Try this historical quiz

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Let’s see if you know the history of the Tillson family and their properties… and just a few other local properties or people you may have heard of.


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This quiz is actually based on the Tillson Trails Historic Walking Tour which is part of the pilot project of the Tillsonburg Pioneer Performing Troupe. We are using this summer to refine two historic walking tours – The Tillson Trails and the Rolph, Bidwell and Broadway Street tours; and we have a self-guided historic Broadway tour. We scheduled two tours this summer and have appreciated the assistance in refining them more to the public’s wants and needs. Alas the Broadway Tour was not ready for printing for the last tour but will be for the next run Sept. 12, from the Station Arts Centre.

The next tour, being the Tillson Trails Tour, I thought a little advance quiz might be fun to do, especially for those who grew up here and know the history of the town or for those of you who have taken the Tillson Trails Tour already. Who knows, you might be able to answer all the questions! If you have not yet taken it, cut this out of the paper, take the tour and see if you can find the answers.

1. When was Tillsonburg founded by George Tillson?

2. What road did George take into town?

3. Where was our founder George Tillson’s cabin located?

4. What business did he establish upon his arrival?

5. What was the settlements first name?

6. Why do we have a Bloomer street in town?

7. Besides being our founder, what is George Tillson most remembered for?

8. Which child of George and Nancy made the town famous?

9. E.D. Tillson was married to whom?

10. Was she Joseph VanNorman’s daughter?


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11. Where was E.D. Tillson’s second home?

12. What was it eventually used for?

13. What was E.D. Tillson’s ‘Empire’?

14. The Imperial Dam created what lake?

15. Which product was sold globally in South America, Russia, South Africa, Scotland and numerous other places?

16. Which is the only mill still standing?

17. Very ‘modern’ for the times, the Hill sisters living on London St. E. had careers in what field?

18. Who owned the three homes (only two still stand) on the first block of Broadway, the west side, south of Prospect St. 19. Many people recall the Royal Hotel, what was the original name and who was it named after?

20. The first half of the Tillson block was built in the 1870s, the second half in the 1880s. What had to happen before the second half could be built?

21. Whose brick was used to build the Tillson Block?

22. G. Tilson, carved his name on what and where?

23. Who was Tillsonburg’s first female dentist?

24. Where is the Van Norman building built about 1850?

25. What did Dr. Sylvanus Joy win at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris?

26. What did Dr. Joy spend over $1 million in today’s funds to build?

27. What was the Luke family noted for?

28. Who is Harriet (nee Tillson) Harrison’s home known for today?

29. E.V. Tillson built Seven Gables. Was it the original home on this lot?

30.What did Seven Gables have two of, that most homes at the time had either none or only one of?

The Rolph, Bidwell and Broadway tour, which we first ran from the Station Arts on July 1 in three time slots, went so well we over-booked all three tours and added an extra tour. We learned a lot and will be doing the tour again. Do you want an historical quiz for those streets too?


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Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. will be a Pioneer Graveyard Tour. It will be run differently from past tours and have some new, true stories from our settlers. This Graveyard Tour is our fundraiser and we are charging $15.

The next Tillson Trails guided tour will depart from Annandale NHS on August 1 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and the next guided Rolph, Bidwell and Broadway Tour on Sept. 12, also at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., both weather permitting. For the guided tours, the Pioneers are requesting a $2 donation per person or $5 for a family.

As the three self-guided tours are completed and printed they will be on sale at Annandale NHS and the Station Arts Centre for $5 (to cover the printing). We have some great photos of previous days and loads of information in them. These will allow anyone in town or visiting to take the tours on foot or driving.

For more information on any of the tours, or the quiz answers, please call me at 519-842-9416.

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