200 years later: bicentennial ceremony

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Two hundred years after the battle, the local community gathers with representatives from the British Red Coat re-enactors, U.S. Kentuckians, and  Canadian Militia.  The Middlesex County transfers a parcel of land to the local municipality, Southwest Middlesex to become a memorial park honouring the 21 men who died March 2014 fighting for democracy.

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In Memory of Lawrence M. Merin

July 5, 1951 – November 7, 2012
Lawrence Mitchell Merin, a beloved family man and gifted photographer whose work improved the lives of others, died Wednesday, Nov. 7, at home. He was 61.
Larry was the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Imaging Center at Vanderbilt University and an assistant professor of ophthalmology. Through the center’s program, Larry and his staff took their cameras to every county in Tennessee, screening indigent and uninsured patients for diabetic retinopathy, a condition that leads to blindness. It was the first fully mobile service of its kind.A Detroit native, Larry developed an early interest in photography, and studied mass communications and photography at Wayne State University, where he earned a baccalaureate with honors. Larry’s career as an ophthalmic photographer and instructor included positions at Sinai Hospital of Detroit, Riverside Community Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.While in Riverside, Larry met and married the love of his life, the former Becky Vazquez. The couple celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary Sept. 4.
Upon joining Vanderbilt in Nashville in 2000, Larry obtained the support and funding to start the Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Imaging Center. A leading expert in his field, he contributed to textbooks and professional journals, and taught courses in the United States as well as in Poland, England, Scotland, Italy, Japan and Singapore. He was a registered biological photographer, a fellow and former president of the Ophthalmic Photographers Society and a fellow of the Institute of Medical Illustrators in London. Other affiliations included the American Academy of Ophthalmology. During his career, he earned numerous certifications and awards. Larry’s photography extended beyond the medical field, and he had several exhibits through the years, including one of Vietnam War protest photos taken when he marched as a protester in Washington. For the bicentennial of his mother’s hometown of Wardsville, Canada, Larry took portraits of every resident for a time capsule that will be opened in 2110.
A loving father, husband and brother, Larry was devoted to his family. He served on the advisory board of the Choral Arts Link/MET Singers Honor Choir of Metro Nashville Public Schools, and he provided leadership as a committee member for Boy Scout Troop 3 in East Nashville, where his son, David, is an Eagle Scout. He also was a community steering committee member of the Tennessee State University Prostate Cancer Screening Barriers Study; an associate member of Grupo Comunitario Hispano de Tennessee; and an associate member of the Nashville Latino Health Council. He was an avid reader, car enthusiast and model railroader, and he enjoyed chasing steam locomotives. Larry had a lively sense of humor and a passion for social justice, and he was a proud survivor of breast cancer.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Anne Gayle and Earl Merin. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Ruth Merin, daughter, Sydney Rachel Merin, and son, David Alexander Merin, all of Nashville; sister, Elaine Merin Perri of Chicago; mother-in-law and father-in-law Esther and John Cervantes of Riverside, Calif.; three sisters-in-law, Julie (Doug) King, Riverside, Calif., Anna (Mike) Lemos, Venture, Calif., and Debra Vazquez, San Diego, Calif.; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

 

Lawrence Mitchell Merin

Lawrence Merin conceived the Legacy Photo Shoot to honour his clan, the Lutchin family of Wardsville

MERIN, Lawrence Mitchell A devoted family man and gifted photographer, whose work improved the lives of others, died Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at home in Nashville. He was 61. Larry was the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Imaging Center at Vanderbilt University, and an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology. A loving father, husband and brother, Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Anne and Earl Merin. He is survived by his wife, Becky; daughter, Sydney and son, David; sister, Elaine Merin Perri of Chicago; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Esther and John Cervantes; sisters-in-law, Julie (Doug) King, Anna (Mike) Lemos and Debra Vazquez, all of CA, and many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins. The funeral service was held Sunday, November 11th at Congregation Micah.

Artist’s Statement by Lawrence Merin

The Lutchin family 1932

Mom grew up in Wardsville.  That’s her, front row, far right.  Annie Lutchin, posing with her three brothers, two sisters, two pups and parents, squinting into the sun as some now-unknown Kodak-holding acquaintance counted 1-2-3 or perhaps urged the family to “Say Cheese!”

The film was sent to the Big City for processing, and then the photograph was pasted into an album.  Back

Larry and Elaine with family in Wardsville

then, pictures were valuable things.  Out of focus?  Too light?  Too dark?  If it was recognizable, it was kept, pasted in an album or placed in a shoebox, to be pulled out on a lazy Sunday afternoon to help a mood for reminiscing.

By the way, that’s me at the left of this photo, with my little sister Elaine, smiling for the camera while Grandpa, Grandma and Auntie Sarah remember times gone by while looking through old family snapshots.

Mom passed away in 2009.  While packing up her things, we found a shoebox filled with old photographs.  Most were not labeled.  Who were these people?  Were they family members?  From  Dad’s side of the family or Mom’s?  Could they have been friends?   Neighbors?  There is no one left to ask.  The images are fascinating… but as a legacy, they are terribly incomplete.

But at least they were in a shoebox, where we could touch them, look at them and ponder their significance to our family’s history.  Today, when amateur cameras can be used to produce technically fine images (Perfect colors!  Sharp focus!  Great exposure! So simple anyone can take a great picture!), the value placed on photographs as historical artifacts has diminished.  The cost of digital cameras has dropped; memory chips

Unknowns from shoebox

permit hundreds of photos to be made without the cost of film and processing; images can be transmitted around the world with the push of a button – but of the millions of images made every day, how many are labeled, archived or even looked at again?

*     *     *     *     *

My ancestral home, this little one-stoplight village on Highway 2, provided a welcoming, nurturing environment for my immigrant grandparents and their young family, and I always felt that I owed them a debt of gratitude.  Thus, when I learned that a Bicentennial Celebration was being planned, I thought that this might present an opportunity to thank the village for its kindness by photographing most, if not all, Wardsvillians during the celebration.

I chose to use black and white film and a vintage Hasselblad camera for the portraits, since archivally processed film can be safely stored for decades without deterioration. The project was designed from the outset to provide the people of Wardsville with an archival ‘shoebox’ where images and names would be matched, in a single place and in a form that could be seen easily in the future.  Archived in Elgin County facilities, the Legacy negatives should remain in pristine condition for many years.  Hopefully, they can be reviewed and printed anew in 2110.

Over the course of two days, 261 people posed in 52 groupings in a temporary studio set up in the pavilion of the Wardsville baseball park.  A team of “wranglers” provided logistical support as folks signed in and queued up for the sittings.  David Chidley, an accomplished local photographer, provided invaluable on-site counsel, equipment support and photographed each group using a digital camera. Rhaelyn Vereecken set up a digital printer in the ‘studio’ and every group received a high-quality color print on the spot.

Folks generally grouped themselves for the sittings; most were couples and families.  We also photographed people linked by work (the Wardsville Volunteer Fire Department) and by hobbies (barbershop singers, ballroom dancers, barn quilt painters, a brass band).  It was a special honor to photograph a group of War Brides.

There was no 1-2-3 and no “Say Cheese.”  Rather, I reminded each group that the purpose of the photography session was to produce a historical record.  I asked them to look into the camera and imagine that their expression and pose would be the way future generations would come to know them.  Some responded with smiles, while others were pensive.  Some adopted formal poses while others were quite spontaneous.  The photographs we produced reveal the people of Wardsville the way they see themselves and wish others to see them:  straightforward, friendly, proud of their village and comfortable with their way of life.

I am grateful to all who presented themselves to my camera and allowed me to record their names and faces for coming generations.

Lawrence Merin

September 2011, Nashville

Your Wardsville looks ahead to 2014

Article ID# 2950133 Jesse Cnockaert, the Chronicle

The Your Wardsville Community Association is thinking ahead to 2012-2014, which will be the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812.

Your Wardsville is a community organization dedicated to the promotion of Wardsville and the preservation of its history.

The group held their annual general meeting Jan. 19 and discussed what they’ve done in the past year, and some early thoughts on the War of 1812 anniversary. The Battle of the Longwoods, which happened March 4, 1814, was a battle that occurred on Longwoods Rd., where a mounted American raiding party defeated an attempt by British regulars, volunteers from the Canadian militia and Native Americans to intercept them near Wardsville.

A re-enactment is planned for March 6, 2014 to take place on at Battle Hill on Longwoods Rd. This will be the first ever re-enactment on the actual battle site.

“They’re looking forward to the commemoration of the War of 1812-14, which launches in 2012,” said Mary Simpson, Your Wardsville’s past-president. “That battle was significant in that it was one of the last skirmishes of the war. It was winding down at that point.”

The Upper Thames Reenactment Society is planning their annual commemoration on March 6, 2011 2:00 p.m. at the Battle of the Longwoods Cairn to remember the soldiers who died at the Battle of Longwoods March 4, 1814. The re-enactors march several miles in from the east, just as the Red Coats did. They start at McArthur’s park several miles east of Battle Hill on Longwoods Road.

This past year was a big one for the Your Wardsville group; having organized the Duncombe Days and the Wardsville Bi-centennial June 18-19

The Your Wardsville annual report stated that last year, volunteers invested 2,500 hours into various projects including stitching quilt blocks, painting barn quilt block replicas, hosting a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life, producing a Barn Quilt promotional video, and other projects.

http://www.thechronicle-online.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2950133

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Your Wardsville annual meeting

Thankyou everyone for coming.  It has been 38 months since we began the revitalization efforts for Wardsville.  It is rewarding to see our newcomers step into leadership roles for the little village, feeling welcomed and appreciated.

Highlights of the year:

Wardsville and area is proud to have kicked off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 – 1814 two years ahead of schedule. While re-enactors, heritage groups and tourism agencies get their plans and programs in place for the commemoration in 2012, Wardsville is looking back at their bicentennial celebrated two years prior.

Wardsville’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward had barely established their wayside inn at the request of the British army when war broke out in 1812.

Wardsville’s 200-year celebration goals were to build community pride and put Wardsville back on the map. Volunteers invested 2500 hours in various projects.

The 30-block George Ward Commemorative Quilt won second prize at the International Plowing Match in St. Thomas. Volunteers then painted the same thirty 8’ x 8’ Barn Quilt blocks and mounted them on barns and important buildings throughout Wardsville area

On Father’s Day weekend, June 18 – 20, 2010, Wardsville hosted a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life in 1810 by Shaymus (Doug Ferguson) and friends. The re-enactors set up a camp featuring trading post, farm, potting studio, and military encampment of Royal Scots and local militia.

That same weekend, the first ever reunion of the Twin Valleys Community & School (1972-1984) was attended by 80 alumni and their family and friends. George and Margaret Ward descendants and the Lutchin family also gathered.

Dave’s Cafe held a Free Open Air Jam Session featuring many acts, Dave’s hamburgers, and Bicentennial Funnel Cakes. TCCU Wardsville community credit union dressed heritage style and were open for business. Wardsville Museum with Curator, Ken Willis, and Wardsville interpreters took visitors for a stroll down heritage lane. Wardsville firefighters displayed the new Rosenbauer 2010 tanker.

David Chidley and Larry Merrin photographed over 50 groups in a special studio over an 8-hour period. John Kendall photographed the Wardsville Bicentennial celebrations from start to finish. Cara Spooner and Simon Rabyniuk produced a 10-minute video “Walking Wardsville”.

In early October, an evening premiere featured the artistic endeavours thru fabric, film, paint, and pen.

Your Wardsville is proud of attracting creative artists and artisans to live in the community. For example, Crocodile Productions, a husband and wife film production team, acquired an important heritage building, the Old Wardsville Community Hall (1931), and are preserving it, living in it, and using the hall for what it was attended: hosting community social functions and showing film. The purchase date was June 19, 2010, the day of the Wardsville Bicentennial celebration.

Richard Sommer of Made On Earth Art Gallery purchased the old No. 3 school house on Longwoods Road because he observed a community attempting rejuvenation.

Mary Simpson, outgoing secretary

Your Wardsville Annual Report 2010

Wardsville Bicentennial: 1810 – 2010.  Honouring the settlers who suffered during the War of 1812 – 1814

thru fabric, film, paint and pen

January 19, 2011

Volunteer Tally – approximate

Number of hours tracked  = ~2500
Number of quilters = 20
Total artisans who painted barn quilt blocks = 146
Glencoe District High School artisans = 15
Mosa Central School artisans = 30
Heritage Spedialists = 33
Musicians = 38
Artists = 11
Organizers and Local Partners = 86
Barn quilt sponsors = 12
Total volunteers approximately 325.  (See Attachment A for detailed tally.

Outcomes

Wardsville’s 200-year celebration goal was to build community pride and put Wardsville back on the map.  Another goal was to kick off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 -1814 (which does not officially begin until 2012).  Wardsville celebrated its past, its present, and the future. It was a thrill to have a government sponsor who demanded that we involve our local artists and artisans in our community and it was the perfect time to commemorate local history and heritage.

Mr. and Mrs. George Ward established their homestead at the request of the British government in 1810.  War was imminent.  The eventual conflict was a terrible disruption to settlers’ lives. Wardsville’s Bicentennial honoured the role that the citizenry played in the War.

Volunteers invested 2500 hours into various projects this year. See attachment A for a table showing the number of volunteers, artists, sponsors, and groups who engaged with the project.   Volunteers:
·       stitched the 30-block George Ward Commemorative Quilt which won second prize at the International Plowing Match in St. Thomas.
·       painted thirty 8’ x 8’ replica Barn Quilt blocks
·       produced a video, Barn Quilt Tour by Crocodile Productions
mounted the 30 quilt blocks on barns and important buildings throughout Wardsville area
·       attracted “kith and Kin” to the village for a rich musical and historical experience on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 – 20, 2010
·       hosted a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life in 1810 by Shaymus (Doug Ferguson) and friends.  The re-enactors set up a camp featuring trading post, farm, potting studio, and military encampment of Royal Scots and local militia.
·       hosted the first ever reunion of the Twin Valleys Community & School (1972-1984) which was attended by 80 alumni and their family and friends.  See testimonies below.
·       held a Free Open Air Jam Session at Dave’s Cafe featuring many acts, Dave’s hamburgers, and Bicentennial Funnel Cakes
·       other downtown activities:
TCCU Wardsville community credit union dressed to the nines and in serious business mode.
o      Wardsville Museum with Curator, Ken Willis, and Wardsville interpreters.
o      Wardsville firefighters displaying the brand new Rosenbauer 2010 tanker.
o      Crossroads Bistro serving pizza, subs, fresh cut fries, and burgers.
·       photographed the Photo Legacy project:
o      two professional photograhers, David Chidley and Larry Merrin photographed over 50 groups in a special studio over an 8-hour period
o      John Kendall documented the Wardsville Bicentennial celebrations start to finish on Father’s Day weekend
·       sponsored the 10-minute video “Walking Wardsville” directed by Cara Spooner and Rabyniuk
·       hosted reunions for the Ward descendants and the Lutchin family
·       held a volunteer appreciation event at the Made on Earth Art Gallery in August.
·       presented plaques to all the super volunteers who worked on the barn quilt project
·       held an evening premiere at the Wardsville United Church in early October when the various artistic endeavours thru fabric, film, paint, and pen were shown

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