Welland History .ca

Historic EVENTS in and around Welland



[Welland Tribune, 28 August 1885]

Brown Bros’ Flouring Mills have been refitted throughout and furnished with twelve sets of rolls of the well-known Ellison manufacture, Milwaukee; also four purifiers, six reels (scalping), two centrific reels, bran duster, two wheat scourers and a separator, all except the rolls from the Geo. T. Smith Mfg. Co., Stratford. The roller process and its results are almost too well known to require explanation. The first roll merely cracks the grain. From this it is passed through the respective rolls and machinery, until the product is turned out as the very finest “patent process” flour made, the residue being made into the several grades of flour and feed known to commerce. These mills are fitted with the most modern and improved engine, weighing and packing processes and machinery throughout, with a capacity from 100 barrels of flour a day upward. The rolls and machinery have been put in under the foremanship of Mr. Geo. T. Skene; and was started on Monday, and works exceptionally smoothly and satisfactorily for new machinery. The grade of flour turned out is pronounced strictly first-class; fully the equal of that produced by any roller mill in Canada, without exception. The church opposite has been leased for a storehouse and is now the receptacle of a large quantity of wheat. Messrs. Brown Bros. contemplates connecting it with their mill, by a frameway which will prove a great advantage.

The mill will give steady employment to six men when worked to full capacity, besides affording a local market for grain, a much needed desideratum, as farmers largely do their trading where they sell their wheat. It must therefore be of material advantage to the town, and we trust it will prove equally remunerative and satisfactory to its enterprising proprietors. The firm now advertise to pay Thorold and St. Catharines prices for wheat, and are taking in large quantities.


The Stork, the Pale Rider and Cupid-What They Have Done

[Welland Tribune, 3 January 1908]

Cupid is a bit slow in Welland. The little fellow, who laughs at locksmiths and deals in hearts, has not averaged a marriage a week in our town, there only being 31 marriages during the past year. But the stork has done better, and from out its long beak, and out from the land of somewhere, out from mystery, has brought 53 little cherubs, who someday will be voters or mothers in the land. Death is ever busy, and 54 has the pale rider come to the town and 54 times has the crepe been hung above the door a Welland home. In plain language, Welland during the last twelve months has had 53births, 54 deaths and 31 marriages.


Fonthill News

[Welland Tribune, 1 October 1897]

The house and blacksmith shop of Wm. Dougherty were totally destroyed by fire on Saturday evening. The fire originated in the kitchen, from a lamp, and quickly spread through the house.

A brave attempt was made to save the blacksmith shop, but to no avail. Andrew Lymburner’s house was only saved by the indefatigable work of the citizens, who formed themselves in to a pail brigade and did yeoman service. Mr. Dougherty will be a heavy loser, as all his furniture, bedding, etc., was destroyed. The insurance on the place will not more than cover the mortgage on it, so that Mr. Dougherty is not only left penniless, but entirely destitute, his clothing even being burned. Mr. Dougherty is a good mechanic, however, and if he will attend to business properly will receive the active support of the village.


Fonthill News

[Welland Tribune, 8 October 1897]

Dougherty, our blacksmith, has hired a residence of Joe Gould and moved in, and the first of next week will have his new blacksmith shop ready for patrons. He is hustling right sharp. Give him a call for horseshoeing and blacksmithing-the fellow has had hard luck from the fire fiend.


[Welland Tribune July 1917]

Ten Dead, Six to Ten Missing and Many are Injured


Niagara Falls, July 1  A trolley car on the Great Gorge route left the rails, plunged down a twenty-foot embankment and turned over in ten feet of water on  the edge of the Whirlpool rapids at 3.30 o’clock this afternoon.

The toll of the tragedy may never be known. Ten bodies are now in local morgues and identified. There are about 36 known survivors and three are known to be missing. It is estimated today that there are from six to ten persons missing. All are Americans from a distance.

A washout due to recent heavy rains, was the cause of the disaster, which occurred just below the cantilever bridge and 60 feet below the point where the smooth water of the upper reaches of the Niagara river breaks into the turbulent waters of the Whirlpool rapids.

There were more than 50 passengers on board according to general estimates. The car was one of the open kind, the seats extending from side to side, with steps on both sides the full length of the car.

The car was running about twenty miles an hour when it struck the weak spot in the roadbed. Less than half a minute elapsed from the time the motorman felt the first jarring sway until the car was bottom side the edge of the rushing rapids.

As it slipped down the twenty-foot line from the tracks to the edge of the river, men and women fought to escape and some of them were able to get free, but were unable to get a footing on the steep bank.

There was a  mad scramble in the shallow water between the wrecked car and the river bank and from the river side the bodies of at least two of the passengers were seen to be caught in the swifter waters and were carried down to the Whirlpool.

Members of the 74th regiment of Buffalo who were on guard at the cantilever bridge saw the accident and were the first to the rescue.

Warning of the weak spot in the roadbed had been telephoned but the company claims it was too late.



[Welland Tribune August 14, 1917]

Percy Elsie and Frank Pollard

Hit by Train, Driving over M.C.R.


A shocking tragedy occurred Friday afternoon between 4 and 5 o’clock when Percy Elsie, aged 17, son of Wm. Elsie and Frank Pollard, aged 10, son of Linc Pollard, were killed on a level crossing over the Michigan Central between Lincoln street and Industrial Park, just east of the city.

Elsie was driving a one horse wagon loaded with lumber, for S.L. Lambert and the younger boy, Pollard, was taking a ride with him. They were trying to get across the track ahead of No 37 fast passenger train bound from Niagara Falls to Detroit, or else they failed to see the train, though there is a clear view of the track at this point. The train hit the wagon squarily demolishing it completely and strewing the track for a long distance with lumber and parts of the wagon. The train stopped and backed up to the scene of the accident.

A horrible sight met the view of those who alighted from the train. Elsie had been thrown against the fence. He was still living but his throat was horribly injured. He expired a few minutes later. Pollard had been driven through the board fence and had been instantly killed. The back of his head was crushed in and his neck and limbs broken.

A man was left in charge of the bodies nd the accident was reported at the depot. No 37 is due at Welland ….but was running late and after the delay caused by the accident did not report at the depot until 5.05. Engineer Meighen was in charge of the train.

The bodies were removed to Sutherland and Son’s Morgue where coroner Dr. McKenzie of Port Colborne opened an inquest at 7.30. After the jury had viewed the remains the inquest was adjourned until Thursday next at 1.30 p.m. to hear the evidence.

The funerals took place yesterday afternoon. The service for Percy Elsie was at his late home, Mill St at 2 o’clock and was conducted by Rev Thos. Cowan. The funeral of Frank Pollard took from the residence of his uncle Chief Laing, Division St at 4 o’clock. Service was conducted by Rev Thos Cowan and interment is Woodlawn cemetery. The pall bearers were a brother, Earl Pollard, a cousin Wilfred Laing and two playmates Percy Boyle and Edgar Kramer.


Important Statement by Mr. Tarte.

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

Hon. Mr. Tarte, minister of public works of Canada, having been charged with excessive expenditure in his department, and on promising the prosecution of public works on too lavish a scale, makes a trenchant reply, in which the following of especial local interest appears. Mr. Tarte says:

“I altogether decline being bound by the policy of the past, and also by the opinion of those who have propounded that policy. Times and circumstances have changed. We are deepening our canals. We will be obliged, I am sure, to deepen the Welland canal in a short time. The railway companies are building elevators in the harbors of the Great Lakes. The C.P.R. are building an additional elevator at Owen Sound. The Grand Trunk, in connection with other capitalists, are also contemplating building an elevator on the south side of the same harbor.

I am a firm believer in the possibility of diverting an immense quantity of western traffic to our Canadian ports, harbors and railways. I do not see why, having the ports of St. John, Halifax, St. Andrew’s, on our national territory, we should allow our Canadian trade to be shipped to European markets through American ports.”

All Mr. Tarte’s speeches are of this tone. Mr. Tarte says that the reason he takes this tone is, to quote his letter, that “Canada is such a great country, with such abundant resources, that we might well afford to take stock of the future.”

Referring to the charge of lavish expenditure by Mr. Tarte’s department for the year that is past, he further says:-

“You may say that my lavishness is a matter of general criticism. Will you permit me to call your attention to hard facts:

Parliament voted for my department, for the year 1896-97, an appropriation of…$2,439,920

Out of that expropriation I have expended during the last year…$1,748,939

Saving a balance of …..$690,981.

“I need not make any comments. I beg, moreover, to state that I have economized over sixty thousand dollars on the administrative part of my department alone, by decreasing the number of employees by saving salaries, wages, etc.

So much for my administration during last year.”



Grand Trunk’s Preparations for the Formal Opening of the New Steel Arch Bridge

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

At the present time the eyes of the whole world are directed towards Canada. The remarkable successes which have attended the visit to England of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the premier of the Dominion, and the denunciation of Great Britain of important commercial treaties with such powerful neighbors as Germany and Belgium in order to meet the overtures of the colony, have caused the politicians of the old world to regard with a novel interest that portion of the new which Voltaire once sneeringly gibed at as “a few acres of snow and ice.” Nor has the interest been confined to countries of the old world, the people of the republic to the south having been startled by the announcement of the discovery of large quantities of gold within the confines of the Dominion.

Scientists and members of the learned professions have flocked to the country to hold their annual conventions, and examine for themselves its resources.

Among the many corporations which have done much to retain the interest thus aroused, the Grand Trunk railway system, under its new and energetic management, takes a foremost place. The work undertaken in connection with the substitution of a modern structure for the old Victoria tubular bridge over the St. Lawrence has excited the utmost interest among civil engineers the world over, while the completion of the Grand Trunk new single arch steel bridge over the Niagara river, which replaces the historic Suspension bridge, is the talk of railway officials from one end of the continent to the other. That the latter structure, which, at the time of its erection in 1855 was considered-and justly-a marvel of engineering skill, should have been entirely replaced upon exactly the same spot, without an interruption of even five minutes to the constant stream of traffic which passes over it, is without doubt a remarkable tribute to the advances which have been made by the engineering profession within the last quarter of a century. The new bridge is a single steel arch of 550 feet in length, supplemented by a trussed span at either end, of 115 feet in length, so that, with the approaches, its total length is a little more than 1100 feet, while the railway tracks are 250 above the water. It has two docks or floors, the upper being used for railway purposes exclusively, while the lower contains a wide central carriage way, double electric car tracks, and passage way for pedestrians.

Beautiful as it is in appearance, the bridge is of enormous strength, it having been designed to carry on each railway track a load of two locomotives and four pairs of drivers each and 40,000 pounds on each pair, followed by a train of 3,500 pounds per running foot, while on the lower deck is designed to carry a live load of 3,000 pounds per running foot. In a word, it will sustain a weight of over six times the sustaining capacity of the old bridge.

The opening celebrations in connection with this great engineering feat commenced yesterday and will be continued today and tomorrow, and the management of the Grand Trunk railway system has determined to give a carnival at the Falls which will long be talked of by those who take advantage of the remarkably low rates which are being put in force for this occasion.

This carnival, which will be held for the whole three days, will consist of open air variety entertainments from two large elevated platforms, one of which will be on the American, and the other on the Canadian side of the river, open air dancing to the strains of the best bands obtainable in the country, old English sports, climbing the greasy poles, sack race and egg races, etc., for which cash prizes will be offered. This evening and tomorrow evening an elaborate display of fireworks from the new bridge will be given, and will be without doubt the grandest display ever witnessed with possibly the exception of that given at the World’s Fair in Chicago. The illuminations and fireworks are under the personal direction of Mr. Henry J. Pain, the leading pyrotechnic contractor of the world.

The artists who have been engaged for the variety entertainment area all well known, and four of the most famous military bands in America have been engaged, to give concerts in the afternoon and evening of each day. During the three days’ carnival the bridge will be open for the free passage of the public to and fro as they please.

To those who have never visited that greatest of nature’s many marvels-Niagara-the extremely low rates which are being made from every point on their lines by the Grand Trunk system, should prove a temptation too strong to be resisted, while to those who have visited the great falls by day, the prospect of seeing them one blaze of electricity and colored light will appear, without doubt, successfully.


Successfully Launched in Toronto Bay

A New Departure in Marine Construction

[Welland Tribune, 24 September 1897]

Toronto, Ont., Sept. 9th- Frederick Augustus Knapp’s much-talked-of roller boat, which has been under construction in Polson’s shipyard here for some time past, is now afloat in Toronto Bay. All yesterday morning workmen were busy getting the ways in place, and in the afternoon the big cylinder was gently lowered into the water, where it now floats alongside the dock at Polson’s yard.

The vessel is cylindrical in shape, and is 110 feet long and about 25 feet in diameter. The diameter is the same to within five feet of either end, when the cylinder commences to taper rapidly, decreasing to a diameter of 15 feet at either end. The draught will be 23 inches.

The original design of the inventor has been considerably changed. Instead of having a heavy stationery cylinder, around which the outer part could revolve, as at first intended, there is nothing at all in the centre of the hull. At either end and there is to be a platform, resting upon wheels, which touch the revolving part. This platform will be weighed and remain stationary, upon the principle of a squirrel in a cage. On the platform will be placed two engines, with upright boilers behind them. These engines will transmit power to a huge driving wheel placed between, and this wheel will, by a system of cogs, cause the hull to revolve. There will be a platform similarly equipped at each end of the hull. The platforms each travel on four big driving wheels and weigh about fifteen tons, with engines and boilers complete.

Mr. Knapp proposes to suspend the platforms and was swinging gravity, but has allowed the engineers in charge of the construction to use the direct application. The whole craft will weigh 100 tons, and 500 square feet of area will be in actual contact with the water.

The boat, which is expected by its inventor to travel as the rate of a mile a minute, will be steered by two huge rudder or tail boards, one at each end, just below the platform. Steam steering gear will likely be used.


[Welland Tribune, 22 October 1897]

This is the way it was bound to look
When grandfather had his ”pleter took.”
These were the shadows cast before
The coming of Conjurer Daguerre
And his art; like a girl in a pinafore
Some day to bloom to a goddess fair.
Men certainly were not as black, we know
As they pictured them, 50 years ago.


[Welland Tribune, 30 July 1897]

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., July 25- Hundreds of people visiting her today witnessed what seemed to have been the deliberate suicide of a fine looking chestnut colored horse, which swam out into the rapids and over the Horseshoe Falls. The incident occurred about 5 o’clock this afternoon.

The horse had been out in a field not far from Port Day, where the Schoelkopf canal starts from the river, and had been fastened by a long rope to prevent it from wandering away. Shortly before 5 o’clock the horse wandered on the railroad tracks and across them, the rope being long enough to allow this, and then a passing train cut the rope and freed the animal. It immediately began running out toward Port Day, crossing on to the new loop drive of the reservation. Then to the surprise of everyone the animal leaped into the river and swan deliberately out and away from the shore.


Many saw the horse and followed it excitedly. He continued his course, occasionally walking over it, and swimming in the deeper portions of the river.

He never stopped a moment, but steadily pursued his way toward the Canadian shore, passing the head of Goat island and reaching a point nearly half way between there and the Canadian side of Goat island.

When this distance had been covered the animal was seen to turn and face the rapids just as they broke from the upper river, and then he began his journey downstream, toward the Horseshoe Falls.


At first the horse kept his balance fairly well, but the turbulent waters soon told and the unfortunate beast was tossed about like an egg shell. Now and then his body would be seen passing clearly up in view on some rock or boulder, and then it would be swallowed up in the spray of the foaming rapids whenever he was seen.

Life was visible as he struggled and tried to get on his feet. When half way down the rapids, and nearing the brink of the falls, the animal began to show signs of exhaustion and his struggles were feebler, so that by the time the body swept over the falls it was apparently motionless and probably lifeless. Many tried to see the remains below the falls, but could not after they passed over the brink.


The actions of the horse are considered remarkable and almost unexplainable. He was owned by an Italian baker in the tunnel district and was regarded as pretty steady sort of an animal, and his death was taken by many as a suicide pure and simple.