Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about


[The Evening Tribune - 18 September 1950]

Percy S. Peacock, 158 West Main street, Welland, died this morning. He was in his 77th year. A native of Port Hope he came to Welland about 50 years ago. A prominent general contractor, he built the Fonthill Public School, Welland Post office, Welland County General Hospital, Imperial Bank and many other large local buildings.

Member of Orient Lodge, I.O.O.P. and Cope Stone Lodge, A.P. and A.M. he also held a life membership in the Scottish Rite, Niagara Falls.

Surviving besides his widow are five children, Wallace, Huntsville; Mildred, Salt Lake City; Stanley, Detroit; Laura, California and Acton, Iowa. Sixteen grandchildren also survive.

The late Mr. Peacock is resting at his late residence for funeral services on Thursday afternoon at 2.30 o’clock. Interment will be in Fonthill cemetery.

Oil Magnate A.L. Ellsworth, Welland Native, Dies At 74

[The Welland Evening Tribune, 30 November 1950]

             The fabulous career of Albert LeRoy Ellsworth, who left his native town of Welland 54 years ago with a burning determination to “make good” ended Tuesday night, when the leading Canadian industrialist and oil magnate passed away at his home in Forest Hill Village after a long illness. He was 74.

             He was the founder in 1906 of the British American Oil Co. Ltd., and fought throughout his life to keep it an independent and Canadian owned concern. At his death he was chairman of the board of the company, although failing health had kept him from active participation in its affairs for some time.

Father Was Contractor

             Mr. Ellsworth was the son of George Alfred and Elizabeth Foster Ellsworth. The family home was at Hellems and Division street on the site now occupied by the apartment and commercial block. George Alfred Ellsworth was a prominent builder and contractor and among the homes he constructed was the Somerville residence on Merritt street and the old Douglas place at Hellems and Grove. He also owned most of the property where the MacLean Motor Sales business now stands.

             The youth who was destined to become one of the country’s leading industrialists attended Welland public and high schools and concentrated on a business course that fitted him for a statistician’s post with the Standard Oil Company at Buffalo. At one time, it seemed as though he was headed for the legal profession, but the oil business held more appeal.

             Although most of his connections with Welland lapsed as he climbed the ladder of commercial success, he took as his bride, Bessie Burgar, daughter of George Burgar, who was Welland’s postmaster around the turn of the century. Another former Welland postmaster, the late W.H. Moore knew young Ellsworth quite well and used to remark that while his chums couldn’t see the purpose behind the intense application, Ellsworth would explain his habit of working at night as well as during the day with the philosophy: “I don’t know what others have in mind, but I’m determined to make something of myself.”

Got Financier’s Backing

             At the age of 30, he formed British American Oil, after a chance meeting with Silas A. Parsons, well-known Canadian financier, resulted in the necessary financial backing for the venture.

             At first, the new company acted only as a jobber for marketing kerosene, lubricating oils and greases and had little control over the quality of the products. But Mr. Ellsworth had a broader vision for the future, and in 1907 land was purchased on Toronto’s waterfront on which, subsequently the first small B-A refinery was constructed.

             From that point, the appeal of the company was based on the high quality of its product. As the motor car industry grew and Canadian industry and agriculture developed in mechanization, so, too, the oil concern grew and prospered under Mr. Ellsworth’s guidance.

             So successful was he in carrying through his determination to keep the concern Canadian that he could boast proudly right up to his death that 95 percent of his stockholders lived in Canada and controlled 73 percent of the company’s stock.

Interests Expand

             As the firm developed Mr. Ellsworth’s industrial interests broadened. He became associated with other companies, among them the Toronto Pipe Line Co., Texas; Fess Oil Burners of Canada, Clear Vision Pump Co., Service Station Equipment Co., and United Utilities and Service Corps. He was also a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Chartered Trust Co., Noranda Mines and Industrial Metal Industries Ltd. He was founder and a director of the Toronto Iron Works.

             An ardent sportsman, he was a director of the Maple Leaf Gardens and a member of the Ontario Jockey and Toronto Skating Clubs. He belonged to the Lambton, Granite, York, National, Empire and Canadian Clubs, and was a charter member and past master of Harcourt Lodge, AF and AM. He contributed generously to a number of philanthropies.

             Mr. Ellsworth was predeceased in 1947 by his wife. He leaves three daughters, Mrs. S.D. Reburn, Mrs. W. Holton and Mrs. Donald Rowan, Jr., and one son, George Eric. Funeral service will be held on Friday at 3 p.m. in Timothy Eaton Memorial church. Interment will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Died: 29 November 1950

Married: 31 August 1907

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

2 July 1876-29 November 1950

Father: George Ellsworth

Mother: Elizabeth Foster