Read up on Prince Edward County history this summer

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

At the County of Prince Edward Public Library & Archives, we are often asked for suggestions of where to start if you are interested in learning more about Prince Edward County’s history.

Archives assistant Linda Mathews put together a list of popular books to start with. These are all available at the library, and if your reading inspires you to learn more about the County’s history you can connect with the Archives to make an appointment by calling (613) 399-2023. Phil Dodds was the longtime editor of the Picton Gazette.

His book, “Athol: stories of a township and its people” was a project of Athol Township Senior Citizens’ Activity Group. Released in 1979, this collection of stories and anecdotes is a very readable introduction to Athol. If you are interested in history of people getting out on the water, Canvas and Steam on Quinte Waters by Willis Metcalfe is the go-to book.

It is a history of shipbuilding, shipwrecks, schooners, sloops, lighthouses, sailors and more on the Bay of Quinte. There are also two great books about the area’s lighthouses: “For Want of a Lighthouse” by Marc Seguin, and “Lighthouses of Prince Edward County” by Steve Campbell. Richard and Janet Lunn’s “The County” was written in 1967 and described in the introduction as “An informal history – a gathering of impressions. It is an attempt to set down the personality of a people and the place they made for themselves in Canada one hundred and fifty years ago.”

If you’ve done any research on the County, you’ve probably encountered one or more books published by Mika Publishing of Belleville. Nick and Helma Mika, in addition to working as publishers, were authors who wrote a number of titles including “The Settlement of Prince Edward County.”

“The County Decoys”, released in 2004 by Jim Stewart, is a well-researched look at the oldest, most unusual, and finest carved waterfowl decoys and their makers. County Magazine, published byCampbell, is a quarterly magazine about the people, places and history of PEC and its back issues are a goldmine of County history. You can browse them at the Bloomfield Branch Library.

Campbell is also the author of “Prince Edward County, an illustrated history”, written with Janet Davies and Ian Robertson. It’s a lively overview of the history of the County with illustrations and photos throughout.

These are just a few of the books from the list Linda prepared! Find the complete listing by visiting the library online catalogue at peclibrary. From the drop-down menu, search by “list” and enter Prince Edward County.

Drop into any branch of the library for more suggestions.

-Liz Zylstra