Historical Society of St. Catharines

Celebrating the history of St. Catharines and its vicinity

Archive for the ‘Grantham’ Category

April Meeting – New Topic – On The Homefront

Posted by dsharron on April 11, 2009

On April 23, Graham Phair will give the Society a glimpse at how the people of Niagara managed during World War II.  Phair is the author of the recent book Snapshots of the Homefront: 1939 – 1941.  The book is filled with photographs from the St. Catharines Standard collection.  The meeting promises to be a wealth of information and imagery.  We hope that you can make it out.

Time / Place: Thursday, 23 April 2009, 7:30 P.M., Burgoyne Room of the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3 (the Welland Canals Centre), 1932 Welland Canals Parkway (formerly Government Road). Wheelchair accessible. Free admission.  All interested persons welcome.

The Museum’s exhibit gallery will be open for viewing a half hour before the meeting.

Posted in Grantham, Meetings, Niagara, St. Catharines, World War II | Leave a Comment »

Historic Timeline of the War of 1812

Posted by dsharron on March 2, 2009

Along the Niagara Frontier (with particular interest to Grantham Township)




June 18 – United States President James Madison signs Declaration of War against Great Britain


July 12 – American forces under Brig.-Gen. William Hull cross Detroit River and invade Upper Canada at Sandwich


August 16 – British forces under Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock capture Fort Detroit


August 24Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock returns to Fort George (Niagara), Upper Canada after capture of Detroit

 Brock shot at Queenston

October 9 – American forces capture British brigs Caledonia and Detroit (subsequently destroyed) in the Niagara River, off Fort Erie, Upper Canada


October 13 – Major artillery duel between Fort Niagara (below Youngstown), New York and Fort George


October 13 – Battle of Queenston Heights, Upper Canada

Brock shot at Queenston



October 13 – Death of Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock and Lieut.-Col. John Macdonell at Battle of Queenston Heights


October 16 – Funerals held for Brock and Macdonell at Fort George


November 10 – American Navy under command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey gains control of Lake Ontario 


November 28 – 30 – American forces under Brig.-Gen. Alexander Smyth invade Upper Canada across the Niagara River at Fort Erie


November 28 – Battle of Frenchman’s Creek, near Fort Erie




January 9 – British Declaration of War against the United States


March 17 – 18 – Artillery duel between Black Rock, New York and Fort Erie


April 27 – Battle and surrender of Town of York, Upper Canada to U.S. Maj.-Gen. Henry Dearborn; American forces take control of the Great Lakes and subsequently burn Town of York


May 25 – 27 – Artillery barrage on Fort George and capture by American forces


May 27 – British forces under Brig.-Gen. John Vincent abandon Fort George; retreat along lakeshore westward toward Burlington Heights, Upper Canada (passing through Grantham Township, Upper Canada)


June 6 – Battle of Stoney Creek, Upper Canada


June 8 – Engagement at Forty Mile Creek (Grimsby), Upper Canada; American forces retreat to Fort George, passing through Grantham Township


June 9 – American forces burn Fort Erie and withdraw their forces from Fort Erie, Chippawa and Queenston to Fort George


June 22 – Laura Secord leaves her home in Queenston and walks to DeCew House, Thorold, Upper Canada to warn British forces of an American attack


June 24 – Battle of Beaver Dams (“fight in the Beechwoods”), Thorold


July 5 – British forces under Col. John Clark of the 2nd Lincoln Militia from Chippawa raid Fort Schlosser, on Niagara River, north of Buffalo, New York


July 8 – Action at Butler’s Farm at Two Mile Creek, Niagara, Upper Canada


July 11 – British forces under Lieut.-Col. Cecil Bisshopp and Col. Clark Raid Black Rock, New York


July – British General John Vincent establishes his headquarters in George Adams’ home in Grantham Township (near the bridge over the Twelve Mile Creek near the village of St. Catharines)


July 29 – Action at Burlington Beach, Upper Canada


July 31 – American forces raid and occupy Town of York for a second time


August 7 -10 – U.S. fleet battles British fleet on Lake Ontario


August 8USS Hamilton and USS Scourge sink in a storm on Lake Ontario off Twelve Mile Creek


August 24 – Action at Fort George


September 10 – Naval Battle of Lake Erie


September 28 – Burlington Races (Naval encounter) at Burlington, Upper Canada


October 19 – American forces destroy and pillage George Adam’s home, distillery and bake house in Grantham Township (near the bridge over the Twelve Mile Creek near the village of St. Catharines)


December 10 – American Forces under Brig.-Gen. George McClure evacuate Fort George and burn Niagara, Upper Canada and retreat to Fort Niagara


December 12 – British forces re-occupy Fort George


December 19British forces capture Fort Niagara


December 19 – 21 – British forces burn Lewiston, Youngstown and Manchester (Niagara Falls), New York


December 22 – British forces take Fort Schlosser


December 29 – 31 – British forces burn Buffalo and Black Rock




May 23 to June 21 – Treason Trials underway in Ancaster, Upper Canada


July 3 – American forces under Maj.-Gen. Jacob Brown invade Upper Canada and capture Fort Erie


July 5 – Battle of Chippawa, Upper Canada


July 18 – American forces burn the hamlet of St David’s, Upper Canada


July 20 – Eight of the Traitors found guilty at the Ancaster Assizes are hanged on Burlington Heights


July 23 – British 104th under Lieut.-Gen. Gordon Drummond arrive at Twelve Mile Creek from Town of York


July 25 – Battle of Lundy’s Lane, (Niagara Falls), Upper Canada


July 26 – American forces burn Bridgewater Mills (Burch’s Mills, above Niagara Falls), Upper Canada


August 3 – British forces cross Niagara River and engage American forces at Conjocta Creek/Black Rock, New York and are repulsed, returning to Upper Canada


August 4 – British forces under Lieut.-Gen. Drummond begin the siege of Fort Erie; the casualties of this siege result in Fort Erie becoming the bloodiest battlefield in Canada


August 12USS Somers and USS Ohio captured in Lake Erie/Niagara River off Fort Erie


August 14 – British forces assault on Snake Hill Battery (Fort Erie), Upper Canada


August 15 – British forces under Lieut.-Gen. Drummond fail in assault on Fort Erie


August 25 – British forces burn Washington, D.C.


September 17 – American forces from Fort Erie launch a successful sortie against Drummond’s batteries


September 21 – British forces end siege of Fort Erie and retreat to Chippawa


October 15 – Skirmish at Chippawa


October 19 – Battle of Cook’s Mills (near Welland) on Lyons CreekUpper Canada


November 5 – American forces evacuate Fort Erie, destroy what remains of fort and return to Buffalo


November 15 – British forces re-occupy Fort Erie after American withdrawal


December 24 – Treaty of Ghent (Belgium) signed to end the War of 1812




February 16 – U.S. Senate approves Treaty of Ghent; 17th President Madison ratifies Treaty and it is proclaimed on 18th. War of 1812 officially ends


May 22 – American forces re-occupy Fort Niagara

Posted in Grantham, Niagara, War of 1812 | Leave a Comment »

Some Reminiscences of Grantham Township by Bob Bell

Posted by dsharron on December 6, 2008

On November 27, Bob Bell recounted some of his varied experiences as a local politician in Grantham Township from the 1950s through to the 1980s. 

Bob Bell was born in 1921 in Louth Township decended from the Loyalist families Secord and Pawling.  He worked at McKinnon Industries (now General Motors) for forty-seven years before retiring in 1986.  During the second World War, Bob served in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Bell’s political career began in 1959 as a councillor on the Grantham Township Council and then as an alderman for the Grantham Ward on the new City of St. Catharines Council.  He remained an alderman until 1969 when regional government came to Niagara.  From 1970 to 1985, Bob was a Councillor on Regional Council.  Among his body of work includes time on the Planning and Development Committee, the Shaver Hospital Foundation, the St. Catharines General Hospital Board of Governors, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and currently is the Executive Director of the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Foundation.

What Mr. Bell brought to politics was the farmer’s mentality of never promising what you cannot deliver.  He and his fellow representatives strived to get things done without wasting a vast amount of time.  They were closer to their constituents than today’s politicians. 

In 1961, Grantham and St. Catharines had grown to the point where amalgamation was necessary.  Mr. Bell was among the group responsible for naming all of the streets affected by the amalgamation.  From 7:00 to 12:00 pm, a mere five hours, names were called out, checked by the clerk and voted on for all of the streets in the newly aligned city.

In 1972, Bob became the Chairman of the Regional Planning Committee – a position he held for a number of years.  After eight years of preliminary work, the Committee met with the provincial cabinet to get the Region’s first Offical Plan approved.  Niagara thus became the first municipality with a policy plan in Ontario.

Mr. Bell was also part of the initiative in 1959 to create the Lester B. Pearson Park.  It came about when the opportunity arose to get the properly for a dollar a year.  The space was ideal for a public recreation area as it remains today.

Mr. Bell’s talk was quite informative and highlighted the accomplishments of those who dedicated their time to making Grantham Township, St. Catharines and the Region a better place to live.  He ended his talk with the words, “Grantham was a great town with great people.  The good old days were all not that bad.”

Posted in Grantham, Niagara, St. Catharines, Towns, Townships | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Naming of the Niagara Townships

Posted by dsharron on March 30, 2008

On Thursday night (March 27), the Society was treated to another information packed presentation by Professor Alun Hughes. 

Portrait of Colonel John Graves Simcoe, ca. 1881Entitled “‘Lord’ Simcoe, Lady Godiva and the Naming of the Niagara Townships”, the talk looked at how many of the townships, towns and other landmarks in the Niagara Peninsula and throughout Ontario were named during the tenure of Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe in the 1790s.  Beginning with a wide view of all Upper Canada, Alun demonstrated that many of the counties in Upper Canada were named directly after the counties along the eastern coast of England – starting with Kent all the way through Northumberland.  The Niagara Peninsula was given the name Lincoln County after Lincolnshire County in England.  As such, many of the place names within Lincoln County can find their roots in Lincolnshire – examples: Gainsborough, Grantham, Grimsby, Louth, Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake), Saltfleet, Stamford and the Welland River.  Other place names stem from influential individuals and families from the time like Sir John Thorold, the Pelham family and Clinton Family.  Still more names were to come much later or were derived from contemporary First Nation place names.

One of the most interesting findings to come from Alun’s presentation was the discovery that Simcoe’s reputation of not being in favour of First Nation place names is false according to surviving evidence.  For generations, Simcoe has carried a legacy for changing established First Nation names to English names such as Toronto being changed to York and Niagara being changed to Newark.  Alun proved that the shift to these new place names had occurred prior to Simcoe’s appointment as Lieutentant Governor.  Plus, Simcoe was more apt to change place names of French and German origins rather than First Nation.  More importantly to this area, Simcoe openly advocated that Newark be renamed Niagara later in his term.  The English government agreed and adopted this change. 

Alun proved once again that there are a lot of errors in our history that are taken as fact after years of retelling and misinterpretation.  With sound research and use of good evidence, these local myths can be corrected.

Next month’s presentation will feature John Burtniak speaking on “Vanished Villages in Niagara” – April 24.

Posted in Grantham, John Simcoe, Meetings, Niagara, Townships, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »