J. Smyth Carter.

The story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 online

. (page 30 of 40)
Online LibraryJ. Smyth CarterThe story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 → online text (page 30 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

limestone strata resisted the attrition of the water which gradually followed
the southern channel thus leaving the former island a point.

As a commercial centre Matilda (Iroquois) began its career with the opening
of a store by George Brouse, on the bank of the St. Lawrence. Mr. Brouse' s
venture was successful, and later he built another store, a stone structure, ou
the site now occupied by the handsome residence of M. F. Beach. The front,
between Matilda village and Mariatown, was showing progress ; the forest
was losing its grip on the river margin ; stores, conducted by resident farm-
erg, began to appear, and as the merchants had not our twentieth century
keen competition to compete with, many of them grew wealthy and influent-
ial. These farmer store-keepers assumed in a measure the character of an
aristocracy. "From these families," says Mr. Harkness, "the Justices of the
Peace, the militia officers, the Court and School Commissioners, and of course
the members of the Legislative Assembly (or Parliament) were selected," la
the immediate vicinity of the present village improvements followed slowly.
In 1817 a postoffice had been opened in the front of the township, with
James Glasford postmaster. In 18227 the office was moved west to the premises
of George Brouse.

While the country was in this primitive state the inhabitants did not forget
the education of their children. Travelling teachers were welcomed into the
settlement. At the old Shaver school, up the front, and at other places the
youth were instructed. Previous to the pastorate of Rev, Myers, school was
held in the Lutheran church, where for a time a one>armed Scotchman
taught. Our informant could not vouch for his merits as a teacher, but
as a dispenser of the rod he was eminent. Later school was conducted in an
old log house situated in the swamp; and finally, about 1840, a new stone
school house was built.

These events contributed to the growth of the village, but the greatest Im-
petus was furnished by the canal construction, which began in 1842, Previous
to that time a considerable settlement had formed on the Point, which with its
charming location gave promise of being the site of the future village; but be-
ing isolated by the canal the neucleus of settlement was transferred to the
north of the new waterway. After the completion of the canal Wm. Elliot,
one of the contractors, obtained water privileges thereon and built grist and
flouring mills at Matilda. Other industries followed, new stores were opened,
and ere long a considerable settlement formed. Among the merchants of
that period were Daniel Carman, who employed as clerks John 8 , Boss, F.
Bradfield, Hiram Carman. In a small building where now stands the furni-
ture store of W. J. Marsh & Son, Robert Lowery conducted a boot and shoe


shop. La wrence( Larry) Burns kept a bakery, grocery and liquor store. In
addition to these Smith's Canada (1850) furnishes the names of Philip Car*
man and Josiah Baldwin, tanners; Geo. Brouse, merchant and postmaster;
Carman and Bailey merchants; J, Laing, merchant; W. I. Shaver, saddler;
Alex. Wharton, carder and fuller; John 8. Boss, merchant; Addison Worth-
ington, M. D.

The growth and increasing trade resulting from the canal construction and
the consequent increase of navigation was supplemented in 1854 by the build-
ing of the Grand Trunk railway. Just about this time a telegraph office
was opened in Brouse's store. The line had been constructed some time be*
fore but no office had been established in Matilda. The origin of commercial
facilities is sometimes peculiar and so in this instance. It is alleged that
Messrs. Mills were then engaged at Montreal. Their sister at Matilda was
very ill with consumption; the mail service was tardy; and as they were
anxious to learn often of her condition they waited upon the Company's mana-
ger, with the result that an instrument was put in at Matilda. For a certain
small sum the Company agreed to send on an instructor to teach someone
the art of telegraphy. The pupil in this case was Robert Larmour, a Matilda
boy, whose success as an operator induced him to enter broader fields and he
subsequently became manager of the Buffalo and Lake Huron Division of
the GK T. B.

In 1857 the village was incorporated, and the events leading up to this step
are thus described by Mr. Harkness: "Of all the stores that had been along
the front road one only remained. It was about a mile east of the village and
near the front end of the Matilda plank road. The proprietor, John Laing, was
a brainy and peppery little Scotchman who had established a business
there before there could be said to be a village here. He had a deservedly
high reputation for honesty, George Brouse having said of him some time be-
fore, when a young man in his store, that he 'would not be afraid to trust him
with a drawerful of uncounted gold.' He and John S.Ross had commenc-
ed business about the same time and there is no doubt regarded each other as
rivals. They both sought and obtained seats at the Council board of the
township. In 1856 Mr. Boss was reeve, but in 1857 Mr. Laing succeeded in
getting two of the newly-elected members to support him and thus secured
the reeveship and control of the Council. In addition to the rivalry be-
tween the two gentlemen there appears to have been a rivalry between the
two school sections, No. 2, east of the village, and No. 3, in which the village
was situated, and there was a farm or two about midway between the school
houses that was debatable ground. At the time this land was attached to the
village section, but Mr. Laing having a majoriry of the Council with him got
a by-law passed to detach it and unite it with his section, No. 2. This aroused


Res. A. Patton. Res. G.


the village, but as the township was evidently with Mr. Laing, there was no
remedy unless the village could be incorporated and include this land within
its limits. To do this in the ordinary way through the Counties' Council re-
quired a population of 750, which was more than the place could then muster.
There was no recourse left but to apply to the Legislature for a special Act
of Incorporation. This was done at once; the Act was passed, and the
new Council elected in August. George Brouse was very active and influent-
ial in promoting the incorporation, and was elected reeve for the balance of
the year. His colleagues in the Council were : J. S. Ross, Wm. Elliot,
Philip Carman and James Grier. As an evidence of the haste with which the
Act was hurried through the Legislature, though it was passed in the interest
of the Common school here, the western part of the section beyond the
limit of the village was left out in the cold, and it was necessary to get another
Act passed the following year to attach it to the village for school purposes."

In addition to the school difficulty other grievances existed. The village
people had been paying their taxes into the township treasury and were re-
ceiving practically nothing in return to improve the village streets, etc., and
hence the desire for separation.

Previous to incorporation King street had been planked after the fashion of
the Matilda plank road. A number of years later this street was macadamiz-
ed, and the first public sidewalks laid, about 1859, although for some time
private walks had fronted the premises of Geo. Brouse and W. I. Shaver. Un-
til 1857 the village had been commonly designated Cathcart, in honor of Earl
Cathcart, who at one time commanded the British forces in Canada. The
official name of the postoffice had however been Matilda, but since incorpora-
tion it has borne the name of Iroquois, after the great Indian tribe which in-
habited these parts before the advent of the white man. Great changes had
taken place in the interval. The lower portion of the swamp which a few
decades previous was an obstruction in reaching the Point had blossomed into
a prosperous village. A fair conception of it at this period is furnished by the
Canada Directory of 1857-8, viz. : Daniel Abbot, store-keeper ; Johti and Wm.
Armstrong, stave factory ; Martin Armstrong, grocer ; W. C. Bailey, store-
keeper ; Bobt. Bell, tailor ; J, C . Blackburn, operator ; Samuel Boyd, watch-
maker ; Edward Brouse, J. P., collector of customs ; Geo. Brouse, sr.,
sawmill and shingle mill ; Geo. W. Brouse, insurance agent ; J. G. Brouse,
Commercial Hotel ; Nicholas Brouse, boot and shoe store ; Albert Carman, B.
A., Principal of Grammar school ; Rufus Carman, attorney ; John A. Carman,
store-keeper ; Henry Dailey, carpenter ; John Davison, grocer ; Davy & Par-
low, store-keepers ; Reuben Dillabough, G-. T. Hotel ; Solomon Doran, bailiff
and insurance agent ; Samuel Fell, station master ; Miss Frazer, milliner ;
Alex. Gill, tinsmith ; Jas. Grier, carriagemaker ; Wm. Hartley, carpenter ;


Thos. Higgins, Royal Oak Hotel ; Iroquois village library, Jas. Slorah, librar-
ian ; Benjamin Liddle, blacksmith and grocer ; Chancellor Lilly, carpenter ;
Robt. Lowery, grocer, etc. ; Chas. McKercher, grocer ; Jas. McDonald, butch-
er ; Miss Margaret McMillan, milliner ; John McNulty. shoemaker ; Cephas
Mills, store-keeper ; Wm. Mills, store-keeper ; John Molson, sawmill owner
and merchant ; Geo. Munroe, blacksmith ; William Nesbitt, butcher ; John
O*Grady, lockmaster ; John and Arthur Patton, coopers; Wm. Rabishaw,
grocer and baker ; \V. H. Scott, shoemaker; Christopher Shannon, carpenter;
Chas. Sharp, blacksmith ; Henry Shaver, butcher; Nelson G. Sherman,
blacksmith and carriagemaker ; Jas. Slorah, grocer ; Jos. Stebbings, cabinet-
maker ; John Williams, M. D.

While the village was yet in its infancy the improvement of the streets and
sidewalks received some attention. The progress though slow was neverthe-
less apparent. In 1858 The Iroquois Chief, the first newspaper published in
Dundas, was founded by Wm. S. Johnston. The roll of business men contin-
ued to increase, and in the middle sixties we find these names : Wm.
Abbott, undertaker and furniture dealer; Miss E. H.Anderson, milliner;
Edward Ault, druggist ; James Brock way, tinsmith ; N. H. Brouse, carriage-
maker ; James Brown, butcher ; Miss S. E. Carlyle, milliner ; Daniel Carman,
lumber and wood merchant ; Jacob Carman, trunk maker; Wm. Clark, black-
smith ; N. M. Havy, general merchant ; M.D. Fisk, general merchant ; James
Grier, postmaster ; Robt. Hartley, carpenter ; Wm. Hutchison, edge tool
manufacturer ; John Marsh, mason ; C. & M. Mills, general merchants ; H.
McCullough, collector of customs ; Donald McCallum, commission merchant
and grocer ; John McDonell, shoemaker ; John Murray, tailor ; John Price,
blacksmith ; Joseph Rigg, grocer and liquor dealer ; Daniel Rose, P. S.
teacher ; J. S. ROSS& Co., general merchants; MissE. H. Sanderson, milliner;
G. I* Serviss, Alex. Shaver, blacksmiths ; Jos. Skinner, commission merchant;
Wm. Steacy, mason ; John Starks, dyer ; Jas. Stephenson, physician ; J. N.
Tuttle, merchant ; Chas. Wright, mason.

In 1875 the Town Hall was erected, at a cost of $6,000, and the following
year the present Public school building was constructed. In the year
1883 the flouring mill of Wm. Elliot was burned, and on the same site a large
roller mill was constructed by M. F. Beach. In addition to this industry the
chief wage paying concerns were the sawmills of A. Patton and L. Cameron,
and the carriage manufactory of N. G. Sherman & Son. In 1884 T.S. Edwards,
then reeve of the village, introduced a by-law to provide for the construction
of waterworks. Unfortunately this was defeated when submitted to the
people. In 1885 a by-law was passed authorizing R. H. Buchanan & Co., of
Which Gordon Serviss was a member, to install a system of waterworks . This
work was completed and formally opened July 1, 1888, the event being mark-


C. E. Cameron. Wm. Coulter. Adam Harkness. Allen Mclnnis.


ed by a grand celebration. Through the seventies and succeeding years
among the business men whose names are not now on the commercial or indus-
trial roll of Iroquois were: Daniel Wallace, proprietor G. T. R . Hotel; 0. E.
Hepburn, druggist; Doran & Son, general merchants; P. Keefe, owner of sash
and door factory and electric light plant; C.E.Harkness,grocer and stationer;
T. Sherman, tailor; Union Bank of Canada, which numbered among its mana-
gers Geo. Brown, E. W. Bourinot, A. G. Smith, R. A. McLelland; J. F. Mer-
chant & Son, tailors.

The canal improvements, which began in 1897 under the direction of Messrs.
Lai-kin & Sangster, marked a more recent epoch in the history of Iroquois.and
the advantages following such a work were appreciated by the villagers.
Considerable building resulted; several new commercial stands were opened
and every enterprising business house experienced a marked increase of trade.
The construction of the new locks, which are among the largest and finest
in Canada, was a work of great import. The 800 feet lock is the longest in
Canada. In June, 1898, the first stone Was laid by Hon. W. S. Fielding, Min-
ister of Finance, assisted by Hon. R. W. Scott, Hon. Clifford Sifton, and Sir
Louis Davies.

Since the incorporation of the village some of the municipal officers have
been as follows:

peeves 1857, GO. Brouse; 1858, Wm. Elliot; 1859-60, Philip Carman; 1861,
J. D. R. Williams ; 1862-8, Philip Carman; 1869-75, Dr.Jas. Stephenson; 1876-8,
John N. Tuttlet 1879, Dr, Jas. Stephenson; 1880-2, John N. Tuttle; 1883-4. T. S.
Edwards ; 1885-7, W. M. Doran; 1888-9, W. L. Redmond; 1890-1, W. M. Doran;
1891-4, Thos. Coulter; 1895-6, Chas. E. Cameron; 1897, A. F. Sherman;1898-1900,
Dr. Stephenson; 1900-04,Adam Harkness ; 1904 (later part), Chas. E. Cameron.

Clerks 1857-9, R. Carman; 1860-8, John N.Tuttle; 1869, A. C. Bowen; 1870-1,
S. J. Boyd; 1871-93, James Tindale : 1893, Chas. Robson; 1894-1903, Allen Mc-
Innis: 1903, A. E. Overell; 1903-4, James Flanagan.

The municipal services of Iroquois are on a t-olid basis. In 1*97, under
the reeveship of A. F. Sherman, an effort was made to purchase the water-
works at $13,000,and also to install an electric light plant, but unfortunately the
people voted down the by-law. The following year the system was purchased
by Patrick Keefe. In February, 1900, Mr. Harkness, who was in favor of muni-
cipal ownership, succeeded Dr. Stephenson as reeve, and he ( Harkness) in
conjunction with his colleagues, A. F. Sherman, W. J. Marsh, M. E. Barclay,
and J.H. Currie.submitted a by-law to purchase the waterworks system by arbi-
tration. This was accomplished, and the purchase made, at a cost of $20,000.
About this time the Government having occasion to change their plans were
obliged to expropriate the site which had been granted the waterworks on


the north side of the canal and in lieu of game built for the town the flume and
the foundation of the present power house, 'and carried across under the locks
a feed and supply pipe for that portion of the village lying to the south of the
canal. In 1901 a by-law was carried to install and operate a municipal electric
light and power plant. In January, 1902, the first Board of Water, Light and
Heat Commissioners, consisting of C. E, Cameron (chairman), W, A. Coulter
and Adam Harkness (reeve), were elected,and under their direction the building
and plant was completed during that year. The Board remained the same
until the death of Mr. Harkness.in June,1904, when L. N. Tanney was added,
Mr. Cameron, having been elected reeve, retained meanwhile the chair-
manship of the commission. Since the installation of the electric plant ex-
tensions have been made annually. It speaks well for municipal ownership
that the system has shown a surplus over all expenses and furnishing mean-
while adequate fire protection and excellent light at a very low figure. It
is in fact one of the most valuable assets possessed by the town. In 1902 the
construction of granolithic walks was begun in Iroquois; the credit for
the thought belongs to Mr. Harkness, This work was resumed in 1904, and
now most of the streets are thus laid, In 1903 a by-law was carried almost
unanimously to grant a loan of $12,000 for a shoe factory, which has yet to
prove successful.

There are many beautiful, modern homes in Iroquois, possessing all the
conveniences of the city, which also applies to the Point. At one time a
portion of the Point was owned by Gordon Brouse, who endeavored to con-
vert it into a park, surrounded by a beautiful driveway. Had. this project
succeeded, doubtless swarms of pleasure-seekers from far and near would
have visited it annually, and made it an ideal summer resort, which by
nature is so admirably adapted.

To manufacturing concerns Iroquois offers unexcelled privileges by reason
of its great waterpower and shipping facilities by rail and water. The Coun-
cil is also disposed to deal liberally by industries looking for a favored location,

The directory for 1904 is as follows ;

Medical practitioners, Dr. D. Johnston, Pr, A. B. Parlow; barrister, etc., G.
H. Davy, B. A.; dentist, G. P. VanAmam, L, D, S.; druggists, B. F, Smith,
Gordon Serviss; veterinary surgeon, Dr. W, P. MacOormick; hotels, Com-
mercial, D. O, Bowen, prop.; Powell House, Herman Montgomery, prop,;
general merchants, C. & M, Mills, Edward McNulty, Hare & Mdnnis; gents'
furnishings, Jas. McNulty; bank, Moleons.R. Barnhardt, manager {grocers, T.
Coulter, Mrs, C. E. Harkness, T A. Thompson, Gee, R.Sipes; hardware mer*
chants, Boss Bros* Co.; dealer In farm Implements, etc., P, P, Everetts;
aealer in coal, Ross Bros, & Co,, H, A, Bronse, T. A, Thompson; dealers


in lumber.L. Cameron, T. A. Thompson, A. Patton: jewelers, Jas. Tlndale, W.
A. Short; boot and shoe store, Z.Seely; tailors, A.B. Carman, W.E. Bowen,An.
gus Mclnnis; photographer, Ira W. Becksted; tinsmiths,C.E. Keeler. S.Landon;
carriage manufacturers, Sherman & Son, J.H. Currie: blacksmiths.Alex, Shav-
er, Wm. Clark, Geo.A. Bouck, Wallace & Lockerbie; flour and feed merchants'
M. F. Beach, M.Y.Edwards; harnessmakers, H. C. Baker, Jas. Stampjbutcbers,
W. A. Fisher, Jas. Rose, Geo. Serviss; gristmills, M. F. Beach (roller mill) Jog,
Alford, S. Frayne; undertaker and furniture dealer, W. J. Marsh; milliners,
Miss Piche, Mrs. G. Serviss; dressmakers, Miss Annie Black, Miss Annie Keel-
er, the Misses Crobar; postmaster, A. F. Sherman; electrician, George
Kennedy ; general agents, Allen J . Boss, Thomas S , Edwards 1
C. E. Cameron, Jas. Flanagan; marble and granite dealers, J. Spiers, Frank B.
Bullis ; barbers, Thos. Doran, Nap Guay ; collector of customs, James Bullisj
dealer in hides, etc., Ormond Redmond ; bakers, T. Coulter, Wm. Gregory; cabi-
net factory and planing mill, S . Frayne ; restaurant, Mrs, A. Serviss: livery,
Thos. Johnston; shipper and dealer in live stock, A. Mclvor ; G. T, B. station
agent, M. S. Cassan ; town constable, Alton Locke; electrician, Buf us Barton j
assistant electrician, Geo. Mclnnis ; painters,decorators,ete., John Armstrong,
Wm. Wilson, Geo. Thompson ; laundries, Iroquois Pearl Laundry, M, B. Flin-
dall, prop., and Chinese laundry; boot repair shop, J. H. Shannon jcarpenters,
Chas. Bobson, A. J. Osborne, A. Barkley, Chas. Holmes ; general contractor,
etc., S. Holland ; draymen, Alva Serviss, Chas, Hawley ; High school, T, E. A.
Stanley, Principal ; Public school, W. A. Bowen, Principal ; churches, four ; Pub-
lic Library (over 8,000 volumes) ; skating rink, M, J. Byan, proprietor. ; print-
ing efflce, The St. Lawrence News, B. S, Pelton, publisher ; town societies, A.
O. U. W. ; I. O. F. ; L. O. L.; C. O. C. F. ; W. O. W. ; A. F. & A. M. ; I. 0. 0. F,
W . C . T. U. ; grocery, restaurant and livery, W. N, Abbott ,



Sixty years ago the village of Morrisburg was unknown according to the
recollections of the oldest inhabitants. About 1844, when the canal construction
was undertaken, the site of the present village furnished little more than cul-
tivated fields with accompanying farm houses. East of the present gravel
road the land owners included Jesse W. Rose, Morris Becksted, William Kyle,
Thomas Casselinan, Matthew Monk; while to the west were the farms of
Harry Weager, Thomas Oasselman, George Merkley and Philip Stata. All
these were prosperous farmers; many of their descendants still reside in the
vicinity. A little farther up the river was situated Mariatown, which gave
promise of being the future capital of Dundas. During the progress of the
canal work trade still centred there; while at the site of the future Morrisburg
the chief apparent change was the erection of a few small residences, occupied
to some extent by individuals of a migratory nature, many of whom at the
close of the public works construction deemed it their best-
move. The situation of the locks and mill privileges were however soon to
claim attention, and about 1847, when the work of excavation was well
advanced, some of the Mariatown merchants and residents moved east-
ward, a few small industries were located.and the commercial seed of the new
village began to grow. In 1849 a grist mill was constructed by Benjamin
Chaff ey, whose enthusiasm had a marked effect on the growth of the hamlet.

William Kyle, a pioneer merchant of Morrisburg, was a native of county
Derry, Ireland, He grew to manhood in his native isle, and later engag-
ed in peddling thread laces, silk handkerchiefs, etc., in Scotland. In 1820 he
came to Canada, bringing with him some goods of superior quality similiar to
those he sold in Scotland. These, valued at about $900, were carried in a small
trunk not much larger than an ordinary valise. His first year in Canada was
spent at Cornwall, after which he came to Williamsburg and opened a store
on the bank of the St. Lawrence, opposite the present residence of M. D. Wil-
lard, then known as "Myers' Inn." Previously another merchant by the
name of John B. Siebert had located here, but he met with a foul death one

Herb. H. Bradfleld (Treas.), F. R. Chalmers (Clerk), E. Duffy (Councillor),

W. G. Becksted (Councillor).

Geo. L. Brown, C.B. (Reeve). Dr. G. Emmett (Councillor).

F. Herbick (Councillor).


day at the hands of four assassins, who were hanged at Cornwall in August,
1821. In 1828 Mr. Kyle built a store near the site of the then future Morris-
burg,and followed the mercantile business until his death, fifty two years ago,

James Holden, born of English parentage Dec 3, 1809, died Nov. 20, 1874,
was also closely identified with the pioneer history of Morrisburg. He con-
ducted a general store, owned an hotel, gave some attention to public matters,
and was postmaster for many years. According to statistics furnished by the
postoffiee department, this office was opened in 1830, under the appellation of
"West Williamsburg," the name Morrisburg having been assumed in 1851,
with H. G. Stearns as postmaster, Mr, Stearns, born at 8 wan ton, Ver-
mont, but reared in Montreal, came to Williamsburg when a young man,
and for more than forty years was a prominent merchant there,

A gentleman of Toronto, Ont., now somewhat advanced in years, gives his
recollections of twelve months' residence in Morrisburg fifty years ago, as

"The period thus embraced was during the year or two prior to the advent
of railway facilities which went into operation between Montreal and Brook-
ville toward the close of the year 1855, Previous to this time the chief mode
of transportation during the season of navigation was by steamer, a choice of
two daily lines being available. These were the Boyal mail line and the
American line; of the former about the best vessel was the Banshel, and of the
latter the Jenny Lind, The new iron steamer Kingston came out later in the
season of 1855 and was chiefly employed in moving the parliamentary
paraphrenalia from Quebec to Toronto under the existing system of perambu-
lating seats of government. In addition to the trim passenger vessels there
were lines of f rieg ht boats and schooners, the latter being towed chiefly by
old paddle boats which had been superannuated from the passenger service,
The movement of all this variety of craft upon the bosom of the noble river,
created a most pleasing and inspiring scene scarcely equalled elsewhere. The
work of ferrying across to the American shore was carried on principally by

Online LibraryJ. Smyth CarterThe story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 → online text (page 30 of 40)