Exploring criminal pasts of Sarnia-Lambton

View from inside a cell at the Chatham Jail. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Those interested in crime stories will be able to hear the history of notorious criminals who used to frequent the Sarnia-Lambton area during a virtual presentation.

Heritage Sarnia-Lambton will host a panel presentation on June 17 at 7 p.m. called On the Lam in Lambton as part of its Heritage Hour.

Oil Museum of Canada Curator and Supervisor Erin Dee-Richard said museum professionals will share details of interesting but dark topics that occurred locally.

“One of the presenters will be talking about [Norman J.] ‘Red’ Ryan and an altercation with [Constable John] ‘Jack’ Lewis. We have a story about the Labatt kidnapping, we have stories about rum-running that was taking place in Sombra,” she said.

A warning has been added to this presentation as the nature of the discussion may contain details that some viewers find disturbing.

Presenters will include Dana Thorne of Lambton Heritage Museum, Nicole Aszalos of Lambton County Archives, Laurie Mason of Moore Museum, David McLean of Forest Museum, Kailyn Shepley of Sombra Museum, and Historian Greg Stott.

Dee-Richard said the concept behind Heritage Hour started last year but it really took form this year and themes for each discussion were decided upon in January.

“We started it last year in an attempt to stay connected and offer something to our patrons that we weren’t able to be open for,” she said. “Some of the museums in the heritage network haven’t opened at all since last year.”

Even if COVID-19 restrictions lift later this year to allow for large indoor gatherings, Dee-Richard said the discussions will likely stay virtual.

“We have such a large county. This means anyone from the county can attend this,” she said.

Those who register for the free virtual event will be able to ask questions during the presentation. However, a video will be posted to the Lambton County Museums website afterwards.

Dee-Richard said interest in these discussions have increased and the webinar capacity has been expanded to accommodate up to 500 registrants.

Residents can register for On the Lam in Lambton right until the event starts.

The final Heritage Hour series this year is called Lambton’s Haunted History and will be held on October 21.

For more information, click here.