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, 10 April 1891]

Many people in the county of Welland, heard with regret the tidings of Mrs. C.F. Dunbar’s death, at Buffalo last Friday, (4 April 1891). Deceased was a resident of Port Colborne for some years, and was born near Fonthill, her maiden name being Harris. Mr. Dunbar was her second husband, she having been previously married to a gentleman named Burston, by whom she leaves one daughter. Three other children by her second husband survive to mourn the loss of a loving and tender-hearted mother. The funeral took place at Buffalo, on Tuesday, and was attended by Mr. W.L. Beatty and wife, Mrs. L. D. Raymond, Mrs. Young, Mr. A. Griffith and Mr. John D. Dowd of this place.


[Welland Telegraph, 24 April 1891]

It is always a sad task to chronicle the death of any one but more especially does it seem so when called on to do so of a young man who in the prime of life is called to that home from whence none returneth. On Saturday last Jerome W. Jeffrey, who was so well-known and respected by every one in Welland, died in his beautiful home in Buffalo, after a comparatively short illness, in the presence of his wife and friends. Only a few days ago the deceased went to New York for the purpose of making some large purchases, and while there contracted a cold which caused his hasty return home, but the dreadful disease of typhoid fever and pneumonia had taken such a hold on him that the doctor’s skill and good nursing failed to do anything for him, and within a few days of his return he passed away, leaving a loving wife and a child 3 years of age, as well as brothers and sisters to mourn his sad death. The deceased joined the firm of Lyman & Jeffrey, chemists and druggists of Buffalo, about 14 years ago, after a few years he sold his interest to Mr. Lyman and went to Bradford, Penn., where he embarked in the oil business under the firm name of Jeffrey Bros., which business he carried on up to his death, although after a short time he was obliged to leave Bradford on account of his health and returned to Buffalo, where he purchased half interest in his old partner’s business. Last summer he purchased the other half, thus becoming sole proprietor. The business being a large one, he sent for this brother, Charley, who was at home in Welland to join him, giving him a third interest in the business, and who will no doubt make arrangements to continue the same.


The Passing of a Good Old Man who was Revered by all Wellanders

[Welland Telegraph, 25 April 1902]

A good man and true has passed away. For more than a score of years no form that walked the streets was better known or more respected than the venerable man who is the subject of this obituary. The aged loved him, the young respected him and the children smiled on him.

George C. Cowper was born in Glammis, Forfarshire, Scotland, nearly eighty years ago. He was of gentle family and of clerical stock and a descendent of the Tannahill family, famous in Scottish song. His father was a clergyman of the established church of Scotland. After obtaining a good classical education he went to Trinidad in the West Indies where he occupied an important government position for many years and acquired some wealth. Getting tired of that climate he returned to Scotland, where he married in 1852. Seven years later he came to Canada with his family, and settled in Owen Sound, where he engaged in journalism. When his oldest son, Mr. T.D. Cowper, settled down to the practice of law in Welland, Mr. Cowper and his family moved here.

He was a singularly unassuming man; and although one of the best read men in the Province, especially in English literature and poetry, few even of his fellow-townsmen, knew it. He was a cultured, scholarly man, without himself realizing it.

His best loved work was as an Elder of the Presbyterian church. This office he magnified in every deed. He was an example to the flock, and all knew that he was a man of God-an honored, revered and loved one.

His quiet and unassuming labors in the church were known and appreciated. He was for many years the superintendent of the Sunday school, the senior elder of the session and its stated clerk. In his earlier years he was much esteemed as a member of the Presbytery Synod, and more than once of the general assembly, and his wise and modest counsels and suggestions were much appreciated and frequently acted upon.

In no Christian duty was this good man more conscientious than in his liberality to the causes of God, and to the poor and needy; but never in these matters did his right hand know what his left hand did. A tenth of his income was solemnly dedicated to God. Such a life was a benediction –an irreparable loss to the community, and especially to the congregation which he loved, and loved him in return.

His wife, an exceptionally superior woman, highly connected in Scotland predeceased him about eleven years. His surviving family are all in Welland-Mr. T.D. Cowper, Crown Attorney; Dr. James Cowper; Mrs. Elgin Myers and Miss Cowper, who enjoyed the high privilege of ministering to her saintly father to the last.

His funeral will be held from the Presbyterian church tomorrow afternoon at 1.30 o’clock. He will be laid beside his wife at Fonthill. All who knew him, and knowing him, could not but love and honor him, will have the opportunity of paying their respect to the memory of a good man and true.



Much Respected Welland Man Dropped Dead at Brantford

[Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 21 March 1922]

The many friends of Frank Adley will very much regret to learn of his death, which took place very suddenly in Brantford on Sunday evening about 4 o’clock.

Mr. Adley had accompanied his daughter, Mrs. E. Clement to the railroad depot, she intending to return to her home at Niagara Falls. Mr. Adley had a sudden seizure and died almost immediately on the station platform.

Deceased was born in Welland and up until two years ago spent his whole life there. In his younger days he was an employee of the R. Morwood general store. He subsequently entered partnership with W. Dawdy and they succeeded Thomas Teskey in the general store where Perry’s book store is now.

Some two years ago he moved to Brantford where he was a commercial traveler to an oil company.

Besides his wife, deceased leaves two sons, Douglas and Harry, one daughter Mrs. Clement and his mother, Mrs. Adley, to mourn for him.

The late Mr. Adley was a well-known resident of the city. Of a quiet disposition he bore an exceedingly high name amongst all his friends.


The Body Found at Lewiston was That of Cora Farthing.


[Welland Telegraph, 14 August 1891]

The body of the unfortunate girl which was found in Niagara River near Lewiston was positively identified on Monday as that of Miss Cora Farthing, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Farthing of No. 454 West Ferry street.

That she committed suicide and had carefully planned it, is not now questioned. For over a year she had worked in an office and endeavored to earn her own living, although it was not necessary for her to do this, her parents being abundantly able to support her and care for her. She was a most ambitious girl and always strived to get along as well as possible. During the past year she had lived with a family at No. 191 North Division street. When she left the house last Wednesday, she simply told them she was going away, and would be gone for a few days. Before going, however, she carefully packed her effects. In a satchel where some of them were placed she left a note directed to her parents. The note stated  that she had been  disappointed, was despondent, and was going to leave them forever. She said there was nothing of any kind of an unpleasant nature existing between herself and her parents or brothers and sisters, bade all good-bye, and signed her name.

This was on Wednesday last of week, and her parents did not know that she had left the city until Saturday morning, when they at once instituted an investigation and reported the matter to the police. The story of the finding of a body at Lewiston caused Supt. Morgenstern to refer them to the description of the girl and advised them to visit that place and see if the body was that of their daughter.

Every new description which was received led them to more firmly believe that it might be her, and Monday morning Mr. Farthing, her father, and two or three of the intimate friends of the family went to Lewiston, and at once identified the body as that of the missing girl. The remains were surrendered by the coroner and were taken to Buffalo that night.

Miss Farthing is said to have been a very pretty girl and one who always made herself attractive to those about her. Those who know the family say that her home was pleasant, and no one can account for her actions. Her parents especially claim that they cannot advance the slightest reason why she should have caused them so much sorrow and anguish. The family physician says that she had been in poor health for nearly a year and a half, and that she suffered from nervous attacks, frequently being prostrated by them. It is supposed that these worried her more of late and fearing that they might become a chronic trouble with her, she decided to end her life.

Her parents are nearly heart-broken over the affair. All Monday evening neighbors and friends were calling to express their sympathy and to endeavor to comfort them.

The Rise and fall of the Fonthill Nurseries

Once a thriving industry, now just old memories

By Jim Middleton, Tribune Reporter

[Welland Tribune Mon. March 1, 1976]

Fonthill Nurseries hasn’t sold a twig since 1968, or a shrub or a bush—yet the influence of that firm which flourished for well over 100 years in the Pelham area is still felt and seen.

At its peak, the nursery owned or rented more than 1,000 acres of land and provided employment for up to 250 residents of the area, and for dozens more all across this land working as sales agents on behalf of the Fonthill-based business.

A recently written letter commenting on the subject of the loss of the nursery to the area summed up succinctly the feeling of many about the nursery.

“The dissolving of Stone and Wellington will remove the last vestige of the renowned Fonthill Nurseries,” the letter stated.”This was a proud and economically valuable operation for nearly 100 years. Up until the end of the Second World War it was an operation where jobs could be found even in depressed times and, consequently, was always looked to with hope by those out of work.”

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One Hundred Years 1837-1937 in Business

—Celebrated by The Fonthill Nurseries.

[Wellington & Davidson, Fonthill, Ontario]

The Nurseries

Horticulture in Canada, in the year 1837, was rather primitive. Yet the pioneers who settled this country were both thrifty and cultured, with the result that fruit trees and plants to ensure a food supply, and trees and shrubs for beautification, early became a normal requirement.

One Hundred Years ago this year, therefore—a long span indeed for any business to survive the rigors of a comparatively new country—a Nursery enterprise was started in a small way by Samuel Taylor, at the lovely little Village of Fonthill, in the county of Welland.

Although utilizing an area of 100 acres, Mr Taylor’s venture did little but give the nursery idea form, and the business soon passed into other hands. The new form was a partnership, Messrs. D’Everardo and Page, both pioneer names in the district; and the former, recognized as a leader in practically all departments of the young community’s life, actually became the founder of “The Fonthill Nurseries”

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A Brief History of the Welland Jewish Community

Dedication Book to commemorate the opening of the new Anshe Yosher Synagogue and Centre. Summit Avenue West Welland, Ontario Canada

June fifth , Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-five.  (1955)

As far as can be determined, the history of the Welland Jewish Community begins some 45 years ago, when in 1909 our surviving senior member, Mr Albert  Many, arrived here to establish a grocery business. In the space of the next few years, enough Jews settled here to form a “minyan” when one was required. Prominent families of the congregation in those years were Henry Shapiro, Joseph Solomon, Joe and Paul Adelman, M. Diamond, Frank and Sam Fishman, Issie Semel, Max Burger, Jacob Lubin, Joe Benjamin, Sam Sugarman, all of revered memory; and also Morris Semel, M. Scheinzinger, I. and Z. Gottesman, Charlie Cohen, I. Adelman, the Gibbs, Blugerman and Shaletzky families. Of all these families, only the descendants of the Fishman and Adelman family reside in Welland today.

In 1914, a building was bought on Fifth St. in Crowland and this was converted into a Synagogue. This was duly dedicated in 1917, and a semblance of Jewish communal life came into existence, with the synagogue and rituals of Jewish observance acting as the rallying point for the community. Thus, a “schoichet” was retained when available, a “mikvah” was erected adjacent to the Shul, and a plot of land for a cemetery was even obtained.

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THEY WERE MARRIED: A Walk of Twenty Miles to Escape Canadian Fees

(Buffalo Express)

[Welland Telegraph, 11 December 1891]

The famous old American hotel, near the foot of ferry street, was the scene of a marriage out of the ordinary on Wednesday.

James Horn, the landord, was dozing in his arm-chair on Wednesday afternoon when Frederick Burger, a six-foot Canadian, made his appearance and asked: “Can I bring a gal in here?”

“Certainly. What do you want to do with her?”

“Git married, by Gosh,” and the room shook with laughter.

“All right,” said Horn; “bring in your gal.”

She came. She was hardly half the size of her future lord and master and showed signs of travel over muddy roads. They were shown to the sitting room and the Rev. L.B. VanDyke, the Episcopal minister, was sent for.

When the messenger had departed Horn asked his visitor if he had enough to pay the minister, as he thought it would cost at least $3 to tie the knot. The man had already spent about half a dollar in entertaining his intended  with refreshments from the bar and said that he had but a dollar left.

“Why,” said he, “that’s the reason I came over here, as I can get married cheaper here than on the other side. We’ve walked for twenty miles up in the country. I want to get married cheap. “

The landlord appreciated the situation and agreed to see him through.

Ralph Courter and Mrs. Peck, the housekeeper, were pressed in to serve as witnesses and the knot securely tied, Mr. Horn giving the bride away. She  gave him her name as Mary Jane Harkins and her age as eighteen years.

As it was the first wedding which had taken place in the house since the time the beaux and belles of the village of Black Rock used to make it headquarters fifty years ago, Landlord Horn decided to celebrate, and a wedding feast was prepared to which about a dozen sat down. The couple left in the early evening to trudge back  their twenty miles.


[Welland Telegraph, 30 October 1891]

The late Judge Lawder, of St. Catharines, used to relate the word spoken to him by General Scott-his intimate friend and visitor, who commanded the American army of 5,000 at Lundy’s Lane. That “they (the Americans) got the worst of the battle, and so were forced to retreat,” leaving their dead to be disposed of by the British. They concluded to retire, having held council of war of officers at early dawn of July 26, under a tree near Forsythe’s house, Falls View. It was early on the same day that they crossed the Chippawa and burnt down the old bridge.