Wilfrid Jury at Fairfield
Wilfrid Jury working on field reports
From Wilfrid Jury's 1972 autobiography.....
"Then came the invitation for me to undertake locating and excavating the old Moravian town of Fairfield on the Thames, made famous in 1812 War with the retreat of Proctor and the death of Tecumseh. Preparation, planning and arranging the financing was undertaken by the University. Dr. Fred Landon, Mr. Arthur Ford and Dr. James Talman were the chief negotiators. The Moravian Mission was taken over by the United Church. Mr. Mac Nicol. M.P. was the principal spokesman. My first contact with the venture was when Mr. Landon, Mr. Ford, Dr. Talman and Mr. MacNicol drove to the supposed site in a field beside Hutberg Moravian Cemetery.
Wilf Jury at Fairfield
Fortune was with me. After looking the land over I went across #2 Highway, dug some test holes and came up with a brass compass, nails and uncovered cornerstone, all in a few minutes. Those finds clinched the decision, gave them confidence in my surmise. Things developed after that and on an early April (1942) morning I found myself on the way to the Hotel in Thamesville where it had been arranged I would live while I did my research at Fairfield. "
Jury examining artifacts from the Gamble Site (Fairfield) at the University of Western Ontario.
University of Western Ontario
Wilfrid Jury completed excavations at Fairfield between 1942 and 1947. His work there was interrupted and sporadic and allowed him to mix museum and personal activities. Throughout his work, he made numerous public appearances, and made certain there was extensive newspaper and media coverage on important finds as they occurred at Old Fairfield village.
Copy of Captain Robert McAfee's map of Fairfield before it was burned by the Americans in 1813.
Fairfield was the first site that was excavated by Wilfrid Jury to have archival data, which was uncovered by using historic maps, journals and archaeological data.
Map of old Fairfield (1793) used in aiding excavation
This data was able to show what the site had looked like in its time of establishment in 1792 by Pennsylvania-based Moravian missionaries. Being the first Protestant mission in Upper Canada, the missionaries, including Brothers Zeisberger and Senseman, laid out the village with a definite plan, which included a church and schoolhouse, overlooking the Thames River. Archival documents provided records of up to 200 people at one time living in the lively village.
Wilfrid Jury excavating at Fairfield, 1940's.
Findings by Wilfrid included two different types of dwellings within the village: houses of the missionaries had root cellars, windows, doors and hardware, where the Delaware's houses did not.