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Local history lecture series returns to Port Hope Public Library

In the cold and snow of January 2014, Port Hope Public Library hosted the “Local History Series.”

This was a series of four presentations given by local amateur historian, Catharine Tozer, providing our audience with a very informative overview of the early settlement of Hope Township. It was well attended and revealed a renewed interest in our local history.

The next year we changed directions and chose four “interesting” pieces of local history that well, made us go hmmm. This was called “Histories Mysteries.”

We were treated to tales of the Morgan horse, love triangles and mysteries of people’s origin and it was fun.

We at Port Hope Public Library thought we had exhausted our resources only to have Sanford Haskill approach us in 2016 and ask if he could talk about his family history dating back to our first settlers in 1793. This was a different focus again in the perspective of history and it turned out to be heartfelt and intimate. This was a family member passionately sharing his family stories with our audience. It was like a sneak peek into everyday living in the past.

This year, 2017, is the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation and Port Hope Public Library could not resist participating in this wonderful historical event, but once again would like to focus on our little dot on the large Canadian map.

We are going to be hosting four presentations, given by four different families that can all claim connections to the first Hope Township settlers.

On four consecutive Saturdays – Jan. 21 and 28, Feb. 4 and 11 – at 2 p.m. at the Mary J. Benson Branch, 31 Queen Street, we can live the lives of these fascinating people.

Jan. 21 features the “The Marvins of Marvindale.” Art Marvin plans to highlight the seven generations of his family that have lived on the same Hope Township property (once owned by William Hunt), by telling short stories from each generation as well as his connection back 11 generations to the very first settlers that came to Hope Township.

Jan. 28, Bill Bickle will be sharing stories about his family from in and around Canton. Bill is the great great great great grandson of Susan and James Hawkins that immigrated to Smith’s Creek in 1801. The population of Hope Township at that time, including Smith’s Creek, was about 500 people. You might recognize some of the names in this family tree. They include the Hawkins, the Harris and the Smiths.

Feb. 4, Anne Burnham has graciously agreed to divulge some of her family stories. The Burnham family is familiar to both Port Hope and Cobourg residents. They too settled in the area around 1795 and became very active members of the community. Two of the members of the family became a mayor of our fair little town.

Feb. 11, Chuck Harris is going to be sharing interesting tidbits of his family tree. Chuck is a descendant of Myndert and Polly (Youmans) Harris. One of the first settler families that came to Hope Township 223 years ago. They came by ship in June of 1793 and members of the family are still in the area today.

Please make plans to join us for our Local Historical Family Celebration and enjoy the family members sharing family stories.

For more program information check out our newsletter, consult the website or call Port Hope Public Library at 905-885-4712.

The Port Hope Public Library column is published on the second Tuesday of every month