Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

EMMANUEL United Church of Canada 1884-1984, Wellandport Ontario

By Rev. Sharon L.W. Menzies

Our Roots in Gainsborough Township

As has been mentioned earlier, the Methodist Church in the Niagara area goes back to the work of Major George Neal in the 1780s. Major Neal’s work was both unofficial and much frowned upon by his British Army superiors who saw army discipline and Anglicanism as like virtues. It was Darius Dunham, though, who can claim to be the first regular itinerant preacher in Niagara. He was appointed in 1795 to serve a circuit covering 2.400 square miles. One of the early records of the Niagara circuit described it as follow:…”the circuit included the whole of the Niagara Peninsula, wherever there were settlements, from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and from the Niagara River westward to the township of Oxford, and required a tour of six weeks, and preaching almost daily, to complete a single round.”

Circuits in Canborough and Grimsby were formed over the next two decades and there is at least an intimation of rivalry between the two for prominence in the township of Gainsborough. In a Quarterly Meeting report dated 6 August 1836, John Hodge, Emmanuel Jones, Emerson Bristol, Samuel Jones, Joseph Dochstader and two other men were appointed trustees of the log meeting house in Gainsborough. This log meeting house was built as School House #9 on property owned by Alfred McPherson located on Elcho Road. Given the attitude of children toward higher learning  for many generations, We believe that it was this school house that bore the affectionate name “the log jail”

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My Memories of Wellandport

By Vivian Sutton Sunday, February 5, 1984.

Arriving in the fall of 1945, to make my home in the busy, friendly village of Wellandport was certainly a great experience. Having lived all my entire 19 years in a large city; there was a great period of adjustment. The friendliness of the people was really and truly a heat warming experience for me.

Traditionally a typical city, where a mere hello was about all you exchanged with your next door neighbour was most welcome. Mrs J.D.(Reva) Fulsom was one of my first acquaintence.

Indoor plumbing was considered a luxury and the Saturday night bath in the old tin tub left much to be desired

Living accomodations were very difficult to obtain as many returning service men had married during the war and housing was a priority.

Unable to find a suitable place to rent in Welland, we obtained rooms with a lovely retired couple Nelson and Lillie Chadwick, former owners of Chadwick Feed Mill.

Most of our neighbours were all retired people. Mrs Frankie Arnold, Rev McRoberts, Henry & Etta Jupe, George & Lillian Southwick, Mrs Holmes Sr.,George & Caroline Holmes, Earl & Erford Robins, Harry Poore, Thom & Effie Freure, Mr & Mrs Addie Adam Beamer, Bill & Tunie Zawelski and Mearle & Edith Fester.

There friendly and out going manner made me feel so welcome.

The minister at that time was Rev. McRoberts, a bachelor who was a frequent guest for a dinner or a supper. He told me that I was priviledged to reside in the part of Wellandport known “As Quality Hill”. This has always remained in my memory as I  look now at the changes in that part of the village.

Wellandport had four grocery stores. Roman Suters, Red&White store owned and operated by Ada Coleman(Hiles). Howies grocery store, and Nepons general store. In the old general store, centered in the middle of the floor was a large pot bellied stove. This was certainly a popular spot. Everyone congregated from the village and surrounding farms on a Saturday night to purchase supplies, exchange chit chat, catch up on the weeks happenings. No one ever thought of going to town to shop.

We were very fortunate to have in the village a most competent doctor. Dr. Carson made numerous house calls, delivered babies at home, performed many other services.

A local post office operated by the Coleman family in part of the red & white store. A telephone office, headed by Mrs Lloyd Book(Nora) operators, Florence Cavers, Beryl Moore, Elma Cavers to mention a few. Lampmans’ operated a hardware store, implement business and upstairs a funeral home. This was owned by John Lampman and his son Glenn.

This funeral home & furniture store was first owned and operated by Amos Heaslip an uncle of Hazel Ullman in 1902. This building presently is now known as Home Hardware. Mr Heaslip had two hearses. Black & white, two teams, black & white. One pulled the hearse, the other the carriage.

Mr Heaslip sold to Mr. Hugh Brooks. Mrs Hugh Brooks to a Mr SlaghtMr Slaght to John Lampman.

The old Cronkite Hotel housed a two family apartment. Gordon MacDonald family and the North family.

The Masonic Hall was in operation and the Womens’ Institute held social events there.

The Wellandport United Church was the only place of worship and all our spiritual needs well looked after.

A one room school tended to the educational aspects, grades 1-8, capabiley taught by Harold Hodgkins.

Two garages were in operation. One owned and operated by N. Peter Redmond; the other Andys garage, by Andy Toiwchowski. Mr John Johnson was our local carpenter.

A very busy blacksmith shop, owned and operated by Bill Zawelski.

Milk was delivered by two local dairy farmers, Charles Freure and Adam Moore for the exorbant price of .05 cents per quart. When pastuerization became law Welland Dairy delivered the milk

Cars were in short supply, but our needs were well looked after by the local merchants.

The daily bus service from Dunnville to Smithville was in operation by Bert Phillips.

Villagers would avail themselves occasionally. for a special outing, ride the bus to Smithville. Purchase a special rated train ticket to Hamilton for the day from the Smithville railroad station office and off for a days shopping. Think this cost  about 65 cents return. Many the trips I made with friends.

Our community has seen many changes in the 39 years.

Today we have one grocery store and gas bar, local post office, library which is an asset to our community.

One garage, one feed mill, feed supply dealer, hardware store and church.

The Masonic Hall is still an active hall as well as the Independent order of the Odd Fellows Hall.

One of our proudest accomplishments is our local community hall. Many donated long hours of hard work went into the building and maintanence of this very busy hall. The older friendly familiar faces has long since passed on.

Wellandport village is now inhabited mainly by the Dutch people who settled in the area in the very early fifties.

We who were a majority are now a minority. I have spent happy years in this lovely friendly community. A community with a heart, a community who cares.