At the time of this writing almost 130 years have passed since the area known as Oakland Township officially came into being. It would have been people our great-great-grandfather's age who first settled in this nutshell township, I wonder if they intended for this community to spread into a voluminous megalopolis? Probably not. Oakland and Scotland had that small town flavour: the taste of homemade ice cream and freshly squeezed lemonade; the aroma of garden parties, bob sleigh riding and fishing at the old pond. All these memories still linger in the minds of many of the people who remain in this locality. With the hope that we do not lose sight of the past we have completed a book that will retain the evidence of times gone by.
Our primary aim in this project was to compile a date line starting with the year 1850 to the present day. We have completed that to the best of our abilities. During the first few weeks of the project we searched through old files, council minutes, newspapers and various historical books. Finding specific information on Oakland Township was a very difficult task. Resources are limited and whenever we did find a book with a chapter on Oakland Township the information was very general or else repetitive.
There are a lot of blank spots in the history of this tiny vicinity. One reason for this phenomenon is that Oakland Township has a relatively slow pace as compared to larger centres such as Brantford. Growth is fairly stagnant. Net necessarily because people do not want to live here; but rather because the strict Township by-laws emphasize the preservation of rural agriculture. The future does not anticipate rapid growth or industrialization to this area. Inevitably the residents will live here in much the same fashion as they have been. Things have not and will not change that drastically.
Does this mean that Oakland Township is of no historical significance? Quite the contrary. The past is everywhere; you just have to go out there and acquaint yourself with it. One of the best ways to peruse the past is to meet it face to face. There are so many elderly people who are just brimming with anecdotes and opinions about the way things were. That is what we have tried to accomplish in this project. We thought that if we visited and interviewed various people in the community we would be able to fabricate a very personalized collection of memoirs from Oakland Township.
Some may say that hearing small-town interviews could be compared to seeing home movies. How could they interest anybody except for the select few that were involved. Well just think of it... One hundred years or even fifty years from now someone may listen to these tapes. Hopefully our world will still be going strong. One old farmer said in an interview, "You can't believe it! You just can't believe we really did that." If he thought that I could not believe it, can you imagine the reaction of someone a hundred years from now.
Most of the people we interviewed have witnessed a lot of changes in their life time. Phenomenal technology has occurred in the Twentieth Century and I can only anticipate what is yet to come. Imagine seeing your first talkie movie or bombing around in a Model T. Television, telephones, phonographs, radios, jets, electricity, indoor plumbing, refrigerator-freezers... Now just fancy being without them all. You will find that many of the interviews involve people who have been through such a transition.
August 14, 1980