Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

wilson chambers 1929-642


[Welland Tribune 1929]

Lynn B. Spencer K.C. Host at Golf Club to Friends and Business Associates

An exceptionally pleasant  social function took place yesterday at Lookout Point Golf and Country club when Lynn B. Spencer K.C.. .was host to over thirty of his friends and business associates in Buffalo and the Niagara peninsula. The guests were invited, during the afternoon, to play over the beautiful course for which the club is famous, and most of them took advantage of this privilege, particularly as the weather was ideal for such sport.

At 8.30 in the evening the company gathered in the spacious dining hall of the attractive new club house and after all had enjoyed the elaborate and appetizing menu provided, the genial host undertook to explain why he had asked his friends to partake of his hospitality.

“It is just 21 years since I commenced practicing in Welland,” said Mr. Spencer,”and I thought the anniversary worthy of some little celebration, particularly as I expect to leave on a trip to England within a few weeks. I am pleased to greet my friends here and to provide the occasion for those present to enjoy the opportunity of becoming acquainted with each other.”

Mr. Spencer then referred to his 21 years of partnership in the legal profession with Col. L.C. Raymond,K.C. which he said, had been without even a ripple of discontent.

Following adjournment to the cosy lounge, where coffee was served, the party was introduced to T. Halton, a prominent business man of Cleveland, who soon had all present agog with wonder at his amazing skill and dexterity as a sleight of hand artist and creator of illusions. He performed many mystifying tricks with an apparently innocent deck of cards, at the same time, with his amusing patter, keeping the company in a rollicking mood. Mr Halton does not claim the dignity of a professional but it was agreed on all sides that some of his experiments were more baffling than any seen behind the footlights.

Other guests, with recitation and story, made impromptu contributions to the entertainment of the evening. The pleasure of the guests and their indebtedness to Mr Spencer for his generous hospitality was  greatly expressed by Frank B. Baird, president of the Buffalo-Fort Erie Bridge and others.

The Guests

The guests were: John W. Van Allen, Welles V. Moot, Frank B. Baird, Allan I. Holloway, all of Buffalo; T. Halton, Cleveland; R.M. Smith, R.C. Muir, R.C. Douglas, K. Bates, all of Toronto……..

Dr John Phillip’s Family

{compiled by “S”}

John Phillips was born March 29, 1880 on a farm near O’Reilly’s Bridge.

His parents were Robert Henry Phillips, born January 19, 1858 in Wainfleet. His mother was Martha Robbins of Thorold Township, born July 11,1859. They were married March 16, 1874 in Welland.

Their children were: Nellie Jeanette Phillips born January 18,1875. She married William James Rae of Sault Ste Marie, September 18, 1899. They had 3 children: Margaret L. Rae, 1899. Helen Louise Rae, 1902; and Neal Rae, 1904.

Nellie Jeanette Rae died January 1907 in Port Colborne.

Thomas William Phillips was born April 18, 1876, he became a teacher and married L. Farr January 30, 1907  in  Welland

Margaret Ann Phillips was born July 17, 1878 and married Henry Chambers , December 25, 1907.

Dr. John Phillips immigrated in 1903 to Ohio. He married Cordelia Sudderth on September 18, 1907.

Dr. John Phillips died May 15,1929 in Cleveland.

Cordelia died December 4, 1963 in North Carolina.

Dr. John Phillip’s funeral service was held at Amasastone Memorial Chapel, Western Reserve University, Saturday May 18 at 2.30pm. Burial was at Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland.

John Edward Phillips (1908-1983)

He was the son of Dr. John Phillips and Cordelia Sudderth Phillips. John was born in Cleveland. He graduated from Yale University with a Science Degree in 1932. He travelled to many foreign countries. He was a Field Engineer for Archer Daniles Midland Company which dealt in vegetable oils and chemicals

In W.W. II, he served as a naval officer and then returned to Cleveland.

He compiled  genealogy files for Philiips, Sudderth and Southard families. The collection of records can be found at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

He died April 9, 1983 in Cleveland.

Dr John Phillips (1880-1929)

Cleveland Clinic Beginnings

{Compiled by “S”}

A sense of cooperation shared by three friends of the clinic, Bunts, Crile and Lower acted as a unit. All were medical doctors and  acted in the war. They were surgeons and in order to develop a broader field of medical service, they needed to add an internist to organize and head a department of medicine.

Dr. John Phillips was at the School of Medicine of Western Reserve, he had served in  military hospitals during the war and held the same broad concept of what might be possible in a clinic organization.

John Phillips raised on a farm near Welland, was a serious minded person with a keen sense of humour. He obtained a teaching certificate, taught for three years, entered the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1903 he received the M.B. degree with honours. After graduation he served for three years as an intern and resident in medicine at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland. He then entered practice as an associate n the office of Dr. E.F. Cushing, professor of Pediatrics at Western Reserve. Dr. Phillips was assistant professor in Medicine and Therapeutics at the Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He also held appointments at Babies’ Dispensory. He was also consulting physician at St John’s Hospital. He had a large private and consulting practice. He was highly regarded as a clinician and teaching in internal medicine and diseases of children. During WW I  he served as a captain in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army.

The four founders of the Cleveland Clinic were all professors of medical schools,all  highly regarded in the community and well established in the community hospital.They all  had been in the military and were committed to the practice of medicine.

The first meeting of the incorporation was February 21, 1921. Designated founders were Bunts, Crile, Lowe and Phillips.

8pm on February 26, 1921 was the grand opening of Cleveland Clinic with 500 of the medical profession attending.

The clinic was located in a four storey building at East 93rd St. and Euclid Ave.

Dr. Phillips was trustee of the Cleveland Medical Library Association and a member of Allen Memorial Medical Library building committee.

Cleveland Clinic Disaster

On Wed. May 15, 1929 at 11.30am was the first explosion of toxic gases. X-ray films were stored in the basement in manila envelopes in file cabinets. It is believed 70,000 films were stored there. A leak was discovered in the steam line earlier, a jet stream flowed to where the film was stored. A cloud of yellow smoke was in the room. When firemen arrived the building was in a dense yellow brown cloud. The ground floor entrance was blocked by fumes.

Dr, Phillips had reached the ground by a ladder on the east side of the building. He sat on the steps of the church across the road and was taken to his apartment at the Wade Park Manor East 107th St. His condition worsened; at 7pm Dr. Crile went to his room and performed  a transfusion. Dr, Phillips died at 8;30pm, he was 50.

The clinic disaster resulted in worldwide adoption of revised safety codes for storing films and making use of safety film that would not explode.

One hundred and twenty three people lost their lives. Dr Phillips was a posthumous inductee of the Medical Hall of Fame.

Terrible Toll in Disaster at Cleveland Clinic

{Welland Tribune Thursday, May 16, 1929}

Ninety-Five Known Dead as the Result of Two Explosions.

Poisonous Gas Rushes Through Building When X-ray Films Burned

Cleveland, May 16—Poison gas and two explosions which followed burning the X-ray films in the Cleveland clinic yesterday claimed nearly 100 lives.

There were 95 known dead and hospital authorities worked desperately to administer artificial respiration to 43 more who were overcome. Victims of the disaster were dying at short intervals and physicians sent out appeals for addition oxygen in the fear that the supply in the city might prove insufficient. Oxygen is declared the only effective means of overcoming gas burns.

Nearly all of the deaths were attributed to the deadly gas which filtered through the four-storey brick building slowly at first and then augmented by a second and greater explosion than the first, rushed up from the basement and cut off escape down the stairways and elevators.

Survivors said those asphyxiated were dead, their faces turning a sickly yellowish-brown color, within two minutes after inhaling the gas.

Like War Gas

The fumes were given off by fire of an undetermined origin which destroyed X-ray films in the basement. Some pharmacists said it was bromine gas, while Dr. William E. Lower, one of the founders of the clinic, said it resembled the deadly phosgene gas employed in the great war.

It was ironic that the disaster occurred in the very place where the most advanced instruments and laboratories of science had been turned against pain and death. The clinic was owned principally by Dr. George W. Crile, nationally-known physician, who was too occupied with relief work to comment on the catastrophe.

Despite the heavy loss of life, firemen estimated the property damage at only $50,000.

The first explosion occurred in the basement. On the floors above, waiting rooms were crowded with clinical patients. Many of them died where they sat, some in wheel chair unable to move, as the deadly fumes rapidly penetrated to all floors.

The hollow centre of the building first was filled with gases.The intense heat below sent the fumes swirling upward. Before any one had opportunity to escape, a second blast blew out the skylight and filled the entire building with the deadly fumes. Occupants had no way to escape by the windows and few were able to reach them. These were enveloped by the fumes which hung about the building and they collapsed.

The two street entrances were choked, and the stairways leading to the roof were heavy with the fumes. Every piece of fire apparatus available was centered at the clinic and every vehicle possible was commandeered to remove the bodies.. An hour and a half after the first explosion all had been taken to nearby hospitals.

The first blast was heard by policeman Henry Thorpe, walking two blocks away. He immediately turned in an alarm and ran to the building at Euclid avenue and 93rd street.

Explosion At Cleveland Clinic Hospital Claims Life of Dr. John Phillips

{Welland Tribune May, 1929}

Native Son of Welland County was one of the Founders of Famed Institution—Born at O’Reilly’s Bridge, Received Education Here Before Graduating From Toronto University—Made Great Contribution to United States Medical Science—Relatives Reside in Fenwick.

According to later word received by The Tribune at edition time, Dr. Phillips died late last evening from his injuries.

The terrible explosion and fire which Wednesday took a toll of 91 lives at the Cleveland Clinic hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, came home with full force to this city and Welland county when it became known the Dr. John Phillips was among the injured and is not expected to live.

Some years ago Dr. Phillips former resident of Welland city and native son of Welland county became associated with the famous surgeon, Dr, George W. Crile, and together they founded the Cleveland clinic, which has been known all over the continent as an institution of the very first rank.

Relatives here of Dr. Phillips said late Wednesday night following long distance conversation with Cleveland that Dr. Phillips was seriously injured and dispatches this morning report him as being gassed.

Dr. Phillips was born at O’Reilly’s Bridge, a few miles from Welland, the son of the late Robert Phillips. He attended school at O’Reilly’s Bridge and later was a student at the Welland high school, residing with his parents on West Main Street. From there he went to University of Toronto and on leaving that institution started a practice in Cleveland under the late Dr. Cushing of that city.

Studious Character

Dr. E.E. Binns, class mate of Dr. Phillips at Toronto University in 1903 their year of graduation, in an interview with The Tribune last night described Dr. Phillips while a student college as quiet and studious and though he did not then show a marked brilliancy nevertheless displayed an intense application and perseverance. “He was one of the most industrious students at Toronto University,” was Dr. Binns’ characterization. “We all knew he would make good but no one thought he had it in him to reach the heights that he speedily scaled. His association with Dr. Cushing, one of Cleveland’s foremost physicians and consultants the latter’s interne at Cleveland gave him an introduction to the finest of professional intercourse in the city, and his close application to work soon bore fruit.

Reached National Fame

Dr. Cushing gradually worked in as a sort of personal assistant and from that moment with John’s industry and conscientiousness his future was assured. Not long after Dr. Cushing died rather suddenly and so great was the impression that John Phillips had made upon the hospital staff and the medical faculty the great city in his few years serving among them, that he was offered chair of assistant professor of medicine and associate lecturer in the medical schools. His work as a clinician soon became known outside the limits of Cleveland, and as the years passed he reached a national fame. He was recognized as one of the most capable, conscientious and reliable members of the healing profession.

“Welland county is justly proud to have given to the United States a man made so valuable a contribution to the realms of medical science,” was Dr. Binns’ tribute.

Dr. Phillips and his wife, Cordelia, have one son John, now at Yale. Who is looked upon as an electrical genius and a most gifted boy. He has three brothers in Welland county, Thomas of Wainfleet, Robert of Fenwick and Richard of O’Reilly’s Bridge and one sister Mrs. Henry Chambers of Fenwick. A niece is Miss Lillian Phillips of O’Reilly’s Bridge. He last visited Welland a little more than a month ago.

Welland County Mourning Loss of Dr. J. Phillips

{Welland Tribune May, 1929}

Victim of Cleveland Clinic Disaster was Internationally Known Specialist.

Welland county is mourning the lose of one of its most brilliant sons, Dr. John Phillips, who died late Wednesday night as the result of being gassed following the explosion and fire that day at the Cleveland Clinic hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, of which he was co-founder.

Dispatches from that city say that Dr. Phillips, head of the medical service of the clinic and silver medallist at the University of Toronto, in 1902. He was one who escaped from the building only to die later. He was able to walk home after assisting in rescue of others, only to be rushed to the hospital at night where he died.

Eight doctors lost their lives the last one being Dr. Phillips who, Cleveland dispatches describe, as a native of Welland and internationally known specialist and one of the founders of the Cleveland clinic. He was in the building when the catastrophe occurred but walked home believing he had not been affected by the gas. He was taken ill toward evening and  rushed to the hospital where a futile blood transfusion was made.

Relatives of Dr. Phillips residing in this vicinity were expected to attend the funeral in Cleveland today.

Fine Tribute To Dr. Phillips by Cleveland Paper

{Welland Tribune May 1929}

Plain Dealer States Welland Old Boy was Renowned Leader in Medicine

That the late Dr. John Phillips co-founder of the Cleveland Clinic hospital, scene of one of the greatest peace-time hospital disasters of recent history, was renowned as a leader in the world of internal medicine and that he was accredited with the largest consulting practice in the history of medicine was noted in a recent issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer which reported in part as follows:

“Renowned as a leader in the world of internal medicine, Dr. Phillips was accredited with the largest consulting practice in the history of medicine.

Unaware that the blood-destroying gases had attacked him, Dr. Phillips had walked into the Wade Park Manor, where he made his home. A rest, he thought would be a wise precaution.

“A few hours later attendants called for oxygen, Dr. George W. Crile, intimate associate of Dr, Phillips, hurried to the hotel and ordered a blood transfusion, but died at 9.15p.m.

Caught on the Third Floor

“The gasses had sapped his blood. He was working on the third floor of the clinic when the blast occurred and escaped by leaping from the third floor to the fire net.

Dr Crile, after an examination, declared that Dr. Phillips died from nitrous peroxide and monoxide gases. His death takes the second of four founders of the clinic. Dr Frank E. Bunts having died Nov. 28th 1928.

“Quiet, genial, industrious, Dr. Phillips enjoyed the confidence of the city’s wealthiest families and it was to him that thousands flocked each year for diagnoses.

“He had the largest consulting practice in the world,” Dr. Lower declared last night.

Dr. Phillips was born in Welland county in 1879and at 50 was the youngest of the clinic executives. He studied at the public schools of Welland, later attending and graduating from the University of Toronto with his degree in medicine. Although he left for graduate work at Johns Hopkins University and service in Cleveland soon after his graduation in 1903, Dr. Phillips always maintained friendships in Toronto and was as well known there as in Cleveland.

It was at his instance that more than 25 Toronto physicians were coming to Cleveland as guests of the Cleveland Academy of Medicine for a two-day conference and clinic, and Dr. Phillips was to have been their host at dinner at Wade Park Manor, where he died.

“It was only by the luckiest chance that members of the Toronto crowd were not in the clinic at the time of the explosion,” hospital authorities revealed “They had been there on an advance visit and left just a few moments before it occurred.”


{Welland Tribune 1929}

Purchased by Louis Blake  Duff of this city—Building Erected in 1836

Another ancient landmark of the county has changed hands, this being property at St. Johns, history of which dates back to the year prior to Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.

The land and premises in question were purchased by Louis Blake Duff of this city a short while ago from Mrs Pitts of St Johns. It is in two parcels, one on the north side of St John’s road, the other on the south side. Workmen are now demolishing the large frame store and dwelling on the north side of the street.

It is interesting to note that this building was erected by Zenas Fell in 1836. Mr. Fell was an engineer whose name was attached to many plans in the county. Over the front door is the sign of the Niagara and District Mutual Fire Insurance company, which was probably the first insurance company in the Niagara peninsula.

The date on the metal sign is 1836, and the plate is said to have been placed on the structure before the latter was actually completed.

While this is a frame building it is lined with brick between the uprights. The man who is now dismantling the property, W.A. Spark of Thorold road, states he never saw finer timbers than those used in construction of this property.

The following canto..

             ..goes a lot further back than twenty years; in fact it is a glimpse of the Merrittville of the 1850’s-“on the corner of West Main and North Main streets stood a long Gothic building, the property of Seeley & Betts. The front of this building contained a store while in the rear were apartments for dwellings. On the opposite corner the late Elias Hoover (sire of D.D. Hoover) kept the Welland house. Across from the store Wm. A. Bald had a dry goods store, and west of that stood his residence. There were no railways, and the canal, which was west of the present one, was content to have its boats hauled through by horse power and tow ropes. Steamboats were few and far between. The bridge over the river was an old wooden structure without a railing. Among the business firms were Daniel McCaw, who did shoemaking; (the business is still conducted under the family name), Mr. Shrigley sold drugs; Wellington Hellems kept a furniture store; Betts & Seeley had a sawmill. There was no jail; no church-an old log school house where model school now stands (later the Y.M.C.A.) served both as church and school and was lighted by tallow candles; oftentimes the members of the congregation bringing their own candles with them. The side walks were either Mother Earth or two planks with a space between them.


              “A new industry will be established in Welland shortly with a capital of $150,000. It will be known as the Welland Tin Plate & Sheet company, limited.”-People’s Press. Yeah

 The Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune

28 February 1929