Recording Merlin’s historical past | The Star

A former Chatham-Kent resident is including one other chapter to the municipality’s general historical past.

Earlier this month, Julie Magerka formally launched a ebook entitled Recollections of Merlin after discovering little or no analysis on the neighborhood within the native libraries.


“It’s concerning the historical past of the village of Merlin informed via the tales of people that lived there via the previous,” Magerka mentioned.

The ebook traces particular person tales of people that lived within the village as much as the 1960s. Magerka mentioned that is solely Quantity One.

“Once I first began doing analysis a couple of years in the past on Merlin and I went to the Chatham library and the Tilbury library and locations like that, I mentioned ‘What have you ever obtained on Merlin?’ Seems, not a lot,” Magerka mentioned.


Magerka was born and raised in Merlin till she moved to check on the College of Toronto. She ultimately grew to become an English instructor and now lives in Belle River the place she teaches pc courses. Nonetheless, she continues to volunteer with the Merlin Seniors’ Membership the place she writes a historic column for the village’s e-newsletter.

By her analysis, she managed to put in writing sufficient historic items, a month-to-month article over the course of three years, to compile the tales right into a ebook.


“It’s not a chronological historical past per se. It’s primarily based in tales about individuals who have been enterprise folks or individuals who had some recognition or some significance throughout the village and formed the event of that neighborhood,” she mentioned.

The ebook tells the tales of a shoemaker and what prompted him to return to Merlin on the flip of the 20th Century, a bandit named Archie who robbed a household buddy’s retailer, and it highlights a time when Merlin was an up-and-coming city.

“It was fairly a energetic, actually lively, busy place with plenty of retailers and many folks. And you realize Friday night time, Saturday night time, you’d be on the town and there’d be like vehicles all over the place, folks all over the place,” she mentioned.


However decline occurred after the 1960s and 1970s, based on Magerka, when folks obtained extra wealth and took their purchasing to bigger metropolis centres.

“Companies began to say no and go away. We go there now and it’s only a shadow of what it was. It’s only a shadow and I assumed, lots of people who don’t know, together with myself,” she mentioned.




Recollections of Merlin books are being offered via the Seniors’ Membership with all proceeds going to the group. Copies have additionally been given to the native libraries.

“So I believe it makes the historical past obtainable to much more folks and particularly sooner or later,” Magerka mentioned. “If any person says, ‘I wish to find out about my household, I do know they began in Merlin, however I reside in Calgary, and I do know nothing,’ there’ll be a ebook that can assist them.”