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Women’s Institutes of Ontario, PART FOUR

Pelham Women’s Institute organized March 31, 1934.

Tweedsmuir Village History begun January 3, 1951

History of our Branch

Pelham Women’s Institute

Our branch of the Women’s Institute was organized at Law’s School on March 31, 1934, with Mrs J.D. Martin of Welland in charge of the meeting. The first president was Mrs Charles Lynes and the secretary Mrs Earl Bissell. There were  36 members during our first years. Later there were about half that number, and at the present time we have 22.

In following the prescribed program as suggested for the W.I. many interesting and enlightening afternoons have been spent. Among our speakers were Mr. L.B. Duff. Mrs. L.G. Lymburner, the agricultural representatives of the time, and of course, our county presidents.

As most institutes, we have kept up our financial obligations by the holding of bake sales, teas, card parties and dances. Of late years the dances have been the most popular source of income, both from the standpoint of finances and from the satisfaction and entertainment afforded to all ages in the community. With the money thus made we have been able to give yearly to such worthwhile causes as Children’s Aid, Institute for the blind, Red Cross, Welland Hospital and many others equally deserving. When such special appeals as the Manitoba Relief Fund and the Hospital for Sick Children were made, we were able to respond. At the present time we are hoping to make a substantial contribution towards a hall which can be used by all the people hereabouts.

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Striking Medical Tribute to Late Dr. W.K. Colbeck

{Welland Tribune November 20, 1951}

“Canada has lost a great physician in the person of Dr. W. Kirk Colbeck, and the citizens of Welland county have lost a great friend and one of the really outstanding members of the healing profession of his generation.” Said Dr. D.C. MacNeill, president of the Welland County General Hospital Medical association today.

On behalf of the medical association, Dr. MacNeill paid marked tribute to Dr. Colbeck who passed away early today in his 74th year.

Right from his earliest years of practice Dr. Colbeck’s approach to medicine has been that of the pioneer. He kept abreast with all recent advances in medicine and was among the first doctors in Ontario to use many of the advantages in diagnosis and treatment which have been discovered during his years of practice.

He was among the first in Ontario to use radium in the treatment of cancer and had in his office one of the first X-Ray machines in this part of the country. Very soon after the discovery of insulin he was bringing the advantages of this wonder drug to the diabetic patients in his practice.

Dr Colbeck was always a strong advocate for a larger and better equipped hospital in the community and through his efforts many of the present advantages that the hospital possesses have become realities. He has been tireless in his search for improved equipment and methods in the hospital practice in Welland County General Hospital.

Dr. Colbeck not only used his own abilities to their utmost in healing the sick but imparted his energies to younger men who came to work with him and gained the advantages of his experience. Many of them doctors are still alive and practicing medicine in responsible positions in Canada. Among them are listed Dr. Warner, …

Dr. Streight, chief medical officer and formerly medical officer of Canada Life Assurance Company and Dr. Bedard of Welland. He carried through a long and valued association with the late Dr. W.G. Reive of Welland and had also as associates Dr. Alexander, now of Tillsonburg and Dr. Perkins, who later became professor of medicine at the University of Detroit.

Dr. Colbeck received recognition from organized medicine on many occasions. He was granted the degree of fellow of the American College of Surgeons in recognition of his skill as a surgeon. He was always active in medical bodies and for many years his counsel was respected amongst the leaders of the Ontario Medical and Canadian Medical associations. In recognition of this, he was elected president of the Ontario Medical Association in 1936, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a doctor in Ontario by his confreres.

To the doctors of Welland County Dr. Colbeck had always been a friend and advisor. He was the dean of doctors in this district and young men starting out in his profession owes much of their success to Dr. Colbeck’s counsel and help.

His energies were unbounded and he saw more sick people perhaps than any other doctor of his generation and rendered more benefit in his treatment of his patients.

During the Second World War he gave his time and energy unfailingly to fill in the gaps left in this district by members of the profession who had enlisted to maintain the standard of civilian medicine.

He was a man of many interests and found time in his busy life to serve on many public projects and boards, being particularly interested in welfare organizations in Welland county. He was a moving spirit in the engineering of the Welland-Crowland arena. His efforts in such fields of public service prove to everyone that he was more than just a great physician, he was a great citizen of Canada.

The doctors of Welland county will feel a great loss at his passing and will miss beyond all telling his advice in medical matters and his organizing ability. The citizens of Welland particularly, his patients will mourn him as long as memory lasts as a great physician, a great counselor and a great friend.

Many Walks of Life Represented at Rites for Dr. W. Kirk Colbeck

{Welland Tribune November 23, 1951}

Representatives of a score of organizations as well as a large number of private citizens joined in funeral services yesterday afternoon to pay an impressive tribute to the memory of Dr, William Kirk Colbeck, an outstanding citizen who not only achieved high honors in his chosen profession but also unselfishly devoted his talents and energy to community betterment.

Many walks of life were represented in the large number who attended services at Central United Church and the hundreds of citizens who passed by the bier while  Dr Colbeck’s remains lay in state at the church from 11am yesterday until 1;30 pm.

Dr Colbeck died at his home on Parkway early Tuesday after suffering a seizure early in July.

Many of the organizations with which Dr. Colbeck had been connected during his long and eventful life attended the services in a body. Included were the Welland County General Hospital Medical association; nurses’ groups including nurses who had been employed at the Colbeck  Clinic through the years, special duty nurses, members of the Victorian Order of Nurses and the Welland  and District Health Unit, both of which Dr. Colbeck assisted in establishing in Welland, and nurses of the Welland County General hospital; members of the city council and officials; and members of the arena board.

Other organizations represented included the Welland branch of the Canadian Legion, of which he was a life member; a group of the 98th Battalion which he joined early in World War I; the Welland-Crowland Health and Recreation association which raised money for the arena, the Welland-Crowland Health  Welfare council and the Sunshine Club, which he helped to found.

Services were conducted by Rev. F.R. Hendershot, pastor of Central United church, assisted by Archdeacon, A.H. Davis, padre of the Welland branch of the legion.’

“We have come here today,” said MR Hendershot in a heartfelt eulogy,”to pay tribute to a man, who in an eventful life became one of first citizens of this city, a man whose life was marked by unselfish devotion for the good of his fellows. The impact of his life in this community,” he said, will never be forgotton.”

Reviewing his life history, Mr Hendershot observed he received many well deserved honors in many fields climaxed by the award of the MBE in the king’s honor list in June 1943 for his patriotic and philanthropic services.

“Throughout the community,” said the speaker,” the news of Dr Colbeck’s  passing brought regret.”

“Not the least of those who mourn his death,’he continued, “are those who came to him for medical service. He gave of himself unstintingly to his patients.

Mr Hendershot stated that since his death a veteran told of one incident which was typical of Dr. Colbeck. Called in to greet a child of a veteran, the deceased on one critical night stayed by the child all night until the crisis had passed. He knew at the time that he could not expect to receive a cent from the child’s father.

Mr Hendershot  continued that Dr. Colbeck was closely related with many young doctors to whom he was always ready to give guidance and counsel. In this connection however, he stated he gained  more than he received by getting a fresh approach to problems.

“It is for this man that we gather here today to pay tribute to his devotion and unselfish service to this community and to mankind. Words are inadequate to state the debt we owe, but the floral tributes, the richly deserved eulogy in the press and this gathering are testimony to the high regard in which this man of good works is held in this community.

Pall bearers were all members of the medical profession, Dr. S.V. Railton, Dr.L.W.S. Sturgeon, Dr. Malcolm MacLean. Dr. T.E. Briant, Dr. A.L. Purdon, Dr. F.C. Myers.

City police and provincial police provided an escort for the lengthy funeral cortege to Fonthill cemetery where interment took place. There archdeacon A.H. Davis delivered a prayer and Mr. Hendershot conducted the committal service.

At the church the flag-draped casket was framed in a mass of floral tributes. With tokens of esteem and respect from the director of nurses and the nursing staff of the Welland General hospital graduate nurses of the old Welland nursing school and employees, the 98th Battalion association, Welland-Crowland Welfare council, officers of the 98th Battalion, private duty nurses, board and staff of the Welland and District Health unit, members of the Independent Order of Foresters, Welland-Crowland arena board and friends, Welland County Medical society, Ontario Society of Radiographers, Welland County General hospital medical staff, Victorian Order of Nurses, officers and members of the  Ontario Medical Association,B company of 98th Battalion association, Sunshine Club.

Valued Community Worker Dr. W. Kirk Colbeck is Dead

{Welland Tribune November 20, 1951}

Dr. William Kirk Colbeck, M.B.E., a distinguished leader in his profession and a citizen whose name had been synonymous with many good works died early this morning at his home on Parkway.

Illness forced Dr. Colbeck to remain away from his office early in June and later in the same month  he suffered a stroke.. He received treatment at the Welland County General hospital and in Toronto and was brought home from Toronto a little   over a week ago.

Dr. Colbeck began his practice in Welland 45 years ago. From that time until his illness this year he never ceased to plan and work for community betterment. The story of his life not only reveals high honors from his profession but uncovers chapter after chapter of humanitarian and welfare efforts.

It was typical that in the months just before he was stricken he had succeeded in bringing about organization of a two-county commission set up study and plans to handle the traffic and dockage problems the area would face with the completion of the St Lawrence Seaway and the shipping of ore from Labrador through the Welland Canal.

Dr. Colbeck was a soldier and patriot. The flag at the Welland Canadian Legion of which he was a former president and life member was lowered to half mast when his death was received.


The Funeral will be held on Thursday afternoon, with services at Central United

Church at 2 o’clock. The body will rest at the H.L. Cudney Funeral Chapel, 241 West Main street until Thursday morning. The casket will remain open in the church from 11am Thursday until 1;30 pm. Rev. F. R. Hendershot, pastor of Central United will officiate at the service and interment will take place at Fonthill cemetery.

Dr. Colbeck pioneered in radiology and suffered the loss of fingers while working with x-ray in 1906? When equipment was not available for measuring exposure. He was always abreast of modern techniques in the medical profession.

The dean of doctors labored unceasingly for improved equipment and modern hospital and lived to see many of the policies…….

Young men in the profession considered it a privilege to work under him and gain benefit from his experience and guidance.


One of  his most notable accomplishments in Welland was the formation of the organization that brought establishment of the Victorian Order of Nurses. He was a charter member of the VON and chairman of the medical board Members of the executive declared today that it was only through the efforts of Dr, Colbeck that the VON came to Welland.


He received the MBE (member of the Order of the British Empire) in the King’s birthday honor list of June 2, 1943 for  patriotic and philanthropic work to climax a long list of honors since he started to practice in Welland in 1906.

At that time Wellanders generally acknowledged the distinction as richly deserved recognition of his services to his fellow man and the country in fields embracing his profession, public service, humanitarian and the national interest.

He was a life member of the Toronto Academy of Medicine, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons,, member of the Buffalo Academy of medicine, Fellow of the Radiological Society of America, past president of the Ontario Medical Association and a member of the Canadian Medical association.

Dr, Colbeck was born in Colbeck, Ont son of Holden S. and Margaret Mckinley Colbeck on Dec 7, 1877. He received his early education in Orangeville schools and following graduation from the University of Toronto, took post-graduate studies in Leeds, England and Berlin. Prior to coming to Welland in 1906 he practiced for two years at Grand Valley Ontario.


A veteran of the First World War, Dr Colbeck served as captain of the 98th Battalion and proceeded overseas to the 5th Canadian Field Ambulance. He was wounded at Passchendaele.

He was a life member of the Canadian Legion and was president of the Welland branch in 1936. That same year he was honored with the presidency of the Ontario Medical Association.

In 1936 he was awarded the King George Jubilee Medal.


He was a former medical officer of health for Welland and adjoining Crowland township and ever since he began his practice was interested in civic affairs. He organized the Welland-Crowland Health League which later became the Welland-Crowland Welfare Council. He campaigned for many years for a recreational centre and was a member of the Welland-Crowland Health and Recreation Association which raised funds for the Welland-Crowland arena. First plans  for which included a recreation centre, which had to be debted because of the cost As a member of the Health League he aided in the establishment of craft work which proved highly popular and later indicating his interest in recreation for older people was instrumental in the founding of a Sunshine Club for people past middle age.

He had always been a strong supporter in the construction of an armories in Welland and played a leading role in exacting a promise from Federal authorities to start construction of an armoury building in Welland when such work was undertaken by the government.

Indicative of the way in which he took his many honors was his reaction to the award of the MBE. He commented at the time that he was deeply grateful for the honor but strongly felt the award really belonged to and was meant for those people of Welland who have worked so earnestly and faithfully in worthwhile enterprises and who have tolerated me as a ‘director of traffic”.

Mr. B. Betler, the president speaking for all the members of the Sunshine Club of Welland

And the vicinity, said this morning ‘ we feel so deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Colbeck, our friend and founder. Just two years ago this month he organized our Sunshine Club which has met each Wednesday afternoon since in the Merritt room of the Barclay hotel, bringing much pleasant fellowship into so many of the lives of the community’s older citizens. Dr Colbeck was a close and interested friend of each of the group and derived much pleasure from their company.


President A.B. McPherson of Welland Canadian legion paid the following tribute to Dr. Colbeck:

Welland Canadian Legion  mourns the loss of a gallant physician and surgeon and former Legion president in the death of Dr. Colbeck. He attended the wounded on the battlefield in the First World War and here at home attended with rare self sacrifice the ailing and wounded of the Second World War.

…..Legionnaires will long recall his service to his fellow soldiers on the battlefield and the world about him here will also recall is gallant self sacrifices labors in medical research, research in medicine and healing which reflected his deep abiding love of his fellow men.

In a tribute headed,”Honoured by  Two Kings”, Percy Ghent, the editor of the Canadian X-Ray Newsletter, wrote of Dr. Colbeck, after meeting him at a Niagara Falls conference.

Your editor carried away from the conference no brighter memories than those of several meetings with Dr. Colbeck, a faithful friend his kindly and constructive relations with other  radiographers, both before and after their organization into provincial groups or the Dominion society.

His long and faithful service in the x-ray field, his kindly and constructive relations with other workers in that field have earned for Dr. Colbeck a host of friends among radiologists and technicians.

Crown Grants of Farms Now Forming Fenwick Made in 1789 and 1801

[St Catharines Standard, November 26, 1951]

Members of the Fenwick Womens Institute with a number of visitors, heard with absorbing interest an address on the early History of Fenwick, presented by their hostess Miss M. De La Mater, as she entertained the ladies at their November meeting. Typefying many long hours of research on the part of Miss De La Mater,convenor of Historical Research this paper will form the nucleus of a Tweedsmuir village history for the local Women’s Institute.

History of Fenwick

The crown grants of the farms where Fenwick is now located were made in 1798 and 1801—two to David Sharp, two to Martin McClelland and one each to Benjamin Hill and Christopher Bert. The above information said the speaker, I have from an article written by Mr. Duff in our Pelham Pnyx some years ago. Those names are lost to us now, not one appears in the early Township records in Mr. Arbrushs office. In all probability they were early speculators.

However, there are some old farms near the village. To the north was the Haney grant, according to an old Historical atlas I have from Mr. Warren Ker, the Haneys settled here in 1808. From its architecture, I should judge that the old Haney house, where the Lovas family lives now, is one of the oldest houses around here. It is a low solid brick cottage type with fireplaces that have long been closed up. The windows with their many tiny panes and the wide front door with long narrow windows on either side, mark it as being a very old house, as too does the long woodhouse attached through which a team of horses bearing cord-wood could be driven in the old days.

All of four Haney homes were built on this grant—the Lovas, the Ker, the Walker and the Julian homes of to-day.

Nunn Farms

The oldest grave in Hillside Cemetery is that  Elizabeth Hamney, 1829.

South west of the village were the Nunn farms. In the early township records, Isaac Nunn’s name appears as an overseer of the highways in 1808. His house, now the Sherwood home is another old type of architecture with wide spreading gables and cornice returns and again the old hospitable front door and tiny window panes. This house has particularly beautiful lines. Isaac Nunn’s daughter married a Mr. Garrold and this was long known as the Garrold property. West across the fields stood the old Samuel Nunn house, now the Van Berkum home, another house of the same type.

Fought With Wolfe

Coming east along the same road on which the Old Isaac Nunn house stands, we come to the old Richard Dawdy house where the Smiths now live. It, too bears the gracious marks of an old house. However, the crown grant of land to the Dawdy family was east of the village of Pelham Centre, adjacent to the cemetery and the township hall which are both on Dawdy land. The pioneer  Dawdy house was the present Wicks home.

To the east of the Richard Dawdy house is the old Jennings place were the Maksyms now live, and here we come to the earliest date of all. In 1801 the name Laurence Jennings…..

Mrs Sylvester Keenan(nee Jennings) told me that one of her forebears fought with Wolfe at Quebec.

Going north we come to the Joseph Garner grant. Mr Garner did not come until 1840 so that he is a newcomer compared with the others. He built the low frame building which now forms the back of the present house. In 1873 the brick front was added.

First Sub-division

The property lying within the village was occupied for many years by Mr. and Mrs  Jos. Leppert, now the property of Prudhomme’s Nurseries. At the back of the house there stood until a year ago an interesting old stone building with huge stone fireplace and heating oven where Mrs Garner used to bake her bread, and a huge iron pot on a crane in which she used to make soap. Mr Garner had a crown grant of 150 acres on each side of Welland Avenue. His son, Mr. Alymer Garner, with keen foresight donated the road now known as Garner Avenue, and divided the land into lots, Fenwick’s first subdivision.

Continuing north on the Pelham Stone Road we find the old Reece house, built around the original low structure. Next to it stands the James Taylor house, the home of an early nurseryman. This house has the same gracious lines as the Richard Dawdy one,

Two Churches

The village had its real beginning in the building of two churches. Why two churches should have been built within one mile of each other I do not know. One was the New Connection Wesleyan Methodist and the other to the eastward, the Episcopal Methodist, known as the Bethany Church. In 1935 the Fenwick United Church celebrated its 100 th anniversary. Rev, Cropp  got out a booklet of the history of the church with the names of all the ministers for the past 100 years. Of the early history of Bethanywehave no records, but it is believed that both frame churches were built about the same time. In 1882 Bethany built a new brick church and only two years later came the union of the Wesleyan and Episcopal Churches in Canada. Each church had a membership of 55. For a time both churches were used, morning service in one and Sunday school and evening service in the other. In 1900 the two churches united forces and built the present edifice in the village. The old frame building was brick veneered, a basement put under it and the pulpit moved from the east to the west and placed in a T-shaped addition. A year or so later the brick parsonage was built and the frame parsonage moved, The Bethany church was sold to the Presbyterians in 1901.

Then the School

After the churches came the school. And here again I quote from Mr. Duff “The first school-house lot was leased (not deeded) in 1844 by Benjamin Corwin of Stamford to James Disher, Leonard Haney and Simcoe Chapman as town wardens for the township of Pelham in the county of Lincoln in the district of Niagara. The consideration of the lease was 5 shillings, and it was stipulated that the lease was to terminate if no school was maintained for a period of 5 years.

The school trustees were Joseph Garner and James E, Hutt.

Mr George Kappler remembers attending this first school built in 1844. It was small framebuilding facing south. As  the  school yard was small, the children went across the road to play in what is now Mr. Will Boyes yard. There were no traffic hazards in these days. This frame building served until 1874 when a brick one-roomed school was built and the old building moved south east across the road to be made into a dwelling house. Many Fenwick residents of today remember the brick school, especially in the winters when the attendance was so large that the little ones had to get along the platform and the older pupils assisted the teacher in teaching. As the school population increased, a second room was formed by enclosing the two entry’s. Finally in 1910 the large brick two room addition at the front was added.

And the Taverns

After the cultural beginning of the village in church and school came the taverns. In 1845 George and Benjamin Diffin  built a hotel either where Mr. John Farr lives today or the Eberts and the place became known as Diffins Corners. It was an excellent location for a tavern where so many roads came together. At this time taverns were as common on the Canboro Rd. as gasoline stations are today. There were  two at Boyle, two at Wellandport, two at Attercliffe, two at Canboro and in the other direction two at Fonthill and three at Allanburg, counting the Black Horse built around this time. The Canboro Rd.  got its name from Benjamin Canby who bought the whole township of Canboro from the Indians and then linked it with Lundy’s Lane, using the old Indian Trail. It might be well to state that the taverns lost their right to sell intoxicating liquors in 1881, when a vote was brought about by the Temperance people to have Welland county brought under the Scott Act. Pelham gave the local option measure a majority of 86.

Fenwick Arrives

On April 1st 1853 Diffins Corners changed its name to Fenwick when the first post office was opened with Leonard Haney as its first postmaster. I am sure Mr. Duff is right in thinking that our village took its name from Fenwick, the birth place of Dr. John Fraser

In Ayrshire, Scotland. Dr. Fraser was a very important man at this time. He was Reeve of Pelham from 1850 to 1856, and if you read the early township records you will see what an active part he and Mr. Dexter D’Everards took in the deliberations of the municipal council at old Niagara. He took considerable interest in politics being an advanced Liberal. In fact he is said to have thrown up a remunerative practice in Scotland in going against their best interests as he thought, in electing Sir George Murray, one of the Duke of Wellingtons generals, instead of the young Liberal he supported.In 1854 he attained prominence… most precious document to show you lent by Mr Armbrust. It is the record of the vote of 1854, arranged in three columns. The voter simply going in and on signifying his desire to vote, his choice was noted on the list opposite the candidate’s name, with a space given to annotations, 260 names appear on that list. In 1861 Dr. Fraser refused to be a candidate a second time. A doctor whose services were in demand for 50 miles, had no time to contest elections and travel as far Quebec  city to represent his constituents.

Dr Fraser took an active part in the separation of Welland county from Lincoln in 1856, and in securing the county town at Welland. As the first Warden of Welland county he laid the corner stone of the Welland County Court House, July 5, 1855, a building which a half a million dollar addition is to be added. Dr Fraser held other positions of honor and trust. And I think it a matter of pride that our village should bear the name of the birth place of a man of such force and talent and devotion to public service.

Another member of parliament who came from Fenwick itself was Dr. Henry R. Haney, M.P.P., for Monck, who died in 1878. He also served as superintendent of schools.

Timber Frame

One of the oldest buildings in Fenwick is Babcock’s store, of timber frame. Mr Brackbill built the store and had as partner Charles Diffin. An old never-failing well alone remains to mark where once stood the Brackbill residence moved away many years ago to become the Stringer home. The oldest dwellings are those of Mr. Armbrust, Mr.Shutic. Mr Gamble and Mr. Ker. These all have timber frames and are of hand hewn timber, and originally were a storey and a half. Mr Armbrust’s house was once the home of Rev Michael Baxter, a retired Methodist clergyman. It was he who gave Baxter’s Lane to the municipality in lieu of the road which originally connected Maple Avenue with Welland Avenue. He too built what today is the Red and White store for A.O. Stringer, an early teacher, who wished to retire to a mercantile business. A little marble altar in Hillside Cemetery marks his grave—1889. Mr Conn lived in the Shutic house. It was  he who planted the maple trees which give Maple Avenue its name. Mrs Lew Haney told me that she had often heard her husband tell of the pride he felt as a little boy at earning a penny for each tree he held upright for Mr Conn to fill in.

First With Hall

The Lauren Brown house was the first to be built with a hall.

Mr Sisler rebuilt the old Henry Miller home into what was considered at the time, a very fine house. He also built the Eastman house. In order that the bricks might retain their red color, he had them soaked in beer, an old German custom.

A drill hall, 120 ft by 100 ft of braced timbers and large double barn doors, once stood south of the United Church.

It was here that Captain Haney drilled a company of volunteer infantry which he had recruited for the 44th battalion at the time of the Fenian Raid of 1866. For a long time the men kept their rifles here. Later it was used as a community hall. Mr Tunnicliffe remembers as a boy attending a 12th of July celebration there with speeches and two bands in attendance. Later it held the exhibits when the fair was held here and still later it became a skating rink.