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The TALES you probably never heard about

LETTER TO THE EDITOR – International Falls, Minnesota

February 16th, 1967

The Editor, Lanark Era

Lanark, Ontario

Dear Sir:

Today I had the pleasure of calling on Mrs. George Easton, nee Margaret Miller, daughter of Stuart Miller, to congratulate her on the observance of her 90th birthday, on Feb. 14th.

She was a native of Lanark before the turn of the century; having come to the Rainy River District of North-western Ontario in 1897.

When I was minister of the United Church of Canada in Fort Frances I had many happy visits with Mrs. Easton concerning Lanark and some of the well-known families in that area. My acquaintance of the area was as a young boy when my father the late Rev. Frank Saunders was minister of the Congregational Church at Middleville, Hopetown and Rosetta. -1910. -14.

Mrs. Easton is remarkably well preserved & loves to talk of her pioneering experiences Up until about a year ago she was real active, keeping house for her daughter, , who has a Ladies Wear store in Fort Frances,  However for the last few months she has been confined to bed, but still is bright and cheery. We recalled such names as Rev. Mr. McIntosh, who was a frequent visitor in our home. The Ed Buffins , at whose home I stayed when I tried my entrance examinations in Lanark, the Caldwells, Steads and Langstaffs.

I believe Mr. Eric Somerville use to be blacksmith in your community some years ago. He was one of the older boys in the school at Middleville when I attended there.

Yours truly

Leslie Saunders

Dochstader Family Early Settlers in Gainsboro

[Smithville Review, Wednesday November 22, 1967]

In practically ever historical account of the early days of Lincoln County the name of Dochstader is very prominent.

They were one of the many families who left the United States in the 1780‘s to settle the land in the Niagara Peninsula. In 1782 John Dochstader settled on what is now the south-west angle of the township of Gainsborough, This was the beginning of the village of Wellandport. He was quickly followed by families of the name of Hodge, Vaughan, Philip, Henry Dils or Dilts, McDowell, Barker.

Descendants of these families are still living in the district. In order to reach this part of the peninsula the early settlers had to travel by boat and canoe in the summer and by sled on the ice, during the winter.

Wellandport is situated on a strip of land between the Chippawa and Beaver Creeks which was once known as the narrows. This was a trail once used by Indian runners. Now known as Canboro Road it is a direct route East and West from Niagara Falls to Windsor. Because of the natural proximity of the two creeks this site was chosen as the most suitable to build a mill. In 1816 the Beaver Creek was damned and a cut was made through the narrowest part where it operated a wheel and discharged into the Chippawa Creek. Today, of course the Beaver Creek is little more than a swamp in summer regaining some of its semblance of a river only in spring.

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Township of Thorold 1793-1967

Page 308-9

The first Women’s Institute in the world was organized in the village of  Stoney Creek in Wentworth County on February 19, 1897, where the Farmer’s Institute had also had its beginnings.

In the autumn of 1896, a young farmer named Erland Lee heard Mrs Adelaide Hoodless give a thought-provoking address on the value and need of teaching domestic science in public schools. Her interest stemmed from the fact that she had lost an 18-month-old child due to impure milk. This prompted her to devote her time to seeking improvement in Ontario’s educational system. She strongly believed that girls should be educated to fit them properly in the sphere of life for which they were destined–that of homemaking–and this should be done by teaching domestic science in public schools.

Mr Lee was impressed by the words of Mrs Hoodless and decided to ask her to speak to the women of Saltfleet Township at the first available opportunity. The chance came in January 1897, when Mr. Lee was asked to help plan a program for the Farmer’s Institute. Several members objected to his suggestion of Mrs Hoodless as a speaker for the evening session when the women would be present, but Mr Lee invited her despite their objections.

Mrs Hoodless delivered her talk on the need for a women’s organization similar to the Farmer’s Institute but time was limited and a discussion on the subject could not be held. Mr Lee, who was chairman, asked the ladies how many would be willing to attend a meeting to deal with Mrs Hoodless’s suggestion and 35 responded and promised to be present the next Friday.

Both Mr and Mrs Lee were busy during the next week as they visited district homes, in their attempts to stir up interest. When Mrs Hoodless arrived for the meeting at Squire’s Hall, Stoney Creek, she was met by 101 women and Mr Lee, who agreed to act as chairman, thus begun the first Women’s Institute.

The purpose of the Institute was to raise the standard of homemaking, as shown by this statement recorded in the early minutes: “A nation cannot rise above the level of its homes, therefore, we women must work and study together to raise our homes to the highest possible level.”

In order to carry out the objects of the Women’s Institute six divisions were outlined, There were:

Domestic Economy, Architecture, with special reference to heat, light, sanitation and ventilation. Health, Floriculture and Horticulture, Music and Arts. Literature, education and Legislation.

It is significant to note how closely these six divisions corresponded to the standing committees of W.I. today.

Before long Women’s Institute  branches had started in many areas including Thorold Township. Many of these groups are still active today, such as those in DeCew Falls and Allanburg. Groups in Port Robinson and Quaker Road have now disbanded, while new institutes have formed, such as the branch at Singer’s Corners and the Mildred Summer’s Branch of DeCew and St Johns.

Besides taking part in many projects to improve conditions the institutes have carried out valuable research, which is recorded in their Tweedsmuir History Collections.

Danson Kinsman

{Centennial August 27, 1967}

Danson Kinsman was born in the township of Cornwallis, Kings County, Nova Scotia on April 23, 1813. His parents were Benjamin Avery and Mary (English) Kinsman both natives of Nova Scotia. The father was a direct descendant of the English family of  Kinsmans, who crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower.

Our subject received his education in his native province, and was married there on the 19th of Sept. 1839, to Elizabeth, a daughter of John and Abigail {Foster) Douglas.

In 1850, Mr. Kinsman, accompanied by his wife and 4 children, moved to this province and settled in Fonthill, where he engaged in mercantile business. He spent the remainder of his life there, with he exception of 4 years which he spent in the United States.

In 1864, he was appointed Postmaster at Fonthill, a position he held until his death.

His general store business was always conducted on an extensive scale, and his honour and uprightness together with his genial disposition, made him a popular man in the society in which he moved.

He was for many years a consistent member of the Baptist Church, was one of the pillars in the branch of that denomination in the Village that for so many years he made his home.

He was appointed a Justice of the Peace but always refused to take the oath of office.

Mr Kinsman had six children, five sons and one daughter. Fred, the youngest son succeeded his father in the mercantile business in Fonthill in 1884 and is the subject of our next sketch Fred Kinsman, merchant Fonthill was born on the 14th of Oct 1862 and was the youngest son of the forementioned Danson Kinsman. His father having been so long in business, our subject, had from his earliest days been associated with mercantile life.

He received a liberal education at Fonthill public school and Welland high school, and in addition to the business experience he acquired in his father’s store, had filled an engagement with a Toronto dry goods house, Mr Kinsman did an extensive business, always keeping large stocks of dry goods, groceries, boots, and shoes, hardware etc

Avery B. Kinsman Esq. was born in the village of  Horton,Kings county Nova Scotia, on the 14th day of February 1824.

His  parents, Avery B. & Mary (English) Kinsman, came to Canada about 1784 and settled in Nova Scotia; they were U.E. Loyalists, of English descent.

He attended the public schools of Horton, and afterwards the Acadia College of the same place.

He learned carriage building at an early age. He was in Australia from 1851 to 1858..

Returning to America , he spent the next three years in New York State, then coming to the county of Welland, he started a carriage building trade in Fonthill which he carried on very successfully for twenty years.

He was a member of the A.F. & A.M. society since 1863. He was also on the school board for various periods.

He was married  first in 1849 to Ann Maria daughter of Isaac Whitman, a native of Nova Scotia. He had 4 children, two sons and 2 daughters. Albert W. & Ada M. born in Fonthill, Frank B., born in New York State and Flora born in Fonthill.

His first wife died in 1875, and he remarried, his second wife being Mrs. Jonathan Randall.

Dr Hugh Park

{Township of Thorold 1793 to 1967, page 139}

Dr. Hugh Park began his day by starting out early in the morning to visit the sick in his territory which included most of Crowland, Thorold and Willoughby Townships. He would return home at noon for his meal and start out again to  make as many house calls as possible before nightfall.

The winters were long and severe and it was necessary for him to keep two horses. Some winters he had to use snow shoes to get through the deep snow to treat the seriously ill.

He served as medical officer of health for Thorold Township for many years. He was a church warden for many years and was instrumental in placing the beautiful stone font in St Paul’s Anglican Church. He passed away in 1935 at the age of eighty-three.


[Pelham Herald, 27 June 1967]

James O. Emmett, M.D., was born in the township of Grantham, County of Lincoln on the 11th day of April,1843. His parents were James and Elizabeth(Dolson) Emmett, and his paternal grandfather was Stephen Emmett, who was a U.E. Loyalist, having left his native state of Delaware and come to Canada at the time of the American revolutionary War.

He settled in Grantham township, at what is now the village of Homer. Dr. Emmett, our present subject, received his literary education at St Catharines Academy, after which he took a three year course at the New York Homeopathic Medical College from which institution he graduated in 1865. He also attended Bellvue Hospital in New York Immediately after graduating he began practicing in Fonthill, where he remained. He always enjoyed a lucrative practice, as well as a general popularity, which was earned for himself, not only by his professional skill, but by his genial disposition, and fine social qualities. He was married in January 1867, to Catharine E., a daughter of John Gore, the latter a native of Nova Scotia, born in 1800.

Dr Emmett had a family of six children, four daughters, and two sons. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and a Reformer in politics. Our subject was Reeve of Pelham Township in 1887.