Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about



[Welland Telegraph, 1904/05]


Was born in Hay Township, Huron County, on July 19, 1859, the son of John Gross, who is still living at the age of 80 years.  His grandfather, Jacob Gross,  was a German, and settled in Lincoln County in 1818. Mr. Gross studied law with W, M. German, M.P. and in 1897 was called to the bar. As a Liberal standard bearer he twice carried Welland County, being elected in 1900 and 1902. Mr. Gross is a member of the English Church. -Welland Telegraph 1904/05


Beloved Civic Official Succumbs to Complications Following Pneumonia Attack


Was Long and Honored Figure of City and County Public Life

[The Welland Evening Tribune, 28 January 1928]

J.F. Gross has passed away.

And that means the going on of a man long identified with the public life of this city and of the county of Welland, a member of the old guard of the Liberal party, and an outstanding figure hereabouts for many years. In March of last year, Mr. Gross while on a trip to the Pacific coast was stricken with pneumonia at Vancouver, and there lay for a long period. He was brought home in August, and has since been confined to his home on Division street, this city, where death came to him Friday night at ten o’clock.

Hope of ultimate recovery ebbed and flowed from time to time. In the afternoon of yesterday he fell asleep and so slept his life away. It was a peaceful end of a life well spent, and one whose memory will long live in this city and the surrounding county-a life of which it may well be set down that the definition of Chesterfield applies: “That a gentleman has ease without familiarity, is respectful without meanness; genteel without affectation, insinuating without seeming art.” For J.F. Gross was such.

Like his father, John Gross, one of the pioneers of Welland, John Franklin Gross was born in Clinton township, his natal day being July 19, 1859.

The founder of the family here in Canada was Jacob Gross, a native of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, who came to the dominion about the year 1818 and settled in that township. The father of the dead man came to Welland in 1872 and established one of the first industrial enterprises of the then village, a manufactory of pumps, in which the son was for some time associated following a number of years spent in the teaching profession.

Starts Career In Law

J.F. Gross then entered the office of W. F. German as a student of law, graduated at Osgoode Hall and was called to the bar on October 20, 1897, when he established his practice here in the city, in which of late years his only son, Douglas D. Gross has been associated.

He early entered political life and in 1897 was elected a member of the provincial house, serving as representative from Welland for two terms under the Ross government. In his first election, he was successful over the late Wm. McCleary of Thorold, and in his second contest he defeated the late Henry Cronmiller of Port Colborne.

In 1913 Mr. Gross was appointed city solicitor and he held the office up to his death, although the active duties have been for some time carried on by his son. He was also solicitor for the township of Thorold and has served other municipalities of the county at various times.

It was often said of Mr. Gross that no barrister in the province was better equipped in the knowledge of municipal law.

He married Clara Amelia Casper who survives him, and who was the daughter of Orin Casper, an old resident of the town. The marriage was contracted some 44 years ago.

The funeral will be held from the home, 220 Division street, Tuesday afternoon at 2.30 o’clock.

Gretchen Hoover Parsons (1889-1979)

[Compiled by S]

Gretchen was born August 7, 1889. Her parents were Dexter D. Hoover and Freddie F. Wilson. Dexter was a grocer in Welland. They lived at 97 West Main St. in Welland.

Gretchen attended Central school in Welland and the Welland High School.

Her grandfather was Elias Hoover (1823-1892). He was an early municipal councillor of the Village of Welland. He built the Dexter Hotel on Main St Welland.

Miss Gretchen Hoover entertained a number of young friends at her home on Tuesday night. The evening was spent in games, music etc. and a lunch was also served.

[Welland Tribune  February 19, 1904.]

Miss Gretchen Hoover entertained the T.W.S.C. on Wednesday evening. A very enjoyable time was spent by all present.

[Welland Tribune February 19, 1909]

Miss Gretchen Hoover entertained about thirty young friends on Friday evening last at progressive pedro and dancing. Favors were won by Miss Manie Brady and Mr Tom Bradley. Consolations going to Miss J. Chapman and M. Garner.

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[Welland Telegraph, 1904/05]

Judson Comfort Crow

Registrar of Deeds, Welland County, was born in the Township of Pelham in the year 1854, the son of John B. Crow, who was clerk of that township for 28 years. His son received the appointment of the registrarship in 1903 as successor to Col Morin. When clerk of Pelham township he lived at Ridgeville, and as well as being township clerk carried on the business of conveyancer and agent for fire and life insurance. Mr. Crow is a member of the Presbyterian Church and in politics a Liberal.




[Welland Telegraph, 1904/05]

The esteemed rector of Holy Trinity Church, Welland, was born at Edenton, North Carolina, in 1843. He was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated in 1861. He served under Gen. Stonewall Jackson in the American Civil War and out of 150 who volunteered with him only 18 survived. He was through seventeen of the bloodiest battles of Virginia. After the war he studied law for two years and then devoted himself to the ministry. He was ordained at Oswego, New York, in 1870. Seven years later he came to Canada and studied at Trinity University taking a post graduate course and securing the degrees of M.A. and Bachelor of Divinity. His first Canadian appointment was at Jarvis. He accepted the rectorship of Holy Trinity church in 1889, today holding the love, respect and admiration of its members.  In 1891 he went to England in the service of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and gave lectures in the leading cities of England.  He was invited by the society to make a similar tour of Italy and was subsequently pressed to give another series of lectures in England, but both these offers he was forced to refuse owing to the demands of his work at home.  He was made a Doctor of Divinity by the University of North Carolina and was notified by the secretary of the Episcopal Convention of that state that his name had been officially proposed as co-adjutor bishop.  Despite his long absence he came within one vote of being elected to the position. Dr. Johnstone is chaplain of the 44th Regiment and holds a deserved popularity with the officers and men. During the formation of the Canadian contingents for the South African campaign he volunteered three times to enlist in any capacity in which  he could serve the flag and relative to this he has a number of  interesting letters from Colonel Otter, Sir Frederick Bordon and Lord Lansdowne.

Photo by Willson



[Welland Telegraph, 1904/05]


Was born in Hay Township, Huron County, on July 19, 1859, the son of John Gross, who is still living at the age of 80 years.  His grandfather, Jacob Gross,  was a German, and settled in Lincoln County in 1818. Mr. Gross studied law with W, M. German, M.P. and in 1897 was called to the bar. As a Liberal standard bearer he twice carried Welland County, being elected in 1900 and 1902. Mr. Gross is a member of the English Church. - [Welland Telegraph 1904/05]


{Welland Tribune 1904}

SEALED TENDERS, addressed to the Postmaster General, will be received at  Ottawa until Noon, on Friday, the 7th October, 1904. for the conveyance of his Majesty’s Mails, on a proposed Contract for four years, six times per week  each way, between Fenwick and River Bend (proposed P.O.) from the Postmaser General’s pleasure.

Printed notices containing further information as to conditions of proposed Contract may be seen and blank forms of Tender may be obtained at the Post Office of Fenwick and at the Office of the Post Office Inspector at Toronto.

Post Office Department,

Mail Contract Branch,

Ottawa, 22nd Aug. 1904

G.C. Anderson, Superintendent.

Tenders are invited for the carriage of mails six times a week each way between Fenwick and River Bend, the latter being a proposed new post office near the Welland river south of Fenwick.


[Welland Telegraph 1904/05]



Was born in Stamford Township on April 4th, 1853.  In Stamford he got his public school training. He was a student for a time at the Drummondville Grammar school and later attended a preparatory college at Birmingham, Mich. Matriculating at Ann Arbor University in 1875, he returned to Ontario to adopt teaching as a profession. His professional certificate was obtained at Toronto Normal School.  His first school was in Crowland where he remained a year.  He was next three years at Southend, and nineteen years principal of Ridgeway school. During these years he devoted much time to the study of entomology in which branch of natural science he has obtained a wide recognition as an authority. In 1891 he succeeded the late Col. James E. Morin as Clerk of Bertie. He has been a director and treasurer of Bertie Natural Gas Company since its organization in 1901. He was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Bertie and Willoughby Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1902 on the resignation of the late Henry N. Hibbard. Mr. Kilman is an ardent Liberal and at the last election declined nomination for the local legislature.

Photo by Willson


[Welland Tribune, 16 August 1904]

Toronto has among its residents 173 veterans of the American Civil War, the oldest of whom says the News, is John Taylor Holmes, who is 80 years of age. The veterans have formed a Toronto post of the Grand Army of the Republic. Comrade Holmes, with all his 80 years, goes regularly for his seven mile walk every day. He jaunted out to High Park last Saturday morning bearing a huge knotted stick, and came back down Queen street with the swinging stride of a man one-half his age. He is one of the St. Catharines Holmes, and will be remembered by many of our readers as a visitor to his relatives the Sidey families at Welland, and also to Thomas Robinson, Wainfleet, with whose father he lived in his younger days.



[Welland Tribune, 15 January 1904]

Welland, Jan.13- James N. Abeel, the young man who has been lingering in Welland jail for the past two weeks under the charge of forgery, for which proceedings were being taken to extradite him, and in which judgment was reserved until today, appeared before Judge Wells this afternoon at 2 o’clock to learn his fate. H.E. Rose, Toronto, appeared for the prosecution. Abeel was in good spirits and talked and laughed with his counsel, W.M. German, K.C.

Judge Wells read the charge against the prisoner. He stated it had been urged by the defense that the depositions presented at the previous hearing had not been taken in the presence of accused and were not fair, that the evidence that a forgery was committed was not corroborated, that there must be a practical attempt to copy the handwriting, and that there was no intent to do injury. He over-ruled all these objections. He said there was expert evidence that the facts disclosed in the depositions constituted forgery in New York state. He committed Abeel to jail for extradition and informed him he would not be surrendered until 15 days had expired, and that he had a right to appeal.


22 March 1834-14 June 1904

The Autobiography of the Late Rev. Nelson Burns

Born in the town of Niagara, now called Niagara-on-the-Lake, 22 March 1834, Nelson was the second son of John and Deborah Huff Burns. His brother, Doctor Alfred Burns was a physician in the early years of Merrittsville, now Welland. Another brother of note was Theodore Burns, an editor of the Georgetown Herald.

An Anglo-Saxon Protestant, John Burns was born in the southern part of Ireland emigrating to Canada as a young man. Once situating in Niagara after living in several locales, he became engaged in the boot and shoe business. His wife, Deborah, born in Bath, was of Pennsylvania Dutch background, U.E. Loyalist. Together they raised six boys and one girl.

Upon graduation Nelson took the headmastership of the high school in Welland, remaining for one and a half years. He stated that “he took this position chiefly by the fact that my eldest brother was practicing medicine in Welland.”

The Reverend Burns was an early teacher at the Sabbath School in Welland for one and a half years, before moving to St. Thomas, ON. He married Eleanor Tyler on 12 July 1866.

Nelson died in Toronto, 14 June 1904 of heart disease.