Last Sunday afternoon, the results of years of work by the East Nissouri History Book committee were finally unveiled at a book launch event in Lakeside. Titled East Nissouri: People, Perseverance, Progress, the history is a two-volume set, totalling well over 1,000 pages.
East Nissouri Township, now part of the larger Zorra Township, was a long, narrow geographical entity stretching from Highway 7 in the north to Thamesford in the south. Many residents in the northern part of the township gravitated towards St. Marys for services such as secondary schooling and, possibly, church communities. They historically came to this town to shop and to sell produce. Some key vendors at the St. Marys Farmers’ Market are still from the former East Nissouri. The Journal Argus once used rural correspondents to report events from centres such as Uniondale and Lakeside. These newsy columns are available for reference in old Journal Argus issues in the St. Marys Museum’s Eedy Archives.
Therefore, it was natural that in the past decade as the history book took form, many East Nissouri researchers made use of the resources at the St. Marys Museum. A succession of Museum staff members have enjoyed working with them, some old friends even before the project got underway. Keith and the late Iris Alderson used the St. Marys facility for years and so did Joyce McCorquodale Groves. Joyce, in fact, was the first researcher I knew who recognized the value of digital technology, using email attachments and the Internet to share information with others. This is common today but Joyce was a pioneer. Lorena Chalkley was another regular visitor to the Museum’s resource area and had no problem directing her considerable research skills towards the East Nissouri project.
The Museum staff also became familiar with other volunteer researchers including Allan Slater, Don and Gail Adams, Karen Hughes, Sheila Greason, Glen Fuller and Patti Wallace. Jim Verwer has been a constant presence. He has been especially supportive of the Museum’s Heritage Fair in February, always marshalling volunteers for an impressive display table showing the progress of this huge undertaking. As the years went by, Museum staff followed the committee members as they faced a number of setbacks and obstacles. Knowing something of this background, they congratulate the committee wholeheartedly on a great achievement.
The book committee has generously donated a copy of this two-volume set to add to the reference materials in the reading room at the St. Marys Museum. I had the honour of delivering the history but only after spending last Sunday evening reading and enjoying some of the stories that these volumes contain. The East Nissouri history will be a great asset to future researchers.
Mary Smith, St. Marys