Lucan: Home of the Donnellys, is written and illustrated by Terry Culbert, a native son of Lucan, whose family immigrated to Lucan from Tipperary, Ireland in 1840. This is a collection of vignettes around Lucan, a village in Ontario that has a very rich, albeit controversial, history. In February of 1880, a vigilante committee descended, in the dead of night, on the Donnelly family as they slept in their Biddulph Township farmhouse. The vigilantes left behind four massacred bodies and a log home burning to the ground. Before the night ended, they had continued up the road, murdering another Donnelly. More than one hundred and twenty-five years later, no one has ever been punished for those brutal slayings. The first third of the book is Donnelly related, with many stories never published before. Culbert has compiled not only Donnelly stories, but also stories on village commerce, village life, sports, and music from past to present. Lucan: Home of the Donnellys is an engaging collection of Canadiana. It is published by General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario (ISBN #1-8971 13-31-5)
Review by George Clark, The London Free Press
American-born British poet T.S. Eliot, best known for his epic, The Wasteland, also penned the line in East Coker - "Home is where one starts from." That thought best describes for me the recently published book by retired television journalist and videographer Terry Culbert. Culbert is from Lucan, north of London. It's where he started. It's also where his creativity was nurtured, along with his curiosity, and his smile-provoking charm. His new book, Lucan: Home of the Donnellys, is subtitled, Linger Longer in lovely Lucan. The seeming split in the title's meanings truly reflects what unfolds between the covers. History provides him with a venue to deal with what had become "the elephant in the room" when he was growing up. Culbert writes that everyone in the village was aware of the Donnelly tragedy - or massacre - which scarred the community's early history. But no one talked about it. It just wasn't done. After all, a number of ancestors of those who were originally involved in this ugly vigilante episode still lived in and around the village. Now, in an age when communities compete to highlight anything from their past that might interest tourists and the money they bring, it appears the Donnellys and their fate are finally fair game. Culbert's book adds some fascinating trivia to the lore of the Donnellys, through his tracking down of old Kingston Penitentiary records, and uncovering further ancestors of the clan. But as reflected in the split nature of the book's title, it is also very much a trip down memory lane, which he shares with everyone who lived in the village, or wished they had experienced life in a small rural community. From Lucan's early days as the Wilberforce Settlement, one of Canada's first black settlements of the early 19th century, to the appearance on TV's Ed Sullivan Show from New York on St. Patrick's day in 1958 of the boys (and girls) of the Lucan Leprechauns peewee hockey team, to the Pletch twins and their medal-winning rugby play of the early 21st century, Culbert has created interesting, engaging and, at times, even irreverent (in the kindest way) sketches of his hometown. Best of all, he invites us all in for a visit.