Saturday, January 25, 2020

St. Clair Heritage Hamlets project launched

Heritage St. Clair, the municipal heritage committee of St. Clair Township, is delighted to present one of our new projects — the recognition and promotion of the Township’s early hamlets. These small communities provided a vital service to the early settlers as they tamed the often swampy and wooded terrain of historic Moore and Sombra Townships. These centres usually offered general stores, post offices, schools and churches. All were badly needed after the settlers moved in.

The idea of highlighting these early hamlets was that of retired elementary school teacher, the late Al Anderson of Sombra. Al worried that these locations would be lost and forgotten and he wanted to bring them back to life. In 2015, Al organized a dedicated team of Heritage St. Clair Committee members to help him complete this project. Entering the scene was Murray McAllister, Bob Goodearle and Bob Nicol. Regrettably, Al was not able to see this project to completion, but Murray, and the two Bobs have been able to bring Al’s idea to reality.

By collecting early photographs and stories of these early hamlets, Heritage St. Clair has been able to make them available to the public via our website. An additional element of Al’s idea was to install roadside signs to mark where the early hamlets were located. Some of these locations still have remains of their former existence — others do not. With the road signs, photos and stories, everyone will be able to discover the interesting past of early hamlets of the Township.

At present, four Heritage Hamlet road side signs have been installed: Duthil; Kimball; Froomefield; and Becher. Four more are to be installed this year: Waubuno; Charlemont; Bradshaw; and Birkhall. There remain 21 to be installed throughout 2020-2021. Visit our website, , read their stories and travel past these sites and see what helped to hold the people together and allowed our Township to grow to its wonderful present state as our home.

Heritage St. Clair would like to thank Mayor Steve Arnold and St. Clair Township Council for their approval and support of this project. Dave Neely and the Township staff have been wonderful in helping with the locates and installation of the Heritage Hamlet signs. We also thank the County of Lambton, which through its Creative County Fund, has provided support for this project. We also want to acknowledge all the individuals of the Township who have contributed to this successful project by donating photos and stories of early hamlets.

On Saturday, October 26, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. in “downtown” Duthil, at the corner of Duthill Road and Holt Line, Heritage St. Clair will present our first Heritage Hamlet road side sign to the public. We are inviting St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold and Council, representatives of the County of

Lambton, descendants of at least two of the founding families of the community of Duthil and the public to officially launch the Heritage Hamlets signage project of St. Clair Township.

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