Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


Robert Cooper Made County Clerk at 1891 June Session

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 15 June 1926]

“April showers bring May flowers”- a little belated this year, ‘tis true-and June brings County Council session, which may be counted on to show up with no belatedness.

This year’s session marks an anniversary, not for a council member, but for the clerk of that body, for it is thirty-five years ago, back in 1891, that Robert Cooper assumed that office.

Says the paper of those days: “The appointment of a new County Clerk was done in the twinkling of an eye this morning, (Saturday, June 6). Messrs. Cruikshank and Riselay introduced the bill to repeal the old by-law by inserting the name of Robert Cooper in lieu of that of Jos. C. Page, resigned. The bill was duly read and passed without dissent. It is but fair to say, however, that the obstructionist, Zimmerman, was not present when the bill was passed.”

The obstruction referred to came about the previous day when, again quoting from the newspaper, The Clerk read a motion by Morris and Seuss, that the County Clerk, be asked to put in his resignation, to take effect July 1.

Mr. Zimmerman- “I object. Mr. Seuss is not present.”

Mr. Morris, (the late Edward Morris of Fonthill)- “A little explanation is necessary here. It was agreed by both political parties that a member from each should act as movers. The duty fell upon myself, and the Deputy Reeve of Humberstone.”

Mr. Zimmerman- “Under circumstances.”

Mr. Morris- “The deputy did not second it, but Mr. Seuss has agreed to. Now he is not here.”

Mr. Cronmiller- “In the absence of Mr. Seuss, you may put my name down as seconder.”

“The motion was then put and carried out without discussion or dissent.”

Pursuing the newspaper further, it appears evident that the county fathers of those days followed much the same lines as those of today in getting things fixed up outside the council chamber preparatory to their being dealt with on the floor, for the report says: “Caucusing was in full swing until three o’clock, and coming before Council proper met it was well-known that two county offices would be declared vacant and that one of the plums would fall into the Conservative camp and the other into the Grit ranks. G.L. Hobson of Welland drew the first prize-that of County Treasurer-in a brief caucus of his friends. The Grits were no longer in session, but before they returned to the council chamber it was confidently whispered that Robert Cooper of Welland would succeed Mr. Page as County Clerk.

Mr. Hobson’s appointment was in succession to James McGlashan, whose resignation was tendered by himself on account of failing eyesight, and whose service in the office was commended by a resolution passed by the council “in appreciation of his efficient, faithful and honest services.”

C.R. Bennett was the next to assume the office of treasurer, following the death of Mr. Hobson, and the present incumbent, W.H. Garner, succeeded him in 1905, so that he now has twenty-one years’ service to his credit.

The situation in the case of the retiring County Clerk was of a different order. A committee appointed to audit his accounts in connection with the sale of marsh lands submitted a report showing that the sum of $5,959 appeared by the books to have been paid to the clerk between 1873 and 1886, over and above the amount paid over by him to the county treasurer.

This explains the request for his resignation before narrated. The newspaper report of the matter says: “It was a delicate business that faced councillors this morning. No action had yet been taken as to the clerk’s deficit, and all the members seemed loath to open the ball. Joe Page had been a landmark in the county council as its clerk. The older councillors felt disinclined to move against an old friend, while the new men thought that if any movement were made, the first step should be made by members who were at the board while the moneys were being misappropriated.

There were others after these two offices. D. McConachie was willing to fill both at $900 per annum, while John R. Sawle of the Welland Telegraph made application for the clerkship at $300, and Thomas Teskey, Welland, applied for the post of treasurer, without making mention of his emolument.

Warden H.G. Macklem occupied the chair at the session. He told the council that as the Government had not made a grant to the county for the Industrial Home, he believed it had no authority over the Home and no right to order that the bodies of deceased paupers be sent to the medical schools. He had instructed the keeper of the Home not to report deaths of inmates, and expressed belief that the county would not begrudge giving such dead a peaceful grave on the home farm.

On June 2nd the council sent a telegram to Lady MacDonald at Ottawa expressing their sympathy with her in the illness of her husband, Sir John A., whose death occurred June 6th.

The newspaper account of the session closes with a few notes, among them the comment of one member that “Welland County Jail has a continental reputation as a pleasant winter hotel.”

Another member observed that “Welland Town is still the favorite with county councillors generally. A motion to have the county buildings removed to some more appreciative town would no doubt carry by an unanimous vote-outside of the town representatives. Welland appears to ‘get there’ when any offices are being filled, just the same.”

And here’s a warm one to wind up-an observation that would, of course, have no bearing today since the banishment of the bar. Be it remembered that said institution was in full swing back in those days and Councillor Battle “suggested a system of electric bells, connecting the council room with different hotels in the vicinity of the court house.”

The which may draw comment from some of the old-timers, “Ah, Them wuz the days.”


Mrs. William North

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 5 August 1926]

Mrs. Hattie North, beloved wife of William North, died at her home, 11 Frazer Street, Saturday, following an illness of some years. The late Mrs. North, who was 66 years of age, was one of the most highly respected of Welland’s citizens and her death is deeply mourned.

She was born in Fort Erie where she resided until her marriage to William North of Welland. She was a valued member of the Welland United Church where she was a faithful worker. Surviving are her husband, one daughter, Mrs. Otto Thies of London, and William, Jr., of Buffalo.

The funeral was held on Monday, interment being made at the Anglican Cemetery at Fort Erie. Rev. H.G. Forster of Welland officiated.

Died: 31 July 1926


(Special to the Tribune-Telegraph]

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 5 August 1926]

Buffalo, N.Y., Aug 3. Mrs. Ina Osberg, sister of Mrs. George Russell of Welland, Ont., died Sunday night following a brief illness in Tonawanda, N.Y. The late Mrs. Osberg also is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Sonja Hulten, Mrs. Karin Bergquist, both of Sweden, and Elfa Osberg of this city, and by five sons, Morgan Osberg of Sweden and Axel, Anders, Alf and Kurt Osberg, all of this city; and by another sister, Mrs. William Hunt, and one brother, John Osberg, both also of Buffalo. Funeral services will be held from the late home of the deceased here at No. 587 Broadway, on Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 o’clock, and interment will be here in Forest Lawn Cemetery.


[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 25 March 1926]

News is received of the death in Detroit Tuesday of Hiram Chambers, a former Wellander and one well known in the district.

Mr. Chambers who was 75 years of age was a brother of the late W. Bradley Chambers of Welland. His father, John Chambers, built the Commercial Hotel here, but years later was lost when the sailing vessel Golden Gate went down off California.

Hiram Chambers was born in Welland and lived here until he was 40 years of age when he left for Springfield, Ont., where he ran a hardware and sheet metal business. He continued there for some ten years when he moved to Detroit entering the employment of the Ford Motor Company. Later he built a large business block near the company’s works.

He is survived by his wife, Ida, and three sons, Arthur of California, Will and Gordon of Detroit. George Clarkson of West Main street is a half brother.

Died: 23 March 1926


[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 26 January 1926]

The death of Walter J. Clendenning last week takes from Welland one of the “old landmarks” of the city, for he had been a resident here for six and sixty of the well-nigh ninety decades allotted to him on earth. Born at Acton, February 2 1837, Mr. Clendenning came to Welland in 1860, from which time the village, town and now city became his permanent home.

In 1863 he married Ezelpha Rosette of Lynne to survive him, with the memory of more than sixty years of wedded life together. There are eleven children living, born of the union, Joseph and Gordon Clendenning of this city and Robert of Niagara Falls, Mrs. Hewitt Smith and Miss Agnes Clendenning of Buffalo, Mrs. Fred Lovell and Mrs. George Reynolds, also of Niagara Falls, and Mrs. Wm. Duk of Niagara Falls, N.Y., Mrs. Earl Gibson, LaSalle N.Y. and Misses Addie and Carrie Clendenning of Welland.

Interment was made at Doan’s Ridge cemetery Thursday afternoon, following services at the family home here, conducted by Rev. W.J. Mumford of the Welland United Church, of which the deceased was a member.

Mr. Clendenning had not only a long life here, but an honorable one that won him the esteem of his fellows. He was a staunch Liberal in politics and was looked upon as one of the Old Guard by such partisans.



Lorne Pierce in The New Outlook

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 20 April 1926]

Those who knew Janet Carnochan (and who did not?) will wish to remember her surrounded with her jealousy guarded treasures in the Niagara Historical Museum, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

When we called, the museum was cloaked in the shadows of an autumn evening. The building was deserted, save for two people. One pored silently over some musty tome in the gallery; the other, a little white-haired woman, sorting piles of miscellaneous old historical pamphlets at a big table at the far end of the room, was none other than Miss Carnochan herself. Above her hung E. Wyly Grier’s portrait of herself in oils, a gift of friends to the museum. General Ryerson introduced us, and when he remarked that we, too, were collectors of Canadiana, her hand sought the pile of rare papers and moved them unconsciously a little way off as if warned by some instinctive fear that we might wish to collect these, too.

The Niagara Historical Society was her very next of kin and the museum her dearest godchild. The money with which the building was purchased and equipped, she raised, very largely, through her own efforts, and the wealth of material filling shelves and cases, and overflowing onto the floor, some ten thousand items in all, was, for the most part of her own harvesting. Many precious treasures are there, among them Brock’s cocked hat and general’s uniform; also the kettle in which Laura Secord hid the family savings when the invaders came. Her grey eyes sparked, and her pale, deeply-furrowed face grew proudly flushed and almost youthful, as she handled, with something like reverence, these rare and precious books, documents and historical mementoes. The greatest honor she could possible bestow was to allow us to take in our own covetous hands the rarest book in her locked treasury case.

Janet Carnochan was born of Covenanting stock in Stamford, Ontario, November 14, 1839. She taught school in Brantford, Kingston and Peterborough and for thirty-nine years instructed the youth of Niagara-on-the-Lake in both the public and high schools.

Along with William Kirby, F.R.S.C. author of The Golden Dog, she was one of the leading spirits in the local library board and in the Niagara Historical Society for upwards of a third of a century. Our own membership and interest in the work of the Society was due chiefly to her personal solicitation, and many another can say the same. The Historical Museum was, as we have seen, very largely her own inspiration, although she had staunch assistance from William Kirby, Mrs. Thompson and others.

Untiring in collecting historical material, she was also indefatigable in tracing and recording the less-known incidents in the history of Niagara Peninsula, from the earliest days to the present. The Niagara Historical Publications are rare and valuable brochures, and are mostly due to her enterprise. Her own books, pamphlets, broadsheets and poems, all historical and patriotic, are an important collection in themselves, and the library or collector who possesses them is indeed fortunate. Miss Carnochan’s chief contribution is not so much that of historian as the inspirer of students of history. More than one writer of history and biography on Canadian themes has been enriched by her knowledge and inspiration. Constantly alert for data, she recorded her findings in the form of interesting, chatty memoranda, and as her interests knew no bounds these multitudinous notes lacked, as was inevitable, the cohesiveness and specialization of historical research. They were rather the materials out of which history may be written. Proud she was of the honor the women teachers of Toronto paid her when they gave her name to their chapter of the Daughters of the Empire. Prouder still was she when Canadians caught the spirit of her love for the adored past of the Dominion.

We will remember on one occasion her criticism of William Kirby’s “Annals of Niagara,” and with what apparent delight she pointed out his errors of fact and judgment. Her own “History of Niagara,” likewise contains not a few mistakes, several of which were pointed out to her. But these she would not admit. While never claiming infallibility, she invariably insisted that she was right. This led to many tilts with her townsman, William Kirby, who also had a will and a way of his own. A friend recalls a certain summer afternoon in Niagara-on-the-Lake when he came upon the two old friends, seated on a bench in the park, engrossed in discussing something or other. Mr. Kirby, as usual, was dignified, sparing of words and conclusive. Miss Carnochan was characteristically quick-spoken, rather voluble and emphatic. When she had finished, the aged Dean of Canadian Letters turned to her, and with a pat on the little stooped shoulders, said with an air of benevolent finality, “Now Janet! Now Janet!”





To the editor Welland Tribune & Telegraph

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 8 April 1926]

Whilst her death is fresh in the minds of the people, too much tribune cannot be paid to the memory of Miss Janet Carnochan.

Thirty years ago, about 1896, she began a wonderful work-the gathering together and preservation of historical relics and data pertaining to the history of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the surrounding country that she jealously guarded. Ever since then, without receiving any financial remuneration, she labored indefatigably in the interests of the Niagara Historical Society, her interest never lessening. The motto “semper fidelis” applied to her, for she was as earnest and faithful at the last as at the first.

I, with a friend who wished to meet Miss Carnochan, visited the museum of the Niagara Historical Society last autumn; and although on account of her great age not as active as formerly, she took as much interest as ever in showing us around and explaining things.

Her masterful mind, her great firmness and kindliness of character, and desire to be helpful and make everything clear endured her to everyone who had occasion to meet her. Although Scottish by descent, her parents being born in the land of Burns, she loved the traditions of the town she resided in so long and near which she was born, and as it were lived in the atmosphere of the early pioneers. No one knew more about them than she did, and her knowledge was as exact as it was possible for it to be. I, being a descendent of one of the early pioneers, Michael Gonder, an United Empire Loyalist, who came to Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1789, and therefore taking an interest in that historic position of old Upper Canada, made a visit twenty-five years ago to the town, and its historical collection, which was at that time stored in a room of the town hall. It was then I first met Miss Carnochan. I valued her friendship very highly. Her friendship was not of the passing kind. She will be missed. There may be someone to take her place, it is true, but the fact will ever remain with many-that there was only one Miss Carnochan.

The vast collection of relics and the substantial museum building for preserving them in, she was the means of having erected on land donated by her and, by funds she personally secured, will be a lasting monument to her memory, but will give the people of the future but a slight idea of the wonderful character they commemorate. –M.G. Sherk, 1201 Broadview Ave. Toronto. April 6th, 1926




Miss Janet Carnochan is Dead at Age of 87


Did Much in Preservation of Lore of This Noted Ground Hereabouts

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 1 April 1926]

This city of Welland and the County will join with the entire Niagara Peninsula in sincere mourning of the passing of one of the most, if not the most, outstanding figures of the peninsula, Miss Janet Carnochan, whose death occurred Wednesday morning at her home at Niagara-on-the-Lake at the advanced age of 87 years.

Known far and wide as the historian of this district, that mourning will not be confined alone to those of the historic ground of which she wrote; it will be nation-wide, for Miss Carnochan had attained place as one of the outstanding women of all Canada, and men and women everywhere will give testimony to their love and reverence for her as such.

Prominent among her achievements was the organization of the Niagara Peninsula Historical Society, a body that has under her guidance done much valuable work in rescuing from oblivion material that will prove invaluable to future historians and educationalists. By personal appeal to the public and by personal interviews with Cabinet Ministers at Ottawa and Toronto, she raised $5000 for the erection of a historical building at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which now houses about 10,000 articles identified with the life of the Niagara Peninsula from the French occupation to the War of 1812 and down to the present day. The museum, Memorial Hall, is now a Mecca for many visitors, and on it walls hangs a splendid lifelike portrait of the founder and President, 1895-1925, painted by E. Wyly Grier, and presented to Miss Carnochan.

Nor was her interest in local historic lore confined to her own immediate field, for she was much interested in the sister Welland County Historical Society, and gave evidence of that interest by her presence in this city last summer, when the local organization had the honor of acting as host to the annual gathering of the Ontario Historical Society.

Born in Ontario

Miss Carnochan was born in Stamford, Ontario, on Nov. 14, 1839, her parents being James Carnochan and Margaret Milroy, both of Scottish birth, of Cameronian and Covenanting stock who had emigrated from their native town, Colmonell, in Ayrshire, a short time before. Soon after her birth the family removed from Stamford to Niagara-on-the-Lake where the gifted Canadian made her home until her death. At an early age Janet entered the public school, through which she passed rapidly, obtaining a teacher’s certificate at the age of 16, when she entered on her chosen profession. She taught for a time in Brantford, then for five years in Kingston. From Kingston, Miss Carnochan went to Peterboro for a year, then went back to Niagara, where she joined the teaching staff of the public school.

In the face of all kinds of public opposition and objection, in 1872 the zealous young teacher was made Principal, where, before long, she amply proved her fitness for the position, and lived down all objections. Her teaching career in Niagara extended over thirty-nine years, including the quarter of a century spent as assistant teacher in the high school.

A Prolific Writer

Most notable among the writings of the gifted woman are “The History of Niagara,” “The History of St. Mark’s Church,” and “The History of St. Andrew’s Church.” She also wrote a number of sonnets and poems that, if gathered together, would make a valuable addition to Canadian literature.

Miss Carnochan will be laid to rest in the little Presbyterian Cemetery at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Died: 31 March 1926





For Many Years One of Welland’s Foremost Business Men

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 6 July 1926]

             Death, Friday morning, removed one of the most prominent citizens of the City of Welland, Clayton J. Page, who died at his home, 156 East Main Street. Mr. Page had been in failing health for some little time.

             Well liked and well known in this entire district, his death came as a surprise to many, it not being generally known that he had been in poor health.

             Clayton Johnson Page was born August 5th, 1849 in the Village of Fonthill. He was the son of Edward Page and Susan Price, U.E. Loyalists who settled here from Pennsylvania, they being related to Laura Secord, the Canadian heroine of historic events. He attended the public school at Fonthill and later came to Welland as a young man, entering as clerk the grocery store of James Bridges, where the John H. Crow hardware store now stands. This was known at that time as the old Gothic store.

             Mr. Page continued in that occupation until he went into business for himself, his grocery store being situated where the dining room of the Dexter Hotel now stands. He remained until the Orient Block was built in 1877 when he moved his business there. Later he sold out to J.S. O’Neil and William Hoban, and with John Wilkinson, entered the electric light business, the first of its kind in Welland.

             This concern was later sold to the Welland Electric Company, which in turn was taken over by the local Hydro Commission a few years ago.

             Always of a progressive mind, he was the instigator of the first telephone service in Welland and in his home was the first telephone service installed and he was the first manager with the office in Orient Hall with twelve telephones on the switch board.

             Mr. Page was at one time a member of the Welland Town Council. During all his residence in Welland he was always for progress.

             Mr. Page occupied a position in the community that was absolutely his own. He had a dry and caustic way that was very much appreciated in the circle of his acquaintances. In all situations he had something original and humorous to say. He had many friends and those were not confined to his own age, but included as well the young people of the city. His home was always open to his many friends, both old and young.

             Once, years ago, something went wrong at the electric plant, of which he was manager, and the town was in darkness. A young reporter asked Mr. Page for a statement as to the trouble. Mr. Page replied with a highly technical description of the accident which was caused by the “breaking of the alamabalusum.” The young reporter took it all in good faith and prepared a story for the press using the joker’s words.

             Mr. Page is survived by one daughter, Mrs. John Stalker and one granddaughter, Florence Stalker of Welland. His wife, Eliza Ann Wilkinson, died many years ago.

             The funeral was held on Sunday, July 4th, from the late home to Fonthill Cemetery, and was attended by many of his old associates through life and also many of his younger associates. The services at the house were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Cunningham of the Presbyterian Church. The many floral tributes which surrounded and covered the casket containing the body of the deceased, were beautiful unspoken words of love for the departed. The pall-bearers were Messrs. Geo. Cook, Wm. Swayze, Jas. S. O’Neil, W.W. Wilson. W.J Best and W.E. Hardison.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph
6 July 1926
Died: 2 July 1926
Married: 24 May 1870
Fonthill Cemetery
5 August 1849-2 July 1926
Father: Edward Page
Mother: Susan Price

[Related EVENT: MR. C.J. PAGE CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY - Presented With Mementoes]


Was Victim of Murderous Assault

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 15 June 1926]

            Her many Welland friends will deeply regret to learn that Mrs. Percy Cook of Hamilton, who formerly lived in this city, and who attacked on Thursday by Joe Barty, Hungarian, died Saturday afternoon. Barty will be charged with murder.

            Barty tried to rob the store where Mrs. Cook was employed. She attempted to stop him whereupon he struck her on the head with a hammer.

            At the jail it was learned that Barty had not been informed of the death of the victim. A few hours after the crime, when informed that Mrs. Cook was in a serious condition at the hospital, he was little concerned; in fact, he was quite indifferent.

            Mrs. Cook was to have visited Welland for several days, the guests of Chief of Police and Mrs. Harry Jones. She was to have arrived here Saturday.

            An inquest has been ordered. The funeral will take place at Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon.