UEL & Branch History
"A Short History Of The United Empire Loyalists"
History of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch
The Dominion Council, small in those days, was called for December 16, 1967 at which Reginald Hawke and Eldon Spencer, originally from the area presented the qualifications with a motion for a branch charter – The Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch. Dominion Council officers granted approval. Thus this branch began on December 16, 1967, with 125 approved regular charter members and accomplished within only five months preparation. A truly remarkable record accomplished by any branch in the past and in the present. The preparation and presentation of a charter came later at a convenient time, which is the custom.
The first important event of the new branch took place on April 14, 1968, with a special visit by Sir John Johnson and Lady Johnson, sixth baronet since Sir William Johnson of Johnstown, New York. They also visited the tomb of Sir John Johnson of Loyalist fame, which was on Mount Johnson (now Mount Gregoire).
On June 8, 1968, another special branch event was held. It was a glorious Saturday at the Cultural Centre, Cowansville, decorated with flags and flowers for the historic presentation of the branch charter. A large crowd of 100 registered members and guests attended from an extensive area of the Townships, Montreal, Ottawa, and Ontario. Mr. Murray Mason, President, received the Charter on behalf of the Branch presented by myself (Mr. John Chard). Then representatives form other branches and local members expressed congratulations with interesting personal comments.
-- John Chard, UE, President UELAC, 1966-68, as part of his address on the 35th anniversary of the Branch, 17 August 2002
Without the inspiration and untiring dedication of E. John Chard, Dominion President of UELAC (1966-1968), Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch would not have materialized in 1967, Canada’s Centennial year. John, a devoted additional branch member, has provided an abundance of material and photos pertaining to the branch. In appreciation of his numerous contributions, we named him patron of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch UELAC.
1. Sir John Paley Johnson (1967-1976)
When Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch UELAC named its officers after it had received its charter on December 16, 1967, Sir John Paley Johnson (1907-1976) M.B.E., 6th Baronet of New York was named honorary president. He and Lady Johnson attended the first official meeting of the branch held at the Art Centre in Cowansville Quebec on April 24, 1968.
2. Sir Peter Colpoys Johnson (1976-2003)
After Sir John Johnson’s death in 1976 his son, Sir Peter Johnson, 7th Baronet of New York,(1930-2003) was named our second honorary president. Sir Peter was an avid, renowned yachtsman who wrote many books on yachting and held numerous offices in the yachting world. Sir Peter had planned to visit Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch and the Johnson Vault at Mont Saint Gregoire but ill health prevented him from doing so.
3. Sir Colpoys Guy Johnson (2003-)
Sir Colpoys Guy Johnson, 8th Baronet of New York (1965- ), son of Sir Peter Colpoys Johnson, visited Toronto in 2004 while here to attend King’s Royal Regiment of New York ceremonies. He looks forward to attending the rededication ceremony of the Sir John Johnson Vault when the project is completed.
Miss Marion Phelps, a retired teacher and the archivist of Brome County Historical Society, is both a Charter Member and an Honorary Member of Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch UELAC. Over the years she has provided invaluable assistance to our genealogists and members searching for proof to document their Loyalist ancestry.
The Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network established the Marion Phelps Award to recognize outstanding citizens. The first award, presented at the second annual conference of QAHN held at Macdonald College in June 2004, was bestowed on Marion Phelps. Hubert Bauch’s comment was “Marion Phelps Award named for the legendary archivist of the Brome County Museum.” In the June 9, 2001 issue of the Montreal Gazette he also stated “Marion Phelps guilty as charged – of being a treasure for those interested in the history of Anglo Quebec.”
Miss Phelps will celebrate her 100th birthday on 9 February 2008.
|President||Years as President|
|Murray Curtis Mason||Nov. 1967 – June 1969|
|Donald W. MacCallum||June 1969 – June 1971|
|Herbert R. Derick||June 1971 – June 1973|
|Donald W. MacCallum||June 1973 – June 1975|
|Gwendolyn Norris Fuller||June 1975 – June 1977|
|Murray Curtis Mason||June 1977 – June 1978|
|Donald W. MacCallum||June 1978 – June 1979|
|William McIntyre Bradshaw||June 1979 – June 1981|
|Donald W. MacCallum||June 1981 – June 1983|
|A. Sidney McCaw||June 1983 – June 1987|
|J. Kenneth Hamilton||June 1987 – June 1990|
|C. Arthur Smith||June 1990 – June 1993|
|Vincent de Lourdes Leonard||June 1993 – June 1995|
|Clayton Smith||June 1995 – June 1997|
|Jean Darrah McCaw||June 1997 – June 2000|
|Richard M. Eldridge||June 2000 – June 2003|
|Adelaide Hall Lanktree||June 2003 – June 2007|
|Roderick Riordon||June 2007 – June 2012|
|Gerald Thomas||June 2012 – June 2016|
|Michel Racicot||June 2016 -|