Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


Mrs. Mary Livingstone

[Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 17 September 1927]

Mary E. Livingstone, well-known resident of this city for the past 50 years, passed away yesterday morning in the Welland county hospital after a prolonged illness. She had been ill for some time and three weeks ago was removed to the hospital where she remained until her death.

Mrs. Livingstone, who was 73 years of age, was born in Pelham and had lived in this vicinity all her life. She came to this city some 50 years ago where she resided until about five months ago when she went to live with her sister-in-law, Mrs. R. Skinner in Allanburg. She was a member of the United church.

She is survived by two sons, Frank and W.J. Livingstone, both of Welland. The funeral will take place from the residence of Frank Livingstone, 131 Ross street, tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock with interment at Fonthill cemetery. Rev. Dr. W.J. Mumford will officiate.


-Partial Account

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 1 February 1927]

But in the majority of cases it is the pure adventure, plus the considerable saving if successful, that is responsible for the act, in Mr. Etling’s opinion. In the case of fur coats, the women, usually boldly wear them, eliminating them entirely from their declarations, he said. When caught they usually make the plea that they thought wearing apparel was exempted.

When caught, Mr. Etling says, the offender usually pays at least twice as much for her article as its original cost. The government not only seizes the article, but, it the owner wants it back she must pay the current American price , plus a 100 percent fine. If she doesn’t want the article, she must pay the fine anyway, and the government keeps the article to sell at public auction.

Pearl necklaces, fur coats, large stocks of French perfumery and cosmetics, silk stockings, lingerie, watches and shawls are the articles most frequently smuggled by women, the report states. Sometimes an attempt is made to bring in large cartons of cigarettes. Very little smuggling is attempted by the poor, customs inspectors find. Tourist travellers in summer, school teachers, college students and the like usually declare everything, no matter how insignificant.

When accompanied by their husbands, women are more inclined to tell the truth, experience has proven to the customs men.


Author Declares Many Newlyweds are Insane at the Time

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 20 January 1927]

              Hartford, Conn., Jan. 20-”Happy marriages should be regarded as a work of art and not as a work of nature,” Dr. Joseph Collins, author of “The Doctor Looks at Love and Life,” said at the monthly luncheon of the Women’s City club in a talk on “Marriage.”

             “The chief reason why marriage is not a success is because it is contracted while the parties are insane,” continued Dr. Collins. “The vast majority of brides and grooms are in no more favorable situation to make a contract than are raving maniacs. And like all insanities not founded on organic ailments, the love mania ends in recovery. The average duration of the mania of love is six years.”

Causes of Unhappiness

             “When conjugality loses its zest, the partners should become aware of companionship, the essential thing in happy matrimony. Failures in matrimony are due to hasty and ill-advised marriages and to ignorance of the art of love.”

             “Being in love is not a reason for marriage, and unless it is followed by mutual respect, confidence and admiration it is the poorest reason for marriage. A man and woman should not marry while they are in love, and yet there is one fatal observation to trial marriages-they are necessarily childless, and a childless marriage is at best a makeshift. Childless marriages are five times more apt to end in divorce courts than ordinary marriages.”

             “The essential solution of the marriage problem is that love shall be treated as an art. Unless we pay some attention to it as an art, the divorce courts are going to be even more crowded than they are now. When two individuals are seized with the desire for blending their lives into one, there is a spiritual beauty which arises, and unless this wonderful quality is tenderly nurtured, it will not be lasting.”


Seemed Unmoved as He Mounted Scaffold at Hamilton Yesterday Morning


Spiritual Adviser Said Barty Repeatedly Asked God for Assistance

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 13 January 1927]

             John Barty was hanged at the Hamilton jail yesterday morning for murdering Mrs. Nancy Cook of Welland by hitting her over the head with a hammer last summer. The prisoner dropped through the trap at 7.22 and twelve minutes later was pronounced dead. Arthur Ellis was the hangman.

             Barty was roused about 5.30 to prepare for his death. His last moments, which were described by Envoy McDougall of the Salvation Army, were evidently devoid of any terror or nervousness. He took his last hours as calmly as if he were settling down before the fireplace for an evening’s smoke.

Gave Some Confidence

             “I was there for an hour and a half before his death,” Mr. McDougall said. “He did not make any reference to the crime he was alleged to have committed, but he did tell me several things which did have a bearing on his past life, and as his confessor, he asked me to keep them to myself.”

             “Was he at all perturbed?” queried the reporter.

             “Not in the least,” said the envoy. “Quite the contrary, it was really astonishing. I never before saw anybody face death the way he did.”

             “Did he eat a good breakfast?”

Ate a Good Breakfast

             “With the exception of some bread crusts he ate everything that was put before him. He drank everything they gave him to drink. And during the time I was with him, over and over again he asked God for his grace and help. He continuously affirmed his faith in the Lord.”

A Silent Crowd

             Meanwhile as Barty was with his spiritual advisor, the jurors and officials and representatives of the press were gathering in the front rooms of the jail. They sat around and talked quietly-there was a noticeable absence of the laughter that usually characterizes the occasion when a group of men get together. The jail governor stood at the door and admitted the men as they came, scrutinizing each letter or pass as it was handed to him. Outside a crowd of the curious gathered, evidently believing that the hanging was going to be visible from the street. Or perhaps some morbid motive impelled them to hover around the place where death was whetting his scythe. The motor cars, the street cars and the wagons all slowed up, and the occupants craned their necks at the jail, which was unusually illuminated for that hour of the morning.

Into Death Chamber

             Finally the hour for the hanging drew near, and the whole gathering followed single file out into the jail across the jail yard and finally into the death house itself.

             Freshly whitewashed, the place was as spick and span as if some more happy event was going to take place there. The scaffold was in the southeast corner and was some dozen or more steps above the level of the floor. On top, quite a floor space was provided around the trap. The whole room was illuminated only by two electric lights bunched together. These lighted up the scaffold very well, but the distance from the light at the far end gave rise to queer shadows when a figure silhouetted itself against the bulbs. It was like some fantastic grotto at times in the dimly lit far end.

An Ominous Sight

             The scaffold itself had been white-washed and a brand new rope hung ominously from the support to the floor, with a formidable big knot leaving a large loop below it. On the noose itself was hung the black hood.

             The gathering stood around in the cold air, shivering and waiting with gruesome anticipation. There was some attempt at conversation, but it was rather feeble.

             Finally, somebody peered out the door and said, “Here they come!” Into the chamber he would never leave alive walked Barty. He was handcuffed, and was guarded by turnkeys. With him were the deputy sheriff, the governor and Hangman Arthur Ellis.

Mounted Scaffold

             With a slow step and impassive eye he walked slowly on, his hands handcuffed behind his back. He had on a rugged blue shirt, and an old pair of trousers. He looked neither right nor left, but kept on walking. Slowly he mounted the scaffold. It proved too much for one man, and he left hurriedly.

             They stood around in a little semi-circle with Barty in the centre. Ellis quickly slipped the black cap over his head, and adjusted the noose in proper place, the noose holding the cap snug and tight.

Called for Prayer

             The Hangman Ellis took charge. He waved the others back, walked over to the levers, and said: “Chaplain, say the Lord’s prayer.”

             “Our Father, “commenced Envoy McDougall, “which art in”____

             The hangman jerked the lever and Barty dropped from sight.

             The drop was 7 feet 2 inches.

             The death cell was then cleared, and the gathering filed slowly out. Some tried to go underneath and see the dying man’s convulsions, but the governor would not even admit the jail surgeon at the moment.

Just as Usual

             The onlookers walked slowly across the jail yard as the first feeble rays of day began to throw its wan light over the sky. Outside a freight train rang its bell and somebody across the street laughed. Crunch, crunch went the feet on the frozen ground till they got into the jail once more. Envoy McDougall slipped quietly away, but the jurors were gathered into a room by Coroner Rennie, who did not witness the hanging.

             They were told by Dr. Rennie that they were assembled to determine how and by what means Barty came to his death. They filed out and came back soberly after having seen Barty’s dead body.

Hangman Appeared

             The Sheriff Regan, Governor Lalond, Turnkeys Thomas John Hickmott and Thomas Ready all gave testimony, and Ellis came in. He is small and quite elderly man, wears thick glasses and has watery blue eyes. He wears a wing collar and a black bow tie, his suit being made of dark grey stuff. He testified that the prisoner was now dead.

Doctors Testified

             Dr. Roberts, M.H.O., was also brought in. He testified that Barty had died from a broken neck.

             “From hanging?”


             Dr. Deadman, who examined the body, also testified that he had died of a broken neck from hanging.

             The gathering then broke up. The juryman agreed to give their fees to the police benefit fund. Meanwhile, those outside the jail could see the black flag slowly waving in the sluggish breeze. The Big Sisters, on behalf of the relatives of the family, have claimed the body, it is stated.


Four Survivors of the Original Highland Co. Queen’s Own Renew Old Memories

[The Welland Tribune and Telegraph, 19 May 1927]

             The following reminiscences from the Toronto Telegram will be interesting reading to many readers of the Tribune and Telegraph as told by four octogenarians’ survivors of the Fenian raid, members of the Highland company of the Queen’s Own of Toronto, at the battle of Lime Ridge, near Ridgeway, in the township of Bertie, on the morning of June 2nd, 1866. The names and ages of the veterans are: Henry Swan 86, Andrew Lauder 83, Andrew Black 83 and Geo. H. Leslie 86. They are all residents of Toronto and are still hale and hearty.

             “How are you, Andrew? You’re looking pretty well.”

             “Oh, I’m fine George, and I’ll be 83 in August,” was Andrew’s answer as he gripped his friend’s hand.

             “Well, I’ll be 82 next August, so you’re only a year older,” was the upstanding reply of George.

             “And how are you?” asked George and Andrew in almost one breath a little later when they were joined by a third merry old gentleman whom they also addressed as “Andrew.”

             “Oh, I’m all right,” declared he, “and I’ll be eighty-three this June. I was twenty-one when I was at Ridgeway.” He seemed a bit uncertain over the identity of “George,” whom he hadn’t seen for many a year.

             “Why, I was the left hand man in rear rank of our company and the battalion at Ridgeway. They put the tall fellows at the end always, explained George.

             The floodgates of memory of these three once youthful comrades in arms were soon opened and incident followed incident in a rush always preceded with the query, “Do you remember”- as they vividly recalled this and that event of those days when as youths they stood in the path of the Fenian invaders. Vivid as though there were no sixty long years between, they re-pictured the hot June sunshine of that Saturday, the 2nd of June, 1866, when after a hungry day and a sleepless night they rushed the woods at the Lime Ridge amid the spattering of bullets in leaf and tree, and saw the first of their comrades fall.

Reunion of Veterans

             It was the Telegram’s high privilege to be present at and have a small part in bringing about recently a reunion of four gallant gentlemen, octogenarians all, who as far as can be ascertained are the sole local survivors of the Highland Company No. 10, in the 2nd Battalion Volunteer Militia of Canada, Queens’s Own Rifles, of Toronto, when it went to Ridgeway to meet the Fenian invaders in 1866.

             The three who first foregathered were Andrew Lauder, Andrew Black and Geo. H. Leslie, and they proceeded to the home of Henry Swan, the fourth survivor of that historic company, who but recently decided that in his 86th year it was time to retire from active business.

Tartan at Ridgeway

             Few Toronto people who glory in the record of the Q.O.R. know that at Ridgeway one of its companies, largely Scots, wore the tartan plaid of the 42nd Black Watch, albeit they had doffed the kilt and wore trews instead. These four survivors recall with pride the wearing of the tartan in that historic company. The tunic was of a dark green.

             The Q.O.R. battalion was formed in April, 1860, by the uniting of four Toronto companies that had been formed in the fifties when the Crimean War had called away the British regulars from Canada. Under the Consolidated Militia Act the 1st Rifle Company, Toronto; the 3rd Rifle Company, Toronto, the Highland Rifle Company, Toronto, the Rifle Company, formerly Foot Artillery, with a Barrie company and a Whitby company, were organized into the 2nd Battalion, Volunteer Militia. Captain A.T. Fulton, of Fulton & Michie, was the first officer of the Highland company.

             When in 1861 the Trent affair created excitement and fear of United States attack other independent companies were formed. The Merchant’s (2), the Civil Service, the Trinity College, the University, the Victoria and on Nov. 21, 1862, a reorganization took place and these companies entered the Q.O.R. also. They wore diverse uniforms and the battalion on parade was unique. Four companies had rifle green with red facings, four had light or dark grey, the Victoria Company a brown uniform and No. 10, the Highland Company wore the famous 42nd Black Watch tartan kilt and plaid. At Ridgeway they wore trews instead of the kilt, but wore their plaids.

Memories of Fight

             At Ridgeway this 10th Highland Company was at first in reserve with the 9th Company, while the half mile advance was made. “Poor Malcolm McEachren was the first man killed. I remember when they brought him I,” recalled Mr. Leslie. “He died in a few minutes.”

             “Just when we were ordered out of reserve to skirmish I remember getting over that snake fence and falling and they thought I was shot too,” declared Andrew Lauder. “The bullets were coming thick then.”

             George Leslie recalled the moment when after the two-hour march in the early morning from Ridgeway Station to where they expected to meet Col. Peacock’s regulars, the word came that the enemy had been sighted and the order was given: “With ball cartridge load.” “It began to look serious to us boys then,” he says.

Now All Passed On

             The vividness of the memories of that day recalled the names of many who had been with them. Alexander Muir was in that Highland Company, “He plucked that maple leaf from one of my uncle’s trees,” says George Leslie. And they named Captain Gardiner and Lieutenant Robt. Gibson of this company, and “Bobby” Bain and “Bob” Bryden.

             “He went to Virginia. I saw him once on a trip and he had a southern accent and said he had “raised right smart of a family,” recalls George Leslie again.

             Other names spring quickly to their lips. Peter Kemp and Bill Reid, and Steve Bryden, and Price Forbes and Willie Wallace the piper. They laugh over a memory of Wallace, but then one says, “They’ve all passed on.” “Every one of them,” is the comment of the four.

             “No, I believe Price Forbes is still alive in Buffalo, says one of them, and all hope it may be that a fifth still survives.

More Incidents

             Andrew Black asks if they remember the man on horseback who came to their headquarters and tried to mislead them. “He was a Fenian spy and they caught him all right.” He also recollected the first of the enemy dead they found in their first rush through the wood. “A big fellow lying on his back with his plug of tobacco resting on his chest.”

             Andrew Lauder recalled helping Color-Sergt. McHardy, shot through the arm and bleeding badly, over the fence when the “retire” order was mistakenly given. Another recalled seeing Charles Lugsdin shot through the arm and lung.

             (Mr. Lugsdin recovered from his wounds and conducted a drug business in Port Colborne for a number of years after.)

             The Highland Company did not share in the forming of a square “to prepare for cavalry.” That was one of the mistakes of the day. They were scattered in skirmish order but the four survivors all declare that despite mistakes, they had the invading Fenians beaten, and the retreat next day of the enemy proves it.

             Two of the Highland Company were wounded, Col-Sergt. McHardy and Pte. White. The latter lost an arm.

Muir Broke His Arm

             Alex. Muir broke his arm at Ridgeway and was sent home.

             Captain Ernest Chambers’ history of the Q.O.R. gives the names of seven killed and twenty-one wounded in the Ridgeway affair.

             After Ridgeway they went back to Port Colborne-“a hot, long march, carrying knapsack and the heavy old Enfield rifle and nothing to eat that day,” says George Leslie.

             They were sent later to Stratford, where they stayed for over a week in readiness to be sent where needed should the Fenians attempt other invasions, then home to Toronto and a great welcome.


Glimpses of Life in Welland and the County in April 1892



             Then as now April weather thirty-five years ago was the same uncertain proposition as it is today. The Welland Tribune of April 1, 1892 says, “Fishing is in full swing in the river,” and “The canal is clear of ice at this point.” And as further evidence of the arrival of the vernal season, “Only 18 in the jail. Sure sign of spring.”

             The succeeding issue refers to a thunder and lightening storm-supposed to put the kibosh on Old Man Winter; but one week after that, April 15, it is recorded that “A belated snow storm reached town on Saturday and whitened the earth.”

             All of which seems to indicate that weather is weather and always will be and nothing is done about it, just as Mark Twain complained.

Art-High Art

             Passing from the mundane to the field of art, C. Swayze, Welland, announces, “I will give a dozen cabinet photographs and a splendid crayon, 18×22 in a 7 inch frame for $10. See sample of Mayor Brown in my front window.”

             Well, well, well! Likely there are a lot of the up-and-coming generation who have never fastened eyes on that highly artistic combination of a crayon portrait in a heavy gilt frame, flanked by a more sombre framed coffin-plate of the deceased subject-highly artistic, but sure to make the cold chills run up and down the spine of the juvenile beholder.

             An ad for a general servant offers the glittering wage of $12 per month. And when some of the old-timers think back on how some of those old “hired girls” could cook, they will readily agree that the stipend ought to have been all of that per day.

             The Wellandport correspondent of The Tribune hands a fair warning and likewise a stiff jolt to some of the straying sheep of that centre in the following: “We have in our midst, I am told, a place where there is a good deal of card playing going on, and sometimes a good deal of money changes hands. Where are our constables that they do not make a raid? Boys, take warning! ‘Nuf sed’ this time; perhaps more later on, if need be.”

             Thorold town council is discussing the installation of the new incandescent electric lights.

             At Humberstone, a new gas company program proposes to charge $1 per month the year round for all stoves and 10¢ per month for lights; the existing rates being $1.50 for a heater, $1 for cook stoves and 15¢ per light.     

             At Niagara Falls, “the electric railway from the Grand Trunk to the falls is to be completed by July.”

An Old-time Boniface

             The death of Elias Hoover is recorded. He was the father of our Dexter D. Hoover, and one of the pioneers of the county town. Coming to Welland, he built the Welland House and managed it for several years; then went to Port Colborne and built the Erie Hotel. Returning to Welland in 1858, he again took possession of the Welland House and in 1873, he built and occupied the Dexter House.

             The Welland school board is notified by the Board of Health to close the public school for at least one week or longer owing to the unsanitary condition of the outside closets.

             Masonic lodges of the district are being visited by Most Worshipful Grand Master of Canada, J. Ross Robertson.

             Port Colborne votes 162 for and 5 against a $4500 bonus to the glass factory.

All the World Awheel

             O.H. Garner advertises a safety bicycle for $80. The woodcut of the machine bears about the same resemblance to the bike of today, as does the 1907 automobile to the modern car. Those were the days when the aspiring (and perspiring) male cyclist donned a pair of skin-tight black knee pants, a heavy white wool turtle neck sweater weighing fourteen pounds, more or less, and a dinky little cap; and pedaled manfully over the course of a century run-100 miles within so many hours. And thought he was having a grand time!

             The License Commissioners just appointed are Alex. Logan, Niagara Falls; Robert Cooper, Welland; J. Havens Smith, Port Colborne. Applications for 82 taverns, 4 wholesale and 9 shop licenses in county.  

             From Marshville it is reported that our now fellow townsman, A.B. MacLean, has turned down the offer of $200 for his driving horse.

             The Tribune correspondent there takes another jab at the devotees of the pasteboards. This thing has gone far enough and must stop. While we do not pretend to belong to the old orthodox, puritanical, fire and brimstone class, at the same time we do say that of all the mean, low-lived, despicable devices, poker gambling heads the list.

             Niagara Falls Baptists let contract for the first church edifice of that denomination there, the building and furnishings to cost $2000.

             From that same point comes the warning that “The town is going to indict any person throwing ashes on the streets in the future.”

             The impending opening of the new Peace Bridge lends interest to this item from “International Bridge:” “Report says we are to have a ferry here this summer, for which we will be very thankful, as we need some better accommodation between here and Buffalo.”

             At Fort Erie, “The bylaw to enable the village council to borrow $10,000 for the purpose of building a town hall for this village was voted on by the electors, and was carried by an overwhelming majority.”

             The new bell of Christ Church, Niagara Falls, is to ring for the first time Easter Sunday. Its weight is 1000 lbs. and on the bell are inscribed the names of Canon Houston, Wardens, A. Frazer and Walter Woodruff, Supt. Joseph Brown and treasurer W.J. Drew.

             “Mr. Wm. Hutton deserves the thanks of all those who drive between Welland and Fonthill. He has constructed a road scraper, and with it has put a long stretch of road in fine shape for travel. Let his good example find many followers.”-Tribune.

What’s Bred in the Bone

             Talk about today’s sheiks and flappers! When dad and Mother start bawling out, the rising generation might hand ‘em this item from the Welland Telegraph. The noise made in the post office every evening during the sorting of the mail by the boys and girls is so bad that Postmaster Burgar has decided, unless Constable Eastman interferes and keeps better order, to lock the outside door of the office until the mail is distributed.”

             The cold grey down of the morning after fully realized by some of the cut-ups of Niagara Falls: “Some of the boys went over the river the other evening to see the “Two Jacks” burlesque company. Next morning they sang, ‘What a Difference in the Morning.’ ”-Telegraph

             “The plan for the new judges’ stand for the Welland fair grounds has been completed. The structure will 10×10, 18 feet high. It will be securely locked when not in use, so that the small boy who swims in the raceway can not use it as a dressing room. The bell presented by Charles Carter of Port Colborne in 1888 will swing in the peak.”-Telegraph

             The same journal razzes the town fathers as follows: “After a careful examination of the streets and sidewalks, the chairman of the committee came to the conclusion it was high time to make a move, and a gang of men was started to scrape up the mud. How about the broken planks and filthy gutters?”

The Markets

             Butter 18 cts., eggs 12 cts., potatoes 35 cts., wheat 82 cts., oats 31 cts., corn 50 cts.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

12 April 1927


What the Welland Papers Were Saying Back in October 1892


Glimpses of a Few Changes Time Has Wrought During the Years

By Oliver Underwood

             This month of October five-and-thirty years ago in 1892, was marked on its first day by the death of a then outstanding figure in Welland, Fletcher Swayze, mayor of the town in 1879-80 and 1884; and of whom The Tribune said: “He was one of Welland’s best, ablest and most prominent public men…He leaves a spotless record, and the history of his public and private life will ever remain in the grateful memory of his fellow men.

             The funeral was one of the largest and the attendance of the most representative that has taken place here for years. Nearly fifty carriages travelled to the cemetery at Fonthill.

             It is of interest to note that but two of his pallbearers still survive. W.M. German and David Ross; the others being J.H. Burgar, Wm. Beatty, G.L. Hobson and S.J. Sidey, all of whom have in their turn gone on.

             In passing, it may be presumed that the Fonthill cemetery was not then the beautiful God’s acre that, thanks to the civic pride of Dr. H.L. Emmett, it is today, for there is a notice of a meeting at John Brown’s house, father of Geo. C. Brown, Fonthill, “to consider the cemetery premises and engaging a caretaker-matters that sadly need attention.”

History Repeats Itself

             The truth of the above old wheeze finds illustration in a news item of the day. It will be remembered that at the time of the Old Boys’ reunion honor was done our distinguished townsman, W.M. German, in the unveiling of his portrait, which now has place in the court house, where it will remain for the generations to come.

             But the portrait of today is in reality old stuff; other hands forestalled the eminent artist of the current year, for, back in 1892, “A very fine and correct free-hand crayon portrait of Mr. German is on exhibition in the window of the Red Rocker furniture store, (now Sutherland’s). The portrait is the work of Rev. Mr. Tinkham, Port Colborne, and shews faithful care and ability to a notable degree.”

Sport For Sport’s Sake

             In these days of three-million prize fight gates there is much talk of the commercialization of sport. Here again history repeats itself. One issue of The Tribune carried a complaint for somebody about the large proportion of the Welland fair’s money being devoted to the trotting purses. The week following that paper says: “There is a very mistaken idea abroad that a large proportion of the funds go to pay purses in the speeding contests. We publish the following statement of actual payments: Cattle $85; sheep $100; horses (not speeding) $115; race purses $30.”

             All of which must have shut-up the knockers.

A Smoke Eater, Too

             The multifarious activities of Robt. Cooper are well known. But it will be news to today’s generation to learn that he used to figure in still another field.

             There was a fire in J.E. Cutler’s house thirty-five years ago. In the story we read: “During the progress of the fire County Clerk Cooper met with what may prove a very serious accident. The water had been shut off and the nozzle was lying on the floor, when all at once the water was turned on and the stream struck Mr. Cooper in the face with terrific force. The right eyelid was badly bruised and the eye severely injured. Mr. Cooper was almost blinded and had to be assisted home. The physician could give no decided opinion, but expressed fears that the sight or the right eye might be permanently impaired.”

High Court

             High Court was in session with T.D. Cowper acting for the crown, and the following members of the county bar in attendance: A.G. Hill, F.W. Hill, Niagara Falls; W.M. German, Hon. Richard Harcourt, L.C. Raymond, A.E. Cole, Welland.

             The grand jury was composed of the following, of whom some are still with us while many others have gone on: E. Cruikshank, foreman; W.A. Anderson, Jacob Clemens, B.M. Disher, Henry Egerter, John Greenwood, P.H. Hendershot, C.H. Hibbard, John Hoschke, Wm. Hanna, Jno. Leitch, D. McConachie, Thomas McEwen, H. Rinker, John Schneider, Chas. Sherk, Anthony Strouthers, Wm. Stapf, Wm. Bell.

Editorial Hot Shot

             An editorial leader in The Telegraph takes the hide off a certain auctioneer at Niagara Falls, who, so it was alleged, had turned in to The Tribune copy for an auction sale bill, when the instructions were to give the job to the Tory organ. “Despicable trick,” “contemptible trickery,” “dishonorable individual,” “political spite,” “petty, mean, contemptible and dishonorable ends”- these are freely interlarded in the editorial vituperation.

             And all for the sake of an auction bill!

             Well, editoring used to be Some Job!


             The citizens named in the following excerpt from The Telegraph are still living honorable and upright lives in our midst, so the slip of the foot recounted will not be cast up against them. “Messrs. J.H. Crow and J.F. Hill went out on Wednesday to shoot squirrels. They killed five black ones, but it was on the preserves of Geo. W. Hansler, Pelham who has a fancy for raising black squirrels; and the latter gentleman, on finding the mischief done, was about to have them arrested. He was quieted down by ample apologies and promises never to do it again. Of course, the game bag was confiscated.”

Fenwick The Big Show

             Welland fair now overshadows the similar event in Pelham, but ‘twas not always thus. The Fenwick show in 1892 had a $682 gate and total receipts of $1227, and the estimated attendance was over 6,000.

             One item in the news story has a familiar ring; in fact, the razz might well have been used at Welland fair this year, and will likely come in handy in 1928. “The manner in which the judges stand was crowded with people who had no business there, outside of curiosity, made the work of the judges very difficult. It might be a good idea for the society to appoint a special constable with a key and club to admit only the judges and the press and guard the stand from unnecessary intrusion.”

             But the long-suffering newspaperman who covered the fair had his inning, vide, “A grey-mutton-chop-whiskered judge in the speeding classes labored under the impression that he owned the earth, and took pains to be as disagreeable as possible to the press representatives. But his big feet, big feelings and porky disposition were small potatoes in comparison with the things he didn’t know.”

             It would be soul satisfying to hitch an Amen on to that blast as regards the judges’ stand at his year’s Welland fair. Not to the judges or other race officials, but to certain officious society members clad in a little brief authority but without proper understanding that the stand is for judges, timers and press and that any others there are simply gumming-up the works.

Band Concert

             The Welland firemen’s band staged a concert in Orient hall. The male quartette’s selection, “Brudder Eben Cotch a Coon’ was not up to expectations. In fact, it sounded at times as though the coon had cotched the singer. The song was all right, but it was evident the singers failed to practice it the night before the concert.

Just As Dumb Now

             Mark Twain it was who complained that everybody talked about the weather, but nobody did anything about it. It is talked about today, and it was talked about thirty-five years ago, according to the following; but this age doesn’t seem to really know much more, if any, about it than they did then. The weather prophets of Welland are disagreeing about the probabilities of the coming winter. Some of them say an open winter, and others are predicting howling blizzards and an Icelandic temperature. In the meantime, the weather goes on in the same old groove and pays no attention. How true this last-how true!

A Burning Issue

             “Now that fall is here, and winter is close at hand, wood is beginning to move. The great majority of consumers in Welland are of the opinion that wood offered for sale should be measured and marked off by an authorized officer. Selling and buying wood by the load at random is a practice most unsatisfactory. Wood should be measured and bought and sold by measure only,” so says The Telegraph.

Listen, Lads!

             Welland High played St. Catharines collegiate here at football. With the score 0-0, “with two minutes left for play, Harry Moore kicked a goal for the home team,” says the newspaper story.

             That is that, but the nub lies in the fact that the Harry Moore is the genial and somewhat rotund postmaster of these days; and any one who can picture that much esteemed official kicking a goal now is invited to get busy.

New Industry at Port

             The Telegraph devotes a column to a story of the newly opened glass plant at Port Colborne, the Erie Glass company. In the course of the tale there is found this optimistic prediction; “Port Colborne is happy and its inhabitants are wreathed in smiles at the realization of the first industry located there through natural gas. “This is only one,” said a citizen. “Others will follow when it is understood that we have plenty of gas. In a couple of years you will see the new factory, roofs shining in the sunlight all over the town. But the government should place a high export duty on the gas; then it would not be long before there would be hundreds of factories between here and Fort Erie.”

             Well, that wasn’t done, but who knows, who knows?…

High Cost of Living

             Even in the good old days that was a favorite topic to beef about, as is evidenced in the following from a communication to the press: “How is it when flour drops in price there is___, but the bakers keep pegging away at the same old rate. I did hear that there lives in Fonthill a baker, whose conscience, or his opposition-I don’t know which, has induced him to lower the price of the staff of life to four cents a loaf; but that does not help the Welland people-they keep right on paying six cents a loaf.”

             On the other hand, J.B. Taylor & Co., Welland, advertise 28 lbs. of raisins for $1; and mixed pickles at 50¢ per gallon. And elsewhere, ladies wool hose were 15¢ per pair, while what is understood is now an obsolete article of feminine panoply, corsets, could be had from 25¢ up to one berry, case or dollar.

             Also, a man’s heavy rubber coat could be bought for a two spot; an overcoat for him for $3.75 up, and a suit of clothes from $4.50.

             And how does this sound- 23 lbs. coffee sugar, $1; and 25 lbs. yellow sugar for the same price?

             Buggy whips started at 13¢, two for 25¢, and for 75¢ could be bought a real rawhide worth $1.25 of any man’s money.

             A nifty pair of calf balmorals of congress gaiters cost jus two bucks; and dozen cabinet photographs cost but $3.50 with an enlarged crayon in a heavy gilt frame.


             “A.E. Douglass has fitted a night bell on his drug store door. Parties wishing medicine any time in the night will press the button, and Mr. D. will do the rest.”

             “In the little hamlet of Ridgeville, Mr. Murgatroyd is about letting a contract for the erection of more hitching posts for the accommodation of his numerous customers.”

             “The new incandescent electric lights have been suffering an eclipse lately.”

             “A magnificent ball is on the tapis, and if carried out as proposed will exceed anything of the kind ever before held in Welland.”

             “Ridgeway band will come out next year in flying colors. The band, which now numbers fifteen members, will be increased to about 25, and four or five of the new members will be ladies. This is an innovation and we congratulate Conductor Dunn on securing the co-operation and talent of the fair sex.”

             “The clay roads this week were the best they have been since the breakup last spring-perfectly level at last, and not dusty.”

             “W.R. McKinney, of Crowland, is harvesting a piece of clover (October 14) which he sowed last spring. Best that?”

             “Billy Lynch can’t induce any more girls to ride behind his spirited horse. The way the buggy was vacated when the colt did the circus act was marvelous.”

             “The owners of the grand stand at the fair grounds which to apologize to their patrons for the dust which was allowed full swing on fair days. It will not occur again. Hereafter the stretch will be watered.”

The Market

             Butter 20¢; eggs, “none in town, a limited supply would bring 13¢”; potatoes, 40¢ bushel; chestnuts, $4 bushel; wheat, 64¢; oats, 27¢; hay, $7, middlings $16; bran $14; butchers pay farmers for beef. 5 ½¢ to 6¢; lamb 8 ½¢; pork 6 ½¢.

The Welland Evening Tribune

25 October 1927




                 We are all too some extent at least, worshippers of the old Roman god Janus, one of whose faces turned tot eh past, the other to the future.

             So we have our “Jubilees,” our “Anniversaries,” our “Old Boys Reunions.”

             Perhaps one of our greatest pageants ever staged by the empire was the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, whose memory is perpetuated by the holiday and fittingly preceded by Empire day.

             Truly the great poet Laureate wrote of her: “She did her people lasting good.”

             Today, amid social unrest world-wide, amid the downfall of great empires and the birth of lesser states, the British empire stands secure.

             “Unshaken still.

             Broad-fused upon her people’s will.

             And compass’d by the inviolate sea.”

             More fascinating than fiction could possibly be is the story of her expansion and consolidation.

             What an inspiration to novelist and poet, as well as to historian are the great men around whom, from age to age her history has centered.!

             Two great loves have possessed her people, from the earliest days when Hengrst and Horsa led their wild followers across the North sea from their crowded quarters, down to the present.

             The love of adventure, which lies at the root of Britain’s expansion; the love of free institutions, of liberty, which has been the mightiest force in her consolidation.

             Hand in hand these two great forces have permeated our national life, and upon them the greatness of the empire; in all the phases, social or economic of her life chiefly rests. These the foundations of the empire. And the builders?

             Small wonder that we are proud to count ourselves among them, when we consider that from so small a beginning this great empire has evolved.

             What characteristic enabled the conquered Saxon to dominate the Norman conqueror so that England and not Normandy emerged?

             How often had one man of this great empire dominated thousands not by military prowess, but by some other great quality; Warren Hastings in India; Cecil Rhodes in Africa.

             Even the military force of the empire when brought to play in the development of her colonies has not engendered lasting hate. Those who led armed forces against her have in more instances than one subsequently aided her in establishing her rule among their own people.

             This is peculiarly true of South Africa.

             The daring of the northern tribes, the imagination of the Celt, the “canniness of the Scot, the dogged perseverance of the Englishman, the suavity of the Norman-all these have combined to make the Britisher.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

24 May 1927



Meta Schooley Laws

              One of the very interesting pages of this paper is the “Twenty Years Ago” column. One reads it always with an “I’ve wandered through the village, Tom,” feeling, often wondering whether it is really only twenty years since this event, or if it can be that many years since the other occurred.

Then, too, the column calls up a procession of well-known and much-loved figures-gone, many of them, but well worthy of remembrance-and we owe the T&T a debt of gratitude for calling one and another of these to our remembrance. Truly, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

In a recent number of this paper, Principal McKay was mentioned, and the paragraph brought a host of recollections concerning him. He certainly was an honor to the teaching profession. He had nearly completed his 33rd year in Port Colborne school at the time of his death. One recalls how a new-comer to the then village, had the temerity to walk into Greenwood’s butcher shop with a tale of his woe about “Mac’s” treatment of his young hopeful. “Dick” Greenwood was chairman of the school board, and promptly threatened to throw the groucher into the canal if he said anything more about the matter. He didn’t.

Or perhaps the boys who loitering over their tasks and incidentally disturbing the room, may remember being sent home to saw wood. He had ideas of his own, not so prevalent then as now, as to what constituted “education.” There was an organ in his room and music was part of the daily program. His boys learned how to conduct a meeting according to parliamentary procedure. A man who will not require to be able to say at least a few words in public at some time or other, will fill a very unimportant part in life, he used to tell the boys. So, there were occasional impromptu three-minute speeches on current topics of interest during Friday afternoon session, at which one of the pupils usually presided.

He was always ready to help the younger teachers, “Ring that bell promptly to the second,” he told one of them starting work in a rural school. “The whole section likes to keep their clock by the school bell, and they ought to be able to do so.”

A question of disciple was being discussed at one of the teachers’ conventions, and Mr. McKay was appealed to. “If that were to happen?” said he, “Why –well-it just would not happen-such things are more easily prevented than cured”-and as he walked away, one of the men, a successful teacher said: “When it comes to discipline ‘Mac can do more by raising his finger than any of the rest of us could accomplish with a shot-gun.”

Port Colborne ex-pupils all remember the effect of the gentle tap on the master’s desk.

But, how they loved him-the day he was laid away, the rain did not deter the crowds who came to pay their tribute to his memory. The front yard was crowded with pupils and friends-and the road before the house as well. The pupils sang, or tried to sing, his favorite hymn, “Lead Kindly Light,” but sometimes only a few quivering voices carried the tune. Then others, stifling their sobs, would join. No one who was present could ever forget the scene.

Years afterwards, a new-comer to the town and elected to the school board, was so impressed with the hold D.W. McKay had upon the memory of the people, suggested that the west side school be named for him, and so eighteen years after his passing, the McKay memorial school was opened with fitting ceremonies, and the McKay scholarship instituted by ex-pupils of his all over the continent. His portrait hangs in the hallway and his work goes on and we who knew him best and loved him most, hopes that he knows, some way or other, that though all these years have passed his life is still an inspiration to those who have succeeded him in what he estimated the most important work possible to man or woman-the training of the young, who will fill our places tomorrow.

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph 

1 February 1927

Pioneer Stories of Haldimand



              It seems difficult to realize that the development of Haldimand county has been the work of but three generations.

             That the grandparents of those of us who speed over our highways were the men and women who hewed for themselves and us homes out of the solid forest; whose journey here was one of untold difficulty and hardship, and whose lives of never-ending sacrifice, toil and privation laid the foundation of this, one of Ontario’s most prosperous agricultural counties.

             Before me as I write lies an historical atlas of the county published in 1879. Copies of it are in many homes. The data it furnishes is accurate so far as it goes, but, like others of its kind published about the same time, only the families who subscribed for the volume are mentioned in its records. The poverty or parsimony of many of the early settlers furnished an excuse for the incompleteness of the volume as a full record of county pioneer history.

             The stories which will comprise this series are not found in the volume, but gathered from the few-ah-so few- who are really interested in collecting and preserving the records of “days that are no more.”

             A few weeks ago we visited the Fradenburgh homestead on the bank of the Grand river, about five miles below Cayuga. For a number of years it was out of the family’s possession, but a great-granddaughter of “Grandma Fradenburgh” who in 1799 crossed Lake Erie in a log canoe with her parents, is now the mistress of the beautiful and historic site.

             The river bank here is very high here and is reached by a rustic staircase, but the old trees festooned with wild grapevines by means of which the top of the bank was reached in the early days, still flourish. From the river one looks up a wall of locust, pine and maple trees, matted together by the climbers-wild cucumber vine and Virginia creeper, as well as the grapevines. Wild roses and other flowers crowd themselves into every nook. The rambling old house with its big living rooms, its tiny bedrooms, its wide porches, is surrounded by beautiful trees of the forest primeval, a group of them form a natural arbor where a rustic table and chairs are placed, and where our meals are served. A broad avenue bordered by giant maples skirt the edge of the bank which is protected by a wire fence hidden by the wild climbing vines.

             Beautiful old-fashioned flowers grow near the house.

             A tennis court occupies a part of the front lawn, and reminds one that the present occupants of Riverside are of today. But sitting in the arbor it is easy to let one’s thoughts roam back to the 1820s, when Dan, one of “Grandma Fradenburgh’s” sons operated a saw mill at the mouth of the creek a little above the site of the old house. He employed three men in the mill, and one man with a team of horses done the farm work. This was about 1870.

             The Fradenburghs were the first settlers along the river; the Wardells the first along the river shore five miles south. Dan’s wife was a Wardell.

             One day the man plowing just west of the house turned up a skull. He told Dan, and the mill was stopped and all started to explore. They found five large graves, re-interred the bones, and ceased to cultivate that field.

             An official from the provincial museum at Toronto, whose summer home is at Crystal Beach, met “Uncle John Link,” whose wife was a Wilson, another of the pioneer families of that section. He told the story and the official came post haste to the Dan Fradenburgh home, while the Armstrong family were in possession of it. He used an augur with a wide bit in his exploration and found a bit of a vase of French workmanship. He persevered until he got all the pieces and cemented them together. That vase is in the Toronto museum and valued at $10,000 by the authorities there.

             Up on a shelf at the writer’s home lies a tomahawk of French workmanship which her husband plowed out of one of the fields. There are many emblems rudely carved on the blade. The piece is in perfect condition. In his childhood Indians built their wigwams in the swale just north of the Laws homestead. Three or four families lived there and made willow baskets which they sold to the settlers.

             Many a winter evening he remembers three or four Indians silently stealing into the house, squatting in front of the huge fireplace and departing as silently as they came.

             From the doorway of their home they watched an Indian wedding ceremony and feast on a hill on the opposite side of the river.

             On that site a man of “John’s” own age has his beautiful modern farm home.

             Soon after Lorne Wardell, a cousin of Dan’s wife, whose home was in Toronto, came out for a visit. He gathered beads and other little relics, went back and published a story of the “Find,” describing the 7 ft. skeletons etc., in the Toronto World.

             The story attracted considerable attention and a doctor, whose name my informant could not remember, came out and uncovered some of the bones, laid two or three skeletons together and pronounced this one the remains of an Indian, this of a half-breed. The place was an old battlefield without doubt.

             In the meantime two of the little Fradenburgh girls, Sarah and Emma, playing beneath a big Walnut tree, found a gold ring in the sand. On cleaning the ring it was found to have a French inscription. Dan showed this to the doctor, and it is supposed gave it to him. The ring is likely now in the provincial museum.

             While the two of them were chatting the man was plowing near and suddenly one of his horses dropped into a hole. Here more skeletons were found and some hammers and rude tools, as well, showing that white men had been there.

             The doctor told them that the ring and these tools tended to prove the truth of a story that a French boat had in those early days plied a trade with the Indians in furs, but it disappeared.

Now, said Dr._, this looks as if the boat had been driven up the river in a storm, attacked by Indians, and the crew massacred, as the old story conjectured.

The spring freshets of a few years ago washed part of the bank away and more graves were uncovered, apparently those of white men.

             Richard Saunders, a son-in-law of Charles Fradenburg, recently found an old coin near this spot.

             There were three Fradenburg boys, Dan, Charles, and John. Charlie was a farmer. His beautiful home is now unoccupied though still in the possession of his family, a widowed daughter who makes her home at “Riverside.” John’s home was a little farther down the river.  A creek winds behind his building and at its mouth lie the remains of “The Enterprise,” one of the boats which sixty years ago plied up the river as far as Brantford, using the “canal,” now but a weedy depression in the river flats.

             With him was associated Edward and Ben Baxter of Fort Erie. Their boats, the Sowerby and the Enterprise, freighted grain and wood to Buffalo.

             An old sidewheeler, the Dover, owned by Lachlin MacCallum, used to come up the river for gypsum. The old senator’s tug, the Robb, did the towing.

             Here and there a vestige of the old tow-path can be traced.

             Adjacent to the Fradenburg tract is the Jones tract. Here Hiram Macdonald, a cousin of Sir John A., brought his wife and her children. The Laws, the Hanslers, Guinthers and Bradshaws of Welland county are connected with this family, and one daughter, Rebecca, married Abraham Sherk of Bertie township.

             This family landed from old Scotland at Nova Scotia, where some of the brothers remained. Bonar Law was a cousin.

             The Windeckers were the earliest settlers on the opposite side of the river, the Murphy’s following close.

             They operated a rude ferry at Windecker, before Dunnville or Cayuga existed. Indiana, now non-existent, and York, where offices of the Grand River Navigation company were, were the cities-to-be of those days.

             But past is all their fame: the very spot,

             Where for a time they flourished-“bids fair to be forgot.”

The Welland Tribune and Telegraph

12 July 1927