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.


Fort Erie News

[Welland Tribune, 16 April 1897]

Mrs. William Warren, widow of the late Capt. William Warren of Fort Erie, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. E.E. Risely of Bertie, on Sunday morning after a short illness. Mrs. Warren lived in Fort Erie most of her life where she was well known and beloved for her many good qualities. Always and ever ready to do what she could for those about her, unselfish and generous to a fault, a perfect mother whose first thought was for her children’s happiness; a Christian woman in the truest sense of the term.

Lately Mrs. Warren had made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Harry Ingles of Niagara Falls, and was only in Bertie on a visit. Little did she think that that visit was to be her last, and that she would never return to the Falls.

She leaves three daughters-Mrs. E. E. Risley of Bertie, Mrs. Frank Anderson of Memphis, Tenn., and Mrs. Harry Ingles of Niagara Falls.

The funeral which was attended by her many warm friends, took place on Friday last at St. Paul’s church yard, Fort Erie in a pouring rain. The Ven. Archdeacon Houston and the Rev. Percy Smith, rector of St. Paul’s officiated. The pallbearers were:-Tom Lewis, Tom Warren, Wm. Rainsford, C. Risely, Wm. Anderson and E. Baxter.


Niagara Falls Town News

[Welland Tribune, 16 April 1897]

Miss Margaret Gunn, sister of H.J. Gunn, for long years cashier at the G.T. freight office, died on Thursday, April 8, aged 73, and was buried at Fairview on Monday, Revds. Tapscott and Stevens officiating. Mr. and Mrs. H. Gunn, Toronto, attended the interment. We heartily sympathize with Mr. Gunn in his loss.



13 September 1989

The Green School was built in 1921 as a temporary school at the corner of Thorold Road and Willson Road on railway property.

Due to the heavy industrialization of Welland, the Brick School on Fitch Street also known as the Red School or Stop 20 School had become overcrowded.

The Green School served Grades 1 to 4 and the Brick School became the Senior School for Grades 5 to 8.

The one-roomed Green School was simple furnished with a piano, desks and benches, blackboards, the teacher’s desk, a potbellied stove, boys and girls cloak rooms and out back two seater outhouses. The warm days the teacher taught lessons in the shade of a nearby orchard. This school was in use until 1948 when a new school was built-namely J.C. Bald.

The Green School was used by the Anglican Church for Bible classes as early as the 1920s’ and occasionally throughout the years. On February 16th, 1947, the first session of St. David’s Church School began in the little Green Schoolhouse.

This school later became a Community Centre and at that time St. David’s Church began holding more regular services which led to the building of St. David’s Church. The school was later moved to Fitch Street in 1953 and became a private residence.

All that remains are fond childhood memories and grateful parishioners at St. David’s Anglican Church.


Port Colborne News

[Welland Tribune, 26 March 1897]

Edwin Smith last week received the sad news of the death of his eldest and only brother, Thaddeus Smith, whose demise took place at Bay City, Mich., on 12th inst. deceased was the eldest of his father’s family, and Edwin of this place is now the only surviving member of that family. The following from the Bay City Times-Press of March 13th gives a reliable account of the life of deceased, which will be read with great interest by the friends of the deceased.

“GOOD OLD MAN GONE-It was with great regret, and with some degree of surprise, that the people of Bay City learned of the death of Thaddeus Smith of 614 Seventh street. The dissolution occurred at 3.30 yesterday afternoon, after a short illness of pneumonia, of which he suffered a relapse. Thaddeus Smith was born on Niagara river, June 30, 1811, and at the time of the construction of Welland canal, he assisted in the work, being bookkeeper for the Canadian government. He opened a general store near Brantford, Ont., and was a buyer of grain and a timber speculator. He was caught in the panic of 1857 and lost his fortune. He came to Saginaw 33 years ago, and removed to Bay City in 1864, where he continued to reside, and gained the confidence and esteem of the community for his honesty, uprightness and general worth as a good citizen. Until recent years he followed the business of lumber inspection and shipping. He was always an active member of Trinity church, seldom a Sunday passing but what he was to be found in the family pew. He was treasurer of the Bay county bible society and found his greatest pleasure in church and temperance. He was identified with the prohibition party. He was united in marriage to Catherin Felton at York, Ont., in 1851.There were four children; Mrs. Maria Thomas (deceased), Randall F., of Chicago, Douglass F., of Menominee and Theodore, of Ashland, Wis. D.F. smith was present during the last illness.


Port Colborne News

[Welland Tribune, 9 April 1897]

Mrs. Smith, widow of Thaddeus Smith of Bay City, and sister-in-law of Edwin Smith of this place, died at her home on March 28th –only about ten days after the death of her husband. Mrs. Smith’s name Catherine Felton and she was married in 1851 at York, Ontario. Three children survive.


Port Colborne News

[Welland Tribune, 16 April 1897]

The following sketch from Bay City, Mich., referring to the early life of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thaddeus Smith (whose deaths were recently announced in the TRIBUNE) will be read with much interest. “The death of Mrs. T. Smith recalls to mind a pretty little story concerning her honeymoon and subsequent marriage. Mrs. Smith before her marriage w Catherine Felton. Her parents lived directly across the street from the parents of Mr. Smith, her future husband in York, Haldimand county, Ontario. At her birth Mr. Smith was called in and upon remarking what a pretty child she was, he was jokingly told if he waited for her he could have her for his wife. This remark was taken in earnest by the shy, bashful boy of 19, As the girl grew up to maidenhood, a strong bond of friendship sprang up between them which later ripened into true love, and neither ever had cause to repent of the boy’s determination on that day when she first saw the light.

At the age of 19 she was led to the altar by the man who had waited 19 long years for her, and the union resulted in four children now grown up. Two weeks ago Mr. Smith died at the age of 85 years. He came to this city in 1864 and recouped by judicious lumber investments a fortune made during the construction of the Welland canal and shattered in the panic of 1857. At the funeral Mrs. Smith contracted a slight cold which she could not throw off on account of her advanced age and it developed into pneumonia. Mrs. Smith’s funeral took place on Friday last, when she was laid beside the man on whose strong arm she leaned from the cradle. The couple were universally beloved and respected.


My first years were spent in Northern Ontario, so I grew up with an affinity for Nature and the wonders of what lay hidden in the woods. I appreciated it even more after a move to Niagara Falls and the beginning of school life. There I found my favourite subject was always art. As a young boy, growing up the eldest in a family of six I entertained myself and others with cartoons and caricatures of friends and family, creating my own storyboards and comic “strips”. As a teen, I learned to draw the figure by copying my comic book heroes and when I got to High School I was able to benefit from some skilled teachers. There, I was encourages to experiment with various media including the newly introduced acrylic medium. I was able to try landscapes for the first time. It took me back to my days in the North and the way I saw the wonderful world of Nature.

A life in retail after high school took me away from my art although my creativity never wavered. It was always there, just inside waiting for a chance to come out on a permanent basis. It was after a spiritually transforming experience in the spring of 1998 that I was given the chance to return to school to study art….so being in Toronto at the time I was accepted into the Fine Arts program at the Ontario College of Art and Design. At O.C.A.D., I benefited from the attentions of some of Canada’s most accomplished artists and the tremendous talents of fellow students.  I took courses elsewhere when I could, and was particularly interested in the art derived from dreams and the aboriginal art in Canada and elsewhere in the world. A very special and close friend had a cottage and it was there that I felt the call to pick up the brush of landscapes once again. It was a joy to my heart that had been missing for many years. I also learned to honour the teachings I was receiving in my dreams which came each night in full colour and remained fixed in my mind until I had carefully sketched the details and recorded the colours I was seeing.

After graduating with honours with a diploma in fine arts and a major in drawing and painting I did a few shows but a return to the world of retail again cut into my creativity. I did manage to develop and teach a course in dreams and symbology at the Ottawa School of Art in the fall of 2004 and that convinced me to pursue that at some time in the future. Painting and teaching have finally become a passion and I have structured my working life around that instead of the other way around. This has led to much satisfaction in myself as an artist and teacher, and also as a person. I look forward very much too where Spirit will now take me on this journey.

John does commissions and would happily consider your request to reproduce a special building for you.

Contact # for John is jrbradley1953@hotmail.ca


Niagara Village News

[Welland Tribune, 9 April 1897]

Josiah Bennett Hull, father of J.C. Hull and Mrs. H.G.A. Cook of this village, and of Mrs. Wm. Shepherd of Niagara Falls, died at the latter place on Monday, April 5th, aged 69 years. Mr. Hull was one of the oldest residents of the vicinity, born near Toronto, the son of Richard Hull, a U.E. Loyalist and a veteran of the war of 1812-14. The father belonged to the Incorporated Militia and when Gen. Brock went to Detroit and called for volunteers, he took the bounty of 200 acres of land and went with him. He was also in the battle of Queenston Heights; and was seriously wounded at the battle of Lundy’s Lane. For his services he got 400 acres of land and a pension until his death. He also got a medal, which his son Albert Hull has in his possession. For a long time Josiah Bennett Hull, now deceased, had the contract for carrying the mails between Chippawa and Niagara Falls. Prior to the establishment of the Ontario police, he was a member of Clifton police force. He helped put in the elevator plant in the upper suspension bridge tower, and ran the elevator for two or three years. He also put in the machinery at the whirlpool rapids, and ran the incline there for several years, and he blasted out and helped put in the machine railway for Mr. Colt at the whirlpool. He was always greatly respected in the community in which he lived so many years. The remains were interred at Fairview on Wednesday, Rev. Canon Houston officiating.

John Brown

[History of the Village of Fonthill The Fonthill Women’s Institute, 1944]

The John Brown family were U.E. Loyalists, coming to Canada from the States in 1783. They settled first near DeCew falls in what was then called “The Gore” and in 1797 received three hundred acres of land from the crown.

The father died in 1804 and his son John Brown, who married Mary Damude, daughter of Henry Damude, then moved to a farm near Port Robinson.

John Brown Sr. came to Fonthill about the year 1824 for it was during the time the first Welland Canal was being excavated, and that primarily was the cause of his moving from his farm at Port Robinson. The canal came as far south as Port Robinson where the boats were locked into the Chippawa Creek, from whence they proceeded down the Creek to the Niagara River at Chippawa. The excavating was done mostly with shovels and wheel-barrows, by a rather wild crowd of Irishmen who liked nothing better than a good fight. In fact it was after one particular brawl in which a man by the name of Griffith was evidently killed, for he was never heard of again, that John Brown decided to seek a more peaceful region and traded his farm in Port Robinson for the one in Fonthill where the Browns still live.

At that time there was a frame house on the farm, which later burned and in 1864 was replaced by the present brick home.

John Brown Jr., was three years old when the family came to Fonthill. At that time there was no school in the village, and the first school he attended was situated on the Port Robinson Road in the corner of the farm now owned by Frank Clark. Afterward a small brick school house was built in the village, first of the three to be erected on the site of the present one.

The writer of the Biographical Sketch, a daughter of John Brown Jr., tells: About the time my parents were married an escaped slave came to my Grandfather’s; he had been the personal slave of a Mr Murray, so bore the name Sam Murray. Sam with some other slaves, had received permission to attend a religious ‘camp meeting’ and as they were to be gone two days and a night, they were well on their way before they were missed. Like so many slaves who escaped into Canada, they came by the ‘Underground Railway.’

Sam’s clothes were of fine broadcloth but were in tatters when he arrived here.. He lived several years and was a real friend of the Brown family.

Another interesting item follows: At the time of the Civil War in the States, some rich men who were conscripted by the Army, paid well for substitutes, and men from Canada were sometimes drugged, then taken across the Niagara River and sold. A case of that kind occurred at the old Rice Hotel which stood on the corner, now the lawn at the home of Gordon Haist. A number of men were in the hotel drinking; later one of them wrapped in a quilt, awakened in the Brown’s bush and was able to get home, but two others were never seen again.

Miss Brown continues: My first memory of cutting grain was by hand, with a cradle which left the grain in rows to be bound by hand. The first machine my father owned, drawn by horses, let the grain fall on a table: when enough was cut it was pushed off by a man who sat at the back of the machine. The next reaper had revolving rakes which pushed the grain flat on a table, the driver pressed on a ‘trip’ which caused the rake to force the sheaf off the table. It too had to be bound by hand.

Then came the Binder which cut the grain and bound the sheaves. Now we have ‘combines’which cut and thresh the grain in one operation.

Robert Burton Randall

[History of the Village of Fonthill The Fonthill Women’s Institute, 1944]

In 1849 Robert Burton Randall brought his family from Brookfield, Nova Scotia to Fonthill.

Mr D’Everardo who was instrumental in bringing so many Nova Scotians to the village had promised to have a house ready for his occupancy when he arrived, but when they arrived there was no house and they were forced to stay at the Temperance Hotel kept by Mrs Morton, who afterward became Mrs Samuel Rice.

The Randall family stayed there for a time making beds for the children on the floor: later they moved into the Dance Hall of the old Rice Hotel, where they lived until he bought a house on the lot afterwards owned by Edward Morris.

Robert Randall was a blacksmith and moved to Welland, thinking he could better himself, but died soon after, leaving a wife with eight children.

The family then came back to the home in Fonthill, and his son Nathan built the house where Edward Morris lived for so many years. Robert Randall’s second daughter, Elizabeth, married John Brown Jr., in 1855, thus uniting two pioneer families of our village.

Another daughter, Kate Randall, better known as Cassie, taught school in Fonthill and was beloved by all the children with whom she came in contact. The Randall family were strong Baptists, especially Mrs John Brown, who served as President of the Ladies’ Aid for several years, and was always ready to do anything for the church she loved so dearly.