2023 Guided Spirit Walks – Elias Smith Adams and Susan Merritt

The annual Guided Spirit Walks are back again this September and we’re excited to share the profiles of the historic people included this year, and our wonderful cast of volunteer performers who will portray them.

For our next character/actor profiles, we meet Elias Smith Adams and Susan Merritt portrayed by Des Corran and Brenda Schultz.

A little about the scene…

Elias and Susan are on their way to a big party in honour of their 40th wedding anniversary so everyone is dressing up as if it’s 1823 and they are quite nostalgic about the early days in St. Catharines.

Brenda Shultz will be portraying Susan Merritt, and Des Corran will be portraying Elias Smith Adams.

A little about Brenda…

Character: Susan Merritt
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 7 seasons!
Favourite Tour Year: 2017, the 150 anniversary of Confederation.
Favourite Character: Lillian Phelps
Favourite Costume: Mrs. Benson/Rubena Chapman Becker
What can our audiences look forward to most? “Our Audiences can look forward to another spirit walk with fascinating locally historic characters, amazing costumes, and a professional production. It will be another informative interesting script acted out by actors who love what they’re doing.”

Brenda and Des in 2017 as Mr. and Mrs. Benson. This is Brenda’s favourite costume.

Check out their performance from 2017 which was recorded for the 2020 virutal walks.

A little about Des…

Character: Elias Smith Adams
Seasons performed with Guided Spirit Walks: 12 seasons!
Favourite Tour Year: 2022 “because I learned a lot about a lesser-known character.”
Favourite Character: “It’s a tie between James Rae Benson and Lieut. Col. McCordick.”
Favourite Costume: Rev. Maj. Ker [pictured below, 2014].
What can our audiences look forward to most? “I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoy telling the story.”

Des as the Reverend Major Ker in the 2014 walk.

Check out Des’ performance of L. Col. McCordick from the 2016 walk which was filmed in during our virtual production in 2020.

A little about Elias Smith Adams and Susan Merritt

One of St. Catharines’ most prominent early citizens, Elias Smith Adams first arrived in the village in 1801 at the age of two. He was born July 15, 1799 at Queenston. His father George Adams was an early settler, magistrate, and tanner and currier. Elias learned this trade and expanded the business in the 1820s. Adams was elected to the police board from 1846-1849. He was elected mayor in each year between 1853 and 1859. He was a founding member of the Refugee Slaves Friend Society, founded in 1852 to support Freedom Seekers arriving in St. Catharines.

In 1823, Elias married Susan Merritt, the third sister of William Hamilton Merritt. Their relationship was loving but is also an example of the intermarriage among the established settler families in the village. Adams died, Christmas Eve, 1863, and Susan died in 1866.

The 12th Annual Guided Spirit Walks

This year’s walks take place on September 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 6pm and 7pm. Tickets are $15.50 per person. Tickets go on sale on August 1 via our ActiveNet portal or over the phone (905.984.8880) or in-person at the St. Catharines Museum.

For More…

For more on how we put together the annual walks at Victoria Lawn, check out this run down of crafting the walks, our most popular program.

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