Wishing You Well! by Beth Moyer
Now that January 2020 is upon us many have started the year with a wish or a vision of a better year. Many of us hope for better things - improved health, happiness, wisdom and perhaps love. And perhaps with the dreaming of a time long ago it will spur us on to keep life full of interest. Life should inspire us. But life is more than wishing - it can simply be what we will make of it. Let your New Year be full in many ways but most of all fill your days with the things that truly matter. And nothing is more powerful than love as you will see in the following poem. This poem was taken from the book Ballads and Epic Poems of Indian Stories and Legends by G.H. Gobrindt. The event occurred at the Wishing Well Waterfalls that was once located on the Thames River at the foot of Jeffries Road in Kilworth. This area was sacred to the First Nations tribes and to the early settlers. It held mystery and magic for those that knew of the waterfall. The story is tragic in a Shakespearean way and has become a classic local tale. The poem tells the story of a First Nation’s princess, Winona, the daughter of a Muncey chief. Her two lovers quarrelled and an intense romance ended in tragedy. A triangle of emotions between Winona, Wignod, from the Muncey tribe, and Magana, a Delaware Native ended abruptly at the shore of Escunisepe - the First Nation’s name for the Thames River. The word is pronounced Es-cu-ni-sep-e and means “prongs of an antler”.
Image of three women at the waterfalls was provided by Ron Davis of Komoka. He obtrained the photograph from Leo Harris - the women would be either “Harris” or “Comfort” ancestors.
Flow of Wishing Well waterfall varied greatly according to the season. Photograph from the “Woodhull” collection.
Dark the mood among the Munsees, grim the happy Delawares. When the harvest moon was shining, full and gentle as the dew Came Winona and Magana then to secret rendezvous. Strolled along Escunisepi, strolled as lovers hand in hand, Softly speaking, gently smiling, moonlight bathing stream and land. Lurking furtively in Shadow, Wignod trailed the happy pair, Saw them as they stood embracing, leaped upon them unaware. Tomahawk flashed in the moonlight, flashed descending, came to rest, Felled his rival, felled Magana, stone blade buried in his breast. Rose Magana one elbow, wrenched the blade from bloody sheath, Hurled it with a dying effort, bringing Wignod to the heath.Then the night was torn with anguish, torn by poor Winona’s cry, Life, crushed by a moment’s horror, sought no solace but to die. Where she fell a crystal fountain, springing sought the stream below, Freshening the turbid river, adding young life to its flow. Moaning trees and sobbing river, grieving Munsee, Delaware, Flashing water brings remembrance, of the moonlight on her hair . . .Of the moonlight on her hair.
Woman wearing late 1800’s style of dress. It was said you could stand behind the waterfalls and reach out with a cup for a drink and not get wet.
A winter scene of the Thames River covered in ice. Feb 1922
For more details on the history of Old Kilworth please see the book “Kilworth - The Woodhull Settlement” at Hyde Park Feed & Country Store on Gainsborough Road or at Dishington’s Tea Room, Main Street, Lambeth. Contact Beth at 519 686-0951 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilworth The Woodhull Settlement
written and compiled by Elizabeth A. Moyer
Issue 29 - Jan/Feb 2020 Page 5
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