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.

ELLA PAULINE SIMPSON

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, 14 October 1931]

Ella Pauline, wife of John F. Simpson, 91 Ross street, Welland, passed away at the Welland County General hospital this morning after a short illness. She was in her 35th year.

Mrs. Simpson was born in Delhi, Ont., but had lived in Welland for many years. She was predeceased by her father, the late A.W. Crysler, who was a leading Welland businessman and a brother, Charles Crysler, who was killed overseas.

Surviving are her husband, three sons, Gordon, Clifford and baby Jack; her mother, Mrs. A.W. Crysler, Delhi; three sisters, Mrs. Weir Elliott, St. Thomas; Mrs. Fern Baker, Montreal; Mrs. Margaret Taylor, Delhi.

The funeral will be held at 2.30 p.m., on Friday from Holy Trinity church, Welland, of which deceased was a faithful member. The rector, Ven. Archdeacon N.I. Perry will officiate. Interment will be at Woodlawn cemetery.

LAUDS MEN WHO ADVOCATED THE WELLAND CANAL

LATE THOMAS CONLON, THOROLD, S.W. SECORD, ST. KITTS ARE REFERRED TO

DE WITT CARTER OF PORT COLBORNE LEADER IN PROMOTING CAUSE.

(By John B. Hannah in The Mail and Empire)

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, 15 October 1931]

The arrival in Toronto recently of large upper lake passenger and freight steamers, by reason of the completion of the Welland Ship Canal, emphasizes the importance of that great engineering enterprise to Canadian commerce. It does more than that, for it brings to the fore again the advantages that would accrue from the deepening of the St. Lawrence route, including its series of canals, furnishing an adequate waterway to the sea. The improved navigation thus provided also recalls to those who have watched the progress made through the years in the construction of the Welland waterway, the excellent work done by a handful of men residing in towns situated along the Niagara frontier in laping upon the public mind, and upon the government of the day, the fact that the Welland Canal then in use was no longer adequate to meet the demands of shipping interests, and that the need was urgent for the building of a new and larger waterway between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The Pioneers

Among the pioneers in the movement, if so they may be called, were the late Thomas Conlon of Thorold, the late S.W. Secord of St. Catharines and D.W. Carter of Port Colborne, who, with the active co-operation of a few others, lost no available opportunity to promote the cause they had so much at heart. Enlisting the assistance of Boards of Trade, Municipal Councils, and any group of responsible citizens that could bring any influence to bear, they continued their work in season and out of season. Federal and provincial election campaigns were always occasions for special effort. From the public platforms and through the press they pressed for the realization of their objective, until finally they heard from Ottawa that the Government of the day had decided that the Welland Ship Canal should be undertaken. Meanwhile, two of its most energetic proponents, Messrs. Secord and Conlon, had passed from the scene of action. And, by the way, Mr. Secord came of the historical Niagara peninsula family which gave to Canada the heroine, Laura Secord. He was directly related to the late Thomas R. Secord, once Deputy Superintendent of the Welland Canal, resident at Port Colborne.

It can be imagined quite readily that no one man was quite so keenly interested in the opening of  navigation between Lakes Erie and Ontario in 1931 as D.W. Carter of Port Colborne. Despite his somewhat advanced years he had first advocated with great ability the building of the canal; then he had watched with interest this construction proceed step by step, until eventually it was completed. Then came the long hoped for event, the formal opening of navigation, which was carried out without ceremony. Sufficient was it to quietly rejoice that Canada had provided a way by which larger ships that play on the Upper Lakes might reach Lake Ontario. Mr. Carter has all his life been identified with marine enterprises. Tradition has it that he probably inherited his interest in water transportation, as his father, the late Charles H. Carter, was for many years harbor master at Port Colborne, and had, prior to assuming that office, always been identified with lake and canal shipping.

Debt Owed the Carter Brothers

To Charles H. Carter and his brothers, William and L.G., who were engaged in mercantile pursuits in the village of Port Colborne, their home town owes a great deal in a business and educational way. The three Carter brothers, the Steeles, the Armstrongs, the Matthews, the Gibbons, and the Greenwoods and a few others gave necessary leadership to all worthy enterprises in the early days of the then struggling Lake Erie village. To them Port Colborne owes the foundation of her mercantile and transportation enterprises, and as well her schools and churches, for they ever took a deep interest in educational and religious affairs. These pioneers have passed on, and in some cases the second generation has followed them to their long home. One of the very few survivors of the second generation of these pioneers is D.W. Carter. He has seen at least two canals constructed through the heart of Port Colborne, dividing its main business thoroughfare, and had much to do with the operation of the waterway which each of these in its turn replaced. His also was the privilege of witnessing the development of his native town industrially by the establishment there of large industries, such as the Maple Leaf Mills, the International Nickel and the cement plants. He has also watched park areas give way to industry and the transformation of old Steele’s grove into Solid Comfort, the magnificent summer home on the shores of Lake Erie of many important families from the southern states.

Proud of His Work

With his brother, the late Capt. Sperry Carter, D.W. Carter was long associated in the operation of a lucrative wrecking business. He also for many years was the dominant figure in the Tug Association, which contributed largely to the prosperity of the owners of tugs used in canaling, who accepted the direction of the association. The present prosperity of Port Colborne, and its business, educational and church life, bears the impress of a few personalities, of whom none has been a greater factor than D.W. Carter, who still, despite the fact that he some time ago passed man’s allotted span, devotes himself energetically to Port Colborne’s weal. He should feel especial pride in the work he did in promoting the Welland Ship Canal.

TRUTH LAURA SECORD STORY IS DEFENDED

SOME HISTORICAL RECORDS OF FAMOUS JOURNEY TO BEAVER DAMS

(By Fred Williams in the Mail and Empire)

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, 5 December 1931]

When Professor W. Stewart Wallace belittles the story of Laura Secord’s warning to Fitzgibbon in 1813, he is liable to bring down upon his head a storm of protest from Loyalists all over Ontario, and more especially in the Niagara district. It is, indeed, placing hands on the very temple of Niagara history. No mere student of records like myself should tilt with so learned an authority as Professor Wallace; but it would be interesting to know upon what he uses his declaration that FitzGibbon had been warned of the coming of the Americans before Mrs. Secord arrived. It is true that William Wood in his history of the war says that FitzGibbon had been previously warned by an Indian scout; as against this, it is pointed out by J.H. Ingersoll, K.C., in a paper (Ontario Historical Reports, XXIII) that FitzGibbon does not say so, but in his report to Major deHaran, dated 24th June, after the engagement at Beaver Dams says, “At Decew’s this morning about 7 o’clock, I received information that about 1,000 of the enemy with 12 guns were advancing towards me from St. David’s,” etc. Upon which Mr. Ingersoll comments: “FitzGibbon gave a certificate to Mrs. Secord setting out the fact that she had warned him of the intended attack and in it does not mention that he had received any previous warning. I think it is fair to infer, therefore, that the warning from Laura Secord was the first that he had received (she is said in most versions to have reached FitzGibbon’s camp on the evening of the 23rd) and that the information received by him at 7 o’clock in the morning of the 24th was brought to him by the Indian scout whom he had sent out to watch for the approach of the enemy.”

What Certificate Says

The certificate mentioned above reads: “I do hereby certify that Mrs. Secord, the wife of James Secord, of Chippawa, Esq., did, in the month of June 1813, walk from her house in the village of St. David’s to Decamp’s house in Thorold, by a circuitous route of some twenty miles, partly through the woods, to acquaint me that the enemy intended to attempt by surprise to capture a detachment of the 49th Regiment, then under my command, she having obtained such knowledge from good authority, as the event proved.

Mrs. Secord was a person of slight and delicate frame and made the effort in weather excessively warm, and I dreaded at the time that she might suffer in health in consequence of fatigue and anxiety, she having been exposed to danger from the enemy through whose line of communication she had to pass.

The attempt was made on my detachment by the enemy, and his detachment, consisting of upwards of 500 men, with a field piece of 50 dragoons, were captured in consequence. I write this certificate in a moment of much hurry, and from memory, and it is therefore thus brief.

James FitzGibbon, formerly lieutenant in the 49th Regiment.”

There is, unfortunately (in the copy before me) no date to this certificate; it may have been written many years later; but the supporters of Mrs. Secord, who include most Niagara folk anyway, claim that it was in consequence of her warning that the scouts were sent out.

Her Own Declaration

Then there is Laura Secord’s own declaration when the Prince of Wales visited Niagara in 1860. When she went to the office of the Clerk of the Peace, for the purpose of signing the address to the Prince, along with the veterans of 1812, the clerk demurred, and she insisted asserting that she has done her country more signal service than half the soldiers and militiamen engaged in the war, which prompted William Kirby to write in the Niagara Mail: “We say the brave and loyal old lady ought not only to be allowed to sign the address, but she deserves a special introduction to the Prince of Wales as a worthy example of the fire of 1812, when both men and women vied alike in their resolution to defend the country.” In a later issue of the Mail, Kirby stated that the Prince visited Laura Secord at Chippawa. In March following he related how Mrs. Secord received a gift of one hundred pounds from the Prince.

Professor Wallace may consider the Laura Secord story as of little historical importance. He is entitled to his opinion; but the people of Niagara and most, of Ontario, will prefer to treasure the old story of the brave woman who risked her life to save her country.

TURNER S. ARNOLD

ENGINEER DIES VERY SUDDENLY AT PAGE-HERSEY

T.S. ARNOLD DISCOVERED ON FLOOR OF WASHROOM IN STRICKEN CONDITION

PASSES AWAY WITHIN TEN MINUTES OF BEING FOUND-NO INQUEST

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, 26 November 1931]

With startling suddenness, Turner S. Arnold, engineer for the plant of Page-Hersey Tubes Ltd., Crowland, died of heart disease this morning in the wash room at the plant, Mr. Arnold was found there by the plant janitor, lying on the floor, and a local physician was summoned, Mr. Arnold dying within ten minutes of being found. Dr. S. Nixon Davis was called, and stated no inquest would be necessary. Mr. Arnold was in his 49th year, and had lived in Welland about three and a half years. Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed.

Mr. Arnold had apparently been in good health and only a few moments before going to the wash room had been in conversation with officials of the plant.

Mr. Arnold came to Welland from Butler, Pa., in 1928 to instal a furnace for the Page-Hersey Tubes Ltd, and has been the company’s engineer since that time. He was born in Clarion, Penna., and was a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church. Surviving relatives are the widow Mrs. Arnold, two sons, Jack and Dick, at home, Welland; two daughters by a first marriage, the Misses Helen and Edna in Philadelphia; and three brothers, one at McKeesport, Penna., another at Philadelphia, and a third at Clarion, Penna.

The remains will be shipped to Clarion, and the funeral will be held there at a date not yet arranged.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF LAURA SECORD’S HEROISM

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, 11 December 1931]

Editor Evening Tribune:

I was much surprised to read in an issue of the Mail and Empire of Dec. 1st an article headed, “Laura Secord as Heroine, Fading out of History.”

The first reading suggested that the writer was laboring under the effects of a brainstorm or that a new mental disorder had appeared to afflict mankind.

The article is a disparagement of a feat well authenticated by indisputable documents and traditions received at the time as genuine. The main issue is that historians (sic) are omitting the story of Laura Secord from Canadian history on account of its mythical character; in other words disposing of it as a recent lecturer in Toronto did with “Wm. Tell.”

Let me say at the outset, that until I learn it from his own pen, I shall refuse to think that Professor Wallace omitted the story from present school histories, because he thought it mythical.

It is true, however, that in a school history, written by Mr. Wallace now in use in Alberta, he proved himself unreliable in accuracy. As to the contents of the article, we will notice the “lost key,” something unheard of before, and on the face of it most absurd. Why should she lock up her wounded husband and five children, prisoners in their home until her return, and carry the key with her through the “Black Swamp?”

These critics have not said that she locked the door; to have done so would have excited the suspicion of the enemy sentry at her door. Another paragraph reads: “It was only when Laura Secord was an old woman that her part in the episode became generally known, it was said.” This statement is the reverse of the truth.

In the Niagara district Laura’s story was told to admiring friends, who often invited her to their homes. One of them was the late Mrs. John Munro of Thorold, later vice-president of the Thorold Historical Society. The details of the story as told by Laura herself, were given when the heroine was in the full possession of all her faculties, unimpaired and not in old age. It may be found in the Historical Society’s “History of Thorold Town and Township,” published by John H. Thompson, editor of the Thorold Post. Mrs. Munro’s version of Laura’s story was corroborated by her eldest daughter, who had heard it at the time, and also Miss Amy Ball, a member of one of the oldest families in the Niagara peninsula, and familiar with the history of the period. Another statement reads: “It (Laura’s story) was dropped after investigation revealed that the troops at Beaverdams knew all about the surprise American attack, before Laura Secord’s arrival.” This looks like a fabrication to support an assertion of which no proof is given. On the contrary it may be safely assumed that if a previous warning had been received, Fitzgibbon would have received it. He says nothing of a previous intimation, but writes some years later, a certificate saying he received the warning from Laura Secord and acted upon it.

The certificate reads: “I do hereby certify that Mrs. Secord, the wife of James Secord, Esq., of Chippawa, did, in the month of June, 1813, walked from her house in the village of St. David’s to Decamp’s house in Thorold, a circuitous route of about twelve miles, partly through the woods, to acquaint me that the enemy intended to attempt by surprise to capture a detachment of the 49th Regiment, then under my command. She having obtained such knowledge from good authority, as the event proved. Mrs. Secord was a person of slight and delicate frame, and made the effort in weather excessively warm, and I dreaded at the time that she must suffer in health in consequence of fatigue and anxiety, she having been exposed to danger from the enemy through whose line of communication she had to pass. The attempt was made on my detachment, by the enemy, and his detachment consisting of 500 men with a fieldpiece and fifty dragoons were captured in consequence. I write this certificate in a moment of much hurry and from memory, and it is therefore brief. (Signed) James Fitzgibbon, formerly Lieutenant to 49th regiment.”

It should be observed that the merit of Mrs. Secord’s action would not be diminished in the least if warning had been given before or after her’s by some other person. It is  now in order for those historians (?) whose modesty made them “decline to be quoted,” to come forward and tell to whom and in what manner, whether by dream or vision was knowledge of a previous warning “revealed.” The use of the last word, suggests that a good part of the article is a pipe dream. Unless some proof is forthcoming a discriminating public will hold them guilty of defamation of a worthy person.

In 1897 the Thorold Historical Society published their “History of the Town and Township,” which circumstance brings the battle of Beaverdams within the scope of their activities.

Great pains were taken by the committee to obtain details from all reliable sources available, so that the work might be a truthful narrative of the past. Chapter V gives the story of Laura Secord as she told it while in the vigor of life. This chapter also gives particulars of the battle of Beechwoods, gleaned largely from military documents including Brigadier General Cruikshank’s pamphlet. I quote from the first paragraph of the narrative: “Many circumstances connected with the engagement commonly known as the battle of Beechwoods, or Beaverdams, combine to make it one of the most interesting episodes of recent Canadian history. It is indissolubly connected with the memory of one of the most patriotic and courageous women of any age, or country.”

Such is the tribute of General Cruikshank to Mrs. Secord. He supports it by Capt. Fitzgibbon’s certificate already quoted, which he placed in the appendix of his pamphlet. The only portraits in the pamphlet are those of the heroine and Fitzgibbon.

In a hundred years and more since the event, the writer of the article under criticism appears to be the first to cast doubt on the truthfulness of the story as received for many years.

Other writers than those already named have written the story. Mrs. Curzon interviewed Mrs. Secord’s third daughter, who remembered her mother leaving home on that fateful morning.

Mrs. J.G. Currie, also a native of Great Barrington, Mass., from which the Ingersoll’s came, has written a sketch of Laura’s life, the profits on which were to go towards a fund for a monument not built until 1901.

When King Edward, as Prince of Wales, visited Niagara Falls, in 1861, Laura Secord, then living at Chippawa, was present at a public reception, given to the prince. A prominent citizen , a member of the committee, drew the attention of His Royal Highness to the heroine, telling what she had done. The prince asked for an interview in which he expressed regret that she had not been rewarded for distinguished action. He afterwards sent her a personal gift of £100.

Ridgeway, Dec. 3, 1931
A.W. REAVLEY
One time Secretary Thorold Historical Society.

DECOU’S STONE HOUSE
Decew Road, Thorold, ON
1812-1950

Headquarters of local British forces under James Fitzgibbon to which Laura Secord came from Queenston to warn of the American invasion. The house, destroyed by fire in 1950, was designated an historic site. The name Decou is now spelt Decew.

Some Yellowed Papers of A century Ago

By Louis Blake Duff

Recently there came to me as a gift from of Toronto a number of old papers; about the most interesting collection I have seen.

To list them:

  • St Catharines Journal of December 28, 1843.
  • St Catharines Journal of March 16, 1848.
  • The Leader, Toronto, November 28, 1878
  • The People’s Press. Fonthill C.W.  February 14,1861.

A curious catalogue of agricultural implements made by Albany Agricultural Works of Albany, New York. This is dated 1851, and is one of a yearly series that had begun in 1831.

Implements of a Century Ago

The Albany Agricultural Works list fifty different plows, most of which are shown in illustration, and the price range is from $3.50 to $14. Horse tread mills are shown, one for driving a threshing machine and one for driving a chopping mill. There is another tread for dog power to be used for light farming operations. The  picture shows a dog busily, and even merrily, trotting as he churns, and oddly enough the animal shows Rover actually enjoying the job. There are various churns, cheese presses, a sausage stuffer, grain cradles, fanning mill, the Clinton cornsheller, or yokes and bows. What did an ox yoke sell for? From $3.50 to $5.

The Fonthill Newspaper

The People’s Press of Fonthill,C.W. was in its second year. Very few of its issues are known.

This Fonthill newspaper enterprise arose out of the political ambitions of Dr Fraser who had his office in Fonthill. He was the first member for Welland County when it had been taken from the rib of Lincoln. The paper naturally, was violently Reform. The first issue was early in 1854 and it did help to bring about the election of the worthy doctor. In its first incarnation it was called The Welland Herald. Doctor Fraser soon had enough of newspaper publishing and sold the plant to Dexter D’Everardo

David Cooper announces that he has leased the Aqueduct Flouring Mills in the Village of Welland.

The Leader, Toronto of which more later, announces that since its founding in 1852 it has attained a circulation of several thousand more than any other paper in Canada.

Dr. Nicholas Dick with his infirmary pleasantly and healthfully situated opposite J. Steele’s Ridgeville, advertises his “Botanic Medicines” Culled from Nature’s Garden.” There at last, is a political doctor for you.

George Gamble near Lock’s Clothing Establishment, Upper Fonthill, advertises his stock of boots and shoes.

Ester Sherk, Point Abino advertises for creditors of the estate of the late Daniel Sherk.

J.S. Rich, Fonthill. Has the largest advertisement in the paper. A few of his prices might be of interest:

  • Coffee sugar, 8lbs. for a dollar
  • Porto Rica sugar, 12lbs. for $1
  • Crushed sugar, 7lbs. for $1.
  • Teas. 50 to 75c pound
  • Coal oil, $1 per gallon
  • Brooms 16c each
  • Candles, 15c lb.
  • Factory cotton, 8c per yard.

J.A. Cohoe inserts this notice “The members of Fountain Head Temple, No. 440 I.O. of G.T. (that stands for the Independent Order of Good Templars, I believe) intend holding a public meeting in Clarke’s School House on the Plank Road on Monday evening February 18. The members of Sweet Home Safe Guard Lodges are requested to attend and assist on the occasion. Several talented speakers are expected.

Henry Martin Giles of St Catharines will deliver a lecture in the concert hall, Fonthill

Before the Mechanics” Institute, on Saturday evening next at 7 o’clock. Subject:”The Origin and Progress of Letters.” Admission: Members and Ladies free, non-members 121/2  cents each.

The two rival papers attacked each other in language that could not be equaled in any other papers of the day. Here is a sample from The Reporter:

“Extract the venom from the vilest snake that ever on its belly crawled along the dust; take the quintessence from the juice of all the poisonous herbs that ever from the earth sought the genial rays of Heaven’s great luminary; then mix and with a quill drawn  from a raven’s wing, write—against truth and honesty principle and justice, morality and religion, and if you equal in virulence the article alluded to, then must the subtle poison have entered your heart also, and venom dictate the words with venom written”

That is drawing rather a long bow.

Now in this issue of the People’s Press on the desk before me the business notices include the following:

D. D’Everardo—Money to Loan

Peter Learn, Esquire, Point Abino—Marriage Licenses

Alfred Willett, Clerk of the First Division Court, Welland—announcing his office hours 10am to 4pm.

A, Murray, postmaster at Port Robinson—marriage licenses.

Wm Steele, Humberstone—marriage licenses

W.P. Brown, office in the County Court House, Welland—lawyer and conveyancer.

B.W. Price, Fonthill—watches, clocks and jewelry.

J. Brackbill, Fenwick, advertising a lot for sale in Fonthill, opposite home Dexter D’Everardo.

Wm. Cook, Fonthill—harness maker

Alexander Sinclair, Fonthill—merchant tailor

Wm Horne, Fonthill, announces that he is a senior member of the College of Veterinary Surgeons in Philadelphia and is ready for practice.

Wm Beatty of Thorold advertises a public meeting in Bald’s Hall Welland, T.W. Hooker was chairman, and J.S. Chipman, secretary Two motions were passed, one by A, Bald and Wm Thompson and one by J. Griffith and Moses Betts

The theme was condemnation of the ministry objection to the tariff and to the growing expenditures.

At another Beatty meeting at the Court House, Squire Hellems an early school teacher in Welland and later police magistrate, took a hand in defence of Cartier-MacDonald.

George Arnold and a man named Farley, both of St. Davids, got into an argument, when Farley pulled out a stake from a sleigh on which he was standing and struck Arnold on the head Arnold died in a few hours and a coroner’s jury rendered a verdict of willful murder.

Terrible Toll in Disaster at Cleveland Clinic

{Welland Tribune Thursday, May 16, 1929}

Ninety-Five Known Dead as the Result of Two Explosions.

Poisonous Gas Rushes Through Building When X-ray Films Burned

Cleveland, May 16—Poison gas and two explosions which followed burning the X-ray films in the Cleveland clinic yesterday claimed nearly 100 lives.

There were 95 known dead and hospital authorities worked desperately to administer artificial respiration to 43 more who were overcome. Victims of the disaster were dying at short intervals and physicians sent out appeals for addition oxygen in the fear that the supply in the city might prove insufficient. Oxygen is declared the only effective means of overcoming gas burns.

Nearly all of the deaths were attributed to the deadly gas which filtered through the four-storey brick building slowly at first and then augmented by a second and greater explosion than the first, rushed up from the basement and cut off escape down the stairways and elevators.

Survivors said those asphyxiated were dead, their faces turning a sickly yellowish-brown color, within two minutes after inhaling the gas.

Like War Gas

The fumes were given off by fire of an undetermined origin which destroyed X-ray films in the basement. Some pharmacists said it was bromine gas, while Dr. William E. Lower, one of the founders of the clinic, said it resembled the deadly phosgene gas employed in the great war.

It was ironic that the disaster occurred in the very place where the most advanced instruments and laboratories of science had been turned against pain and death. The clinic was owned principally by Dr. George W. Crile, nationally-known physician, who was too occupied with relief work to comment on the catastrophe.

Despite the heavy loss of life, firemen estimated the property damage at only $50,000.

The first explosion occurred in the basement. On the floors above, waiting rooms were crowded with clinical patients. Many of them died where they sat, some in wheel chair unable to move, as the deadly fumes rapidly penetrated to all floors.

The hollow centre of the building first was filled with gases.The intense heat below sent the fumes swirling upward. Before any one had opportunity to escape, a second blast blew out the skylight and filled the entire building with the deadly fumes. Occupants had no way to escape by the windows and few were able to reach them. These were enveloped by the fumes which hung about the building and they collapsed.

The two street entrances were choked, and the stairways leading to the roof were heavy with the fumes. Every piece of fire apparatus available was centered at the clinic and every vehicle possible was commandeered to remove the bodies.. An hour and a half after the first explosion all had been taken to nearby hospitals.

The first blast was heard by policeman Henry Thorpe, walking two blocks away. He immediately turned in an alarm and ran to the building at Euclid avenue and 93rd street.

Explosion At Cleveland Clinic Hospital Claims Life of Dr. John Phillips

{Welland Tribune May, 1929}

Native Son of Welland County was one of the Founders of Famed Institution—Born at O’Reilly’s Bridge, Received Education Here Before Graduating From Toronto University—Made Great Contribution to United States Medical Science—Relatives Reside in Fenwick.

According to later word received by The Tribune at edition time, Dr. Phillips died late last evening from his injuries.

The terrible explosion and fire which Wednesday took a toll of 91 lives at the Cleveland Clinic hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, came home with full force to this city and Welland county when it became known the Dr. John Phillips was among the injured and is not expected to live.

Some years ago Dr. Phillips former resident of Welland city and native son of Welland county became associated with the famous surgeon, Dr, George W. Crile, and together they founded the Cleveland clinic, which has been known all over the continent as an institution of the very first rank.

Relatives here of Dr. Phillips said late Wednesday night following long distance conversation with Cleveland that Dr. Phillips was seriously injured and dispatches this morning report him as being gassed.

Dr. Phillips was born at O’Reilly’s Bridge, a few miles from Welland, the son of the late Robert Phillips. He attended school at O’Reilly’s Bridge and later was a student at the Welland high school, residing with his parents on West Main Street. From there he went to University of Toronto and on leaving that institution started a practice in Cleveland under the late Dr. Cushing of that city.

Studious Character

Dr. E.E. Binns, class mate of Dr. Phillips at Toronto University in 1903 their year of graduation, in an interview with The Tribune last night described Dr. Phillips while a student college as quiet and studious and though he did not then show a marked brilliancy nevertheless displayed an intense application and perseverance. “He was one of the most industrious students at Toronto University,” was Dr. Binns’ characterization. “We all knew he would make good but no one thought he had it in him to reach the heights that he speedily scaled. His association with Dr. Cushing, one of Cleveland’s foremost physicians and consultants the latter’s interne at Cleveland gave him an introduction to the finest of professional intercourse in the city, and his close application to work soon bore fruit.

Reached National Fame

Dr. Cushing gradually worked in as a sort of personal assistant and from that moment with John’s industry and conscientiousness his future was assured. Not long after Dr. Cushing died rather suddenly and so great was the impression that John Phillips had made upon the hospital staff and the medical faculty the great city in his few years serving among them, that he was offered chair of assistant professor of medicine and associate lecturer in the medical schools. His work as a clinician soon became known outside the limits of Cleveland, and as the years passed he reached a national fame. He was recognized as one of the most capable, conscientious and reliable members of the healing profession.

“Welland county is justly proud to have given to the United States a man made so valuable a contribution to the realms of medical science,” was Dr. Binns’ tribute.

Dr. Phillips and his wife, Cordelia, have one son John, now at Yale. Who is looked upon as an electrical genius and a most gifted boy. He has three brothers in Welland county, Thomas of Wainfleet, Robert of Fenwick and Richard of O’Reilly’s Bridge and one sister Mrs. Henry Chambers of Fenwick. A niece is Miss Lillian Phillips of O’Reilly’s Bridge. He last visited Welland a little more than a month ago.

Dr. John Phillips

{Welland Tribune 1903}

Dr. John Phillips, recently of Toronto, left on Monday for Cleveland, after spending a few holidays at his old home here. John’s many friends will be pleased to learn that he has received a better offer in his profession than that announced some weeks ago. He goes to the Lakeside Hospital, Cleveland, and was to have taken a position as assistant in the surgical department, but has since been asked to go in as chief assistant in the medical department.

Welland County Mourning Loss of Dr. J. Phillips

{Welland Tribune May, 1929}

Victim of Cleveland Clinic Disaster was Internationally Known Specialist.

Welland county is mourning the lose of one of its most brilliant sons, Dr. John Phillips, who died late Wednesday night as the result of being gassed following the explosion and fire that day at the Cleveland Clinic hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, of which he was co-founder.

Dispatches from that city say that Dr. Phillips, head of the medical service of the clinic and silver medallist at the University of Toronto, in 1902. He was one who escaped from the building only to die later. He was able to walk home after assisting in rescue of others, only to be rushed to the hospital at night where he died.

Eight doctors lost their lives the last one being Dr. Phillips who, Cleveland dispatches describe, as a native of Welland and internationally known specialist and one of the founders of the Cleveland clinic. He was in the building when the catastrophe occurred but walked home believing he had not been affected by the gas. He was taken ill toward evening and  rushed to the hospital where a futile blood transfusion was made.

Relatives of Dr. Phillips residing in this vicinity were expected to attend the funeral in Cleveland today.