The Fabric Quilt
Mr. & Mrs. George Ward Commemorative Quilt
In October 2009, Wardsville’s quilt committee began designing a fabric quilt to
commemorate their community’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward. The initial idea came from Denise Corneil, an artistic community leader. She had caught sight of the rural folk art phenonomen called “barn quilts” sweeping the United States. She was impressed by the news that the Temiskaming International Plowing Match 2009 in northern Ontario had created a barn quilt trail featuring over 90 barn quilts.
Eleanor Blain and Sue Ellis, experienced quilt makers, got interested and they quickly came up with a scheme to create a quilt involving as many women as possible. It did not matter whether they were skilled needle workers. It would be a communal project to involve as many mothers and daughters as possible.
But they needed a story line for their bicentennial quilt. It was common knowledge that Wardsville was founded by a George Ward. In 1810, Mr Ward was asked by the British Government to establish a stopping point for travellers along a section of Longwoods Road between Thamesville and Delaware, in Upper Canada – the “Western District” as it was called. There were still Ward descendants but no one lived in the area.
Wardsville is blessed by a local historian, Ken Willis, who had written a book about Wardsville. The booked provided details about an older retired soldier with a young family, setting up a way station to supply provisions and fresh horses for the military. There was barely a trail through the Carolinian Forest now called Skunk’s Misery. It was a nasty section of deep dark forest where travellers, settlers, and regiments were getting lost.
Ward and his family carved a settler’s homestead out of the forest and called it Ward’s Station. Two years later war broke out. On March 6, 1814, the Battle of the Longwoods took place a couple miles east of his homestead. Ward and his wife suffered many trials and tribulations. Accused of treason by the British, George Ward went to his grave in 1837 still trying to clear his name. His remains are buried in the Wardsville cemetery.