The Pioneer Picnic
Of the Wentworth Pioneer & Historical Society
LARGE GATHERING AND GOOD SPEECHES
Close by the Scene of the Battle of Stoney Creek
The first outing of the Wentworth Pioneer and Historical Society was a great success in many ways. The cold weather and threatening rain prevented it from being as enjoyable as it otherwise would have been, as well as having the effect of keeping a very large number of people away. The outing was held at the beautiful large grounds of Mr. William A. Nash, formerly the farm of Mr. Williams, who, with Mr. Waddell, father of Mr. R. R. Waddell. was first representative of the district upon the Gore Municipal council. The farm is on the opposite side of the road from the place where the United States forces were encamped when they were surprised by the few British regulars and Canadian militia and put to rout, hence the scene of the picnic was really part of the scene of the engagement. There was an attendance of about 500 people, a goodly proportion of whom were ladies. The gathering represented all parts of the county of Wentworth and some of the adjoining counties as well. Among those present were: Mr. Geo. H. Mills, President of the society; Hon. Archibald McKellar, First vice-President : Mr. J. H .Land, Secretary and Treasurer, and Messrs. Lyman Moore, H. C. Baker, F. W. Fearman, J. W. Jones, Richard Bull and Ald. T. H. Stinson, members of the Executive Council: also Hon. J. M. Gibson, Provincial Secretary, and Messrs, Peter Fillman, Peter S. Van Wagner, James Somerville, Mr. A. D. Lee, W. S. Burkholder, H. B. Witton, George Roach, James A. Weir, Jacob Burkholder, Crawford Cowan, John Cascallen, John Van Wagner, William Nash, N. V. Birely, J. N. Waddell, Robert Evans, M. Murphy, William Jones, C. D. Blachford, James Laidlaw, John Combs, Alva Jones, Alva G. Jones, J. B. Laidlaw, Justus Griffin, F. MacKelcan, P.C., John Davis, Major Glasgow, George M. Barton, F. C. Fearman, George Holden, Henry Pettit, Erland Lee, A. Lee, A. D. Cameron, John Alexander, Charles Lemon, Jonathan Pottruff, Henry Felker, William Jones, John Gullen, Mark Barker, W. A. Howell, Isaac Corman, John W. Vandusen, William A. Lottridge, T. C. VanWagner, E. Hopkins, Thomas Jones, R. R. Smith, Clerk of the Township of Saltfleet: Dr. Mallock, Dr. Burgess, W. K. Secord, W. H. Marshall, J. Marshall Hlpkins, Levi Neil, Wm. Harris, Samuel Patterson, J. B. Smith, J. C. Springstead, J. C. Moore, James Springstead, Wm. E. Orr, J. B. Walker, S. Dean, Jasper Springstead, W. J. Wodehouse, Wm. Gortman, Henry Fotman, Capt. W. Lee, George Stewart, Thomas Stewart, P. Utter, Wm. Williams, James Granger, Elias Pettit, Henry Flewelling, George Corman, W. H. Corman, Abram Corman, Geo.Williams, Thomas Murphy, H.A. Coombs, Dr. Carr, Archibald Spera, Wm. Spera, Rufus Glover, charles Marshall, John Springstead, John Hopkins, Nelson St. John, J. W. Greem, John McNulty, John Glover. W. Hurd, A. Condy, John Anderson, Samuel Bedell, Thomas Carpenter, Arthur G. Bales, Walter Ghent, Wm. B. Spera, John Spera, jun., E. D. Smith, R. Squire, W. A. Davis, Thomas Snider, Richard Lacey, S. Gage, John Webb, John Gage, W. H Spera, Luther D. Crosthwaite, Tunis Corman, A. O. Springstead, James Wallace, Wesley Peterson, George B. Fisher, H. E. Nelles, A. S. Nelles, Dr. A. C. Jones, Geo. H. Lees, F. Kidner and others. The County Council attended in a body, there being present Mr. J. W. Gage, Warden, and the following councillors, viz.: Messrs. Geo. F. Lewis, R. L. Biggs, M. B. Wilson, J. B. Calder, A. R. Wardell, T. A. Walker, Wm. Clark, John Dickenson, W. D. Waite, T. B. Townsend, Robert Ferguson, W. G. Fletcher, W. B. Switzer, Joseph Snasdell, J. W. Flewelling, Geo. Hart, John Nicholson, Dr. McGregor, T. B. Henderson and B. Leeming. Mr. Thomas Stock, Ex-Warden of the County: Dr. Russell, of the Asylum: County Treasurer Stock, Mr. R. R. Waddell, and Caretaker Plastow accompanied the County Council. The Saltfleet Township council also attended in a body, and the city Council was represented by Ald. Morgan and Ald. Stinson.
The visitors reached the outing place by all sorts of conveyances and after disposing of their rigs spent considerable time in going over the battle grounds. There were among those present many old gentlemen who had not met for years and whose greetings were most cordial. There were also those present who remembered the battle, though in 1813 they were too young to know much about it. One of the oldest was Mr. J. H. burkholder. He was eleven years old at the time, and was born within three miles of Hamilton. Ever since 1802 he has lived in the vicinity. He told a Times reporter that he could remember little of the battle, though he recollected the time. His knowledge of the battle itself was got from hearing it spoken of by his parents and other people who were grown up when he was a boy. He, however, remembers having seen the regiment of regulars after the battle. Mr. John Davis was also one of the oldest present. He was born about seven miles east of the battlefield in 1803, and has spent the whole of his life, almost, in the vicinity. He is a hearty old gentleman and remembered the battle, though, like Mr. Burkholder, he was too young to remember anything definite about it except from what he has been told by those who took part in it or were old enough to remember what took place. He carried with him yesterday a stick on the end of which was about two inches of the end of a rifle found on the battlefiled. Mr. John Coombs had with him the barrel of an old english flint lock rifle, an American rifle ball and a ball from a field piece, all found years afterwards upon the battleground. Mr. Mark Barker wore upon his breast three medals, the South Africa medal of 1853, the highly prized medal showing the wearer to have been in active service at Sebastopol, Inderman, Balaclava and Alma, and a medal from the Sultan of Turkey. Mr. Barker was looked upon as quite a hero, which he doubtless is. Perhaps the oldest gentleman present was Mr. William Macklem, who is as old as this century, if not a little older, and whose recollection of the battle is to a certain extent remembrances of what came under his own observation when a boy.
The Stoney Creek Band, under the able leadership of Mr. Knaggs, of this city, was present and played at intervals during the afternoon. The band was organized only a few months ago, and for so young an organization plays remarkably well.
This article appeared in the Hamilton Evening Times
June 6, 1889