Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

Dr.William Bates Hopkins (1858-1933)

Dr. Hopkins was born March 26, 1858, in Hamilton. His parents were Silas Dilldine Hopkins and Catherine A. Davis.

He graduated from the University of Toronto School of Medicine in 1886. After graduation he practiced in Wainfleet (Marshville). His office was located at the intersection of highway #3 and old feeder road, a brick building. He practiced around Wainfleet also doing dental extractions. The cost of an office call was fifty cents. In earlier times accounts were paid for with butter, eggs or produce.

Dr. Hopkins served as a medical health officer in Wainfleet as well, for one year in Welland County.

In 1907 he left Wainfleet and moved to Hamilton where he practiced until his death in 1933.

Dr. Hopkins married Mynora Beamer, born November 16, 1870 in Lincoln. They married June 27, 1892 in Gainsborough.

They had two children. Catharine Amanda Hopkins born May 16, 1894. A son William Ephrain Hopkins born April 9, 1895, he became a judge in Hamilton.

Dr. Hopkins also adopted a daughter Marie Harvey born in 1906.

Dr, William Bates Hopkins died January 10, 1933 in Hamilton at the age of 74.


[Moore’s Rural New Yorker, 24 July 1858]

We Word To Fatherhave read a story of a little boy who, when he wanted a new suit of clothes, begged his mother to ask his father if he might have it. The mother suggested that the boy ask for himself. “I would,” said the boy, “but I don’t feel well enough acquainted with him.” There is a sharp reproof of that father in the reply of his son. Many a father keeps his children so at a distance from him, that they never feel confidentially acquainted with him. They feel that he is a sort of monarch in the family. They feel no familiarity with him. They fear him, and respect  him, and even love him some, for children can not help loving some everybody about them, but they seldom get near enough to him to feel intimate with him. They seldom go to him with their little wants and trials. They approach him through the mother. They tell her everything.-They have a highway to her heart on which they go in and out with perfect freedom. In this keeping-off plan fathers are to blame. Children should not be held off. Let them come near. Let them be as intimate with the father as with the mother. Let their little hearts be freely opened. It is wicked to freeze up the love-fountains of little one’s hearts. Father’s do them an injury by living with them as strangers. This drives many a child away from homes for the sympathy his heart craves, and often into improper society. It nurses discontents and distrusts which many a child does not outgrow in his lifetime. Open your hearts and your arms, fathers; be free with your children; ask for their wants and trials. Play with them; be fathers to them truly, and then they will not need a meditating between themselves and you. -Valley Farmer


[Moore’s Rural New Yorker, 17July 1858]

But by-and-by the drawing-room doors are thrown open, and the ambassadress enters, smiling a kind and gracious welcome. Behind her are her daughters; by her side a tall, fashionable, haughty beauty. I could not help thinking how beautiful she looked; but the next instant my eyes wandered from her cold unamiable face to a lady modestly standing on the other side of Lady Stratford. At first I thought she was a nun, from her black dress and close cap. She was not introduced, and yet Edmund and I looked at each other at the same moment to whisper, “It is Miss Nightingale!”- Yes, it was Florence Nightingale, greatest of all in name and honor among women. I assure you that I was glad not to be obliged to speak just then, for I felt quite dumb as I looked at her wasted figure and the short brown hair combed over her forehead like a child’s, cut so when her life was despaired of from fever but a short time ago.- Her dress, as I have said was black, made high to the throat, its only ornament being a large enamelled broach which looked to me like the colors of a regiment surrounded with a wreath of laurels, no doubt some grateful offering from our men. To hide the close white cap a little, she had tied a white crepe handkerchief over the back of it, only allowing the border of lace to be seen, and this gave the nun-like appearance which first struck me on her entering the room, otherwise Miss Nightingale is no way striking in appearance. Only her plain black dress, quiet manner and great renown told so powerfully altogether in that assembly of brilliant dress and uniforms. She is very slight, rather above the middle height, her face is long and thin but this might be from recent illness and great fatigue. She has a very prominent nose, slightly Roman; and small dark eyes, kind yet penetrating; but her face does not give you at all the idea of great talent.- Mrs. Hornby’s Court of the Sultan.

From a Town to a City in one Decade

—A Brief Sketch of Its Early History


The city of Welland-July 1st, 1917. Welland’s growth from the small town stage to the status of a city has been so remarkable that it has attracted the attention of all Canada and has received much notice, too, across the border.

This phenomenal growth has taken place in the past decade, or to be more correct, the past eleven or twelve years. The first of Welland’s new industries was the Plymouth Cordage Co., which came here twelve years ago. At that time the population was 1797. The spell which had held Welland dormant for so many years was broken. The slogan “a new Industry every Thirty Days” was made a reality.

While the Cordage Company was the first of the city’s new industries, and since then we have secured large cotton mills, knitting and clothing factories, etc., the industrial field in which Welland is supreme is the iron and steel trades, one of the most important being the splendid new plant of M. Beatty & Sons, the city’s pioneer industry founded in 1860 by Matthew Beatty under the name of the Welland iron works.

Col. McCormick’s genius and enterprise as Industrial Commissioner for a period of ten years contributed largely to the growth of Welland from a town to a city.

Our Industries

The leading industries of Welland today are:-

Canadian Billings & Spencer Electro Zinc Co.
Supreme Heating Co. Chipman Holton Co.
H.S. Peters Volta Mfg. Co.
Empire Cotton Mills Canada Forge Co.
Welland Machine & Foundries M. Beatty & Sons
Plymouth Cordage Co. Canadian Steel Foundries
Page Hersey Tube Works Union Carbide
Electro Metals Dain Mfg. Co.
Electric Steel & Metals Metals Chemicals
Goodwillie & Sons Maple Leaf Milling Co.
Standard Steel Construction Co. Jeffries Furniture Co.
Imperial Mfg. Co. Welland Motor & Machine Co
Royal Ice Cream Co. A. Valencourt, Boiler Works
Rail Joint Co. Vaughan Seed Co.
Welland Planing Mills Electric Planing Mills, S.L Lambert
O’Connors Brick Works

Industrial Statistics

The story of Welland’s expansion, its paved streets and street car system, fine public buildings, schools and churches, its numerous residential streets is told in the industrial statistics of the city. A comparative table showing the growth for the past eleven years is as follows:-

Total Value Manufactured Product Total Pay Roll Number of Wage Earners
1906 $150,000 $50,000 100
1912 6,500,000 1.300,000 3,000
1915 13,285,495 2,117,618 3,875
1916 19,375,115 3,610,336 4,890

As this very plainly shows, the year 1916 was by a big margin the most prosperous in Welland’s history.

Of the total value of manufactured products for 1916 the proportion represented by munitions is about 25 per cent, the value being five and a half million.

Last year Welland’s manufactures spent in new buildings $361,808 and in new machinery, appliances and equipment $1,125,734.

Welland Fortified For Reconstruction Period

From the report of the industrial commissioner for 1916 we quote the following:-

“After the war-what? The Department of Trade and Commerce has been urging that the people take steps now to meet the situation of the day. While Welland has made a tremendous contribution toward allied success in the war by supplying munitions, it is some insurance for the future to know what we are turning out outside war products, manufactures unrelated to the war or but indirectly related to it in such volume as to mean a continuation of a large and substantial portion of our business after the war is over. It is obvious that the more provision that can be made for normal activities after the war, the better it will be for our community, and the country.  That we are well fortified for the inevitable dislocation that must follow peace is evident. Our industries are in strong positions financially. The people generally are in a better position than ever before.”

Supremacy of Industrial Facilities

Welland’s growth has not been the result of chance but because of the supremacy of its industrial facilities, the chief of which are rail and water transportation supplied by six steam railroads, two electric railroads and the Welland canal, competing power companies giving the cheapest electric power and lighting rates in Canada, ideal sites for factories, natural gas, water and drainage. Production costs in Welland are found to be much less than in any other industrial city in Ontario.

The construction of the Chippawa-Queenston power plant with an ultimate capacity of 900,000 h.p., ensuring unlimited power supply for the future, means that Welland is even now only at the beginning of an enormous development which will cause the progress of the past decade to be surpassed in the years to come.

Historical Sketch

The name of Welland, like many of the proper names in this district, comes from England. It is the name of a river that starts near the geographical centre of England and runs in a Northeasterly direction about seventy miles, emptying into the Wash, an arm or inlet of the North Sea.

Welland is the third name by which our city has been known. The land hereabouts was first settled about the year 1788. The building of the Welland Canal in 1829 necessitated an aqueduct to convey its water over the Welland River at this point. The first aqueduct was of wood, and on its construction the nucleus of a village sprung up and was known as “The Aqueduct.” In 1842, when the first enlargement of the canal was made the old aqueduct was replaced by a stone structure which still stands intact east of and alongside the aqueduct in use. The name of the place was then changed to Merrittsville in honor of the late William Hamilton Merritt who first proposed the Welland canal and whose perseverance and energy finally made the great work an established fact.

Welland’s first expansion beyond the usual cross-roads store and blacksmith shop was the lumber industry, started by settlers from Niagara county, New York. The principal of these was a Mr. Seeley who came here about the year 1850 and started a sawmill. His three sons-in-law, Messrs. Joiner, Mosenbark and Moses Betts, and the late O.H. Rounds located here soon after. The late Mr. Hooker came here in 1855 and started the brickyard.

The progress of Merrittsville was comparatively slow until the separation of the united counties of Lincoln and Welland, and the village, after a hard struggle with rival places, became the county seat, which assured a future. The county buildings were erected in 1856-1858.

A Village in 1858

By an act of parliament, assented to July 24, 1858, the village was incorporated and the name changed from Merrittsville to Welland. The lands comprised in the new municipality were taken partly from Crowland and partly from Thorold townships, the river being the boundary between the two townships. On the 17th of August of the same year a commission was issued instructing L.D. Raymond to act as returning officer at the first municipal election for the village, which was held on Sept. 16 following. The election resulted in the return of the following gentlemen as the first council of the village:-Daniel McCaw, Moses Betts, Chester Demare, Wm. A. Bald and Nathan F. Fitch. At that time the reeve was not elected directly by the people but chosen by the councillors, and D. McCaw was accorded the honor of being Welland’s first reeve. He was the founder of the boot and shoe trade here, still carried on by his son, John McCaw, under the name of D. McCaw & Son.

Became a Town in 1878

Incorporation as a town was made in 1878, when A. Hendershot was elected the first mayor. He is now a resident of Dunnville. The balance of those elected was:-reeve, A. Williams; councillors, G.H. Burgar, S. Hampton, D. McConachie, A. Asher, J.V. Strawn, G. Cronmiller, W.D. Jeffrey, J. Tuckey, G. Stalker, W.L. Beatty, D.A. Johnson and Wm. Page.

Welland’s next step forward was when the Canada Southern Railway (now the M.C.R.R.) was being built and the next boom period was during the enlargement of the Welland canal, the principal local feature of which was the construction of the aqueduct at present in use. This is one of the finest and most extensive pieces of masonry work in America but it is to disappear with the building of the new Welland ship canal, work on which had been discontinued until the end of the war. Ten years elapsed between the first letting of the contract and the completion of the aqueduct about the year 1888. From that time until the beginning of the industrial era referred to at the head of this article the population declined.