Branching Out 2008

Spring 2008

Grand River

Eight more United Empire Loyalist Burial Ground plaques were erected in 2007 at the following cemeteries–Memorial Church Cemetery, Port Ryerse; Neal Memorial Church, Port Rowan; Quaker Pioneer Cemetery, Norwich; Fairview Cemetery, Forestville; Boston Cemetery, Boston; Hazen Cemetery, Port Rowan; McQueen Cemetery, Port Rowan and St Mary’s Cemetery, Highway 2, Brantford.

Col. Samuel Ryerse UE and his wife, Sarah Underhill Ryerse, along with Abraham Sells UE and his wife, Mary, are the United Empire Loyalists who are buried at the Memorial Church Cemetery, Port Ryerse. 

The Loyalist burials at Neal Memorial Church, Port Rowan are Rev. George Neal UE and his wife, Mary Cope (Cronk) Neal. 

Samuel Moore UE is buried at the Quaker Pioneer Cemetery, Norwich. 

John Kern UE and his wife, Charity, are in the Fairview Cemetery, Forestville. 

The graves of Peter Fairchild UE and John Johnson UE are in the Boston Cemetery. 

Daniel Hazen UE and his wife, Catherine (Lewis) Hutcheson, are the United Empire Loyalists who are buried in the Hazen Cemetery, Port Rowan. 

The McQueen Cemetery, Port Rowan is the final resting place of Daniel McQueen UE. The Loyalist burials at the St. Mary’s Cemetery, Brantford are John Files UE and his wife, Sarah. 

The launch of Loyalist Families of the Grand River Volume II is planned for our meeting on 20 April 2008 at the Norfolk Heritage Centre, Simcoe, Ontario. 

Loyalist Families of the Grand River Volume I is now in CD format and is available for sale. 

By Marilyn McMillan UE, Branch Secretary

Fall 2008

Grand River

Grand River Branch was thrilled to welcome The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Mrs. Ruth Ann Onley to their July 20 meeting at Spruce Row Museum, Waterford.  Mrs. Onley grew up in Simcoe and is a descendent of Timothy Culver and Lucas Dedrick. 

An historical re-enactment of a meeting between Governor and Mrs. John Graves Simcoe and Aaron and Mrs. Culver was offered.  Aaron and his wife learned that the Simcoes were in the area of what is now Simcoe, Ontario, and took gifts of fresh baked white bread and watermelons to them.  It has been recorded that the Governor and Mrs. Simcoe were impressed with the gifts and that Governor Simcoe possessed a good sense of humour.  Aaron Culver sought permission to erect a mill, which Governor Simcoe is reported to have approved, with the proviso that a loaf of fresh bread be presented to the Governor when he should from time to time pass through the area.  Lieutenant Governor Onley and Mrs. Onley were served fresh watermelon and bread, in keeping with Governor Simcoe’s direction. 

His Honour and Grand River Branch had been able to keep the presentation of the certificates secret.  After his Honour presented Mrs. Onley with the certificates she joked, “Should I shake his hand?”  Then she kissed him.  His Honour, who grew up in Midland, said that he enjoys coming to Norfolk County because it reminds him of his childhood.  He continued, “It helps to emphasize your roots and realize how deep they go.  With all the travelling and moving everyone does in these modern times, it’s important to date back.  That’s what we’re doing here today.”  The Onleys are great advocates for their own heritage as well as Ontario’s and Canada’s and said they were pleased to assist in these types of celebrations.  He said, “Our institutions here in Ontario date back a long time into our roots.  There was a great amount of effort in our nation’s development.”

Loyalist Day was celebrated on June 22nd at historic Christ Church, Vittoria.  Special guest, Dominion President Peter Johnson, brought greetings.  Loyalist flags were presented to Christ Church and the Vittoria Foundation.  After the unveiling of a United Empire Loyalist Burial Ground Plaque at the Vittoria United Church Cemetery by Dominion President, Peter Johnson and Central West Vice-President, Bonnie Schepers, members went on a self guided walking tour of Vittoria and the three local cemeteries where Loyalists are buried.  The celebrations concluded with a picnic buffet provided by the Vittoria Women’s Institute at the Old Town Hall. 

Branch members from across the Central West Region were invited to come together at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, for a Service of Celebration and Remembrance of the 225th Anniversary of the Landing of the Loyalists in Nova Scotia, to pay tribute to the lives of their ancestors, to honour their courage and to recognize the contribution these individuals made in settling our beautiful country.  This service took place at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday September 21st.  A reception followed in Cronyn Hall with displays by the Branches of the Central West Region. 

Work continues on Loyalist Families of the Grand River, Volume II

Six more United Empire Loyalist Burial Ground Plaques were erected in 2008 bringing the total to twenty-three plaques erected.  Grand River Branch is grateful for the help that the Grants Committee, UELAC has provided for this project. 

Mea culpa: The McQueen Cemetery is in Port Dover not Port Rowan as stated in the Spring 2008 Gazette. 

By Marilyn McMillan UE, Branch Secretary

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