Skip to main content
W. ARNOT CRAICK.
PORT HOPE, ONT.
Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year igoi,
by W. ARNOT CRAICK, at the Department of Agriculture.
THE WILLIAMSON PR&SS,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
The Founding of the Town
Primitive Port Hope .
Tales of the Early Days
Port Hope in 1813 and 1826
Municipal Life .
Steam Navigation .
Early Modes of Transport .
The Advent of the Railroads
A Chapter of Tragedies.
The Earliest Church
The Methodist Church .
St. Mary s Church
The Baptist Church
Public Schools .
Port Hope High School .
Trinity College School .
Regal and Vice-Regal .
Concerning Things Military
Some Other Institutions
Fires and Firemen
Some Pioneer Families .
The Old Boys Celebration of
I 3 2
IN presenting this brief work for public consideration,
the author desires to make some explanatory statements,
which may perhaps modify any critical judgment, that may
be placed upon it. In the first instance he desires that no
one should be deluded by the impression that the volume
contains a complete history of the Town. The more he has
investigated and the more material he has collected the
more fully is he convinced that to write an exhaustive history
of Port Hope would require many years for its fulfilment.
Then again he desires to disclaim all originality in his treat
ment of the subject The material from which the book
has been compiled, has been collected from numerous
sources, many of which are not of convenient access to the
reader of this work. All that the author can therefore lay
claim to, is the service he has rendered in however imperfect
a way, of placing the mass of material, furnished by others,
in a form in which it may be of some use.
This has been one of the main objects in view. Others
have been to assist in a slight measure in the important
work of collecting the material from which the future histor
ian of Canada may mould his national work, to attempt to
inspire some confidence in the future of the town in the
minds of its present-day citizens, by portraying something of
its bye-gone enterprise, and to afford if possible a small de
gree of pleasure to those interested in the antiquities of the
Before concluding the author would desire to return his
thanks to the many individuals who have assisted him in
his task. This assistance has been rendered in many ways.
Old citizens of the Town have recounted many interesting
matters by word of mouth. Others have placed documents
at the disposal of the author. Still others have allowed him
access to valuable files of papers and old manuscripts. To
all of these he expresses herewith his best thanks.
W. A. C.
PORT HOPE, Sept., 1901.
Page 2, line i : for coureur de bois read coureur des bois.
Page 9, line 20 : read, For threshing the primitive flail
and for winnowing, what the settlers termed a fan were
Page 75, line 13 : for C. B. Lanceley read E. B. Lanceley.
Page 86, line 27 : for entrance read entrances.
Page 122, line 29 : for Dominion read Canada.
PORT HOPE HISTORICAL SKETCHES
THE FOUNDING CF THE TOWN.
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with mess and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Star.d like Druids of eld, with voices jsd and prophetic,
Siand Jike harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
O a person of reflective mind stationed on one of
Port Hope s many weeded hills, all the surround
ings of upland and valley and lake are full of
suggestions of bye-gone times. The tall whisper
ing pines confide strange tales of other days and the moss-
grown stones of the hill-side are rich in the memories of
the past. Under their magic influence centuries are rolled
back and the primeval forest emerges from the dark oblivion
of unrecorded days. Then once again the panorama of
Time unfolds itself and in a twinkling the days and years of
the past flash by and all that has been is seen once more.
Into the peaceful and secluded valley of the Ganaraska
come the red men. They hunt in the woods, they fish in
the stream and they build their wigwams on the grassy
banks. For a season they remain and then vanish like the
snow and new tribes take their place. Now a stern, rugged
2 PORT HOPE
coureur de bois appears and camps by night beside the
stream and then a patient Jesuit father toils by to his
mission-field in the West. At length a strange sail looms
up on the horizon and coasts along the shore. Perchance
it is La Salle and his daring adventurers pushing ever west
ward to the " Father of Waters." Other sails come and go
and meanwhile the Mississauga braves build their romantic
village of Gochingomink beside the Ganaraska. There
they remain till long after the white man has come to claim
the land as his own and till " Cut Nose," the thief and the
murderer, whose name and reputation alone survive the
disappearance of this tribe from the valley, has fled far to
the west from the scene of his evil deeds.
From the mythical past to the more assured realm of
history is but a step and on the arrival of the white man the
imagination ceases its conjectures and turns to the pages of
recorded fact. Here it is found that in 1778, Peter Smith,
a fur trader, landed at the mouth of the creek and took up
his abode in a substantial log-house, which he constructed
on the bank of the stream about where Helm s Foundry
now stands*. Here he began business, and presently the
Indians flocked to him from far and near bearing with them
the fruits of the chase and the trap. His fairness in all his
dealings with them gave him a good name and a monopoly
of the fur-trade, and his skill as a hunter and trapper won
for him the deepest respect. To the scattered settlers of
* The site of Peter Smith s trading post has been put by many historians of the
town, "on the lake shore, a few hundred yards east of the creek." The author
believes that these writers are confusing this house with the building erected on that
spot by Peter Smith, the son of Elias Smith, in 1797.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 3
Upper Canada the trading-post became well-known, receiv
ing the name of Smith s Creek an appellation which the
future settlement was to bear for many years. The trader
himself for many years occupied the important position of
judge or arbiter among the Indian tribes.
Smith had no intention of being a permanent settler.
His object was to acquire a measure of wealth and then to
return to civilization for its enjoyment. His purpose was
doubtless accomplished by 1790, for in that year he dis
appears forever from our history. His log-house now
passed into the hands of another trader, named Herchimere,
who continued his dealings with the Indians, and assumed
his position as their benefactor.
On the 8th of June 1793 the "Pilgrim Fathers of
Port Hope, landed through the surf on the stony beach of
their " New World." The little company comprised four
families,* those of Myndert Harris, L. Johnson, Nathaniel
Ashford and James Stevens and a number of surveyors
from New Hampshire. A subsequent chapter will relate
the tale of the " pilgrimage " of these early pioneers, but at
present the actual founding of the settlement is the subject
to be treated of. The landing of such a goodly company of
white men must have been an event of no little surprise to
the two hundred Indians of Gochingomink, as well as to the
worthy Herchimere. The red men evinced immediate
hostility and were on the point of preventing the landing of
* There is some diversity of opinion on this point. Mr. Dodds, in his account
of the Town, asserts that Messrs. Ashford and Stevens arrived on the 3rd of June
and had no connection with Harris and Johnson, who came on the 8th, but as the
above is the story told by Myndert Harris, Jr. it has been accepted.
4 PORT HOPE
the new-comers, maintaining that they were Yankee i-p.
truders, when Herchimere, recognizing Captain Bouchette.*s
gunboat, in which the settlers had been conveyed
from Newark, hurried about among the savages and finally
persuaded them that they had nothing to fear from the new
arrivals, who were good subjects of the Great Father, King
George of England. Thus appeased, the Indians allowed
the debarkation to continue.
By sunset a little group of white tents was to be seen
on the "Flats,"- the level stretch of land across the creek
from the trading-post. With the morning light the work of
constructing log houses was begun. These were long low
houses with huge Dutch fireplaces at one end and were
thatched with bark. In due time they were completed
Meanwhile the New Hampshire surveyors ir ? not
been idle, and about half the township had bee laia out
when they were attacked by a fever, then and jveral
years after very prevalent hereabouts in the kie -mmer.
This necessitated a cessation of work and, \v; v ^ v ng near
at hand, they departed for Newark.
Thus left alone the four families mentioned spent the
winter at Smith s Creek and for the first time the snows
covered the roofs of the embryo town ot Port Hope. Since
that by-gone time many a gloomy snow-cloud has drifted
over the valley and laid its white burden on the frozerfv^
ground but never since have the snows of winter fallen on a,^.
pathless solitude. , S. c
PRIMITIVE PORT HOPE.
A noble race ! But they are gone,
With their old forests wide and deep,
And we have built our homes upon
Fields where their generations sleep.
>T is possibly safe to say that a large proportion of the
interest of travellers tales centres in the description
of lands visited and people encountered, rather than
in the actual adventures of the narrator. Recogniz
ing this principle it would seem appropriate at this juncture
to assume the view-point of the pioneer and look on the
valley of the Ganaraska and its inhabitants, as they appeared
to Myndert Harris and his comrades in the summer of 1793.
At that early date the valley was covered with a mag
nificent growth of cedars, through which the rushing
Ganaraska came pouring down over the rocks. The hill
sides on either hand supported a dense undergrowth,
providing ample covert for both rabbits and partridges.
Deer and bears roamed through the woods in large numbers
and skilful huntsmen like the early settlers needed never to
be at a loss for food. The stream itself emptied into a
large marshy area, covering what is now the harbor and the
.-4ow-lying land to the northward. Where the new harbor-
6 PORT HOPE
basin now stands rose the island on which Mr. Harris CL
the grass for his winter fodder that first year. One arm
the creek skirted round this island by way of the present sit r
of the elevators and then passed along eastward parallel tc
the Lake and separated from it by a gravelly bank,
uniting with the other arm of the creek, the waters of ,.,e
two branches passed into the Lake through a narrow gap
about where the old harbor intersects the shore-line.
The harbor-works have partially concealed the nature )f
the shore-line. To gain a correct conception of its forrr ,r
outline it is but necessary to stand on the beach at the east
side of the harbor and run a line across to the high ground
south of the Grand Trunk Station. This line forms ap
proximately the old shore and cuts off all that level tract
known as Sandy Beach, which is a comparatively mode i
acquisition to the Town. To the east again the Lake h
carved out huge pieces from the land and is gradually wor
ing its way inland.
Herchimere s trading-post occupied a site northward from
the point where the creek divided and on its western bank
All about it rose the village of Indian wigwams. The pres
ence of the trading-post here for more than a dozen years
had attracted large numbers of the red men and there was
always a constant coming and going amongst them, which
added a liveliness to the place. The only other point of
interest at that early date was the Indian burying-ground,
situated in the woods near the present railway-station.
Such was the primitive appearance of the Town. As for
its red inhabitants, it would seem that they were a peaceable
lot, extremely loyal to the British Crown, and kindly disposed
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 7
towards the white men. They spent their time chiefly in
hunting and fishing and it was not an unusual sight to see
the bosom of Lake Ontario covered with their canoes, as
they fished for the mammoth sturgeon. Not a little won
derment did it occasion the settlers as they beheld the ease
with which the Indians landed the fish in their frail vessels.
The personal deeds of but one Indian have been recorded
and, as usual, it is by the evil he did that he is remembered.
Cut Nose was a Chippewa from the vicinity of Lake Huron.
He received his strange cognomen from the fact that in his
early days part of his nose had been cut off. Coming to
sojourn at Smith s Creek, he soon began to display his evil
propensities. Mr. Trull, who settled some distance up the
lake shore, lost a straw hat one day. Soon after he chanced
to be paddling down the Lake with two men and approach
ing Smith s Creek, saw some Indians out fishing in a canoe.
He made towards them to see what luck they were enjoying,
when to his ill-concealed disgust, he beheld Cut Nose, who
was in the canoe, brandish the lost hat aloft, with a devilish
grin playing on his ugly face. It was impossible to take it
from him. Shortly after Cut Nose took his departure for Rice
Lake, where he presently entered into a bitter feud with some
Crow Indians. The Crows conspired to murder him by en
ticing him into the trader s house to drink, but Cut Nose
was too sharp for them and, getting the treacherous Crow
who had invited him behind a wood-pile, he soon put an
end to him with a knife and started in to annihilate the
others. Fortunately the trader secured the knife before
much harm was done and Cut Nose took to his heels and
made for his own country.
All in the village was peace ; the men v.-ere intent on their labours,
Busy with hewing and building, with garden-plot and with mere-stead,
Busy with breaking the glebe, and mowing the grass in the meadows,
Searching the sea for the fish, and hunting the deer in the forest.
HE trader Herchimere moved off to Rice Lake in
the Fall of 1793, carrying his goods thither
on horseback. Before leaving he presented his
log-cabin to Mr. Harris, who accepted it with
much gratitude. A difficulty meanwhile confronted the
settlers. Their supply of flour was very meagre and ob
viously was not sufficient to last out the rigours of a
Canadian winter. The nearest point where this commodity
could be procured was Kingston and the only available
means of reaching there was to coast down the lake shore in
the solitary skiff, which had been brought from Newark.
Nothing daunted by the prospect of such a voyage a small
party was organized, which performed the journey to Kings
ton and return before winter set in. In the Fall, Harris cut
a supply of grass on the marshy island near the mouth of
the creek to serve as fodder for the cattle. Man and beast
being thus provided for, the winter-season could be faced
with more confidence.
When the cold weather at length set in and wood-cutting
could be more comfortably engaged in, the pioneers set to
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. g
work to carve out clearings in the woods. Any spare
moments were usually employed in the construction of
* household utensils and other implements and Harris, among
c other things, constructed a cart for Herchimere. This
1 vehicle was necessarily but a very primitive specimen ; the
wheels were made entirely of wood, there being no iron at
hand wherewith to bind them.
With the advent of spring the clearing of the land was
continued with renewed zeal and the smoke of bush fires
floated far over the heavens. Surveyor Iredell* and his men
arrived early on the scene and completed the survey which
had been left unfinished in the preceding summer. Myn-
dert Harris had meanwhile taken possession of Lot 3 and
Ashford of Lot i of the ist Concession, while Stevens took
Lot 2 and Johnson Lot i of the 2nd Concession.
The next winter it is related that Harris built a second
cart for Herchimere, this time having wheels bound with
iron. In the spring of 1794 the cultivation of the cleared
land was begun. In place of a plough, an instrument called
a drag was employed. This was composed of a crotch d
stick with wooden teeth. For threshing either the primitive
flail or what the settlers termed a * fan was used. This
was an instrument made of ash-boards in shape of a half-
circle of radius two feet, with a rim about six inches wide
bent round the circle and having holes cut at each side for
handles the whole resembling a large grain scoop. This
was held in front of a person and shaken when filled with
f The following are the principal surveys of Hope Township as found in the Sur
vey Department of the Ontario Government. Augustus Jones 1791, Iredell 1793,
Hambly 1795, McDonnell 1797, Stegmann 1800, Wilmot 1817, J. K. Roche 1845.
io PORT HOPE
grain. The chaff was separated by the wind and the
fell to the ground. With these crude implement
pioneers succeeded in producing some wheat. The
problem was to get it ground. This necessitated a jour
Belleville, where a grist-mill had just been erected b> .
Myers. This expedition was undertaken in winter, the
grain being dragged through the pathless woods on rough
The same year the Government offered Elias Smith, Esq.
six hundred acres of land, being Lots 5, 6, and 7, with all
the water privileges for a mile up the creek and a chain of
land on each side thereof, on condition that he speedily
build a saw-mill and a grist-mill. Elias Smith was at that
time in Montreal. In the spring of 1795 he sent his son,
Peter, and some mill-wrights to commence work on the
mills. In order to preserve the salmon with which the
creek abounded, a mill-race was carried from about the
position of the Ontario Street Bridge, along the side of the
eastern hill to where the end of the viaduct now stands.*
Sickness put a stop to the work on the mill-race but the
construction of the flour-mill was carried to completion.
Captain John Burns was the master mill-wright and, with
the assistance of Mr. Joseph Keeler of Colborne and a party
of men who came up from there in a boat, the mill was
finally erected. Next spring work on the mill-race was re
sumed but frost caused the banks to give and the whole
enterprise proved a failure.
* Traces of this mill-race are remembered by several old residents of th L
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. n
Meanwhile the Government had agreed to give Captain
Walton and Elias Smith two hundred acres of land each and
the remaining unoccupied land in the township by way of
compensation, provided they brought in forty settlers from
the United States. Failing to secure the requisite number
within the time appointed, this agreement became null, but,
by a Crown Patent issued August 26th, 1797, the land on
which the present Town stands was granted to the same two
subject to the condition that they should with all
diligence erect a grist and saw mill on the site,
that had to be done to fulfil the condition was to move
old mill down to the creek. This was done in 1798 by an
American mill-wright for the sum of one thousand dollars-
A dam and slide for salmon was constructed where Helm s
dam is now built and the two mills were presently in opera
tion on the east side of the stream.
The following year the Hon. D. W. Smythe, Surveyor
General, writing on Canada, remarks on the excellence of
these mills at Smith s Creek, which were patronized by
settlers from far and near.
TALES OF THE EARLY DAYS.
Now let us talk about the ancient days,
And things which happened long before our birth.
HE abundance of game and fish in those early days
can only be conjectured from the tales of the
pioneers. Myndert Harris was the great hero
of the chase and to him are attributed the
two following feats. Coming up the shore
from Gage s Creek one day, he came upon a fine buck,
standing out in the surf. It had evidently been chased, for
its eyes glared and it was practically at bay. Harris, nothing
daunted, waded out to it and seizing it by the horns forced
its head under water. It was a fierce struggle but the sturdy
pioneer was a match for the buck and eventually it succumb
ed. On another occasion while out maple-sugaring in the
woods, he came across a bear which threatened to attack
him. He was unarmed at the time but, picking up a syrup-
trough, he rushed at it and after some heavy blows, succeed
ed in killing it.
The presence of sturgeon in the Lake has already been
noted. It is only necessary to remark something concerning
the abundance of salmon in the creek. James Sculthorpe
who came here in 1801 to live with his grandfather, Elias
Smith, was the famous fisherman of the settlement. In one
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 13
night in company with an uncle he caught three hundred
salmon for which the pair refused fifty dollars next morning.
On another occasion, setting out in a boat with a youth
named Taylor, he entered a cove near the mouth of the
creek. Hardly had the evening s sport begun than Taylor
was seized with convulsions and fell overboard. The boat
was upset and Sculthorpe had much difficulty in gaining the
shore. He immediately gave the alarm and search was
made for Taylor, who was eventually found on the hill-side,
whither he had crawled. Meanwhile the commotion in the
cove had alarmed a huge shoal of salmon and in their haste
to escape the frightened fish carried the boat along with
them. Next morning the fishermen returned for the boat
and found it lying bottom-up on the shore. Judge of their
astonishment when, on turning it over, thirty-two fine
salmon were found wedged into it.
The presence of the dense woods and the swamp at the
mouth of the creek led to the prevalence of malaria in
September of each year. As there was no doctor in the
settlement, the pioneers suffered greatly from the accompany
ing ague and fever. A few years however witnessed the
clearing away of the damp woods and with their removal the
malaria soon vanished.
Prior to the outbreak of the War of 1812 the little settle
ment was subjected to the ravages of the " spotted plague."
This malady could not be attributed to climatic conditions
for it attacked the colony in March and April immediately
after a cold winter. Little is known of its nature. All that
is recorded is that decomposition of blood and tissue follow
ed death rapidly. To illustrate the extent and rapidity of
14 PORT HOPE
its ravages, it is but necessary to refer to the following
examples. Mrs. Soper, residing at Smith s Creek was
struck down with it and her brother, Samuel Marsh, the
first settler of Port Britain, was summoned to her death-bed.
On his return home, he too became a victim to the plague,
dying only a week after his sister. Meanwhile Mr. Sexton,
his brother-in-law, had been called in to make his will. He,
too, was attacked and before another week had elapsed, he
succumbed. It was thus that the dread plague ravaged the
whole settlement and deprived the community of many of
its best members.
In the summer of 1794 the surveyors discovered the
Cranberry Marsh to the north-west of the new settlement.
At the present day when food in great variety is so readily
obtainable, such a discovery could scarcely be of any
moment but to the hard-wrought settlers it was indeed .
boon. The young people of the community were thereafter
wont to make annual excursions to the Marsh to procure
the red berries. Another find of a less pleasant nature was
subsequently made when the " Haunted Meadow " was first
encountered.* This swamp, for such it was, had been
originally formed by a beaver-dam. When first seen it was
covered with a dense undergrowth and encircling it were
plum-trees in great profusion. The presence of will-o -the-
wisps unfortunately gave it an uncanny reputation and
settlers kept away from its vicinity. Its evil fame was
enhanced by the mysterious disappearance of an orphan-boy,
* The tale of the " Haunted Meadow " is purely legendary. Its exact locality is
not known at the present day but it must have been somewhere in the neighborhood
of Port Hope.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES, 15
who was said to have been ill-treated and ultimately murder
ed by a surly old settler, living within a few miles of the
meadow. The story further explained that he had been
buried in the meadow and that his ghost was accustomed to
wander round at night. This theory was supported by the
adventure of two bold young men, who, throwing fears to
the wind, went to pick plums one evening within the charm
ed circle. They had scarcely climbed into the trees when
weird, guttural noises were heard and presently a ghostly
figure began to flit around. Thoroughly frightened the
pair beat a hasty retreat, not understanding that the sounds
were due to harmless frogs and the strange light to the ex
plosions of marsh gas.
PORT HOPE IN 1813 AND IN 1826.
One age moves onward, and the next builds up
Cities and gorgeous palaces, where stood
The rude log-huts of those who tamed the wild.
ESCRIPTIONS of Port Hope as it appeared in 1813
and in 1826 have been handed down to the pre
sent day and, in placing them before the readers of
this book, it was considered as probably the best
mode of tracing the growth of the Town, if
its aspect at various dates were portrayed consecu
tively. Already a glimpse of the primitive town has been
afforded and now its appearance at two subsequent dates
will be detailed.
To a traveller approaching Smith s Creek from the Lake
in the year 1813, the most prominent structure to attract his
eye would be the Smith Homestead on the Point. The
Point, it may be explained, is the piece of land abutting on
the Lake at the foot of King Street and the Homestead
stood about where the last house on the east side of the
street now stands. The house, which was the first frame
structure to be erected between Belleville and Toronto, was
built by Peter Smith, the son of Elias Smith, in 1797. The
building faced the west and, if all accounts are true, it was
completely partitioned off into two portions. Its dimensions
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 17
were about twenty-five feet by thirty feet and it possessed an
upper story. Prior to its occupation by Elias Smith and his
family in 1798 it was used as a store and school-house.
Mr. Smith had sent up from Montreal a young man named
Collins with a supply of goods and this same young man
kept the first store and taught the first school in Port Hope.
Besides being the earliest school-house and store in the
Town, the old place may be said to have been the first
farm-house in the Township of Hope.
The next buildings to meet the traveller s gaze would be
the grist and saw-mills, already mentioned as being built on
the east side of the creek at the end of what is now Helm s
dam. Between these mills and the Smith house, on the
Flats, was an ashery. On the west side of the dam were
Paul Hayward s clothing-works and a little to the north
James Hawkin s blacksmith shop. " Uncle Jim," as he was
familiarly called, was the genius of the place, of whom more
will be written later on. Suffice it to note that his shop
contained the first trip-hammer in the province and was also
supplied with bellows and grinding stone, enabling the
clever mechanic to turn out everything from a needle to an
Herchimere s trading-post still occupied its old site, though
no longer used for commercial purposes. On what is now
Mill Street, Jeremiah Britton had a store and residence and,
on top of the hill, in the neighborhood of Mr. Hoffman s
residence, stood " Uncle Nick s " log-cabin. On the side of
the hill at the foot of Walton Street rose the old timber
malt-house, in the upper story of which dwelt Mr. Rufus
1 8 PORT HOPE
A rude bridge spanned the creek where now stands the
Walton Street Bridge. A freshet had recently cut out a
new channel to the eastward and another bridge had been
thrown over it. A little to the south a verdant island divid
ed the waters of the stream.
On the north side of Walton Street were two buildings,
one of which was the Town Hall and the other the old log
school-house opposite what is now the Queen s Hotel. On
the south side of the road at a point about the rear of the
same hotel, stood the most aristocratic mansion of the place.
This was a building eighteen feet by thirty-five and a story
and a half in height, built by Mr. Joseph Caldwell in 1802
and subsequently kept by him as the first hotel in Smith s
Creek. In the rear of what is now Curtis grocery store,
"Uncle Jim had built the famous Red Tavern in 1803.
He manufactured all the nails, door-hinges and latches re
quired in its construction, erected the chimneys, plastered
the walls and finally became the landlord.
These scattered buildings comprised the Village of Smith s
Creek in 1813. It is probable that there were other build
ings but those enumerated, as being the most important,
were probably all that the historian could recall.* To -them
must be added the homes of the settlers in the neighbor
hood, who for all practical purposes formed a portion of the
* This description of the Town has been derived from anonymous papers pub
lished in the " Guide" in 1871. Some mistakes are obvious. For instance, Britton s
store was not opened until 1815. Again other places have been omitted Smith s
Distillery erected in 1802, and Caldwell s tannery started in 1800. Otherwise the
description gives a general view of the Town at that date.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 19
During the period from 1813 to 1826, there was a marked
growth in the Town and the number of buildings comprising
the corporation was largely increased. While none of the
structures of the earlier date are still in existence, several of
those standing in 1826, yet remain to testify to the skill of
Commencing at the Point and passing up King Street,
four important buildings were to be found on the east side
of the road. The Smith Homestead still occupied its old
site at the foot of the street. On the vacant lot to the south
of Mr. Thomas Neeland s house, stood " the most beauti
fully picturesque residence " of the place* that of M. F.
Whitehead, Esq., Collector of Customs. Higher up the hill
rose the most prominent structure in Port Hope, St. John s
Church (now St. Mark s), which had been erected within the
preceding four years. Lastly where H. A. Ward, Esq., M.P.
now resides, stood the village School House.
The only other residences on Protestant Hill f were the
homes of Messrs. Henderson, Hatton, Riordan and
Mitchell, while a portion of the house now occupied by
James Craick, Esq., formed the residence of Postmaster
Passing down to Mill Street and about on the site of Mill
Street Presbyterian Church stood the store and post-office of
Mr. Smart. South from this and on the slope of the hill
the old log malt-house still remained. To the south again
This old building was removed a few years since to a lot opposite the residence
of Thos. Long, Esq, on King Street and there bricked over.
t So called by Thomas Henderson who was the life of the village in 1826.
20 PORT HOPE
stood the present Royal Hotel, the first brick structure in
Port Hope, erected in 1823* by J. Brown and occupied in
1826 by " Uncle Mark ;: Hewson. South again were the
stores of Jacobs, watchmaker, Orton, auctioneer and Stevens,
hatter. J, D. Smith s red store and residence occupied the
site of Record s pump factory. Across the way were the
grist and saw-mills and a little farther down towards the
Lake were two small houses.
Queen Street was the manufacturers thoroughfare. At
the Toronto Bank Corner, Thum had a blacksmith shop.
Along the east side of the street at the dam were Hawkin s
blacksmith shop, Hayward s wool-carding factory, Metcalf s
chair-bottom factory and Downey s cut-nail works. On the
west side of the street were Robertson s residence and
tannery, Smith s distillery on the site of Helm s Foundry,
the residence store and distillery of John Brown, Esq., south
of the present British Hotel and the Sculthorpe homestead
just east of the Drill Shed.
On the south side of Walton Street between the Creek
and the railway-crossing were Sawyer & Phelp s store, a
tailor shop, Robertson s wooden stores, Wm. Brogdin s
residence and Wm. Rosebury s tavern. Between the rail
way and John Street were a store and Walker s Tavern. On
the site of the Opera House Block was the fanning-mill of
Thomas Harper and where the St. Lawrence Hall now rises
stood the residence and store of John Cundle, the first
butcher. Then came a small house with the Red Tavern in
its rear. To the east of Dr. Power s residence stood a little
* This date is still visible on a stone over the door-way.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 21
house known as the " Sparrow s Nest." Where Peter
Robertson Esq. now resides the home of T. T. Orton was
built and on the site of James Robertson s house lived Old
The north side of Walton Street was taken up by the
houses of Messrs. Mark Burnham, John Hewson and John
Saxon, the latter s residence being erected on the site now
occupied by B. P. Ross, Esq. s house. Where the Tempest
Block now stands a group of wooden houses were being
erected by Wm. Brogdin.
The first building on Cavan Street was Fowke s distillery.
Where Craig s tannery now stands, Smart s distillery was in
operation and on the site of the File Factory rose Brown s
On John Street Mr. Lee lived in a house in the vicinity
of Oke s present store. Across the street were the residence
and tannery of William Sisson. Farther south and on the
east side lived Mr. Thum, the blacksmith. Where Charles
Smith, Esq. now lives stood the Haywards house and
"Aunt Betsy, widow of Elias Smith, Jun. , lived on the
site of the Grand Trunk Station.
This completes the enumeration of Port Hope s build
ings in 1826. The general outline is doubtless correct but
it could scarcely be expected that anyone writing of a place
forty-five years after the date in question, could recall ac
curately all the details of the scene. *
This description of Port Hope in 1826, is that of the late Wm. Furby, Esq.
written in 1871.
" Why is my District death-rate low?
Said Binks of Hezabad.
" Wells, drains and sewage-outfalls are
My own peculiar fad."
Hope first became a definite corporation
in 1797, when Messrs. Smith and Walton laid
out a village plot beside the creek. Its name
then and for several years subsequent thereto,
was Smith s Creek and under that designation a
post office was established in 1817. But meantime the use
of the name Toronto had begun to creep in, especially in
legal documents * and there was considerable confusion
over the dual nomenclature. The difficulty was settled at a
public meeting held in 1819, whereat Mr. G. S. Boulton s
suggestion of the name " Port Hope " was unanimously
accepted. All these years the village figured as part of the
Township of Hope and was governed by means of " town
ship meetings " held every New Year. One assessor looked
after both village and township and valued each village lot
the same as one-fourth of an acre of cleared land.
* For example, " Deed, bargain and sale dated i8th Sept. 1817 from Thomas
Ward to John D. Smith of i acre, 30 perches in the Town of Toronto, County of
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 23
In 1834 Port Hope was duly incorporated as a town by
an Act of Parliament of the 6th of March, which defined the
limits of the corporation and provided for the establishment
of a police and a public market therein. The form of gov
ernment was to be by means of a President and Board of
Police. For electoral purposes, the town was divided into
four wards each of which returned one member. (Ward I.
included all land south of Walton Street and west of the
Creek : Ward II. all south of a line drawn east from the
foot of Walton Street and east of the Creek : Ward III. all
north of the afore-mentioned line and east of the Creek :
and Ward IV. all north of Walton Street and west of the
Creek.) The four members so elected chose a fifth colleague
and the five appointed a President from among their own
The first Board which met in May, 1834, was composed
of President M. F. Whitehead and Members John D. Smith,
Wm. Henderson, John Brown and Erasmus Fowke. For
four years Mr. Whitehead ably filled the President s chair
and was then succeeded by Mr. John Brown.
The Municipal Institutions Act of 1849 did away with
the Police Board and established a Mayor and Town Coun
cil in its room. The present ward system was introduced
and each ward was required to elect three councillors. The
assembled councillors appointed their own Mayor and that
was the mode of selection of the chief magistrate until 1859
when he was appointed by popular suffrage as now.
On January 2ist, 1850 the first Town Council met at
Strong s Hotel. Its members were J. W. Barrett, F. W.
Metcalfe, W. B. Butterfield, W. M. Smith, W. Mitchell,
24 PORT HOPE
J. Hatton, J. Lynn, A. Porter and J. T. Williams. The last-
named gentleman became the first Mayor.
Until 1860 when Port Hope withdrew from the United
Counties, a Reeve and Deputy- Reeve were also selected
from among the councillors to represent the Town in the
Counties Council. After 1860 the separation continued
until the end of the year 1893 when it was considered ad
visable to again join the Town to the Counties. From the
year 1894 to 1898 inclusive a Reeve and two Deputy
Reeves were annually chosen by the people. These with
nine aldermen made such a very large and unwieldy body
that in 1896 the number of councillors was reduced to six.
Two years later a new County representation was introduc
ed doing away with the old double system by means of
Reeves. The election of 1899 was run on new lines. Five
town councillors were appointed without any reference to
wards but, as might have been expected, a deadlock oc
curred in 1900 which necessitated a change to six aldermen
in the present year.
Prior to the occupancy of the Town Hall in 1853, Port
Hope s legislators had no permanent meeting-place. The
Board of Police seem to have had a partiality for the
Exchange Coffee House, situated where the Queen s Hotel
now stands and latterly known as Thomson s Hotel. The
first Town Council secured a room in Gillett s building on
the south-east corner of Queen and Walton Streets, where
they met until the Town Hall was ready for them. The
contract for the Town Hall was let in the year 1851 to Mr.
Philip Fox for ten thousand dollars and the structure
was completed two years later. Its outward appearance
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 25
was almost identical with the present edifice and it only dif
fered in internal arrangements. By the time it was alto
gether completed it cost double the amount anticipated in
the contract and completely ruined Mr. Fox. A fine cloc k
and bell were added in 1855, the clock being put in by H.
S. Perry & Co. of New York for .144.
After witnessing many historic events transpire within its
walls, the old building was gutted by fire early on the morn
ing of February 3rd, 1893. The Town Council immediate
ly set about its restoration. The plans of Architect Curry
of Toronto, a worthy son of the Town, were accepted and
building-contracts let to several local firms. The result of
an expenditure of very little over ten thousand dollars is a
most compact and serviceable Town Hall, reflecting much
credit on architect and builders. The new building was re-
occupied by the Town Council on February 26th, 1894. A
new Town Bell and Clock were subsequently put in, the
former costing $207 and the latter $785.
Up to November 5th, 1883, Port Hope had its own
standard of time which was about thirty minutes slower than
Montreal time. It is true an attempt had been made in
1857 to put the Town Clock ahead half an hour but so
violent were the resulting protests that it was hurriedly put
back and so remained until standard time was everywhere
One important public work on which Port Hope is to be
congratulated is her splendid water-works system, the result of
many years of experience and effort. The earliest account of
any movement in the direction of water-supply for the Town is
an order of the Town Council of December 26th., 1854,
26 PORT HOPE
authorizing the Committee on Sewers and Water, " to pro
cure an accurate survey and estimate of the costs of estab
lishing water-works for the use of the town upon the pre
liminary examination and report made by T. A. Stewart,
Esq. , C. E. " Evidently nothing came of this attempt nor
for many years did the Committee on Sewers and Water
bestir itself. About 1869, however, an ingenious proposal
was presented, to convey water from a dam on the west side
of Cavan Street near the Brewery, along Cavan Street to
Walton Street, to be used for fire purposes. Difficulties
with the owners of the water-supply prevented this scheme
from ever being carried out.
Two years later a special committee was appointed which
advocated a system very similar to the present one but again
without avail. Next year a new committee was appointed
and the services of Engineer Keefer were secured. The
result of this agitation was t lat in May 1873 tne Committee
reported in favor of a rotary pump system, to be built and
operated by John Helm, Esq. at his dam on Queen Street.
This plan was matured during the ensuing winter and
next year Port Hope s first water-works were installed, under
the supervision of Messrs. McLenann, Hayden and Garnett.
The system was a fourteen-hydrant affair, for fire purposes
only, and cost about $16,500, though much more was spent
in extensions in later years. The whole was leased to the
corporation for twenty years from its completion in Novem
After the destruction by fire of Trinity College School in
1895, the absolute necessity for better fire protection was
keenly felt and the inadequacy of the existing system real-
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 27
ized. With very little waste of time it was decided to secure
water from a filtering basin situated on the beach west of
the harbour, to pump this to a tank at the top of Dorset
Street and from thence to fill extended mains through-out
the Town. McQuillan & Co. of Toronto were given the
contract and about $30,000 were expended in 1895. The
completed works were then vested in a Board of Commiss
ioners, elected by the people and appointed for the first time
in 1896. Since 1896 the Commissioners have expended in
the neighborhood of $25,000, providing two new filtering-
basins, new pump, new boiler and a splendid steel water-
tower, seventy-seven feet in height and capable of holding
230,000 gallons of water. With this improved plant both
domestic and fire purposes are efficiently served. The
Board of Commissioners consists of three members and the
mayor, ex-ofrjcio. R. Deyell, Esq. has presided over its
deliberations since its inauguration and R. Gray, Esq. has
been the efficient Secretary-Treasurer.
One other public possession of the Town, which should
be mentioned in this connection is the large Park to the
east of the Town. The greater part of this property was
purchased in 1871 from the College authorities in Toronto
for $3,000 and the remainder was secured from the Smith
Family. An attempt had been made to buy the land in
1856 and some arrangement had been come to but for some
reason the bargain was cancelled by the Council of 1861.
Whom will you send to London town,
To Parliament and a that ?
Or wha in a the country round
The best deserves to fa that ?
O history of Port Hope would be complete without
some account of its connection with the political
institutions of the country and so, while this
chapter may scarcely be considered as dealing
directly with the life of the Town, it is rendered
necessary by the foregoing consideration.
Port Hope was originally situated in the District of
Nassau one of the four divisions into which Governor
Dorchester divided Western Canada in 1788. The other
three districts were denominated Lunenburg, Mecklenburg,
and Hesse. These German names applied until 1792 when,
by a proclamation of October i5th, Governor Simcoe
changed them. The Nassau District became the Home
District and it extended from the Midland District on the
Bay of Quinte to a line drawn north from Long Point in
Lake Erie. Meanwhile on the i6th of January the same
Governor had divided Upper Canada into nineteen counties
for electoral purposes. Of these Durham was the thirteenth
and it, together with York and Lincoln, was required to send
one of the sixteen members to the First Parliament of
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 29
Upper Canada. This original county of Durham was more
particularly defined in 1798 when it was proclaimed as con
sisting of the Townships of Hope, Clarke and Darlington,* to
gether with all the land northward to the chain of small lakes
back of Peterboro . These townships had been created in
1 792, the first in response toapetition presented to Government
by Jonathan Walton, Elias Smith and Abraham Walton,
dated October 6th, 1792. It was so named in honor of
Colonel Henry Hope, a member of the Legislative Council,
to whom Governor Hamilton transferred the Government in
1787, pending the return of Governor Carleton from Eng
land. (Hope Gate at Quebec was also named in his honor.)
The counties of Northumberland, Durham, York and
Simcoe by the same legislation composed the Home District
with the District Town at York. The same Act also provid
ed that when the population of Northumberland and Dur
ham combined had reached one thousand and when six
townships therein held regular meetings that the two coun
ties should be formed into the Newcastle District. This
result was attained by the first day of January, 1800, and the
Newcastle District was duly constituted with its capital at
the village of Newcastle near Presqu ile Point. The same
year the representation in Parliament was altered slightly and
Durham, the East Riding of York and Simcoe formed one
By an Act of 1802 it was provided that a Jail and Court
House should be erected at Newcastle but, such a situation
proving most inconvenient, the Act was repealed in 1805.
* Clarke is named after Major-General Alured Clarke, Lieut.-Governor in 1792
and Darlington after Darlington in England.
30 PORT HOPE
As a consequence the Magistrates of the District were au
thorized to select a suitable site, and Amherst, a small village
where Cobourg Jail now stands, was chosen and next year
a frame Court House and jail was erected there.
In 1808 another change gave the Newcastle District a
member in the Legislature and this representation continued
until 1825 when, owing to the result of the first census re
turns of Canada, taken during the preceding year, each
county was allowed two members.
Meanwhile for many years there had been much conten
tion among various sections in regard to the situation of the
Court House and numerous law-suits were entered into dis
puting the legality of the magistrates action in building at
Amherst. The result was that in 1830 the highest legal tri
bunal declared that the Court House was no Court House at
all, as the magistrates had not been authorized to erect such
a building. To settle the difficulty the next session of the
Legislature legalized the Court House and granted indem
nity to the magistrates for "the illegal expenditure of money
applied in its erection." Two years later the present Co
bourg Jail was erected to serve as Court House and Jail
The Counties had all this time been growing rapidly and
by 1821 Durham had taken in the new townships of Cavan,
Manvers, Cartwright*, Emily, Ops and Mariposa. It con
tinued to comprise portions of Peterborough and Victoria
Counties, until by the " Municipal Institutions Act ; of
These three townships were formed in 1816 ; Manvers named after Charles
Pierrepont, Earl Manvers ; Cartwright after Hon. Richard Cartwright, grandfather
of the present Sir Richard, and Cavan after County Cavan in Ireland.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 31
1849 these two new divisions were definitely set apart and
the modern County of Durham with its six townships was
left. (These northern townships had formed part of the Col-
borne District since 1838.)
From 1825 to the time of the Act of Union Durham
and Northumberland were each entitled to two members
and for Durham sat Messrs. Smith, Fothergill, Brown,
Boulton and Elliot. Since the Act of Union East Durham
has been Port Hope s constituency. Up to Confederation
it was represented by John Tucker Williams, James Smith,
Francis H. Burton and John Shuter Smith consecutively.
Since Confederation two sets of representatives are re
quired by law, one for the Dominion Parliament and one
for the Provincial Parliament. For the former the Town of
Port Hope has supplied all the members, viz. F. H. Burton,
Lewis Ross, Colonel A. T. H. Williams, H. A. Ward,
T. Dixon Craig and H. A. Ward for a second term (1900.)
For the latter the representation has been as follows,-
Colonel Williams, John Rosevear, Dr. Brereton, T. D.
Craig, George Campbell and W. A. Fallis.
When the Newcastle District was constituted, its first
courts of justice were held at .Newcastle (Presqu ile.) The
earliest one recorded was presided over by Justice Thomp
son of Kingston and so small were the quarters provided
that when the jury retired, they were compelled to deliberate
in the open air seated on a log. The Amherst Court House
was but a slight improvement as there was still insufficient
accommodation for the Jurymen, who in this case were wont
to withdraw to a neighboring tavern. It was not until the
erection of the present commodious Court House in Cobourg
32 PORT HOPE
that the course of justice has succeeded in running smoothly.
The earliest form of County Government was by means
of Quarter Sessions, presided over by the District Magistrates
and this continued until 1841, the Newcastle District Judge
being D. M. Rogers of Grafton. The Union Act of 1841
established District Councils, similar to the County Councils
of the present day, with the exception that the Warden was
a Crown appointee. He became an elective officer in 1847
and has since remained so. The Town of Port Hope with
drew from the Counties in 1860 and remained independent
until 1894. Efforts have been made at various times to
separate the counties but hitherto without result.
And the ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o er the billowy swells.
HOUGH Port Hope was constituted a port of entry
as early as i8j9, no effort was made to secure
harbour or wharf accommodation until 1829. In
that year was incorporated the Poit Hope Harbour
and Wharf Company. According to the terms of
its Charter the Company was bound " to construct a harbour
which should be accessible to and fit, safe and commodious
for the reception and shelter of the ordinary description of
vessels navigating Lake Ontario and to complete the same
by May ist, 1844," under penalty of loss of their Charter.
While the Company was in process of formation, John
D. Smith, Esq. offered ten acres of land for harbour pur
poses, with the understanding that all the villagers should be
come shareholders, but unfortunately a difficulty arose at the
first election of officers, which disfranchised a majority of the
shareholders. Much ill-feeling was thereby aroused and the
prospects of the Company were seriously impaired. Mr.
Smith withdrew his offer and the property was subsequently
purchased from him in 1835.
34 PORT HOPE
Notwithstanding steps were at once taken to construct a
steamboat wharf and a harbour. The wharf was run out
where the eastern pier now stands and at the close of the
Company s regime in 1851 it extended as far as the present
store-house. To form a harbour, another pier was run out
a corresponding distance on the west side of the creek s
mouth. At this point, progress ceased and by the date
fixed in the Charter, the harbour was far from being in a
satisfactory state. In stormy weather and occasionally even
in moderate weather, it was impossible for steamers to ap
proach the land, so that much loss was occasioned to
merchants and travellers. Commodore Hodcler of the
Royal Canadian Yacht Club described it in such terms as
these, " During a south or south-west gale this port cannot be
made by large vessels drawing over nine feet of water, with
safety, owing to the tremendous swell rolling in from the
Lake ; besides which the piers being only one hundred and
twenty-five feet apart at the mouth and the basin very small,
there is not room to check the speed of a vessel or to snub
her without danger to herself or others."
The matter came to a head in 1851, when the Company
applied for permission to increase their capital. The Town
viewed such a step on the part of Messrs. Meredith and
Andrews, the principal officers of the Company, with dis
favour and commenced legal proceedings against them, to
have the Charter declared forfeit. A compromise however
was arrived at and the harbour was purchased from the
Company for ^1 1,500, being thereupon vested in a Board
of Harbour Commissioners, which has ever since managed
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 35
The first Board was composed of Chairman E. P. Smith
and Messrs. R. Armstrong, John Ross, W. M. Smith, J. S.
Smith, F. Beamish, Peter Robertson and T. G. Ridout. The
new authorities, having as an incentive the near prospect of
a railroad to the North, set actively to work to enlarge the
harbour. The services of a competent engineer were sec
ured and plans perfected so that when the Town raised
^15,000 for harbour purposes in 1855, everything was in
readiness to proceed with the enlargement. To acquire a
safe and commodious basin, the marshy island already re
ferred to was to be removed. The completed harbour was
to extend over five acres and to project over twelve hundred
feet into the Lake and eight hundred feet within the shore
line. A depth of fourteen feet outside and eleven feet inside
the beach was to be provided and a wharf accommodition
of nearly five thousand feet. The contract for this impor
tant work was let to George Weir and the sub-contractors
were Morton & Jones for earthwork and French & Shevar
for timberwork. Mr. Simms was the contractor s engineer
and Mr. T. C. Clark, the Board s adviser. For the land
on which the new harbour stands, the Commissioners paid
at the rate of $11,000 per acre, while by 1867 the Contractor
had received no less than $244,000. Since that date the
Dominion Government has expended large sums on the
harbour to keep it in a state of repair.
On the whole the most important use to which Port
Hope s harbour has been put has been the lumber trade.
In the thirties and fourties a group of shanties on the site of
Helm s Foundry were annually occupied by a rough gang
of French-Canadian lumbermen, who every spring construct-
36 PORT HOPE
ed rafts in the old harbour. When the new harbour and
Midland Railway were completed, the new basin became
the scene of the raftsmen s labours. As a rule the lumber
men of the fifties were a much better behaved set than the
whiskey-drinking Frenchmen who preceded them. As the
country opened up, the lumber was shipped through without
At present, though in excellent repair and offering many
inducements to prospective manufacturers, the harbour is
but little utilized. It seems but to be awaiting the opening
up of a canal to Rice Lake, thereby connecting it with the
Trent Valley Canal System, to make it a hive of industry.
There now seems to be a very fair prospect that this
route for the outlet of the Canal will be adopted
as being the most direct, most feasible of construc
tion and cheapest. The scheme is by no means a
new one. The "patriot" Gouriay, whose opinions have
been shown to be valuable, wrote about 1820 that "in the
course of time it may become an object of importance to
connect Rice Lake by a canal with Lake Ontario direct, in
stead of following the present canoe route by its natural
outlet into the Bay of Quinte." *
As early as 1833 the Government of Upper Canada took
into consideration a canal from Lake Simcoe to Lake Ont
ario and in December of that year sent Robert A. Maingy,
C. E. to report on the practicability of the Port Hope Rice
Lake route. His report, which it would be impossible in a
work of this kind to quote at any length, showed the route
* Statistical account of Upper Canada, 1822.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 37
to be perfectly feasible and much preferable to the Trent
River route, since "the communication from Lake Ontario
to Rice Lake up to Lake Simcoe can by this route be com
pleted for a sum not greater than is necessary merely to
open the navigation from the mouth of the Trent to the
At the next session of the Legislature the Port Hope and
Rice Lake Canal Company was incorporated and work on
the canal begun at the Rice Lake end, but, like many of the
early efforts in this Province, it was abandoned before it was
Since then the Trent Valley Canal System has been
gradually evolved. Port Hope apparently took no interest
in the concern until 1880 when Colonel Williams M. P.
secured the services of Government Engineer Stark to go
over the route. The matter has again been brought vitally
before the people by the prospect of the completion of the
Canal. Committees of citizens have been appointed during
the last three years, who are employing every possible means
to secure the selection of the Port Hope route. Of these
Dr. Powers, Dr. Corbett and J. F. Clark have been the
most active members.
Man s latest ally upon land or sea, -
He owns indeed a glorious gift in thee.
HE maritime flavor contained in the name, "Port
Hope," obviously demands that some attention
should be paid to the shipping interests of the Town.
Already in the preceding chapter, the development
of the Harbour from its diminutive beginnings to its
present goodly proportions has been traced out and it ac
cordingly becomes the aim of this chapter to set down some
record of those vessels, especially steamboats, which have
frequented this Port from the days when the first steamship
ploughed the waters of Lake Ontario. This momentous
event in lake-shipping occurred in 1816, when the Frontenac,
a vessel of seven hundred tons, was launched at Ernesttown
on the Bay of Quinte. This steamer immediately started to
run from Prescott to Niagara calling at Newcastle (near
Presqu ile Point), York and Burlington, the fare from Pres
cott to York being placed at 4.
The Frontenac was followed in a few years by other
steamships so that the "York Loyalist" of August 1 2th, 1826
has this to say of the new departure in marine life, "On
noticing the first trip of another steamboat, we cannot help
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 39
contrasting the present means of conveyance with those ten
years ago. At that time only a few schooners navigated the
Lake and the passage was attended with many delays and
much inconvenience. Now there are five steamboats, all
affording excellent accommodation and the means of exped
itious travelling. The routes of each are so arranged that
almost every day of the week the traveller may find oppor
tunity of being conveyed from one extremity of the Lake
to the other in a few hours."
The first steamer to call regularly at Port Hope
was the Niagara which appeared in 1827. There was at
that date not even the semblance of a wharf at Port Hope
and passengers and goods were landed by means of small
boats, which plied between the anchored vessel and the shore.
This inconvenience was removed by the construction of a
small pier in 1832. About this same period the steamer
Constitution, later known as the Transit, began to ply across
the Lake between Genesee County and the northern ports
and continued to do so until 1837. She was then succeed
ed by the Traveller and it again by the Hamilton in 1839.
Meanwhile the Canada, Niagara, Queenston, Alciope,
William the Fourth, St. George and other vessels had been
performing trips up and down the Lake, calling regularly at
Port Hope. These vessels left Toronto at 9 a. m. and
rounding Gibraltar Point at the west end of Toronto Island
stood down the Lake for Port Hope, which was reached at
4 p. m.
Up to 1840 there was little organization and little perman
ency in lake navigation. Vessels were owned separately as a rule
and from year to year were changed from one route to another.
40 FORT HOPE
But in 1840 the Niagara Harbour and Dock Company in
augurated the Royal Mail Line of steamers with the St.
George, Niagara and City of Toronto on Lake Ontario and
three others on the St. Lawrence River. The three named
sailed from Toronto to Kingston, calling at intermediate
points and ever since there has been a regular daily service
on the Lake during the summer months by the steamers of
From 1840 to 1857 the following additional steamers
were accustomed to call at Port Hope Princess Royal,
Sovereign, Magnet, Passport, Arabian, Maple Leaf and
Kingston. Of these three continue to traverse the Lake.
The Passport (Caspian) and the Magnet ( Hamilton) joined
the R. M. Fleet in 1847, being new steel steamers and the
fastest on the Lake. The Magnet was modelled on the
Clyde and was put together at Niagara by James and Neil
Currie. The British Government took a large proportion of
the stock with the view of using her in the event of war with
the United States. The Passport was built the same year at
Kingston. A few years after these two vessels began to run,
it was deemed expedient to plank over their steel hulls, it
being believed that with steel bottoms there was more
danger of holes being stove in by the rocks in descending
the rapids. The Kingston* was added to the line in 1855.
After many years service, it was much altered becoming the
In 1857 the Canadian Navigation Company bought up
the Line Boats and controlled them for the following
* This steamer was used by King Edward VII when he visited Canada in 1860
as Prince of Wales.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 41
eighteen years. Instead of running river and lake boats
they despatched their steamers direct from Toronto to
Montreal. The initial through fleet consisted of the Kings
ton, Banshee, Passport, New Era, Champion and Magnet.
Two famous boats were built curing these eighteen years
the Spartan in 1864 and the Corsican in 1870.
In 1875 the Richelieu Navigation Company amalgamated
with the Canadian Company and the present R. &. O. Line
was formed. This has now become one of the most famous
shipping corporations of the world. Many new vessels have
been added to its fleet and several of the older ones have
disappeared. With the completion of the magnificent
steamer Kingston in the present year, which, with its sister
ship the Toronto, makes daily trips down the south shore,
the famous old evening boats, that for so many years have
called at Port Hope, have become memories of the past.
The Spartan was the last of the old line to visit this Port,
calling on September i4th, 1900.
Meanwhile the Rochester Line has witnessed many
changes. In 1840 a new vessel appeared on the route the
Gore, commanded by Captain Dick. Two years later she
was joined by the America and the two vessels ran conjointly
until 1846, when the America took the trip alone for six
years. The Admiral, its successor, only ran for one season,
it being burned at Toronto, early in 1853. From 1855 to
1863 the Maple Leaf* and the Highlander were on this
*The Maple Leaf was the first vessel to run direct from Port Hope to Charlotte.
It was purchased in 1863 by the American Government for $25,000, to be used as a
transport in the war with the South.
42 PORT HOPE
route and after them the Rochester crossed the Lake for
The immediate predecessor of the Norseman (North
King) was the Corinthian which began to run on June 24th,
1865. She was built for the Line Boat Company but was
used for several years on the Rochester Line. (During the
first season there was great rivalry between her and the
Rochester^] The Norseman, a name quite familiar to the
people of Port Hope, was built in 1868 and for many years
was on the route across the Lake. In 1891 it was entirely
remodelled and overhauled, its name being changed to
EARLY MODES OF TRANSPORT,
Then sing the praise of old coaching days
When guards and fares were jolly-O,
And a pleasant sound in the winding ways
Was the sound of the coachman s tally-O.
HE century which has just closed has witnessed
many and wonderful changes in all departments of
human life but perhaps the greatest achievement
in its annals has been the marvellous development
of the facilities of transportation. Everywhere this
revolution in travel is manifest and nowhere can its course
be better traced than in its connection with this town and its
The founders of Port Hope, as has been seen, reached
their future homes by water and on the water they preferred
to travel for many years afterwards. Thus it came about
that the earliest improvements were made in the field of navi
gation. Flat-bottomed Durham boats in which many early
settlers arrived were soon superseded by comfortable sailing
packets and they in turn by steam-vessels about the year
1820. By 1850 these steamboats had become not only large
and luxurious but swift and trustworthy. Sailing vessels in
large numbers were employed to convey lumber, coal and
grain to and from the south shore and from about the middle
44 PORT HOPE
of last century until recent years Port Hope possessed a
large fleet of these schooners, many of which had been con
structed in the town itself. However it is not the purpose
of this chapter to relate more concerning lake navigation, a
subject which has been partially dealt with in a previous
On land the earliest communication was made with
Rice Lake by means of the Indian carrying road. It is
not known at what date this road was made but it is
not unlikely that it was of very remote construction. The
Indian name " Gochingomink " means " the commencement
of the carrying-place so that it naturally follows that the
road and the Indian village date back to the same dim
antiquity. However this may be, the ancient path through
the woods, marked by blazed trees, was in constant use when
the first settlers arrived at Smith s Creek. The trail formed
a direct and most convenient route from Smith s Creek to
Sackville s Creek, at which point the Indians were accustom
ed to launch their canoes. Its course lay to the eastward
of the present gravel road, sometimes running as far as a
mile away. As the woods have been gradually cleared away
all traces of this old road have been obliterated
It is a difficult matter to state anything definite about the
early roads through Port Hope. All that can be done is to
deduce certain conclusions from the facts at hand. During
the war of 1812 the British soldiers were accustomed to put
up at Marsh s Inn at Port Britain, on their way to and from
York. From this it is evident that the main road at that
day ran along near the Lake shore. At the same period it
is known that Cavan Street was the thoroughfare to the
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 45
north country and the building farthest west on Walton
Street was at the Cavan Street corner. This points to the
conclusion that Walton Street was not yet opened up above
Cavan Street. Again certain old residents can recall a wind
ing road which zig-zagged up the hill in the neighborhood
of the Base Line and then ran westward, so that it is not
improbable that this was the first road into Port Hope from
The main York Road (Danforth Road) running through
Welcome and Dale must have been constructed shortly after
the War of 1812, as it may be inferred that the Government
recognized from experience the necessity of having a better
means of communication between east and west. It may be
concluded also that Walton Street* and the road to Welcome
were opened up soon after this Danforth road was built.
To the east of the Town the old post road ran up over
Ward s hill and joined the present Cobourg Road near the
blacksmith shop, half way to Cobourg. The Rice Lake
road was another early line of communication. At first it
ran directly north from Rossmount to Peterboro, without
going near the Lake but soon after it circled around to
Bewdley. Cavan Street formed its first connection into
These roads were presumably of corduroy construction, at
least in swampy localities and the discomfort of travelling
over them can best be expressed from actual experience.
Captain Basil Hall, R.N. in July 1827 was travelling east
from York. He wrote : u The horrible corduroy roads
Walton Street was originally a winding cow-path.
46 PORT HOPE
again made their appearance in a more formidable shape by
the addition of deep inky holes, which almost swallowed up
the fore wheels of the wagon and bathed its hinder axle-tree.
The jogging and plunging to which we were now exposed
and the occasional bang when the vehicle reached the bot
tom of one of these abysses were so new and remarkable in
the history of our travels that we tried to make a good joke
Even after the Cobourg Road Company had been formed
in 1847 and had built the new connection into Port Hope
complaints were rife, as witness the following broadside
which appeared in the Guide of March i5th, 1859.
f I "VENDERS will be received until the 2oth inst. for the
JL construction of 100 Mud Scows to run between Co
bourg and Port Hope on the Macadamized (?) Road
connecting the two places, which is owned by Cobourg Cap
italists. The Company feel that the new mode of convey
ance is necessary as the loss of horses, waggons and valuable
lives in the fathomless abyss of mud during court week was
fearfully alarming. Until the completion of the said Mud
Scows the Company will continue to exact toll from those
who may be so fortunate as to escape alive through the gates.
Though the legality of such exaction may be open to ques
tion, they confidently expect that in view of the public spirit
of the Company in providing the Scows aforesaid, the
public will submit to be victimized. Dated at Cobourg this
i5th day of March, 1859.
Sec. Road Co.
Since that time great improvements have been made and
the majority of the roads into Port Hope, while not quite
what could be desired are still very serviceable.
Much difficulty was experienced by the first settlers both
in working their farms and in drawing grain from the lack of
*" Travels in North America in the Years 1827-1828" by Captain Basil
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 47
horses. Mr. John Brown of Port Hope proved himself
quite a benefactor when he made large purchases of French
horses in Lower Canada and disposed of them on credit to
the farmers. Owing to the bad condition of the roads the
farmers of the back country were wont to wait for winter to
provide good sleighing before venturing to Town. Ox-sleds
were employed and after a good snow-fall the road to Town
was lined with these vehicles, of which a person might pass
fifty within a single mile. Those coming from a long dis
tance travelled night and day. The road took them through
Graham s Tavern (Baillieboro), Village Inn (Millbrook) and
Bletcher s Corners. At the latter point there was always a
warm welcome to all and huge fires burned in the Inn all
The first regular mail stage began to run through Port
Hope about 1826. Prior to that date travellers either pass
ed through in private carriages or on their own horses.
The hardships of these early horsemen may best be told by
quoting an amusing incident, which occurred to a traveller,
who once put up at the " Red Tavern." He tied his steed
carefully in a shed, inhabited by some cows, and betook him
self into the Inn for some refreshment. On his return
imagine his chagrin to discover saddle, bridle and stirrups
completely vanished. The truth was that being made of straw
the hungry cows had naturally enough devoured them.
With the advent of the stage-coach, travel seemed to re
ceive a new impetus so that by 1831 five trips a week were
made. The coaches usually stopped at the Old Inn on the
site of the present Queen s Hotel. This tavern, in the early
days, stood in from the street and the stage drove up to the
48 PORT HOPE
door through a little avenue, quite in the style of the famous
stage-coaches of Old England. In their palmy days these
stages were fine large vehicles drawn by four horses and they
presented quite an imposing picture as they dashed down
Walton Street to the sound of the guard s horn.
In summer good time was made by these stages but at
many seasons of the year travellers were badly delayed by
the lamentable state of the roads. A traveller in 1831 re
ports that he left Port Hope at 2 A. M. and did not reach
York until the following midnight. During this time he had
to walk a considerable distance, owing to break downs and
Mr. Hicks controlled the first stage coaches. After him
came Mr. Jonathan Ogden, who had previously carried the
mail weekly from Trenton to York on horseback. The last
stage magnate was Mr. Weller and under him coaching saw
its best days. Besides the regular mail coaches, Mr. Weller
for some time ran a daily line of accommodation stages ex
pressly for passengers from Cobourg to Toronto, leaving
Port Hope at 9 A. M. and arriving at Toronto early in the
evening. Horses were changed at Cobourg and at Marsh s,
west of the Guideboard (Welcome). Another line of stages,
run by the Bletchers, connected Port Hope with Lindsay
and Peterboro . However no sooner was the whistle of the
locomotive heard in the land, than stage-coaches became
things of the past, at least in this neighborhood.
THE ADVENT OF THE RAILROADS.
Lo! dashing on through forest, glen and glade
O er rushing rivers gorges deep and dread-
Now lost, now seen, far o er the landscape face
Yon fiery steed, so peerless in his pace.
HE earliest railroad scheme in which Port Hope took
an interest was a proposed tram-line to Bewdley at
the head of Rice Lake. This undertaking was
agitated in 1832 and on the gth of January,
1833 Postmaster David Smart made application to the
Legislature for authority to construct such a line. Per
mission was granted but with that the scheme seems to
By 1845 th e Toronto and Kingston Junction Railway had
begun to be pushed and in October a public meeting of the
inhabitants of Port Hope was held to consider the project.
Nothing definite was accomplished during the ensuing six
years but in 1851 a deputation was sent to a railroad meeting
at Kingston and the same year a grant of 20 was voted by
the Council to aid in making a survey of the proposed route.
In 1852 the Grand Trunk Company absorbed this lesser
road along with many similar ones and began the construct
ion of its through line from Portland to Sarnia. Its original
capital was ^9,500,000 which was soon increased to 12,
000,000. By January of 1856 its road was complete with
50 PORT HOPE
the exception of gaps between Brcckville and Toronto and
Guelph and Sarnia. Contracts were let during the spring
to Mr. John Fowler for the section from Grafton to Port
Hope, to Mr. Betts for the viaduct and to Messrs. Humphrey
and Harris for the section from Port Hope to the western
limit of Hope Township.
The latter gentlemen had their contract completed first
and on Sept. ist, 1856 they invited several prominent citi
zens of the Town to an excursion over their line. " A
goodly number were at the depot grounds to see the Iron
Horse harnessed for the first time in the history of the town
to cars freighted with regular live Canadians."* Arrived
at the Clarke line the excursionists watched the completion
of Messrs. Spence and McKenzie s section, which joined
them to Toronto. On their return to town supper and
complimentary speeches closed the proceedings.
A week later Mr. Fowler opened his section with an ex
cursion party from Cobourg, who were also taken over the
Hope section. Several Port Hope citizens accompanied
the party on their return to Cobourg, where a banquet was
served according to the usual custom.
Meanwhile the Albert Bridget across the valley was in a
fair way toward completion. Contractor Betts began work
in May and by the end of August all his supporters were in
place. They were built of white brick with stone founda
tions, averaged thirty feet in height and were fifty-six in
* " Guide," Sept. 6th, 1856.
t An odd coincidence in connection with this old bridge was that it was built in
1856, it measured 1856 feet in length and it rested on 56 piers. It was named in
honour of the Prince Consort.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 51
number. With extra work the heavy task of completing
the bridge was accomplished by October i3th. The fol
lowing graphic account of its opening is taken from the
Port Hope Standard of the i4th inst :
" Yesterday at half past twelve the cry of all ready was
announced by some one on the great Viaduct in front of
the town, and in a few seconds a shrill whistle and the
sound of a bell was heard from near the depot. Presently
a rumbling noise and puffing of the iron horse approached
us, when with a few others we were asked to take a ride on
the rail across the Albert Viaduct. We of course availed
ourselves of the pleasure and off we set at a rapid rate
about 40 feet above the locality where the dismal
swamp and the Canadian Nightingale existed but a
few months back. As soon as we cleared the curve
on the west end of the viaduct steam was put on and
the locomotive went over the rest at the rate of at least 45
miles per hour. It then returned
On Monday, October 2yth, 1856, the first, through train
from Toronto to Montreal stopped at Port Hope. There
was no ceremonial and no crowd. Its stay was but of ten
minutes duration. It consisted of three first and three
second class cars and among its passengers were Chief Justice
Sir John B. Robinson and Mr. Ross, Chief Engineer of the
There have been many changes in the Grand Trunk since
that first through train crossed the viaduct. Four passenger
trains a day were then deemed sufficient to accommodate
the travelling public, while now twelve are none too many.
The engines and cars of the present day tower far above the
52 PORT HOPE
odd old vehicles of the early railroad and travel at double
the speed. The road-bed both east and west has been
moved, owing to the inroads of the Lake. But chief of all
the old Albert Bridge has been replaced by a magnificent
double-track structure on huge stone piers the finest piece
of engineering work in Town. The Grand Trunk Company
built this bridge themselves and spent seven summers in its
construction. (1887-1893.) The foreman of the work and
the man on whom the greater part of the responsibility lay
was Mr. Thomas White of Port Hope, who may look with
pride on the result of his work. The bridge was at first in
tended to be single-track and several piers had been erected
before the order was countermanded. The stone used in
these piers was quarried at Foxboro, back of Belleville. The
foundations were laid on rock bottom at an average depth
of fifteen feet in many cases a depth of twenty feet being
required. There were thirty-two piers erected with spans of
various lengths, the longest being about seventy feet. Not
the least interesting part of the construction lay in the fact
that the bridge was built on a curve. While work on the
bridge was in progress, traffic was not at all delayed and
at the same time the line was being double-tracked to
All the frontier towns seem at one date to have had am
bitions towards securing railroad communication to the
north and to Cobourg belongs the honour of completing the
first such line, for on Friday, December 3oth, 1854, the Co
bourg and Peterboro Railroad was officially opened.
Meanwhile Port Hope had decided to build to the same
point and a charter had been secured in 1846 for that pur-
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 53
pose. The line was surveyed in 1852 by Messrs. Keefer
and Tate and ^50,000 stock was subscribed to by the
municipality in December of that year. The plans of the
projectors of the road now suffered a change and for some rea
son it was decided to build first to Lindsay. The contract for
the Port Hope and Lindsay Railway was let- in May 1853 to
Messrs. Zimmerman and Balch, who were to complete the
road by the end of 1854. Unfortunately construction
dragged for lack of funds and by the end of the contract
time only the grading had been done. The Town thereupon
increased its subsidies by ^50,000 in 1854 and ^70,000 in
1855. It was not until September of 1856 that track-laying
was started. On the 6th of that month the rails were put
down across Walton Street. A month later ten miles had
been covered and on the 5th of November the official open
ing excursion was run to Millbrook in a box car. Early the
following year the road was pushed through to Lindsay.
The same year Messrs. Tate and Fowler leased the road
and contracted to build the Peterboro Branch for ^50,000,
Port Hope providing ^"30,000. The work was rapidly done
and the road opened May 3ist, 1858.
In 1869 the name Midland Railway was applied to the
system and two years later it had reached Beaverton. By
1873 Orillia was connected with Beaverton and in 1878 the
terminus was at Midland. The road was finally consolidat
ed with the Grand Trunk Railway by an Act of Parliament
The early lessees of the road from all accounts had much
difficulty in keeping out of the sheriff s clutches and for
days at a time not a train could run on the road. One
54 PORT HOPE
amusing incident typical of this is told concerning Mr.
Fowler who leased the Port Hope and Peterboro Railway in
1859. To quote the Guide of July 5th: "Mr. John
Fowler announced last week that he would run an excursion
train to Peterboro on the Fourth and that the charge per
head for the trip to and fro would be the moderate sum of
50 cents. The train from Peterboro arrived at the usual
hour, the band which accompanied it playing c Yankee
Doodle. 9.30 A. M. was the time fixed to leave for Peter
boro but alas for the pleasure-seekers who had assembled at
the station, when the fingers of the Town Clock pointed in
that direction, Mr. Deputy Sheriff Benson by virtue of an
execution against the goods and chattels of the lessee took
possession of the Queen (engine.) About eleven o clock
the locomotive Clifton was procured from Mr. Superin
tendent Williams of the Lindsay Line and being harnessed
to the Peterboro train, those who had hung about the
station for two mortal hours were soon speeding rapidly
A CHAPTER OF TRAGEDIES.
Let s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs ;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
I THIN its century of existence Port Hope has
witnessed many tragic occurrences, the relation
of which with their attendant circumstances
might fill a volume of much larger proportions
than this. It is scarcely possible to do more
than note down a few of the more important tragedies which
have taken place in this locality.
Very early in the century an Englishman and his son
settled a few miles to the west of Smith s Creek and for
some years prospered very well. Their farm was mortgaged
heavily and every year either father or son journeyed to York
bearing the interest on the mortgage to the money-lender.
One year the son left the homestead with a good sum of
money on him and started for York and this was the last
seen of him. Shortly after a girl on a neighbouring farm
went to a spring in the woods for water. As she approach
ed the spot she heard men s voices and coming still nearer
she was able to make out a small party of men dividing up
some booty. From their conversation she learned enough
to assure her that these men had been guilty of the murder
56 PORT HOPE
of the young Englishman. She communicated her story to
the authorities but when the culprits were to be tried she
refused to give evidence, having been successfully intimidat
ed in the meantime. Years after when the Grand Trunk
contractors were making a cutting with a steam shovel near
Port Britain, their operations were constantly watched by an
old man. One day the shovel threw up the skeleton of a
man and after that the old watcher ceased to frequent the
works. He had been one of the accused at the time of the
A second murder of deplorable circumstances occurred in
1810. A Scotchman by name of Donaldson had just ar
rived from Scotland with a good sized family. One bright
son, thirteen years of age, secured a position at Smith s red
store on Mill Street. It chanced one day that the boy was
unpacking crockery from a crate at the door, when an
Indian, for some unaccountable reason, suddenly appeared
on the scene, tomahawked him and successfully made his
On Wednesday evening, "November Qth, 1836, young
M. C. O Neil, a clerk in the employ of John Crawford, a
distiller and shopkeeper, went down to the wharf to look
after the shipment of some whiskey on the evening boat.
It was quite dark and as he leaned over a cask to decipher
some words, on it, he was knocked down from behind with
a whiffletree. He was badly stunned by the blow but was
able to walk to his lodgings, where he died during the night.
Robert Brown and Samuel McKenna were accused of the
murder under the clearest evidence. The deed was the out
come of a feud between the employes of Crawford and John
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 57
Brown, who were both engaged in the same business. On
September 22nd, 1837, Brown was tried before Justice
Macaulay; G. M. Boswell and W. S. Bidwell defended
Brown and Attorney-General Hagerman prosecuted. The
evidence of Sheriff, mate of the Commodore Barrie, was
most conclusive and everybody believed Brown a doomed
man. Still he had two friends on the jury, Mitchell and
Campbell, who belonged to the same secret society and
these men stood out for six days for his release, during the
first two days of which no food was allowed the jury. The
result was the jury was dismissed and a new trial called for
It took place at the next assizes and, because Attorney-
General Hagerman refused to call Sheriff, Brown was
A fourth murder of a still more tragic nature occurred in
October 1856, when Mr. George Brogdin shot Mr. Tom
Henderson at the wharf. This fearful deed, involving two
young and well-known citizens of the town, was the result
of domestic inconstancy and possessed many extenuating
circumstances. Henderson was passing through on the
Arabian at the time and Brogdin chanced to be at the
wharf. He was at all times prepared for such a meeting
and the moment Henderson showed himself he was a dead
man. Brogdin immediately gave himself over to the po
lice and he was put on his trial on October 3ist. Immense
crowds from town attended the court and it is said had the
prisoner not been acquitted, the populace would have put
the law at defiance and secured his release. Brogdin was
defended in a masterly manner by Sir Thomas Gait and
58 PORT HOPE
prosecuted by Solicitor General Smith. He was declared
" not guilty," to the great joy of his numerous supporters.
A very sad accident of rather a remarkable nature occurred
on May gth 1838. James McSpadden, aged fourteen, the
eldest son of Dr. McSpadden, left his home on Walton street
in order to get something he had left the preceding Sunday
in the Presbyterian Church. Though he did not return im
mediately, his parents experienced no alarm. However a
companion of James happened to pass the rear of the
Church about that time. He saw a ladder up at one of the
windows and at the top of it the form of his friend. He
shouted to him but received no reply. He therefore made
an examination and to his horror found that his friend was
hanging by the neck from the window which had evidently
fallen upon him as he was in the act of passing through.
Around the piers of Port Hope Harbour there are still to
be seen the hulks of several old schooners which have at
one time or another been wrecked during storms. A sad
tale surrounds an old hulk which lies near the shore to the
east of the east pier. It is all that remains of the schooner
Niagara, which was driven aground there by a fierce storm
on December 3rd, 1856. The Niagara was bound from
Bond Head Harbour to Port Hope, laden with coal. It
attempted to make the harbour but, striking the eastern
pier, it was carried around and driven ashore. Its crew con
sisted of captain and five men, who were compelled to climb
into the rigging to escape the dashing waves. The inhabi
tants of Port Hope assembled in large numbers on the
shore prepared to render all possible assistance. A rescue
party under command of Captain Alward started out in a
HISTORICAL SKETCHES, 59
boat but failed to reach the wreck. Shortly after Captain
Paddock and five men made a second attempt. His boat
reached the ship but immediately thereupon it foundered.
The brave Captain was drowned and also one of his compan
ions named Campbell. The others succeeded in boarding the
wreck, making now ten men to be rescued. Captain Al-
ward led the third rescue party and to the relief of the
anxious watchers, succeeded in bringing off the ship-wrecked
crew. For his brave act he was presented with a gold
watch by his admiring fellow-townsmen.
Space forbids the recounting of further tales of sorrow.
There have been many others. The lake has claimed sev
eral precious lives, the railroad has mangled many useful
bodies, suicides have oft-times sought relief from their cares
and accidents of various kinds have deprived the community
of its citizens. But let the memory of these departed souls
rest with those who loved them.
THE EARLIEST CHURCH.
The sacred edifice that crowns the Hill
Still to its heavenly mission true,
Reminds of death points on to life
Repeats the welcome, " Come who will."
HE history of Port Hope lies inscribed in its oldest
Church as in some ancient book. Within the
portals and among the gray old tombstones of
St. Mark s, the modern citizen stands on common
ground with the Fathers of the settlement. Here
worshipped the Waltons, the Smiths, the Wards, the White-
heads and many other old and honoured families. Here
were baptized children who grew to useful manhood and
womanhood and who have long since passed away. Here
were performed with much pomp and ceremonial the mar
riage rites of the long ago. Here were buried the remains
of many of the brave founders of the Town. Their names
are still decipherable on the moss-grown gravestones. Their
memory is still perpetuated by the marble tablets on the
walls of the sacred edifice and up in the belfry the name of
Captain Jonathan Walton still stands out clear-cut on the
The construction of St. Mark s Church (known at its
erection and until the building of the present St. John s
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 61
Church, as the Church of St. John the Evangelist) was he-
gun in the year 1822 and was completed two years later.
It was virtually a gift to the Anglicans of Port Hope from
John D. Smith, Esq., who erected it at his own expense.
The bell, to which quite an historical interest attaches, was
added to the edifice in 1826. It bears the names ASPINWALL
and ALBANY and near the lower edge 1826 PRESENTED BY
Until 1830 there was no regular incumbent in the new
Church. The Rev. A. N. Bethune of St. Peter s in Cobourg
conducted services every Sunday afternoon at three o clock
and attended as best he could to the needs of the parish.
In 1830, however, the Lord Bishop of Montreal appointed
the Rev. James Coghlan to the church in Port Hope. Mr.
Coghlan held the charge for six years and during that period
was instrumental for much good in the Town. He con
ducted a boys school on the property until recently occu
pied by Mr. James Kerr, near the Toronto Road.
On the 1 8th of January 1836, letters patent were issued
by Sir John Colborne, K.C.B., Lieutenant-Governor of
Upper Canada, constituting the Rectory of St. John the
Evangelist at Port Hope, designating it as " the first Rectory
within the Township of Hope." In the same year Mr.
Coghlan was succeeded by the Rev. Jonathan Shortt, D.D.,
who for thirty-one years continued as Rector. Dr. Shortt
was during those many years a prominent and useful mem
ber of the community and interested himself largely in muni
cipal and educational affairs. He belonged to the
evangelical school of thought and for many years edited the
Echo newspaper, the organ of that branch of the Church.
62 PORT HOPE
In recognition of his services the Archbishop of Canterbury
conferred on him the honorary degree of D.D.
Dr, Shortt died on August 24th, 1867 but before he
passed away, a movement had been set on foot towards the
erection of a new Church. A subscription list, to which the
Hon. Benjamin Seymour, Colonel Williams, J. S. Smith and
H. H. Meredith were the chief donators, secured over eight
thousand dollars. Gundry and Langley of Toronto were
appointed architects and the superintendence of the building
operations was entrusted to J. G. Williams, Esq.
Work on the present St. John s Church was begun on
the 1 8th July, 1867 and by Feb. 6th, 1869 the structure
was completed. The total cost entailed amounted to well
over $18,300 but by the careful management of Mr.
Williams, the product was well worth the money expended.
The handsome Gothic structure is considered by many as
the most beautiful architectural production in the Town.
Meanwhile on the 9th Sept. 1867 the Rev. Frederick
Augustus O Meara, LL.D., who had been Dr. Shortt s
assistant during the last few months of his life, was appoint
ed his successor. Dr. O Meara, who was a Canon of St.
James Cathedral at Toronto and later of St. Alban s
Cathedral, was like Dr. Shortt a large-hearted and broad-
minded man. He had spent over twenty of his earlier
years as a missionary to the Ojibway Indians on Manitoulin
Island and whilst there had translated a great part of the
Bible and the Prayer Book into their language.
In 1875 tne School House was erected at a cost of seven
thousand five hundred dollars. Its exterior harmonizes
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 63
well with the general effect of the Church and its equipment
is all that could be desired.
The official consecration of St. John s Church by the
Bishop of Toronto took place on April 5th, 1882. The
ceremonial was most impressive, being carried out according
to the approved forms of the Provincial Synod. Five years
later on Sept. 2yth, 1887, Dr. O Meara s Jubilee was
celebrated. Many leading clergymen, including the Bishop
of the Diocese, assembled to do honour to the man, who
for fifty years had fought the battles of the Church. Ad
dresses were presented from various bodies, all testifying to
the esteem in which the Rector was held and the value laid
on his work. Scarcely, however, had this time of rejoicing
passed away than the sudden death of Dr. O Meara cast a
cloud over the community. His end came very unexpect
edly whilst he was awaiting a train at the Grand Trunk
Depot on the morning of December lyth, 1888.
Short occupancies of the Church by the former Curate,
Mr. Hamilton and by the Rev. E. C. Saunders followed,
until the appointment of the present Rector, the Rev.
Edwin Daniel, B.A., who was inducted on the i6th of
January 1890 by Rural Dean Allen.
Since the erection of the Church its beauty has been much
enhanced by the installation of many fine memorial
windows, so that the interior of the building now possesses
a most appropriate and sacred aspect. The large central
chancel window representing St. John, and its two accom
panying and smaller windows, were placed there by the
parishioners in memory of Dr. Shortt. Over the main
entrance two large windows commemorate John Tucker
64 PORT HOPE
Williams and Thomas Benson respectively. The side
windows are all filled with memorials as well as the small
windows on the left of the Chancel. Of these probably the
most beautiful are those with the large figures the one
filled with a group of angels erected to the memory of
Lilian Holland, the other portraying Christ with Mary and
Martha, in memory of Margaret O Meara, wife of Dr.
In addition to these impressive colored windows, the
stone font and the carved oak lectern are objects of interest.
The former resting on four marble pillars each with a carved
capital, was presented in memory of Mrs. Shortt, while the
lectern bears as its inscription, " In loving memory of
Frederick Augustus O Meara and Margaret Johnston
(Dallas) his wife."
A new organ was placed in the Church during 1896 by
Warren & Son of Toronto at a cost of over sixteen hundred
dollars and was opened on Nov. 2oth of that year by Mr.
Wm. Reed of Montreal.
Some attention must now be paid to the subsequent career
of the old Church on Protestant Hill. About the period when
the new Church was in course of construction it was believed
by several of the members, that there was room for two
churches in the town, and that the old church being in a
convenient position for them, it might profitably be re
opened. They accordingly petitioned the Bishop with the
result that in 1873 tne church was repaired and re-dedicat
ed to St. Mark. The first incumbent was the Rev. Charles
Patterson. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. S. Baker in
1878 and he by the Rev. Mr. Hibbard in 1891. The Rev.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 65
C. B. Kenrick the next Rector came in 1895 and shortly
after through his instrumentality the church building was
greatly improved in convenience and appearance. The Rev.
Mr. Kenrick left recently for the maritime provinces and has
been succeeded by the Rev. E. G. Dymond, who was
inducted in November 1900.
St. Mark s Church is a substantial old wooden structure in
form of a cross. Its interior, though it lacks the impressive
attributes of St. John s Church, yet possesses the air of
sacredness associated with a long past. Besides the marble
slabs on the walls erected to the memory of departed mem
bers, there is a massive oak altar, which is the most impos
ing object in the building. The church is hung with
exquisite cloth hangings of various colours and delicate
embroidery, the work of Mrs. Baker, widow of a preceding
incumbent. A gallery occupies one end of the structure,
being all that remains of the old gallery which encircled three
sides of the church.
Old Church, old Church, symbol of solid worth thou art,
No outward grace adorns thee,
No spire hast thou to crown thee,
Yet do thy walls and tower,
Speak out in words of power
Of strength, and hope, and peace to every human heart.
the members of many early religious bodies
the adherents of the Presbyterian Church in Port
Hope were compelled by circumstances to meet
for many years in private residences or in school-
houses and to be ministered to, either by wander
ing missionaries or holders of neighboring charges. As
their numbers increased they naturally turned their atten
tion towards securing a suitable place for worship. Accord
ingly a meeting was held in 1828 at the residence of Mr.
John Wallace. There was a large attendance of settlers
from both Hope and Hamilton Townships present, who
were strongly in favour of erecting a church. It was defi
nitely decided to build and a Board of Trustees was ap
pointed to superintend the work of construction. This
Board was composed of Messrs. Wm. McElroy, George
Gillespie, Samuel Todd, William Cochrane, and George
Kinder. (The elders at this period were John Lindsay,
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 67
John Lyall, Thomas Quay, John Wallace and Andrew
The Church, which was completed in 1831, was a frame
structure standing on the site of the present First Presbyter
ian Church. Its dimensions were small but yet it contain
ed a gallery around three of its sides. The pulpit rose high
above the straight-backed pews and was surmounted by a
inding board of huge proportions. Below it was the pre-
antor s desk. The builders of the early church were Messrs.
Brogdin & Lee. When first erected it stood in a pathless
wood, separated from the main road by a deep gully, which
necessitated a long detour to the west in order that the wor
shippers might reach it in comfort. After a time a bridge was
built across the ravine which was subsequently filled in to
form the present road.
The first minister to preach in the new building was the
Rev. Peter Gordon, who was an eloquent young man and,
besides ministering to the spiritual wants of the congrega
tion, he also attended to the instruction of the children during
the week. His residence here was unfortunately short. He
was succeeded by several ministers whose sojourns were
equally brief. Among them were Dr. Thornton, Mr. Lawrence
and Dr. Ormiston. In March 1835 was inducted the Rev.
John Cassie, whose memory is revered among the Presbyter
ians as is that of Dr. Shortt among the Episcopalians. Mr.
Cassie was a native of Aberdeenshire and a distinguished
graduate of both Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities. He
came to Canada as a missionary from the United Secession
Church, and almost immediately settled in Port Hope, where
he remained until his death in 1861. At his coming the
68 PORT HOPE
membership roll of the Church was but thirty, whereas at
the conclusion of his ministry, it had reached two hundred,
and a new church had had to be erected to contain the
large numbers who came to his services. His death, which
occurred on the rgth of June, 1861, was lamented not only
by his own people but by his fellow-townsmen at large. His
funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Thornton.
The present brick Church was opened October ist, 1854.
Eight thousand dollars were expended in its erection, and it
was calculated at the time to be capable of accommodating
nearly one thousand persons. Its interior fittings were
in perfect keeping with the quaint old style of kirk arrange
ment high pulpit, led up to by flights of stairs, large
gallery almost encircling the walls, closed pews and sconces
for the candles. In time all these old contrivances have
vanished. In place of the old-time precentor, there is now
an organ and choir, the pulpit has become a modest desk
on a broad platform, the gallery has dwindled down to a
small affair at the rear, and electric light takes the place of
tallow candles. Much opposition was made to the purchase
of the organ, which was bought about 1870 for $1,600. Up
to the present year it was stationed in the gallery but a
recent change has placed it to the minister s left hand on
the ground floor.
Since Mr. Cassie s death the Church has been occupied
by Dr. Waters until 1868, Rev. Wm. Donald, 1869-78, Rev.
R. J. Beattie, 1878-1883, Rev. J. W. Mitchell, 1884-1889,
Rev. B. C. Jones, D.D., 1890-1892, and Rev. J. K. Smith,
D.D., 1892-1898. The present pastor, the Rev. A. G.
Sinclair, was inducted into the charge in September 1899.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 69
There have been two secessions from the present church
during its long history. The first took place about 1858
and was indirectly owing to the famous Disruption in Scot
land. The Church here supported this famous movement
and became connected with the United Presbyterian Church
of Scotland. However there were many among its mem
bers who favoured the Old Kirk and in time they left the
U, P. Church and formed a church of their own. Their
first minister was the Rev. Mr. Camelon, who preached in
the Town Hall, until the church on Brown street was com
pleted. This edifice, later occupied as the High School
was erected in 1860 at a cost of $2,800. Here ministered
Mr. Camelon, and after him Mr. Cochrane, until the con
gregation sold the church in 1872 and united with Mill
Mill Street Church was the outcome of the second seces
sion, which occurred after Mr. Cassie s death. The diffi
culty arose between the Scotch and Irish elements in the
congregation over the choice of a new minister and the
Irish members left. Next year they built the present Mill
Street Church, at a cost of $3,000. Their first pastor was
the Rev. John Hogg, who has been succeeded by the Rev.
Mr. Smith, the Rev. Mr. McLean, Rev. James Cleland,
Rev. William McWilliam. Rev. Alex. Laird and the present
minister Rev. William W. McCuaig. When first formed
this Church connected itself with the United Presbyterian
Church of North America and remained an adherent of that
body until the general union of 1870, out of which arose
the Canada Presbyterian Church.
THE METHODIST CHURCH.
Spire whose silent finger points to Heaven.
EFORE the auspicious day when the little congrega
tion of Methodists in Port Hope entered their first
church-home, their life as a religious body was
necessarily an arduous one. To keep together and
alive all the scattered interests of such a commun
ity was no easy task for those devoted ministers, who in the
early days endured all manner of hardships in ministering
to the spiritual wants of extensive circuits. But the fruits of
their labours are being reaped at the present day and the
Methodist denomination in Port Hope occupies a stronger
and more extensive position than that of any other religious
body in the Town.
The earliest record of a Methodist communion in Port
Hope dates back to the year 1813 when Smith s Creek wai
the name applied to a circuit embracing all the country from
Belleville to Whitby and when the Rev. Thomas Whitehead
labored therein as its minister. Occasionally other
ministers had visited the village, among them being Ezra
Adams, Thomas Madden and John Rhodes. The Rev.
Nathaniel Reeder succeeded to the circuit in 1815 and
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 71
meetings were then held either in Mrs. Britton s parlor on
Mill Street or in the log school-house opposite the present
Queen s Hotel or in Mr. Jacob Choate s building on the
site of that hotel. Two years later the Revs. James Puffer
and Elijah Boardman divided the work of the Circuit.
Meanwhile classes were being formed in the country
surrounding Port Hope and in 1824 one was formed in
Town, with Mr. Alexander Davidson as leader. The class
consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hall, Mrs. Healy, Allen
Harris and W. Baker and meetings were held at either the
residence of Mr. Hall or of Mr. Baker. The minister visit
ing Port Hope in that year was the Rev. Anson Green and
the Circuit was now denominated the " Cobourg Circuit."
The stations were as follows during the succeeding years :-
1825, D. Breckenridge, John Black; 1826, W. Slater,
R. Phelps, J. C. Davidson; 1827, W. Slater, Egerton Ryer-
son ; 1828, J. Norris, Ephraim Evans; 1829, D. Wright.
To give some idea of how the congregation was brought
together in those early days, it is only necessary to tell how
Mr. Aaron Choate of Perrytown was wont to harness his team
to a large wagon or sleigh, drive to Mr. Hawkin s home and
next to Mr. Gifford s where the Rev. Mr. Evans resided and
then, with a load of people, come into town, where a service
would be held in the school-house on the site of the present
residence of H. A. Ward, Esq.
In 1829 Port Hope was attached to the Whitby Circuit,
the Revs. R. Corson and C. Vandusen being the preachers,
though a few years later it was restored to the Cobourg
72 PORT HOPE
By 1833 the want of a church-building began to be felt.
The Rev. Richard Jones, who preached here in that year,
told how in rainy weather he had been obliged to move
about in the old school-house to keep from getting wet
whilst he preached his sermon. To Mr. Alexander David
son a clerk in David Smart s store, belonged the credit for
setting on foot an agitation to build a church. He com
municated with influential persons in the Province and
wrote letters to newspapers, showing how necessary it was
that a church should be erected in this part of the country.
Finally it was decided to build. Application was made to
John D. Smith, Esq. for a suitable site and that gentleman
presented to the applicants the lot on Brown Street opposite
the present Church. The deed bore date Dec. 2ist, 1833
and the Trustees named were Wm. Barrett, Sr., Richard
Howell, John Might, Thomas Benson, Robert Mitchell,
Richard Barrett and Alex. Davidson. Arrangements were
at once made for building. The contract was awarded to
Messrs. R. Mitchell and P. Fox and on the nth August
1835 the new church was dedicated.
It was a wooden structure with a steeple at the middle of
the south front. The latter appendage was quite unusual in
Methodist churches in those days and was put up at the
suggestion of Alexander Davidson. There was a gallery
around three sides of the Church, in the south end of which
sat the choir. The minister occupied an old-fashioned
" candle-stick " pulpit at the north end.
From 1832 to 1840 the following ministers of the Cobourg
Circuit officiated at Port Hope, viz. Revs. R. Jones,
Davidson, Bevitt, Davis and Bigger. In 1840 Port Hope s
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 73
independent circuit existence began and until 1860 these
were the incumbents. 1840, Wm. Haw; 1841-42, Asheal
Hurlburt ; 1843-44, Wm. McFadden ; 1845-46, J. Gemley ;
1847, C. Lavelle and S. S. Nelles ; 1848, J. Scott and
S. C. Slater; 1849-50, G. Goodson ; 1851-52, W. McCul-
lough ; 1853, W. McCullogh and E. H. Dewart ; 1854-55;
J. McCallum, W. Tomblin, W. Bryers ; 1856-57, R. Whit
ing, S. Tucker, A. E. Russ, W. C. Henderson ; 1858-59,
L. Warner. W. Andrews ; 1860, J. Hunt and A. T. Green.
The Church had been growing all these years and minor
additions had been made from time to time. By 1859 it
was deemed necessary to make a decided enlargement.
Eighteen feet were added to the east side of the Church and
the interior was completely overhauled. The old pulpit
was removed and a modern one substituted ; the organ and
choir were shifted to an alcove at the rear of the pulpit ;
the woodwork was tastefully done over in white, and gas
and hot air heating were introduced. These improvements
cost the Church $1600 but were more than compensated for
by the increased accommodation. The Church could now
hold loco persons comfortably and 1200 at a pinch.
This famous old church, with its odd additions stood
until 1874, when on the morning of August 26th it was
completely destroyed by fire. Meanwhile the growing re
quirements of the congregation had led to negotiations for
the purchase of a new lot and the erection thereon of a new-
Church. The lot across Brown Street, where the present
edifice stands was purchased from J. Shuter Smith, Esq. in
1870 for $1600. Early in 1874 plans were obtained for a
new building from Smith & Gemmell of Toronto and the
74 PORT HOPE
contract was awarded to Mr. J. W. Wallace on June gth.
The ceremony of laying the corner-stone took place on
September 2nd and the completed structure was opened on
March 2nd, 1876 by the Rev. Dr. Ives of Auburn, N.Y.
The building is large and imposing and quite the equal
in all respects of many city churches. Nearly $35,000 were
expended in its erection. It has a frontage of 85 feet on
South Street, and, with the Sunday School at its rear, it ex
tends 137 feet along Brown Street. This Sunday School
portion was erected at the same time as the main church
and in it is accommodated a school, which always regards
its numbers and work with justifiable pride. The roll at
the present day numbers nearly 600, though during previous
years the attendance has been even larger. Immediately at
the corner of the street towers up the lofty steeple, whose
apex reaches a height of 180 feet. Within, the Church
presents a subdued and restful appearance. Tall, narrow
stained windows supply the light. A circular gallery extends
about three sides and the seats on the ground floor are ar
ranged in a corresponding manner. The seating capacity is
1 200. The pulpit is raised to a considerable height and be
hind it rises the fine large organ, while the organist and
choir occupy seats between. The organ, it may be noted,
cost $2,500 and was bought from Warren & Co. In the
tower hangs the bell, whose clear-sounding notes are so
familiar to the people of the Town. It was purchased at
the erection of the Church for $560 and has ever since done
This fine edifice had a narrow escape from destruction by
fire on July 3ist, 1893. Early in the morning fire was dis-
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 75
covered in the basement under the tower, which for a time
threatened to be serious. Thanks to the efficient service of
the Fire Brigade, however, the fire was got under way and
the damage of $2500 was chiefly owing to the havoc play
ed by the smoke.
Since 1862 the list of Methodist ministers stationed in
Port Hope consists of the Revs. G. R. Sanderson 1862-4,
W. S. Griffin 1865-6, John A. Williams 1867-69, I. B. \
Howard 1870-2, E. B. Harper 1873-5, John Shaw 1876-8,
W. H. Laird 1879-81, J. B. Jeffery 1882, J. Learoyd 1883-5,
J. B. Clarkson 1 886-8, E. N. Baker 1889-91, W. J.
Crothers, D.D. 1892-6, W. R. Young, D.D. 1897-1900.
The Rev. C. B. Lanceley is now pastor of this church.
ST. MARY S CHURCH.
Through the doors and the great high windows
I heard the murmur of prayer,
And the sound of their solemn singing
Streamed out on the sunlit air.
WING to the unfortunate destruction by fire of the
first Roman Catholic Church in Port Hope, all the
records which could throw any light on the early
history of this congregation have been lost. It
has therefore only been possible to secure from
some of the older residents of the Town a few facts con
cerning the first church erected by the Roman Catholics.
Though the exact date of the erection of this Church is un
known, it was very probably built about the same period as
the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. It was a narrow
and lofty frame structure standing on the same site as the
present Church and possessing a steeple of medium height.
During all the years of its existence it was not supplied with
a resident priest but the priest at Cobourg, the Rev. Father
Timlin, attended to both parishes.
This early edifice was not destined to stand for long. It
was fired by incendiaries one evening in August 1851 and
completely destroyed. The Town Council offered a
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 77
reward of ^50 for the apprehension of the perpetrators of
the outrage, but the guilty parties were never brought to
On the destruction of their Church, the Catholic com
munity secured the use of McDermoc & Walsh s store-house,
situated near the present site of the Brewery, but, before
they had held a single service in it, incendiaries had again
burned it about their ears. Services were thereafter held in
Porter s building to the rear of Curtis Grocery, in the Town
Hall and in a hall where Mr. Skitch now keeps his grocery
store, until the present Church was erected in 1854.
Meantime a resident priest had been sent to Port Hope to
in some way compensate for the loss of the old Church.
This was the Rev. Father O Keefe who resided in Port
Hope until June 1858 and who was instrumental in build
ing the present edifice.
The Church of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, was dedicated
by his Lordship Bishop Phelan of Kingston on October
7th, 1855. It comprised the present Church, minus the
steeple, though the interior has since been greatly altered
also. The cost of the building was about $10,000 and in
addition a further expense of $3,000 was incurred in secur
ing the organ from Boston. This instrument is of exquisite
tone and workmanship and adds greatly to the effect of the
In 1858 the Rev. Father Madden became parish priest in
succession to Father O Keefe and for eight years he remain
ed in charge of the parish. Then came Father O Keane in
December of 1866 and after living here but a very short
time, the Very Rev. Father Brown succeeded to the parish
78 PORT HOPE
on July ist, 1869. Father Brown during his twenty-one
years stay in Port Hope won for himself the deepest respect
among all classes of the community and his departure in
1890 was much regretted by all who knew him. He pos
sessed artistic capabilities which were early devoted to
rendering the interior of the church more beautiful and ap
propriate. He left the building practically as it is to-day.
On entering the Church the words of the angels anthem,
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO ET IN TERRA PAX HOMINIBUS BON^:
VOLUNTATIS, high up above the chancel immediately attract
the eye. There are three stained-glass windows one large
one above the altar and two smaller ones at the sides of the
chancel. The two latter were presented by Miss Foran
and have since become memorials by reason of her untimely
death.* The three represent the chalice, grapes and wheat.
Over the tabernacle are three statues St. Joseph, the Sacred
Heart and the Blessed Virgin, while paintings in relief of
angels and saints surround the altar. Between the windows
of the Church are fourteen colored pictures representing
various steps in the crucifixion of Christ and high on the
walls are small paintings bearing Latin inscriptions. An
organ loft stretches across the building over the entrance.
In addition to these internal improvements, Father Brown
was also instrumental in having the steeple added. The
building was re-opened by his Grace Archbishop Clery of
In May, 1890, the present priest, Father Lynch, succeed
ed to the parish. His residence here has been marked by
* She was killed by a fall from a window.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 79
the improvements which have been made to the grounds
surrounding the Church.
St. Mary s Church was at first in the Diocese of Toronto
but was subsequently changed to that of Peterboro when
that Diocese was formed. The Bishop of Peterboro at
present is Bishop O Connor. It is also in the Archbishopric
of Kingston, -having been formerly in that of Toronto.
In concluding this necessarily brief sketch, it may be
noted that the steeple has been twice struck by lightning
and the cross at the top has been twice blown down, all
four accidents entailing considerable expense in restoration.
THE BAPTIST CHURCH.
Ah ! this building which we see
Is a type a prophecy,
Living church of God, of thee !
N treating the histories of the various religious bodies
in Port Hope, the order taken has been that suggest
ed by a consideration of the dates at which their first
churches were erected. Beginning with the oldest
church St. John s the series has now been followed
down to the youngest, and this chapter will contain a brief
account of the progress of the Baptist denomination.
The history of the Baptist Church begins about the year
1850, when the Rev. J. Baird formed a small congregation
and held meetings in the old chapel north of the present
Church (now utilized as a storehouse by Mr. Hume.) The
little company did not consider themselves a church nor
were they in any way connected with the Baptist denomina
tion. They merely held the beliefs of that body and waited
until they should be in such a condition as would enable
them to form a definite church. This result was attained in
1855 under the pastorate of the Rev. Hoyes Lloyd and on
June 2ist public recognition services were held, officiated
at by the Rev. James Pyper, D.D. of Toronto, Moderator of
the Baptist Association. On the gth of December of the
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 81
same year Messrs. Wm. Craig, Sr., Morice Hay rnd \Vm.
Barnett were appointed deacons. For many years there
after during the summer months baptisms took place in the
Lake, while a baptistry was added to the chapel in 1856 for
use during the remainder of the year.
In June 1859 Mr. Lloyd resigned his charge and left Port
Hope. The Rev. Charles Elliott succeeded him during the
following spring but only remained one year. The next
pastor was the Rev. W. H. Jones, who in turn was followed
by the Rev. John Dempsey in 1864. During the ministry
of Mr. Dempsey the Church passed through an eventful
period, for it was in his time that the congregation moved
from the old chapel to the present Church. The initial
step in this movement was the purchase and donation to
the members of the Church of the lot on the corner of John
and Augusta Streets by Wm. Craig, Sr. Then followed a
period when subscription lists were to the fore, to which the
same loyal gentleman contributed largely. The result of the
effort was that during the next few years the present white
brick edifice was erected at a cost of $9,000. On June 3rd
1868, the last annual meeting was held in the old Church ;
April 25th 1869 witnessed the first baptism in the new
building, and on June 6th of the same year the new Church
was definitely opened. The old property had meantime
been disposed of to Mr. R. Hume for $900.
Mr. Dempsey resigned from the charge in May of 1870
and two months later the Rev. Joseph King succeeded him.
The sojourn of this pastor was as brief as that of his
predecessors and in November of 1873 the Church was
again extending a call, this time to the Rev. George
82 PORT HOPE
Richardson. Mr. Richardson accepted and remained in
Port Hope until 1879. During his ministry the present
pipe organ, costing $1,000, was purchased and placed in the
Since 1879 tne pastorate of the Baptist Church has been
filled by the Rev. A. P. McDiarmid, M.A., D.D., 1880-2 ;
Rev. A. Murdock, M. A., LL. D., 1883-5 ; Rev. John
Trotter, 1885-7 ; Rev. D. Reddick, B.A., 1887-92 and Rev.
G. M. Leehy, 1893-94. The Rev. P. K. Dayfoot, M.A.
has been pastor since 1894. Of these ministers Mr.
Richardson is now in Hamilton, Dr. McDiarmid is Principal
of Brandon College, Manitoba, Mr. Murdock is in Otter-
ville, Ontario, Mr. Trotter in St. Catherines, Mr. Reddick
is pastor in Denver, Colorado and Mr. Leehy is pastor in
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1894 a considerable addition was made to the east
end of the Church providing additional class-rooms in the
basement and vestries above and rendering the building
most convenient and modern. A tablet in memory of the
late William Craig is the only work of a commemorative
nature within the Church.
Don t you hear the children coming,
Coming into school ?
Don t you hear the master drumming
On the window with his rule ?
Master drumming, children coming
Into school ?
Chapter V it was mentioned casually that the first
school in Port Hope was kept in 1797 in the Smith
Homestead by Mr. Collins of Montreal. From that
date until 1812 nothing definite is known of any educa
tional institution in the village but it is not unlikely
that there were private schools similar to the above, where
the children of the village received instruction.
In 1812 it would seem that there was a plank school-
house situated on Walton street opposite John street and,
though a private institution, it may yet be considered as the
parent school of the present public school system of the
Town. It was taught in that year by Mr. John Farley,
whom history records as a man of good education and a
successful teacher. He was succeeded during the next few
years by Mr. John Taylor and later by Miss Hannah Burn-
ham, who was school mistress there from 1815 to 1817.
Then followed Mr. Gardiner Clifford and Mr. Page during
84 PORT HOPE
At this juncture the school was taken down and removed
to the corner of King and William Streets, where it stood for
many years. In it in its new position taught Mr. Hobbs,
Mr. Valentine Tupper, Mr. Alexander Davidson, Mr. Patrick
Lee, Mr. John Bengel, Mr. Rattery, Mr George Hughes and
Mr. Maxwell in succession, bringing the school down to
Meanwhile as might have been expected there were num
erous other schools started in various parts of the Town-
Mr. John Taylor opened a school on Cavan street in 1819.
Chief Justice Draper, then a law student, taught here about
the same time. The Rev. Mr. Coghlan in 1832 built the
house until recently occupied by Mr. James Kerr, and took
advanced pupils. Mr. Millard and Dr. Shortt continued his
labours there. About 1832 Mr. Murdoch McDonnell taught
in J. D. Smith s old store on Mill street for a short time and
then built a school on the south-east corner of Pine and
South streets, which was later rented by the School Trustees.
These are but a few of the educational institutions that the
The first government aid granted to the schools of Port
Hope was received in 1842 and amounted to the sum of
^45 i2S. 6^d. From this it may be concluded that there had
begun some public supervision of the schools, though prob
ably it only amounted to the annual appointment of a Super
intendent. The Rev. John Cassie was the first such. In
1844 the Town was divided into three school sections, of
which Section I comprised the present Ward 2, Section II
the present Ward i, and Section III the present Ward 3.
For each of these sections Trustees were appointed. Both
HISTORICAL SKETCHES, 85
Sections II and III had school-houses already but, though
tenders were asked for the erection of a brick school in
Section I it does not appear that there was ever a school-
In 1848 the first Board of Trustees for Schools was ap
pointed. It consisted of Revs. J. Cassie and J. Baird, and
Messrs. John Reid, Wm. Mitchell, Wm. Barrett and Wm.
Sisson. Mr. Mitchell was Chairman and Mr. Baird Super
intendent for several years.
In 1851 the plank school was moved some distance back
on William street and repaired. Mr. Thomas Watson was
placed in charge of it, while Mr. Spotton occupied the rent
ed school on Pine street. Another small school was kept at
the same period by Mrs. Grierson in the kitchen of her
house, just south of Holmes establishment on John street.
The fees of the pupils at these schools were about $1.25
Two years later the Board of Trustees decided to erect
two new schools, according to a plan strongly favoured by
Mr. Wm. Barrett and some others. These schools were to
be octagonal in shape and lighted from the top. Lots were
secured, one where the present East Primary stands and
the other on the corner of Little Hope and Sullivan streets
and the schools were erected. Mr. Spotton was removed to
the western school and Mr. Watson to the eastern school,
while Mr. Wright was placed in charge of the old plank
school on William street. Meanwhile, as will be seen later,
a regular Grammar School had been established which ab
sorbed the older pupils of these schools and made it scarcely
possible to keep so many institutions going. The result was
86 PORT HOPE
that a union was consummated in the fall of 1856 and a
United Grammar and Common School was opened on Oc
tober i4th, 1856 in the upper flats of Knowlson s Building,
corner of Walton and Cavan Streets, with Mr. John Gordon
as Principal. Thomas Benson, Esq., Chairman of the Unit
ed Board, was the man to whom the most credit was due in
bringing about this important move in the educational his
tory of the To-.vn, without which at that time neither Public
nor Grammar Schools could have properly filled their mission.
In an announcement of the opening of the new school, ad
dressed to parents and guardians of children in the Town of
Port Hope, Mr. Benson explains that " the hours of attend
ance will be from 9 o clock until 12 in the forenoon, and
from i to 4 o clock in the afternoon, on every week day
excepting Saturday. The fees are fixed at 35. pd. per quarter
for the pupils in the Primary Schools ; 55. for those in the
elementary English branches in the Union School ; 153. for
higher English, including geography, astronomy, history,
physiology, chemistry and natural philosophy ; 203. for the
foregoing studies with algebra and mathematics and 253. in
cluding the classics."
To give a proper idea of this old school, it will be neces
sary to borrow from Dr. Purslow s concise description,
written during the last few years. " You entered at the
back of the building by a door on Cavan Street, now the
side entrance of Mr. McLennan s store. There were no
separate entrance for the sexes. You mounted two flights
of stairs about three feet wide and came to an enlarged
passage, which served as a waiting-room for the girls ; an
other flight of stairs and you came to a similar waiting-room
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 87
for the boys : up another flight, narrower if anything, and
you arrived at the top loft vhich had been partitioned off
into five school-rooms."
Meanwhile the octagon and plank schoolhouses were still
kept open as primary schools. Mr. Watson was brought
into the Union School, Mr. Wright took his place in the
east octagon and the services of Mr. Erskine, a scapegrace
son of Lord Erskine of the Court of Session in Edinburgh,
were secured for the plank school. The latter building was
shortly after consumed by fire and thus perished an historic
land-mark of the Town. A new shifting of teachers ensued.
Mr. Spotton came down to the Union School and his place
was taken by Mr. Wright, while Mr. Erskine undertook to
teach in the east octagon. Tracked by ill-luck Mr. Erskine s
second school was almost immediately after consumed and
the unfortunate master dismissed from the service of the
Board. This school was then opened in a small wooden
building near the corner of Ward and Elgin Streets and re
mained there until the present East Primary School was
built in 1868. The career of the west octagon was of a
somewhat longer duration. It continued to be used un
interruptedly until the time the new West Primary was built
in 1873 and it was then torn down. Among its later
teachers was Mr. J. R. McNellie, who subsequently taught
in the East Primary for many years. The Union School,
notwithstanding its uncomfortable position, continued to
prosper, so that in 1861, a move to more commodious
quarters was deemed necessary. In that year it was trans
ferred to the old Meredith Building on Mill Street, until
recently occupied by the Carpet Factory. Mr. Gordon
88 PORT HOPE
severed his connection with the School in 1865 and was
succeeded by Dr. Purslow. Meantime the Board of Trus
tees felt that the time had come to erect a regular school
building and negotiations were set on foot whereby the
present site of the Public School was acquired and aid
promised from the Town Council. The present building
with the exception of the north-east wing was built during
1866 and opened in 1867. During the process of construc
tion the Town passed two by-laws authorizing the raising of
$10,380 to meet the expenses incurred. Here the Union
School was housed for five years, when, owing to the mak
ing attendance at the Common (Public) School free the
accommodation was rendered too small. The Grammar
(High) School accordingly left the building for new head
quarters on Brown Street. Upon the separation Mr.
Thomas Watson became Principal of the Public School for
one year. Then the services of Mr. Goggin were secured
and he continued as Principal until 1885 when the present
Head of the school, Mr. F. Wood, was appointed.
A new wing containing three commodious class-rooms
was added to the school in 1883 so that now there is room
for eleven large classes. A Model School for the County of
Durham was established in 1877 and has had a prosperous
career. Two years ago by the extinction of the Cobourg
Model School, it has virtually become the Model School of
the United Counties.
PORT HOPE HIGH SCHOOL.
Long live the good School ! giving out year by year
Recruits to true manhood and womanhood dear ;
Brave boys, modest maidens, in beauty sent forth,
The living epistles and proof of its worth !
is to be regretted that a more befitting tribute than
the present necessarily imperfect sketch could not
be paid in a work of this nature to an institution,
which cherishes within its environs the memory of so
many sons and daughters of the Town, there brought
together, now separated far and wide over the face of the
earth. The task of keeping alive the hallowed memories of
the Old High School is of a far more extensive nature than
that it could be accomplished in the few pages at the dis
posal of the writer. Such a work could only be competent
ly fulfilled by the organization of some permanent
association, which, keeping alumni and students in touch,
would perpetuate the old traditions and cherish the general
devotion to the Old School.
The history of Port Hope High School as a teaching
institution is identical with the history of secondary educa
tion in Port Hope. Until the establishment of a Grammar
School in 1853, such instruction was given in private
schools, of which there were several in existence from time
90 PORT HOPE
to time. The real progenitor of the Grammar School,
however, was the Seminary founded by the Rev. James
Coghlan in 1831 in the house near the Toronto Road until
recently occupied by Mr. James Kerr. Mr. Millard and
Dr. Shortt continued the academic labours of Mr. Coghlan
irj the same building. Conjointly other teachers were giving
instruction in the classics and mathematics, notable among
whom were the Rev. Mr. Baird, Mr. Thomas Spotton and
Mr. Thomas Watson.
In 1851 the Government of Upper Canada passed an
Act enabling towns like Port Hope to open Grammar
Schools and to secure financial aid for their maintenance.
Two years later Port Hope decided to take advantage of
this legislation and to establish a Grammar School. Trus
tees were accordingly appointed, who immediately petitioned
the Town Council for the use of a room in the newly-
completed Town Hall. The Council readily complied and
titled up for school purposes a room in the south-east
corner of the first floor of the Hall. Here the school was
opened with Mr. Oliver T. Miller, a Dublin scholar of fine
attainments, as master. Mr. Miller remained in charge of
the school until May, 1855, during which time the
Trustees removed the classes to a separate building standing
on the south-east corner of Dorset and Smith Streets. It
may be of interest to note here a few- of the scholars of that
day who are still residents of the Town. Among them were
H. H. Burnham, S. S. and J. D. Smith, F. Benson and
G. M. Furby.
After the summer vacation of 1855 the school was re
opened in a room above the store on Walton Street at
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 91
present occupied by John Smith. Here Mr. Brooks P.
Lister from Christ Church, Oxford, taught for a year.
History records that as a teacher he was a distinct failure.
The Fall of 1866 witnessed the union of the Grammar
and High Schools in Knowlson s Building, under the
headinastership of Mr. John Gordon. The career of the
united schools has been set forth in the preceding chapter,
to which reference may be made.
Mr. Gordon continued to hold the post of Head Master
until 1865, when he was appointed one of Her Majesty s
Inspectors of Schools in Ireland and left for that country.
He came to Port Hope in middle-life a cultured gentleman,
who secured the universal favor of the Town by his
disinterested and genuine devotion to his work. He was
succeeded in the control of the Union School by Dr. Adam
Purslow, who had been associated with him on the staff
Legislation of 1871 changed Grammar to High and Com
mon to Public Schools and rendered the latter free. The
result was a great influx of pupils and the Union School
Building was found to be much too small. Faced with
this predicament, the Joint Board of Trustees purchased the
"Old Kirk" on Brown Street in the fall of 1872 and in
January, 1873, opened it as a separate High School under
the principalship of Dr. Purslow.
In those days there were four forms and three teachers in
the school and the registered attendance was fifty boys and
thirty-two girls. In 1878 representations were made of the
necessity for a fourth teacher and at length in 1881 the
92 PORT HOPE
Board appointed a Science Master. Since then a fifth
assistant teacher has been added.
In July of 1894 Dr. Purslow resigned the Principalship
and severed his connection with the teaching staff of the
school. After thirty-six years of active service, during which
the Doctor had successfully superintended the up-bringing
of two generations, the time had come for him to seek a
well-earned rest and the event of his retirement was made
the opportunity by both pupils and ex-pupils of giving ex
pression to the high esteem in which he had been held.
He was succeeded as Head Master by Mr. T. A. Kirk-
connel, who for several years had been Mathematical
Master and Dr. Purslow s assistant.
In 1896 the new High School Building on the north-west
corner of Brown and Bedford Streets was erected and in
January of 1897 the old quarters were abandoned and the
School moved up the hill to its new home. The closing of
the Old School which was so impregnated with the mem
ories of the past, could only be lamented on the ground of
sentiment. The new building with its modern equipment,
commodious and pleasing appearance (all of which was
acquired at an expense of little over $12,000) far surpassed
its antiquated, cramped and unimposing predecessor.
The new building was officially opened on January nth,
1897, by the Hon. G. W. Ross, Minister of Education for
the Province of Ontario. During the afternoon a reception
was held in the building and in the evening Judge Benson,
Chairman of the High School Board, presided at a crowded
meeting in the Opera House, where the Hon. Minister de
livered an appropriate address.
TRINITY COLLEGE SCHOOL.
Floreat per saecula
Macta sit virtutibus
VEN at this comparatively early date in its history,
Trinity College School has become an institution
of note all over the world, whilst its renown has
been reflected in some measure on the Town in
which its imposing building stands. Known to
fame as the " Eton of Canada," it possesses school-boy tra
ditions and associations which render this name most appro
priate. During its thirty-three years presence in Port Hope
it has provided Canada and the Empire with a fair propor
tion of their leading men, and it is with an enviable pride
that this Town can regard these graduates of the college, as
in some degree her own sons.
The School had its origin in the village of Weston in the
year 1865 but, owing to the liberal offers of assistance ten
dered by the citizens of Port Hope, it was removed thither
in 1868, where buildings were provided free of rent for three
years. The Rev. C. H. Badgley, B.A., Oxon. was then
Head Master and was assisted by a staff of nine instructors,
94 PORT HOPE
three being resident. The dormitories were situated in the
old Ward Homestead, on the site of the present School
building and were capable of accommodating sixty boys,
whilst the tuitional portion of the work was carried on in the
Meredith Block, from which the Union School had recently
Such was the condition of the infant institution when the
man who was destined to raise it to its present high level
was appointed Head Master in 1870. This was the Rev.
Charles J. S. Bethune, D.C.L., third son of that Rev. A. N.
Bethune* who years before had officiated in St. John s
Church. Dr. Bethune was born at West Flamboro, August
nth, 1838, and received his education at Upper Canada
College and Trinity "University. He was ordained a priest
in 1862 and for the following eight years remained in the
service of the Church. Then came his appointment to the
School in Port Hope. He immediately set himself to the
task of building up a permanent institution there, having as
a nucleus the thirty boys who attended the School at his
coming. The first step was the purchase in 1871 of ten
acres of land, where the School now stands. Then followed
the erection of the central portion of the old building. This
was designed by H. McDougall, Esq., was of the Elizabeth
an style of architecture and was first used in January 1872.
The almost insuperable difficulty before this undertaking lay
in the fact that all the requisite funds had to be raised by
subscription, there being no endowment. Still Dr. Bethune
accomplished the task satisfactorily.
f He succeeded Bishop Strachan as Bishop of Toronto.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 95
By an act of the Legislature of Ontario, passed during the
session of 1871-72, Trinity College School was constituted a
corporate body and then began its days of rapid progress.
An attendance of seventy boys in 1872 was increased to
ninety-six in 1873, an( ^ to one hundred and fourteen in 1874.
Meanwhile work on the Chapel and Dining Hall had been in
progress during 1873. These were contained in an addition
built of red brick with white brick facings to the east of the
School. The Dining Hall was opened on Nov. 5th, 1873
by the Most Reverend A. Oxenden, Lord Bishop of Mont
real and Metropolitan. It consisted of the hall proper,
63x21 feet, and a recess for the high table 19x15 feet. On
March 29th, 1874 the Chapel was dedicated by the Lord
Bishop of Toronto. It consisted of a nave 75x21 feet and a
chancel terminating in an apse 25x19 feet, and was capable
of containing two hundred persons. During the following
three years the chancel was richly adorned and beautified
with exquisite carved work and the completed Chapel was
re-opened on October i8th, 1877.
In 1874 the western portion of the old School was com
pleted and the building assumed the imposing appearance
which it was to bear for many years. The finished struc
ture had a frontage of three hundred feet to the south and
eighty feet to the west, and sixty-two thousand dollars had
been expended in its erection. A further addition of ten
acres was made to the School property the following year,
supplying ample room for sports of all kinds.
The progress of the School was now uninterrupted and
by the session of 1878-79 there were one hundred and forty
pupils in attendance. The decade from 1880 to 1890 was
96 PORT HOPE
not marked by any eventful happenings, but the School was
quietly building up that reputation on the athletic field and
in the academic hall which it still maintains. In the year
1891 the gymnasium to the north of the present building
was erected. It was built after the plans of Messrs. Darling
and Curry of Toronto and formed a novel and striking ad
dition to the College buildings. Its dimensions are about
eighty feet by fifty, and it consists of two stories, being well
equipped with all the necessary adjuncts of a gymnasium.
About this time the School entered upon a period of de
cline. For two years Dr. Bethune ceased to be Head
Master, and, though still known as Warden, he had little to
do with the life of the School. His place was taken by the
Rev. Arthur Lloyd.
On April 27th, 1893, a fire of a most threatening nature
was discovered about noon on the upper flat. After most
heroic efforts on the part of firemen, school-boys and towns
men the building was saved. However scarcely a week had
passed before another blaze of still more alarming propor
tions again threatened the building but fortunately without
serious results. The final destruction of the old School oc
curred on Sunday morning, Feb. i6th, 1895. The whole
building with all its treasured associations was consumed
in one of the worst conflagrations known in Port Hope s
history. The loss occasioned was fully $80,000. Notwith
standing this calamity, the School did not become extinct.
For a short period the boys were quartered on the towns
people until the St. Lawrence Hall was fitted up for their
accommodation. At the same time a new School, larger
and better equipped than its predecessor, was got under way.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 97
Messrs. Darling, Sproat & Pearson of Toronto supplied the
plans for a $90,000 building. This structure to-day occu
pies the site of the old School. It is of the same length as
the former building but in breadth and height it far exceeds
it. It is almost perfectly fire-proof, being divided into five
fire-proof sections. The Chapel yet remains in an incom
plete condition but fortunately it contains the beautiful carved
choir seats and the lectern rescued from its predecessor. A
new pipe organ was erected in the Chapel in 1899 in mem
ory of R. H. Bethune, late General Manager of the Domin-
*on Bank, of his wife and of Harriet Alice Mary Bethune,
wife of the Head Master, who was accidentally killed in
At the close of the School-year 1898-9, Dr. Bethune again
resigned from the School and retired to live in London,
Ontario. He has been succeeded in turn by the Rev. R.
Edmonds Jones, M.A. and by the Rev. Herbert Symonds,
D.D., appointed Head Master in the present year.
To attempt to enumerate all the Old Boys who have
risen to prominence would be beyond the scope of this
work but they are so numerous and well-known, that such a
task would be rendered useless. The brilliant record of
those Old Boys who have devoted themselves, as so many
Trinity Boys have done, to the military profession, is also
known to fame. In the late South African Campaign, over
forty served in the British lines against the Boers, nineteen
of whom held commissions. Two of this brave company
Lieut. Osborne and Sergt. Evatt have died in that far-away
Here shall the Press the People s right maintain,
Unawed by influence and unbribed by gain ;
Here patriot Truth her glorious precepts draw,
Pledged to Religion, Liberty and Law.
SERIOUS drawback with which the author of this
book has had to contend in making researches
into the past history of the Town, has been the
non-existence of files of the old newspapers
published in Port Hope since 1830. With the
exception of files of the Guide for the years 1856, 1857 and
1859 and occasional single copies of it and other papers,
there exists no series of journals providing a contempor
aneous history of the Town farther back than 1875, when
Mr. George Wilson took over the Guide. Since then Mr.
Wilson has kept complete and well-bound files of his paper,
for which service he deserves the best thanks of the com
munity. (It seems that some files of the Times are also in
existence but the author has been unable to see them.)
While Port Hope is thus deficient in her journalistic
history, the neighboring town of Cobourg may be compli
mented on having a complete series of the Cobourg Star
from its inception in 1831. The author is indebted to this
journal for many items which have thrown light on Port
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 99
Hope s history and, while it could not be expected to detail
events occurring in Port Hope, it still treated this Town to
a fair share of its attention.
The father of journalism in Port Hope was the late
William Furby, Esq., who was born in Yorkshire, England,
on September 5th, 1799. As a youth he acquired the
printer s and cabinet-maker s trades and then crossed the
Atlantic in 1819. He settled in Port Hope in 1826 and for
many years engaged in the furniture business in a building
to the west of the present Guide office. In 1831 Mr. Furby
in partnership with a Mr. Woodhouse purchased the printing
plant of Mr. John Vail, who had established the Port Hope
Telegraph a few months previously, and continued the
publication of this, the first newspaper in Port Hope. Mr.
Vail s press was one of the old wooden variety, which Mr.
Furby soon after superseded with one of the first iron presses
ever brought into Canada. His partner, Mr. Woodhouse,
died in the summer of 1831 and Mr. Furby continued the
publication of the Telegraph alone. Its name was altered to
the Warder in June 1833 and to the Gazette in April 1836-
The latter newspaper, which professed neutrality in politics
became extinct in 1838 but was probably followed by
another paper. In 1844 Mr. Furby began the publication
of the Port Hope Gazette and Durham Advertiser and in
1851 altered its name to the Guide. It was about this
period that Mr. Charles Lindsey, now an old and respected
citizen of Toronto, rendered Mr. Furby s paper famous by
means of the brilliant articles, which secured him a dis
tinguished place among Toronto journalists.
In 1856 George M. Furby, Esq., elder son of William
too PORT HOPE
Furby took over the Guide and entered into partnership
with Mr. Crea. Under their management the Guide became
a tri-weekly publication. Two years later Mr. Fuby sold
out his interest to Mr. Crea and the latter continued to
issue the paper until 1861 when it ceased publication for
a few months. Until 1875, when Mr. George Wilson
secured the paper, it passed through several hands, among
them being those of Mr. C. Blackett Robinson, but during
this period its publication could not be said to be contin
uous. Mr. Wilson bought the Guide from Mr. Moody and
began to issue a daily paper in July 1878.
Until about 1850 there was no opposition paper in Port
Hope. The first such was the Watchman published by Mr.
Steel. In reality this paper had its origin in Mr. Furby s
office, for during its first two or three years existence it was
issued from Mr. Furby s press. Then Mr. Steel set up a
plant of his own and until 1855 the Watchman was regularly
published. The following year a professedly Conservative
paper, the British Standard, appeared under the editorship
of Mr. James, while in November, 1857, it was succeeded
by the Port Hope Atlas. This paper was edited by the
distinguished writer, Mr. Charles Roger, known by his
journalistic contemporaries as the " Carlyle of the Canadian
press " and now better known as the author of a History of
Canada. He came to Port Hope from Quebec and resided
here but a few years.
The immediate progenitor of the Times, the British
Canadian, was established in Port Hope by Mr. Hugh
Cameron, of Montreal, in 1862. From Mr. Cameron this
paper passed into the hands of Mr. Delamere and later into
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 101
those of the late J. B. Trayes, whilst its name was changed
to the one it now bears. Mr. Trayes was an able and suc
cessful publisher and editor and under him the Times saw
its best days. He trained up several successful journalists
among whom Mr. Atkinson, the talented editor of the
Toronto Star, is prominent. Prior to the purchase of the
Times by the present proprietor, Mr. Swaisland, it was
managed for several years by Mr. W. F. Trayes and Mr.
F. T. Harris.
Several other papers have been in existence in Port Hope
from time to time. Among these might be noted, the Echo,
a Church paper, edited and published by the late Dr.
Shortt, the Messenger issued from 1860 to 1863 by Mr.
Hayter and the latter year removed to Millbrook, the
Valuator, published in the sixties by the late Thomas
Galbraith, and Mr. W. T. R. Preston s News bought by
Mr. Wilson in 1883 after a life of three years.
REGAL AND VICE-REGAL,
Her court was pure ; her life serene ;
God gave her peace ; her land reposed ;
A thousand claims to reverence closed
In her as Mother, Wife, and Queen.
early colonial days, it was no uncommon sight to
behold government dignitaries passing through the
village of Port Hope on their way to and from the
seat of Government and doubtless Governors of
Upper Canada have stopped over night at local inns.*
However no details of any such visits remain and all that
may yet be recounted is the episode of Sir Peregrine Mait-
land and Shoemaker Smith. One day in 1828 the Gover
nor was travelling eastward in his official coach, attended by
a numerous retinue. As he drove in state down Walton
Street, he expressed a desire to see the old shoemaker, who
was famed far and wide as a red-hot radical. His coach
was accordingly stopped before the humble abode of the
cobbler. The latter immediately took in the situation.
Coming to the door without removing his leathern apron or
his cap, the old " rebel " shook his fist at the amused throng
* e. g. " Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, and family,
slept at Port Hope last night." Cobourg Star, Jan. 27th, 1836.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 103
and thundered, " Ah, ye know not what yere doing ! Ye
wud sell yer birthright for a mess of pottage ! " He there
upon retired into his shop and the gratified onlookers
resumed their journey.
King William the Fourth died on the 2oth of June, 1837,
but it was not until the 2nd of August that Port Hope heard
the news of his death. The proclamation of his successor,
Queen Victoria, took place on the yth. Late in the after
noon Sheriff Ruttan of the Newcastle District arrived from
Cobourg where he had proclaimed the Queen at noon. Sta
tioned at the foot of Walton Street and surrounded by the
local militia, he repeated the ceremonial and read the pre
" Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God to call to His mercy our late
Sovereign Lord, King William the Fourth, of blessed memory, by whose
decease the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, and all other of his late Majesty s dominions, is solely and rightfully
come to the High and Mighty Princess Alexandrina Victoria, saving the
rights of any issue of his late Majesty King William the Fourth, which may
be born of his late Majesty s consort, We, Henry Ruttan, Esq., Sheriff
of the Newcastle District ; the Hon. Zaccheus Burnham ; the Hon. Walter
Boswell ; the Hon. Thomas A. Stewart, Legislative Councillors of the
Province of Upper Canada ; William Falkner, Esq., Judge of the District
Court ; and Richard Hare Lovekin, Alexander Fletcher, Richard Hare,
Esquires, Justices of the Peace for the said District of Newcastle, and all in
habitants of this District, therefore do hereby, with one full voice and consent
of tongue and heart, publish and proclaim, that the High and Mighty
Princess Alexandrina Victoria is now by the death of our late Sovereign of
happy and glorious memory, become our only and lawful and rightful liege
Lady Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, saving as aforesaid, Supreme
Lady, &c., of this Her Majesty s Province of Upper Canada, to whom, saving
as aforesaid, we acknowledge all faith and constant obedience, with all
hearty and humble affection ; beseeching God, by whom Kings and Queens
do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Victoria with long and happy years to
reign over us."
Thus was the glorious reign of Queen Victoria ushered in,
io 4 PORT HOPE
in Port Hope, with feelings of much loyalty and solemnity.
Twenty three years afterwards the young Prince of Wales
visited the Town. He arrived in Cobourg on the 6th of
September, 1860, en board the Steamer Kingston (Algerian.)
Next morning he took a hasty trip to Peterboro and then
came on to Port Hope about noon. Several arches had
been erected in his honour and residences were profusely
decorated. A well-organized procession escorted H. R.
Highness and suite through the principal streets to the Town
Hall, where Mayor Scott presented the Corporation Address,
amidst the greatest cheering from the immense concourse of
people assembled. The Prince was thereupon escorted into
the Hall where he was entertained at luncheon by the lead
ing citizens of the Town. When the Mayor had duly pro
posed the toast of the Queen and Royal Family, H. Royal
Highness left by rail for Whitby.
The town participated in two events during the next three
years the first an occasion of mourning and the second of
rejoicing. On the death of the Prince Consort, an address
of condolence was despatched to the Queen, which was
responded to by the Duke of Newcastle and on the occasion
of the Prince of Wales wedding the Mayor proclaimed a
whole holiday as a mark of gratitude to the Prince for his
attentions to Port Hope.
Two royal visitors have since honored the Town, Prince
Arthur of Connaught in 1868 and Princess Louise in 1879.
The latter passed through the Town in company with her
husband, the Marquis of Lome, Governor-General of
Canada, on September 2oth. They merely visited the
Town Hall, where they received the usual formality of an
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 105
address to which the Marquis very fittingly replied, referring
gracefully to the happy significance of the name " Port Hope."
The only other visit of any importance was that of the
Earl of Dufferin in his official capacity on Sept. 3rd,
On July ist, 1887, the Queen s Jubilee was celebrated.
The usual Dominion Day programme was entered into with
increased spirit and in addition the decorations and illum
inations eclipsed all previous attempts.
But the Diamond Jubilee of 1897, as being a more
solemn occasion, will outlive the memory of the earlier
celebration. On Sunday afternoon, June 2oth, a most
memorable service was held in the Methodist church, at
tended by all the local organizations. Its most inspiring
moment was at 4.13 when in company with British subjects
all the world around the National Anthem was sung. The
following Tuesday was the official day of rejoicing. An
other service was held in the morning and in the afternoon
a procession marched to the Park where speeches were de
livered by local orators. At night illuminations and a prom
enade concert in the Drill Shed closed the proceedings.
The news of her Majesty s death, January 22nd, 1901 was
received with general sorrow by the inhabitants of Port Hope
as well as by many millions of the departed Queen s subjects
far and wide. Such a recent event requires but little des
cription. On the day of the State Funeral, the 2nd of Feb
ruary, an imposing service was conducted in the Methodist
Church, attended by all the religious denominations of the
Town, which fittingly concluded a long and memorable
CONCERNING THINGS MILITARY.
Well may fair Canada be proud of such a bold array,
Her honor in their trust is safe, let come whatever may .
That they will do or die for her she owns with hearty cheers
Hurrah then, thrice hurrah for them ! Ontario s Volunteers !
HE part played by Port Hope in the several wars in
which Canada has been involved has been by no
means a minor one and the name, of at least one
of her officers will live in the history of the country
along with the names of her bravest military
leaders. For, from that far-away day in a bye-gone century
when the forefathers of Port Hope shed their blood and
gave up all their possessions for the sake of the British flag,
until but yesterday, when her bravest sons went forth to a
distant land to uphold the honor of that same royal stand
ard, Port Hope has been ever ready to serve her country at
its time of need.
At the time of the War of 1812 the settlement at Smith s
Creek was much too diminutive to provide a complete
volunteer company. But in the various regiments of militia
centred along the frontier there were to be found many
soldiers, who owned Smith s Creek as home, whilst Captain
Thomas Ward was in charge of a company doing patrol duty
between York and Presqu ile, in which he had doubtless
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 107
enrolled several fellow-townsmen. To show how these early
volunteers served their country, one example should suffice
in the person of James Sculthorpe. At the outbreak
of hostilities he enlisted in a volunteer company stationed
at Kingston. Here he spent six months on duty and then
returned to Smith s Creek with the rank of sergeant. There
after until the conclusion of the war he was entrusted by the
military authorities with the conveyance of soldiers and
ammunition to York and this was no light task, as it
involved the impressing of farmers horses and vehicles in
the transport service.
In connection with this War, there is extant in the
the Toronto Public Library a most interesting document
containing the minutes of a Regimental Court Martial held
at York on August 27th, 1814. This Court Martial was
held on John Montgomery, the Sergeant of a detachment of
Militia, ordered to Kingston as a guard to nine convicted
prisoners. Four of the nine had made their escape at
Smith s Creek and the Sergeant was charged with neglect of
duty. The evidence elicited the facts that when the party
reached Smith s Creek on the evening of July 3ist, by
direction of J. D. Smith the prisoners were confined for the
night in a shed overhanging the mill-dam and flume. Dur
ing the night four of the prisoners, aided by the noise of the
falling water, escaped through an opening made in the
rear of the shed by the removal of some boards. The wit
nesses believed that some of the inhabitants of the place
had assisted the escape but it seems more probable that this
statement was only a device on the part of his comrades to
secure the acquittal of the Sergeant in which effort they
were highly successful.
io8 PORT HOPE
The attitude of the inhabitants of the Newcastle District
during the period of political turmoil which culminated in
the rebellion of 1837, seems to have been distinctly in
favor of the governing party. This was shown by the
reception accorded Robert Gourlay when he visited this
part of the country in 1818. Instead of endorsing his views
the meeting, led by Charles Fothergill, passed resolutions of
disapproval, which were largely signed and later were pub
lished in pamphlet form along with Fothergill s speech on
that occasion. *
About this period the custom of holding annual musters
of the yeomanry began. These gatherings were held on
George IV s birthday (June ^th) and all the men of the
township capable of holding arms were required to be pre
sent at the drill-ground, to the east of the present Cemetery.
Until the prospect of a rebellion became serious, this was
the extent of the military training of the people. Then, in
the summer of 1837, John Tucker Williams organized a
Town company, which drilled regularly on the " Flats " and
became somewhat proficient.
The first news of the actual outbreak of the rebellion ar
rived on December 4th, 1837. A special messenger dashed
through the Town late at night, bearing orders to all
Colonels of militia to muster their forces immediately and
march to Toronto, as a body of rebels was rapidly advancing
on that place. Two days later over one thousand men had
assembled at Port Hope under Colonel J. T. Williams and
had made a start for Toronto. But twenty-four men, fit to
* A copy of this pamphlet, which has heen pronounced unique of its kind, is in
the Toronto P ublic Library.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 109
mount guard, were left behind and these were supplied with
only four muskets, not in firing condition. Scon after a
horde of about one thousand half-armed men passed through
from Cavan and Peterboro and for many months after the
Town was constantly filled with trcops coming and going.
Of these the 93rd Highlanders were the only regulars and
for one night they were quartered on the residents of the
During the second week the majority of the Hope
volunteers returned without having discharged their guns,
their only feat being the capture of some prisoners whilst on
the road up. On Jan. yth, 1838 a second muster was held
and 125 picked men were despatched to the seat of war.
It is difficult to gather from these data just what share Port
Hope took in these events but it is known that many of her
sons served for some time both at Toronto and in the
Annual musters (now held on May 24th) continued until
well on in the fifties and then they began to give place to the
present system of volunteer companies. True there had
been military districts and battalions for some time back but
these were based on the annual drill plan. The first volun
teer company in Port Hope was organized in 1857 by Captain
Augustus Roche and was known as the Port Hope Rifle
Company. Soon after Captain R. W. Smart started a cavalry
corps, which figured in the Prince of Wales visit. On the
disbanding of Roche s Company the Victoria Rifles, a fire
men s organization, was formed. This in turn was supersed
ed in February 1862 by the " Company of Foot Artillery of
Port Hope " under Captain D. Bethune and Lieut. T. M.
no PORT HOPE
Benson. In August of the same year Captain A. T. H.
Williams took command, and in December the company
became the " Volunteer Militia Company of Infantry,"
better known as the Port Hope Infantry Company. A
Rifle Company under Captain William Fraser was shortly
after formed, as was also an Engineer Corps under Captain
G. A. Stewart. This was Port Hope s fighting strength when
a Fenian Invasion was threatened in 1865. The first order
came to the Infantry Company in the Fall to repair to
Sandwich for garrison duty. There Captain Williams and
his sixty-five men remained until April 1866. On their de
parture home the Town Council of Sandwich, through the
Mayor, presented a most flattering address to them, which
speaks volumes for the kind of men Port Hope then pro
duced. Both the Infantry Company and the Rifle Comp
any later served at Kingston, where equally valuable testi
monials were presented on their departure. At home a
Home Guard had been formed in June 1866 under Captain
Kirchhoffer, with sixty Enfield Rifles. This Company pa
trolled the Town during the troubled times.
The result of this little war was the complete reorganiza
tion of the Militia of the country. In the Fall of 1866 the
Canada Gazette announced the formation of the 46th East
Durham Battalion and other similar regiments all over the
Province. Lieutenant Colonel Williams was placed in com
mand of the new local organization, which comprised two
companies from Port Hope, and one each from Millbrook,
Bethany, Springville and Janetville.
From 1862 until 1867 the town had rented a storehouse
on Ontario street from Mr. P. Robertson for use as a Drill
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. in
Shed. In the latter year the present Drill Shed was erected
by Samuel Wilson at a cost of $3,000, and ever since it has
been the headquarters for the troops for a large district
around Port Hope.
The North West Rebellion of 1885 forms the next event
in Military annals. As part of the general plan for quelling
the revolt, Colonel Williams was entrusted with the task of
forming a provisional battalion from the midland counties. In
this famous Midland Battalion, the 46th had two companies,
one from Millbrook under Captain Winslow and the other
from Port Hope under Major Dingwall. The Battalion left
Kingston for the front on April yth, where a portion of it
participated in the Battle of Batoche, May Qth, and all the
men did good service. The return to Port Hope on July
1 9th was in many respects a sad one. Though all had es
caped death in the field the gallant Colonel had been carried
off by brain fever on the return journey. His lamentable
death occurred at Battleford on July 4th, and when he
breathed his last this Town experienced one of the direst
losses it has yet been destined to sustain. The funeral ob
sequies which took place on Tuesday July 2ist, were of the
most impressive character, being conducted with the fullest
military ceremonial and in presence of vast throngs of sor
The 46th Regiment now came under the command of
Lieut. Col. Benson, who held sway over its fortunes until
1896 when a change occurred. The 45th \Vest Durham
Regiment was transferred to Lindsay, becoming the Victoria
Battalion, whilst the 46th Battalion, increased to seven com
panies became the Durham Battalion and the command of the
ii2 PORT HOPE
latter devolved upon Colonel John Hughes. Captains W.
J. Robertson and F. H. Coombs are now in charge of the
Port Hope companies and H. A. Ward. M. P., is Major.
In connection with the history of the 46th Regiment, the
career of the Band which has been associated with it ever
since its formation, is deserving of some notice. At the
time of the Fenian Invasion there was in Port Hope a
Citizens Band under the leadership of Mr. Wm. Philp. It
happened that several members of this Band enrolled with
the Port Hope Light Infantry Company and went to Sand
wich with them and while at that point organized a company
band of eight pieces. It was from this small beginning that
the 46th Band developed. The bandmasters since the for
mation of the band have been Mr. Wm. Philp, Mr. R.
Warner, Mr. A. H. Rackett, Mr. D. Carson and lastly Mr.
J. R. Smith, who was appointed August ist, 1886. The
46th Band has had considerable opposition at various times
from other non-military bands but has out-lived them all.
At present it is in a disbanded state, except at the periods
of regimental drill, when players are specially engaged by
In addition to being the headquarters for the 46th Regi
ment of Infantry, Port Hope is also the home of the i4th
Field Battery, until recently known as the Durham Field
Battery. This Battery originated in 1872 under Captain
Charles Seymour. Its guns were of the smooth-bore type
and were six in number, with six horses to each gun.
Captain Graham succeeded Captain Seymour in command
until in 1880 William McLean, who had been Lieutenant
at the formation of the Battery, was given the Captain s
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 113
rank and placed in charge. Shortly before his appointment
four rifle guns had superseded the old smooth-bores. In 1 883
Captain McLean received the Major s rank and in 1893
that of Lieutenant-Colonel. The Battery, which has been
composed of six guns since 1898, was this year (1901)
placed under the command of Major N. F. McNachtan, of
Cobourg, owing to the retirement of Colonel McLean.
In its drills and target practices the Battery has always
maintained a high standard of efficiency. In 1894 it won
the first general proficiency prize over all the Dominion
artillery companies and it also possesses the Gwoszki
Challenge Cup, having won it for two years in succession
Last on the list of wars in which Port Hope has taken a
share, stands the recent long and stubborn contest with the
Boers in South Africa. Port Hope s sons did not have an
opportunity to enlist until a second Canadian contingent
was in process of formation. Then on January 5th, 1900,
a gallant little company left for Ottawa to join " D " Batteiy
R.C.A. The party consisted of Hector Read, Ernest Evatt,
Thomas Kerr, William Welsh, Thomas Taylor, Robert
Gamble, Victor Hall, Thomas Sandercock, Frederick
Davey, Frederick Outram and Charles Ough.
" D ;: Battery sailed from Halifax on board the Lauren-
tian on Jan 2ist and arrived in Cape Town on the iyth of
February. After a brief period of rest and training, active
service began with a march through the Karoo Desert in
pursuit of a party of rebels when the Battery formed a portion
of a column of 2,000 Yeomanry and Australians. This
march ended at De Aar on April 1/j.th. The following six
ii4 PORT HOPE
weeks were spent on guard duty at the Orange River Bridge.
After a brief service at and near Bloemfontein under General
Kelly-Kenny, " D " Battery reached Pretoria on July i4th
and joined General Ian Hamilton s force. This column
was employed for the next three weeks in clearing the
Delagoa Bay Railroad and during that time saw much
active service. Garrison duty at various points ensued until
Sept. 2nd, when the Battery took part in General Buller s
movement to the relief of Leidenburg. This point was
reached on Sept. yth and next day the men of " D " Battery
participated in the Battle of Paardeplat. After this taste of
severe fighting, garrison duty for two months at Krokodil
Poort and Godwan Rivier again became the lot of the Port
Hope contingent and their fellow-soldiers. On November
2oth, the Battery was once more at Pretoria and shortly
after the journey home began. The capital of the Trans
vaal was left on December 3rd, a brief stop was made at
Worcester for further garrison duty and on the i3th of
December, the men embarked on the Rosslyn Castle at
Capetown for the long voyage to Halifax. A royal reception
at Port Hope concluded this campaign of one year, on
January i3th, 1901. Of the brave little company but one
was absent at the home-coming Sergt. Evatt, who fell a
victim to enteric fever.
SOME OTHER INSTITUTIONS.
On man and his works has passed the change
Which needs must be in a century s range.
HILE scarcely of such importance as to require
separate chapters for their description, yet there
are several other institutions in Port Hope
deserving attention and these may conveniently
be grouped in a single chapter.
The Post Office, established in 1817 with Charles Fother-
gill as Post Master, has suffered several changes of location.
Rumour has it that Mr. Fothergill for several years handled
the mail in his own residence where Mr. James Craick now
resides. From there the office moved down to D. Smart s
store on Mill street, when that gentleman became Post
Master. Then it was transferred to the store at present oc
cupied by John Wickett & Son ; from there to Gould s
present site ; next to the old Hatton block on Mill street ;
from there to the Smith Block on Walton street and in 1877
to the Riordan Block. All these years David Smart and his
son R. W. Smart had been Post Masters. In 1877 tne Rev.-
J. Baird received the appointment and on Oct. 5th, 1878,
the present Post Master E. J. Baird succeeded him. The
present building was erected in 1883, the corner stone being
n6 PORT HOPE
laid with much ceremonial on August 3oth by Sir Hector
Langevin, Minister of Public Works.
The Customs Department has been in existence in Port
Hope since 1819 and with it the name of Mr. M. F. White-
head was associated for many years. It was located for
some time in the Hatton Block and later in the block south
of the old Oil Clothing Factory Building. From there it
went to the new Post Office in 1883. The present Collect
or E. J. Burton, Esq. succeeded Mr. Whitehead on Sept.
Offenders against the law and order of the Town were
tried by the early Board of Police and later by the Mayor
and Justices of the Peace. In 1871 R. H. Holland Esq.
was appointed Police Magistrate, which office he has ever
since filled. For several years the lockup was situated in a
house on the corner of Walton aud Brown streets and then
was moved to Norman Strong s house on Mill Street prior to
a place being fitted up in the Town Hall. The Chief Con
stables have been Dennis Riordan, D. Gillespie, John Lynn,
James North, David Marshall and Charles Gilchrist.
John Douglas, the present Chief, was appointed in April,
In the year 1821 John Hutchinson was granted the privi
lege of holding a semi-annual fair or mart in Port Hope.
This was probably the first step towards making Port Hope
a market town. The Board of Police were also allowed to
establish a market but it was not until the Town Hall was
built and suitable accommodation provided that the market,
as it is now known, was held regularly.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 117
The Port Hope Gas Company was organized in 1857
with John Smart as President. The present building was
erected by Mr. Donovan and the works put in by Mr. Perry
of Montreal. The Town took ^2,500 stock on March 2nd,
1857. The Company has had its periods of depression,
first when coal oil was introduced and latterly when the use
of electric light became prevalent. At present the Com
pany s stock amounts to $34,860, its last dividend was 4%,
and its mains extend eight miles. J. Mulligan Esq. is
Electric lighting came in in 1886 and Mr. J. W. Quinlan
was its introducer. By-law 533 dated Jan nth, 1886 con
tains the agreement between the Town and that gentleman.
Mr. Quinlan supplied the light for a portion of that year
until in November the Town contracted with Dr. Corbett to
carry out the lighting arrangements. This gentleman has
extended and improved the system very largely and still
The earliest burying-ground in Port Hope was on the east
side of the Park Hill. Then the St. John s Church Ceme
tery around the present St. Mark s Church became the
burial ground of the settlement. Afterwards the Presby
terians and Methodists each made cemeteries, the former at
the rear of their church, the latter west of the High School.
The Catholics also buried their dead around their church.
The present St. John s Cemetery was opened in 1862, and
the Union Cemetery in 1873. A Union Cemetery Com
pany was formed on April i3th of that year with Col. Wil
liams as President. Its present stock is $3,000 and W.
n8 PORT HOPE
Craig is President. Up to the present time 1126 interments
have been made.
The Port Hope Board of Trade has had a checkered
history. There was a Board in existence in 1865 with John
Helm as President, but it must have soon disappeared for
on August 1 8th, 1874 a new organization was registered at
Ottawa with the late Wm. Craig as President. After a few
years this too became defunct and until the Twine Factory
was established, no Board of Trade existed. In 1889 a
large Board with one hundred members was formed and G.
M. Furby appointed President. It is still alive though lat
terly its office has been rendered useless by the appointment
of a Manufacturers Committee of the Town Council.
An institution which has been of much benefit to the
Town is the Mechanics Institute established in 1874 under
the presidency of Mr. G. A. Stewart, now of Calgary. A
previous Institute had been established in 1852 and incorp
orated in 1854, and for several years had maintained a
library and reading room over Mr. DeyelPs present store ;
but it became defunct and sold its library to the Y. M. C.A.
During its early years it provided courses of lectures every
winter. The present Institute started over the old Times
office and soon after moved to its present location. J. H.
Helm Esq. is President and Miss M. C. Budge, Secretary,
while the library now contains 5000 volumes.
Prior to 1870 all concerts, theatricals, lectures etc. were
held in the Town Hall. In that year the O Neill Brothers
built the old Opera House. It was merely a music hall,
without gallery, boxes or adequate stage accommodation.
These accessories were added in 1886 when a Peterboro
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 119
Company secured the property, and until 1897 tne
Opera House witnessed many gatherings of most varied
nature. It was destroyed by fire Feb. i4th and restored to
its present well-equipped condition in 1899. Mr. E. J. Far-
quharson is the lessee.
Since 1862 the charity of the Town has been dispensed
through the Benevolent Society, which was formed in that
year by the late Wm. Craig. Over one thousand dollars
pass through the hands of the society annually, of which
more than half is donated by private subscription. Mr. W.
Quay is now President and for over twenty years Mr. J. H.
Helm has been Treasurer.
But the monument of glory, Industry must ever claim.
HE capabilities of the Ganaraska River as a power-
stream were early recognized by the settlers of the
Newcastle District, and Smith s mills erected on
its banks in 1797 were the first of their kind in a
large section of the country. Supplied with its
waters from perennial springs, the stream possesses the
uncommon characteristic of maintaining an almost uniform
flow of water all the year around, with the exception of brief
periods when floods are prevalent. In addition it has a fall
of some sixty-four feet within the Town limits which at
present develops six hundred and fifty horse-power.
Viewed from the industrial standpoint Port Hope s life
divides itself into three periods ; the first when the Town
was rendered famous by the output of its numerous dis
tilleries ; the second when it became equally important as a
railway terminus and port and the third and present period
when it is striving to maintain itself at its former level,
though suffering from severe losses over which it has had no
It was in 1802 that Elias Smith built the first distillery
near the site of the skating rink and began the manufacture
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 121
of the famous Port Hope brand of whiskey. Within a few
years other distilleries started operations and by 1826 no
fewer than eight were in existence in the Town, while during
the thirties even a larger number were kept busy supply
ing the world with its favorite beverage. A large proportion
of this production was shipped to Montreal, where it was
transformed into brandy, rum and gin and returned to its
native town under the guise of a genune foreign article.
Port Hope s busiest years were from about 1850 to
1880 when many important public works were in the
course of construction. The building of the harbor, viaduct
and railroads employed hundreds of men ; the Railroad
Shops and Car Works were kept at full blast supplying and
repairing rolling-stock Helm s Foundry and Hayden s
Foundry turned out all manner of machinery; Robertson s
Tannery (est. 1820) and Craig s Tannery (est. 1852) both did
large businesses and Molson s, Barrett s and Peplow s Mills
manufactured flour for shipment. Besides these there were
carriage-works, saw mills, carding mills and numerous other
industries in operation, supplying the needs of the newly
opened-up country to the North.
In 1873 P rt Hope s greatest manufacturing enterprise-
the Car Works was set on foot by Messrs. N. Kirchhoffer,
G. M. Furby, J. G. Williams, R. O Neill, L. Ross, J. Hayden,
and A. T. H. Williams, with a capital stock of $50,000.
Hardly had the Company s Charter been obtained than an
order for 400 cars came in from the Intercolonial Railway,
and other orders followed in rapid succession. For about
three years the Company flourished. Extensive shops on
both sides of the railway were erected on Ontario street,
122 PORT HOPE
long sidings were put in and two hundred mechanics were
kept busy day and night. But unfortunately financial diffi
culties set in, followed by a suit in Chancery, which termi
nated in the sale of the plant to Mr. Helm. For some years
the buildings stood idle and finally they were destroyed by
fire in August 1880.
Since the Car Works were closed down several manufac
tories of some note have served to maintain a small industri
al population in Port Hope, though other industries of long
standing have dwindled down to very small proportions.
The white stone mill at Helm s dam, erected in 1853, was
used for many years as a flour mill and store-house. In
1887 Mr. J. Dyer opened it as a woollen mill and continued
to manufacture there till the building was destroyed by fire
in April 1889.
In 1888 Mr. F. Outram established the File Works at
Beamish s dam. At first twenty-six men were employed.
Now much larger buildings and three times the number of
hands render this Factory of much importance to the Town.
(A recent deal has placed it in the hands of the Nicholson
File Company of New Jersey.) At the same time that this
Factory came to Port Hope, a Twine Factory was also es
tablished near the Harbor by VV. A. Morris & Company of
Montreal. Shortly after it became the property of the Con
sumers Cordage Company of the same place. For several
years the works were operated but after having been closed
down for lengthy periods they were finally removed in 1898.
Its former building was reoccupied in the present year by
the Dominion Radiator Company, which bids fair to become
a flourishing institution.
FIRES AND FIREMEN.
Dong dong -the bells rang out
Over the house-tops ; and then a shout
Of " Fire ! " came echoing up the street,
With the sound of eager, hurrying feet.
NTIL the incorporation of Port Hope with a
Board of Police, there was no organization of any
sort for the prevention of fires. But one of the
the first acts of the new body was the appointment
of three fire wardens Wm. Lee, Wm. Mitchell
and Wm. Furby whose duties were to inspect all buildings
liable to take fire easily, to compel people to place such
buildings in safe condition and to see that every householder
was provided with buckets and ladders. These fire wardens
also directed the efforts of the people at fires. For many-
years they were appointed annually, and were the sole au
thorities in connection with conflagrations.
Though a Hook and Ladder Company was formed by
William Lee in 1842, its existence was so brief that it could
not be called the originator of the present Fire Brigade.
The date of the latter s formation was Jan. 2oth, 1846, when
a public meeting was held and a Brigade of over sixty mem
bers was formed. Fifty buckets and three small engines,
purchased from M. F. Whitehead, comprised the apparatus
i2 4 PORT HOPE
of these early firemen. In February 1849 Rescue engine
was purchased from T. Snook of Rochester for $750 and
Rescue Fire Company was formed with N. Kirchhoffer as
Captain. This engine pumped water from any convenient
stream or well in the neighborhood of a fire and was oper
ated by hand-power. Union engine was acquired in 1853,
and Victoria engine in 1856 and corresponding companies
were formed for them. Hook and Ladder and Bucket com
panies worked in conjunction with these engine companies.
When the waterworks were introduced, the old apparatus
disappeared. Extinguisher Hose Company was formed with
a strength of about twenty men, and soon after two Chemi
cal engines were placed at the east and west ends of the
Town and companies formed to operate them. These latter
companies continued in existence until about 1891 when
they were disbanded and five men from each added to the
Hose company. On Jan. ist, 1901, the strength of the
Hose Company was reduced to fifteen men, and a well-
trained team of horses added to the equipment.
About the year 1850 the main street of Port Hope was
occupied with two-storey wooden blocks. By a series of
disastrous fires all these old buildings were completely des
troyed. The first fire started in the Meredith Block on the
south side of Walton street, about 9 p. m. on Jan. 2nd,
1850, and before it was out, the street had been cleared from
Queen street up to the future site of the railway track.
Shortly after a second fire started in a hotel on the site of
the present American hotel and burned up to the Brogdin
Block (Tempest Block). Hardly were new structures com
pleted on these sites than a third conflagration cleared out
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 125
the Brogdin Block, and devastated up to Cavan street. The
old wooden Durham House on the corner of John and
Walton streets stood through all this destruction until it too
went up March yth, 1859. Within the next few years a
number of fine brick blocks north of the Royal Hotel in
which the Post Office and Customs House were domiciled,
were also destroyed by fire, which originated in the Hatton
Block. Then in the year 1865 a serious fire swept away a
number of buildings expending from the Opera House to
the Y. M. C. A. on John street. The following February a
fire originated in Hagerman s grocery in Quinlan s Block
and owing to the intense cold and the freezing of the en
gines, destroyed the whole block. Last of the big down
town fires was one which started in Brent s Drug Store in
the new Brogdin Block in July, 1867, and cleared out the
whole block and the adjoining Smith Block though both
were of brick construction.
Next came a period when incendiaries were at work and mills
and factories suffered. Woods Brothers Fanning Mill west
of the Drill Shed was burned in 1872 ; Butterfield s Carriage
works on Cavan street were destroyed in 1873; Molson s
huge flour mill at the Electric Light Pond was consumed in
the Fall of 1874 ; and on Sunday morning August 8th, 1880
the famous Car Works on Ontario street were totally des
troyed, entailing a loss of $48,000.
Since then several large fires have occurred, notably
Barrett s Mills, Beamish s Mills and Wallace s Store House
at the wharf in 1885: the old stone mill, occupied by J.
Dyer & Sons, April 2ist, 1889; the Town Hall, Feb. 3rd,
126 PORT HOPE
1893; Trinity College School Feb. i6th, 1895; and the
Opera House, Feb. i3th, 1897.
The Fire Hall was erected in the year 1871 by Messrs.
Wallace, Carveth and Fogarty, contractors, for $3,200.
Prior to its occupancy the central fire station was situated
on the west side of Ontario street near Walton street. The
present Fire Chief is Mr. L. G. Misson.
SOME PIONEER FAMILIES.
" Old faces look upon me
Old forms go trooping past."
O many famous old families are connected with the
early history of Port Hope that it will be
impossible to bestow attention on all of them. The
plan will therefore be followed of considering only
a few of those whose descendants still maintain a
living interest in the Town.
The HARRIS FAMILY were originally of Dutch extraction
but had settled in America long before the Revolution. In
1776 the family were at Poughkeepsie and with the excep
tion of Myndert, they all decided to support the revolution
ists. Myndert however stood by King George, served during
the War in the quarter-master department at New York and
at the close of the War retired with his family to Digby, N.S.
Dissatisfied with that country, Mr. Harris journeyed to
Newark, Upper Canada, by way of New York and the
Hudson and, through the representations of Captain Walton,
settled at Smith s Creek in 1793. He resided in this
neighborhood until his death in 1823 at the age of 75 years.
His family consisted of four sons and six daughters. Of
these MYNDERT, JUN. died at Port Hope in 1878, aged 92
years. He was the father of Thomas Harris of Wesleyville
128 PORT HOPE
and of the late Joseph Harris of Port Hope. HANNAH
married first Seth Soper and had two daughters. One of
these was the mother of J. D. and S. S. Smith. She after
wards married John Burnham. SARAH married Elisha
Jones and had three daughters, one of whom was the mother
of Dr. L. B. Powers.
Elias Smith, the founder of the SMITH FAMILY, owned
large property in New York and Harland at the time of the
Revolution. He succeeded in selling the Harland property
for ^7,000 but lost his New York property by his adhesion
to King George. This city property was in 1830 valued at
a million dollars. He came to Port Hope in 1797 and with
Captain Walton received a Crown Patent of the Town site.
Of his large family JOHN DAVID is of most interest to Port
Hope citizens. He was born in New York in 1786 and
came to Port Hope with his father. Until his death in
1849 ne was a prominent citizen of the Town and held
the offices of Magistrate and member of the Legislative
Assembly for some time. Of his nine sons and three
daughters, ELIAS P. was for many years Manager of the
Bank of Upper Canada. He was the father of J. D.
and S. S. Smith and the late Mrs. John Smart. DAVID was
a lumberman at Consecon ; JOHN S. was a lawyer in To
ronto, Cobourg and Port Hope ; JAMES became Judge of
the County of Victoria ; WM. M. was a doctor in Port
Hope ; MRS. J. B. HALL ; ROBERT CHARLES, father of
R. C. Smith, was a lumberman ; SIDNEY was a lawyer in
Cobourg and for a time Post Master General of Canada ;
JOSEPH S. ; WALLACE W. ; MRS. T. C. CLARK ; MRS.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 129
The WARD FAMILY are of English descent. Their
founder, Captain Thomas Ward, was born in London in
1770 and came to Canada with Governor Simcoe in 1791.
He was one of the first statute lawyers of Upper Canada
and one of the first benchers of the Law Society of the
Province. Until 1808 he was Registrar of Northumberland
County, residing at Brighton. In that year he became
Registrar for Durham and removed to Port Hope. In later
life he also held the offices of Judge of the County Court
and Clerk of the Peace for the Newcastle District. In 1847
he resigned from the Registrars office in favor of his son
George C. and his death took place in 1861. All his family
of eight children are now dead. Among them were Mrs.
J. T. Williams, George C. and Ely W., all three well-known
in Port Hope. H. A. Ward, Esq., M.P. is the only
surviving son of the late George Ward.
John Tucker Williams, the founder of the WILLIAMS
FAMILY, came to Canada during the War of 1812-15 and
commanded a vessel on the Lake during that war. He
finally settled at Port Hope. During the Rebellion of 1837
he commanded the Durham Regiment ; later represented the
County in Parliament and was the first Mayor of Port Hope.
His death took place in 1854. Of his family of seven
children Mrs. Wm. Fraser, Mrs. Charles Seymour and
Charles Williams still survive. His eldest son Arthur
Trefusis Heneage was born June i3th, 1837 and was
educated at Upper Canada College and Edinburgh Univer
sity. He was a most public-spirited man and held many
responsible positions in the Town and the country. He
was Colonel of the 4 6th Regiment and saw service during
130 PORT HOPE
the Fenian Invasion and the North-West Rebellion. He
also served in both the Local and Dominion Houses. His
lamentable death to which reference has already been made
occurred July 4th, 1885. In 1859 he married Emily, daugh
ter of Hon. Benjamin Seymour and by her had five children.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 1889, Sir John A. MacDonald
unveiled a statue, erected in his honor on the Market
Square, and by this means the memory of this worthy
citizen and soldier is perpetuated.
The BURNHAM FAMILY whose names are familiar in a
large section of Ontario are the descendants of four brothers,
Asa, John, Zaccheus and Mark, who came to Ontario from
New Hampshire. Mark, whose name is more particularly
associated with Port Hope, was born in 1791 and came to
Canada in 1812, settling first at Cobourg. In 1830 he
removed to Port Hope and continued the mercantile busi
ness there for ten years. Besides being a successful mer
chant he was a musician and composer of some talent. He
died in 1864. His third and only surviving son is H. H.
Burnham, Esq., a prominent and respected citizen of Port
The CHOATE FAMILY comprising a father and two sons
left Enfield, New Hampshire about the year 1798 and set
tled near Hamilton, Ontario. A few years later, Jacob, one of
the sons, bought a farm near Cobourg. There he resided a
short time and then came on to Smith s Creek, where he en
gaged in the hotel business until 1816, his tavern being the
progenitor of the present Queen s. During this time he
purchased the lands at Belmont and finally removed
there. He was the father of four sons and two daughters.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 131
Of these Nathan, the eldest son, born in March 1805, be
came the proprietor of Belmont and a prominent agricultur
ist of the district. For more than fifteen years he was
President of the Durham Agricultural Society. On his death,
July loth, 1891, the Belmont Estate descended to his son
Asa, whose lamentable death, August 28th, 1901, has so
recently occurred. Of this family there still survives Nathan
B. Choate of Iowa, Miss Elizabeth Choate of Port Hope,
Mrs. Herriman of Lindsay, and Mrs. Meeking of Hope
Great men have been among us
And tongues that uttered wisdom, better none.
MONG the numerous gentlemen who have taken a
prominent share in the public affairs of the Town,
there are two in particular, distinguished by
especial virtues, whose names should not be
omitted in this volume. These are the late
Thomas Benson and the late William Craig. The former
gentleman was born at Fintona, Ireland, Jan. nth, 1804,
whence his family crossed to America in 1816. About
1819 they settled at Kingston where the father, James
Benson died in 1828. Thomas Benson entered upon the
mercantile life, remaining in Kingston until 1832, when he
removed to Port Hope, where he resided for five years.
During the rebellion of 1837 and subsequent years he
served as Captain. In" 1845 ne settled at Peterborough but
returned to Port Hope in 1853 to assume the duties of
Secretary-Treasurer of the Port Hope and Peterborough
Railway, which he fulfilled in the most able manner until
his premature death in the Desjardins Canal catastrophe,
March i2th, 1857. Of a family of twelve children, the
eldest surviving son is Thomas Moore Benson, of Port
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 133
Hope, Senior Judge of the United Counties and a man
who ably fills his father s place in the community. Richard
Lowe Benson, for some years Deputy Sheriff of the
Counties of Northumberland and Durham ; Lieut.-Col.
Frederick Albert Benson and four daughters are still living.
The late William Craig was born in Yorkshire, England,
Feb. 2 yth, 1819, but did not come to Port Hope until 1852.
In that year he started the Tannery which still bears his
name. Until his death on Friday, 2gth May, 1891, he was
actively connected with the philanthropic and benevolent in
stitutions of the Town, was for many years the main-stay of
the Baptist Church and for four years was Mayor of the Town.
He was the father of four sons and two daughters who
occupy most honorable positions in the various places where
destiny has placed them. Of the daughters, one is the wife
of Judge Chisholm, of Berlin, for many years a well-
known citizen of Port Hope and the other is the wife
of Dr. J. W. Clemesha, a foremost physician of the Town.
Of the sons T. Dixon sat for two terms as member for East
Durham ; John is a missionary in India ; Joseph resides in
Minneapolis and William succeeded to his father s business
in Port Hope.
THE OLD HOYS* CELEBRATION OF 1 90 1.
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there s no place like home.
HE idea of entertaining " old boys and girls " in the
home of their youth can scarcely be considered a
novelty, but yet it may be justly claimed that no
Canadian town has before entered into the project
to such an extent and with such a measure of suc
cess as Port Hope. The opportunity of revisiting scenes of
their youth and meeting old friends was embraced by Port
Hope s sons and daughters from far and wide. For three
days the town was crowded with the returned natives, and
for many days before and after the special days of the cele
bration, the " old boys " were largely in evidence. This
period of reunion at the beginning of a new century will
doubtless live long in the memory of those who participated
in it and it will accordingly be unnecessary here to relate in
detail all that occurred. Suffice it to give a general outline
of the celebration which may serve at some future date to
recall more clearly the events of the various days.
The first morning was occupied with the arrival and offi
cial welcome of the visitors. The Rochester Old Boys with
the Knights of St. George and the 54th Regiment Band
HISTORICAL SKETCHES. 135
were the most conspicuous figures in the constantly moving
stream of humanity. These Americans with their character
istic enthusiasm had provided themselves with a uniform
outfit consisting of long grey dust-coats, yachting caps and
red. white and blue sunshades. On the arrival of the To
ronto contingent, a procession was formed which marched
to the Town Hall where Mayor White in his best style gave
the corporation welcome to the visitors. Speeches followed
from Dr. Forbes of Chicopee Falls, organizer Joseph Hoop
er, of Port Hope, Messrs. T. O. Monaghan of Rochester,
W. J. Colvin of Omaha, J. W. Curry, K. C. of Toronto,
Robert Clarke of San Francisco, Samuel Lelean of Redlands,
California and President Andros of the Organization Com
The afternoon witnessed horse race_s, athletic sports and
a baseball match in the Park, while the day was wound up
with a band concert, in which participated the Queen s Own
Band of Toronto and the 54th Regiment Band of
The second day of the celebration was ushered in with
continued fine weather. A large contingent from Peterboro
with the 57th Regiment Band of that city arrived betimes,
much to the gratification of the people of Port Hope. An
excellent Kalithumpian procession amused the crowds until
noon. More horse races and a lacrosse match (Peterboro
vs Port Hope in which the home team were the easy win
ners) succeeded by a magnificent display of fire-works at
night, comprised the second day s programme.
Wednesday and Thursday, the remaining days of the
celebration, were spent in a quieter manner and were accord-
136 PORT HOPE
ingly enjoyed by all who desired to visit friends. The suc
cess of the undertaking was undoubtedly due in a large
measure to the indefatigable efforts of Mr. Joseph Hooper,
who spent many months previous to the affair in making
preparations and working up enthusiasm. The townspeople
expressed their welcome in many ways, especially by the
lavish decorations, which everywhere graced the town.
Prominent among these was a large turreted white arch on
Walton street, which was much admired by all who
(Merely supplementary to Table of Contents. )
, 15. 47, 102
Band, 4 6th II2
Benevolent Society . . . .119
I \ * T" C7 J^ T- T^l-v
Benson, Thomas . .
Bethune, Rev. C. I. S .
T~* i f -!. , *
File Factory I32
Furby, William . . . . . . 99
Board of Police . .
Board of Trade . . . . n8
Burnham Family . . . .130
Burying-grounds . . . . 6, 117
Carrying-road. ... 44
Car Works I2 7
Cassie, Rev. ]. ... . . 67
Cemeteries 6, 117
Choate Family .... 130
Cobourg Star . ^g
County, connection with Town
; 24, 32
rormed 29, government 32
Craig, William . . 81, 82, 133
Customs House T i6
District, Newcastle .... 2 Q
Districts of Upper Canada . 28
Durham Field Battery . . . II2
Electric Light ... II7
In niTMt-irt/-. \7*.I _
Gas Company ....
Gochingomink, meaning of . .44
Haunted Meadow .
Henderson murder .
Implements, primitive . .
Incorporation of Town
Ir ^ians i, j, v,, /
Island 6, 8, 18
McSpadden accident ... 58
Mechanics Institute ... 118
Mills 10, ii, 17, 121
Murders 55, 56, 57
North-West Rebellion .
22, 29, 30
. . Ill
O Meara, Rev. F. A. ... 62
O Neill murder 56
Opera House 118
Park, Town 27
Plague, Spotted 13
Post Office 19, "5
Prince of Wales visit . . . 104
Queen Victoria, proclaimed . 103
Jubilees . . 105
Death, . . 105
Rebellion of 1837 108
mentary, . 28, 29, 31
Roads, early .... 44, 45, 46
Sculthorpe, James ... 12, 107
Settler, first 2
Shorlt, Rev. J 61
Smith, Elias 10, 128
Smith, J. D 31, 33, 128
South African War . . . . 113
Stages 47. 48
Town Hall 24, 25
Town, incorporated .... 33
Town and County connection. 24
Trent Valley Canal ... 36, 37
Viaduct 50, 51, 52
War of 1812 106, 107
Ward, H. A 129
Ward, Thomas 129
Wards, Town 23
Waterworks .... 25, 26, 27
Whiskey, Port Hope ... 12 1
Williams, A. T. H. .31, 129, 130
Williams, J. T. . . . 31, 129
Wreck of Niagara .... 58