It was in June of 1996 that one gentle by the modern name of Brad Hathaway did become aware of the medieval recreation group, Society for Creative Anachronism. His first attended meeting took place in his then adopted town of Bowling Green, Ohio and found himself among the Marche of the Marshes. It was at this meeting that he was first introduced to her Excellency the Baroness Gabrielle Juliana Raron (mka Coral Callahan). This was also when Brad learned that the Marche was a part of a larger political body known as the Barony of Red Spears which itself was a part of the Middle Kingdom of the Knowne World. It was her welcoming heart and kind spirit that fostered a relationship that would soon blossom into a friendship that would eventually spark the creation of a new Canton.
In August of 1996 Brad Hathaway who had by then adopted the name of “Devon Hathaway” for use with his 16th Century persona, first attended the event of all events within the Knowne World, that event as all in the Society have come to know as Pennsic. Pennsic is the great war that is fought between the East and the Middle Kingdom. Pennsic XXVI would leave a lasting impression on Devon and continue to influence him throughout his years in the Society. It was at this event that Devon had attained what he believed to be the true spirit and goal of those within the Society, to totally disassociate yourself in time and reappear in an ideal period where the romantic and good qualities of a time gone by take precedence over the indifference and callousness of modern society. It was also at Pennsic XXVI that Devon became associated with Lord Aramis of Oakford (mka Gary Moore). Lord Aramis and Lord Devon found that they both craved the same things out of the SCA and shared this notion of time disassociation. They also agreed that to truly experience what was intended by the Society, one had to approach it with a laugh in your belly, a heart that is light, and yes, sometimes an ale in the hand. They had tossed around the idea at the Pennsic War of creating their own household that would be known as “Sloshing Mugs”. But unbeknownst to them, they were approaching a dark time that would not allow this to be.
In October of 1996 duties of the modern world became too much of a burden to bear for both Lord Devon and Lord Aramis. The dream of Sloshing Mugs would have to take a back seat to their jobs and other obligations. Over time the brothers of the spirit kept in sparse contact and keeping the dream of creating their own band of like minded individuals alive only in mind but unfortunately not in physical form. Lord Devon tried to convene with the Marche of the Marshes as well as he could but was forced into exile by his modern day duties and would remain a captive of them until mid 1999 when he would be swept to a far off land and regain redemption from his modern duties and once again reenter the Society with great zeal.
It was June of 1999 and Devon had been relocated to the modern city of Jacksonville, FL that is known in the Society as the Shire of Castlemere, located in the Kingdom of Trimaris. It was then that Devon (who was known as Galen in Trimaris) met the most influential person to him in the Society, the Trimarian Hospitaler, Master Iefan Colledig ap Dynfwal Abertawe (mka Mark Evans). By sheer coincidence Devon discovered that Iefan was also a native of Red Spears. It was Iefan that rekindled the ideas and spirit of SCAdian life within Devon and showed him the way an SCA group should be run and the spirit in which to run it. Devon only spent a short time as a Castlemerian; mundane duties would once again direct his life back to the Barony of Red Spears. He set forth a vow unto himself. He would take the spirit and camaraderie that was a part of the Shire of Castlemere and contribute what he could of that spirit into Red Spears and that opportunity would present itself in a most challenging but acceptable way.
Upon his return to the lands of the Barony of Red Spears, Devon had discovered that the Barony was looking to break into new areas most notably the modern day cities of Defiance and Findlay. Having been told of this Devon was struck with the idea of not only starting a household such as “Sloshing Mugs” but since his new place of residence was now in Findlay, he could start an entire new group. At this time, Lord Aramis was again able to partake of things SCAdian. So it was with great interest that when Devon approached Aramis with the idea of starting the new group that preliminary plans were made. It was at Baron Wars III (May 2000) that Devon did approach Aiden Alpin (mka Jack Wymer) then Chronicler of Red Spears, who would one day be Baronial Seneschal as well as her Excellency the Baroness Gabrielle Juliana Raron, and humbly offered his services to the Barony to lead a new proto-incipient Canton in the Hancock County/Findlay area. While the foundation was firm it would not be until August of that same year that the ball would really begin to roll.
Pennsic XXIX was once again a true experience for Lord Devon and Lord Aramis. It was there that Devon and Aramis did lay the foundations of the new group in Findlay. It was discussed that the Findlay Group would embody those things that Devon and Aramis held dear about the Society: honor, respect, and above all else it would be important to have fun. It was during Pennsic that Lord Justinos Tekton (called Justin), the Oaken Region Seneschal was present. Her Excellency, Baroness Gabrielle did invite Lord Devon to an audience with her and Justin to discuss the implementation of a new group within the Barony of Red Spears. Upon that meeting Lord Justin did ask several questions of Devon, which he was only too happy to answer. Thus satisfied did Justin declare that Lord Devon could initiate the group once a tentative name had been decided upon by the new populace of the group. It would be the week after the Pennsic War that the new group would be officially declared proto-incipient.
On August 20th 2000 the newest group within the Barony of Red Spears was officially declared proto-incipient. Lord Devon did not want to unilaterally decide what the name was without the input of the Populace, he did however set forth a decree that the group’s name should reflect the area from which they had spawned. The original name that was decided upon by the populace was the name “Valley of the Crystal River” this name had been chosen from a group of several suggestions by the First Ones (original members of the group). Valley of the Crystal River (or Crystal River for short) came into being because the Findlay area is known as the Blanchard Valley and the Blanchard River does run through it. Weeks into its birth, Herr Konrad Mailander, then Baronial Herald, did come to our lands to help with the name of the group. It was then discovered that this name would not work, because historically crystals would have had to been found within the river to actually call the group Crystal River. In order to be historically correct and since all group names must be registered and documented, the search for a new name was on. During his research of the history of the Findlay-Hancock County area, Devon did discover that the area used to be called “Wild Cat Thicket” before it was ever settled. This was brought up to Lord Konrad. During his assistance he was able to come up with some suggestions that included names such as Cattal, Cattishall, Cattgewaed all of which reflected this idea of wild cats and rivers, but one stuck out which was Catteden. Catteden when literally translated means “wild cat valley” which was an acceptable mingling of the “valley” idea of Blanchard Valley and the “wild cat thicket” of historical Hancock County. It was then decided in September of 2000 that “Catteden” was the best sounding (and most easily spelled) name. A majority of the group approved this name and it was made thusly so.
Devon and the First Ones set out on a journey to create a Canton. The First Ones included Bear the Hairless (mka Chad Fackler) a mighty but gentle protector. Legend has it that Bear has been known on occasion to entertain crowds with the musing sounds of his voice, his wife the Lady Moira (mka Jen Fackler), whose kind soul does conceal a sword-swinging fighter without compare. The Lady Soleil (mka Shauna Holton) who also spent time in Castlemere of Trimaris would contribute to that spirit and infuse it into Catteden. Her champion Robert the Silent (mka Rob Perrin), a gentle giant whose disposition is one of peace, but those who might wish to cross him aught think twice before doing so. Lady Darmond the Radiant (mka Darmond Gates), soft spoken and intelligent, her sound advice does act as a star by which to guide. Galen Hathaway, brother of Devon (mka Marc Hathaway) whose modern duties does keep him away but has remained a trusted advisor from afar. Lord Aramis the Lost, co-inspirer of Catteden (mka Gary Moore) whose insight did help form the foundation upon which we build today. His influence continues even though, shortly after Catteden’s inception, modern obligations have once again taken him by the hand. While modern duties continue to thwart him in finding his way back into the Society rumor tells a tale that he will one day return to our lands.
Without these brave souls Catteden could never have achieved the success that it has to date. The solid foundation upon which the First Ones provide gives us a rock upon which we build this house. As always the quest continues to seek out new membership for the group to expand its base of experience and participation within the society.
October 20, 2007 at Fall Crown Tourney in the Barony of Middle Marche their Royal Majesties, Palymar and Aislinn, called forth the populace and supporters of the incipient canton of Catteden and elevated the group to full status. Those in attendance to witness this historic event were Lord Devon Hathaway (mka Brad Hathaway), Signora Caterina della Cava (mka Carla Ferryman), Baroness Gabrielle Juliana Raron (Coral Callahan), Lord Aiden Alpan (mka Jack Wymer), Mistress Helewyse de Birkestad (mka Louise Smithson), Herra Þorkell inn vikverski Máks son (mka Timothy Shawn Fowler), Hauptmann Konrad Mailander (mka Dale Niederhauser), THL Anna Mailander (mka Ruth Ann Niederhauser), Lord Godfrey Thacker of Northumberland and Lord Randal of Burnham Green.