Lambton Heritage Museum
Grand Bend, Ontario

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Grand Bend - Our Stories, Our Voice




Nola Mae Hodgins' grandparents (James B. and Catherine Hodgins) moved their family to Concession 20 from Clandeboye after their house and carriage shop were destroyed by fire at the height of the Donnelly feud in 1877. James B. and Catherine raised their family there, including Nola's father Mansel. Mansel married Mae Carruthers; they lived on the farm located on the northwest corner of Highway 81 and the Crediton Road (kitty corner from the John Love farm). Nola was the eldest of the four daughters of Mansel and Mae.

James B. died in September of 1918. Plans were made for Mansel and his family to take over the home farm. Later that year tragedy struck when the Spanish flu took the lives of Mae and the youngest daughter. Catherine and her daughter Maud were in the process of gathering their possessions to move to Toronto, but upon the death of Mae, Mansel's mother and sister unpacked and stayed on the farm to aid Mansel in the raising of his three remaining daughters -- Nola, Ila and Beulah. Maud was ill with polio at a young age and suffered with problems with her leg for the rest of her life.

Mansel continued to live on the home farm until his death in 1971. Then it became the home of his daughter Ila and her husband Stan Kayes. In 2006, the farm was purchased by the John and Joan Love family and is now the home of their son Tom.

Nola Hodgins met Ross Love at #10 Stephen School. Ross was a first cousin to John Love's grandfather Bill Love. At 18 years of age Nola married Ross and they lived on the Love home farm (where the Grand Bend Motorplex exists in 2009). They remained there until the Government of Canada claimed it as an Auxiliary Airport for the Centralia Air Commonwealth Flight Training School and Airport in 1941; handed them a cheque for $9,000. and ordered them to vacate. They relocated to Shipka and later to Dashwood.

Nola and Ross were curators of the Eisenbach Museum located near Grand Bend Cemetery.

When the Lambton Heritage Museum was built south of Grand Bend, Nola played the organ on Sundays and for weddings, in the small Mary Ellen Chapel located on the grounds. Nola also played the organ at St. John's Anglican Church in Grand Bend for over 20 years.

We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with Nola. We will always remember our visits with her, and hearing her recollections of events in years gone by, sharing her knowledge of family history, enjoying her jokes and stories, and viewing some of the many beautiful handcrafted quilts she has made for her friends and family. She was a great lady!


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