Grand River Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"The Bus Tour Through The Mohawk Valley"
Rev. James W. Files, February 1995, Vol.7 No.1, Page 4
Since the last edition of our newsletter, many members of the Grand River Branch, U.E.L., took the opportunity to enjoy a well-planned bus tour along the Mohawk River valley in Upper New York State. Tour members visited some of the important historical sites of the American Revolution. My greatest thrill was to see the First Reformed Church, the edifice in Albany, New York (the state capital) where my American progenitor, John Melchoir Files and some of his siblings were baptized. Thank you Eleanor Chapin and Mr. and Mrs. Blayney for your superb navigation on our trip.
During the past year, our branch held interesting meetings which have broadened our understanding of Upper Canadian history. We began our sessions last year at Central Presbyterian Church in Brantford. At that time, we heard Mr. William Leonhardt speak on the Transylvania Anglo-Saxons and their journeys over many centuries. In April, Mr. Thomas Ryerson, U.E. prepared the groundwork for our July meeting in Port Ryerse. Our Dominion Genealogists, Angela and Peter Johnson explored some new pathways in loyalist genealogical research at our May meeting in Guelph. Our June meeting was held at the New Credit United Church on the New Credit Reserve. Mr. Lloyd King, a Native educator spoke on the loyalist Mississaugas of the New Credit Reserve. In Woodstock, in August, Margaret Stockton provided us with an excellent insight into participants in the 1837 Rebellion in Oxford County and adjacent regions. we met at Annesley United Church in Markdale in September. Local historian and Chairman of the Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee, Les MacKinnon spoke on the early black pioneers of Artemesia Township. In October, we traveled to Grimsby, to St. Andrew's Anglican Church. Alfreda Jeffries has completed From Generation to Generation : A History of the Parish and she gave a very informative and sensitive overview of the early loyalists who settled in the Grimsby area. Mrs. Jeffries completed our roster of special guests from April to October. Last but not least, was our most enjoyable gathering in November, at the Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener. Our November meeting is our annual Christmas tea and fund raiser. The "Haus" was once again recreated and decorated as a traditional German outdoor Christmas market or "Christkindlsmarkt".
Through the spring, summer and fall, members listened to many interesting and informative talks given by these local historians and experts in Canadian and Ontario heritage. We appreciate and are indebted to so many knowledgeable people who give many hours of their time to enrich and foster historical awareness. On behalf of the membership, I would like to extend my thanks to all the guest speakers and support staff, who have contributed so much to our branch meetings.
At each location, where our Grand River Branch, U.E.L. meetings were held, there was a plaque or tablet explaining the historical importance of persons or places. To express our appreciation to members for their continuing support of our organization, the contents of certain memorial plaques have been carefully recorded for your future reference and also to provide you with one more remembrance of our meetings.
In the New Credit United Church, on the New Credit Reserve, there are three plaques honouring Native soldiers who died fighting for the Dominion of Canada during World War I.
In our programmes review for this issue, you will find additional memorial inscriptions and summaries of our monthly activities. As we continue to journey together, we will be able to appreciate the work of other generations, who left us with the legacy of a free, developed country.