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Mapleton Historical Society in review

by Jean Campbell

DRAYTON - In 2005 a group of interested people met to explore the possibility of forming a society to gather, document and share the history of Mapleton Township and its people.

Bylaws were drafted and a mission statement prepared.  At the first annual meeting, held on May 5, 2006, the by-laws were ratified, the mission statement adopted and a board of 12 directors elected.

Members of the public have been generous in donating old documents, newspapers, books, scrape books, pictures, newspapers and artifacts. The society has the use of a storage room in the basement of the Drayton library. It has been a challenge to find ways to share this history with the public.  We have been able to enter into an agreement with the Wellington County Museum and Archives to establish a “Mapleton Collection” at that facility. Items stored there will be used in displays and are accessible to the public to view and for research.

The Society uses the large display case at the library to share items of historical interest, some unique personal collections and to honour Mapleton’s organizations.

In 2011 displays included pictures of vanished hamlets in Mapleton, the Royal Family, a part of Carl Hall’s collection of tea and cocoa pots, a tribute to the Mapleton Fire Department and some of John Snyder’s toys and collectables.

Our booth at the annual Kinsmen Farm Show featured maple syrup production. Tools for gathering the sap - from a hollowed log vessel, wooden spiles and buckets, metal spiles and buckets to the modern plastic tubing system - were on display. A replica of a sugar sack, complete with simulated smoke and steam fascinated the child in both young and old.  

A collection of pictures taken during the 2011 maple syrup season showed the contrast of the old method (collecting sap in buckets and boiling it down in open evaporators) and a new pipeline system (with vacuum pumps, in-ground storage tanks and the processing of the sap by the use of a reverse osmosis system, and reusing the heat to warm the sap as before it enters the stainless steel evaporator).

At the 2011 annual meeting in May Robert McEachern relayed the history of railways through Mapleton and this part of southern Ontario. 

In November Goldstone Church was filled to capacity to hear author Barb Draper tell her story of the history of the Mennonite Churches in Waterloo Region and Mapleton Township.

Throughout the year some of our members have been travelling the concessions taking pictures of the farmsteads.  Of particular interest are the barns. Many farmers are finding the old wooden bank barns no longer viable to their operations so these barns are being removed and replaced with buildings more suited to their needs.

This pictorial record of the farms in Mapleton is an ongoing project of the society. As well we hope to gather histories of the properties and families of the township. 

In 2012 we hope to continue creating interest in our township’s history. Mapleton Historical Society meetings are open to anyone everyone.  Watch our local paper for announcements.


January 6, 2012


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