Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


[Welland Telegraph, 21 September 1909]

A large number of urban municipalities in Canada have availed themselves of the Carnegie Library fund. Out of the fund handsome public buildings have been erected and excellent libraries maintained.

Alderman John Goodwin makes the suggestion that the Town of Welland ought to take advantage of the liberality of the Master of Skibo, and indeed, why not?

The present accommodation at the Town Hall in not too ample and will shortly be required for a department of the municipality. The day will surely come when the town will have to provide a site and building for a library. Why not provide the site and have Mr. Carnegie supply the building?

The matter is one worthy of the attention of the Library Board and should receive from them their endorsement.


Stamford News

[Welland Tribune, 5 January 1909]

Mrs. Jules LeVernier from France died at the old Whirlpool House last week, aged over 80 years.


[Welland Tribune, 31 December 1909]

Jack McCarthy, well known to the oldest residents of Welland and Port Colborne, died in Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 14th. When Mr. McCarthy was returning from the city, he slipped on the icy pavement and fell, fracturing his hip. He was removed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Mr. McCarthy was 75 years old, and was for a number of years city harbor master at Chicago.

James Griffith

[Welland Tribune , 1909]

Welland over Fifty years ago

Although we have already published a reference to the late James Griffith, we are pleased to print the following, both on account of being fuller and for the historical reminiscences contained:

James Griffith, son of Thomas Griffith and Isabella Church, was born in Port Robinson on Dec 4th, 1828. He was the last of five brothers, excepting a step-brother, Charles Curry of Dunnville. His boyhood days were spent on a farm, and in early life he took a place as clerk in a store. While clerking for the late D. Kinsman of Fonthill, he became acquainted with Ellen Randall, a native of Brookfield, Nova Scotia, whom he married on Sept. 3rd, 1854. They started on the journey of life in the village of Merritville, now the town of Welland, and on the corner of West Main and North Main streets stood a long Gothic frame building, the property of Seely & Betts. The front of the building contained a store where the deceased carried on business, while in the rear were apartments for dwellings. On the opposite corner the late Elias Hoover kept the Welland House–still the Welland House but greatly enlarged and improved.

Across from the Gothic store A. Bald had a dry goods store, and west of that stood his residence. There were no railroads, and the canal, which was west of the present one was content to have its boats hauled through by horse power and tow ropes. Steam boats were few and far between those days, and the bridge over the river was an old wooden structure without a railing.

Among the business firms were Daniel McCaw, who did shoe making; Mr Shrigley sold drugs; Wellington Hellems kept a furniture store; Betts & Seely had a saw mill.

There was no jail; no church–an old log school house, where the model school building (now the Y.M.C.A.) stands, served both as church and school, and was lighted by tallon candles, oftimes the members of the congregation bringing their own candles with them. The sidewalks were either mother earth, or two planks with space between them.

Mr Griffith took an active part building up the town, was enthusiastic in church work and in municipal affairs. He fought for a free school system, and, although opposed by some of his most intimate friends won the day after many strivings, he believed in education for all classes. If I remember correctly he was the first superintendent for the first Sabbath school in Welland, He was very hospitable and generous to the last degree. He was the father of six sons and six daughters–three sons and two daughters dying in infancy.

The next break in the family came in the death of their daughter Mrs M. Webster, about 10 years ago, Grand Forks, N.D., where the Griffith family had gone to live in 188-, 1884. In 1889 and during following winters Mr and Mrs Griffith had gone to California to escape the severe cold of the north. In 1906 owing to ill-health of Mrs G. they remained in Pasadena for the summer and on the last day of August same year, the life partner of the deceased passed away and was laid to rest in Mountain View cemetery. Mr Griffith returned to Grand Forks, to be with his sons there, and, owing to the severity of the cold northern winters and his advanced, he came to Pasadena, California, last November, to live with his daughter Mrs R.W. Weeks, where he died on Jan 31st, from fatty degeneration of the heart, and was laid to rest beside his wife in the beautiful cemetery with a fine monument marking the last resting place of all that is mortal of the venerable old couple whose journey in life began on the other side of the continent, and also beside them rests a sister, Miss Catherine Randall, who as a teacher in Welland county, instilled in the minds of many a young girl and boy good principles that led them to become noble men and women

Although Mr Griffith had been complaining at times for about two weeks preceding his death, he was not considered in an immediately serious condition, and in fact the day before his death his condition was pronounced to be improved. On the day of his death, after supper, he laid down, as was his custom, to take a nap. He woke up and said to nurse and me, who were in the next room, “Why, girls, haven’t you gone to bed yet?” And nurse replied, “ It is only 6.30.” Whereupon he said, “Oh is that all; guess I’ll  go to sleep again.” and those were the last words he spoke. The nurse was in the room watching him constantly while he slept, fearing he might have a stroke of apoplexy; but his last long breath came at 8.45 p.m.;he looked as if he were sleeping so peaceful–his long life work was ended.

“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord… That they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

The surviving children of deceased are: R.B. Griffith T,C.Griffith, Mrs L.H. Carter, of Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mrs F.W. Cathro of Bottineau, No. Dak; Dr. A.R. Griffith of Montreal, Canada; Mrs R.W. Weeks of Pasadena, Calif.

There are twenty grandchildren.

Mr and Mrs Griffith celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Sept 3, 1904, in Grand Forks, N.D.

Late James Griffith

[Welland Tribune, 1909]

The death of James Griffiths occurred at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. R.W. Weeks, Pasadena, Calif., on Jan, 31st. Mr Griffiths was a prominent resident of Welland forty to fifty years ago, having carried on business as a merchant there, served as school trustee, village councillor. His sons carry on a large mercantile business at Grand Forks, and one son is a doctor at Montreal. In politics deceased was a Liberal. and in religion a Baptist. As Mr Griffith was in good health recently, his death must have been comparatively sudden. He was about 80 years of age. We expect to give a more extended notice at a later date.

Obituary – James Griffith

James Griffith, (whose death was briefly noted in our last issue,) was born at Port Robinson, Welland county. Ontario, on Dec. 4, 1828, was married to Ellen Randall on Sept 3,1854, in the picturesque village of Fonthill, and started the journey of life in Welland, where he carried on the mercantile business for many years, in the store now occupied by A.O. Rose and was prominent in church and municipal affairs.

Twelve children were born to them, five dying in infancy, and one later.

In 1883 he went to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where his oldest son had started in the mercantile business, and, liking the country, sent for his wife and family, who joined him the following year.

In 1888 he had a severe sick spell, and in the following winter his physician advised a California trip, so he, with his wife, went to Pasadena for the winter and since then have spent each winter in California until  two years ago, when his life partner passed away, and he returned to Grand Forks to be with his sons. One winter was passed at Compton, California, where he helped found the Baptist church.

Last November he arrived in Pasadena to spend the winter with his daughter, Mrs R.W. Weeks. In January he took a severe cold, resulting in bronchial pneumonia, from which he recovered; but other complications set in unexpectedly and on Jan. 31st he went to sleep, peacefully and quietly breathing his last, fatty degeneration of the heart being the cause of his death. He was eighty years of age.

The surviving children are; R.B. Griffith, T.C. Griffith and Mrs L.H. Carter, of  Grand Forks, North Dakota; Dr.A.R. Griffith of Montreal, Canada; Mrs F.W. Cathro of Bottineau, North Dakota, and Mrs R.W. Weeks of Pasadena, California.

Deceased, who were winter tourists in California, and the minister was Rev C.Y. Snell, a life-long friend.

Many friends attended, and the casket was covered with beautiful floral offering, among them being a handsome piece of violets and delicate white blossoms sent by his friends who were formerly from his old home in Grand Forks, North Dakota;

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 County Hospital

[The People’s Press  Tuesday March 2, 1909]

Formal Opening—Addresses by Lt.-Gov Gibson and Others

A large attendance

The Welland County General Hospital has been formally opened, and the dream of the interested ones about two years ago is now an accomplished fact.

The opening took place on Monday afternoon in the presence of a large number of citizens and a goodly number of visitors from the county and St Catharines.

The hour was set for  2.30 and very shortly after that hour the carriage conveying his honor, the Lieutenant-Governor, Col. J.M. Gibson and Dr. Bruce Smith, inspector of public charities ,arrived

His Honor and Dr. Smith were accompanied by Hon. Richard Harcourt at whose home they took luncheon.

It was a very happy opening.

The note of optimism  was clearly heard through all the addresses, the note of optimism and hope.

The men’s ward was turned into an impromptu auditorium for the afternoon, and on the wall at the rear of the platform the Union Jack was seen. In front were palms and decorations.

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[Welland Tribune, 8 January 1909]

Mrs. John Phelps died on Thursday morning at the residence of Mrs. S.J. Sidey, Port Colborne, passing peacefully out of this life after a brief attack of pneumonia, which first seized her on Monday morning.

Not of robust health in recent years, she was never too busy or too tired to aid those who came to her, and in her passing out of Welland life, the town will indeed be poorer.

Mrs. Phelps was born in Grimsby and was the daughter of the late James Hindson. She was twice married, first wedding, William Tufford, and Miss Lena Tufford, Welland, is her daughter.

In 1880 she married John Phelps of Welland and leaves one daughter, Mrs. F.H. Sears, through this union. One sister survives: Mrs. S.J. Sidey, Port Colborne, and three brothers, William, Port Huron; James, St. Catharines; George of Rapid City, Michigan.

The funeral will be private.

[Related TALE-General News: WHAT MR. PHELPS SAW]

[Related TALE-Early Citizens: JOHN PHILLIPS PHELPS]


[Welland Tribune, 15 October 1909]

The death occurred in Welland, about two o’clock on Wednesday morning, 13th inst., of Elizabeth Jeffrey, widow of the late W.D. Jeffrey, in the 69th year of her age.

The cause of death was lung trouble and bronchitis and the effect of a fall which she had in the early part of the summer. At that time she sustained a fracture of the thigh and a sprained wrist; she was under medical care and a trained nurse was in attendance from that time until her death took place.

The late Mrs. Jeffrey was a daughter of John Henderson, and was born in Wainfleet township on Oct. 26, 1840. She was twice married, her first husband being Dr. Barr of St. Catharines. Dr. Barr and Mrs. Barr resided some years at Iona, Mich., and a daughter was born to them, now Mrs. L.H. Pursel of Welland. After Dr. Barr’s death and in the year 1872, deceased married Mr. W.D. Jeffrey, and in this marriage there were born two daughters, Mrs. W.E. Barker and Miss Jenny Jeffrey, both of Welland. The death of Mr. Jeffrey took place on July 28th, 1889. Mr. Jeffrey was a prominent resident of Welland, having held the position of councilor and was mayor of the town.

Deceased is survived by three brothers, and three sisters, viz: Gavin, Elliot and John Henderson of Wainfleet; Mrs. Elliot Taylor of Smithville; Mrs. Delamatter of Attercliffe and Miss Euphemia Henderson of Wainfleet; also by two step sons, Charles W. Jeffrey of Ottawa and George A. Jeffrey of Buffalo.

Mrs. Jeffrey was a faithful and life-long member of the Presbyterian church, a devoted wife and mother, and her demise is deeply mourned by a wide circle of sorrowing friends.

Funeral private to be held this Friday afternoon.


[Welland Tribune, 1 October 1909]

The death occurred at Welland, on Thursday morning about 11 o’clock of Mary Eliza, wife of P.S. Peacock, a prominent contractor of Welland. The cause of Mrs. Peacock’s death was acute Bright’s disease and heart failure. Mrs. Peacock had not been in good health for some time and only a short while ago was very seriously ill. She, however, improved as to be able to be out of doors, but was taken worse again and removed to the hospital on Wednesday for an operation which was to have been performed yesterday morning. The operation, however, was never performed. Mrs. Peacock was taken worse during the night and death took place yesterday morning.

A wide circle of friends mourns Mrs. Peacock’s demise and the sympathy of all will go out to Mr. Peacock and the five little children who remain to mourn the loss of a kind and loving wife and mother. The eldest of these children is twelve, and the youngest four years of age.

Mrs. Peacock was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hinton, who reside on Denistoun street. Besides her husband and family she is survived by two brothers, Samuel of Huntsville and Hedley of Welland. Mrs. Peacock became a resident of Welland about four years ago when she moved here from Niagara Falls with her husband. She formerly lived at Port Hope. She was 37 years of age.

The funeral will be held from the late residence West Main street on Sunday afternoon at two o’clock. Interment at Fonthill.