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Letters from the Front – Part 3

100th Regiment, Events, exhibits, research

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.
This is letter number three:

Somewhere, August 20, 1916

Dear Mother:

                Just a few lines to let you know we are all well, hoping you are all the same.  Did you receive my letter written shortly after we arrived in France?  Stopped in France a few days and then came right through to Belgium.  France and Belgium are more like Canada than England; the crops being splendid.

                You already know that they are very particular about any information given, making it hard what to say.  The airships are continually flying over our heads.  It is certainly great to see how they can handle them.  Quite often, shells are to be seen bursting all around one, from a distance they seem close.  It is said the Germans are very done out on the front, but are causing quite an excitement yet.  Our camp is surrounded by Belgian crops and houses.

                I forgot to tell in my other letter of receiving a cake when in Bramshott, but didn’t know whether it was from you or Clystal.  Anyway, the box was all broken up, together with the cake, but we certainly enjoyed it.  One thing missing most now is money, not being paid for about a month and only getting one franc or 20 cents per day.  Some of the other fellows have got word or different parcels which were sent but haven’t received them yet.  A parcel mostly takes about a week longer than a letter.

                The other evening we were very much surprised in seeing Roy Tubman and Tom Touchette, a son of Mrs. Rob Hills.  Roy looks fine.  He has been over here ten months and says he has certainly been very lucky, having some close escapes.  Touchette knew quite a few of the boys on account of coming over in the 77th draft.

                I haven’t yet got an envelope for this letter, which is a very scarce article here.

                The Germans seem to know every move, having up on a sign board “Welcome 73rd”.  The British Artillery seems to be landing over the shells much thicker than the Germans.  We were told Alvin Danby was quite close to our camp but just moved away a day before we came in.  How are Pa and George getting along at the harvest?  I suppose they have it almost finished by this time.  I guess George and Irene throw on while Eva mows back.  You will want to get Clystal up for the potato season.

                I don’t think Channon Hall would be able to stand it over here.  We feel very bad for poor Arthur being separated from us, but the last time I saw him was in Bramshott.  He was then looking fine.  It is said their quarters are about a mile over from us.  One companion we always have is our gas helmet.  In fact, we carry two all the time.  School will soon be starting again.  George will want to start as soon as possible.

Best love to all,


Letters from the Front – Part 2

100th Regiment, exhibits, research

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.

This is letter number two:

Bramshott Camp, England
July 3rd

Dear Mother:

                Mailed you a letter July 2nd but didn’t know our present condition.  We are now transferred into the 73 Battalion.  These are Highlanders, so we will have to put on the kilts.  This is looked upon as the best Battalion that ever left Canada.  All the 77th is being broken up too.  Some fine big men out of the 77th have been turned down for the slightest drawback, such as weak heart or eyes.

                We are now in one of a string of buildings similar to those of the Ottawa Exhibition, which is much better than tents.  Tomorrow we expect to go to the range to shoot for about a week. Sunday evening we went over to Hazlemere, a nice little town, in a motor.  The roads seem very strange.  They are good but very narrow and both sides are lined with hedge or bushes….

Best love to all,

WOMEN’S DAY: Fashions of Yesteryear on Display at Watson’s Mill Nov. 3-11

collections, Events, exhibits, families, programs

Come to Manotick for the ultimate Girl’s Day Out! Bring your friends, neighbors, and relatives for refreshments, in-store specials, prizes and much more! Arrive early in town and receive a complimentary gift, while supplies last.  Women’s Day is an annual one-day festival in Manotick, held annually on the first Saturday of November.  It is sponsored and coordinated by the Manotick BIA and brought to you by your local merchants.

For the occasion, Watson’s Mill is hosting a special exhibit featuring period clothing.  The exhibit showcases beautiful reproductions and some original pieces, borrowed from the collections of Watson’s Mill, Rideau Township Historical Society, Goulbourn Museum, OsgoodeMuseum, Vanier Museoparc and Nepean Museum.  Visitors will see a large variety of pieces spanning from the mid 1700’s to the 1950’s, including basic, every day Upper Canada fashion, upper-class ladies-wear from the 1860’s to 1920’s, Victorian wedding apparel, mourning pieces, and of course, a variety of original, and unmentionable!, “under things”.

Period pieces will be displayed both at the Carriage Shed and the Dickinson House, from November 3rd to November 11th.  Admission is by donation. The participating community museums are all members of the Ottawa Museum Network—get your Connexion Card, and save on OMN participating museum admissions and special cardholder events throughout the year.  Visit for more details on the Connexion Card.

In addition, community members are requested to clean out their closets and bring their gently used ladies clothing and accessories, which will be collected at Watson’s Mill and the Carriage Shed during the Women’s day weekend.  The donated clothing will be forwarded to local women’s shelter organizations.
On Saturday, November 3rd, come to Historic Dickinson Square and discover fashions of yesteryears. Not only will ladies feel “girly”, they will leave wanting to spend the day shopping, appreciating modern-day clothing!

Watson’s Mill is a unique 1860’s grist and flour mill located in Manotick, on the shores of the Rideau River.  A working industrial heritage site in greater Ottawa, it has a remarkable history linked to local politics, the building of a country, and a tragic love story.  The WMMI mandate is to preserve Watson’s Mill as a working historic grist and flour mill, and a social, cultural and educational focal point for the community and visitors.

Letters from the Front – Remembering the Great War 1914-1918

collections, Events, exhibits, programs, research

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum’s exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime. In addition to Sefton Stewart’s letters, there will also be local artefacts from that era, and a book containing the names of local Veterans. These men and women were either born in Goulbourn or were long-time residents of the area. If you should find there is a Veteran from Goulbourn who is not listed, please let us know – we welcome additions to this collection.
Sefton was 17-years-old when he joined the war effort.  His father was James Stewart, whose occupations included undertaker, carriage maker, farmer and one-time reeve of the village.  His mother was Margaret (McLean) Stewart.  Sefton’s family home was at 39 Perth Street in Richmond.
The Goulbourn Museum gratefully acknowledges the kind donation of these First World War letters from Mrs. Mary (Seabrook) Munro, niece of Sefton Stewart.  Her family preserved these letters for 93 years.
The correspondence covers a period from 1916 to 1918 and demonstrates in a very human way the huge sacrifices made by these young men and their families, the devastation of the European cities and countryside and the intolerable loss of life suffered by families and by countries who saw so many of its youth killed on the battlefields of Europe.  These letters capture the feel of the period in a way no history book can attempt to replicate.
Here is the first excerpt:
July 2, 1916 – Stationed at Bramskott Camp, England
Dear Mother:
     How is everybody?  As for me, I am quite well.  There are so many things to tell, I don’t know what to tell first.  Wrote two letters on ship but didn’t get posting them because it was reported no letters to be mailed within four days after out arrival.  Did you get the cablegram we sent?
     We had a very good trip; the weather being fine, except for the first two days which were foggy.  A great many were sick, Sid and Arthur were sick for half a day, but we were all dizzy at first.  Left Halifax Tuesday morning, arrived in England Thursday, the 28th.  Our ship, the Missanabie, Empress of Britain, and the Drake, a man-of-war, sailed together.  Saw quite a few ships.  The Drake guarded them off. 
     Came into Liverpool Harbour Thursday night.  It is a very large harbour, being crowded with ships.  From Liverpool to Bramshott Camp, it is a bushy country, divided up here and there with farms, cultivated mostly by women.
     Bramshott Camp is so large you could easily get lost, there being about 40,000 troops stationed here.  Saw Percy Foster out of the 89th and Michael Fox out of the 38th, both being very glad to see us.  We are crowded, about 15 in each tent, making it very hard to move around.
     On the 1st of July there was an inspection of all these troops by the King at Hinhead, eight miles from our camp.  A company of the 77th went as a guard.  Being the first time to see the King, it was something wonderful to see such a gathering of troops.
     The second day we were here there was an inspection by Lord Brooks, Commander of this camp.  A lot of the Battalions have been divided, but we haven’t been yet.  On ship we only had a little physical drill in the mornings.  On our ship there were 1800 soldiers; a person would never imagine all the works and machinery there is about a ship.  There were four sittings each meal, there being accommodation for 450 each sitting.
     The weather is very changeable, raining frequently.  Our first night in camp it rained all night.  We are surrounded by villages, two and three miles away.  There are some deep valleys giving a fine view of the country.  The north coast of Ireland was our first sight of land which we were all anxious to see.  The rocky coast is all divided off into small patches and the grass is very green.  When we came into the dangerous zone, we were met by three torpedo destroyers, a long, low little boat which has very high speed.  These stopped with us until we reached England.
     I guess I will write all afternoon as it is our only time, but will have to take in some of the sports which are going on.  Must write to Clystal.  Canadian mail goes Monday and Thursday.
Best love to all,
Pte.  Sefton Stewart
77 Battalion
A Co. No. 1 Platoon
Bramshott camp
c/o Army Post Office London, England

Shipwrecks and Sorrows Lecture Oct. 23

100th Regiment, collections, exhibits, programs, research

The Ottawa Public Library presents Shipwrecks and Sorrows: Maiden Voyage of the 100th Regiment as part of the History Series for Adults Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Carlingwood branch at 281 Woodroffe Avenue. 
Shipping out to Canada in 1805, the new 100th Regiment of 900 Irish soldiers aboard five troopships met with maritime disasters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only seven survived one shipwreck off Newfoundland while 340 men, women and children died. Two other troopships were wrecked off Nova Scotia. 
This program is presented by historical researcher, Kurt Johnson, a board member of the Goulbourn Museum, in commemoration of the War of 1812.

The Royal Treatment

collections, Events, exhibits, families, programs

Looking for an excuse to wear your tiara this weekend?  Come to the Stittsville Public Library Saturday, Oct. 20th and immerse yourself in all things Royal. Test your knowledge of Royal trivia, take a peek at regal artefacts & enter a royal look-alike contest. Are you a dead-ringer for the Queen or Prince Phillip? If so, you could win a prize!

There will be fun for the whole family at The Queen – A Celebration, a joint venture between the Goulbourn Museum and the Goulbourn Township Historical Society.  Take a peek at a collection of royal artefacts and memorabilia, play a Royal Romance trivia game and dress in your best royal finery and prepare to dazzle! Children aged 4-8 can compete in a best dressed Prince & Princess contest.

This program runs from 1:30 – 4 pm. Refreshments will be served and as usual, this event is free. The Stittsville Public Library is located at 1637 Stittsville Main St.

Spooky Fall Craft Success!

Events, families, programs

We had a full house for our Spooky Fall Crafts event yesterday! Kids came wearing awesome costumes & left with a creepy Halloween scene that included a haunted tree & spooky spiders in a pumpkin patch. Six-year-old Taylor, above, puts the finishing touches on her craft. 

The Best Medicine

Events, families, programs

We`re tickled pink with the response to our Kits`Club Joke Contest! Seven-year-old Theo even submitted an entire book of jokes he created himself! Thanks for making our day, Theo!

As a member of the Kits’ Club, children receive our seasonal newsletter with fun games & activities along with photos from events that are exclusive to kids. We keep you up-to-date about events, contests & include special extras. We also offer monthly Family Craft & Activity Days at the Museum.  Every time you participate in one of our monthly craft days we put a sticker on your membership card – after only 5 visits you win a prize!

Happy Thanksgiving!


The Museum is closed today for Thanksgiving but will be open again on Tuesday from 1-4 pm. Have a safe & wonderful holiday weekend!

Family Craft Day Oct. 14


SPOOKY FALL CRAFTS – Register today to guarantee your spot at this popular family craft event. Come in costume for a chance to win a prize! Click here for event details.

Goulbourn Museum

Goulbourn Museum