W.I. broadcast radio show in 1950-51 on CFOS and again 1963. Members were also encouraged to play their part in maintaining a sponsored hospital ward, staffing the canteen at the MacKinnon Phillips Hospital, supporting the Grey-Owen Sound Museum, and participating in 4H Clubs, among other initiatives. Declining membership in the 1990s caused many branches to disband making way for district restructuring in 1997, with the five Districts in Grey County restructuring into Grey North and Grey South Districts.
The Holstein Women’s Institute Branch was formed in 1903 with the help of members of the Farmer’s Institute. Many records of early meetings have not been preserved, but existing records tell us that the Institute grew quickly. By 1915, the branch had an aggregate attendance of 384, and by 1922 the branch boasted 60 memberships. They discussed home sanitation, the benefits of certain foods, and the situation of the community. The Holstein Tweedsmuirs take up a remarkable 10 volumes, each covering a certain time period in the branch history. The first was completed in 1954, and the last in 2007.
Founded in 1897, by Mrs. James Gardiner, the Kemble Women’s Institute was, proudly, the third branch established in the world, and is still actively serving the Township of Georgian Bluffs and the city of Owen Sound. The village of Kemble is located near the western shore of Georgian Bay, at the intersection of Kemble Rock Road and Concession 20 in the former Keppel Township (now Georgian Bluffs), 18km north of the city of Owen Sound. During its many years of service, this branch has made countless contributions to the community, including, but not limited to, donations to area hospitals and schools, heavy involvement in war relief efforts, and sizeable contributions to the Red Cross and other charities. To fund these efforts, many sales and dinners were hosted and well attended by the community. The large, single volume Tweedsmuir, compiled by the Kemble W.I., was begun in 1963, and contains branch history, member biographies, historical information on local properties, churches, schools and businesses, village history, community events, important people and war efforts.
The Kent Women’s Institute was organized in 1949. They have two Tweedsmuirs, both of which span a number of topics from the 1940s and 50s. They contain a great deal of information about local and global history, as well as the activities of the Women’s Institute. There are both newspaper clippings and handwritten accounts of world events. There are also a fair number of records of births, marriages, and deaths in the area.
The Kimberley WI was organized in the summer of 1900 at a joint meeting with the Farmer’s Institute, with over 13 members present at the first meeting. Speakers from the Department of Agriculture were common, and would speak on issues of both housekeeping and agriculture. The Kimberley WI was very active in building and maintaining the Community Memorial Hall in 1920, in memory of those who gave their lives in the First World War. Cookery was also of major interest, and the Kimberly Women’s Institute Cook Book was popular for many years. The Tweedsmuirs contain many family and farm histories.
The Lamlash Women's Institute was organized on July 11, 1913 and remained active in serving the areas of Bentinck Township until 2009. The first available records date back to the very first meeting where there were 23 ladies in attendance. Early programs included practical demonstrations pertaining to homemaking which were still of importance in the later years. Other programs included education, agriculture, health, Canadian industries, improvements to schools, and more. At the very first meeting of the Lamlash Women’s Institute, it was decided that the meetings were to be held on the second Thursday of each month. Throughout their 96 years of service, the members of the Lamlash Women’s Institute raised funds by making quilts, holding garden parties, sales at meetings, catering to weddings and banquets, serving lunch at auction sales, as well as holding socials, copper contests, and teas. The funds raised were donated to several organizations through the years. These included organizations such as the Children’s Shelter, Cancer Research Fund, local hospitals, Sick Children’s Hospital, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Adelaide Hoodless Fund, March of Dimes, local schools, along with many others. They were also responsible for keeping the first-aid kits filled at the two local schools: Habermehl and Lamlash. Along with these contributions they were active with donations to the Red Cross during both World Wars. In 1962, the institute even adopted a child from Hong Kong. The Lamlash Women’s Institute disbanded in 2009.
The Marmion Women’s Institute served the hamlet of Marmion and surrounding area. The hamlet of Marmion is located in the geographic area of Sullivan Township, south-west of the Village of Chatsworth at the intersection of Grey County Road 40 and Concession 12, between Dobbinton and Desboro. The Marmion Women’s Institute was organized in 1952, starting with 15 members, and disbanded in 1999. The Marmion Women’s Institute sponsored a refugee, held an annual Christmas family night, contributed donations to local museums, and participated in Participation Lodge quilt auctions
From 1903 to 1907, the Massie Women’s Institute had a short run of service, but was revitalized and reorganized in 1920 and has been going strong ever since. Massie is located at the intersection of Sideroad 3 (Massie Road) and Concession 6 (Veterans Road North) in the former Holland Township (now Chatsworth Township) on the Big Head River. The Tweedsmuir History books were begun in 1967 and give a full history of branch initiatives until disbandment. This branch was very active through the years, hosting many short courses and social gatherings, in addition to war relief efforts and charitable donations. Volume one, comprised of photos, newspaper articles and member accounts, includes Massie village history, branch history, member biographies, local recreation and sports, school and church histories, milestone anniversaries, and special projects. Volume two includes mostly property histories.
The Neustadt Women’s Institute was originally active from 1929-1945, and was reorganized in 1952, remaining active until at least 1989. Birthplace of former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, Neustadt is located in the north-west corner of the former Normanby Township (now the Municipality of West Grey), south of Hanover, at the intersection of Grey Roads 9 and 10. Throughout the years, this branch has served Neustadt and surrounding area by organizing a branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, and by holding numerous sales and social events to raise funds for charity work. The Tweedsmuir History in our collection is a photocopy of the original, which is kept in the Neustadt library, and includes village, business and property histories, biographies of important people, and records of Institute activities.
North Grey Jr. WIF38
Established in 1974, the North Grey Junior Women’s Institute is one of the few remaining active branches in Grey County. Serving Owen Sound and surrounding area, this branch has been very active in the community, donating to the library, hospital and schools, as well as holding many bake sales and craft sales. The single volume Tweedsmuir history, which is still being compiled, began in 1974 and is largely a collection of photographs chronicling the widely varied activities of the branch.
Oxenden and Lake Charles Grandview WIF30
The Oxenden Women’s Institute was organized at a meeting held at the United Church in January of 1930. After several years the Lake Charles Branch amalgamated with the Oxenden Institute to form the Oxenden-Lake Charles Women’s Institute. The group later changed their name to Grandview in 1963. Among the activities of the group was the upkeep and maintenance of the Oxenden cemetery, until it was taken over by the Township of Keppel. The Institute also donated financially to the Wiarton Hospital and the Wiarton Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary. Each year, members of the Institute participated in annual trip to a destination in Ontario (for example Niagara Falls, Wingham, etc.). The Institute disbanded in 2000.
The Pleasantview Women’s Institute was founded in 1930 at the home of Mrs. Doherty. Early records were lost in a fire in 1938, and many members moved to other Institutes as the government took over much of the Pleasantview area for the new AFV range in 1942. This area is now known as the Meaford Tank Range. This Tweedsmuir was began in 1966, and contains a great deal of information about Mountain Lake, farms from the area, and old schoolhouses.
Priceville, just west of Flesherton on Highway 4, organized a Women’s Institute in 1904. While the earliest records for this Institute have been lost, the Institute was re-organized in 1935. The first volume of the Tweedsmuirs covers the period after this re-organization, from 1935 to 1949. The second volume was begun immediately after, covering from 1950 to 1985. Both volumes are mostly hand-written, and bound in beautiful leather covers.
Women of the area of Riverside, southwest of Meaford in the geographic area of St. Vincent Township, organized the Riverside Patriotic Club in order to help with the at-home efforts during the Second World War. A few years after the War, the ladies decided to organize as a Women’s Institute. Their first meeting was held in the spring of 1947 at the home of Eula Paterson. The group has actively donated to the Meaford Hospital and Women’s Auxiliary. The Institute was also responsible for establishing a Sunday School for local children at S.S.#4 St. Vincent.
The Salem Women’s Institute was active from 1914 to 1990 and served an area of Derby Township (now part of Georgian Bluffs Township) just south-west of Owen Sound. This area was roughly bordered by: the Sullivan township line (Grey Road 16) in the south, Grey Road 5 in the north (Waverly Heights), Grey Road 18 in the west and Inglis Falls Road in the east. Volume two, begun in 1974, comprises photographs and member contributions of property and school histories. Volume one is not currently in our collection.
In 1944 Mrs. Norman Kirk advertised and inspired the women of Sarawak Township (now part of the Township of Georgian Bluffs) to gather at the Orange Hall, on July 5, for the first meeting of the Sarawak Women’s Institute. The institute served Owen Sound and Sarawak Township, a strip of land on the western shore of Georgian Bay, only three concessions wide, stretching from the north-western border of the city of Owen Sound to Presqu’ile in the north. Before joining with the Keppel Women’s Institute in 1964 and becoming the Bluewater Women’s Institute, the Sarawak W.I. took responsibility for maintaining the burial site of the Indian Princess Nah-nee-bah-wee-quay (Catharine Sutton), thus perpetuating the memory of her audience with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Other contributions made by the institute include sewing and knitting for Red Cross war relief efforts, contributions of books and supplies to the school section and donations to various other charities and community events. The Tweedsmuir History Books compiled by the Sarawak W.I. are a mix of essays, stories, newspaper articles and photos highlighting various people, important events and W.I. contributions, both locally and abroad.
Shallow Lake WIF41
The Shallow Lake Tweedsmuir, as put together by Margaret Shouldice, contains many newspaper clippings from the Shallow Lake area. Topics covered range from local personalities, to Women’s Institute activities, to community events. Many of the clippings are announcements of births, marriages, deaths, or graduations. Because of the number of newspaper clippings, the volume is highly searchable.
The Sunnyview Women’s Institute was organized in 1938, meeting every third Thursday of the month. The women came from around the 2nd and 3rd concessions of Bentinck Township to discuss betterment of the home. The Tweedsmuir was started in 1946 by Annabelle Lawrence, the first curator. The first volume contains in-depth personal and property histories, as well as many Women’s Institute programming guides. The second contains more recent personal histories, and is enclosed in an eloquent wooden cover.
Third Line WIF80
The Third Line Women’s Institute held it’s first meeting at S.S.#5 Euphrasia at Perret’s Corner in the fall of 1932. The Institute members participated in many courses offered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. They were also active in creating leadership training opportunities for local 4H Club girls. The Branch also sponsored a boy, Ho Yiu Chung from Hong Kong for most of his childhood. The members were active in supporting the Red Cross, the Cancer Society, and the CNIB. The group also held an annual picnic, and members took organized trips around the province.
Woodford, the small community on highway 26, located between Owen Sound and Meaford, formed a Women’s Institute in 1928 with 40 members. Many courses were offered, such as ‘rug hooking’ and ‘copper tooling’. The Institute also raised money for numerous projects, including building a new wing on the hospital and sponsoring a doctor in Tobermory. The Institute was very active throughout the 40s and 50s in raising funds for a community centre. The Women’s Institute branch operated for 73 years, until 2001. There are two Tweedsmuir volumes, the first containing many newspaper clippings from area newspapers and the second containing many histories of local people and places.
The Zion Women’s Institute branch was organized in July 1914. The group was centered around Zion United Church in Glenelg township, built in 1860, not far from Durham. There were fourteen members the first year, meeting on the second Thursday of each month. The first Tweedsmuir volume was begun in 1943 and completed in 1965, when a second was started. The first volume contains handwritten accounts of Institute matters and members as well as many newspaper clippings of local stories. The second volume contains many photographs, both of Institute celebrations and local characters.
Zion and Wolseley WIF28
The Zion and Wolseley branch of the Women’s Institute was organized in the spring of 1954 at the home of Alice McGregor. It originally had twenty-nine members. The Institute was actively involved with fundraising and relief efforts organized in conjunction with the Red Cross. The Branch disbanded in 1993.