Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

FORT ERIE JOCKY CLUB RACES

[Welland Tribune, 16 July 1897]

MR. EDITOR- Some citizens of the county seem inclined to condemn the extension of the Fort Erie races beyond the first fixed date, July 5th, and, as there are two sides to every question, I ask your permission to refer briefly to the matter.

In the first place, the club met with almost insurmountable difficulties at the start. The public, and especially the owners of the horses, could not be convinced that the track would be ready on time. Rain was almost constant during the construction of the track and buildings, and before the original expenditure was at an end about $75,000 had been paid out. At first the races opened rather dull, and several days passed before financial success was in sight. The sport was good and the crowds continued to swell. The management looked the situation over carefully and decided that thirty days at one stretch would be far less expensive than two fifteen-day meets. The heavy expense of reshipping 300 or 400 horses would be saved, and the large outlay for re-advertising would be unnecessary. In view of the heavy debt resting on the club it is also just to state that is in no way a counterpart of the Windsor track. The Windsor track is leased by bookmakers, and run by them, and in their interests. Not so with the Fort Erie track. It is managed by reputable men and I the interests of fair and legitimate sport. Judge Burke is one of the most competent and prominent judges on the continent, and every attempt at a job on the part of the jockeys is quickly nipped in the bud.

I think the public will, when the facts are fully known, agree that the Jockey club have merely managed their race meeting as any other set of men would manage any other legitimate enterprise.

Yours, SPORTSMAN

Drowned In The Lake

[Welland Tribune, 2 July 1897]

Miss Myra Hopkirk, the nineteen –year-old daughter of Thomas F. Hopkirk, of Parkdale, was drowned in the lake 400 yards west of the Exhibition Park, through the upsetting of a canoe on Monday.

TERRIFIC EXPLOSION

REEB’S POWDER HOUSE EXPLODES

DESTRUCTION OF GLASS FACTORY, LIME KILNS, ETC.

Port Colborne News

[Welland Tribune, 20 August 1897]

PORT COLBORNE, Aug.19- Reeb’s powder house, about two miles west of here, was exploded during the thunder about 5 o’clock this morning. The building contained nearly two tons of powder and some dynamite, and the earth was shaken for miles around, the shock being startlingly perceptible at St. Catharines, Thorold and Niagara Falls, generally supposed at the time to be an earthquake. The powder house was of course blown to atoms. Foster’s glass factory, Reeb’s offices and barns and one of the lime kilns were completely wrecked, and the barns burned. It is impossible as yet to estimate the damage at this writing.

Three plate glass windows were broken in Matthews’ block, and windows suffered severely in Port Colborne and Humberstone. Houses trembled and people were terribly alarmed.

At Solid Comfort windows were broken, and in almost every cottage mirrors, pictures, etc., were torn from the wall and numerous breakages suffered.

No lives were lost so far as known, owing to the hour being so early that no one had yet come to the works. Had the explosion occurred later a still sadder tale would have been to be told.

It is supposed the explosion was caused by lightning.

The shock was so severely felt in Buffalo that the papers of that city came out with a column account of “the earthquake.”  It was also felt in Tonawanda.

GEORGE McKONACHIE

Thorold News

[Welland Tribune, 20 August 1897]

Another old landmark has passed away in the person of Geo. McKonachie, who conducted a blacksmith shop on the town line between Thorold and Merritton for so many years. The deceased was one of the best known and most skilful horse doctors in the country. The funeral took place on Tuesday to Lakeview cemetery, Rev. Mr. Cook conducting the services. The pallbearers, who by the way, were all blacksmiths were- John Grenville, Geo. Turner, Jas. McGill, Rich. Shriner, Jerry Upper, Wm. Notman.

MARY CATHERINE SPENCER

[Welland Tribune, 6 August 1897]

The body of the wife of the Rev. A.R. Spencer of Rushford, N.Y., was brought to Fonthill on Monday for interment. The funeral took place on Tuesday and was largely attended. Mrs. Spencer, nee Linderberry, was formerly from this vicinity, and was greatly respected by a large circle of friends. Died: 31 July 1897

BENJAMIN MARR

[Welland Tribune, 3 September 1897]

Last week we noted the illness of the child of Mr. and Mrs. Benj. A. Marr of Pittsburg, Pa., who were visiting Mr. Marr’s old home here. We regret to have to state that the child has since died. Mr. and Mrs. Marr were advised to return home thinking that might induce recovery of the little one from his illness, but the child got worse in Buffalo and on Thursday last week passed to be with Him who has said, “Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for as such is the kingdom of heaven.” The funeral took place at Pittsburg on Saturday afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Marr have the deep sympathy of all friends in their peculiarly distressing bereavement.

THE COUNTY HOME – TWO DEATHS

[Welland Tribune, 3 September 1897]

Forty-two inmates in the county industrial home yesterday.

Two deaths have occurred at the home in the past week. On Friday last Herbert Flomerfelt, aged one year, died of cholera infantum. Deceased was the child of girl named Flomerfelt, formerly of the town of Welland, who got into trouble and landed in the home some time ago. Died: 27 August 1897

The other death, which occurred on Monday, was that of John Bartlett, aged 57 years. Deceased was committed from the town of Thorold in April last, and has been sick of consumption ever since.

Both bodies were interred in the Home burying ground. Died: 30 August 1897

JOLLY OLD UNCLE JOSH

HIS GREAT GENEROSITY TOWARDS HIS NEWLY MARRIED NIECE

A Realistic Romance of Welland, in which a Number of Prominent Business Men Take a Very Conspicuous Part.

(Copyright 1897 By W.S.G)

[Welland Tribune, 22 October 1897]

Miss Summers-Polly-I-I-er-dare I-“ But the speaker took a header over bashfulness, only to hear a sweet

“Yes, Charley.”

“Can I aspire to-er-to-that-is”

Again a lapse into silence, followed by an encouraging

“Yes, Charley.”

“Oh if I might only hope to er-to-

Another failure of language. It was seemingly a hopeless case, and might have been only for a demure.

“Charley, I have said ‘yes’ twice, and if you mean it, I mean it, too, and-“

And to this day that young man will insist that he popped the question.

All this happened away “down east,” and it wasn’t long before there was a wedding. Not much longer before there came a letter from Polly’s Uncle Josh, out here, who wrote elusively of his delight at her exhibition of what he called “grit,” and he proposed that if the young people would locate at Welland he would start them up in life, as a wedding gift. Of course they accepted, and were soon bidding their friends adieu.

A few weeks subsequent to the above conversation a travel-stained party arrived in Welland. Our friend, Uncle Josh, was in charge and he led the party straightway to a hotel. “The Arlington,” said he, “is a typical Canadian hotel of the best class. I have known Nelson Pitton,, the proprietor for years and he is mine host after mine own heart, a through business man, endowed with that delightful intuition that makes a guest feel at home, comfortable, contented, and in mighty good luck. The house is one of convenience; the apartments are well furnished and the cuisine all that a superior cook and unlimited orders on the market can make it. I have engaged rooms here until your own house is in readiness.” With these remarks Uncle Josh graciously presented to Charles the deed of a cozy cottage.

“After breakfast,” said the old man, “I am ready to go and buy your outfit. To expedite matters I have ordered a carriage from A.D. White, our enterprising livery man.” When the handsome carriage with elaborate trappings and prancing horses drew up in front of the hotel Polly declared it the “finest turnout she had ever seen.” “Yes sir-ee,” replied Uncle Josh,” the three S’s. ‘Speed, Safety and Style’ is his coat of arms. So, young folks, when you want to take a drive, either for business or pleasure go to him for a rig every time. His wedding, party and funeral equipment are unsurpassed.” It was in this stylish turnout that the rounds of the town were made.

“Having provided you with a cage for the bird,” said Uncle Josh, “now the first thing we’ll look after will be the furnishings for it.” Hereupon Polly energetically declared that she had heard so much about A. Lawrence’s Red Rocker that she had decided to go there. The result was that they were ushered into such a bewildering display that the girl was at first at a loss how to select. But she soon yielded to the seductiveness of a magnificent parlor suite, a bedroom set in oak, antique finish, that would do credit to old Antiquity himself. To this she added a dining room set with all accessories, an easy rocker for Uncle Josh, and didn’t forget a most convenient and ornamental writing desk for “Hubby” Charles. And she remarked that she considered Mr. Lawrence’s prices below the whisper of competition.

“A pretty good start,” said the old man, and now we’ll go to P. McMurray’s big tinware and stove store. Here Polly’s housewifely instincts had full play in marvels of kitchen apparatus. “There is not an establishment in the country that carries a more comprehensive stock of household furnishings,” remarked Uncle Josh. “Every possible piece of kitchen furniture from a tin dipper to a cooking range is here in all styles and variety. If Polly fails to accomplish wonders in the culinary art, it will not be for want of superior cooking utensils, for she purchased a Grand Jewel steel range cook stove with all equipments needed in a well-regulated kitchen, besides an Ideal baseburner for the parlor, all of which Uncle Josh paid for with delight cause he knew Mr. McMurray had treated him right.

“But say, hold on a minute,” said the old man. “I propose that you shall have everything convenient and up to date about your house, and I guess it wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk with Mr. McMurray about putting in one of them famous acetylene gas machines. He is manager for the Acetylene Gas Machine company, and I tell you they are a great invention. And for a brilliant, cheap and safe light there ain’t nothing like it.” The idea struck Polly to a tee, so Uncle Josh then and there ordered their house fitted up for acetylene gas.

Woman-like, Polly was discussing the matter of how she would arrange her new house and was interrupted by Uncle Josh. “And these house fixins remind me, “says he “that you haven’t got your dishes yet.” The most famous stock in extent, quality and completeness is at S.H. Griffith’s China Hall. But the average reader need not be told what an array of table ware Polly had to select from. There isn’t positively, a thing in the line of china, crockery, glass or porcelain needed for use or ornament in any part of the house that cannot be found at S.H. Griffith’s immense variety and at wonderfully low prices. They also have a splendid stock of lamps of every description and decorated are in abundance. Polly’s big order suggested her thorough appreciation.

“Yes, and I must have an album, Uncle Josh,” quoth Polly, “and-“”Yes, and a bible with a reasonably big family register,” interrupted the old man, “so we’ll go in to B. Lundy’s book store. You’ll find many articles indispensable for the parlor as well as the library there, and as for variety, they have an unequalled stock.” So here Polly’s purchase included miscellaneous books, fancy stationery, all the latest agonies, bric-a-brac for all manner for the centre table, besides enough wall paper and window shades for every room of her house, and finding an immense assortment of magazines, periodicals and newspapers, also subscribed for everything in sight. Polly remarked to the generous old uncle, “Why, I don’t know when to quit buying. Mr. Lundy sells such nice goods, and so cheap, too.”

At this point, somewhat to the confusion of Charley, the old man indulged in a half serious criticism of his personal appearance. “You are decidedly off style for a townsman,” said he, “and we’d better go and see L.H. Pursel & Co., the fashionable merchant tailor and men’s furnishers, about some new duds. They are up-to-date people, understand the changing style and for fits and high-class workmanship this firm is especially noted, while on the other hand you’ll find a big stock of suitings which have been selected with care and rare good taste.  I’ll guarantee that you you’ll look more like a newly married am when you get togged out in one of Pursel & Co’s suits. Charley left his measure, before departing, found such a tempting array stylish hats and other men’s furnishings, that he got a whole outfit. When a few days later he was fully togged out, Polly declared she’s have fallen in love with him sooner had he been a patron of L.H. Pursel & Co.

“And in the matter of insurance,” continued Uncle Josh, “that is of importance. You will want a risk on your new house and furniture; then you can’t do a more sensible or satisfactory thing than to provide for your wife a paid-up policy in life insurance. Swayze & Son not only have lines of the solidest and best companies, but they are expert and trustworthy underwriters. They have a large number of companies, all of which belong to the old reliable category, being well-known for their prompt and satisfactory adjustment of losses. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll surely be safe in this agency.” Not only did Charles place his fire insurance with Swayze & Son, but also took out a $5,000 policy in the Canada Lafe, the best company of its kind in the world.

“There is another thing,” added Uncle Josh, “should you ever desire to take a vacation trip, Swayze & Son are the people to see about tickets. They issue railroad tickets to any point, east or west, on the North American continent, as cheap, if not sometimes cheaper, than you could otherwise procure them, even, besides, you’ll have the advantage of their experience in selecting good routes.” “Oh, we’ll remember that,” replied Charles.

“Oh me! Oh my!” ejaculated Polly as they halted before a show window, “what a perfectly lovely slipper.” “Yes, said Uncle Josh, “McCaw and Son’s stock can’t be equalled in style and extent in this section. Go in, look it over and get acquainted.” It might have been policy not to have extended that invitation, had not Uncle Josh known what wise economy it is to trade at McCaw & Son’s, for Polly found goods and prices so seductive that she purchased an outfit from a pretty slipper to a handsome walking boot. Charley, invested in gents fine shoes, while Uncle Josh indulged in a stout farm boot, with rubbers for the crowd. No one needing footwear can resist the styles and prices offered by McCaw & Son.

“Oh, Uncle Josh,” exclaimed Polly, “I surely will be lonely without a piano.” Uncle Josh was noticed to examine his bank book rather lugubriously. “Well, I guess I can stand it,” he said, “but, by the way, which piano would you most prefer?” “I think I’d like to have a Morris, which I understand is sold by J.M. Livingston. Several people have recommended it to me for its purity of tone, sympathy of touch, beauty of finish and a whole lot of other good points.” “You couldn’t choose a better instrument,” replied the old man, “and sure enough Mr. Livingston is the very man to see about it.” Polly selected the coveted Morris piano while Uncle Josh wrote out a check, pleasantly too-cause he knew the price was extremely reasonable.

“Let’s see-I promised you a gold watch, didn’t I,” queried Uncle Josh of Polly, “and Hamilton, the jeweler, is the man to sell us one cheap.” Entering the popular jewelry store the old man gallantly acquitted himself of the promise and then directed Polly’s attention to the superior stock of silverware carried by the house. “There is now other such house in town,” said the old man, “and I will guarantee the quality to be the very best. Pick out your family clock while here,” he added. “Hamilton carries a magnificent line. Don’t forget another fact,” he continues, “if Charley’s old turnip ever breaks down this is the place to fetch it for repairs,’ cause Hamilton is an expert doctor on sick watches, and can fix ‘em up good as new.”

“Halt!” commanded Uncle Josh, as the party came in front of F.J. Hardison’s handsome drug store, “Walk right in.” “Why uncle, we’re not sick, and –““Guess I know that, but I suspect it won’t be long before this young man begins to take an interest in matters of paregoric, etc., and-““Uncle!” “Well, go in anyway, Polly may find some toilet articles she wants.” Sure enough, before leaving she was loaded down with combs, brushes, face powders and ounces upon ounces of fine imported perfumes. “Don’t forget,” added Uncle Josh, “to come here with your prescriptions, as Mr. Hardison is a competent pharmacist and uses pure and reliable drugs.”

“Oh, say, Uncle,” exclaimed Polly, “where can I go for dry goods? This dress is hardly suitable, I must admit. “ “Well, my girl, if you want to select from one of the most popular establishments in town, I will direct you to the Ross Co., which carries a stock of dress goods that for variety and real value is seldom seen outside the largest metropolitan cities. This store has all the latest weaves in fashionable dress goods and you are sure to be guided right in your selections. You will find Mr. Ross pleasant to deal with and his employees polite and expert, while the prices cannot be duplicated.” It did not take Polly long to tell a bargain when she saw one, so after getting a lovely dress she turned her attention to the purchase of a stylish mantle, of which The Ross Co. show some extra choice values.

This delightful part of the programme over, Polly turned to Uncle Josh with a most natural question for a woman: “What about carpets, Uncle?” she asked. “Well, it does take you wimmin folks to think of things, but I tell you it won’t take me long to think where to get them carpets. The Ross Co. have got everything in carpets from linoleum for the kitchen up to axministers for the parlor. Step right upstairs and see for yourself.” Polly got something suitable for every room of her house, as well as rugs, table linens, lace curtains, and draperies. And her buying was rendered a pleasure by the kindly way her wants were attended, to and often anticipated by the popular firm known as The Ross Co.

While Uncle Josh was pondering where to go next, Polly suddenly asked: “Uncle, where can I find the leading millinery establishment?” “Just around the corner,” remarked Uncle Josh, “and we will visit Mrs. M. M. Johnson, who, by the way, has on hand one of the neatest stocks of stylish millinery to be found in the town. You can get what you want there, the latest styles and lowest prices being her motto. Mrs. Johnson’s experience guarantees that when you have purchased of her you have the thing according to fashion and a satisfaction that your work has been done by a competent artist. In a few hours there never was a happier girl than Polly, for the new bonnet she ordered turned out to be a perfect dream of loveliness.”

At this point Uncle Josh suggested that they all go to Ed. Hughes’ Bon-Ton restaurant for refreshments. Thither they repaired and regaled themselves in a lunch fit for the epicureans. “You will notice that everything is neat and clean about this place,” said Uncle Josh, “and if you like oysters and want to have the tempting bivalves served up about right in any style come to the Bon-Ton.”

“And another place I wish to take you, children, is to county clerk R. Cooper’s flour and feed store next door, remarked the old man. “Your introduction to Welland would not be half complete without. Talk about flour, why bless you there ain’t no flour that can come up to the kind he sells. He makes it a point to keep the choicest brands and all smart housewives make it a point to get their flour of him. Then as to feed, this store is headquarters for that. They handle everything from golden oats down, to corn cobs, serve customers with promptness and dispatch. I.ve been dealing with Mr. Cooper for a long time, and I tell you he is a good man to tie to.”

While Uncle Josh spoke he was noticed to examine his bank book in a hesitating way, “I do declare, my balance is almost exhausted,” he said,” and I reckon I’ll need to sell some wheat and clover seed, which fact makes it more important than ever that we see Mr. Cooper. He deals largely in wheat and clover seed, does an extensive shipping business, and maybe depended upon to pay a fellow the highest possible cash market price. Why, I never even think of selling my grain to anybody else but R. Cooper. Cause he is always ready to pay the top notch without quibbling and gee-hawin’ around all day with a fellow.” Uncle Josh thereupon introduced the young people and sold his wheat and clover seed at a good figure.

“But look here, Uncle,” interrupted the young man as they reached the street, “what about coal? We’ve got the stoves, but I reckon they won’t be of much service without fuel. We can’t keep fire on love alone, can we? ““Glad you mentioned it,” replied Uncle Josh. “Buying so much in one day kinder befuddles a fellow. Fortunately, however, it’s only a little distance to W.H. Crow’s coal office. He is my favorite dealer and handles coal which has no superior and few equals; it makes a hot fire, burns up clear, and don’t leave any clinkers. Fair measure, fair treatment and fair prices are what you’ll receive at the hands of W.H. Crow.” A big order was placed for the winter.

“I would like to make you acquainted with Dr. H. Weller, my dentist friend, too,” said the old man. “If you ever have to supplement your natural teeth.” “Ugh! Don’t you mention false teeth to me,” cried Polly. “I’ll never carry ‘pearly lies’ in my mouth if I go toothless. “Oh, as for that,” laughed Uncle Josh, “if you’ll only consult a good dentist in time, you can save the catastrophe. Dr. Weller, for instance, is wonderfully expert in saving natural teeth, and he has the skill and every mechanical appliance necessary to do his work with the least discomfort to his patrons.”

“By the way,” exclaimed Uncle Josh, with a paternal air, as they left the dental office, “the next thing to look after is the arrangement for those improvements which are absolutely necessary. Come with me and I’ll introduce you to Jno. E. Cutler, who is the principal contractor and builder for this county, and he has a well-equipped planning mill in connection. He carries a most complete line of building material-everything, from the sills for the foundation to the shingles for the roof, including doors and windows, mouldings, etc. It is pleasant to deal with Mr. Cutler, for his greatest aim is to give satisfaction to every customer. To have a building put up quickly, in good order and at a moderate cost Mr. Cutler is the man to consult.” The improvements were soon arranged for.

“Holy smoke, Charley, where is the name of creation did you get that snipe? That’s about the worst weed that ever came in contact with my olfactory nerve,” ;laughingly remarked Uncle Josh, “step in here to this cigar stand and get a F.C.B., then you’ll have a gentleman’s smoke. That cigar is a cracker jack, contains all the qualities of a delicious puff, F.R. Camray, the manufacturer, takes great pride to keep that cigar up to the highest standard, and consequently it grows more popular every day.” Charley was so well pleased with the F.C.B, Uncle Josh treated him with to that he bought a whole box and advised his friends to do the same, and forgetting to also speak of the fact that it was made here in Welland and he believed in patronizing home industry.

“Law sakes!” suddenly exclaimed Uncle Josh, “all this trading and shopping round town has caused me to forget one of the greatest essentials to future existence. I have heard it said that newly married folks could live on love and scenery, but an old man of experience knows better-your table would look slim without bread; it’s the ‘staff of life,’ you know. Polly, you must meet W.H. Crowther, the baker, His bread, pies and cakes and nicknacks are conceded by all to be the finest on earth. Remember, Charley, there is no use of your ‘ootsy tootsy’ bothering herself much about baking so long as there is a good baker in town like Mr. Crowther. He made that elegant cake I brought to your wedding.” “Yes, and everybody said it was just lovely,” remarked Polly.

“Yes, and while we are on this important topic of gastronomics, we must not forget meat. It goes hand in hand with bread. Now, to locate a meat market where you can get fresh wholesome meats at all times. W.J. Best is the man t supply you. This is the boss meat market in the town and is popular with everybody who is particular to have the best. The reason for this is all because he is very careful in the selection of stock and gets the freshest of everything and keeps nothing but the very best, in keeping with his name, you know. To keep your ‘Hubby’ in good humor, Polly, trade at W.J. Best’s market every time.”

“Now,” cried the old gentleman, “now for a picture of this crowd in good old country fashion, we’ll go to the photograph gallery, and H.G. Webb has a good one. His pictures are wonderful in fidelity and finish. I want one full-sized photo for my study and some small ones for my friends, and his aristo-platinos are absolutely permanent. Webb has the soul of a true artist; all his work is a labor of love, in which he will not stop short of perfection, and as he is famous for successful enlarging, I want to give you a life size representation of ‘yours truly.’ “. (Uncle Josh’s picture may be seen at Webb’s studio any time the reader desires to call.).

En route to their home the party called at THE TRIBUNE office. “You’ll want the news every week,” remarked Uncle Josh, “and as this is the favorite paper here I’ll subscribe.”

When they reached the house, all three were just about “tuckered out,” but a bottle of choice “Seagram’s ’83,” which, unknown to the young folks, Uncle Josh had ordered from Phelps, the wine and spirit merchant, soon revived them into a cheerful mood. While enjoying the mellow beverage-after warning the young folks against the evils of over indulgence in drink of any kind,-Uncle Josh imparted the information, however, that it would be advisable to keep something strictly pure about the house for medical purposes, you know. And in such events Mr. Phelps was the proper person to apply to for such extras, because that merchant keeps all the best brands in stock, and is an all-round good fellow. Anyone can see that Uncle Josh has a friendly feeling for Mr. Phelps.

Upon summing up the wonderful event of the day Polly began to volubly express thanks. “You have bought us everything, she exclaimed.

“Only one thing,” replied Uncle Josh reflectively, “but I can remedy that: A. Lawrence, the furniture man, always has a nice line of them and you can get one whenever you want it: I’ll pay for the best.”

“W-H-Y,” exclaimed Polly with great surprise, “Uncle what can it be?”

“Well it’s a baby carriage and –“

But Polly had fainted.

MARRY EACH OTHER EVERY YEAR

[Welland Tribune, 10 September 1897]

When G.C. Hopkins married his wife in Chicago five years ago, it was agreed by the two that the marriage should last for one year only. At the end of the year, according to the agreement, their marriage was void, but they had got along so well together that they resolved to be married again for 12 months. A second ceremony was performed, and life went on smoothly for another year. Since then Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins have married each year on the anniversary of their marriage. The ceremony has been performed five times, each time it being understood between the contracting parties that the promises made were binding for one year only. The ministers or magistrates who performed the various ceremonies were not let into the secret. They were simply asked to officiate in the marriage rites.

THOMAS STEPHENS

[Welland Tribune, 3 September 1897]

Thos. Stephens, brother of James Stephens of town, died at Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug.19th, after a long illness of paralysis. He leaves a widow and family.