Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

Dr. Robert Hamel de la Matter (1824-1899)

Dr. Robert Hamel de la Matter (1824-1899)

[Compiled by ‘S’]

Robert was born March 18, 1824 on the south side of Tice Road near Centre Street in Pelham. The original home was destroyed  by fire

The de la Matters were originally French Hugenots. The family name was spelled several ways.

Claude de Maistre was the first to emigrate to America, settling in New Amsterdam (New York) on Long Island in 1652. His family was raised in what is now Harlem. He was a successful farmer.

Martin de la Mater, father of Robert was a rebel sympathizer at the time of the American Revolution, afterward he immigrated to Canada.

Martin first settled in Canborough and on November 3, 1818 he married Sabina Smith, one of the daughters of Matthew and Mary (Wright) Smith. Matthew Smith was a prominent farmer, millwright and entrepreneur of Canborough.

Martin and Sabina de la Matter had eight children, five were born in Canborough, Cyrus, Ryan A., Eben J, Cornelia and Smith.

Three more were born after they moved to Pelham Ferrand, Peter Morse and Martin.

In 1828 the family located on 200 acres in Pelham on Tice Road.

Sabina died February 10, 1835, then, Martin married Mary Magdalene Vanderburgh born June 20, 1806 she was the daughter of Garret and Catherine Vanderburgh, who lived on a farm in Allanburg, a loyalist grant.

Sabina’s children Ryan, Ferrand and Martin all died in infancy. Cyrus, Eben, Smith and Peter received their education at common schools in Pelham and learned the farm trade here. However they all left Pelham went to the United States and farmed in the Midwest states of Illinois and Iowa.

The children of Martin’s second marriage were Sabina, Henry, Ira, Robert H., Isaac, Mary Emily and Francis Elizabeth.

Martin and Mary Delamatter became prominent members of the Pelham community. Martin was a Officer of the local Militia during the Mackenzie rebellion of 1837. He had one of his barns burned because of the commission.

He was a trustee of the Fonthill Wesleyan Methodist Church and one of the trustees involved in the purchase of land for the North Pelham Cemetery. In 1845.

Martin and Mary sent all of their children to local schools in Pelham and their sons went to university.

Sabina married a lawyer, Alisha Morse and lived in Smithville. Henry was a successful teacher, teaching at Fonthill Grammar School. He also was principal of Welland High School. Also taught in schools in Owen Sound, Wiarton, Colborne, and Williamsville, New York.

Henry married Maria Blaghorne and they had eight children. He died in Toronto after being blind for several years.

Ira graduated from Victoria College in Cobourg, where he was a prize winning essayist. He became a teacher in Fonthill and ran the family farm in Pelham.

Isaac was a trained lawyer, he contracted tuberculosis and died on an overland route to California, at a military post, three weeks after his marriage.

Robert attended Hansler school and the grammar school in Fonthill. He entered the University of Toronto where graduated with a B.A. degree in 1868, receiving a silver medal. He then entered Faculty of Medicine and obtained an M.D degree in 1871, winning a silver medal.

After graduation Robert interned in a hospital on Statten Island, New York. He then moved to Fonthill and practiced with Dr. J. Fraser.

Dr Robert Delamatter then left Fonthill and practiced in Springfield, Ohio and Buffalo , New York before establishing himself in Attercliffe where he resided until his death in 1899.

Robert married a school teacher, Janet Henderson and their daughter Elizabeth Magdalena became a latin teacher at Pelham District High School.

The Delamatter residence is still standing on the south side of Canboro road at the west end of the Attercliffe village.

According to his daughter , the doctor did not have regular office hours, people came to the house at any time. House calls were made on horseback or horse and buggy. He referred surgical patients to Dr G.A. MacCallum of Dunnville. This was the man whose son, William MacCallum became a professor of Pathology at John Hopkins Medical School and wrote a textbook on the subject.

Dr Robert Delamatter died following a stroke in 1899. He is buried at the Riverside cemetery in Wellandport along with his wife Janet and Daughter Elizabeth.

His tombstone can be located on this website  Gallery—cemeteries- Riverside Pt 1 section 7.

JAMES ANDREWS

[Welland Telegraph, 8 September 1899]

James Andrews of this village (Fonthill), who had a stroke of paralysis on Thursday last, died on Friday Sept. 1st, at the age of 69 years. The funeral was held on Sunday last at Holy Trinity church in charge of the Orange Lodge here. There was a large turn out of both citizens and the order. Dr. Johnstone delivered a very feeling and appropriate discourse on the occasion. The burial took place in the Fonthill cemetery. Deceased leaves a widow and seven children to mourn his loss.

JAMES ANDREWS – FONTHILL

[People’s Press, 5 September 1899]

James Andrews, an old resident of this place, had a paralytic stroke on Tuesday afternoon last and died the next day, Sept. 1, aged 69 years. He had been quite feeble for some time past. The funeral took place here on Sunday afternoon, under the management of Hoffman L.O.L. of  which deceased was a member. The attendance in Welland was large, also of the general public exceeding the capacity of the church. Interment was made in Fonthill cemetery. The town flag was lowered at half mast on the day of the funeral in honor of the deceased who was greatly respected by all who knew him.

Dr William Mingle Comfort (1822-1899)

Dr. Comfort was born on the family homestead in North Pelham on October 23, 1822.

His grandfather Robert E. Comfort purchased a hundred acres from David Secord, land bound by Cream St.,Tice Road, Metler Road, A house and barn were built about 1857.

William Comfort went to local schools. He taught school, then attended Western Reserve College in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1854 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, 1855  received an M.D. He then came to Fonthill and practiced with Dr. John Fraser. He then returned to Western Reserve University to receive a Master Of Arts degree in 1866.

Dr. Comfort then moved to Fenwick, lived in the Diffin Hotel. It still stands on corner of Church and Canboro roads. He was here in 1878.

Dr. Comfort married Margaret Melissa Falconer from East Oxford county They were married April 12, 1859. She was age 36.

They had 3 children. Helen Newell Comfort born April 14,1866 became wife of Rev. J.M. Cameron. She died January 21,1920 and is buried in the North Pelham Cemetery.

Second daughter was Catherine Elizabeth Comfort born August 5, 1861, died February 4, 1921 and is buried in the North Pelham Cemetery.

The third daughter was Grace comfort born August 1,1864, died June 1, 1940 and is buried in the North Pelham cemetery.

His wife Margaret Comfort died June 12, 1872 and is buried in the North Pelham Cemetery.

Dr. Comfort married Azuba Catharine Hutt from Dunnville on October 16, 1877. They had 3 children.

Earle Hampden Comfort born January 1, 1879, died Jan. 22, 1949, buried in North Pelham Cemetery

Edna Eleanor Comfort born 1881 and Echo Elmer born 1882.

Azuba  Catharine Comfort was born Aug 28, 1849 and died June 4, 1921. and is buried in North Pelham Cemetery.

Later in his life Dr. Comfort moved back to the North Pelham homestead and practiced there. He was appointed Medical officer of health

The Comfort maple, about 500 years old was donated to the conservation authority by Dr Comfort’s daughter Miss Edna Comfort.

The family was of United Empire Loyalists from New York State. Dr Comfort’s father donated the land for the First Presbyterian church and Dr. Comfort donated the land for the manse before his death.

Dr. Comfort’s parents were John Book Comfort (1796-1879) and Elizabeth Mingle Comfort (1795-1872)

William Mingle Comfort M.A. M.D. born Oct 23,1822, died Oct 23, 1899. He died of heart failure and is buried in the North Pelham Cemetery.

WILLIAM NELSON GARDEN

[Welland Telegraph, 3 February 1899]

              Only ten days before his death, the writer saw the late W.N. Garden on the street, and remarked to his son how well the old gentleman was looking. A few days later he complained of not feeling well, and from that time out failed fast, death coming to him very gently shortly after midnight Saturday, or rather Sunday morning. His death came as a shock to Welland people, who had not learned how seriously ill he was. The cause of death is given as pleurisy, accompanied by heart failure. The following sketch of Mr. Garden’s life is taken from the History of Welland County.

             William Garden Nelson, merchant, was born in the township of Willoughby, county of Welland, on the 20 March, 1821. His father was John Campbell Garden, an officer in the Royal Newfoundland regiment. He died in 1860, aged seventy-seven years. Our subject’s mother was Mary Thompson, a native of Nova Scotia. She died in 1882 at the advanced age of eighty five years. They were both pensioners; the father drawing $400 annually up to the time of his death, his widow receiving half that amount for each year that she survived him. W.N. Garden was liberally educated at a school situated at what is now the city of St. Catharines. He taught school for three years, and afterwards engaged in various employments, getting his first knowledge of his present business while vending teas, &c., from a wagon. Mr. Garden has been a close observer of the world and the changes society has undergone since his boyhood. He describes the roads when one could jump from stump to stump for long distances, the houses when they were supplied with fire-places five or six feet long, the rolling in of the back logs, the baking of bread in the bake kettles of the period, and the cooking of victuals over the fire in vessels suspended in a crane, &c. Mr. Garden was first married on Dec. 4th 1851 to Melinda, a daughter of Philip S. Mussen of Allanburgh by whom he had three children: William B., Charles A., and Lucy E. His first wife having died, he was again married, March 15th 1858 to Ann, a daughter of Robert and Sarah (Montgomery) Brown. This union has been blessed with the following: Robert M., Albert Edward and Sarah L.

             Mr. Garden served the town at the municipal board, and was also a justice of the peace. He was a member of Merritt Lodge, A.F. & A.M., for the past 30 years, and was also a member of the Orange fraternity. In politics he was a Conservative of the old school, staunch and loyal to the last. He was a strong upholder of the English Church, being a member of Holy Trinity Church, Welland, ever since that church has held service here, and until he grew deaf was one of the most regular attendants. Among the older people of this section he was known and revered as a man whose word was as good as his bond.

             The funeral took place on Monday, at 11 a.m., from the house (Division Street) to Holy Trinity church, where the impressive service of the English church was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Johnstone, who in a brief address spoke in eloquent terms of the good man those present were called upon to mourn for. A kind and indulgent father, a loving husband and a man whose whole life had been marked by sterling integrity. His record was one for those present to emulate.

             From the church the funeral proceeded to the old English burying ground, where all that was mortal of William Nelson Garden was laid to rest beside the remains of his wife.

             The funeral was under Masonic auspices-the brethren conducting their service at the house and grave. The pall bearers were Bros. George Rogers, J. Phelps, J. Ryan, D. McConachie, F. Edgar and W.G. Somerville.

             Besides the children mentioned above the only relatives left are Mr. Henry Garden of St. Catharines, a brother, who was present at the funeral, and a sister, Mrs. Carroll, of Newark, N.J.

Died: 29 January 1899
Married: Melinda Mussen-4 December 1851
Ann Montgomery-15 March 1858
Old English Burying Ground
20 March 1821-29 January 1899
Pleurisy
Father: John Campbell Garden
Mother: Mary Thompson

JANE TUCKER: A TRAGIC EVENT

In the History of Welland County Recalled by the Death of

MRS. BARUCH TUCKER/MRS. CHARLES RITCHIE

[Welland Tribune, 10 February 1899]

             The death of the late Mrs. Baruch Tucker, sr., at Allanburg, on Tuesday this week, recalls a tragic and sensational event in the history of the county of Welland. Before her marriage to the late Mr. Tucker, deceased was the widow of Constable Charles Ritchie, who was murdered by Townsend at Port Robinson in November, 1854.

             Townsend and two of his companions had robbed Jacob Gainer on the highway, then gone on to Port Robinson, where they had supper at Mrs. Jordan’s hotel. Franklin Hagar went to Port Robinson and told Constable Ritchie and others and they all went to Jordan’s hotel where the robbers were known to be at supper. It was in the dusk of the evening. Townsend had finished his supper and stood on the verandah. The constable went up and arrested him, but he was not prepared for dealing with such a desperate character and Townsend quickly drew and shot him in the head and affected his escape through the church yard, although pursued by many. Townsend’s bullet had entered Ritchie’s head about 3/4 of an inch above the left ear and he died about an hour later.

             The murderer was never brought to justice. The Townsend or so called Townsend trial at Welland, it will be remembered, resulting in an acquittal of the prisoner on the ground that the crown failed to prove the identity of the prisoner as Townsend.

             Mrs. Ritchie afterward Mrs. Baruch Tucker, lived nearly 45 years after the tragic occurrence, being in the 80th year at the time of her death this week.