Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

Louis Blake Duff: January 1, 1878-August 29, 1959

The Late Louis Blake Duff by William Arthur Deacon

The late Louis Blake Duff of Welland was the subject of a biographical article by William Colgate that appeared in the Globe Magazine in mid-August. Dr. Duff died two weeks later at the age of 82. Tributes to his character and career appeared on the editorial pages of this and other newspapers, for the man was not only extremely able but loved even more than he was admired. Now his friend George H. Smith of Port Colborne has gathered these and other similar material into a handsome, privately printed brochure of 150 copies. It would have greatly pleased the short, round man  in whose honor it has been published.

Born near Wingham, Louis Blake Duff taught for four years before a long and varied career on several newspapers in Southern Ontario. For 20 years he was the successful owner of the Welland Telegraph; but in 1926 he surrendered it to a buyer because the offer was too high to refuse—in those days. So Mr. Duff founded Niagara Finance Corporation and throve more lushly. But it was as writer and humorous speaker that he was most widely known. His great  library of rare and beautiful books was admired; and now some of the books he himself wrote are collectors’ items. The lighter side of the man came out when he was accepting an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario. He explained that the small son of a neighbor lost interest in the promotion when he learned Dr. Duff would not be allowed to hoist a “D” on the license plate of his car.

I am grateful to Mr. Smith for a copy of his memorial book because it gives me a chance to say something. Being away from Toronto when Dr. Duff died, I lost the chance of timeliness. What has not been stressed is the man’s kindliness. A writer never forgets the first editors who bought his words nor the established senior writers who spoke encouraging words to the fledgeling in the craft. When I, an unknown young fellow from the West, was trying to make good in the then despised chore of reviewing, one of my first fan letters was from Louis Blake Duff. Nor did he stop there. He gave helpful advice; he entertained me in his home, took me to the beautiful, fairy-like Crowland he had built; insisted on a friendship that lasted 37 years.

He always attended the Leacock dinners for the Humor Medals. The last time I saw Louis was at the Meet the Authors dinner last spring, which he attended, not as the author he was, but as a member of the reading public. If slight there was, he was too big to take notice.Afterward, Greg Clark, Louis and I  were admiring John Drainie’s superb impersonation of Leacock giving a lecture from a copy of his own Orillia porch. The make-up, the stance, the intonation amazed Louis, who said: “I knew Leacock all my life; and I could have believed the man on the porch was Stephen himself.” Then he went home and wrote Drainie his congratulations (a carbon to me). This pleased Drainie, who never saw Leacock; but was so typical of the generosity of Duff.


[Welland Tribune, 27 September 1878]

It is said there is enough substance thrown away and squandered in American families to keep the moderate French or English family; and although that is probably an exaggerated statement, there is a moral in it. The American marketer buys usually the best; it appears upon her table once, is sometimes warmed over for a second dish or for a breakfast, sometimes not, and Bridget does as she pleases with the fragments, either giving or throwing them away. An Englishwoman buys, let us say, a roasting piece of beef; she too buys the best, because as she will use it, it is the cheapest. The upper cut makes one day’s dinner handsomely; the under cut in thin slices, carved across instead of up and down, fried in butter, and served on mashed potatoes or on rice, garnishing the dish to make it seem like something choicer, and add to appetite, makes a second dinner; then the long end piece, which has remained untouched, makes an excellent stew with tomatoes or carrots and potato balls for a third dinner, being cooked and cooled so as to remove the grossness, and then warmed up again; the various fragments either make a pie, or hashed and spiced or curried answer for a fourth dinner, which will be pieced out, as one may say, by a rather daintier dessert than usual, as the case will be also with the fifth dinner-a soup of the bones that remain, made hearty with vegetables; and after all there is left a store of invaluable dripping. The American housewife in comfortable circumstances who should make five dinners for a moderate family from a roast of beef would until recently have considered herself a scrimping and shabby woman, and would fear being held by her neighbors, well-informed by the servants, as a niggardly skinflint. Now on the contrary she is inclined to look about and see if she cannot better instruction, and procure a sixth dish from the same source.

But there are various other ways in which the Englishwoman can give us lessons in economy. It is safe to say that nothing is wasted under her care. Even her stale beer is saved to rinse her bronzes in, to boil with other material and make her old plate look new, and to clean her soiled black silks; and the lemons, whose outer skin has been grated off, and whose juice has been squeezed out, if they are not laid aside to boil in any compound, are given to the cook to clean her saucepans. If she keeps fowl, every egg brought in is dated with a pencil, and those of an earlier date are used first; if there are any to be spared, she lays them by for winter provision by passing over them a camel’s hair pencil dipped in oil, which hermetically seals and preserves their contents; and where she uses only the whites in one dish, she contrives another in which she shall use the yolks. If the bread has become dry she does not immediately throw it to hens or dedicate it to a pudding; she dips the loaf in hot water and sets it in the oven, and finds it sufficiently fresh for family use. Nor does she often indulge in the doubtful luxury of baker’s bread, since she has learned that she hereby loses in bread just the weight of the water used in compounding it, besides running the risk of deleterious ingredients. And when the bread is really dried past refreshing, then it answers for stuffing, is grated for crumbs, or is soaked with milk and beaten eggs for puddings; none of it is thrown away. She is equally economical concerning the ham; when no more slices can be cut, there is still a quantity of dried meat upon it that that would seem to most of our housekeepers as something rather worthless. Not so to this good woman; it is dried a little further and then grated from the bone, and put away in jars to be taken out and seasoned on requirements for the enrichment of omelets, for spreading upon savory dishes of toast, which make a nice addition to breakfast or lunch, for stuffing olives, and making sandwiches, after which grating the bone serves to flavor soup. In the same way she grates her cheese that is too dry or near the rind using it afterwards as a relish, or as a dressing to macaroni or other substance. All bones, meanwhile, as well as the ham bone, are objects of care with her, or with the servants whom she has trained to her will, and are regularly boiled down to add the result to the stockpot for gravies and soups, by which means she procures the latter at almost no cost at all. Whenever she has a few slices of heterogeneous cold meats, she has countless palatable ways of using them-deviled, broiled in a batter, scalloped, minced in to croquets or mayonnaises.


[Welland Tribune, 27 September 1878]

Half of all who live die before seventeen. Only one person in ten thousand lives to be a hundred years old, and but one in a hundred reaches sixty. The married live longer than the single. Out of every thousand persons born, only ninety-five weddings take place. Lay your finger on your pulse, and know that at every stroke some immortal passes to his Maker; some fellow being crosses the river of death; and if we think of it, we may well wonder that it should be so long before our turn comes.

Dr. Sydney Raymond Dalrymple (1878-1921)

Sydney Raymond Dalrymple was born April 25, 1878 in Wellandport. He was theson of John Dalrymple and Minerva Heaslip of Bismarck. He went to school in Gainsboro. He became a teacher and taught at Boyle school. In 1905 he graduated in medicine from Toronto. He then went to England for further medical studies.. In 1907 he came to Fenwick to practice medicine at 807 Canboro Road. He took over the practice of Dr. Birdsall.

On June 27, 1908 Dr. Sydney Raymond Dalrymple married Martha Elizabeth Henderson, born February 8, 1880. Her parents were Walter Henderson and Abigail Van Wyck.

April 23, 1909 their first child was born, John Henderson Dalrymple, he died at age two in 1911 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Wellandport

October 8, 1911 Sydney James VanWycke Dalrymple was born. He became a medical Doctor. He died January 16, 2001 at the age of 90.

Dr. Sydney Raymond Dalrymple attended Bethany Presbyterian church, was a member of the Fenwick Oddfellows Lodge. He was a member of the Niagara District Medical Association and the Ontario Medical Association

He cared for patients in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19

He practiced a short time in Fenwick.

On April 23, 1921  Dr. Dalrymple died of complications after an appendix operation, at the age of 42. Over 700 people attended the funeral. He is buried in the Riverside cemetery in Wellandport.


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.