Comments from Colleen O’Marra regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

Small sample of artifacts from the 1984 dig at the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site. Jaan Pill photo

The photo on the right of a small sample of artifacts from the 1984 dig at the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site at 85 Forty First Street in Long Branch is from a blog post dated June 23, 2012.

A previous post is entitled:

Heads-up regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

At that post, Colleen M. O’Marra has shared a comment, to which I have responded in turn. I’m posting the discussion as a separate post, in order to bring attention to it. The comments, that appear at this website, do not turn up in Google searches. Thus that is another reason, why I like from time to time to post comments as separate posts.

I am really pleased that Colleen M. O’Marra has written the comment. She is a long-time visitor to (and commentator at)  my website. I have not been checking site statistics at my site, for some time. I’m not saying that I will not check in future, but for whatever reason, I’m not that interested in knowing how many people are visiting my site on a given day. Fact-based websites are not to everybody’s taste, right?

Instead, I like to depend simply on comments from site visitors, and occasional messages by email or through this website, to get a sense of what people are reading about, when they visit this website.

Comment from Colleen M. O’Marra

Don’t forget one of the best resources for your book Mr. Pill. The lonely filing cabinet in our great Long Branch library full of our town’s history. For example, listings of all the previous owners of the last homes on Lake Promenade funded by the unofficial founder of Long Branch, Thomas Wilkie . There are at least six of them standing on the north side of Len Ford Park. There is also the fascinating story of the warship, Defiance, ordered by Simcoe to be built for the defense of Upper Canada. The ship was constructed at the mouth of the Etobicoke River.Was it used in battle ? How about the mystery of artifacts found at Colonel Smith’s farm. A dig took place in 1984. Where are those artifacts ?

Comment from Jaan Pill

I much appreciate your reminders, Colleen O’Marra!

Bernice Law, an old-time Long Branch resident (who subsequently moved to Alderwood) organized a series of life stories by Long Branch residents many years ago. The stories that she gathered are at the Long Branch Library. There are so many connections to the past, in resources at the library.

I will be adding, to the library’s resources, a hardcopy version of the “History of Long Branch” document that I’ve put together for the Preserved Stories website. I first need to prepare it in a Microsoft Publisher version. The latter document includes some fact-checking related to previous local-history accounts, as they relate to Long Branch. For example, the Colonel Smith house was torn down in 1955, as a number of printed sources indicate, rather than in 1952, a date that, once it got published, has been repeatedly endlessly, even though it’s inaccurate.

Similarly, the erroneous statement that the Long Branch Hotel fire occurred in 1954 has been frequently repeated whereas the actual date was 1958 as noted in several eye-witness accounts among other sources.

This kind of fact-checking is important because many people rely on the Long Branch Library resources for historical facts about Long Branch. At times, the requisite checking of sources, and verification of details does not happen, and non-facts are repeated as facts. This is a frequent happening, whenever local history tales are recounted, in communities around the world. It’s a fascinating process and is a great topic to research, as I have been doing for the past seven years or so.

Bernice Law shared with me, some years ago, a series of life-story chapters by a long-time resident who lived in South Etobicoke many years ago. I have a plan to publish that, chapter by chapter, at my website and to ensure that the Long Branch library has a copy.

I’ve been invited to give a talk about Long Branch history at the Franklin Horner Centre. The talk is at 1:00 pm on Oct. 25, 2017. I enjoy the opportunity to share information, on such occasions.

The story of the Colonel Smith artifacts will be in my book for sure. As will the initiative called “The Story of Mississauga,” which I’ve been following for some time. It’s by establishing a context – such as by looking at the stories of Alderwood, New Toronto, Mimico, as well as Port Credit and Lakeview in the old “Toronto Township” – that we can get a really good sense of how the history of Long Branch is positioned.

As well, we are dealing with storytelling including the story of how Mississauga Museums has developed and elaborated, and edited over the course of many discussions, what is known as the “Story of Mississauga” – a process that is of ongoing interest to me.

(In the preceding sentence, I’ve treated “Mississauga Museums” as singular, as it is a proper noun that functions as a singular, not plural, entity.)


2 replies
  1. Colleen M.O 'Marra
    Colleen M.O 'Marra says:

    That photo of the Colonel Sam Smith artifacts simply looks like the top of most recycling bins . I understand that a good number of items were gathered at that dig. What are they and where are they ? What’s the big mystery ?Was it a private project ?

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    The artifacts, that I’m familiar with, are in storage at Museums & Heritage Services at the City of Toronto. As I recall, it took me some time to determine where the artifacts are located. I got permission to examine the artifacts and use a photo of them for an online video about the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site.

    Speaking notes, related to the presentation on which the video is based, are available at the Preserved Stories website. The speaking notes explain how the 1984 archaeological investigation came to be organized.

    The report, by the archaeologist who conducted the preliminary dig, describes the artifacts in detail. In future, when time permits, I will seek to post additional details from the report of the preliminary dig.

    Can a display of the artifacts be organized in the future? It would make sense, for such a display to be organized. I will keep that thought in mind: Possibly, in the future, people can work together, to see that such a display is put together.


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