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 Tribune, 27 January 1893]

In the death of William E. Hutton, son of late Wm. Hutton of Thorold township, one of our brightest and most intelligent young men is removed from a sphere of great usefulness. Deceased drove to Winona, where his grandfather resides, on Wednesday, 11th inst., and soon after arriving there was taken ill of inflammation of the bowels. He grew steadily worse until Sunday last, when death completed its work. The body was interred at Fonthill on Tuesday, Messrs. Edgar Price, Jno. Gaiser, Harry Rice, Arthur Willson, Albert Fuller, and Benj. Lundy acting as pallbearers. William Hutton was one of the leading farmers of this county. He had graduated with honor to himself and the county at the Ontario Agricultural college, and was looked upon as one of the cleverest students that ever graduated from that institution. He was constantly introducing new ideas in farming and road work, and the locality in which he lived will long bear the impress of his progressive spirit. The community mourns with the family in the great loss sustained by all.

Francis Caroline Turnbull

{The Evening Tribune 24 July 1990}

Francis Caroline Turnbull died at her River Road home Sunday, July 22, 1990, in her 90th year.

Born in Port Robinson on Nov. 5, 1900, Mrs Turnbull came to live in Welland in 1910, after a short stay in Lewiston, New York.

She was a distinguished artist, recognized throughout the province. Silk screen, oil, water color and black and white were among mediums used in her paintings.

Her most recent showing was at Rodman Hall in St Catharines last year.

Mrs Turnbull was a founding member of the Joan of Arc Chapter of the Independent Order of Daughters of the Empire, which received its charter in 1921.

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Friends pay tribute to Frances Turnbull

Renowned local artist ‘saw beauty in everything’

By Marie Chamberland, Tribune Staff Writer

{The Evening Tribune 24 July 1990}

Welland- Glowing memories of local artist Frances Turnbull are seeping through the shock felt by friends after her tragic death Sunday.

Turnbull, 89, died when her River Road home caught fire at about noon.

The matter is still under investigation.

Yesterday Cliff Miller, an inspector with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office said while no cause had been established, he had no reason to believe it was anything other than accidental.

Neighbors said Turnbull’s home had been the target of vandalism over the years.

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Smoke Inhalation claimed artist’s life.

By Marie Chamberland, Tribune Staff Writer

{The Evening Tribune 24 July 1990}

Welland—An autopsy revealed Frances Turnbull, a well-known city artist died of smoke inhalation.

The 89-year-old’s body was pulled from the second floor of her burning home at 102 River Road Sunday.

Cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I have found nothing to indicate anything suggesting foul play, or for that matter, anything other than an accidental cause,” Cliff Miller, an investigator for the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, said at the scene late yesterday.

“The actual cause remains undetermined at this time,” he said.

“Natural gas has been ruled out as the cause of the fire,” he said.

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One of my favourite outings

[Submitted by: B]

Erie Beach

One of my favourite outings is walking the boardwalk on the Friendship Trail through the old Erie Beach Amusement Park. Running parallel to the north shore of Lake Erie, it is an historical treasure. In the late1800s and early 1900s, amusement parks usually located near a river, lake or other large body of water, became a prime source of entertainment for the public. They provided endless hours of diversion. Locales were chosen by the availability of mass transit and limited for the most part to two mediums: steamers and trains. Highways were virtually non-existent and motorized vehicles still a novelty.

Most of the early amusement parks are gone now, victims of changing demographics, new modes of transportation and competition from the Internet, television and movies. Names such as Crystal Beach, Bob Lo, Lakeside Park, Grimsby Beach and Hanlans Point are mere memories; only a handful such as Cedar Point, Sandusky and the Canadian National Exhibition remain: islands of candy floss and roller coasters echoing with the shouts and laughter of children and adults alike. Today, like the bones of some prehistoric animal, the remnants of old buildings, broken piers, walkways and the outline of the once grand swimming pool are all that remain, but standing at one end of the boardwalk, one can almost envision the gaily dressed women, parasols in hand, escorted by men in their straw hats and suits walking arm in arm to and from the steamer.  The entire area, once a magnificent  playground, is now a rustic park with trails winding through the ruins and suburbia encroaching on its borders. Let us hope that a sense of history prevails and these majestic ruins are preserved just as they are.




[Welland Telegraph, 5 July 1912]

Many friends in Welland will be interested to learn of the marriage which took place in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday, June 27, when Miss Helen Louise Igoe became the bride of our well-known former townsman, George William Stalker. Mr. and Mrs. Stalker will reside in Seattle, and the groom has hosts of friends here who wish them a long and happy married life.

* Note: Newspaper says 27th but marriage certificate says 26th .



[Welland Telegraph, 20 December 1912]

Mrs. Catherine Brown, relict of the late David Brown, died on Tuesday morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Buchner, Welland.

Mrs. Brown, who was in her 80th year, came to Canada from Ireland, sixty-one years ago. With her husband she first settled in Little York, now Toronto. Later Mr. and Mrs. Brown moved to Credit River. They afterward moved to Stevensville and finally to Wellandport, where Mr. Brown died twelve years ago.

Eight children, seven daughters and one son, are left to mourn their loss, namely Alexander Brown of Welland; Mrs. Richard Putman, Brookfield; Mrs. Peter McMurray, Welland; Mrs. Al. Valencourt, Welland; Mrs. Matthew Garner, Welland; Mrs. John Buchner, Welland; Mrs. Henry Moltby, San Francisco, and Mrs. George Glover, Butler, Pa.

Death was due to heart trouble and the general infirmities of old age. Mrs. Brown was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church and a woman who won many friends by her kindly, generous ways.

The funeral was held on Thursday at nine o’clock, from the residence of Mrs. Buchner, Randolph St., Rev. J.D. Cunningham conducted services. Interment was made at Wellandport.


[Welland Telegraph, 20 December 1912]

Peter Damude, a former resident of Fonthill, died at his home in Niagara Falls on Saturday night at the advanced age of eight-one years. Mr. Damude spent the greater part of his life here, but after his wife’s death he went to Niagara Falls to reside. His death will be deeply mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this district. Deceased is survived by five sons and four daughters-Dexter, Peter and Frank of Niagara Falls, Edward and Gilbert of Hamilton, Mrs. John Zavitz of Brookfield, Mrs. Charles McClelland and Mrs. Emmett Seburn of Fonthill and Mrs. John Jenter of Thorold township. Three brothers are also left to mourn namely-Daniel and John of Fonthill and Soloman of Toronto. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon. Services were conducted in the church of God by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Austin, assisted by the Rev. Mr. McKechnie. Interment was made in the Fonthill cemetery.


[Welland Tribune, 14 April 1905]

Expressions of sincere sorrow were heard on every hand when the announcement was made last week by Dr. Emmett, the family physician, that John Thompson of Ridgeville would not probably recover from what, at the worst, was hoped to be but a severe cold. A severe form of pneumonia had set in, and the end soon came, his death occurring on Saturday last, after an illness of only a couple or weeks.

Interment took place on Monday afternoon, the services being held at the family residence, and interment at Dawdy’s cemetery. Rev. G.N. Simmons, pastor of the Baptist church at Fonthill, with whose congregation deceased occasionally worshipped, conducted appropriate services, and not withstanding the inclement weather, there was a large turnout of sorrowing neighbors and friends, all of whom held deceased in highest esteem.

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Eldest Son of Reeve W.J. Best of Welland

His Service on the Field Had Been Rewarded by Promotion and He Was Just About to Leave for England to Take Lieutenant’s Course

[Welland Tribune, 12 June 1917]


At the meeting of the county council on Friday morning, Reeve Steele made feeling reference to the bereavement that had fallen upon Reeve Best, and moved that the council stand adjourned until afternoon as a mark of sympathy and respect for Mr. Best. The motion was carried and a committee was appointed consisting of the Warden and others to draft a suitable letter of sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Best.

Sergt. Harry Best, elder son of Reeve W.J. Best and Mrs. Best, was killed in action on May 22nd.

Such was the information conveyed in an official telegram from Ottawa on Friday morning.

In his death there is an added tragedy. Brig.Gen. Hill had recommended him for a three months’ absence in England where he was to take out his papers as lieutenant. A fine recognition of his services in the field. At the last moment he was asked to go up the line once more. In the fort-night following he lost his life.

Harry Best will be gratefully remembered by Welland as a young man who made good. Engaged on the customs staff, he might have taken shelter in his employment, but like his brother, Frank, he early chose to follow the flag. He had the ability and his heart was right, so it is not strange his service has been splendid.

His parents and brother and sister have the very sincere sympathy of many friends in the great loss they have sustained. Harry was born in Welland and was 30 years of age last October. He joined the 76th battalion, spent the summer and autumn at Niagara and the first winter in Barrie and at Easter time last year, went overseas.

Frank was severely wounded in October last, losing one eye and having his left arm permanently incapacitated. When he was released from hospital he joined the Army Corps pay office and he is still on duty.

In a letter written May 4th, Harry Best said:- “I have good news for you. Some days ago I was called to Brigade headquarters and was questioned by the Brigadier, who was from Niagara Falls (Brig, Gen Hill.) After looking over my papers and coming to my name and address, he looked me over and said, “Are you the son of Billy Best.” The Brigadier signed the papers, and just as soon as they go through Division, I go to England for a three months’ course for a lieutenant’s stars. What do you think of that? “There’s sure strange things happening in France these days.”

Harry and Frank Best enlisted with the 76th battalion in 1915, going overseas in April 1916. Both were corporals, but when they went to France in July 1916, they gave up their stripes. In September, both were again awarded the corporal’s stripes for carrying in wounded and carrying up rations. In the battle in October when Frank was so badly wounded, Harry won his sergeant’s stripes. Apparently his conduct on the Vimy Ridge battle won a lieutenancy for him as described in the letter quoted above. He had not asked for the promotion.

Following the battle of Vimy he wrote, “My how you all must have worried while our boys were in the thick of one of the greatest battles of the war, and I am sure, that through the dark hours, even though all your loved ones were in danger, nevertheless, that thrills of pride will course through every true Canadian’s veins whenever mention is made of the our lads’ dashing victory.”

The last letter received from him, dated May 14, stated that he had again gone up the line the day before, though apparently he had expected to leave for England before that.

In a letter of May 8, he says:- “We are out of the line for a time and will have a good rest. The weather could not be finer. Today we had a gentle shower and everything growing took on a greener shade. It’s just fine to be able to be about to enjoy the invigorating scenery. One evening before leaving the forward area we went to a wood where daffodils were growing in profusion. These we dug up in patches of soil and took them to the final glorious resting place. We miss the lads, but what is more grand than the thought that they have fought the good fight and have only gone ahead. They live in our memory, the grass and flowers grow around about and the birds sing overhead. They are only resting-our honored dead.”

Now the writer lies in his “final glorious resting place.” In that silent company there will be none who have done their duty with greater courage and valor. It would seem almost as if this letter had been written with the intention of preparing his parents for the news that was so soon to follow.

Robert Harry Best is buried at Petit-Vimy British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.