Oxford Roots

While spending time in the Far East (of Canada) with my father, I was able to wander through downtown Oxford.  It's a very small town in the northwest arm of Nova Scotia with a population of about 1,100 people.  This is where my parents were living when I was born Springhill, Nova Scotia the place with the closest hospital.

If you've purchased wild frozen blueberries from the grocery store, it's likely you've eaten blueberries grown in the Oxford area, or if not Oxford, from one of the many areas that provides wild blueberries to  Oxford Frozen Foods.  

Oxford Town Hall.  There is faint carving in the stone above the 
windows that reads "The Wild Blueberry and Maple Centre"

This building  was once the local hardware store owned by my 
Grandfather Wood.  My Dad and his family lived upstairs.

There used to be a balcony on this corner of the building.  In his 
childhood my Dad slept there on hot summer nights.

Now the hardware store is an antique store.  
It was closed when I was there, open by appointment.  

The local newspaper, The Oxford Journal, is one of the last remaining privately owned newspapers in the country.  The Marchant family has owned the paper for more than 100 years and Paul Marchant, son of my Dad's cousin Glenn, is the fourth generation of Marchants to run it.  Update:  Six months after I wrote this post, the Oxford Journal printed it's last paper.  Here's a link with a little more info. Many are hoping it may make an online appearance.

The homes in Oxford vary from flat roofed, Maritime saltbox houses, to Victorian style homes with big porches and gingerbread accents.

This lovely building, now the MacDiarmid's Funeral, home once belonged to the family of my Dad's  childhood friend Tom.  The McDiarmid's have preserved much of the interior and kept the flavour of the decor in the areas they renovated, with beautiful wood panelling and elegant moulding and light fixtures.  My father remembers a call button on the floor beneath the dining room table. Tom's mom would press it with her foot when she was ready for the housekeeper to serve them dinner.  Mr. MacDairmid tells me it was removed when they renovated.

While we were visiting we interred my mother's ashes in the Wood family plot.  It was a real education to walk through cemetery and see visual proof that our family has been in Canada for eight generations (counting my children).  I felt like I was on an episode of "Who do you think you are?"


This marker honours my great, great, great grandfather Valentine Wood, born February 14, 1809. His father William was the first of the Wood side of my family to come to Canada in the late 1700's - though I guess it wasn't Canada at that point.  His wife Jane is also honoured on the marker as well as their son George (the 10th of 12 children), who died at the age of twenty seven.


  1. Suzan:

    Oops! Sorry, in my previous post, I called you Susan. Sorry.

    Don Chapman

  2. Suzan:

    Oops! Sorry, in my previous post, I called you Susan. Sorry.

    Don Chapman


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