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Battlefield Monument

The monument was constructed after the turn of the century when men and women were active to improve their communities by developing schools, libraries and museums. During this period, leaders in the community wanted to honour their relationship to the British crown and remind future generations of the War of 1812. It was a time of nation-building and consciousness-raising.

Battlefield Monument
Photo courtesy of Martin Battell

A small group of citizens formed the Wentworth Historical Society on December 6, 1888. Sara Calder was president of the Ladies' Committee of the Society and they were responsible for organizing fundraising events and for preserving historical artifacts.

Tension began to grow as early as 1894 between the men and women of the Wentworth Historical Society. The Society thought the building of a monument to honour the soldiers that fought in the battle of Stoney Creek was very much needed but they did not agree on the site.

The men were more interested in erecting a monument on the north side of the road on a knoll that Hiram Smith was willing to sell for $50.00. It was on this piece of land that the American forces had placed their cannons and it was also the site where the heaviest action took place during the battle.


Postcard Circa 1910 from the
Hamilton Public Library: Special Collections

In the fall of 1895, the ladies started raising funds to build a museum which led to a very successful week-long event called the Military Encampment in the Hamilton Drill Hall . On average, about 2000 people came per day and a profit of $1000 was raised.

The women, under the leadership of Sara Calder, formed their own historical group, the Women's Wentworth Historical Society in 1899. Through their organizing and fundraising drives, the women partly rebuilt and refurbished the Gage House. In 1899 Battlefield House Museum and the surrounding park were opened to the public by the Women's Wentworth Historical Society.

Between 1899 and 1908, the Women's Wentworth Historical Society and the Wentworth Historical Society corresponded with the Federal Minister responsible for monuments on the subject of where the monument should be located. Finally the groups agreed on the construction of two monuments - one at Smith's Knoll and the monument at Battlefield Park.

Construction, circa 1910)
From the Hamilton Public Library: Special Collections

In 1900 the architectural firm of F. J. Rastrick and Sons submitted a design for a monument to cost $18,715.00. In 1908 the federal government granted $5000.00 to the WWHS toward the monument. The sod was turned on May 28, 1909, and the corner stone was laid by General French in a ceremony on May 26, 1910.

Problems securing government funding caused construction delays throughout 1911. Work recommenced in 1912 when the Department of Militia and Defense guaranteed additional funds. The entire cost was approximately $12,000.

Dedication, 1913)
From the Hamilton Public Library: Special Collections

On the centennial of the Battle of Stoney Creek, June 6, 1913, the completed monument was unveiled by Queen Mary in London, by means of a transatlantic cable. School children were given a half-day off school. Approximately 15,000 people were in attendance, including local military forces.

The Dedication stone at the base of the Monument reads:

UNVEILED BY ELECTRICITY JUNE 6TH 1913 BY

HER MAJESTY QUEEN MARY

THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA, COLONEL THE HONOURABLE SAM HUGHES BEING MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE, TO COMMEMORATE THE BATTLE OF STONEY CREEK JUNE 6TH 1813.

THE BRITISH TROOPS UNDER COMMAND OF GENERAL VINCENT AND LIEUT. COLONEL HARVEY CONSISTED OF THE 49TH REG'T IN COMMAND OF MAJOR PLENDERLEATH AND FIVE COMPANIES OF THE 8TH OF KING'S IN COMMAND OF MAJOR OGILVIE, TO WHICH WAS ADDED THE VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE OF THE SETTLERS HEREABOUTS LED BY CAPT. W.H.MERRITT OF THE CANADIAN MILITIA, THE TOTAL NUMBER BEING ABOUT SEVEN HUNDRED. THE AMERICAN FORCE NUMBERED UPWARDS OF THREE THOUSAND UNDER COMMAND OF GENERALS CHANDLER AND WINDER.

THEY WERE ENCAMPED IN THIS IMMEDIATE VICINITY WITH STAFF HEADQUARTERS IN THE GAGE FARM HOUSE, NOW MAINTAINED BY THE WOMENS WENTWORTH HISTORICAL SOCIETY THROUGH WHOSE REPRESENTATIONS AND UNDER WHOSE DIRECTION THIS MEMORIAL WAS BUILT.

IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT THE BRITISH ADVANCED FROM BURLINGTON HEIGHTS AND SURPRISING THE ENEMY, PUT HIM TO CONFUSION. THIS IS HELD TO HAVE BEEN THE DECISIVE ENGAGEMENT IN THE WAR OF 1812-13.

HERE THE TIDE OF INVASION WAS MET AND TURNED BY THE PIONEER PATRIOTS AND SOLDIERS OF THE KING OF ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

MORE DEADLY THAN THEIR LIVES THEY HELD THOSE PRINCIPLES AND TRADITIONS OF BRITISH LIBERTY OF WHICH CANADA IS THE INHERITOR.

After 80 years of exposure to the elements, the monument began to deteriorate. The community demonstrated its pride by raising approximately $70,000 through the Preserve the Monument Committee and $230,000 was received from provincial and federal governments.

In the summer of 1993, extensive work was completed on the monument. The restoration work included the reconstruction of the building fabric, masonry repairs and repointing, window restoration and the disassembly and reconstruction of sections of the tower.

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board acknowledges that...

"The Stoney Creek monument is by far the most impressive of the contemporary monuments erected to commemorate a battle of the War of 1812 and is arguably the most successful monument to address the broader loyalist theme as understood at the end of the century".

Virtual History - Visit the Hamilton Civic Museums to learn more about upcoming special events and exhibitions.

Virtual tour of the War of 1812

Take our virtual tour of the War of 1812

Finalist - Attractions Ontario has chosen the Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek as a Finalist in the Ontario Choice Awards. Vote today!

Outstanding Events - VOTE for the Re-enactment of the Batle of Stoney Creek

Visiting Ontario - When you plan your trip to Battlefield House Museum & Park, see what else Ontario has to offer.

Canadian International Military Tattoo - Connecting Canadians to their military through music.