• Jan22Mon

    Captain Happy Jim!

    Retrospective #60 January 22, 2018 Randy C. Hicks
    "On three everybody smile - One, Two, Three!"
    "On three everybody smile - One, Two, Three!"

          During the year in question these events happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively, which fell on a Wednesday and Thursday. The first of these happenings was simply billed as a GRAND SALVATION MEETING in the BARRACKS! No sentimental reflective Candle Light services in those days. No siree! Nothing less than a GRAND SALVATION MEETING! Of course I can remember when the Sunday night meeting was called the GREAT SALVATION MEETING. I don’t think the terms GREAT or GRAND or even SALVATION MEETING are in use in our part of the world these days, just saying. If this strikes you as odd for a Christmas Eve, wait until I tell you what comes next!

         The old flyer then announced that on CHRISTMAS DAY, THE GRAND HALLELUJAH WEDDING OF CAPT. HAPPY JIM CALHOUN was to take place at 3 pm in the Opera House, after which the Army will form in procession and march through the town to the Barracks where the MARRIAGE SUPPER will take place from 5 to 8 pm after which a TORCH-LIGHT PROCESSION will form and proceed to the Opera House for a grand devil-defeating, God-glorifying HEAVEN-UPON-EARTH-MEETING!

         How’s that for a Merry Christmas!?

         Of course I didn’t get to attend any of these events and neither did you. We didn’t miss the memo from DHQ and our invitations weren’t lost in the mail, no, these rather unique (to us that is) gatherings happened one hundred and thirty-four years ago. Had we been living then however we would indeed have been invited! You see, the town motto of the host community of these events is, "The Friendliest Town in Ontario". Wikipedia tells us that: 

    {Ridgetown is a community located in south-east Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada. It is home to the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. It has a population of roughly 3,500 and is one of many small farming communities in Chatham-Kent.}

    The poster actually said that “Soldiers and Officers from Surrounding stations” were expected as the “Meeting will be conducted by Staff Captain Wass and Hallelujah Wife”, with “Capt. Armstrong in COMMAND.”

         Is there anyone out there planning your wedding for some time in the near future perhaps?

         Would you care to borrow the above template?

         I might even agree to be your “Wedding Planner” if you like? (Just kidding!)

         Maybe someone is thinking about renewing your vows on that very special Anniversary date?


         The local paper of that day later carried a story under the heading:

    Hallelujah Wedding

    In The Opera House,



         For the record, the bride was one Miss Maggie Street, and the officiating clergy was Rev. E. McCollum of the Methodist Church (to fulfil the requirements of the law). The paper also indicated that guests included: “Glory Dan” and “Glory Dick,” along with “The saved Moulder,” “The Hallelujah Drummer,” “Smiling Abbie,” “Merry Lena the Tambourine Lass,” and “The Hallelujah Dress Maker.” Lastly, for your edification, also from the posted announcement, the “Tickets for the wedding, 10 cents; banquet and night meeting, 25 cents.” The year was 1894!







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