admiral bayfield's ancestors visit village archives
BY JULIA M. ARMSTRONG, archivist for the BHS
In late October, the Bayfield Historical Society warmly welcomed Nicky and Peter Robinson, who visited from England. Nicky is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield. (Photo by Jan Simonson)
Bayfield Historical Society President Ruth Gibson presented Nicky Robinson with information about the village and a copy of "Reflections of Bayfield". (Photo by Julia M. Armstrong)
On Oct. 26, the Bayfield Historical Society (BHS) hosted a gathering for two special visitors: Nicola and Peter Robinson from England. Nicky, as she is called, is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Admiral Bayfield, after whom the village is named. When planning their holiday to Canada, the couple discovered the BHS online and decided to reach out. The membership was so pleased that they did!
After a tour of the Bayfield Archives and Heritage Centre, led by BHS President Ruth Gibson and Assistant Archivist Claudia Barrett, the Robinsons, members of the board and special guests – among them local historians Dave Gillians and David Yates – gathered for an informal chat while enjoying refreshments. The discussions focused on Admiral Bayfield’s fame as the early-19th-century surveyor of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence waterways, and eastern Canada. Not only were his accomplishments astonishing, but his detailed charts and maps continued to be in use until about 1910, said David Yates, who is undertaking extensive research for a book on the admiral.
Past-President Doug Brown provided background on the successful inaugural Admiral Bayfield Day this past April, including the production of Judy Keightley’s play about the admiral, presented at the Bayfield Town Hall. He also shared preliminary plans for the second annual event: a memorial to Admiral Bayfield, which is being jointly planned with the Bayfield Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC). Landscape architect Kim McCabe described her initial concepts for it. Roger Lewington, on behalf of the BACC, donated to BHS copies of the two Champlain Society volumes in which Bayfield’s journals are published (2013, edited by Ruth McKenzie). Gibson reviewed with the Robinsons the Ancestry family tree compiled for Admiral Bayfield, which goes back to Thomas Bayfield, born in 1665 in Norwich, England.
The Robinsons were overwhelmed by the welcome and the events of the afternoon.
“We never expected anything like this!” Nicky said. After the group viewed the BHS video about Admiral Bayfield, Gibson presented Nicky with a copy of “Reflections of Bayfield: Images across the Decades” by Barbara Brown and Joyce Lambert, and Dave Gillians gave her his book “For the Love of Bayfield”. Nicky couldn’t wait to show them to her mother back in England. Peter mentioned that in the area of England where Admiral Bayfield was born, Kingston upon Hull, the surname Bayfield is like Jones or Smith – very common. They themselves live in Whitchurch, in the county of Shropshire, where Peter runs a feed mill and Nicky manages a test kitchen for assessing new food products.
Nicky’s story is one that would make most genealogists jealous: the discovery of a famous ancestor you never knew about! She had no information about her maternal heritage until a few years ago.
As Peter explained, he had been researching his side of the family on Ancestry.com, “Nicky’s mom, who was fostered, never knew anything about her family at all, and she asked me to look into them. All she had was her mother’s marriage certificate and death certificate. She never met her father. I took the certificates and I traced her to Horace Bayfield, a surgeon specializing in gynecology whose family was from Prince Edward Island.”
Finding Horace led to his parents, the famous Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield and his wife, Fanny Amelia Wright. Nicky was delighted to learn about her connection to such important figures. But there's more! The Robinsons could never have guessed the storyline to come.
Local historian Dave Gillians chatted with Nicky Robinson with Admiral Bayfield looking on from behind. (Photo by Julia M. Armstrong)
“It turns out that Nicky’s great-grandmother Gertrude – the granddaughter of Henry and Fanny – was a very wayward young lady,” Peter explained.
Since 1841 Henry and family had lived in Charlottetown, his headquarters (and where he remained after his retirement in 1856 until his death in 1885). Henry and Fanny’s son Horace left P.E.I. to study medicine in Edinburgh, after which he set up a practice in London, UK, and raised his own family. One of Horace’s daughters, Gertrude, ran off with a man and got married in Paris, where it seems she made a living by handwriting menus for restaurants. Whether she returned to England of her own accord or not, it is known that her father managed to get the marriage annulled. But a series of other marriages followed.
“In fact, you can read about all of it in the papers of that time!” said Nicky. Gertrude’s scandalous lifestyle was all the more newsworthy because her father was a highly regarded surgeon.
“We never knew any of this until three or four years ago,” said Nicky. But she understands why her grandmother may not have wanted to talk about her mother’s unconventional lifestyle. The Robinsons then made another exciting connection: the line of talent running through the generations.
“Nicky’s family is very artistic,” said Peter. “Nicky is quite good, and her mom does a lot of painting and writes poetry.”
As they had learned, Admiral Henry Bayfield’s wife, Fanny, was an accomplished painter (some of her works are held at Library and Archives Canada and other museums). As well, Henry’s mother was a published poet, and the wayward Gertrude, like her grandmother Fanny, was very talented.
As Nicky explained, “We know from Ancestry records that Gertrude and her sister went to Charlottetown to visit their grandparents. We like to think that Gertrude, my mom’s granny, may have been taught to paint by her grandmother.” (Fanny is reputed to have trained with the same teacher as Queen Victoria.)
Nicky showed the group a photograph on her phone: a painting of an exquisite pair of birds that has always hung in her mom’s dining room. It was among the items collected from Nicky’s grandmother’s home after her death. All these years later, the family can say with certainty that the signature, GY, stands for Gertrude Young, Nicky’s great-grandmother.
“Nicky’s mom was quite pleased to learn this,” said Peter.
The Robinsons were charmed by the village of Bayfield, and after a few more days in the area, their next stop was Charlottetown to explore another touchstone to the past: the house where the Bayfields’ lived is preserved as a National Historic Site. (Henry and Fanny’s P.E.I. summer home is also a registered historic site.)
The BHS members look forward to hearing from their new friends about their further discoveries and plan to stay in touch!
two more sleeps until kick off
Perhaps a record number of youngsters couldn't wait for their first glimpse of Santa Claus as the holiday season began in Bayfield on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 It is almost time to celebrate all over again. (Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)
For the past 28 years, Christmas In Bayfield has made this village a delightful destination for people from near and far to enjoy the spirit of the season, shop for Christmas gifts and enjoy lunch or dinner.
In keeping with the spirit of the weekend, the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce would like to extend an invitation to all residents and businesses alike to ‘Light Up the Village’ and decorate their homes and businesses early to coincide with the kick off weekend, Nov. 15-17.
It all starts with the Lighting of the Lights in Clan Gregor Square on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. followed by the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m.
The Bayfield Town Hall Heritage Society will be serving hot dogs and the Bayfield Skating Club will be serving hot chocolate at the tree lighting on Friday and as always, Santa will stop by for a visit.
The annual parade will head down Main Street starting at 11 a.m. Have an idea for a float? Please email:Bayfield.Ontario.Chamber@gmail.com
In addition, free Horse and Carriage Rides will offered on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Plus, shoppers can win one of ten $100 Gift Certificates at participating Bayfield merchants. Ballots are available in participating businesses.
enter the haggis rock the hall
PHOTOS BY JACK PAL
Trevor Lewington and Craig Downie (far right), from the internationally acclaimed Celtic rock band, “Enter the Haggis”, along with support from bassist Scott McKendrick (far left) and energetic fiddler/dancer, Emily Yarascavitch, entertained a sold out crowd in the Bayfield Town Hall on the evening of Nov. 10.
The Bayfield Town Hall rocked on Sunday evening, Nov. 10. Trevor Lewington and Craig Downie, from the internationally acclaimed Celtic rock band, “Enter the Haggis”, along with support from bassist Scott McKendrick and energetic fiddler/dancer, Emily Yarascavitch, had the old building vibrating with enthusiastic clapping and foot stomping.
Lewington is the son of Bayfield’s Pat and Roger Lewington and although Trevor performs all over the world with Enter the Haggis, he especially welcomed this opportunity to entertain in the village that he loves so much. At the beginning of the show, Roger brought back some memories when he screened a video that showed Trevor singing one of his songs on the side of the old wreck, the Linda Hyndman, which has now disappeared from sight.
In recognition of Remembrance Day, Roger also showed a video of one of the village’s favorite groups, Newfoundland’s “Ennis Sisters”, singing the poignant “Sing you Home” at the 75th anniversary of the D- Day invasion at Juno Beach in Normandy last June. He announced afterwards that the Ennis Sisters would be returning to Bayfield to perform on May 23,, 2020.
Emily Yarascavitch, kept the audience thoroughly entertained.
Trevor Lewington and Craig Downie (right) perform all over the world with Enter the Haggis, but they welcomed the opportunity to entertain in the village where Lewington has a family connection.
It is almost the most wonderful time of year! Yes, the annual Gingerbread Cookie Decorating event brought to the community by the Friends of the Bayfield Library (FOBL) will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16.
All are invited to visit the Bayfield Public Library and join in this wonderful pre-Christmas celebration after the Bayfield Santa Claus Parade, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
LETTERS TO SANTA
Bayfield residents will be pleased to know that Santa Claus will once again be receiving mail in his special mailbox at Bayfield Foodland.
Santa’s elves delight in hearing from area youngsters and learning what is on their wish lists every year. Be sure to include a return address so that the children can be sure of a note in return from the jolly old elf himself. The last day to drop a letter in the box will be Dec. 13 to ensure that the elves can send out a response before Santa begins his annual journey.
The Glee Sisters are hosting their annual Children’s Concert on Saturday, Nov. 16 with “Olaf’s Night Before Christmas” the story to be highlighted in song and with puppets.
To accommodate demand two performances will be held at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The show will feature a story book on the big screen narrated by “Grandma” with musical support by the Glee Sisters choir, interactive puppet numbers and gifts of safety-approved rhythm instruments for children to play in the show’s finale.
The Bayfield Town Hall Heritage Society will provide hot chocolate and cookies following the show. Admission is by donation to the Bayfield and Area Foodbank.
The Bayfield Agricultural Society (BAS) will have their wreaths and Swags for sale over the Christmas in Bayfield weekend.
These beautiful handmade wreaths and swags are made of Natural Grape Vine, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Red Cedar, Scots Pine, Juniper and Holly Berries. These evergreens are all natural to the Bayfield Area. Each piece is created as an individual style of art.
They will be on sale Nov. 15-16 at St. Andrews United Church directly across from Clan Gregor Square. Friday sales will be held from 5-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the annual bazaar at the church.
The wreaths and swags range in price from $25-$35. Bows are $4 each. These wreaths are made with locally sourced boughs by local volunteer supporting a Local organization that has a history of 163 years in the Bayfield community. It can’t get more “local” than that!
Can’t get to the sale? Place an order by Nov. 23 by contacting Don Brodie at 519 871-2852. Payments should be made with a cheque made out to the Bayfield Agricultural Society or cash. Payment will be received at pickup.
There is lots of hockey happening at the Bayfield Arena this weekend and members of the community are invited to come out and watch a game or two.
The seventh annual Bayfield Relics 50+ tournament will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16 starting at 11:30 a.m.
The Bayfield Relics are an Oldtimers Hockey Team that was founded in 1987. Their home ice is the Bayfield Arena. The Relics play their season schedule versus teams from Huron and Middlesex Counties.
Councilor’s Corner is tomorrow (Nov. 14).
Bayfield Ward Councilor Bill Whetstone welcomes all area citizens to join in these monthly sessions starting at 7 p.m. at the Bayfield Community Center. Topics to be determined.
Dara Meades, an employee at Shop Bike Coffee Roasters, poses with the collection bin for the Period Poverty campaign. People are invited to drop off new underwear and feminine hygiene products to be donated to local schools from now until Nov. 22. Items can also be dropped off at The Bayfield Beauty Shop. (Submitted photo)
Women’s March Canada’s Huron Chapter is working to end Period Poverty during their Panty Drive for local schools from now until Nov. 22.
The group is asking area residents to donate underwear and women’s hygiene products. They are also asking people to think of green options when shopping. These purchases might include 100 per cent cotton Tampons and pads; diva cups or reusable maxis.
Donations may be dropped off in Goderich at Wuerth’s Shoes or Cait’s Café, both located on The Courthouse Square; or in Bayfield at Shopbike Coffee Roasters or the Bayfield Beauty Shop.
centre for the arts
A determined group of community members have been actively working on the concept of developing a Visual Art Centre in Bayfield, to promote and provide artistic and cultural exploration and experiential learning, for all ages and abilities.
To ensure that this Centre reflects the needs and wants of the community and Huron County, a Community Presentation and Input Session is being held on Dec. 5 upstairs in the Bayfield Arena and Community Arena, 4 Jane Street, at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.
All are welcome and invited to learn about the proposal and participate in the development of the building, classes, workshops, studio space and festivals, in a variety of media.
Bayfield Travel Club
The third meeting of the Bayfield Travel Club will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7.
It’s a place where local residents can meet other people that have the same passion for travel, share their own travel experiences, learn about new exciting destinations and to just have some fun.
Due to a dramatic increase in attendance, the club will meet from 1-2 p.m. at a new location, The Lake House of Bayfield in their conference room, at 21 Bayfield Main St. North.
The point of discussion, will be culinary travel that will continue into the Jan. 11 meeting, with a special guest from Collette Tours.
All Ages Line Dancing has returned to the Bayfield Town Hall for an autumn session. Rural Response for Healthy Children invites everyone to come kick up their heels.
The program will be offered Monday evenings for one hour starting at 6:30 p.m. concluding on Nov. 18.
This program is free to people of all ages.The dancing will be facilitated by Norma Preszcator. Free, healthy snacks and a group social time will follow each week
There is no registration required. Anyone who would like additional information should call
519 482-8777, 1-800-479-0716 or email email@example.com.
ART FOR HOSPICE
In support of Huron Residential Hospice (HRH) near Clinton, Bayfield artist Dwight Nelson has graciously donated a wonderful piece of acrylic art, named “Forest for the Trees for the Forest”.
This piece will be on display at the Bayfield Public Library during the month of November. Anyone interested in taking this beautiful piece of art home, is invited to participate in the silent auction, being held at the library during this same time frame.
The silent auction will close on Nov. 30 at 1 p.m., during which time the highest bidder will be contacted. The piece measures 16” x 20”.