Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

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Robert Cooper Made County Clerk at 1891 June Session

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 15 June 1926]

“April showers bring May flowers”- a little belated this year, ‘tis true-and June brings County Council session, which may be counted on to show up with no belatedness.

This year’s session marks an anniversary, not for a council member, but for the clerk of that body, for it is thirty-five years ago, back in 1891, that Robert Cooper assumed that office.

Says the paper of those days: “The appointment of a new County Clerk was done in the twinkling of an eye this morning, (Saturday, June 6). Messrs. Cruikshank and Riselay introduced the bill to repeal the old by-law by inserting the name of Robert Cooper in lieu of that of Jos. C. Page, resigned. The bill was duly read and passed without dissent. It is but fair to say, however, that the obstructionist, Zimmerman, was not present when the bill was passed.”

The obstruction referred to came about the previous day when, again quoting from the newspaper, The Clerk read a motion by Morris and Seuss, that the County Clerk, be asked to put in his resignation, to take effect July 1.

Mr. Zimmerman- “I object. Mr. Seuss is not present.”

Mr. Morris, (the late Edward Morris of Fonthill)- “A little explanation is necessary here. It was agreed by both political parties that a member from each should act as movers. The duty fell upon myself, and the Deputy Reeve of Humberstone.”

Mr. Zimmerman- “Under circumstances.”

Mr. Morris- “The deputy did not second it, but Mr. Seuss has agreed to. Now he is not here.”

Mr. Cronmiller- “In the absence of Mr. Seuss, you may put my name down as seconder.”

“The motion was then put and carried out without discussion or dissent.”

Pursuing the newspaper further, it appears evident that the county fathers of those days followed much the same lines as those of today in getting things fixed up outside the council chamber preparatory to their being dealt with on the floor, for the report says: “Caucusing was in full swing until three o’clock, and coming before Council proper met it was well-known that two county offices would be declared vacant and that one of the plums would fall into the Conservative camp and the other into the Grit ranks. G.L. Hobson of Welland drew the first prize-that of County Treasurer-in a brief caucus of his friends. The Grits were no longer in session, but before they returned to the council chamber it was confidently whispered that Robert Cooper of Welland would succeed Mr. Page as County Clerk.

Mr. Hobson’s appointment was in succession to James McGlashan, whose resignation was tendered by himself on account of failing eyesight, and whose service in the office was commended by a resolution passed by the council “in appreciation of his efficient, faithful and honest services.”

C.R. Bennett was the next to assume the office of treasurer, following the death of Mr. Hobson, and the present incumbent, W.H. Garner, succeeded him in 1905, so that he now has twenty-one years’ service to his credit.

The situation in the case of the retiring County Clerk was of a different order. A committee appointed to audit his accounts in connection with the sale of marsh lands submitted a report showing that the sum of $5,959 appeared by the books to have been paid to the clerk between 1873 and 1886, over and above the amount paid over by him to the county treasurer.

This explains the request for his resignation before narrated. The newspaper report of the matter says: “It was a delicate business that faced councillors this morning. No action had yet been taken as to the clerk’s deficit, and all the members seemed loath to open the ball. Joe Page had been a landmark in the county council as its clerk. The older councillors felt disinclined to move against an old friend, while the new men thought that if any movement were made, the first step should be made by members who were at the board while the moneys were being misappropriated.

There were others after these two offices. D. McConachie was willing to fill both at $900 per annum, while John R. Sawle of the Welland Telegraph made application for the clerkship at $300, and Thomas Teskey, Welland, applied for the post of treasurer, without making mention of his emolument.

Warden H.G. Macklem occupied the chair at the session. He told the council that as the Government had not made a grant to the county for the Industrial Home, he believed it had no authority over the Home and no right to order that the bodies of deceased paupers be sent to the medical schools. He had instructed the keeper of the Home not to report deaths of inmates, and expressed belief that the county would not begrudge giving such dead a peaceful grave on the home farm.

On June 2nd the council sent a telegram to Lady MacDonald at Ottawa expressing their sympathy with her in the illness of her husband, Sir John A., whose death occurred June 6th.

The newspaper account of the session closes with a few notes, among them the comment of one member that “Welland County Jail has a continental reputation as a pleasant winter hotel.”

Another member observed that “Welland Town is still the favorite with county councillors generally. A motion to have the county buildings removed to some more appreciative town would no doubt carry by an unanimous vote-outside of the town representatives. Welland appears to ‘get there’ when any offices are being filled, just the same.”

And here’s a warm one to wind up-an observation that would, of course, have no bearing today since the banishment of the bar. Be it remembered that said institution was in full swing back in those days and Councillor Battle “suggested a system of electric bells, connecting the council room with different hotels in the vicinity of the court house.”

The which may draw comment from some of the old-timers, “Ah, Them wuz the days.”




[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 17 June 1926]

             Going back to 1891, which is thirty-five years ago. That may or may not seem a long stretch of time: It all depends. For instance, if you hadn’t happened then, or if you were in the five-year old class or thereabouts, it likely seems a long stretch back. Contrariwise, if you had then been that many years or better in the world yourself, and can remember the things that were happening then, five and thirty years probably does not appear to you as half of a lifetime it does to those who were youngsters then. And it is none too comforting a reflection to realize that is what it really is.

             It all depends. Anyway, perhaps a look-back on the Welland of 1891 as presented in the local papers in the merry month of May of that year may be of interest to the old boys and girls and to those who are not so old.

             Take for example, the ad of O.H. Garner, in which appears the item: “Boat Tickets, Empress of India, 20 trips, $5.” Safe to assert that this same will bring a thrill of reminiscent joy to many an old-timer, for was it not a great day in one’s young life when one went to Toronto, with father and mother aboard that stately palace of the inland sea?

             It was some journey in those days from Welland to Port Dalhousie, for one had to get up in the middle of the night in order to take the 6.41 on the old Grand Trunk.

             A long sight better mode on getting to the boat was behind “Old Maud,” with father driving and mother beside him on the buggy seat, most likely with a lunch basket in her lap, while one was packed in between them seated on a now extinct article of furniture known as a hassock, with the top of the dashboard within easy grasping distance whenever Old Maude strutted an unusual burst of speed. If the family were more extensive, the seating arrangements were more complicated, but they always managed to stow all of them in, some way or other. Beats all what a lot of people a buggy could carry when need arose.

             And if one were a boy he always went along with father to attend to the important business of putting the horse up for the day, which business usually included tipping the hostler the whole of twenty-five cents, and in some cases, a stop with father in a room in the hotel where there was a long, high counter with a rail along the top and another rail on the floor upon which one could stand for a better view of the beautiful decorations, tastefully worked out in soap upon the large mirror on the wall at the back.

             And here was a shirt-sleeved man behind this counter whom father addressed as Eddie or Charley or Old Hoss. And this man would be glad to see father, and would say, “What’ll it be?” and father would answer, “A little Labatts’s and a bottle of pop for the boy.”

             Then the man would serve father a large glass of some amber beverage and the boy would be handed a small bottle with a jigger on the top which the man would drive in with a blow from his hand and decant the foaming contents into a glass, and while one quaffed the sarsaparilla or maybe nectar, father would be putting the contents of his glass into him. Then father would order a seegar, first picking a clove or a few grains of coffee from a glass that stood in the middle of the long counter. These he would chew on, carefully wipe off his moustache, and the merry party would rejoin mother who was waiting at the boat, and who always asked where he had been so long. And father would of steer clear of her and mutter something about meeting a man from Pelham; and you would all go aboard the stately Empress and the trip was on.

             The Empress of India has gone hence-still cleaving the waters of the upper lakes somewhere; a boat book costs $8 now instead of $5, and you get sixteen rides now instead of the twenty; there is no long drive nor tiresome steam railway trip to Port Dalhousie any more. Everything has changed save O.H. Garner, and he is still selling tickets here, there and everywhere.

Good For What Ailed You

             There is another ad of interest, that of W.F. Secord of Welland-“LaGrippe is Here,” and going on to tell that “Thousands of cases have been cured.”

             There has been a lot of grippe around in this year of grace, and some of the sufferers might like to get a little of the curative offered in this old-time ad. The name might be mentioned only for the fact that some of the brethren maintained that it is very hard to get nowadays, and if that were also stated it might be read by some who have cracked lips, and it would be sort of mean to make them laugh, for Brother Secord was booming his Red Rye Whiskey.

Strike On

             Laborers working on an extension of the raceway at Brown Bros’ mill were offered a raise of 12¢, two cents per day, but struck for a 25-cent boost in pay. Nothing doing on that proposition, however, and by noon a full gang was on the job again, glad to get the extra shilling over and above the one dollar per day they been drawing.

New on the Job Then

             W.M. German, M.P., left town to attend to his duties at Ottawa.

             Another prominent citizen (then in the making) also left town, Master Harry Cowper, who went for a visit in Toronto. It is not stated whether or not he travelled on a half-fare ticket.

One Tory to Another Tory

             After noting the politics of the newcomer, one does not need to be told that it was the Welland Telegraph that handed out the following glad-hand: “The new Conservative newspaper, The Standard of St. Catharines, made its appearance on Tuesday and received a cordial welcome at the hands of the public. It is a well got-up sheet, brim-full of spicy local news and vigorous articles. Nicely printed, neatness displayed in every column, and general healthy appearance, such as has characterized it so far, will make it a welcome daily visitor. The Conservatives of London have long felt the need of a good organ, and now The Standard has appeared, and they should liberally support it and keep it up to the degree of excellence it has started with.”

             Evidently, they did and it has; ask J.D. Chaplin, M.P.

Art, or What Have You?

             C. Swayze, photographer at Welland, offered cabinet photos at $1.50 per dozen, and for only $8 one might obtain a dozen cabinets and “a life-size picture, framed in an 18×22 inch gilt frame, with moulding three inches wide, very handsome.”

             The world has moved upward and onward quite a bit, after all, when one looks back at those activities, anyone willing to take a dare, and go in and ask Walter Dixon to get him out such a job?

             Here’s a mean slam at somebody: “Complaints are being made of gentlemen residing on East Main street of allowing their fancy fowls to wander at large to the detriment of the immediate flower beds and lawns.” Chickens would find that a fine grazing ground in these days of the motor car.

             Any of the old-time horsemen will testify that Billy always knew how to handle the ribbons, and here is a news item that shows it: “W.J. Best’s horse tried to run away, but by the quick and timely action of its master his mad career was cut short without any damage being done.”

Precursor of the Bob

             Wonder what in heck the lower portion of the uniform consisted of? In those days real gents were supposed to blush vividly and look the other way at the exposure of anything above a jane’s shoe, and surely, they could not have worn bloomers. But here’s the item: “A girls’ baseball club is the latest addition to Welland’s sporting fraternity, and it’s the most handsome nine in the district. The club rejoices under the name of the Sunflowers. The members wrangle over strikes, fouls, outs etc., and raise the temperature for the umpire, just like a league club. An exhibition game by this club will be a big attraction at the county fair.”

They Had No Bananas Maybe, But-

             The following liquor licenses were granted in Welland: J.R. Dowd, W.J. McCoppen, Wm. Earley, G.W. Ramey, J.B. Flynn, J.C. Seglehurst, D. Poole, Brown Bros. and W.F. Secord.

             C.H. Reilly had some new lines of gents’ fine congress gaiters.

             The business card of W.H. Lowe, carriage painter and agent for sewer pipe, seems to hook up with our present city assessor.

             B. Lundy announced the removal of his book and stationery store to the Griffith block, near the postoffice; and it is gratifying to note that he makes a strong play on his stock of Bibles and hymn books.

             The Ross Co. then carried a complete line of boots and shoes, and they had just purchased 50 suits of men’s clothing which they offered at $5 a suit.

Most of the Telegraph’s single editorial column is devoted to calling The Tribune this, that and other anent political matters, which were evidently stronger meat then than in these days.

The Pioneer of Boom Fonthill

             An item in the correspondence from that up and coming village says: “Mr. John Gore, the ninety-year old furniture merchant, has added baby carriages to his business.”

Social Note from Falls View

             “If that poor, hungry, emaciated individual who stole the eatables at the party held in Stamford Temperance Hall last week, will return the basket and plates, no further questions will be asked.”

             That is that, but on the other hand, listen to this one from Stevensville: “Mr. Lepper of Thorold will be engaged at the mason trade with us this summer. Mr. Lepper will be an addition to our society’s circle.”

Thorold Challenges the Ancient Egyptians

             “Mr. A.W. Butler is to be congratulated upon the excellent manner in which he preserved the body of Joseph P_ for a week, no change being noticeable.”

Port Colborne Troy Knock for W.M.

             “Mr. German has been elected not quite two months, and the shipping was never so bad in the spring as at the present time.”




[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 16 March 1922]

              We hate like sin to tell it, brothers and sisters, and no disloyalty should impute to us for the telling. It is printed here to forestall the possibility of its first getting to that Ananias Sapphira Munchaussen who writes for this paper out there, for it may be imagined how the tale would then be magnified and distorted.

             A resident of this neck of the wood who is in California for the winter, writes that one day near the Southern Pacific station in San Francisco he was asked  for a direction by a passing stranger, who it developed in the course of the conversation, was from Montreal.

             Our friend of course gladly announced that he was from Canada, too, and named Welland as his abiding place. The other Canadian looked rather nonplussed for a moment, following which the light of recognition crossed his features and he delivered this astounding response: “Welland, Welland? Yes, I have heard of it. Let me see, Isn’t it somewhere near Fonthill?”!!!!

             Boy, page the Industrial Commissioner!


             The only redeeming feature about the above is that the Montrealer did not link us up with Dunnville. But then he likely never heard of that place at all, for Montreal is outside of Reneu’s jurisdiction.


             The magistrate at St. Catharines is assessing Sunday drunks $15, while the fine for this offense on week days is a ten-spot.

             This doesn’t seem exactly fair. Were you ever in St. Kitts on a Sunday? What else is there to do?


             They have landed another industry at Bridgeburg, the Fedders Mfg. Co.

             No, they do not make stuffing for pillow ticks; their product belies the name, for they manufacture radiators.

             Straws usually show which way the wind blows, but in the case of the industrial breeze at Bridgeburg, it seems to be Fedders.

             Congratulations to the border burg. And it will mean more people to come to Welland when they want to get a really safe distance away from the U.S.A.




[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 27 June 1922]

             Full twenty years have we known Alex Griffiths, and his passing on leaves a gap in the ranks of the Old Guard of Welland, whose acquaintance we first formed that long ago.

             Two incidents in connection with him come to memory. One was that he made the first set of driving harness we owned. That was back in the days when a good roader and a red-wheeled, rubber-tired road wagon or runabout, was the equivalent of today’s six-cylinder car; and if the outfit were topped by a set of Alex Griffiths’ handmade harness, the last word was said. And the fact that this same set is still doing service today is pretty good evidence that he tried to deliver the goods in his dealings with his fellow men.

             The other follows later, when a little boy, a two or three year old, would sometimes come to town with daddy. Whenever son saw Alex Griffiths, there arose an enthusiastic shout of greeting, and followed a prompt transfer of the charge of one small boy from us to him.

             The two would disappear in the direction of the bridge, there to await the coming of what the small son termed “a bid bote,” from which inspection they would return together, a bag of peanuts, popcorn or candy always in the hands of the small boy, and the two of them manifesting every evidence of having had a mighty good time.

             That boy is an older boy today, but he remembers and will always remember the kindness of Alex Griffiths; and, when you come to think it over, a man could not leave a much better monument to his memory than that builded upon the affection of a little child.

The following canto..

             ..goes a lot further back than twenty years; in fact it is a glimpse of the Merrittville of the 1850’s-“on the corner of West Main and North Main streets stood a long Gothic building, the property of Seeley & Betts. The front of this building contained a store while in the rear were apartments for dwellings. On the opposite corner the late Elias Hoover (sire of D.D. Hoover) kept the Welland house. Across from the store Wm. A. Bald had a dry goods store, and west of that stood his residence. There were no railways, and the canal, which was west of the present one, was content to have its boats hauled through by horse power and tow ropes. Steamboats were few and far between. The bridge over the river was an old wooden structure without a railing. Among the business firms were Daniel McCaw, who did shoemaking; (the business is still conducted under the family name), Mr. Shrigley sold drugs; Wellington Hellems kept a furniture store; Betts & Seeley had a sawmill. There was no jail; no church-an old log school house where model school now stands (later the Y.M.C.A.) served both as church and school and was lighted by tallow candles; oftentimes the members of the congregation bringing their own candles with them. The side walks were either Mother Earth or two planks with a space between them.


              “A new industry will be established in Welland shortly with a capital of $150,000. It will be known as the Welland Tin Plate & Sheet company, limited.”-People’s Press. Yeah

 The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune

28 February 1929


Some Gleanings From First 1884 Issue of Welland Tribune

             Older residents of the city and Welland county will be interested in the first copy of the Welland Tribune issued in 1884, the 27th year of that paper.

             The legal cards, all of Welland show A. Williams, J.F. Saxon, Harcourt & Cowper (Richard Harcourt and T.D. Cowper), W.M. German, and L.D. Raymond, father of Col. L. Clarke Raymond.

             Physicians are:Dr. J.E. Hansler, Fonthill; Dr. M.K. Collver, Stevensville; Dr. Burgar, Dr. Cook and Drs. Schooley & Montague, Welland; Dr. Park, Port Robinson.

             Hamilton Weller is the Welland dentist and the only member of that profession here using a professional card.

             The British Hotel, Thorold, John Coan, proprietor; and the Windsor Hotel, opposite the court house, Welland, B. Noble, both make mention of their well-stocked bars as well as their stable accommodations.

             Farms and other real estate are advertised by the following: F. Swayze, G.W. Winney, A.C. Yokum, G.W. Spencer, W.H. Hellems, D. D’Everardo, Welland; Sam’l Reece, Pelham; Samuel Morse, Niagara Falls South; H.N. Wilson, Marshville; Paul Beam, Stevensville; Robert and Wm. T. Cook, Port Colborne.

             E.R. Hellems solicits business as an auctioneer.

             James Haun, jr., Ridgeway, advertises for a teacher for S.S. No. 12 Bertie.

             P.H. Bouck, near Fonthill, has an estry buck sheep, and asks the owner to come and get him.

             Various articles are offered for sale by Robert Spence, Niagara Falls South; J. Jepson jr., Niagara Falls Town; James Garner, Fenwick; Jas. H. Hodges, Welland; and R.L. Benner, Port Colborne.

             A. Reid, secretary, Crowland, gives notice at the annual meeting of the Welland County Agricultural Society.

             T.H. Macoomb announces a new term for piano and organ instruction and Eddie Macoomb’s new class for the violin at Welland; Miss Alice A. M. Hopkins of Port Colborne was another instructor in the musical arts.

             Geo. H. Burgar issues marriage licenses at the post office, Welland.

             Election cards by J.R. Haun, Port Colborne; Herbert Griffiths and Geo.Stalker of Welland, and Sylvester Smith of Stamford.

             J. Murison Dunn, B.A., Head Master, gives notice of the re-opening of Welland High School.

             Geo. J. Duncan, Sheriff, gives notice of a sale of lands.

             Business houses advertising are C.J. Page, Orient block, Welland; C.B. Bennett, Port Robinson mill; M. Whalley & Co., clothiers, Welland. T. Griffith, dry goods, etc., Welland; Peter McMurray, stove and tin store, Welland; Carter and Benner, Port Colborne, lumber wagons and sleighs; Brown Bros., wines and liquors, Welland.

             George Baxter was County Judge and Division Court Clerks were G.L. Hobson, Welland; Edward Lee, Marshville; Thomas Newbigging, International Bridge; John A. Orchard, Drummondville; George Keefer, Thorold; A.K. Scholfield, Port Colborne.

             Railway timetables show the Great Western Air Line, the Michigan Central and the Welland Railway, now Canadian National.

             Further advertisements are Stone & Wellington, Fonthill Nurseries; T.L. Nichols, architect, Welland; A. Hurrell, Amigari, general merchant; C.H. Reilly, boots and shoes, Welland; E.A. Gill, marble works, Welland; E. Cutler, Ridgeway, contractor and general store; Thos. H. Madgett, photographer, Welland; H.W. Hobson, druggist, Welland; H.N. Hibbard, notary public, Ridgeway; J. Priestman jr., and J.F. Hill, insurance, Welland; R.H. Tisdale, Attercliffe and Gearin Bros., Thorold, insurance.

             Financial advertisements by John Broadwood, Niagara Falls South, and J. McGlashan, Welland, manager Imperial Bank.

             Samuel House, Stevensville and H.A. Rose, Welland, offer general merchandise, and James Bridges, Welland, announces the sale of his store to Taylor Bros.

             J.H. Stanley has a large ad of his stores at Port Colborne and Dunnville.

             Miss C. Hooker is another piano and organ teacher, at Welland, and C. Swayze another photographer.

             Thomas Cumins, Welland, extols Sulfphur and Iron Bittters at 50¢ the bottle, in a halfcolumn ad; White Bros., carriage makers, opposite the Dexter House, Welland, announce that they “have in their livery department a good, and safe stud of horses, stylish carriages, open and top buggies etc., ready for the road at all times,” while Warren Spence, Drummondville, advertises an extensive stock of carriages, harness, etc.

             F. Swayze is an accountant and conveyancer at Welland, and H.D. Lock and W.H. Turner, merchant tailors.

             Z.W. Durkee, Thorold, offers pianos, organs and sewing machines at 20 per cent off, and R. Moderwell advertises the Thorold Hardware Store and public telephone office.

             J.H. Burgar, Medical Hall, Welland, is agent for Galvanic and Faradic batteries.

             L.E. Browne, District Master, calls the annual meeting of the Niagara District Lodge Orange Young Britons at Port Robinson, and George Elliott of that place advertises his coal yard.

             Mrs. Emma Price, West Main St., Welland, has a hang-over notice of her store being headquarters for Santa Claus. T.H. Allen, International Bridge has a similar ad of Christmas groceries, and G.A. Rysdale of Niagara Falls Village, announces that he has opened a meat market on Ferry street, next to town hall. Another new store is that of Alex McQuinn at the Canada Southern Junction.

             Dr. Brewster, Ridgeway, is not only that but conducts a drug store as well.

             Ross & Co., Dry Goods, Welland, offer a belated Merry Christmas as do Balfour & Co. of Port Colborne.

             And that brings the end of the old names revealed through the advertising columns. There are a lot more such in the news sections, but that is another story-maybe.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

14 January 1926

“Automobile in town. Getting more like N.Y. every day.”

              J.F. Gross, M.L.A. is now the owner of a steam automobile, the first in Welland. It is a one-seated vehicle and new and up-to-date in every particular. Mr. Gross made the purchase in Buffalo and immediately put it to the test by making the run from Buffalo to Welland that day.

People’s Press

22 September 1903

Welland Had Her First Horseless Carriage Less Than 23 Years Ago



             Sept. 19, 1903, less than twenty-three years ago, is a date marking the opening of an epoch in which the city is still living and one enjoyable or contrariwise to the inhabitants thereof, according to whether they have the good fortune to sit calmly behind the steering wheel and placidly watch the pedestrians precariously leaping from curb to curb; or whether they perforce emulate the nimble chamoix in a series of more or less graceful hops that carry them from one side of the street to the other.

             In other words, on that date the then and still intrepid J.F. Gross, then as now truly the captain of his soul, drove the first horseless carriage to appear upon the streets of Welland; and if the dope of the old-timers is right, the first one to be propelled anywhere in the Niagara District.

             And she was some lil’ old boat, that bus, according to the tales of the said old-timers.

             She wagged her tail, barked gleefully and came to heel, more or less, at the call of her name, which was Kensington Steamer; and she set the present Solicitor back all of $345, freight and duty paid.

             And the driving of her was some trick-a far cry from the easy job of this day. The levers and thingamajigs were decidedly complicated and in addition to keeping ones eyes on the machine, Mr. Gross had to keep the other peeled for approaching horse-drawn rigs. When one of the latter hove insight it was generally necessary to bring the Kensington to a dead stop, while the legal luminary vaulted lithely or climbed slowly to the ground, took the meeting equine by the short hair or the bridle, and led him or her safely past the waiting horseless vehicle.

             Should Brother Gross omit this Stop stuff at the near approach of a horse, he had to eventually pull it off just the same; only the procedure was lengthened by his having to assist in prying the horse out of the limbs of a tree or from the cross-arm of a telegraph pole, aid in assembling the scattered fragments of the attached rig, speak some mollifying words to the other driver, and whisper to him that he come into the office tomorrow, when J.F. would write a more or less sizable cheque to cover the damage done; and all would again go merry as a marriage bell.

             Somebody gives Pete McMurray as authority for the statement that these stunts with the cheque book got so repetitious that Mr. Gross finally employed an outrider to precede his flaming chariot, tooting loud blasts on a trumpet, that oncoming horse drivers might take warning; and either turn down the first concession or anchor their steeds firmly to a convenient tree or snake fence.

             But let it be remembered that Pete wasn’t the good churchman in those days that he is today; and it may be, and likely is, that this stuff is only a pipe-dream.

             Reference is made to the Gross flaming chariot; that is no far-fetched raze on this predecessor of the tin one of today; for, to relieve any probable monotony, the contraption used to catch fire every so often; and when that happened, there was no slow climbing to the ground on the part of Signor Gross; he leapt, and he leapt pretty darn quick, with no quibbles about it.

             This little idiosyncrasy of the Kensington continued to her last days, ever when she had passed from the Gross kennels into the hands of Billy Wilson, sometime landlord of the old Mansion House. Mr. Gross got so used to the fiery-flames act that he used to just sit around, and let herself burn till she got tired of it or burned out; but mine host Wilson, the first time he found himself giving himself an imitation of Abednego, or whoever it was that wallowed in the fiery furnace, lost his head entirely, headed the boat for the canal, (it happened just about where the post office now stands) and by the time the Boniface was landing all spraddled out on the green sward of the canal bank, the smoking monster was plunging under the waters of the canal; and it took George Wells and the whole fire company to drag her out on terra firma again.

             But she went on running, just the same so that’s the kind of a boat she was. Cars wuz cars then.

             The Kensington liked like a buggy with a sewing machine, a hot-water boiler, and such-like didoes tacked under the box; and she made more noise than Hartley Horton’s threshing outfit coming down the Canboro Road according to the bards of yesteryears.

             So much for what purports and appears to be the first motor car hereabouts. There is a tale about a car constructed by Ben Neff of Port Colborne, all on his own; using a cold chisel, a hammer, a screwdriver and a can-opener to assemble parts obtained from goodness knows where. But the Neff outfit seems to post-date that of Mr. Gross, which was a real, sure’nuf boughten car.

             If this historian is wrong, anybody who can tell it better has the floor.

First Garages

             In the classified business directory of the latest edition of the Welland City directory, there are no less than thirty-eight businesses listed in connection with automobiles-garages, auto repairs and parts, painting, tops and trimmings, etc. Some of these are duplicates, but at that; the number to say nothing of the number of cars upon the streets, bespeak the part the automobile plays in the life of today.

             And yet it was only fifteen years ago, back in 1911, that Welland had its first automobile agency; that of W.G. Somerville & Sons, who handled the now defunct E.M.F. and Flander’s cars which in due course merged into the Studebaker of today, which that firm still handles.

             They received the first carload of automobiles reaching Welland consigned to a dealer. There were three of them; and one went to the late former Mayor of Welland, George W. Sutherland; the second to Dr. Garner, then in practice here; and the third was held by the firm for display.

             The first Ford did not burst upon the landscape until 1912. While the E.M.F. and the Flander’s have gone to the bourne whither have departed croquet, the bustle, ping-pong and calf less skirts, the Ford still lingers and may still be seen now and then about the streets of our fair city, according to Gerry Nash, who now acts as intermediary between Henry Ford and the general public hereabouts.

             In fact, it may be set down that there are quite some Fords going; and no doubt Brother Nash will be pleased to furnish specific statistics as to their numbers; he being fully qualified to hand-out the tall ones.

             But the late Richard Moore, father of Postmaster W.H. Moore, was the first one to wish the Ford on this municipality; and during his first year with the agency he sold the tremendous total of thirty cars, which does not include tractors, either; the last having not then been invented.

             And who drove the First Ford in Welland? C.J. Laughlin, of the Laughlin Realty Company, was the first man to shake the reins over a Lizzie. That is no small honor, which does not seem to be the case as regards another and vacant niche in the local Hall of Fame, which should be filled by the man who tossed-off the first glass of 4.4. Much digging has failed to reveal any one who will admit that this distinction can be wished on him.

             But that is another story for some future day and makes it time to close this one.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

30 March 1926



             So, the new Reeta Hotel has an ice plant that will turn out half a ton of ice a day for the guests.         Looks like Brother Lambert had spent a little too much money in this direction, what with forty-two rooms and a corresponding number of guests to push the button for ice-water in the morning. Besides which, the morning after demand is not what is used to be, not what it used to be. And look how the ice consumption has been cut down since John Collins and Colonel G. Rickey joined the ranks of the late lamented. And the Walker boys, Hiram and Johnnie, they used to use up a lot of ice too. But they are all gone now, if not forgotten; and with this quartette out of it, half a ton of ice per diemsort of looks likes over-production.

             The topic of discussion at last week’s meeting of the B.Y.P.U. was Sources of Happiness.

Wonder if Single Blessedness got its deserved recognition?

             The Welland County Hospital is going to make provision for more maternity wards.

The Hospital Board must be keeping an eye on Fonthill.

             It is to be hoped that everybody read thoroughly last week about the Empire Cotton Mill plant. One who has seen similar plants in some of New England mill towns has good cause to get chesty over Welland’s possessing this one. Not merely from the commercial standpoint, which is some big item for the city, but in the underlying spirit of man’s humanity to man the story tells.

             If nominations of employers of labor who are not in the Simon Legree class, are in order, Manager J.D. Payne and his superintendent, Thomas F. Cuddy, are two mighty good names to play. The whole city will join in saying “Atta Boys!”

             Do they call it the Rotary Club because they think one good turn deserves another?

             Last Saturday’s market report says onions jumped from 75 cents to $1.20 per basket. No one dast hit us if we say onions seem to be getting stronger?

             And cow’s tongue is listed in the market report at 45 cents. Suppose one started a dinner with ox-tail soup and finished with this cow’s tongue; that would be sort of finishing with the start and starting with the finish.

             It says that at Oddfellow’s Hall the other night, the special dance, where lights were dimmed and the moon turned on, was especially enjoyable. Went to a little stag gathering the other evening. The host did not turn on the moon, but he poured out a little moonshine, and that was especially enjoyable too.

             Welland Not the Dearest Place on Earth says one of our recent headlines. And that may be proved by L.V. Garner, W.H. Crowther, John Cooper and some others; Fonthill is evidently dearer to those fellows or they wouldn’t have moved out there.

             There is an old saying that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country. That does not apply in the case of Welland’s new Doctor of Divinity. Knox College can confer no higher mark of honor upon Rev. J.D. Cunningham than the honor and esteem in which he is held here.

             According to the report at the Board of Trade, that new pipe line is till nothing more than a pipe dream.

             An editorial last week said that St. Catharines has a higher tax rate than Welland and that about the only joy the Welland taxpayer has is the realization that in St. Kitts they have to pay more. There is another and much greater joy for the Welland taxpayer-he doesn’t live in St. Catharines. To pay the higher taxes and live there too, would be a mighty tough combination.

             Reeve S.A. Thomas, down at Port Robinson, advertises a fresh milch cow for sale. Everybody knows Sam never did have any use for anybody who tried to get fresh with him; maybe that’s why he is selling the cow.

             Miss S.E. Oill of the teaching staff of the Fonthill Public School is good enough to contribute the following: Some of the school boys howlers quoted in the papers are only too real. The other day one of your young folks told us, “The hard part of our body is the bones and the soft part is the brains.” And a short time ago this came from another, “If impure air gets into your sistom, it will harden the lining of your stummick.” Still another, “Our chief export to China is missionaries.” And, “A harbour is a place to get your hair cut.” The above is a mighty welcome contribution. Can’t Welland produce some juvenile emanations to match them? Let us hear from you Sisters. And this does not bar Brothers McCuaig and Flower.

             The latest addition to the ranks of the Welland Chess Club is Chief of Police Crabb. That is going to be mighty handy for the other players, for it’s all in the day’s work for him to say, “It’s your move.” But we hope the Chief is a better chess player than we are, otherwise, he will crab the game.

             Our hat is respectfully raised to the women of the Welland Daughters of the Empire. Did you scan their annual report posted last week? When you consider what these women are doing towards the betterment of life here, and elsewhere, your own head will be uncovered too. Furthermore, it will give you an idea of why the Creator did not stop at his first attempt, Man, but went ahead and turned out something really worth while.     You may be covered, gentlemen, but just keep the thing in mind.

             It is said there are only two seats in the Lambert Theatre which give anything but a perfect view of the stage. It is a safe bet that we will always sit in one of them whenever we happen to attend. That’s foreordained.

             W.D.S. Fraser and the other members of the Board of Trade who stand sponsor for the proposed Boy’s Municipal Council are on the right track. This work of taking in hand the coming generation of our citizens and giving them an idea of civic procedure is most commendable. It will be invaluable training for the boys and their day will reap the full benefit therefrom. But why any distinction between the sexes? As matters are shaping now, the women will likely be running things by the time these young fellows get in the game; and that being the case, why not line up the girls, too, and give them a chance to learn the ropes?

             “Touch Up The Court Room.” That’s what the heading said, but somehow court room and a little touch-up do not seem to synchronize.           Provincial Constable Gurnett is a Sherlock Holmes, all right. And so is License Inspector George Elkins. They go to foreigners to search for liquor; do they waste time digging under the floor for it? They do not; they do not. They pry off the ceiling and bag their game. Cause Why? They know that good things come high.

It was a shock the other day, that headline, ANOTHER OLD LANDMARK GONE. Reading on, we saw it wasn’t Clayte Page’s hat.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph-2 March 1922


Gleanings From A Welland Telegraph of 1886



             A good deal of water has gone under the bridge at Welland the last forty years. That strikes one in a look-back on the Welland of 1886 afforded in a copy of the Welland Telegraph of March 19 of that year. Old Wellanders of those days will doubtless be interested in recalling the times and events recorded in its columns, and the newer ones may care to glance back at the town that preceded the city of the present age.

             City Treasurer A.W. Jackson has graciously dug up the dusty archives of his office, and reports that the town then boasted a population of 1850 and that Richard Morwood was the incumbent of the mayor’s chair.

             The paper itself is an eight-page sheet of six columns, published by Sawle & Snartt and issued every Friday at $1 per annum in advance; otherwise $1.50.

             Column one of the front page is devoted to professional and business cards. The medical men are Dr. A.B. Knisley, Stonebridge; Dr. J.E. Hansler, Fonthill; Dr. McKeague, Wellandport; Dr. C.T. Krick, Marshville; and Dr. J.T. Carroll with an office at Main and Frazer Streets, and Dr. S.H. Glasgow office over Garden’s store, in Welland.

             Next comes the legal profession, and her one finds names of today-W.M. German and Harcourt & Cowper (Richard Harcourt and T.D. Cowper); the former with an office in the Frazer House and the latter opposite the court house. Also L.D. Raymond, father of our Col. Clarke Raymond, and A. Williams, rounding out the list of barristers at the county seat. J.F. Saxon had a law office at Fort Erie and Pattison & Collier maintained offices at St. Catharines and Thorold, and the senior partner was in Welland every Thursday.

             Hamilton Weller practiced dentistry in the Griffith Block, Welland, and H.G.A. Cook of Drummondville, visited the town on Wednesdays over H.A. Rose’s store, West Main Street.

             George Ross was a surveyor, and insurance agents were F. Swayze & Son and S.H. Moore of Welland, and Chas. Treble, Fort Erie.

             E. Box and E.R. Hellems were auctioneers at Welland and John Weiss at Stevensville.

             Hotel cards are the Queen’s Hotel at Welland, Wm. Early, “Best of liquors always on hand”; the Brunswick House, Niagara Falls; F.T. Walton, where “Driving or sleighing parties will find good accommodation and large rooms for entertainment at all times,” and the Durham House, Wellandport, L. Durham, which offered much cordial hospitality in the announcement that “A large barn and driving sheds have been added to the house, and an attentive hostle is always on hand.” The bar is supplied with the choicest wines, liquors and cigars.”

             Passing, more or less regretfully, from memories of these bonifaces, the local news is found. The old town wasn’t doing any too badly according to the following item: “We were informed by a gentleman of this town, a large employer of labor, that there was not an unemployed carpenter in town, and that he had a lot of work standing for want of hands.” “There is,” he added, “more work of all kinds than there are men to do it.”

             What’s this! Boy, page Billy Wilson, sometime of the Mansion House and now of His Majesty’s Customs. Tonight at the rink the five mile race for the championship of the County of Welland will be skated for a prize of $20 to first, and $10 to second. We are told the following entries have been made: W.W. Wilson, T. Holder and L. Asher, of Welland; D. Mitchell, J. Blout and J. Cook, Niagara Falls; and McIntosh of Thorold. The gentlemen entering have a local celebrity and a pleasant, exciting contest may be expected, that will be of more than passing interest.

             Not only sports were a part of life, but lovers of the Thespian art, had something to look forward to. For there was coming at Orient Hall for one week, Robert H. Baird, making this third annual tour of the province and his first appearance in Welland, in such sterling offerings as “Uncle John,” the Irish drama; “The New Cathleen,” that beautiful domestic drama; “Cast Adrift,” not to mention, “Hand and Glove,” and crowning all, that heart-throbber of old, “Lady Audley’s Secret.”

             And the sheik of this day, who has to wreck a five-spot for a night at the show with his favorite queen, may well look with regret at the era of the ten-twent and thirt, for the popular prices of 10 and 20 cents were announced.

             A cricket club was organized with these officers: Hon. Pres. R. Harcourt, M.M.P. President Jno. McCaw; Vice-President, Major Snartt; Secretary-Treasurer A.F. Crow and Sidey, Sears, Garden and Jackson on the management committee.

             Lenten services at Holy Trinity Church were conducted by Rev. R. Gardiner.

             Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Shotwell, from which family the name of one of our streets is derived, gathered to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, proceeding to the Shotwell home from the residence of M. Beatty. The honored couple were presented with a silver cruet, butter knife and mustard spoon, a crystal shell plate, and, of course (for no function would have been complete in those days without one) a silver and crystal pickle dish. “When ‘twas nearing midnight, or had perhaps reached that hour, the guests departed for their homes, well pleased with an evening well spent.” The explanatory and somewhat apologetic reference to the breaking up hour indicates that our elders kept better hours than the present generation with whom midnight is but just the spank of the evening.

             An ice race was pulled off the previous week. The footing was soft and slushy. C.F. Dunbar’s “Victor” was the winner over C. McNeil’s “Little Gertie”and W. Best’s (our own Billy, maybe) “Nellie Grey.”     

             Fire destroyed the planing mill of Rounds & Sons and O.E. Rounds, with a loss of $7000. The mill was originally built by Ebenezer Seeley in 1848. It laid idle from 1859 to 1870, when it was reopened by the Rounds’. The location was near the old Beatty plant on North Main Street.

             In the Personals the following names are noted: Rev. P.K. Foot of Port Colborne, who was to hold service at the Welland Baptist Church and Grand Trunk travelers reported by the agent, O.H. Garner: J.C. Page, Colin Campbell, James Sayers, James Farr, H.A. Rose, J.B.Brasford, Geo. Cowper, J.H. Burgar, J.V. Strawn, John Hill, E.W. Damback, Richard Foster, W. Michner.

             A column is devoted to the police court proceedings in the case of a couple of Wainfleet cut-ups who drove to Welland, got all lit-up and were charged with “defaming the Lord’s Day and with drinking in a riotous manner through the streets;” the riot including firing a revolver in the course of the joy ride. Fine and cost of thirty days. Fine paid. Which was the end of a perfect day.

             The old burg must have been one grand little fashion centre. It is recorded that J.E. Whalley had gone to Europe to buy his stock of gent’s furnishing goods.

             These names are mentioned in a report of annual meeting of the Niagara District Division Pomona Grange: John A. Ramsden, James J. Moore, Elliot Henderson, E.F. Leidy, E.W. Fares, S.W. Hill, Jonas Sherk, Duncan Schooley, Alexander Servos, David Fritz, John Scholfield.

             There is a column and a half editorial about the raceway, in which the paper takes issue with The Tribune, and another editorial hands the following can of raspberries to an esteemed contemporary of the present day: “If Niagara Falls Review is not meeting with as much success and patronage as desired, it is not to be wondered at. Its pages are sicklied o’er with the bilious hue of jealousy, and its time appears to be devoted to continued mournful plaints of the ill treatment it receives from its neighbors. There is nothing tries the patience of the public more than a man with a grievance. A more admirable method and a mere certain road to success for the Review would be to stick strictly to business and not waste so much valuable time pulling other people to pieces.”

             Ho Hum. Journalism is more peaceful nowadays. Likewise, decidedly tamer. It would be difficult to picture Bro. Duff thusly walloping Bro. Leslie or the latter countering in like manner.

             At Niagara Falls: “The mud and soft roads have surrounded us.” “Arrived the first robin of the season, on Wednesday, a.m.” (March 17).

             Divertisment of the cognoscenti at the cataract. “Buckley’s roller rink was well patronized Tuesday evening, and every visitor was well satisfied that Buckley had furnished the curiosity of the day and hour. At 9 o’clock the trained mare, “Dolly Stone,” was led into the circle and the performance commenced. She selected the colored ‘kerchiefs, picked up the half-dollar, walked the six-inch plank and balanced on it to the satisfaction of everybody. But her great feat was skating on rollers-genuine, graceful skating, without either tumbles or mishaps. We can not describe the performance, for to have a knowledge of Dolly’s wonderful acts, they must be seen.”

             Those were present at a meeting of the offices of the 44th Battalion: Col Morin, M.P.P. Majors Bender and Tatters all, Surgeons Oliver and Glasgow, Adjutant Brennan, Captains James, Greenwood, Raymond, McMicking and Barwell; Lieutenants Vandersleuys, Bradley, Abbott, McKenzie McIntyre, and Skinner.

             Every countryside correspondent makes passionate and bitter mention of Mud! Mud! Mud!!!

             At Fonthill, “Another pleasant party was held at D’Everardo hall, under the management of Dr. Emmett.”

             That’s about all on the four pages carrying stuff of local interest; the inside four being made up of clips.

             There is a goodly volume of advertising, Pursel Bros., Welland, tell the world that business is booming in their men’s clothing, furnishings and hats and caps. Menno House is in his new quarters at Stevensville with a large stock of general merchandise. Sundry legal notices bear the name of Sheriff Geo. J. Duncan; D.W. Horton, President, and W.T. House, Secretary, call the annual meeting of the Horse Bleeders’ Association at the Mansion House, Welland. J.H. Stanley of Port Colborne tells the femmes about some perfectly grand spring millinery.

             Mr. Vanderburgh informs the great unwashed of Welland that he has employed a first class barber, and also that he had “fitted up a nice bath room, which is constantly supplied with hot and cold water, and hope to receive patronage of the general public for the same.”

             Welland market reports quotes fall wheat at 76¢ and spring at 70¢, oats 28¢, eggs 14¢, butter 16¢, potatoes 50¢, pork 5 and 6¢, beef 4 and 5¢. Bran was 70¢ and middlings 75¢ with corn meal at $120 to $2 and chop $1.

             Lookit, lookit! Coal, egg and chestnut, $5 and $5.25. (Business of regretful sobs from the householders).

             F. Macoomb, at the Beehive, Welland, advertised some grocery snaps, and H.B. Hyatt was prepared to supply furniture. C. Swayze was an “Instantaneous, dry plate” photographer, besides stocking some nifty Chromes.

             Thomas Griffith, dry goods, etc. had a “holiday announcement” the same being a trifle stale along in March. H.W. Hobson, Palace Drug Store, also offered photograph albums with which to entertain callers. Brown Bros. paid cash for wheat at the feed store next to their liquor store, thus saving the farmers many steps. J.H. Burgar, chemist and druggist.

             O.H. Garner must have conducted sort of an antediluvian five-and-ten what with “Vases, with or without flowers; photo albums, large and small; ladies and gents’ companions; picture frames, cabinet, plush and easel; poets, 75¢ to $4; miscellaneous and toy books; autograph albums, gold pens and pencils, ladies and gents pocketbook companions and plush looking glasses, views of Niagara Falls; violins, accordions and mouth organs.”

             J.F. Hill, general insurance. B. Bridges, “The finest stock of groceries in Welland,” and pure wines and liquors. T. Best’s clothing house, Port Colborne, Geo. Stalker, the Glasgow Grocery, Welland. Imperial Bank, with eleven branches throughout Canada, M.R. Detenbeck, Stevensville, J. Brasford, leather store, McCleary & McLean , planing mill, Thorold.

             J. James, merchant tailor, International Bridge-“Try James’ First Prize Pants, only $4, made to order.” C.J. Page, groceries, hardware, crockery; Orient Hall, Welland. Thomas Cumines, druggist AND pure wines and spirits, Ross Co., mantles, shawls, etc., etc., including ladies shirts, but no mention of any for gents.

             And last, but not least-decidedly not, in view of their then importance in the scheme of things: Perry Davis Pain Killer, Campbell’s Cathartic Compound, Campbell’s Tonic Elixir, Burdock Blood Bitters, Hagyards’s Yellow Oil, Freeman’s Worm Powders, McGregor’s Speedy Cure, Hayyard’s Pectoral Balsam, Ayer’s Sarsaparilla, Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, Putman’s Corn Extractor, Ayer’s Hair Vigor, Hall’s Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer.

             And C-Saw Consumption Cure, which appears to have the revolutionary discovery of a county inhabitant out Amigari way, and of which it was asserted that, “Nothing on earth has ever been heard of so wonderful in its effects for the cure of consumption and cough.” Strange that the world has not worn a path to the door there of R. Moore.

             But then, Emerson wrote about mouse traps and not about consumption cures-mouse were the only traps he mentioned.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

21 October 1926