17 March 2013

Perth Historical Society Monthly Meeting

The meeting on Wednesday, March 20 is Otty Lake’s North Shore – Then & Now: An Illustrated Presentation on a Local Lake  with a Unique History! given by Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie.

Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie are neighbors on Otty Lake’s North Shore in Drummond/North Elmsley Township - Mr. MacSkimming from BurgessWood and Mr. Beattie in a nearby log house overlooking the lake.  On discovering their complementary research of that community, they joined forces to develop an overview of the past and present of the area.

Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie will relate the story of the early settlers of the North Shore – the mica miners, farmers, cottagers and community leaders.  They will focus on two remarkable families, the Kenyons and the McLarens.  Isaac Kenyon arrived on Otty Lake in 1867 to mine, farm the virgin soil and eventually raise 15 children.  William and Anna McLaren inherited the North Burgess mining operation from Senator Peter McLaren and lived an unusual, solitary life in the woods near the Kenyons.  Anecdotes and local knowledge from the audience will be welcomed.

As editor of Captain Otty’s Log, the newsletter of the Otty Lake Association, Don Beattie has interviewed descendants of the McLarens to capture fascinating memories of the eccentric couple.  Isaac Kenyon had substantially expanded his land ownership and farm operations over the years, and was involved with the social and political life of the local community, eventually becoming Reeve of North Burgess Township.  Roy MacSkimming, well-known author of several books, will bring the story up to date with the vision that led Dr. Grover Lightford to buy the McLaren property and found Burgess Wood, a unique community based on shared ownership of land.  The presentation will be illustrated with archival pictures and contemporary photographs by BurgessWood’s David Zimmerly.  
Perth Historical Society Meetings are open to the public and are held in the gallery of Matheson House, home of the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street East in downtown Perth. A voluntary “Toonie Fee” (donation) is suggested for each meeting.

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