Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


[Welland Tribune, 16 March 1894]

A large party of the friends of Morton Zavitz, learning of his intended departure for California, surprised him with a farewell visit on Tuesday evening. Mr. Zavitz is very popular in social circles, and keen regret is expressed that he intends leaving us. The change, however, is partly due to the advantages offered by milder climate of the Pacific coast, as well as for the opportunities for a young business man to succeed. The evening passed pleasantly, and before its close a beautiful volume of Campbell’s poems was presented to Mr. Zavitz as a keepsake from a circle of loving friends. Morton leaves town to-day, and on Tuesday, in company of his sister, will take the train at Port Colborne for the far west. The good wishes of a host of warm friends follow them to their new home.


[Welland Tribune, 16 March 1894]

The friends of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Davis sympathizes with them deeply in the loss of their infant and only child, who died on Saturday last; interment at Fonthill cemetery on Monday. 14 February 1894-10 March 1894.


[Welland Tribune, 2 February1894]

Mrs. Martha Ashton, the unfortunate woman who has been lying in Welland jail since December last nominally as a vagrant, really as a mere indigent, received a happy release from her suffering on Monday, death resulting from the cancer of the lower portion of the bowels of which she was the victim. Added to this terrible malady the deceased was afflicted with insanity which, though of a mild form precluded her reception into the ordinary hospitals and homes for incurables, and added to the difficulty attending her case. Deceased was a widow about 45 years of age. We understand she leaves one son and one daughter. The son, who lives at Niagara Falls, N.Y., being unable to defray the funeral expenses, the body was buried at the county home graveyard on Wednesday, the law providing that the bodies of persons dying in gaol shall be given up on the request of the relatives. Rev. Mr. Dobson rendered the funeral services. The county council in this case generously undertook the charge of the burial.


In accordance with the law, which requires that an inquest shall be held on the body of any prisoner dying in jail, an inquest was held on Tuesday by Coroner Cumines, and a jury, of which Charles E. Smith was foreman, when evidence was taken as follows:

John Coulson, jailer, sworn:-Mrs. Ashton was committed to jail on December 2nd as a vagrant; she was suffering greatly from cancer; an effort was made to get her into the homes for incurables at Hamilton and Toronto but she was refused admittance; she was not properly committed to jail until last week; she died yesterday afternoon; she used to live either in Niagara Falls village or Stamford township; she has a daughter and a son at Niagara Falls, N.Y.; the matron and Mrs. Rice attended her almost constantly; she had every care and attention.

Dr. J.H. Howell, jail surgeon: I have attended Mrs. Ashton since she was admitted to jail; she suffered a great deal of pain from cancer; I relieved her suffering and made her as comfortable as possible; I recommended the county council to get a nurse for her, which they did; saw her three or four times a week; the cause of her death was cancer; she had every attention.

Mrs. Elizabeth Rice, Mrs. Ashton’s nurse: I was called to the jail on December 9th to nurse Mrs. Ashton; I went to see her twice a day; she suffered a great deal; the doctor visited her regularly; she had everything she needed; I was with her Monday morning and when I came in the afternoon she was dead.

Mrs. James Gilchriese, matron: I have heard Mrs. Rice’s testimony and cannot add any more than she has given; I did the best I could for her.

This concluded the evidence and the jury brought in a verdict that “Mrs. Ashton came to her death from cancer, on the 29th of January 1894 and she had all the care and attention possible under the circumstances.”



[Welland Tribune, 22 June 1894]

The remains of the late James Scanlan were brought to his mother’s home at Fenwick on Friday last. Of the three victims of the dynamite fatality (referred to elsewhere in this paper) he was the only one not seriously disfigured. The funeral was held on Saturday morning, and was the scene of very large and sympathetic gathering of friends and neighbors. The impressive funeral services of the R.C. Church, of which deceased was a member, were held in that church at Welland by Rev. Father McIntee, burial in the cemetery adjoining. The floral offerings were beautiful and touching….Mrs. Scanlan and family desire us to tender their heartfelt thanks to the many friends both at Welland and Fenwick for many and great deeds of kindness during their time of deep trial and bereavement.



Willie Hannigan of Welland

[Welland Tribune, 12 October 1894]

WELLAND, Oct. 6th-Willie Hannigan, who lives with his uncle, Thomas Hannigan here, cut up quite a caper yesterday for a boy of between eight and nine years of age. It seems Willie had quite an observant eye and disposition, and noticing that Mr. James Morwood, grocer, sometimes made use of his nephew’s horse to deliver goods, he founded quite a job thereon, which worked to perfection. He went to Mrs. Morwood’s on Young street, and attempted to hitch up their horse to a light wagon but was not big enough to get the harness on. Upon being caught at this by Mr. John Morwood he represented that he had been sent for the horse and wagon by Mr. James Morwood’s clerk. John thought it a little strange that so young a lad should be sent for the rig, but never dreaming it was all a put up job actually hitched up the horse for the boy and started him off. Instead of going to John Morwood’s, Willie turned on Division street and after amusing the boys in the east end of the town by running the horse about the streets for an hour or two, set out to visit some relatives at Niagara Falls South. He missed his way, however, and brought up at Chippawa, where Mr. Flomerfelt, seeing that the horse was exhausted, and suspecting that all was not right, took the animal in charge. Willie promised to return home if Mr. F. would let him have the horse, but this was refused, and he continued his trip to Niagara Falls South on foot. The horse was of course missed the same evening, and easily traced to Chippawa and recovered, people all along the road having noticed the little boy running the horse. Willie, too, like a bad penny, has returned. Otherwise than in this scrape the boy’s reputation for honesty is bad, and the sooner he is committed to the reformatory for as long a term as the law allows, the better the chance will be of saving him from a criminal’s career.


[Welland Tribune, 20 April 1894]

A Welland Newspaper of 1854

             Thanks to Mrs. Geo. Jamieson, we have before us a copy of the Welland Herald (of which the TRIBUNE is the lineal descendent) of date of Dec. 21, 1854-almost 40 years ago. A glimpse through its pages will be interesting to our readers, especially to those-alas too few-whose memories extend back to that time. The copy of the Herald referred it is numbered 29 of vol. 1, which would make the date of first publication about June 1, 1854. It was published at Fonthill, then a place of considerable importance comparatively. The place now known as the town of Welland was then a small cluster of houses, known as “Merrittville.”

             The Welland Herald in 1854, as we note from its columns, was published by the “Welland Printing and Book Company”-Capital stock, £500, of which Issac P. Willson was secretary and Alfred Willett treasurer. J. G. Judd was editor of the paper.

             The Herald’s columns remind us that at that time the Crimean was in full blast-the issue before us containing a four column account of the Great Battle of Inkerman, of which the head line says-“Another great Victory, in which 8000 English and 6000 French opposed 60,000 Russians, and after a severe battle of 8 hours, defeated them, the Russians losing 15,000 men in killed, wounded and prisoners.”

             Considerable space is also devoted to the report of the “Provisional Council of Welland,” (now called the “County” Council) which met in council in Hoover’s Inn at Merrittville, (Welland) Dec. 12, 1854, there being present the warden (Elias S. Adams of S. Catharines) and Messrs. Dell, Frazer, Matthews, McMicking, Smith, Graybiel and Vanderburgh-all alas, we believe, now numbered with the silent dead. The principal business which occupied the council then, (and for twenty-five years after) was the purchase of the marsh lands tract, for which an act to raise by way of loan the sum of five thousand pounds was moved by Mr. Hobson, seconded by Mr. Matthews, and adopted, with Mr. McMicking, only, voting nay.

             “Two more of the gang caught,” is the heading to an item relating to the capture of George King and James Smith, two of the Townsend gang, in Saltfleet township.

             A great sale of “town lots” in Port Colborne is advertised, and the public are editorially assured that the speculation is a safe one, as the lots “must in the very nature of things treble in value in five or six years.”

             An interesting political reminiscence is quoted from MacKenzie’s Message, as Wm. Lyon MacKenzie’s opinion of Dr. Frazer, thus:

             Dr. Frazer leaves today for Welland county. I’m sorry for it. Few men in the house have acted with equal courage, honesty and consistency as Dr. Frazer. He was a blessed exchange for the money-making, financering Street, whose election over that good-humored reformer McFarland astonished many.”

             The subscription price of the Herald was on a sliding scale, to wit: “Two dollars per annum if paid in advance; two dollars and a half if paid before the expiration of six months; and three dollars after the expiration of six months or at the end of the year.” The following are given as the local agents for the Herald in their respective localities:

             Mr. Ralph Disher, Point Abino (now Ridgeway)

             P. Hendershot, Stevensville

             John W. Lewis, Fort Erie

             Burch Baxter, Fort Erie

             James Weeks, Point Abino

             Charles Park, Wainfleet

             Michael Graybiel, Marshville

             Wm. Dunn, Fork’s Settlement

            Chester Kinniard, Wainfleet

             Luther Boardman, Crowland

             This was before the days of postcards or cheap postage, and instead of returning receipts by mail for monies received, remittances were acknowledged through the columns of the paper.

             At that time preparations were being made for the World’s fair at Paris, and the Fonthill Mechanics’ Institute publish up offer to forward articles for exhibition.

             It may be consoling to Mr. Anson Garner and others to know that assessment affairs were in quite as satisfactory a state forty years ago as now, so the Herald has a solid 21/2 column article complaining of the Wainfleet assessment.

             “More money for the Coalitionists,” is the heading under which the members of parliament are raked over the coals for increasing their pay from $4 to $6 per day, the Herald declaring that many of them “are really overpaid at $4 a day.”

             Among the advertisements we note:
             S.N. Pattison (Nolse) Stevensville, C.W. licensed auctioneer and wholesale dealer in ninety-five percent, alcohol (for burning fluid), proof spirits and rectified whiskey.

             Dr. M.F. Haney, office opposite the foundry, Petersburg, C.W. (now Stonebridge) is one of the three or four persons whose names are mentioned in this paper who are still in the land of the living.

             Other advertisers are:

             Hamilton & Raymond, Barristers, St. Catharines.

             Dr. T. Clarke, Mansion House, Port Robinson.

             Zenas Fell, land surveyor, St. Johns.

             Macdonald & Rykert (Rolland Macdonald and John Charles Rykert), law, chancery and conveyancing, St. Catharines.

             Thomas McGivers, hardware, groceries and liquor, Thorold.

             New firm, new goods-at the Gothic store, Merrittville, (now H.A. Rose’s stand), Griffith & Kinsman.

             Dewitt C. Weed of Buffalo, advertises the “Old Hardware Store.”

             Lumber, plaster-Andrew Murray, Port Robinson.

             Winter and Fall clothing, for sale by Henry D. Lock, Fonthill.

             Basin store, Port Colborne, by Daniel Stoner.

             Ploughs, ploughs, ploughs-Haun & Dobbie, Stonebridge foundry.

             “Morley’s Patent Ploughs”-John Morley, Thorold.

             Among the patent medicines notices are some wonderful cures related by Dr. Halsey’s Forest Wine and Morse’s Indian Root Pills.

             An interesting time table of the Buffalo & Brantford railway is published, in which it is stated “the freight and the construction trains must keep out of the way of mail and express trains,” and that “down trains will wait fifteen minutes for the up trains and then proceed.” Wm. Wallace, superintendent, Buffalo.

             The St. John’s machine shop and foundry is advertised for sale to close up the estate of the late Russel Rich.

             P.M. Cushing advertises suspension carriages and Murgatroyd buggies.

             Winter fashions for 1854-J.A. Munro & Co., Thorold, Canada West.

             Fonthill boot and shoe store-James Reilley.

             A.E. Wilson & Co., Port Robinson, and J& M Graybiel, Marshville, were among the Herald’s most liberal “double column next to reading” advertisers.

             Space will not permit of further reference here, but enough has been said to show that the Fonthill Herald of 1854 was a genuine wideawake newspaper. Indeed it compares very favorably with the better class of country papers of to-day, and in point of proof reading is away ahead of the average paper of the day in either town or country.

A Stab in the Dark

Louis Wagner Severely Cut by a Passing Stranger

             On Wednesday between 9 and 10 o’clock Louis Wagner and two companions, Joseph and Peter Gibson, were walking on Muir street, nearly opposite Tanner’s mills, when a passing stranger struck Mr. Wagner in the left breast and passed out of sight in darkness. “That fellow gave me a pretty hard clip,” said Wagner, but nothing was thought of it for a few moments until Wagner felt something trickling down his body-it was blood. “I’ve been stabbed!” said he. He hurried along to Dr. Schooley’s office, and the wound was quickly dressed and Wagner ordered to take his bed, his temperature marking 102½. The stab was directly above his left nipple and dangerously close to his heart. The knife must have been pointed and with an edge like a razor, for it penetrated Wagner’s vest, heavy shirt, and a package of letters containing thirty thicknesses of paper. The paper undoubtedly saved Wagner’s life.

             The attempted assassination has caused a sensation, as Wagner is a man who is supposed to have no enemies, and the affair occurred while many were still on the streets.

             Dr. Schooley says the wound is a dangerous one, but if no complications set in Wagner will no doubt recover.

             Rumors were current yesterday noon that the would-be assassin was located, but we have no confirmation of this.

             No effort, as far as we can learn, has been made to capture the perpetrator of the crime.

 Welland Tribune

22 June 1894