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.

Ross, James Alway (1869-1945), Wellandport

[Grimsby Independent , May 31, 1945]

One of Niagara Peninsula’s best known businessmen, James Alway Ross, ex-M.P.P., of Wellandport, passed away on Tuesday evening, May 2nd at St Catharines General Hospital, following an illness of three months’ duration. The late Mr. Ross was born at St Ann’s on Jan. 13th, 1869, son of the late William Nelson and Lydia Tufford Ross, and spent his early years there. Upon completing his education as a teacher, he taught in the Model School at Welland, later at Wellandport, and resigned as Principal of Scott Street School St Thomas in 1896, to enter the commercial field. In 1908 he was elected member of the provincial parliament for the riding of Monck, being the first Consevative member ever elected for the riding which had been held by the late Hon. Richard Harcourt for 30 years. He was especially gifted as an orator and poet, being a member of the Canadian Writers’ Association, and the author of a volume of Poems, “Canada First,” “Dominion Day” and many other poems. Besides his sorrowing widow, Agnes K. Ross, with whom he celebrated his golden wedding anniversary two years ago, he is survived by four children. James Leighton Ross of Hamilton, Miss Eula I. Ross and Romaine Kay Ross, L.L.M., of St Catharines and Mrs Michael Solyk (Roma Kay) of Merriton, also five grandchildren.

The Singer and His Song

Niagara Falls Review

The Singer and his Song and Other Poems will be a welcome guest in any home, Philosophy in rhyme–patriotic, religious, and memorial verse; songs of the seasons; songs of sentiment and of recollection; and songs of special occasion–will bring entertainment to young and old alike. Here can be found the hopes, the fears, the joys, and the sorrows which all of the human family feel but which few are able to express.

Who will not be moved by tender memories of “The Old Home Town” and The Little Old White School House”? Whose eyes will not moisten with the sentimental references to Mother, and to Father? Who will not find happiness in fond recollections of childhood days? Who will not be inspired by the loyalty and love of country to which the author had given such forceful expression? Who would not commit to memory “Love’s ledge,” and other beautiful verses to be found throughout the book?

Surely the author, in contemplating the whole broad scope of human feeling will find ready and close response from many hearts.

Beyond these considerations, the reader will feel that  The Singer and His Song and Other Poems strikes a note of optimism in living. Mr Ross had a buoyant, forward-looking attitude towards life. Although he was fully conscious of the inevitablility of the march of time, he found no sense of tragedy in the fact. He looked upon the pageant of man and nature with calm and clear-observing eyes. He frequently struck a rich Wordsworthian note, urgent with feeling and charged with moral seriousness.

It is this notable characteristic which enables Mr Ross to write with such vigor, such clarity, such mind-arresting simplicity. His poems  are both understandable and compelling.

It is published by Tower Books, Ottawa at $1.50.

Book Review

The Guelph Daily July 5, 1950

The Singer and His Song, and Other Poems by James A, Ross, Published by Tower Books, Ottawa, $1.50.

It is a great relief to open a book of poetry and find that the meaning is plain, the language clear and the music of the lines lilting and rhythmical. Striving to comprehend the incomprehensible may be a good mental exercise; enjoyment of the comprehensible is more pleasant.

James A. Ross, who died in 1945, has led a varied and an active life. He was in turn a school principal, insurance executive, businessman and bank manager. He represented the riding of Monck in the Ontario Legislature, and was recognized as one of Ontario’s top-flight orators. In later life he conducted a real estate and brokerage business in Wellandport. The poems in this volume have been collected and arranged by Romaine K. Ross.

Guelph readers will be especially interested in James Ross’s memorial lines on John McCrae:

“Brave John McCrae, you struck the chord,

A master hand could ill afford

One doleful note; so in our mind

Your words  will live and, living, find

Response in all, with one accord

“You are not dead, by fate’s reward

With us you live, revered, adored

More fondly loved, our hearts entwined

Brave John McCrae

“With you we fight the craven horde,

From you the sacred torch has soared

On high; it shall not be confined;

We pledge our faith, rest ye resigned

Break not your sleep, in Him

Our Lord,

Brace John McCrae!

Poems such as this which mirror the honest feeling of Canadian man of affairs, deserve a place

on every library shelf.

“The Singer and His Song”

The Express Beamsville

There has come to hand a second volume of poems by James A Ross, native of St Ann’s was beloved resident of Lincoln County until his death in 1945.

Mr Ross was the father of Romaine K. Ross, who is for a time conducted a law practice in Beamsville and is presently a resident of Port Dalhousie.

In the forward, Romaine Ross states that his father published first volume of poems in 1920, wrote for the Mail and Empire, Star, Telegram, the Spectator Hamilton, the Standard, St Catharines, the National Home Montreal Winnipeg and other newspapers and magazines. Donald G. Fre.. compiler of the Standard Canadian Reciter, selected some of Mr Ross’s work for that volume, and the B, of Christmas lyrics, published New York City in 1937, contained a poem by Mr. Ross.

“The Singer and His Song”, Other Poems” comprises some poems of patriotic verse, song sentiment, religious and verse, songs of the seasons, of collection and of special occasions and several philosophies in rhyme.

Strongly patriotic, Mr Ross’s of Canada and the British turns up many times throughout the book. Notable are his verses “Canada” “The Union Jack” “Canada and the Empire” and the odes to Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary, and to the present Monarch and his Queen the occasion of their visit to Canada in 1939.

In “Songs of the Seasons” Ross reveals his love of nature especially in spring when the  out-of-doors called him to banks of the Chippewa at ….. time.

People who live in Canada appreciate Mr Ross’s verses pressing as they do the love of family, and of the little things a discerning and educated writes in verse sometimes, always loyal to the highest and truly Canadian in outlook. Poems strike a note that will a ready response in many especially in this Niagara district where he was widely known and respected.

Of Wellandport

To the Editor

I have read with very great interest the story of the village of Wellandport, in the August 18 issue of your valuable paper. The account given of the various places of business and the businessmen is very vivid and accurate. I note the omission of one very important fact and one of which very few small places can boast. As well as being the centre of the bygone electoral County of Monck, one of its residents redeemed the county for the Conservatives for the first time in over 30 years. I speak of one of Wellandport’s well known and high;y respected citizens James A, Ross, who resided there 54 years, coming as principal of a public school in 1891. He was married in 1893 to the daughter of Thomas H. Kay, the owner of Kay carriage works spoken of your story and whose shop stands as a garage owned by P.N. Redmond. Over the years Ross held many important positions and was highly instrumental in bringing the telephone and hydro into the village. He managed the  Sterling Bank of Canada at its Wellandport branch, promoted and managed the Empire Store Company of Wellandport and later becoming an insurance and real-estate broker. In 1902 he contested the provincial riding of Monck against the Hon Richard Harcourt who was then Minister of Education, being defeated by a small majority, and again in 1905 he was defeated but in 1908 he carried the riding. and sat in the Ontario Assembly under the leadership of Sir James Pliny Whitney, where he was quickly acknowledged to be one of Ontario’s top-flight orators. He was also an author of some note, leaving published two books of poetry and all of this time he was an esteemed resident of the lovely village of Wellandport.

Your very truly,

Mrs James A. Ross.

James A. Ross

Compiled by ‘S’

James A. Ross was a longtime teacher at Wellandport school. He had an insurance business, managed the Empire store, was a co-founder and manager if the Sterling Bank of Wellandport(est 1904)

From Confederation in 1867 until 1914 Monck elected a member to the province’s Legislative Assembly, basing their nomination meeting and conventions in Wellandport.

James A Ross devoted much energy to developing a railway. Work on the railway began in 1912. It extended over the Chippewa and Beaver Creek bridges almost to St Ann’s. The railway was never completed, as W.W. 1 took much of the manpower and financial strain made it impossible to continue.

James A. Ross served as M.P.P. for riding of Monck June 8, 1908-Nov. 13, 1911. He was in the Conservative party, served on the Printing and Railways committees.


Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Morningstar To Mark 50th Wedding Anniversary

[The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, October 1949]

Descendants of two of the earliest families in Welland county, Mr. and Mrs. J.G..(Jesse) Morningstar of Willoughby (now residing at 99 St. James avenue, Stamford Centre will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Jesse Morningstar’s folk settled in Willoughby, a mile north of Snider in 1844, coming here from Alsace Lorraine. In 1841 the family moved to Netherby on the Willoughby Crowland townline, and it was here that Jesse was born, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Philip Morningstar. Mrs. Morningstar was born Janie Sherk, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. David Sherk in Sherkston, which derives its name from Mrs. Morningstar’s family.

Jesse Morningstar is known throughout the county as a timber-man and saw mill operator, as a municipal figure for 20 years including wardenship of Welland county and also as a member of the Welland County Old Age Pensions and Mothers’ Allowances board.

Mr. and Mrs. Morningstar were married at the home of the bride’s parents in Sherkston on Nov. 1, 1899. They have two sons and a daughter, Claude Morningstar, Stamford Centre, who is a member of the Canada Customs at Niagara Falls; Mrs. W. R. Hughes (Mabel) of Peterborough; and Horace Morningstar, Willoughby, who has taken over his father’s sawmill interests since his retirement three years ago.

Mr. and Mrs. Morningstar will be at home to friends and relatives on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 8 p.m. into the evening.

Interesting Lumber Career

Both have led eventful lives Jesse Morningstar worked on the family farm till he was 35 when he branched out into the logging game which was to be a lifetime pursuit. He bought a sawmill in Pelham township near Chantler and operated it five years before moving it to Willoughby township in 1911. His operations covered the area between the two lakes in times when competition was keen, and a $5 to $10 profit on a thousand feet of lumber was considered a good return. In addition to the Netherby mill, Mr. Morningstar also at one time operated mills north of Port Robinson, near White Pigeon, and on the Sodom road. He furnished timber for the construction of the Niagara power canal, the Welland Ship Canal, and finally for minesweepers and corvettes during the last war.

Mr. Morningstar entered municipal life in 1911 as a councillor in Willoughby, became reeve in 1915, and was elected warden of the county in 1919. He retired then till 1920 when he returned again as reeve, a position he held until 1936.

In addition to his municipal career he found time to be a director of the Fair board for 30 years, holding the office of president for three years. He was also a director of the Welland County Plowmen’s Association, and for many years was a member of the Welland County Old Age Pensions and Mother’s Allowances board until it was discontinued early this year. He is a member of Copestone Masonic lodge in Welland and of the Scottish Rite of Niagara Falls.

A lifelong Liberal, Mr. Morningstar was closely associated with the late W.M. German, K.C., noted Welland county M.P., and campaigned personally with him.

Mrs. Morningstar was closely associated with the Willoughby Institute and in church work as a member of the Crowland Presbyterian church.


[Welland Telegraph, 14 January 1908]

Mrs. Hattie Elizabeth Saxton, mother-in-law of W.K. Smith, office manager of the Cordage Works, departed this life on Thursday night last, at the house of Mr. Smith. The deceased lady, who was in her 65th year, had enjoyed good health up to within an hour of her death. A short service will be held at the house on Sunday evening by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, of Holy Trinity Church, after which the remains were conveyed to the M.C.R train for Boston, where the remains will be interred. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have the sympathy of the community in their bereavement. d; 9 January 1908


[Welland Tribune, 24 January 1908]

Just as the Christmas spirit was in the air, a well-known town official met a man who takes orders for enlarged pictures. The traveler’s name was Shibley, and he represented a Toronto house. Now Shibley had the gift of gab and could carry on a continuous conversation for five minutes or an hour. He was a hummer, and after about fifteen minutes gabfest, the town official’s signature was on the contract.

“Delivery by December 5th,” was what the papers called for.

“Tempus fugit,” and it was not till the other day that the official, now in gilt and under the arm of the agent, was suddenly sprung upon the wife as she opened the door.

It was claimed, so it is said, that the delivery was too late, the picture might resemble our aged ancestors who sprung from their tails in the trees, and then there were other objections.

This aroused the ire of Shibley as the refusal to give Calver a nip, roused his fighting blood, in a story appearing below.

What Sibley said to the wife was picturesque and to the point. It cost him $5.75 at Wednesday’s court.

L. Calver demanded something stimulating on the fourth of January last. He was at the Dexter House bar. “Nothing doing,” said the wine clerk.


“I tell you there’s nothing doing; you’re too full now.”

This aroused Mr. Calver’s choler, and he explained that he was a man of skill with the mitts, that he preferred to fight rather than eat. He could lick his weight in wild cats.

“Now get,” said the barkeep, smiling, as he wiped a glass.


Then Calver was taken gently by the seat of his pants, and the coat collar and placed under the twinkling stars on his posterior.

But Calver was of fighting mood.


These words mean that the gentleman wished to enter the hostelry and do battle.

Chief Jones came along and advised the scrapper to go home.


This was his undoing, and for this, Mr. Calver, who, by the way, is a very decent chap,paid in Wednesday morning’s court $5.00 and costs for refusing to leave a licensed house when under the influence of liquor.

The fine was paid.

He did not get his scrapping booze at the Dexter House.

The warrant for arrest sworn out by Henry Farmer before Magistrate Burgar, says that Peter English took Mr. Farmer’s overcoat and a suit of underwear. But this is not all. The said Farmer swears that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, Mr. English also appropriated an Independent Order of Forrester pin. The alleged theft was committed on Tuesday, and on Wednesday afternoon Chief Jones was notified that he was arrested in St. Catharines. The chief had advised the authorities of St. Kitts to be on the lookout for the red man, for English is an Indian, and so is Farmer.

English was dismissed. It was because he was drunk that the clothes were taken. “You must keep sober in future,” was the warning parting of the magistrate.

Wellandport Ontario

By W. Schwoob

Perhaps I should give a short history of Wellandport before my impressions of the village. It was first called the Narrows from the ridge of land separating the Chippewa River and Beaver Creek. (Chippewa is Indian for “People without moccasins”) and Beaver Creek is self-explanatory.

The first settler was John Dochstader in 1782, whose grant of land was west of Wellandport. He was soon followed by the Henry, Robins, Heaslip and MacDowellfamilies and others. These people settled along the Chippewa River as it was the easiest way to travel by boat in summer and on the ice in winter.

The river valley is so flat that when the Niagara (into which it empties) is in flood, the river backs up nearly 30 miles from it’s mouth, and raises the water one to two feet.

The first school was built on land owned by Wm Dils, west of Wellandport, after 1800, and the teacher was Mr. Weston, nicknamed “Nappertandy”. There were two churches built in 1835, both Methodist. One, just west of Elcho, and the other on Heaslip’s farm, east of the village.

Read the rest of this entry »

My Memories of Wellandport

By Vivian Sutton Sunday, February 5, 1984.

Arriving in the fall of 1945, to make my home in the busy, friendly village of Wellandport was certainly a great experience. Having lived all my entire 19 years in a large city; there was a great period of adjustment. The friendliness of the people was really and truly a heat warming experience for me.

Traditionally a typical city, where a mere hello was about all you exchanged with your next door neighbour was most welcome. Mrs J.D.(Reva) Fulsom was one of my first acquaintence.

Indoor plumbing was considered a luxury and the Saturday night bath in the old tin tub left much to be desired

Living accomodations were very difficult to obtain as many returning service men had married during the war and housing was a priority.

Unable to find a suitable place to rent in Welland, we obtained rooms with a lovely retired couple Nelson and Lillie Chadwick, former owners of Chadwick Feed Mill.

Most of our neighbours were all retired people. Mrs Frankie Arnold, Rev McRoberts, Henry & Etta Jupe, George & Lillian Southwick, Mrs Holmes Sr.,George & Caroline Holmes, Earl & Erford Robins, Harry Poore, Thom & Effie Freure, Mr & Mrs Addie Adam Beamer, Bill & Tunie Zawelski and Mearle & Edith Fester.

There friendly and out going manner made me feel so welcome.

The minister at that time was Rev. McRoberts, a bachelor who was a frequent guest for a dinner or a supper. He told me that I was priviledged to reside in the part of Wellandport known “As Quality Hill”. This has always remained in my memory as I  look now at the changes in that part of the village.

Wellandport had four grocery stores. Roman Suters, Red&White store owned and operated by Ada Coleman(Hiles). Howies grocery store, and Nepons general store. In the old general store, centered in the middle of the floor was a large pot bellied stove. This was certainly a popular spot. Everyone congregated from the village and surrounding farms on a Saturday night to purchase supplies, exchange chit chat, catch up on the weeks happenings. No one ever thought of going to town to shop.

We were very fortunate to have in the village a most competent doctor. Dr. Carson made numerous house calls, delivered babies at home, performed many other services.

A local post office operated by the Coleman family in part of the red & white store. A telephone office, headed by Mrs Lloyd Book(Nora) operators, Florence Cavers, Beryl Moore, Elma Cavers to mention a few. Lampmans’ operated a hardware store, implement business and upstairs a funeral home. This was owned by John Lampman and his son Glenn.

This funeral home & furniture store was first owned and operated by Amos Heaslip an uncle of Hazel Ullman in 1902. This building presently is now known as Home Hardware. Mr Heaslip had two hearses. Black & white, two teams, black & white. One pulled the hearse, the other the carriage.

Mr Heaslip sold to Mr. Hugh Brooks. Mrs Hugh Brooks to a Mr SlaghtMr Slaght to John Lampman.

The old Cronkite Hotel housed a two family apartment. Gordon MacDonald family and the North family.

The Masonic Hall was in operation and the Womens’ Institute held social events there.

The Wellandport United Church was the only place of worship and all our spiritual needs well looked after.

A one room school tended to the educational aspects, grades 1-8, capabiley taught by Harold Hodgkins.

Two garages were in operation. One owned and operated by N. Peter Redmond; the other Andys garage, by Andy Toiwchowski. Mr John Johnson was our local carpenter.

A very busy blacksmith shop, owned and operated by Bill Zawelski.

Milk was delivered by two local dairy farmers, Charles Freure and Adam Moore for the exorbant price of .05 cents per quart. When pastuerization became law Welland Dairy delivered the milk

Cars were in short supply, but our needs were well looked after by the local merchants.

The daily bus service from Dunnville to Smithville was in operation by Bert Phillips.

Villagers would avail themselves occasionally. for a special outing, ride the bus to Smithville. Purchase a special rated train ticket to Hamilton for the day from the Smithville railroad station office and off for a days shopping. Think this cost  about 65 cents return. Many the trips I made with friends.

Our community has seen many changes in the 39 years.

Today we have one grocery store and gas bar, local post office, library which is an asset to our community.

One garage, one feed mill, feed supply dealer, hardware store and church.

The Masonic Hall is still an active hall as well as the Independent order of the Odd Fellows Hall.

One of our proudest accomplishments is our local community hall. Many donated long hours of hard work went into the building and maintanence of this very busy hall. The older friendly familiar faces has long since passed on.

Wellandport village is now inhabited mainly by the Dutch people who settled in the area in the very early fifties.

We who were a majority are now a minority. I have spent happy years in this lovely friendly community. A community with a heart, a community who cares.


[Welland Tribune, 10 January 1908]

On Wednesday night Mrs. Ellen Griffiths, wife of Alexander Griffiths, died unexpectedly. While heart failure was the cause of death, the deceased lady had been ailing for some time. Dr. Colbeck was at once summoned, and Mr. Griffiths, who was at an local meeting of the board of trade, hurried to her bedside. The end came peacefully at 9.30, just ten minutes after his arrival. Mrs. Griffiths although of a retiring nature, was of an exemplary disposition, and kept friends she made. She had been a resident of Welland for 27 years, and was born in Crowland, and was the second daughter of the late Alem and Ann Bender. Mrs. Griffiths leaves three sisters and a brother, who were wired of the sad event, and who were at the funeral, which takes place to Doan’s Ridge cemetery at 1.30 this afternoon, from the residence, Division street, Rev. Thompson officiating. The funeral will be private. Besides her husband one daughter, Helena, survives. The sisters and brother are Mrs. Sutherland, Toronto; Mrs. Priestman, Niagara Falls. Mrs. Henderson, Crowland; J.P. Bender, Bay City.


[Welland Telegraph, 10 January 1908]

NIAGARA FALL’S. Jan. 7- The young man, H. Grey Duberley, who committed suicide in his room at Hermitage Hotel, New York City, last evening, is the missing Grand Trunk Railway receiving clerk at the local freight warehouse here. He had been missing since the evening of Dec. 28th. The auditors have been checking his accounts, and although the G.T.R authorities decline to state any amount, it is unofficially known that it will each about six hundred dollars.

Young Duberley, after an unpleasant experience on a farm in Crowland Township, came to this city about three years ago and engaged in a law office, later getting employment in the Grand Trunk offices. He made many friends and when he disappeared it was feared that he had thrown himself over the Falls. Miss Amy Hampshire, to whom he left a letter in his room at New York, is head dressmaker in Newcombe’s department store. It is claimed that the two were merely close friends, not sweethearts.


[Welland Telegraph, 10 January 1908]

Mrs. Robert Brown of Buffalo, who has been a great sufferer from cancer of the leg for years, passed away at the home of her brother-in-law, Sidney Burgess, Randolph Street, on Wednesday at the age of 32 years. She leaves a husband and one daughter to mourn the loss of a kind and loving mother. The funeral takes place on Friday afternoon to Heaslip’s cemetery. Wellandport.


Mrs. McLeod’s Death

[Welland Telegraph, 21 January 1908]

On Sunday afternoon, Jan. 18, shortly after two o’clock, there passed away at the Presbyterian manse, Janet H., beloved wife of Rev. J.W. McLeod, after a lingering illness of six weeks. The deceased was a daughter of Thomas Henry of Berwick, Ont., and was in her thirty-sixth year. She was married on July 4th, 1893 to the Rev. J.W. McLeod, in the township of Finch, where Mr. McLeod was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church there. She is survived by her husband and one son, Willie, aged twelve, her aged father in Cornwall and two brothers-Archibald of Finch Township, and Donald of Seranton, Pa., and one sister, Miss Irene Henry. The deceased was beloved by all who knew here, and her untimely death will be mourned by a host of sympathizing friends, who will extend their heartfelt sympathy to the stricken husband and son.