Presque Isle

Owen Sound Sun Time Article

The B.M.E. excursion and picnic was held here today, Friday, 3rd of Aug., to commemorate the freedom from slavery of the British slaves in the West Indian Islands. The steamer Alderson Arrived at 11 a.m. amid a fine shower of rain. She had only got fairly tied up to the dock when the rain ceased and the day turned out all that could be desired. After having dinner in the park, and the boys having a run on the flying trapeze, all adjourned to the Methodist church for the intellectual feast of song and story. S. Graham, Esq., Superintendent of the Sabbath School, took the chair, and was surrounded by speakers of the day, Elder Miller, Father Henson, W.P. Telford, the Rev. Mr. Kerr and Rev. Mr. Homes, the new Methodist ministers of Owen Sound. After a very eloquent introductory address by the chairman, and a Jubilee song by the colored choir, "There's a Meeting Here Tonight, Come Along", Elder Thomas Miller gave a brilliant speech on the emancipation of the slaves; and before concluding, thanked his white brethren for so many joining their picnic and assisting them in their Sunday School and all good works. After a few words of welcome from Mr. Mackenzie, of Presque Isle, first steamboat excursion, the chairman called on old Father Henson, who is supposed to be 100 years old, and from his doubled up position, no one would doubt it. Mr. Henson is a brother to "Uncle Tom", made famous by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe in "Uncle Tom's Cabin", a name that will live as long as the English language. Mr. Henson was greeted with immense applause, and was so glad to meet so many white folks, but the good time was coming when we would be all brederen and sister, and when we get to Heben, you can't tell <the> white man from de black. He was so pleased to be here; it was de fustest steamboat discursion he eber was on, and he expects it will be the last till he makes de big jump over dar. W. P. Telford and Rev. Mr. Kerr gave short eloquent speeches, when the chairman called on Capt. Ludgate, of the Salvation Army, for a sols, and gave "I am Satified with Jesus now", in his usual able manner. His pleasing manner of speech, and his beautiful song and story of Jesus and His love, carry all with him. Rev. Mr. Holmes finished up with speech of the day, which was short, sharp, eloquent, and kept to the text, which was "the freedom of the black and white slave from the slaveholder"; after which all adjourned to the dock, where for fifteen minutes, the colored jubilee choir discoursed sweet music to the delight of all, and at 5 p.m. sharp the Alderson steamed away with one of the most pleasant and orderly picnicking parties that ever visited Preque Isle.

(Isetta M. Fraser's scrapbook)

In 1888, James (Father) Henson was 90 years old thus this article is circa 1898