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BRUSSELS' LOST ORGANIZATIONS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 January 2010 16:18
Children’s Aid Society
A branch of the provincial Children’s Aid Society was formed in Brussels in late December of 1909.
The officers were: president, Rev. A. C. Wishart, BA; vice-president, Rev. E.G. Powell; secretary, J. H. Cameron; treasurer, W.H. Kerr; Committee, Rev. Mr. Cameron, F. H. Gilroy, George Thomson, F.S. Scott, G. A Deadman and W.M. SInclair.
The organization was the outcome of a visit of W.A. Gunton of Toronto, inspector of the department of Neglected and Dependent children.
AOUW
The officers elected to the Workmen’s Lodge in June of 1887 were: M.W., E.E. Wade; foreman, W. H. Cloakey; foreman, W. Ainley; financier, J. Shaw; recorder, J.A. Creighton; receiver, R. N. Ferguson; guide, T. O’Neil; I. W., G. Birt; O.W., Wm Thompson.
The executive elected in April 1911 was: M.W., R. Leatherdale; foreman, R. A. Pryne; overseer, N. F. Gerry; recorder, W.H. Kerr; financial secretary, W.H. McCracken; treasurer, G.A. Deadman; guide, Jno. Simmons; inside watchman, W. Armstrong; outside watchman, W. Work.
Brussels Mechanics’ Institute
In the 19th century reading material was not as plentiful as today. Books were expensive, the print was small, but the quality good. The opening of a library was a great boon to any community. The early subscription libraries were replaced by Mechanics’ Institutes, beginning in the 1830s. The former had existed solely to lend books while the latter was intended to provide their members, mechanics and workingmen, with lectures, classes, reading rooms and lending libraries.
The Brussels Mechanics Institute was incorporated in 1874. In the latter part of the century it provided a library and reading room in the Holmes Block over Smale’s store. Librarian Miss Ross, served until 1887.
Every year a crowd gathered on a Saturday night in January for the auction of magazines. Purchasers would have the privilege of removing magazines from the tables as soon as new ones arrived.
The Brussels Mechanics’ Institute elected officers for the year of 1887 were: president, J. R. Grant; vice-president, F.S. Scott; secretary/treasurer, A. Hunter, directors, Jno. Shaw, Rev. Jno Ross and Rev. W. Smyth, W.B. Dickson, George Rogers, Adam Good, Angus McKay and Dr. Hutchinson.
A motion passed in April of that year that no one would be allowed to take books from the Library without having first paid their membership fee.
The librarian was commissioned to solicit subscriptions for membership for the coming year. She would be paid 10 per cent on all cash received.
Rev. Ross and the president were commissioned to arrange for the purchase of $125 worth of new books for the library.
The financial returns for the year showed receipts of $194.20, with expenses of $112.17 for a profit of $82.03.
There were 1031 volumes in the library representing works on science, biography, history, fiction, poetry, voyage and travel, miscellaneous, religious literature, encyclopedia, magazines, reports and atlas. Fiction was the preferred choice that year. Members numbered 54.
By May 27, 1887, there were 80 names on the membership roll of the Mechanics’ Institute.
One year later the library had a balance of $114.77. The librarian was Miss Minnie Shaw, who reported to the Institute that there was a total of 1,397 books in the library, with 107 members.
At the end of the century municipal library boards were established to provide library services.
Women’s Foreign Missionary Society
The Brussels auxiliary of the WFM Society met the first Tuesday of each month in the year of 1887.
Its anniversary meeting was held in April. The well-attended program was as follows: devotional exercises, motto song by nine little girls, paper on missions by Miss Robertson, sacred music by Mrs. Hutchinson, recitation by Miss McGuire, sacred music by D. Stewart and family, address on missions by Rev. A.Y. Hartley of Bluevale, missionary anthem by the youth choir, recitation and song by five girls and two boys, an anthem by the Choral Society, recitation by Miss McGuire.
The Society was in a prosperous condition with about 50 members. Their contributions in 1887 were $120.
IOOF
The Brussels Independent Order of Oddfellows celebrated the lodge’s anniversary in April of 1887 with a service at Melville Church. The pastor, Rev. Jno Ross delivered the sermon on how “loving God implored reverence, confidence and obedience”.
According to The Brussels Post he spoke very “scathingly of sentimental sympathy and said that oceans full of it were not worth a drop of genuine sympathy and helpfulness”.
He concluded his address referring to the noble work done by the IOOF.
Canadian Temple IOGT
The following officers were elected to this lodge in Aug. 1888: W.C., George Currie; W.V. Miss Roddick; W.M., David Armstrong; W.D.M., Miss May Kerr; P.W., William Miller; W.C., Thomas Hill; W.T., Miss Lily Vanstone; W.F.S., William McCracken; W.S., James Blashill; W.I.G., Miss Bessie Moore, W.O.G., Luther Ball; T.D., Jas. Buyers.
The membership exceeded 50.
COF (Foresters’ Court)
In June 1888, the following officers held the reins of government for the ensuing term in Princess Alexandra Lodge, COF: C.R., Rev. W.T. Cluff; V.C.R., A. J. Lowick; Chaplain, A.Crozer; R.S., W. Smith; F.S., George Rogers; Treasurer, S. Smale; S.W., S. Wake; J.W., W. Wilbee; S.B., N. Flatt; J.B., J. Stretton; H.C. Delegate, Wm. Blashill.
This lodge was a popular institution according to the local newspaper.
Brussels Band
Harry J. Whitley came to Brussels in 1883, to teach the Brussels band. Four years later it was one of the best in the county.
In June of 1887 the band received first prize in Seaforth. The $60 was to be spent on  new uniforms.
The Brussels Brass Band of the early 1930s was led by a Mr. Schade and Ernie Seddon, both of Wingham. Members were trumpeters, Wilfred Cameron, George Smith, Wilford Willis, Jack Baeker and Earl Moore, trombonists Ken Tyerman and Cliff Buschlin; baritones Ross Cardiff, Roy Pascoe and Bill King; saxaphonists Norman Hoover and Ken Ashton; clarinetist Bertram McDonald; bass horn players Chester Rintoul, Jack Gibson, Lloyd Wheeler; alto Gerald Gibson; kettle drummers Mac McDowell and Louis Russels and Bob Campbell as bass drummer.
In 1932 the band won first prize at the Waterloo Music Festival, but was later disqualified as contestants were to be 21 and under. Only  two in the Brussels group were, so they were given third prize.
The first uniforms were black pants, white shirts with black bow ties and Japanese koolies (hats) made of rice straw.
A year later the Perth Regiment of Stratford discarded their old uniforms which the band purchased. The pants were navy blue with a red stripe down the leg. The tunics were bright red with officer style peek caps.
Caledonian Society
Beginning 1878, the Caledonian Society hosted the annual Auld Scotia’s Games.
Gentlemen’s Club
Some 50 years ago, a group of retired gentlemen began to gather in a room above the present day municipal office. Every night after supper members of the Gentlemen’s Club would climb the 23 stairs  to socialize and enjoy some games of euchre. The club has its share of interesting stories.  One member tumbled down that long flight to his death. On another occasion a group discovered a group of teens had snuck in to the unlocked building and caused some minor mischief. The police officers were called and the miscreants taken away.
As members passed away the club declined in numbers until only a handful continued to make the trip up those stairs. The club ceased to exist in 1992.
A plaque has been made with the club members names:  Alex Rutledge, R.J. McLauglin, Jim S. Smith, Jack Thynne, Dan McTavish, Walter Scott, Jas. Kerr, Water Kerr, John Rowland, Ken Ashton, Alex Shaw, Jack Yuill, John Bowman, Alvin Logan, Chas. Draper, Albert Quipp, Jake Fisher, Wess Kerr, Jas. W. Smith, Frank Thompson, Ned Rutledge, Glen Smith, Joe Cooper, Stan Alexander, Bill Smith, Harvey Craig, Jack Savage, Jack McCutcheon, Norm Hoover, Ross Cunningham, Carson Watson, Jack White, Norm Pheiffer, Gordon Grant, Jas. McTaggart, Jas. McFarlene, Jas. McDonald, Bob Bowman, Wilbur Turnbull, George Davidson, Brigham Henry, Ward Sellers, Francis Kearney.
CGIT
Marguerite Krauter and Wilma Hemingway began a Canadian Girls in Training chapter through Melville Presbyterian Church, circa 1950. Membership was approximately 10. The club disbanded after about a decade.
BRUSSELS ORGANIZATIONS FROM THE PAST
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HOTELS IN BRUSSELS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 December 2009 15:37
Like most area  municipalities, hotels were in abundance in Brussels during its early years. A story in The London Free Press of Feb. 15, 1964, by Leon Cantelon, indicated that  by 1863, what was then known as Ainleyville, had two hotels, The British Hotel, owned by Simon Powell, The North American Hotel, owned by William Armstrong and one saloon, The Dingle Saloon, owned by John Graham.  The 1879 Belden Atlas listed five hotels among the assets of the young village.
The Revere House , a wooden building, was situated just south of the railroad tracks to the west of Turnberry St. The Central Hotel was situated on the east side of Main St in what is now the liquor store parking lot. The Tecumseh Hotel was owned by Wm. Vanstone, one of the first settlers to what was then Ainleyville in 1859. He was also the owner of the chopping mill, flour mill and saw mill, where the Logan Mill presently stands.
Cited in the Belden Atlas as "one of the finest buildings we have ever seen in a place of corresponding size" was the once-splendid Queen's Hotel, which, its splendour having faded, was demolished in 1986 to make way for what is now the Foodland. The following description is taken from that 1879 historical atlas.
"The main facade (of the Queen's Hotel) shows a chief front and two projecting wings, the interval being filled by a handsome piazza of equal height with the main building , which is three stories and a basement; the centre is topped by a lofty and highly ornamental rectangular tower, surmounted by a cupola whose top is protected by a handsome iron railing.
The architecture of the rectangle is broken at intervals by dormers which add to the general effect, making it as a whole, one of the finest commercial buildings anywhere to be found."
Sadly, by the time the building was demolished most of its former glory was long gone. The brick had been painted white and the paint was flaking. The hotel had been vandalized. The original balconies were gone, along with the cupola. One wing had been covered with clapboard.
The village of Brussels picked up the property at a tax sale and, concerned with the safety of people in the area, sought a buyer to redevelop the main steet location.
Demolition began in March of 1986 to make room for a new EMA supermarket. Total Demolition of Brussels had the contract to remove the building, bricks and other materials  to be recycled into other building projects.
One piece of the hotel which remains alive is the front of the old sample room. Brussels native and architect John Rutledge, had remembered that under the boarded up front of the hotel was an ornate storefront of what used to be a pool hall and hamburger stand operated by his aunt, Maggie Rutledge. He asked for the boards to be removed so he could get a picture, then was so impressed he contacted the Huron County Museum curator, who purchased it and used it in a streetscape reproduction at the museum.
When Brussels celebrated its centennial in 1972, the last of the two remaining hotels was then called The New American Hotel, the "new" having been added years earlier. This hotel, later renamed the Brussels Inn remained open for many years after the Queen's closed. When it closed, for a time there was fear that it would meet the same fate  as vandals quickly attacked and started its rapid decline. It was, however, saved in the late '80s by June Warwick. Then when Joe and Helga Springer of Waterloo purchased it in 1992 they renamed it the Brussels Country Inn. They remodelled the upstairs transforming 17 rooms and one restroom into three rooms and three suites with private baths.
Downstairs required primarily cosmetic work, with the end result being an elegant updating and new life for a part of Brussels history, a reminder of the once glorious structures that thrived in the bustling new community of the 1800s.
The couple ran the Inn successfully for several years before selling it. The new owners eventually abandoned the building.
Fencing went up around it in 2006, as chief building official Paul Josling said the building was no longer safe to enter. In January 2008 the building was demolished ending the era of hotels in Brussels.
BRUSSELS ONCE HAD FIVE HOTELS, NOW NONE
Like most area  municipalities, hotels were in abundance in Brussels during its early years. A story in The London Free Press of Feb. 15, 1964, by Leon Cantelon, indicated that  by 1863, what was then known as Ainleyville, had two hotels, The British Hotel, owned by Simon Powell, The North American Hotel, owned by William Armstrong and one saloon, The Dingle Saloon, owned by John Graham.  The 1879 Belden Atlas listed five hotels among the assets of the young village.
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BRUSSELS LAW ENFORCEMENT PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 December 2009 13:57
These were the men of law and order. But they were also the men who tended the fire, shipped stock, weighed coal, swept streets, hitched the horses to the fire wagon and rang the town bell. Where today small communities get by without the constant presence of a police officer, in the early days the town constable was everything to the village. Their day could begin at 4:30 a.m. and end at 8 that evening.
While many pre-20th century Brussels Posts make reference to Const. McComb, one of the first to be remembered by longtime residents was Robert Oliver. He was followed in the 1920s by Gordon McDowell, a big man, who maintained the peace in a no-nonsense manner, while earning the respect of those who encountered him. His wife, Christine, was a practical nurse, who, they say, helped to bring many Brussels babies into the world.
According to an old story in The Toronto Star Weekly, if Brussels was a one-man town, that man was Const. MacDowell. The article states, "If city slickers start cutting up around the town, Chief MacDowell appears as the instrument of law and order. If fire breaks out, and one did four years ago, Chief MacDowell appears in the role of adjutant of the volunteer fire brigade. He is caretaker of the municipal buildings, truant officer, dog catcher and streetsweeper. His title is utility officer."
A village bylaw from June 1934, appointed McDowell and George Evans as constables and officers to enforce the Liquor Control Act of Ontario.
They were followed by George Campbell, who was appointed in 1938 ,Wm. "Bid" Bell, who was also a "great stick handler and hockey player", and Charles Shaw.
The last of the town constables was David (Scotty) Hastings. Born in Ohiltree, Scotland, Mr. Hastings came to Canada at the age of 14. He moved to Brussels following his marriage to Vera Fox in 1939. He enlisted in the 100th Battery RCA in 1939 and served overseas until his discharge in 1945.
Prior to his many years of service as a village employee, he was employed with Duncan McDonald Lumber and Joe Brewer Coal.
Mr. Hastings, who received a 25-year pin as a member of the Brussels Legion Branch 218 (and played the tenor drum with the pipe band), passed away March 28, 1974.
In March of 1989 Brussels opened its Community Oriented Policing (COP) Extended Services Office in the library basement. COP's focus is to form a partnership that best serves the ultimate interest and protection of society. A constable, Carl Rickert, was assigned to work with the community representatives to find ways to deal with things that affect the quality of life in a small town, such as vandalism and drugs.
Law breakers
From the Files of The Brussels Post
June 1887 — Some contemptible sneak or sneaks broke into the army barracks and cut the heads off the two drums in pieces. This is a very small trick and shows very little manliness. Constable McComb will find some subjects for the cooler in the neighbourhood of the barracks some of these evenings. Ruffianism is not going to run Brussels and the violaters of law and order should be taught so very emphatically.
June 1887 — Some boys went into Thos. Kelly's garden and destroyed a lot of flowers. The Post says, "He is prepared to rake them fore and aft with a little common salt if they repeat their visit."
Oct. 12, 1888 — For some time Adam Good, general merchant had missed from his store large quantities of hats, boots, shoes, groceries and other matters. Suspicious, he hid in the store to be an unobserved observer. The first person to enter was W.T. Hall, who obtained, from a youth employed with Mr. Good, McCullough, two pair of overshoes and left without paying.
Next Sam Beattie, a livery stable keeper,  obtained a felt hat, with the same "advantageous terms".
When Mr. Good revealed his presence and demanded an explanation the youth confessed that this business had been going on for some time with no other remuneration than trifling sums given to him "to put in his own pocket".
Both men were charged with knowingly receiving stolen goods. They were arrested and tried that same day.  The  pair was escorted to Goderich by Constables Scott and Ainley. E.E. Wade acted as Mr. Good's legal adviser, while R.S. Hays acted for the prisoners.
July 1888 — Thomas Wilson, son of James, was fatally shot by a gun he and Kenzie Scott had been handling while on Elizabeth St. on the way to J. Hargreaves drug store, where he worked. The pair had been trying to draw an old charge from the gun, and failing that,  put powder in the nipple and cracked a couple of caps without causing the powder to explode. Tom then left and got near the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, when the gun was discharged and the slug struck him on the right temple. A good share of the shot lodged in his right arm, neck and face. Dr. McKelvey attended, but Tom passed away that evening.
Coroner Dr. Graham helped to dispel the rumours, by declaring he believed the shooting to be purely accidental. It was decided that an inquest was not necessary. The victim's family did not want an inquest. However, the father of Kenzie was anxious for an investigation.
Tom Wilson's funeral two days later was largely attended despite a heavy rainstorm.
The July 29 paper reported that an investigation was held into the shooting. Mr. Wilson addressed the court saying, "I opposed a coroner's inquest, but on hearing so many false reports I thought it better to have an investigation."
After hearing the evidence the case was dismissed. Kenzie Scott received a "very strong reproof".
George Andrews, sent to Goderich from Brussels in June of 1888 for stealing some scrap iron, was sentenced to one month in jail at hard labour.
Mr. Andrews had taken the iron from P. Scott's blacksmith shop and sold it to  London scrap iron dealers.
Aug. 26, 1909 — A bigamy case developed some unusual features. The accused parties were John Scott, a young Englishman of about 22, and Jane Hazen, 45. Mrs. Hazen, who is the wife of Christopher Hazen of Proton Station, left her husband the previous December and moved to Orangeville with her two children.
Some three weeks later Scott followed and as she was destitute he boarded with her and provided for the family. They married on July 12 in Brampton.
In court Hazen said he was married at Brussels 21 years ago to this wife, then Jane Billings, and that they had lived happily until Scott appeared on the scene. He said they had five children, one of whom had died. Mrs. Hazen, on the other hand, said they had 10 children, six of whom had died through malnourishment and the refusal of her husband to provide medical care. There was no indication that Scott knew of the previous marriage and his acts were seen as having some elements of humanity.
She received a suspended sentence, as in the opinion of the magistrate, she seemed to have been "more sinned against than sinning."
April 20, 1911 — George Vanstone was found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the beating death of his son. He was sentenced by Justice Falconbridge to life in prison. The Brussels Post of that time states, "The prisoner's wife burst into tears when she heard the sentence."
Feb. 8, 1961 — Joseph LeBarge of Toronto pled guilty in Goderich to the theft of $1,600 worth of goods, including a TV set, transistor radios, shotguns, rifles, TV tubes and tools during a break-in at Oldfield's Hardware Jan. 6.
Feb. 16, 1961 — The Texan Grill was hit by thieves during the early hours of a Monday morning. Cigarettes and juke box money was stolen.
The building was entered after thieves broke a rear window, then not finding anything there, forced open the front door. They used a pinch bar to pry out the coin box of the jukebox, rummaged through the till, but left 50 coppers in the till untouched.
This was the most recent in a series of break-ins over a two-week period. Other stores hit were the sale yards, Lowe's Red and White and the Baeker Butcher Shop, where they failed to gain entry. The issue of The Post  states, "Apparently the thief is a confirmed cigarette smoker as he takes only cigarettes, not cigars or tobacco, and scorns chocolate bars."
May 30, 1961 — The office of the Brussels Sales Yard was broken into with the thief making off with a quantity of cigarettes and about seven dollars in cash form the lunch counter till.
This was yet another in a series of break-ins that had plagued business over several months.
May 4, 1961 — Safe crackers got $1,500 in cash from the East Huron Produce during the early morning hours. It was believed the safe was blown open with nitroglycerin after the building was entered by forcing the front window on the south wall opposite the door of the office. The safe door was completely blown off, but nothing else appeared to have been tampered with.
The robbery was discovered by Dick Stephenson, a employee. Burglary tools had been left behind, including a pinch bar, axe, batteries and wires.
The robbery left the manager Wm. Stephenson without funds to carry on Saturday business.
Nearby residents believed they heard an explosion about 4 a.m. Wingham and Mt. Forest detachment of the OPP investigated.
In September of 1989, the long story of the fire at the Brussels Legion Hall, July 6, 1988, came to an end. Leonard Gordon Cowie and Robert Martin Killick pled guilty to charges relating to the incident when they appeared in Ontario Supreme Court in Goderich. Killick received a two and a half year pentientiary term for setting the fire which caused more than $200,000 damage. He also received four months consecutive on a break and enter charge and two months consecutive for theft. Cowie was given one year in a reformatory, plus probation.
THE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN BRUSSELS HISTORY
They were the men of law and order. But they were also the men who tended the fire, shipped stock, weighed coal, swept streets, hitched the horses to the fire wagon and rang the town bell. Where today small communities get by without the constant presence of a police officer, in the early days the town constable was everything to the village. Their day could begin at 4:30 a.m. and end at 8 that evening.
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BRUSSELS CEMETERY PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2009 16:55
Now sitting at 15.8 acres, Brussels Cemetery is Morris Twp.’s largest and most frequently-used cemetery.
The cemetery is just south of Brussels in Morris Twp. on land that was once owned by Robert Burgess. It lies on the north half of Lot 30, Conc. 7 and originally occupied just 4.75 acres, until being expanded to 15.8.
The cemetery serves as the final resting place for several early citizens who played a vital role in shaping the village as it’s seen today, such as John Leckie, the village’s first reeve and William Vanstone, who played a big part in the early development of Brussels.
Prior to 1865, the cemetery was aptly named the New Connection Burial Ground, since it was cared for by members of the New Connection Methodist Church of Brussels until 1865.
The first expansion was negotiated between Rev. Charles E. Stafford of Brussels Methodist Church, a handful of trustees and Mrs. Margaret Burgess in 1875.
The additional land came at a cost of $200 per acre and $100 per additional acre.
At the time, a plot, which was five grave spots, cost $8; and individual graves came at a price of $1.50 each.
When the Brussels Methodist Church joined with the New Connection Methodist Church in 1884, that church cared for the cemetery until 1925, when the church union placed it in the care of the Brussels United Church.
Until the 1940s, upkeep of the memorials as well as the sites were left in the hands of the families of the departed. This was impossible for many families who lived miles away, and had to pay locals to maintain upkeep in their absence.
In the 1940s, the cemetery’s board of trustees began offering a one-time perpetual care cost of $50 to cover upkeep. This cost has now risen to $400 per plot, but it is still a one-time payment.
However, a program initiated in 1982 alleviated the plot owners of the responsibility of the monuments. Then in 1993, the new cemetery act was put in place, further distancing the plot owners from the upkeep of the plots.
The Brussels Cemetery Board now governs over the cemetery. It receives no financial assistance from municipal councils. However, in 1981, the Brussels United Church petitioned council to take over ownership of the property in 1981.
Longtime caretakers of Brussels Cemetery include: Robert Dark, Percy Mitchell and Adrian McTaggart. Currently, the caretaker is Douglas Murray and the chairman is Douglas Sholdice.
Several years ago, a rock and plaque were placed at the cemetery in honour of long-time board member, Jack Bryans.
Across the street from Brussels Cemetery, on the east side of County Road 12 is St. Ambrose Cemetery in Grey Twp.
The St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church purchased the land in late 1914 from Isabella Rands.
BRUSSELS CEMETERY FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR 140 YEARS OF RESIDENTS
Now sitting at 15.8 acres, Brussels Cemetery is Morris Twp.’s largest and most frequently-used cemetery.
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BRUSSELS MILITARY HISTORY PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2009 16:40
Military service
During Brussels 125 year history its residents have volunteered and in some cases died for their country and their freedom.
In 1866, the threat of Fenian Raids was a real fear for Huron County settlers. The Fenians, a group of rebel Irish immigrants in the United States,  had formed in 1857 to secure Irish independence from Britain. By the end of 1865, they had split into two factions intent on invading Canada. The idea was to use it as a base of attack against Britain. One of the wings crossed the Niagara frontier on June 1, 1865, defeating Canadian militia men at Ridgeway before withdrawing.
The village of Ainleyville put together a corps of volunteers. They were led by Captain James S. Vanstone. John Leckie was Lieutenant and George R. Ross was Ensign. Among the 60 volunteers were: Robert, Charles and William Ainlay, George Alcock, Thomas Bernard, Henry Cardiff, Harvey Chapman, William Clark, Alexander and Donald Ferguson, two James Gibsons, Francis Kelly, Ben McDonald, James McIntosh, Alex McNair, Alexander Moore, William Morton, Thomas Rice, James Smith, Bishop Ward, Thomas Watson and William Wright.
These men marched to the cliffs at Bayfield to wait for an attack. It never came.
There were many false alarms and many occasions when the Huron Volunteers were sent back and forth to repel attacks that never happened.
The men finally returned home and disbanded. The foundation was laid, however, for the Huron Regiment, which volunteered and fought with distinction in both world wars. Men from Brussels (Ainleyville was renamed in 1872) formed part of the 2nd Contingent of the 33rd Battalion in World War I and were part of the "Fighting 61st" in World War II.
The 161st Battalion, comprised of men from all walks of life in Huron County, was organized at the end of 1915. Recruiting offices were established in several towns and the men were trained as they enlisted. Two Brussels brothers, Joe and Fred Thuell enlisted in early January, 1916. Their brother Roy had signed up the previous December. A total of 71 men from Brussels and the surrounding area were members of the 161st.
They trained in Brussels that winter, then went to Wingham, which was the A Company headquarters. The Company Commander was Major Sinclair and the Battalion Commander was Colonel Coombs of Clinton.
The Battalion assembled in London for a short period of time, before leaving for Camp Borden. In October of that year they mobilized and set sail from Halifax for Southampton, Eng. They were dispatched from there to Shornecliffe.
In the Nov. 11, 1981 issue of The Brussels Post, Fred Thuell, who was 16 when he arrived in England, recalled his experience. Because of his age, Thuell was transferred to the 34th Boys Battalion in Shoreham, Eng., where he spent a winter as batman for the Battalion adjutant. From there he went to the Western Ontario Regimental Depot in Bramshot, Eng., then to the 25th Reserve Battalion, a reinforcement battalion for the Second Pioneers in France.
After developing a throat infection Thuell was quaranteened in Bramshot for several weeks. After recovering, he was transferred to the Fourth Reserve Battalion in Bramshot, then put on draft to the First Battalion in France. He was later sent to Purfleet outside London, Eng. and attached to the Battalion 13th Canadian Railway Troops. Their responsibility was the delivery of supplies and ammunitions, and to lay light gauge track for the railway. In early December he arrived in France, where he spent the remainder of the war.
In the Post account, Thuell told reporter Debbie Ranney that he had seen active combat all through his service. "We would lay this light gauge railway and the enemy would blow it out with artillery."
He said there was a lot of rain and the soldiers had little protection, other than the muddy trenches.
The most dangerous situation, Fred recalled was at Amiens Front, known as Death Valley. Their colonel had unwisely set up camp on the edge of a valley. The enemy spotted their tents and immediately opened artillery fire, blowing them off the edge of the cliff.
Forced to evacuate the battalion dug into the side of the cliff for protection. Several troops were lost.
On Nov. 11, 1918, Thuell was in Valenciennes, France, eight miles from the Belgian border. He was eventually transferred to England in February 1919, where he served as driver for the command pay office until September. He returned home on Sept. 22, 1919.
Thuell's brother Roy, who was 20 when he arrived in England, was wounded at Passchendale. A bullet, which passed through his right lung, severed a nerve in his spine, leaving him a paraplegic. Joe, who was 17 when he came to England, was wounded at Arras, France, when shrapnel went through is forearm. Fred escaped with stomach ulcers and shell shock.
The names of the brave men who fought and died for their country appear on the cenotaph, located outside the Brussels Royal Canadian Legion Branch.
In honoured and loving memory of the men of the Brussels, Morris and Grey area —
1914-1918
A. Baron, M. Bunston, G. Cameron, H. Campbell, P. Cramsey, R. Cunningham, G. Davis, C. Denboro, W. Denman, L.E. Dobson, B. E. Elliott, R. Evans, R. Fay, W. Forbes, G. Forrest, F. Gerry, S. Hemsworth, F. Hogan, C. Jackson, A. Kerr, L. Lawson, W. Lott, R. Lucas, W. Mayberry, J. McCallum, L. McCracken, B. McDonald, C. McDonald, M. McGuire, N. McGuire, L. McKinnie, J.R. McKinnon, A. McLean, A. McLeod, E. McLeod, C.E. McMillan, W. Noble, J. Passmore, E. Raymond, J. Richardson, J. Rowland, W.F. Scott, L. Strachan, J. Strick, T. Sullivan, G. Thaneer, R. Thompson.
1939-1945
Peter Baker, Russell Barnard, Monty Brothers, Fred Burchell, Lyle Evans, King Hastings, Lloyd Hood, Harold Huether, Willis Machan, Ross Machan, Arthur McLean, Allan McKay, Gordon Nichol, Joseph Nicholson, Roy Pierce, Robert Prest, Lewis Russell, Jack Speir, Ross Whittard, Russell WIlson, Chester Wintle, Archie Young.
CADETS
In February 1979, the idea of a Royal Canadian Army Cadet Crops in Brussels began to take shape.
On a Tuesday evening, members of the 1943 Norwell Secondary School Cadet Corps in Palmerston were at the Brussels Legion to demonstrate drills, first aid and radio communications. Parents and children learned about fieldcraft, fundamentals, foot drill,  marksmanship and orienteering.
Lt. Rose Marie Vandenberg, a Brussels resident, who was the main force in trying to get a corps established in Brusels said the aim of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps is to promote physical fitness, good citizenship and interest in the Canadian Armed Forces.
On Tuesday, May 1, the area cadet inspector, Warrant Officer Rafters and area cadet officer, Lt. Brecklemann, officially approved the Brussels Cadets Corps, which was sponsored by the Brussels Legion. The sponsoring committee was Al Nichol, chairman, Glen Bridge, Ted Elliott and John Sims.
Commanding Officer was Rose Marie Vandenberg. Kang Yoon, Carl Graber and Elaine Nichol were the civilian instructors.
Inspection to check on the Corps' progress was done on a six-week basis.
During the official visit the inspecting officers checked to see if the Corps met parade qualifications and inspected the quarters.
When interest was first shown in starting a cadet corps in Brussels there were 20 cadets. By May that number had increased to almost 50. They hailed from Brussels, Blyth and Belgrave.
BRUSSELS MILITARY HISTORY
During Brussels' long history its residents have volunteered and in some cases died for their country and their freedom.
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