Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

TALES to tell and MUSINGS to mind!

This is where you will find interesting TALES of the various people that lived in and around Welland during the 1800s and 1900s.

We’ve also introduced a new subcategory: HISTORICAL MUSINGS by select featured authors.


[Welland Telegraph, 21 June 1901]

A very sad and sudden death occurred last Tuesday evening when Judson Harcourt Tufts passed away. Deceased was a well known young man in town, having driven the M.C.R. bus for several years, in which occupation he made many friends. He was very obliging and always at his post, and his untimely demise will be much regretted here. He was born in the house now occupied by his brother, Chester Tufts, on Division street, 23 years ago, and has always lived in Welland. The funeral, which took place yesterday from his father’s residence to the Fonthill cemetery, was largely attended. Among the numerous floral tributes was a beautiful wreath, in the centre of which was “M.C.C.R.” from the employees at the station here. The relatives of the deceased have the sincere sympathy of the whole community.



[Welland Tribune, 21 June 1901]

A feeling of deep grief and gloom overcast this whole community on the death of Judson Harcourt “Tufts, son of David Tufts of this town, which sad event occurred on Tuesday evening.

Deceased was taken suddenly with a severe pain at the heart at noon on Friday last, whilst at his usual vocation of driving bus and went to Dr. Cowper’s office and remained there until the following day, when he was removed to his father’s residence. It is reported that owing to his illness he fell in getting out of the bus and struck his head on the ground, but as to this or its effects on the ultimate result we have no information. He was not considered in a critical condition till Sunday night, when the heart symptoms became rapidly worse, and with brief periods of temporary recuperation he continued to sink until Tuesday evening when he passed quietly away to the Great Beyond.

He was 23 years of age last January and unmarried.

“Harky,” as he was familiarly and affectionately known, was a true friend and favorite with all who knew him. He was warm-hearted and generous, and his apparently untimely demise is deeply and widely and sincerely mourned.

The funeral took place yesterday (Thursday) from his late home at 2 p.m.; interment at Fonthill cemetery. The auspices were led by Rev. Dr. Johnstone and Rev. W.S. Jamieson and the attendance was very large in testimony of the genuine respect felt for the departed, and sympathy with the sorrowing bereaved one.

The pallbearers were Harvy Dawdy, Percy Whalley, William Brittin, Garret Roach, Harry Hearn and Henry Stickley. The floral memorials were very profuse and beautiful and included a noble wreath of white roses and carnations with the letters, “M.C.R.R.” intertwined, being from the employees of that road, with whom deceased was a great favorite.


[Welland Telegraph, 30 August 1910]

TAYLOR-In Welland on Sunday, 28th August, William Archibald Taylor, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Taylor. Funeral on Monday at Fonthill. Death was due to infantile diarrhea.


[Welland Telegraph, 13 September 1912]

Many friends in Welland were shocked to hear of the death of John Wilkerson, which occurred at this home on Division Street, on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Wilkerson had been in good health for some time, the immediate cause of death, however, was a rupture of a blood vessel in his head.

Deceased was born near Allanburg and was a descendent of a U.E. Loyalist family, of which he is the last surviving member. He came to Welland in 1866 and followed his trade of a mason. In 1894 he was married at Hamburg, N.Y., to Miss Annie Croft, who survives him.

Mr. Wilkerson was not a member of any church but was a free thinker and a man of sterling character and high principles. His death will be widely mourned. In politics deceased was a staunch Conservative.


[Welland Tribune, 12 September 1912]

The death occurred suddenly yesterday of John Wilkerson, Division street, in his 69th year. He had been in good health until Tuesday, when he suffered a stroke of paralysis death ensuing in twenty-four hours. Deceased was born in Thorold township and had lived in Welland about half a century, following the trade of a mason, and he was a man highly esteemed and respected by all who knew him. He was the last surviving member of his family. A widow survives.

Dochstader Family Early Settlers in Gainsboro

[Smithville Review, Wednesday November 22, 1967]

In practically ever historical account of the early days of Lincoln County the name of Dochstader is very prominent.

They were one of the many families who left the United States in the 1780‘s to settle the land in the Niagara Peninsula. In 1782 John Dochstader settled on what is now the south-west angle of the township of Gainsborough, This was the beginning of the village of Wellandport. He was quickly followed by families of the name of Hodge, Vaughan, Philip, Henry Dils or Dilts, McDowell, Barker.

Descendants of these families are still living in the district. In order to reach this part of the peninsula the early settlers had to travel by boat and canoe in the summer and by sled on the ice, during the winter.

Wellandport is situated on a strip of land between the Chippawa and Beaver Creeks which was once known as the narrows. This was a trail once used by Indian runners. Now known as Canboro Road it is a direct route East and West from Niagara Falls to Windsor. Because of the natural proximity of the two creeks this site was chosen as the most suitable to build a mill. In 1816 the Beaver Creek was damned and a cut was made through the narrowest part where it operated a wheel and discharged into the Chippawa Creek. Today, of course the Beaver Creek is little more than a swamp in summer regaining some of its semblance of a river only in spring.

Read the rest of this entry »


[Welland Tribune, 2 September 1898]

LATE MRS. BAMPTON-Emma, relict of late James Bampton, an old and highly respected resident of the town, departed this life on Sunday last, at the age of 66 years, 2 months and 18 days. Her husband, late Capt. James Bampton, predeceased her by only a few months, dying on the 24th of April last. Mrs. Bampton was born in England in 1832, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Husted, who came to this country three years later, at first locating in Chippawa. Mr. Husted died at the age of 84, but Mrs. Husted-Mrs. Bampton’s mother-attained the remarkable privilege and honor of a centenarian, dying two years ago in Michigan in the 101st year of her age. One son, James and one daughter (Mrs. Wm. Swartz) survive to mourn in the death of Mrs. Bampton the loss of an ever affectionate mother. The funeral took place on Wednesday. In the absence of Rev. Dr. Johnstone, Rev. P.L. Spencer of the Episcopal church, Thorold, officiated, burial at Fonthill, where the mortal body was laid away to await the resurrection of the just.


Survivor of Thrilling Experiences

Blown up by an Explosion


He Lived to an Old Age and Dies a Natural Death

[Welland Tribune, 29 April 1898]

Perhaps no one in the town of Welland had a wider or warmer circle of friends than Capt. James Bampton, who departed this life at his home on Sunday last, aged 68 years. Everyone who knew him was his friend; he had no enemies.

Capt. Bampton was a native of England, but has been a resident of this county nearly all his life. He was a vessel captain and engineer by occupation, and in his day was the subject of several notable adventures. Among the small tugs he ran on the canal and river hearabout were the “Whip” and the “L.N.G,” both of which will be familiar words to the older people of Welland. The boiler of the “Whip” exploded whilst she was lying at McDonald’s saw mill on the Welland river. Capt. Bampton was badly scalded, Charley Gillam, one of his crew, was killed, and George Poor, another, was severely injured.

Capt. Bampton also had a thrilling experience on the Niagara river. It is said he was the nearest to going over Niagara Falls of any person ever in a tugboat or large boat of any kind, and to be saved. He was engaged by the late John Brown of Thorold, who had the contract for reducing the banks of the deep cut, to prevent their sliding in every spring. The earth was loaded on mud scows, and it was Mr. Bampton’s work to tow them, three at a time, to the Niagara river, where the earth was dumped into the water.

One of the scows got loose, and Mr. Bampton in endeavoring to rescue it ran down below the first line of rapids. All who saw his perilous position thought he was doomed to go over the Falls, but skilful management and a close call Capt. Bampton rescued the tug and brought her safe into the Chippawa.

Mr. Bampton has been ailing for a long time, and was confined to his bed five weeks before his death, which was caused by throat and lung diseases. A widow and one son, James Jr., and one daughter, Mrs. William Swartz, survive.

In politics deceased was a Conservative; in religion an adherent of the church of England.

The funeral on Tuesday was attended by a large gathering of friends to tender the last token of respect. The last services were performed by Rev. Dr. Johnstone; interment at Fonthill cemetery.

The pall-bearers were John R. Dowd, Peter McKinley, R.H. Phillips, Willis Nunnemaker, James Blackwell and Frank Ott.


[Welland Tribune, 2 February1894]

Mrs. Martha Ashton, the unfortunate woman who has been lying in Welland jail since December last nominally as a vagrant, really as a mere indigent, received a happy release from her suffering on Monday, death resulting from the cancer of the lower portion of the bowels of which she was the victim. Added to this terrible malady the deceased was afflicted with insanity which, though of a mild form precluded her reception into the ordinary hospitals and homes for incurables, and added to the difficulty attending her case. Deceased was a widow about 45 years of age. We understand she leaves one son and one daughter. The son, who lives at Niagara Falls, N.Y., being unable to defray the funeral expenses, the body was buried at the county home graveyard on Wednesday, the law providing that the bodies of persons dying in gaol shall be given up on the request of the relatives. Rev. Mr. Dobson rendered the funeral services. The county council in this case generously undertook the charge of the burial.


In accordance with the law, which requires that an inquest shall be held on the body of any prisoner dying in jail, an inquest was held on Tuesday by Coroner Cumines, and a jury, of which Charles E. Smith was foreman, when evidence was taken as follows:

John Coulson, jailer, sworn:-Mrs. Ashton was committed to jail on December 2nd as a vagrant; she was suffering greatly from cancer; an effort was made to get her into the homes for incurables at Hamilton and Toronto but she was refused admittance; she was not properly committed to jail until last week; she died yesterday afternoon; she used to live either in Niagara Falls village or Stamford township; she has a daughter and a son at Niagara Falls, N.Y.; the matron and Mrs. Rice attended her almost constantly; she had every care and attention.

Dr. J.H. Howell, jail surgeon: I have attended Mrs. Ashton since she was admitted to jail; she suffered a great deal of pain from cancer; I relieved her suffering and made her as comfortable as possible; I recommended the county council to get a nurse for her, which they did; saw her three or four times a week; the cause of her death was cancer; she had every attention.

Mrs. Elizabeth Rice, Mrs. Ashton’s nurse: I was called to the jail on December 9th to nurse Mrs. Ashton; I went to see her twice a day; she suffered a great deal; the doctor visited her regularly; she had everything she needed; I was with her Monday morning and when I came in the afternoon she was dead.

Mrs. James Gilchriese, matron: I have heard Mrs. Rice’s testimony and cannot add any more than she has given; I did the best I could for her.

This concluded the evidence and the jury brought in a verdict that “Mrs. Ashton came to her death from cancer, on the 29th of January 1894 and she had all the care and attention possible under the circumstances.”


A Faith of a Sailor-A Grand Christmas Gift

T. DeWitt Talmage

[Welland Telegraph, 25 December 1891]

I never like a Christmas season to pass without telling to someone a thrilling incident which happened at my house just eight year ago this coming Christmas. Perhaps I have told it to you, but I think not. A child from a neighbor’s house came in to say her father was dead. It was only three doors off, and, I think, in two minutes we were there. There lay the old Christmas sea captain, his face upturned toward the window as though he had suddenly seen the headlands, and with an illuminated countenance as though he were just going into harbor. The fact was he had already got through the “Narrows.” In the adjoining room were the Christmas presents awaiting for his distribution. Long, ago, one night when he had narrowly escaped with his ship from being run down by a great ocean steamer, he had made his peace with God, and a kinder neighbor than Captain Pendelton you would not find this side of heaven.

He had often talked to me of the goodness of God, and especially of a time when he was about to go into New York harbor with his ship from Liverpool, and he was suddenly impressed that he ought to put back to sea. Under the protest of the crew and under their very threat he put back to sea, fearing at the same time he was losing his mind, for it did seem so unreasonable that when they could get into harbor that night they should put back to sea.  But they put to sea, and Captain Pendleton said to his mate, “You call me at ten o’clock to-night.” At twelve o’clock at night the captain was aroused and said: “What does this mean? I thought I told you to call me at ten o’clock and here it is twelve.” “Why,” said the young mate, “I did call you at ten o’clock , and you got up, looked around and told me to keep right on this same course for two hours, and then to call you at twelve o’clock.” Said the captain, “Is it possible? I have no remembrance of that.” At twelve o’clock the captain went on deck, and through the rift of the cloud of the moonlight fell upon the sea and showed him a shipwreck with one hundred passengers. He helped them off. Had he been any earlier or any later at that point of the sea he would have been of no service to those drowning people. On board the captain’s vessel, they began to band together as to what they should pay for the rescue, and what they should pay for the provisions. “Ah,” says the captain, “my lads, you can’t pay me anything: all I have on board is yours; I feel too greatly honored of God in having saved you to take any pay. Just like him.

Oh, that the old sea captain‘s God might be my God and yours. Amid the stormy seas of life may we have always someone as tenderly take care of us as the captain took care of the drowning crew and the passengers. And may we come into the harbor with as little physical pain and with as bright a hope as he had; and if it should happen to be a Christmas morning, when the presents are being distributed, and we are celebrating the birth of Him who came to save our shipwreck world, all the better, for what grander, brighter Christmas present could we have than Heaven?


[Welland Telegraph, 8 September 1899]

James Andrews of this village (Fonthill), who had a stroke of paralysis on Thursday last, died on Friday Sept. 1st, at the age of 69 years. The funeral was held on Sunday last at Holy Trinity church in charge of the Orange Lodge here. There was a large turn out of both citizens and the order. Dr. Johnstone delivered a very feeling and appropriate discourse on the occasion. The burial took place in the Fonthill cemetery. Deceased leaves a widow and seven children to mourn his loss.