Virtual Exhibits will be coming later this year as our digitization project progresses. Anyone wishing to assist with this project should contact the museum by May 1st, 2021. Project tasks may include: photographing artefacts, taking measurements, handling artefacts, learning software, and data entry. This can be used toward volunteer hours and on a resume. These virtual exhibits will focus on artefacts from our community collection.
Bringing History to Life Through Photographs
Bringing History to Life Through Photographs is a working exhibit, and we will continue to add new videos that feature past Amherstburg residents, buildings, and stories of interest.
Corporal Albert Edward Thomas
Albert was born on November 9th, 1890; he was a dredgeman (sic) by profession with brown hair and eyes, and stood 5' 10 1/2".
Cpl Thomas had joined the CEF in 1914 with his brother Murray and left with Amherstburg's first contingent in August of that year; he was among the first volunteers in town. He was "reported wounded at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle" in March of 1915; Bert had received a superficial gunshot wound to the head, but he was discharged from the hospital and returned to the 1st Battalion on April 4th, 1915.
Cpl. Thomas was listed as killed in action between April 22 and April 30, 1915
Letters Home, 1914- 1919 p. 3; 12 (Marsh Historical Collection)
Library Archives Canada
Elizabeth Park Slack and her children Charles-Benjamin Slack and Kate Slack.
The original painting hangs in the parlour, above the piano, at the Park House Museum
Elizabeth Park Slack was the youngest sister of the Park Brothers. She was born in December of 1813 and married Colonel Thomas W. Slack in the mid-1830's. Although her brothers moved to Upper Canada, she remained in the United States. The portrait was painted by C.A. Band of Boston in 1845.
Elizabeth Park Slack died in July of 1847; Theodore Park Sr. named his daughter Elizabeth after his young sister.
Kate was born in 1836 and died in 1920. Benjamin became a Major and lived a well travelled life before he died in New Orleans in 1897.
Elizabeth Park, daughter of Theodore, became the owner of the beautiful portrait and willed to Elizabeth and William Aikman. upon her death in 1941.
The portrait underwent an extensive restoration in 1984 and has hung in the parlour since.
Painting Source: Park House Museum Collection
Letter from Lyman Perry October 19, 1884
Park Family History
Amherstburg Echo April 16,1897
Theodore Jones Park
Mr. Park was born in Framingham, MA on July 11, 1811.
He was the second youngest of 12 children. He came to Upper Canada in the early 1830s to work for his older brothers: John R. and Thomas.
In 1839, he moved into the current Park House Museum, where he resided and operated the Amherstburg expansion of the Park Brothers business; together they owned much of the dockage until the 1860s.
In 1853, he married the girl next door, Caroline Francis Kevill, and they had seven children between 1854 and 1873.
He was a successful businessman, the proprietor of the Lakeview Hotel (1877 - 1884), an additional business partner with his nephew, and a mason.
Mr. Park died on Sunday, March 23rd, 1884 at the age of 72 years, 8 months, and 17 days
Photo Source: Copy, Park House Museum Collection
Park Family History
The Parke Society 1985 - Vol. XXII, No 3
Amherstburg Echo, March 28, 1884
Photo Subject: Russel J. Fox
Corporal Russel J. Fox was a fireman with brown hair and blue eyes. He was 5’ 8” tall and was good friends with Robert “Bobbie” Fryer and liked baseball.
He joined the 99th Battalion in 1915 and arrived in England on June 8, 1916. He was transferred to the 35th Battalion and then the 87th Battalion.
By August 1916, Russell was in the fields of France. He was appointed as an acting lance corporal in December of 1916 and was promoted to acting corporal a month later.
He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. He was admitted to the hospital on April 14, 1917, but on April 22, 1917, nineteen days after his 24th birthday, he died of complications to his wounds received at Vimy Ridge.
Photo Source: Marsh Historical Collection.
Letters Home 1914-1919
Theodore James Park
Theodore James Park was born April 19, 1856, at the Park House; he was the second child and second son of Theodore Jones Park and Caroline (Kevill) Park.
He lived in the house for the majority of his life. His only absence was during a stay in Toronto to complete his education, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in medicine and completed a residency at the Toronto General Hospital. He returned to Amherstburg in 1880 and opened a General Practice in the north end of the family home. He died here on January 1st, 1936.
Dr. Jim was an active member of the community. He served a short term as Mayor of Amherstburg in 1888. Dr. Park was also the Medical Officer of Health for the county, the examiner for the leading life insurance companies in the area, an advocate for vaccines, lobbied for the expansions of sewers/ indoor plumbing as a means of Cholera prevention, and was at the helm of 1918 Spanish Flu.
Dr. Park never owned the Park House; the residence was owned by his sisters ( Caroline, Adella, and Elizabeth) as per their mothers' will.
Photo Source: Park House Museum Collection
Park Family History
Amherstburg Echo, 1881, 1918, 1936
In 2019, the museum opened a photography exhibit, which featured our archival photos from around Amherstburg and paired them with current photos.
Some buildings have been replaced and some have been transformed, but it is interesting to see a comparison landscape.
For architectural details and history of
Amherstburg's historic buildings listen to the new Doors of Heritage podcast by clicking on the gramophone.
In the fall of 2019, the museum opened an interim Boblo exhibit, which featured our collection of Boblo Island souvenirs and uniforms dating between 1898 and 1993; as our digitization project progresses, you will be able to view these artefacts online.
In 1998, the museum hosted a 100th-anniversary exhibit, and this videos includes photos that were donated to the museum for that exhibit.
Boblo opened May 24, 1898, and continued to expand its operations as an amusement park until it closed on September 13, 1993.
For additional photos visit:
Photo Subject: Orville Leland Fox
Pvt. Fox served in the 87th Battalion, C.E.F.
Orval was the son of Esrias and Harriet. He was of fair complexion with brown eyes, auburn hair, and stood at 5' 7.5". He was born in September of 1893 and was a Machinist by trade. He enlisted with the 99th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 4th, 1915.
He left Canada in May of 1916 and arrived in England on June 8th, 1916, where he was transferred to the 35th Canadian Reserve Battalion. On August 16th he was transferred to the 87th Battalion and was taken-on- strength eight days later in France.
A report on May 5th, 1917 listed Fox missing in action following the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but a May 16th report changed his status to killed in action. He was 23 years old and rests at his burial site in France: F548
Corporal R. Fox, also killed as a result of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, was Orville's first cousin.
Photo Source: Marsh Historical Collection
1881 and 1901 Canada Census
His military record can be viewed at the following link:
Photo Subject: Grandma Wigle
Sarah Elizabeth McCormick was born on November 6th, 1825, and she was the second child/daughter of Alexander and Mary (nee Lidwill). She grew up in Colchester with her three sisters and one brother.
Elizabeth married Henry Wigle in October of 1840; they lived in Ruthven, Ontario, and proceeded to have seven children between 1841 and 1855: Lucetta, Mary, Francis, Albert, Cordelia, Cornelius, and Burwell. Elizabeth and Henry were upstanding citizens, with family roots as United Empire Loyalists and in the War of 1812 serving under Matthew Elliott. According to an oral history on file, Francis (son) and Thorburn (grandson) served postmasters for over 50 years. Mrs. Wigle was the household’s matriarch, while Henry “built [a] woollen mill to manufacture blankets and cloth… a hotel, general store, and blacksmith shop in the village [Ruthven], and a sawmill at the lake.”
This photo, 78.7.13, was donated to the museum in 1978 by her Granddaughter Meta Moore Wigle. A handwritten note, daintily written on the back of the photo, says “taken on 79th Birthday Nov. 6th, 1904.”
Park House Museum - Photograph Collection
The Amherstburg Echo: May 12 1933 (pg 8); January 17, 1936 (pg 7); November 21, 1993, two articles date unknown.
Photo Subject: James S. Lushington
James S. Lushington was not just a man with a stellar beard and a killer moustache that would give today’s hipster a run for their money. He was employed as the town’s chemist and druggist at M.Twomey’s store (the building has been removed, but the Gordon house has taken its place), then he purchased Twomey’s interest in the business, he then moved to the Burk building behind the current town hall, and then to the Kolfage block before relocating to the United States in 1895 after the death of his wife.
Lushington was no stranger to moving around; he had emigrated from Scotland in 1871, at the age of 23. The following year, he married the 17-year-old Mary Isabelle D’Aubin, of Amherstburg; they had four children and lived on Ramsay Street. He was an accomplished violinist and offered lessons beginning in 1893, a great fisherman, described as strikingly tall standing at six feet four inches, and for those who love pop culture could likely be dubbed our version of James Fraser.
The following memory was written by C.M.S Thomas (father of Cpl. Thomas, the first photo and biography in this exhibit) titled Office of the Old Drug Store and was published in the Amherstburg Echo:
“ One day a new pupil arrived (J.L.) fresh from the land of heather. He came with his sister carrying her books, (a beautiful and commendable act) as most of us usually carry the other fellow’s sisters’ books.
One morning I saluted them as Adam and Eve - and, after a long chase he ran me down. Taking me by the collar with his left hand and holding a clenched right hand (big as a small ham) before my eye and said, ‘Noo Charlee Tamess. Lie down and I won’t hit ye, but dinna ever call me Adam again, my name is James.’
J.L. was the most good-natured Scot I have ever known, and proved himself a hero some years after… [and] saved the lives of four ‘Burg boys by his timely Scotch, horse-sense advice” after a boating accident.
Park House Museum Archive: Lushington Photograph Collection
The Amherstburg Echo
1900 United States Census (Ohio and Michigan)
1891 Marriage Records
1881 Canada Census
Photo Subject: Ada D’Aubin
Louis Grant D’Aubin was born in Amherstburg on November 4, 1852. He married Susan Soulange Primeau in January of 1876. Together they had six children: Minnie, Ada, Gordon, Rena, Leo, and Stella.
We don’t know much about Ada, but we have a series of age progression photographs, which is uncommon during the late 19th century. Ada was the niece of James S. Lushington, who was a feature of the last exhibit entry; James' wife, Isabelle, and Ada’s father, Louis, were siblings. Although photographs were an expensive novelty, through the photograph collection donated to the museum in the early 1990s, we know that the Lushington/D’Aubin Family had access to a camera and were used as photographer’s, likely family member, test subjects.
According to the 1900 US Census Record, the family had immigrated to Michigan in 1893. By that time Louis worked as a floor-walker, Susan was listed as a sales lady, and Gordon a cashier; although it would warrant more research, it is likely they owned a business like Lushington or were part of a family business. We know that Ada died in childhood and she is not listed as part of the family in 1900. Ancestry records list Ada as being born in Amherstburg on November 23, 1878, which coordinates with the 1881 Canada Census.
However, what you’re about to read is why it’s important to cross-reference multiple sources. All research has a starting point. The reverse of our photograph(s) was marked simply as Ada D’Aubin, and we knew Louis and Susan’s daughter as per an article written in 1993 when we received the collection. Ada L. D’Aubin died at the age of 6. The photos we have in the collection are actually of Ada M. D’Aubin, Louis’ and Isabelle’s younger sister born July 24th, 1868. Ada M. married Charles Brown on February 4th, 1891. Charles, originally from Ridgetown, worked for the railroad in Toledo, OH where the marriage took place; he was listed as both a Bookkeeper and Railroad Agent. They had two daughters (Erma Belle, 1896 and Charlotte, 1898) and remained in Ohio. Ada M. D’ Aubin died in 1947.
A December 1881 article from the local paper stated that “Miss Ada D’Aubin sang a number of beautiful choruses” during a church anniversary celebration, and a family memory recites “G.Grandmother Brown. She was four foot nine inches and her small hands flew over the piano keys. My mother always marveled at how she could play a note her hands could not spread to reach. She would roll her hands to play the note and she played beautifully. She also taught piano.” This memory was paired with a picture, not from our collection, showing an even slightly more aged, now Mrs A. Brown. While one of the pictures in our collection shows the whimsical theatre-loving character of Miss Ada M. D’Aubin/ Mrs A. Brown, these two articles confirm that she enjoyed performing.
While descendants with the D’Aubin name no longer reside in Amherstburg, we would certainly love to see more photographs and hear their memories.