Heirlooms and antiques, the property of old families in the Ottawa district, were brought together in one of the most interesting exhibits of the Ottawa Exhibition Golden Jubilee program. This exhibit, which will be located In the women’s handicrafts building in 1937. The exhibition was in the form of a parlor in a well-to-do home of 1887. To give a contrast there was another exhibit, that of a modern living room, with all the comforts and conveniences
As the exhibition was celebrating its 50th birthday, the idea of having an exhibit to show what the “properly equipped” parlor of the year 1887 when the exhibition was first held in Ottawa, and another exhibit to show the great strides made in style and furnishings for a home, was developed by the exhibition management with the co-operation of Mrs. J. K. Kelly, of Almonte.
To Mrs. Kelly went the credit for finding the magnificent heirlooms and antiques which were used to furnish the “parlor of 50 years ago.” Among the first settlers in what is known as Blakeney or Snedden’s Station, were members of the Snedden family who came from Rosebank, Scotland. They named the place where they settled Rosebank and it is still known by that name in that vicinity.
Among the treasures the Snedden family brought from Scotland were brass candlesticks, brass curtain tics, pictures of Robert Burns, ‘the poet’, and of Rev. Robert Burns, who was the Presbyterian minister in the kirk where the Snedden family worshipped, a chair worked in needlepoint, a small Brussels rug and a table cover.
All these treasures were loaned by the Snedden family to help furnish the parlor. Another Scottish family coming from Braehead, near Glasgow, was the Young family. Their contribution to the parlor was a mantel clock, well over 100 years old and still keeping good time; a farmer’s seed wreath made by a granddaughter 85 years ago and a needlepoint cushion, beautifully worked. The farmer’s wreath was a work of art and few of them are in existence today.
From the descendants of James Stewart, Scottish blacksmith, the exhibition received the loan of wonderful samplers, old family pictures, walnut what-not, curtains knit years ago by a granddaughter, Jessie Stewart, and several other articles including an old family Bible. The curtains were made of cotton warp twisted and a yarn, homespun and home-dyed by another granddaughter.
The Bible originally belonged to the Tyner family of Toronto and was a wedding gift from Mrs. Robert Knowles, mother of the well known novelist. Mrs. Bower Henry, wife of the immediate past president of the Central Canada Exhibition Association contributed a fireplace almost 100 years old, which was built into the original home on the Silver Springs farm, the Henry home on the Richmond road.
A lovely student’s lamp, an outstanding example of old craftsmanship, was loaned by Mrs. Rose of Pakenham. This lamp was brought here from Baltimore more than 50 years ago.
Miss Annie Arthur, donated a feather wreath which she made when a young girl. The colors were well blended and the flowers-still had a natural appearance. This is an art which is almost lost today. Miss Arthur also loaned an organ, which was one of the first In the Almonte district and was over 85 years of age. The tone was still mellow and true.
One of the smaller ‘ pieces, a little pitcher, well over 125 years old, and a work basket, were loaned by Miss Arthur. Another pitcher and curtain poles were loaned by Mrs. Toshark. Miss K. McDougall was contributing a footstool in needlepoint, very old and beautifully worked. All the items loaned for that Golden Jubilee in 1937 were examples of a pioneer industry or art which had practically disappeared at that point.