People who live in glass houses shouldn’t through stones!

Bill’s Post

March 2024

There is a book published possibly in the 1930’s which is a collection of eighteen newspaper article written over a number of years ending in 1900 by Wm. I Imlach.  They were first printed in the Hamilton Herald and then in the Dunnville Chronicle in the 1990’s.  The name of the book was “An Old Man’s Memories”.  The book includes articles from two other local authors. They are T.L.M. Tipton who wrote “At the Mouth of the Grand” page 80 and Father (later Dean) P.J. Donovan page 90 who wrote “The Early Days in Dunnville and its Vicinity”.

It is as it says the reminiscences of Wm Imlach as he recalls his time at Port Maitland.  In it he makes one very large error which permeated the history of the Port Maitland Naval Depot.  That is, he got an important fact wrong about when and why it was established.  He told us; In the war of 1812 it was a military and naval station of some considerable importance, as in 1836 many of the old buildings and block houses were still standing, but they have all since disappeared.” In fact, until John Docker wrote the history of the Naval Depot in 2000, most of my contemporaries and myself believed this and most of us referred to it as the Port Maitland Naval Depot.

The naval depot was not constructed until 1815; after the War of 1812 and Port Maitland was not named Port Maitland until May 8, 1829.  It played no direct part in the War of 1812.

So, why am I picking on an old man so long dead?  It is because I was very disturbed at him when he led me astray.  However, I have made a few blunders along the way in writing my articles.  The problem with writing it down is that it is there for as long at the paper last and even longer if someone uses your incorrect information and then writes it again.  At least digital articles can be corrected!

So where is or should I say are my glass houses?  There are three that stand out and likely others yet undiscovered.

My first blunder was to tell the readers of the Grand Despatch in June 2000 that the Sulpician Priests travelled down the Grand River to Port Maitland where they stayed for several months.  Yes, they did stop at Port Maitland but it was at Port Dover where they spent these several months.  My information came from “The Canadian Register” (an early 1900’s Catholic newspaper) as well as one of my old-timers now long since pasted.  Maybe he had read the same article many years earlier.

My second blunder and most likely the one which will continue to repeat itself is that for years I named the Port Maitland Lock, ‘Lock 27”.  We even erected a large sign at the lock proclaiming it as “Lock 27”.  My information came to me either as poor punctuation by another or my incorrect reading of that information.  Lock 27 was at Port Colborne during the time of the second Welland Canal.

My third blunder was to for reasons unknown to me, I gave the date of the sinking of the “Commerce” at Port Maitland on May 6/7 1850 as May 5/6 May 1850.  I had my information correct when I rewrote the article originally written By Kyle McIntyre but for some reason while pursuing a cenotaph project, I gave the date incorrectly.

When I wrote my first article for the Grand Despatch in January 1998, I was to say the least, a rooky writer.  I tried to get my information correct and I am fairly certain that I hit the mark rather admirably most times; for a writer who suffers with dyslexia! 

All I ask of myself and others is that they double check all information and don’t throw stones at others if they live in a glass house.  People who live in glass houses shouldn’t through stones!

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