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Fairfield Museum and National Historic Site captures the past in a way that offers hope for the future.
In 1735, Moravian missionaries came to America and made their home among the Delaware people of the Ohio Valley, sharing with them the Christian faith. In 1792, the Delaware were almost reduced to starvation due to the loss of their ancient hunting rounds with the advance of white settlements. Together the Delaware and the Moravians relocated to the banks of the Thames River to establish the village of Fairfield.
For 21 years, Fairfield was a centre of hospitable and cultural influence in southern Ontario. Wooden blockhouses each with a garden lined the main street. The meeting hall doubled as the Church. There was a schoolhouse. Barns and workshops were a little further from the town as was the cemetery. Fairfield was the only community of its size on the Thames River in the 18th century.
The War of 1812 saw the village and its inhabitants caught in the conflict between the British and the Americans. On October 7, 1813, two days after the battle of Moraviantown in which the famous Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh, lost his life, Fairfield was sacked by American troops and burnt to the ground.
In 1814, the mission was rebuilt on the south side of the river and named New Fairfield. New Fairfield functioned as a Moravian Indian mission until 1902 when it was sold to the Methodist Church, one of the founding partners of the United Church.
The museum that remembers the Old Fairfield was possible thanks to the donation of land by the McGeachy family and a partnership between the McGeachy family and the church for the ongoing operation of the museum. It’s testimony to a time of safety, nurture and peace between two cultures in the past is a symbol of the United Church’s efforts towards healing and reconciliation in the relationship between these two cultures in the present.
14878 Longwoods Road, between Bothwell and Thamesville
Open May to October
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Other times by appointment