|Oh, people, what a weekend it was!
(The size of this page is testimony to that. I tried hard to make it a quick loading page, but the best I could do was 128 seconds at 28.8 baud.)
|All I knew for certain
when I left my place Friday morning was that we had a
room reserved at the fort for our use over the weekend.
As I drove north, I worried over a million small things that -- in the end -- didn't matter one bit, and the closer I got to the fort, the less I worried and the more excited I got. The yellow sign on the Visitor Centre fed that excitement; the reunion was really and for truly happening.
|The Fort Langley Visitor Centre|
I went up a day early for a couple reasons.
The first was to attend a meeting with the Friends of Fort Langley to discuss next year's big 175th anniversary celebration. They had sent me e-mail about next year, asking if I'd extend a special invitation to the descendants of the First 25, and mentioning the Friday meeting. I asked if I might attend. They said yes. The upshot of that meeting is that they want next year to be Special with a capital S -- after all, 175 years only comes round once -- and they want as many of us there as possible, both the First 25 and everyone who followed them. The dates for this are the 3, 4, & 5 of August (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
The other reason was to pick up Laurel Katernick at the Langley City Greyhound.
Oh, and I wanted to get my computer setup so I wouldn't be driving around with it in my trunk.
So. I arrived at the Fort about 9:30am. Asked about a spot to put my computer and, with a smile, was escorted to our room.
Surprise Number One
Our room was in actuality the newly completed Exhibits Building, located between the Theatre and the Operations Building (see the Cyber Tour). Later I found out that we were the first to use it.
|When I walked in the
door the first thing I saw was a 2 foot by 3 foot sign on
an easel almost as tall as me that showed a pretty full
voyaguer canoe, with "Welcome Descendants"
above it and "Fort Langley N.H.S. Brigade Days
2001" underneath it -- hand drawn by one of the Fort
Staff in coloured marking pen.
(And yes, the picture on the right is a photograph of the actual sign. Thank you Al Kline.)
Next to that was a long table with potted flowering plants, a stack of flyers, and a small white-leather-bound guest book.
|After hauling my computer in from
the car, I took a moment to read one of the stack of
flyers on the table next to the welcome sign.
There were two sheets of paper stapled together; one was the same paper that was available in the Visitor Centre, the other was-- Well, I guess the best way to do this is to show you the info as I read it. I am still overwhelmed at how very well the way the entire weekend went and find myself at a loss for words to adequately describe what happened. Those of you who were able to make it understand, I think, and I do hope those of you who couldn't make it will be able to make it next year. For now they're calling it "Come Home to Langley in 2002", but more on that in a bit.
|Back to the flyer
It was two sheets of letter-sized paper stapled together, the top one of which reads, and I quote:
Fort Langley National Historic
Site of Canada
I turn the page over and on the back side -- page 2 -- it read:
Page 3 looks a whole lot like this (I had seen stacks of these in the Visitor Centre on my way in):
And, finally, Page 4 says:
FORT LANGLEY NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA
Every day: See costumed re-enactors of all ages living in the style of the 19th century fur trade
*Blacksmithing *Coopering demonstrations *Bake oven *Gold panning *Contract signing *Concession *Woodworking *Children's games and activities *Special presentations *Genealogical society display tables
There were a lot of surprises. I lost count.
|Pictures were taken -- but not by me (it was the one thing I forgot) -- and as they come in they will get put up.|
|I would at this time ask a favor
of those who also attended: if you could, please write a short bit about
the reunion. There were things I missed, and things that the
details are a bit fuzzy mostly because I was just so totally overwhelmed
(if we talked, and you think I've forgot, please remind me).
My thanks to everyone --
From left to right:
Lynn & Pat Piaggio, Laurel Katernick, Lisa Peppan, and Jill Edwards.
|especially those of you who tied that good stout string to my leg to keep me from floating away.|
mileage may vary but the Sto:lo Welcome Ceremony flat
blew me away. I have no words
to describe this, just a soft smile and happy
tears. Chief Henry, Sonny McHalsie, Gilbert Joe--
For those of you who couldn't make it this year, I wish I could say something more intelligent than a still slightly awestruck ". . . wow . . .", but [insert a SHRUG here]. If you can, please try to make it out next year. I have a list of local lodging information that I would be happy to pass along.
WHO WAS THERE
There were two guest books: one for the Fort and one for us. Some signed both, some signed only one, some didn't sign either; the below list comes from our guest book (which was a half dozen loose sheets of paper stacked next to the Fort's small white book). If you were there and don't see your name below, drop me a line and and I will be happy to add you to the list.
On Saturday August 4 we had, listed Employee: Descendant . . .
|Amable ARQUETTE: Judy Bridges||William Henry NEWTON through John Tod: Al Kline|
|Basile BROUSSEAU: Tricia Datené, Joanne Peterson, Gerry Evans, Ken Scott, Bruce Scott||Étienne PÉPIN: Lisa Peppan|
|William CROMARTY: Jane Cromarty, C. Christie Wong, George K Wong, and George Wong||Simon PLAMONDON: Micheal J Hubbs and wife Irene Miller-Hubbs|
|Magnus CROMARTY: Michelle Taylor, Lorraine Lindsay, Tiffany Lindsay||Samuel ROBERTSON: Pearl Boyce|
|Narcisse FALARDEAU: Tannis Pond, Darlene Heal||François Xavier VAUTRIN: Laurel Katernick, Lynn and Pat Piaggio, and Jill Edwards|
|James A. McMILLAN: Cathy and Jim Toogood||Robert WAVICAREA: Muriel Robert, Lorelei Roberts, Ulani Roberts, Samantha Roberts, Lawrence and Jennifer Roberts, Zelda Jackson, Kelly McHalsie, April McHalsie, and Chandra McHalsie|
|Donald MANSON: Judy Bridges||And Mable Nichols, related to George Perrier and Alice Davis who was raised by the Taylor family|
|And on Sunday August 5 (again listed Employee: Descendant) . . .|
|Basile BROUSSEAU: Shalayne Scott, Doug Scott, Hayley Scott, Marcie Scott, Roxanne Scott||James McMILLAN: Karen Carignan, Ginny Wall|
|William CROMARTY and Salumi'a: Mrs. Rozina Buker, Laura Buker||Donald MANSON: Lorraine Sandry|
|Narcisse FALARDEAU: Gillian McCombie, Gerald McCombie, Drina Allen, Gerri Williams||James TAYLOR: Gillian McCombie, Gerald McCombie|
|Here's some of us on the front steps of the Big House. This was taken in the afternoon on Sunday.|
|Off the top of my head, Mike Hubbs is in the dark blue shirt and black hat, third from right on the porch. Jane Cromarty is the woman holding the white sign near the centre of the porch. Judy Bridges is second from the left, in the basket-work hat and blue top. The woman second from right in the white blouse is Lorraine Sandry. I'm at the foot of the stairs.|
|If you can help me put names on the rest of the folks here, drop me some e-mail.|
I'm not exactly sure what time it was but someone official looking with a clipboard asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to paddle a canoe, they'd had some unexpected last minute cancellations and needed bodies to man the canoes bringing in the Brigade. I asked when. He replied, "In 10 minutes," adding that the staging area was down by the IGA, a two minute walk away.
On Sunday, August 5th, had you followed the Piper to Marina Park, you'd have seen the following, looking east from Marina Park at about 1:00pm.
picture on the left was taken from the top of the boat
launch at Marina Park, looking north and a little east,
across Bedford Channel at McMillan Island.
The picture below is an enlargement taken from the picture on the left, showing that there are 6 canoes coming down along the south bank of McMillan Island.
|I knew Mike Hubbs was
one of the people already on the list to either ride or
paddle, and since I hadn't seen anyone there yet who
looked like canoe paddlers, I hiked up my skirt and ran
down to the staging area down by the IGA.
I got to paddle.
|I expected to be sore afterwards and was not disappointed . . . but even if I have to hold the paddle in my teeth, I want to do it again next year. Judy Bridges rode in "our" canoe as the Honoured Passenger. If I remember correctly, "our" canoe is the second from the left in the below photo.|
|The plan was for us to
come down river along the north side of Bedford Channel,
then in a sweeping arc, land at Marina Park, with the big
canoe flying the HBC flag touching in first and the
furthest downstream. Unfortunately, we were in the
smallest canoe and either we were lighter and thus faster
moving, or we managed to find the swiftest portion of the
channel -- or both -- but we landed just west of the big
If you know what/who you're looking for, you can just make us out through the foliage of the bush on the left side of the picture on the right.
|The ceremony took place in front of the Big House. Here on the right is Sonny McHalsie -- wearing the beige blanket -- explaining to all in attendance about the ceremony.|
|On the left with the drum is Gilbert Joe. To his left is Chief Betty Henry.|
Come Home to Langley in 2002
Early in the morning of Wednesday 27th June 1827, twenty-five men slid their two boats into the waters of the Columbia River at Fort Vancouver on their way to "form an Establishment at the Entrance of Fraser' s River".
At noon, Monday, 30th July 1827, the men were "all busily employed in clearing ground for an Establishment", though they spent that night -- as well as the next 5 nights -- aboard ship.
The 2nd August saw them clearing ground for the Bastion, the 21st saw them digging a trench for the walls, by the 31st, the second Bastion was up and roofed.
And on Monday 8th October, clerk and journal keeper George Barnston writes in The Journal,
Now, fast-forward 175 years.
Beginning 10:00 am on Saturday 3rd August 2002, the Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada will be celebrating the summer of 1827 for three days. As I understand it, the big spot light will be on the descendants of the First 25 -- with a special ceremony to recognized them (they were after all the guys who did the actual grunt work of building the first fort AND were the new kids on the block who had to learn to work with their neighbours) -- but the Fort was also emphatic about having as many of all The Descendants, of all the guys, as possible. My hope is that the current World Uglies will have been settled to the point that all of us will be able to Come Home to Langley in 2002.
One thing I am working on for one of these years is a large sign for the procession from Marina Park to the Fort . . . maybe two -- out of cloth.
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This page created 24 August
moved 28 July 2002
Updated 21 July 2013