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Thamesville, Ontario

Thamesville is a small town located between Chatham and London, Ontario, with a population of less then 1,000. Thamesville gets its name from the Thames River that flows nearby. Although small in size Thamseville has its own museum - the Thamesville Old Town Museum which is located in the former Town Hall. Today this lovely old building is home to artifacts collected from the Thamseville area.

Robertson Davies, an internationally acclaimed author and one of Canada’s foremost novelists, playwrights and journalists was born in Thamesville in 1913. He was a widely traveled man and drew upon his hometown experiences for material for his stories. He drew upon the history of Thamesville for the setting and characters of the Deptford Trilogy, particularly in the first volume, Fifth Business. The reader of this novel can visualize walking along the streets near Thamesville's Town Hall just as Robertson Davies walked as a young boy.

Thamesville is also the site of one of the most famous battles in North American War history. It is here that the Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh was killed during the War of 1812’s Battle of the Thames. Born in a Shawnee village in what is now Ohio, Tecumseh became in the 1770s co-leader with his brother, the Prophet, of a movement to restore and preserve traditional Indian values. He believed a union of all the Western tribes to drive back white settlement to be the one hope for Indian survival, and spread this idea the length of the frontier. Seeing the Americans as the immediate threat, he allied himself with the British in 1812, assisted in the capture of Detroit, and was killed near here at the Battle of the Thames, on 5th October 1813, while retreating with General Proctor from Amherstburg. In tribute to this fallen hero a monument today stands across from the field where the battle occurred.

 


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