Writing local history
Sher Leetooze began writing local history in 1994. It was the year of the bicentennial of the settling of the township where she lives. Her research and subsequent book, The First 200 Years, A Brief History of Darlington Township, was her contribution to the celebrations. But it had one drawback! It was habit forming, and Sher just had to keep researching and writing. She went on to write a “brief history” of all the townships of the former Durham County in Ontario, Canada. An expanded index of all six books includes map transcriptions, names from all the county cenotaphs, postal records, and many updates for each township.
In between these books, Sher gathered stories from senior citizens across Ontario, featuring memories from their youth, or tales from their own area. Thirty-six of the best stories were published in The Crew of the Flagship, Stories of the People who Built Ontario.
Genealogical research support
Sher traveled to England to research Putting Flesh on the Bones of Your Devon and Cornwall Ancestors, A Sourcebook for Family Researchers. Published in the fall of 2000, it is now available in a revised edition (2017). The sourcebook describes how to find information on people and life in bygone days in Devon and Cornwall. The book includes street addresses, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses where available. Updated in 2016. Sher has gone on to write other sourcebooks – The Lowlands of Scotland – now out of print, and the Ulster Sourcebook, now available in 9 volumes (one for each of the 9 counties of Ulster). Find these on the Genealogy Page.
The Bible Christians
In 2005, Sher published a trilogy about the Bible Christians, a branch of the Methodists. A Corner for the Preacher tells the story of the emigration of the Bible Christians from the UK to North America. Bible Christian Chapels of the Canadian Conference explores the chapels they built for themselves across North America. The Damascus Road examines the preachers from 1832 to 1884, when the Bible Christians were absorbed into the umbrella Methodist body. These books have been removed from the main list of available books, but there are still a few sets available. Please contact Sher if you would like a set. See the ‘Out Of Print’ section.
Gardening and wild plants
Sher has gone on to write other books dealing with historical topics from the old county, as well as gardening books and wild plant books. As an avid gardener, Sher has grown her own vegetables for most of her adult life. For as long as she can remember, Sher has been a forager – berries in the summer, apples and nuts in the fall. And so the Wild Plant books were a natural progression of this passtime.
Besides authoring books of interest, Sher is also a master storyteller. Her stories come from the pages of Ontario’s history. They include tales about our early settlers, of those who came later, of sadness and loss, of extraordinary courage, and tales that will tickle your funny bone.
Sher will attend your meeting or special event, in costume if requested, for an hour of storytelling. Her tales are not geared to children, although children as young as 8 years have been known to sneak in to hear the stories. Please contact Sher for her fees.
Sher has now written her first Novella, The Queen’s Pawn. This story lay in the bottom drawer for years. Finally Sher published it, hoping it would find its way. The collection of short stories for A Book of Shorts also lay in that bottom drawer until Sher got them out and decided they were good enough to be published. There are two other full novels awaiting final touches and publishing.