Creation of the Battle of Longwoods Park

The Legal / Registration of the site is Mosa Township, Lot 7, Range 1, South of Longwoods Road, North half

Original deed issued by the Crown July 22, 1831 to Jeremiah Gray

April 7, 1875         conveyance to John Currie

November 10, 1910   conveyance to Arthur Currie

November   6, 1916   conveyance to Roy Henderson

September 24, 1928 conveyance to His Majesty King George V  $1.00

March 4, 1951               conveyance to Anthony Marko

August 22, 1952           expropriation by Department of Highways

December 8, 1953      expropriation by Department of Highways

December 16, 1960   Designation Plan of No 2 Highway

July 8, 1967                    conveyance to Valentine Peter Marko

The land on the south side of Longwoods Road adjacent to the National Historical Site of Canada known as Battlehill.  The municipal address is 2945 Longwoods Road in the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex, Ontario.

Note!  Double click images to enlarge.

Survey as jpeg
Survey of Battle of Longwoods Park

The original native trail which is the basis for the Longwoods Road curved to avoid the junction of two creeks.  Additional property was acquired by the Ontario Department of Highways in the 1920’s as part of reconstruction improvements to Highway #2.

In the 1990’s many of the Provincial Highways were transfered to local municipalities, Highway #2 in this area became known as Longwoods Road under the jurisdiction of the County of Middlesex.

In 1924 a plot of land 25 X 25 feet was designated as Battle Hill upon which a 7 X 7 feet cairn was constructed with a plaque containing the following in French and English.

“Here was fought the Battle of the Longwoods 4th March, 1814.  United States troops were entrenched on the bluff overlooking 20 Mile Creek.  The British losses were Captain D. Johnson and Lieut. P. Graeme and twelve men of the Royal Scots Light Company and the 89th Light Company, killed, fifty-two officers and men of these companies and of the Loyal Kent Volunteers, wounded.”

Over the years there had been very little activity at the site.  In 2002 a local resident Mrs Betty Simpson suggested that a memorial service should be held at the site on the anniversary of the death of the soldiers.

The Upper Thames Military Reenactment Society (UTMRS) who portray the Royal Scots Light Company in War of 1812/1814 activities undertook to conduct a memorial service on Sunday March 3rd.  This service has since been held on a Sunday near the March 4th date. Local residents and dignitaries attend, many of who lay wreaths at the cairn, the names of the deceased soldier are read, a prayer is recited with a salute being fired by the military reenactors.

Adjacent to the cairn site there were an over grown row of manitoba maple trees, an old wire fence and an area of of unkept land covered in raspberries, wild roses, hawthorns and trees.

This area was part of the actual 1814 battle site.

An investigation determined that the property was owned by the County of Middlesex.  The County of Middlesex indicated that they had no use for the property and if we wished to do so, the UTMRS could utilize the land for historical purposes.

Parks Canada was approached to advise them that the land was available and the UTMRS encouraged Parks Canada to expand the cairn site to include some the land were the Battle of Longwoods was fought.   Parks Canada had no interest in doing so, period.

A work party  of the UTMRS was organized to return the area to a condition similar to that of 1814 and suitable for military reenactments in the future.  The site has since been maintained by members of the UTMRS.

The cryptic account of the battle on the cairn plaque is not very enlightening for visitors to the site about the events of March of 1814.

The  UTMRS proposed that a more meaningful account of the events would be appropriate.  There were several proposals but eventually a plaque 5 x 14 feet made of concrete with granite inlays was designed.  On June 22, 2013 the plaque was installed.

Memorial Plaque Transcropt Crane
Memorial Plaque being set into position
Note Battle Hill Cairn in the background

 

Plaque Memorial Plaque Photograph
Tom Ross (as a Royal Scot) and Marvin Recker (as a Western (Caldwell) Ranger) guarding the plaque after installation

Londoner July 2013 (3)

Memorial Plaque jpeg
Text of the Plaque

(Image of Memorial Plaque text)

Battle hill cairn
National Historical Park Cairn

The cost of the Memorial Plaque and the other improvements were financed by a grant from the Trillium Foundation and by the UTMRS.

The County of Middlesex does not have any parks and thus could not provide perpetual maintenance.  It was proposed that the area surrounding the Memorial Plaque be transferred from the County of Middlesex to the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex who have two other parks in the area.  The site is now Battle of Longwoods at Battle Hill Park.

Official dedication of the park March 4, 2014

Official unveiling of the Memorial Plaque March 8, 2014

 

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