About Us

Who we are and what we do

The Friends of Lincoln’s History, formerly the Lincoln History Club (est. 1981), was established in 2010 in association with the Ontario Historical Society as a not-for-profit and registered charitable organization. The Lincoln Archives [“Archives”] is the beating heart of FLH.  We collect and preserve the paper history of our community. We accept donations including diaries, land documents, newspapers, photographs, school histories, church histories, family histories, business ledgers, and a host of other items reflecting the history of the Town of Lincoln. We currently have over 275 donors and have averaged 45+ donations of various sizes from 2 to 1200 items every year since opening.

We are self-, donor-, and grant-funded, and our Archives is totally staffed by volunteers who accession, digitize the details, and safely store donated historical items and collections. In addition, we take every opportunity to promote local history, which has included Heritage House Tours, Cemetery Tours, Walking Tours, and placing plaques at the sites of historical businesses and locations.

We regularly welcome those researching family genealogy, history of properties and local history, including groups such as the Lincoln Rotary Lamplighter Tour, Town of Lincoln staff, Heritage Committee members and planners and Museum staff.

Our Mission

The Friends of Lincoln’s History is dedicated to preserving local history of the Town of Lincoln, Ontario for present and future generations.

Our Goals


To collect and make available for public use material relating to the history of the Town of Lincoln, comprised of the former Town of Beamsville, Township of Clinton, and part of Louth Township, including Jordan, Jordan Station, Vineland, Campden, Rockway, and Tintern.


To accept, collect, preserve, and catalogue donations/materials relating to Lincoln’s physical, social, cultural, agricultural, and industrial heritage – its folklore and its people.


To make available historical information and arouse interest in the past by encouraging the preservation of archaeological, architectural and historical heritage in Lincoln.

Our Story

The Birth of an Archives

By: Mary Lou Garr

Before the Friends of Lincoln’s History, the Town of Lincoln, unlike its neighbouring municipalities, had no real Archives. Residents who were purging attics or seeking a place to preserve a deceased relative’s paper treasures, were donating everything to the Archives in St. Catharines, Grimsby or Smithville. The paper history of Lincoln was slowly disappearing into those other communities.

In 2010, a group of seven history lovers (Bill Zimmerman, Heather Troup, Pat High, Myrna Perry, Ruth Smith, Mary Lou Garr, Hilda Wiley) became frustrated with the situation and were determined to fix it. Of course, any ambitious idea needs lots of help to turn it into reality.

First, Larry Rittenhouse ferreted out space for a remarkable one dollar a year rent at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society generously offered $700.00 to get things going.

Ray Konkle showed up with a trailer load of used desks, chairs and shelves. Neighbouring Archives shared resource materials. The Rittenhouse Library dug out discarded computers from their basement and set them up.

Assisting researcher Jennifer Haines (bottom), are FLH safekeepers (left to right) Myrna Perry, Mary Lou Garr, Ruth Smith, Pat High (standing).

The Lodge – Oct 20th, 2011. FLH celebrated the opening of the Archives. From left are: Ruth Smith, Mary Lou Garr, Dave Davies, Larry Rittenhouse, Bev Davies, Myrna Perry, Dianne Perry, Dr. Jim Brandle (CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre), Donald Perry, Clair Gartley (Vice-president, Business Innovation and Community Development), John Scott (Chair, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre), Ray Konkle

Bill Rannie’s widow Kay donated boxes of leftover books to sell, and generous owners of heritage houses agreed to open their private homes for House Tours, to help the Archives raise funds to purchase bigger ticket items like a photocopier.

Very quickly, Lincoln citizens began showing up with boxes of photos, letters, diaries, family histories, maps and all kinds of wonderful donations. Dozens of researchers started visiting to seek family or community historical information. Today, about 45 donations a year arrive to be recorded, computerized and safely stored.

Over the years, the Archives has earned a respected position in the history world, most recently demonstrated by a surprise $15,000.00 gift from the estate of a like minded history lover who appreciated the work being done.

Lincoln residents are no longer dropping their family treasures off at neighbouring archives. Today Lincoln’s paper history is being preserved where it belongs, in the area where it all happened, in our beloved Town of Lincoln.

Board of Directors

The Friends of Lincoln’s History is a registered charity, run by an Executive Board who are voted in each year in an Annual General Meeting held in December.

The current Executive for 2023

  • President Wayne MacMillan
  • Vice President Gary Dandridge
  • Secretary Karen Hughes
  • Treasurer Hilda Wiley
  • Membership Ray Konkle
  • Director Joan Romagnoli
  • Director Pat Zachar
  • Archives Representative Ruth Smith
  • Past President  Wilson A. “Bill” Salter

Volunteers and Staff

The FLH Archives is staffed by volunteers who are responsible for accessioning, research, management and operations.

Working alongside some of its original founders, Mary Lou Garr, Ruth Smith and Hilda Wiley, are Sharon MacDonald, Karen Hughes, Sandy Paterson, and Gary Dandridge.

We welcome new volunteers! Please reach out from our Contact page and let us know your interests.