The Soldiers Monument at Drummond Hill

Soldiers Monument Postcard showing, Sunset, coloured in pastel, the large obelisk stands on top of six stairs on a base which in turn is set on a grass embankment. A wreath is on the top stair. Graves are set below the monument in the near foreground.

The place which we now call Drummond Hill Cemetery predates the Battle of Lundy's Lane. With the decline in battlefield tourism after the American Civil War, the cemetery became ignored and unkempt. Then in 1887, Reverend Canon George Bull of All Saints Church Anglican set out to restore the location and, with his newly founded Lundy's Lane Historical Society (LLHS), he managed to do just that. The LLHS petitioned for the establishment of a marker for the Battle of Lundy's Lane and on July 25th 1895, the 81st anniversary of the Battle, they unveiled the monument with much ceremony.

The monument is forty foot tall from the base to the top of the obelisk; the base is twenty square feet. All that is visible is made of grey granite, quarried from Stanstead Quebec and constructed by D. McIntosh and Sons. Underneath is a Queenston limestone vault 7 foot square and 8 foot tall, into which was interred bones of British soldiers and a couple of oak caskets.

The monument was unveiled to over 2,000 individuals on a sunny day, aside from a few showers during the ceremony. The afternoon started with a luncheon at Dufferin Cafe. The ceremony began at 2:00 p.m. with a lengthy speech by Lt-Col. G.T. Denison in which he inflamed the feelings of nationalism and imperialism. In his speech he made mention of a certain "peripatetic philosopher" who protested the monument as being "nothing but the meanness of unslacked hatred" Denison suggested that this was not the case; however, this does show that not all were supporters of the normative brand of nationalism, though the vast majority were. The monument was unveiled, the national anthem was played and Denison recited William Kirby's "Lundy's Lane", with lines such as "And Canada, like Greece at Marathon//Stands victor on the fields of freedom won...." The imagery from this is such that one feels the need to stand at attention whilst reading it!

The author of the article in the Daily Mail and Empire about the unveiling, notes the grave marker of Laura Secord and her husband as being "unpretentious" but states that MP William Lowell expressed a desire to see a more fitting monument to Secord and her husband; this would be realized in Drummond Hill Cemetery in 1901.

Bibliography

Daily Mail and Empire, “Canada’s Heroes”. July 16, 1895. Daily Mail and Empire, "Canada's Heroes"

Government of Ontario “The War of 1812: Niagara Frontier”. Ministry of Government and Consumer Affairs. The War of 1812: Niagara Frontier.

 

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