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Thursday, April 24, 2014



Grimsby (Ontario) War Memorial with Lickers
Due to the kindness of Chris Wright of the CEF Study Group Forum and Michael Johnson, British Medals Forum, I was able to recently acquire the British War Medal of Joseph Lickers, #210512. Joseph had enlisted in the 98th Battalion in Welland, ON on November 5, 1915 giving his birth date as June 9, 1881 with a next of kin as wife Emma Jane. Eventually Joseph and Emma Jane Davis had six children: Abraham; Gordon; Leo, Isabella; Edward and Lyall. Present address at the time of enlistment was Jordan Station listing his occupational as "labourer" but other sources have him as a fruit farm worker in Grimsby. Most importantly Joseph was born in Brant County, Ontario with further research proving him as a member of a well-known  Six Nations famous Iroquois fighting family. He gave his previous military experience as 7 seasons with the 37th Haldimand Rifles and currently with the 44th Regiment. Private Joseph Lickers accompanied the 98th (Lincoln and Welland) Battalion when they departed Canada July 8, 1916 on the S.S. Lapland bound for England arriving July25.
Private Wilfred Lickers and unknown women
After a number of months training, the 98th Battalion was broken up for reinforcements for Central Ontario battalions therefore Private Joseph Lickers was sent to the 58th Battalion, in the field in France on September 9, 1916. He was diagnosed class P.B.(Permanent Base) with flat feet that same day C.B.D. arriving 58th Battalion September 27 while the unit was fighting in the Somme. On October 8 Private Lickers was listed as "Missing In Action" but the Casualty Form has him as having been admitted to #3 Canadian Stationary Hospital with a serious gun shot wound to the right thigh and leg on October 10. Transferred that same day on the H.S. Austrian to C.C.A.C. Shoreham-on-the-Sea thence Whitchurch War Hospital, Glamarganshire. After spending some months hospitalized in the Ontario Military Hospital, Orpington, Private Lickers was invalided to Canada on the H.S. Araguaya June 11, 1917 finally ending up in "D" unit M.H.C.C. which is a Toronto hospital located on or near college Street for further treatment being discharged in Toronto January 16, 1918 as unfit. His service record claims his death as occurring November 21, 1952.

Mrs. Elijah Lickers, mother of 22 children
Where this story becomes even more interesting however is with the Licker Family, particularly Joseph's mother Mrs. Elijah Lickers.

"Another well-known old Iroquois fighting family, the Bearfoot Onondagas, has a distinguished war record. The present tribal head of this family or clan, under the ancient system of maternal descent, still extant among the Iroquois, is Mrs. Elijah Lickers. Four of her sons, two grandsons, and a son-in-law enlisted, and of these a son and a grandson were killed in action. One of this family went overseas with the original 48th Highlanders of Toronto (15th Battalion), and was the first Indian to join a Highland battalion. He was taken prisoner on April 23, 1915, and remained in Germany until the cessation of hostilities". All About Canada, The Canadian Indians and the Great World War,

Lickers, Will Foster;27220; Pte;15th Bn; POW Apr.22-24/15;Released Oct.4/18; died Tor Apr.18/38 pneu , (age 28) Guests of the Kaiser, Prisoners-of-War of the CEF 1915-1918 Edward. H. Wigney.

Lickers William, #210561, age 21, 58th Battalion (98th Battalion), KI.A. Oct.8, 1916, buried ADANAC Military Cemetery, Somme, France, Son of Ellen Harriett John (formerly Lickers), and the late Elijah Lickers.

Lickers, Thomas, #452459, age 23, 2nd Battalion (58th Battalion), K.I.A. April 26, 1916, Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial, France.

Lickers, Percy Roy, #739242, age 24, 107th Pioneers (114th Battalion), K.I.A. August 7, 1917, Bully-Grenay C.C., British Extension, France. Husband of Edna Maud Lickers.

Lickers, George, #1288769, age 20, C.E.Depot, Rejected because of Lupus and T.B. Mother Mrs. Harriet John.

Lickers, Wilfred, #739240, age 20, 3rd C.E.Battalion (114th Battalion 107th Battalion Pioneers). Father is George Lickers (wages to Indian Guardian)

Lickers, David Andy, #211087, age 24, 98th Battalion. Mother is Mrs. Harriet J. Lickers.
Adams, George, #210061, age 28, 98th Battalion, Wife is Rachel Lickers.

Private Percy Roy Lickers
It is not my intent nor the topic of this blog to explore early Canadian history, British-American conflicts or First Nation history, nevertheless it is the obligation of every Canadian to study these subjects. Nevertheless most of the Six Nations (Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk, Tuscaroras and Cayuga tribes) comprising the Iroquois Nation of Northern New York State were loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War. With the Americans victory and establishment of the Republic in 1776, British Loyalists and loyal Iroquois, led by Mohawk warrior leader and statesman, Joseph Brant, fled for the Niagara Frontier and the Canadian border. The Governor of Canada by 1778 was Sir General Frederick Haldimand  who was instrumental, after convincing by Joseph Brant, in agreeing to compensation to the loyal the Six Nations tribes. According, a tract of land was granted on the Bay of Quinte, on the north shore of Lake Ontario called Tyendinaga where many loyal Mohawks settled. Brant again approached Haldimand for further concessions who gave a formal grant in the name of the Crown of some 1200 square miles on the Grand River, Ontario. In due course, the town of Brantford was founded (named after the Chief) which became the headquarters of the dominant Mohawks. Shortly after the grant was formalized, loyal Six Nations families from New York began settlement in the agreed 6 mile wide border along the length of the Grand River from origin to it's mouth.

The Lickers Family, an Onondaga first family were one of these originals settlers with the Haldimand Proclamation. Onakarondoh Elijah Vickers (Ona-ka-ron-doh or Elijah Vickers) born about 1760 was the first family member I found. He may have been named after a prominent Anglican pastor with the name changed to Lickers by clerical error. Elijah married Lydia Lewis who in Onondaga tradition was "Clan Mother" in 1810. Elijah as well as a George Vickers fought in the War of 1812 for the British. Two Vickers warriors, Abraham and John, fought in the Patriot Rebellion of 1837-8. So the family's military tradition does not run shallow.Today approximately 40 family members live on or in proximity to the Six Nations Reserve. A couple of members applied for Veterans Land Grants nearby. Family patriarch Elijah Lickers was born in 1835 dying in 1910. He was the father of Joseph Lickers while marrying three times: wives Lydia Cornelius; Rachel Delaware and Ellen Harriet Owens, Joseph's mother. Ellen Harriet Owens, the woman in the photograph, was married at least twice, to Elijah Lickers and Alpheus. This information could help account for the 22 children claimed by Harriet, as some may not have been hers although I have a record of her having 14 with Elijah Lickers including Joseph, William, George, and David from the above list. At least one family member served in World War Two.

Tammy Martin has kindly sent me a chart of the Roll of honour located in the Chapel of the Mohawk Institute of the young men that attended that Anglican boarding school. On it are the names: Private Foster Lickers; Private George Lickers; Private Joseph Lickers; Private Thomas Lickers (KIA); and Private William Lickers (KIA). As well is the name Private Hugh Powless, the subject of a future blog and a Mohawk born in Tyendinaga, Bay of Quinte. The former Mohawk Institute now houses the Woodland Cultural Centre.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Tammy Martin a volunteer researcher for the Woodland Cultural Centre as well as Marika Pirie for her Toronto Star photograph and the author ? of the Lickers Family Tree for genealogy family information.



Anonymous said...

I found your blog on the Lickers family very informative. It helped with my own research on World War 1 soldiers from Grimsby. I suspect that many men who came from England worked on farms in this area and later signed up for military service, but it is very difficult to find this information anywhere since they are not in the census. You mentioned for Joseph Lickers that you found sources that indicated he was a fruit farm worker in Grimsby, so that intrigued me. I wonder whether you would be willing to share these sources with me. Carol

Anonymous said...

Looks like David Andrew's Victory Medal has surfaced.