While you can’t visit the Woodstock Museum in person right now, you can still check out its exhibits – most notably a new Black History Month display now online, focusing on the history of one longtime Woodstock family.
The exhibit focuses on the genealogical and social history of the Marshall family, a Black family that settled and live for generations in Woodstock. The exhibit is illustrated by photos of the family dating back as early as the 1860s, said Kerrie Gill, education officer for the museum.
“The Marshalls were a hardworking, close-knit, community-minded family,” Gill said.
Three generations of the family lived on Oxford Street in the city, and the exhibit focuses specifically on Thomas George Marshall, his wife Charlotte and their sons and extended family.
What many people may not know is that Woodstock has been home to Black settler families since at least the mid-1800s, and likely even earlier. The Woodstock Museum’s exhibit focuses on the Marshall family in part because of the extensive collection of family photographs and their deep ties to the city.
The Marshalls were dedicated community members, and family photos show them to be remarkable musicians. LaVerne and LeRoy Marshall especially were well-known in the area and family photos show the boys playing a variety of instruments. LeRoy was a member of the local Legion band and a member of the Central Ontario Music Association.
LeRoy Marshall was also involved in the Oxford Rifles and always called the community home, Gill added. He was the last remaining member of the family to live in Woodstock, and died in February 1999.
You can find the link to the Marshall Family exhibit online at www.cityofwoodstock.ca/en/live-and-play/mus-virtual-exhibits.aspx