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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Quilt with a history that is a mystery displayed during ECHRS open house


by Sylene Argent

On Saturday, members of the Essex & Community Historical Research Society (ECHRS) opened their facility doors to the public to host an informative and interactive open house.

  During the event, the more than 20 guests who passed through the facility were able to enjoy learning from an array of historical displays and presentations, which outlined some areas of Essex’s rich history.

  Laurie Kowtiuk, President of ECHRS, said the society members wanted to host an event that would attract community members into the facility, and their efforts to do so ended up bringing in individuals into the museum who did not know it even existed.


  Some of the interesting items on display during the event included the record books for the former Naylor Lumber site. They would have been created on the desk of C.E. (Charles) Naylor, the son of James Naylor, who founded the Naylor Lumber Company in 1882. The desk is now housed at ECHRS for interested community members to see and learn from.

  This desk returned home to Essex a few months back, thanks to one of Naylor’s descendants.

  When the desk was delivered, there were items still in its drawers, including trinkets, a picture of James Naylor, and a couple of old receipts.

  Naylor Lumber was once located where the current Essex Home Hardware facility now stands. Operations ended around a century after its early 1880 start, after five generations of the family members had worked for the business.

  The business was established in Essex Centre in around 1873, around a year after the Canada Southern Railway laid tracks across the Talbot Trail.

  Another interesting new-to-the-Museum item included a hand-made quilt that was donated without a whole lot of information. The “autograph quilt,” Kowtiuk explained, was to be auctioned off for the Essex Salvation Army on December 23, 1896. It contains a myriad of names stitched into the fabric.

  Kowtiuk said she searched old reports from the Essex Free Press and it is not clear if the quilt ended-up being auctioned off that night or who ended up with it.

  It is not known who donated the quilt or the story behind the quilt.

  Another unique item on display during the open house included an 1881 land deed for lot 281 north on Talbot Road, which belonged to John McEwan. The lot would have formerly been located in Gosfield, nearing where Foodland now stands.

  To learn more, log onto echrs.ca 

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