In which we find a treasure. Or actually, two.

Main street, Tamworth

The nicely preserved main street of little Tamworth, Ont.

Now that the fine weather seems to be finally here, Raymond and I are excited about resuming our enjoyable pastime of rambling around the back roads and obscure corners of Hastings County and environs. We got a taste of that a week or so ago, when we took a drive to Napanee – in neighbouring Lennox and Addington County – for an auction sale, and from there poked along in a northwesterly direction back home to Queensborough via roads that were mostly new to us.

When we came to the pretty, historic village of Tamworth we just had to stop for a bit. What a nice little place! There are a bunch of gorgeously preserved 19th-century buildings there, and several shops and businesses in operation – just what a village needs (as I’ve often said, like here) to get people to stop and spend a bit of time (and money). We enjoyed lunch at a café on the main street, and were delighted to find a splendid used-book store tucked away down a little pathway:

Tamworth Book Shop

Who knew? An excellent used-book shop down a little path in Tamworth.

Hutton of HastingsAnd there we found another treasure! A book by Hastings County’s most famous and respected historian (and a friend of this blog), Mr. Gerry Boyce! Gerry is known primarily for his seminal book Historic Hastings (a new edition of which has recently been published, which you can read about here), but unbeknownst to us until our Tamworth visit was the fact that Gerry is also the author of a 1972 book called Hutton of Hastings. It’s a biography and collection of the letters of William Hutton (1801-1861), an Irish immigrant to these parts who became the county’s first warden and first school superintendent. “His letters give a delightful insight into the life and times of a farmer, educator, and politician of local importance, who also played a significant role in the Canadian civil service with respect to agriculture, immigration and colonization roads,” the book’s jacket reads, in part. Raymond and I are both history buffs, and this book is a wonderful addition to our local-history collection.

And get this: it’s signed by the author!

Hutton of Hastings, signed by Gerry Boyce

So that’s why I say that on our little drive we found not one but two treasures. A good morning and early afternoon’s work!

8 thoughts on “In which we find a treasure. Or actually, two.

  1. Gerry has put out a few books around Belleville area and also led the Spring tour of the Belleville Cemetery. He actually has done a lot of investigating around Belleville and you can check his work at the Belleville library or City Hall. My mother used to be the reception there and told me of many things Gerry did. A very nice man and historian. I alway got him mixed up with Jerry Joyce. Also a very popular man in Belleville. I know he has passed away for sure. I also know many people in Tamworth including relatives just northeast.
    Nancy Lou

  2. I totally forgot that book. Lucky you to find a copy. Gerry has done so much for the history of our area. Happy Easter to you both and to both your families. We are in Barrie enjoying a weekend with family.

  3. There are many treasures in Tamworth! It is always a blessing for me to go back to my ancestral roots. The Masons serve up a wicked fish fry also in late August. It is a place you never get tired of visiting. Don’t forget to take your bathing suit and have a nice picnic at Beaver lake on your way if you happen to go that way again. 😉 I caught the biggest fish there in my dads boat once. Well at least at the time I thought it was a big fish. Maybe that is because I was so small.
    A little secret I have to tell you that I find you often mention is Mr. Boyce. He was my vice principal in high school.. lol I kind of had a different mind set on his character being of authority and all.. It’s good to know that I never had to visit his office, but yes he is a great historian. The wonderful and great Moira Secondary! “Go Trojans Go!”

    • Great stories, mk! How funny that you first knew the affable Mr. Boyce as a stern figure of authority! Those are excellent tips about Beaver Lake, and the fish fry – we will try to check them both out!

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