HISTORY of VICTORIA COUNTY - PART 24 - Victoria County Biographies

Brief Biographies of Past and Present Personalities

Condensed sketches of many men of Victoria county

(by Watson Kirkconnell, M.A.)

Victoria county is as large as ancient Judea and larger than Attica. Remembrance of that fact and the marvelous achievements of the Jews and Athenians should give us a non-parochial perspective in which to view the modest record of our own race and locality.

There follows, below, a list of 147 brief biographies representative of the county's citizens during the past century. There are doubtless flagrant errors of omission and judgment. For the former, lack of time is responsible; for the latter, the author. None of the persons sketched has been approached in any way, and the record (based on press and similar sources) therefore lacks the invalidation of cash subscription, on which all modern manuals of current biography are based.

The first impression given by the list is that the native-born are few but eminent. Fewer than one-fifth have been born in Victoria county, but most of that minority have been far more distinguished, on the whole than nearly all of these who removed here from elsewhere. In the academic world we have the records of Edward Kylie, Frederick Smale, John F. McLaughlin and R.J. McLaughlin. Dr. Alexander Ferguson and Dr. Robert Curts reached the very foremost rank in surgery. Pat Burns and Sir William McKenzie have excelled in the world of finance. John Campbell and Samuel Cornell have left their record in scientific husbandry. W.A. Sherwood was an artist of note. F.P. McEvay and Michael Spratt became Roman Catholic Archbishops. Few of the county's "foreign-born" citizens measure up to the these "native born."

The second impression is that these native-born have had to leave their home county in order to secure recognition and distinction. Out of 52 federal and provincial members elected between 1867 and 1917, for example, only 2 (George McHugh and John Carew) were born in Victoria. The professional, industrial, and municipal life of Victoria shows a similar dearth of the county-born. The county's best individual records have been made abroad. Honor at home is traditionally non-existent.

List of Condensed Biographies

Anderson, John (1830-1892). - Furniture-maker. Born in Lanark County of Scottish parents. Married Jane Rankin. Furniture business, first in Oakwood and, after 1852 in Lindsay. Reformer.

Baker, Charles Leon (1818-1913). - Merchant. Born in Quebec. Settled in Lindsay, 1862. Five sons, four daughters.

Barr, Charles D. (1848). - Born near Brockville, Ontario. On staffs of Montreal Gazette and Toronto Globe. 1873 purchased the Canadian Post, Lindsay. Past president, Canadian Press Association. 1891 appointed Registrar of Deeds for Victoria county.

Barron, John Augustus (1850). - Judge of the County court, Perth, Ontario. Born in Toronto, son of F.W. Barron, M.A., Principal of Upper Canada College, and Eleanor Thompson. Married Elizabeth C.C. Dunsford of Lindsay. Two sons, three daughters. Called to the Bar 1873. Practiced in Lindsay. Liberal member for north Victoria in House of Commons, 1887-1892. Q.C., in 1888. Appointed to the bench, 1897.

Beall, Thomas (1828-1912). - Merchant. Born in Cornwall, England. Settled in Whitby, Ontario. 1860, opened jewelry business, Oakwood. 1863, transferred to Lindsay. Married Mary Ann Hicks. One son. Prominent in fruit growing. 1879, won medal for grapes at Dominion Exhibition. Prominent in South Victoria Agricultural Society and Ontario Horticultural Society. Conservative. Anglican.

Bell, Alexander (1803-1909). - Verulam pioneer. Born in Fermanagh. Life-long abstainer and non-smoker. Lived to age of 106. At the time of his death had 142 living descendants.

Bick, George (1820-1891). - Verulam pioneer. Held many municipal offices. In 1886, ran unsuccessfully as Liberal Candidate in East Victoria. Assistant fire-ranger for 20 years. Four sons, one daughter.

Bigelow, Obadiah (1834-1912). - Miller and Merchant. Born in Tecumseh township, Ontario. 1844, brought to Lindsay by his father, Hiram Bigelow. 1857, married Lavina Davidson of Mariposa. One son, one daughter.

Bigelow, Silas (1830-1895). - Merchant. Brother of foregoing and in partnership with him, 1854-1877. In 1863, married Lydia Bateman. Two sons, one daughter.

Blackwell, John (1772-1878) - Pioneer. Born in Limerick, Ireland. In 1796, married Miss Leeward of Limerick. Settled in Emily, 1825, and moved to Ops in 1835. Died aged 106 leaving 141 living descendants. Wesleyan Methodist.

Boyd, Mossom (1815-1883) - Lumberman. Born in India. 1833, settled near Bobcaygeon. Married (1) Caroline Dunsford, who died in 1857, leaving 6 children; and (2) Letitia Cust who died in 1881, leaving two children. Farmed 1833-1842. Moved to Bobcaygeon and bought up Thos. Need's mill, which ultimately became a huge enterprise. Active advocate of Trent Canal. Unsuccessful Conservative candidate in election of 1854.

BOYD William T.C. (1859-1919). - Son of foregoing. Later partner in business. Several times Reeve of Bobcaygeon. Three sons (all deceased) and three daughters.

BRITTON Charles (1817-1913). - Merchant. Born Port Hope, son of Jeremiah B. Came to Lindsay with father 1837. Two sons, two daughters.

BRITTON Charles Wellington (1814-1883). - Brother of Charles Britton. Took part in California gold rush of 1847. Great hunter.

BROAD Thomas (1823-1903). - Born Cornwall, England, 1846, married Elizabeth Symons. Three sons, four daughters, 1850 came to Canada, 17 years on Mariposa Council. Many years J.P. and Victoria County Council.

BROAD John (1830-1891). - Born in England, 1857 settled near Little Britain. Tailoring, general store, postmaster for 27 years.

BROWNE David (1828-1897). - Born Tyrone, Ireland. 1844 opened store in Lindsay. Member of first town council 1857. Collector of customs, 1873-1897.

BURNS Pat (1856). - Multimillionaire rancher and meat magnate. Reared near Kirkfield. 1879 went to Manitoba. 1899, founded ranching and meat business at Calgary. 1901, married Ellen Ellis, of Victoria B.C. One son. Liberal. 1915, honored by the pope by being made Knight Commander of the Order of St. George the Great.

BURROWS Palmer, M.D. (1841-1908). - Born Ottawa. Married Harriette Needler. One daughter. Medical officer of health for Lindsay for several years.

CAMERON William (1838-1900). - Born Argylshire, Scotland. Brought as boy to Mariposa. Held many municipal appointments almost continuously from 1859-1900. Home at Woodville after 1883. Presbyterian. Liberal.

CAMPBELL John (1847-1914). - Born on Fairview farm, Mariposa. Married daughter of John Mckay of Woodville. No children. International fame as farmer and stock breeder. 1884, gold medal for having best farm in Ontario. Best sheep breeder on the continent. Swept all exhibitions in U.S.A. and Canada. Independent Liberal. Presbyterian elder.

CAMPBELL J.B. (1824-1891). - Pioneer, surveyor, etc. Lived at Port Perry and Kinmount. Unsucessful Liberal opponent of John Fell in East Victoria.

CAREW John (1862). - Lumberman. Born Emily township. Son of John Carew and Jane Wilson. 1885, married Margaret Kelly of Red Rock. Three sons, five daughters. President John Carew Lumber Ltd. President Lindsay Central Exhibition. Member for South Victoria Legislature, 1914-1919.

CHRYSLER John (1839-1916). - Farmer. Born Pennsylvania. 1859, settled in Carden. 1861, married Elizabeth Jane Plews of Carden. Four sons, two daughters. 25 years on township council. Methodist.

CONNOLLY JOHN (1827-1902). - Ops Farmer. Born near Baillie-? Son of Nicholas Connolly of Tipperary. Many years Reeve of Ops. Unsucccessful candidate for the Dominion elections. Seven sons, nine daughters. Roman Catholic.

COOPER Joseph (1820-1910). - Born in Killala, County Mayo, Ireland. 1847, crossed to U.S.A. 1856, founded Omemee Warder. 1866, transferred it to Lindsay as Victoria Warder. Sold to Edward Flood, 1877. Later, in 1889, founded Lindsay Watchman, which he sold to George Lytle. 1852, married Jane Baird. One son, two daughters.

CORNEIL Samuel (1836-1894). - Insurance agent and scientific apiarist. Born in Ops. Taught school in Ballyduff, Omemee, and Millbrook. 1868, settled in Lindsay. Conservative. Methodist. Member Board of Education. President Ontario beekeeper's Association. Distinguished in apiarian research. Important contributions to the technical literature of his day. Died suddenly, but peacefully, while at work among the bees in his garden.

CORNWALL Vincent (1831-1915). - Physician. Born in Trinidad. Many years a doctor in Omemee. Warden of Victoria County.

CRANDELL George (1828-1904). - Born at Crandell's Corner's, now Port Perry, son of Reuban Crandell. Life long connection with local transportation. Built or owned 8 steamboats and 22 barges. For 33 years on Town Council of Lindsay. Founder of summer village at Sturgeon Point. Twice married, six children.

CRUESS John (1827-1897). - Farmer. Born Ohio. 1837, came to Mariposa. Married Eliza Betts of Pickering. Three sons, one daughter. Conservative M.P.P. for South Victoria 1886-1890. Prominent Granger.

CURRINS John (1840-1911). - Born Monaghan, Ireland. 1857, came to Canada. Resided near Islay for 41 years. Reformer. Presbyterian, township councillor, school trustee, postmaster. Three sons, ? daughters.

CURTS Robert (1871-1916). - Surgeon. Son of Rev. James Curts, Oakwood. Educated Lindsay Collegiate and Toronto University. ? married Clare Wilson of Sussex, New Jersey. Three sons. Settled in Anderson, New Jersey. First president of the Surgical Society of New Jersey. Fellow and governor of the American College of Surgeons. One of the most eminent surgeons of New Jersey. Head of great sewage enterprise in the state.

DALY Herbert (1883). - Son of late F.J. Daly of Lindsay. Vice-Pres. National Cash Register Co. and general manager in Ontario. Director of the Home Bank. President H.J. Daly Co. Ottawa (big department store). President, United Brass and Lead Co. Vice-Pres. J.H. Ogilvie Co. Montreal. First Chairman, Dominion Labour Appeal Board. Director of Repatriation and Employment.

DAVIDSON Edward (1793-1887). - Army officer and pioneer. Born Fermanagh, Ireland. Served in Nova Scotia Fencibles in War of 1812. Officer in H.M. 16th Foot. 1832, retired and settled in Omemee. Ultimately Lieut.-Colonel of local militia battalion. Married Elizabeth Trewbridge ?. Twelve children.

DEAN William Warren (1830-1905). - Judge. Born London, Ontario, a son of Rev. Horace Dean, pioneer U.E.L. Methodist minister. 1858, called to the bar. Deputy Minister of Justice for Ontario under Hon. Edward Blake. 1874, appointed Judge of the County Court of Victoria. Married eldest daughter of Gilbert Bogart of Belleville. Two sons, ? daughters.

DEWART William (1836-1912). - Born Dummer, Ontario. 1860, opened store in Fenelon Falls. Student of economics, first published in the Can. Illustrated News, and later promulgated by the Manufacturer's Association. Played important part in shaping the national policy of the Conservative party. Married Jessie Graham, Smith Twp. 11 children. 1880, moved to Rochester.

DEYELL John (1820-1911). - Ops pioneer, son of John Deyell. Married Letitia Stinson. Six sons, one daughter. Methodist. Conservative.

DOBSON Hon. John (1842-1907). - Born Fermanagh, Ireland. 1861, settled in Lindsay. Grocer and liquor merchant. 1874, Mayor of Lindsay. An intense Conservative. 1892, appointed to the Dominion Senate. Anglican. Married Catherine Graham of Cavan, Ireland.

DORMER George (1838-1875). - Born Kingston, Ontario. Son of Dr. ? Dormer, an eminent physician. B.A. from Laval University at Montreal. Three years in theology, then turned to law. Two years in partnership with Sir John A. MacDonald, Kingston. Opened practise in Lindsay, first as partner with A. Lacourse, then, after 1864, alone. In 1861, married Sarah Marsh, of Port Hope. Five children. 1871-72, mayor of Lindsay. 1872-74, Conservative M.P. for South Victoria. Roman Catholic. Died of consumption.

Douglas, George (1839-1915). - Postmaster. Born in Peterboro. 1844, brought to Manilla, where his father had been made postmaster. On his father's death in 1850 he succeeded him, first as assistant to his mother and later in full charge. J.P. for many years. General store for 60 years. Liberal. Post office still in family after 77 years.

Duffus, William (1835-1892) - Architect. Born in Otonabee township of Scotch Parents. 1857, came to Lindsay. A carpenter, who qualified as an architect by spare time study. St. Joseph's Convent, St. Paul's Church and the Collegiate Institute are his handiwork. Roman Catholic, Liberal, town councilor, assessor Eight children.

Dundas, John R. (1835-1896). - Merchant. Born, Drum, Ireland. 1847, came to Canada. 1864, married Miss Jones of Rochester. Six sons, four daughters. 1865, purchased interest in Needler and Sadler mill, Lindsay. 1882-1887 represented south Victoria in House of Commons. President, Toronto Savings and Loan Co. Vice President, Central Loan Co.

Dunsford, Hartley (1814-1891). - Born in England, son of Rev. J.H. Dunsford. 1837, came to Canada. Deputy registrar of United Counties of Peterborough and Victoria. 1861, became first registrar of Victoria, county. Anglican. Four sons, five daughters.

Dunsford, James (1814-1883). - Brother of H.D. Long reeve of Verulam. Liberal. 1861-1867, member for Victoria county in the old parliament of the united Canadas. For many years police magistrate of Lindsay.

Fairbairn, Charles M. (1837-1911). - Farmer. Born near Lakefield. Early moved to Verulam. 1879, Warden of Victoria County. 1890-1896, M.P. (Con.) for south Victoria. Three sons, four daughters.

Ferguson, Alexander (1853-1911). - Surgeon. Born in Eldon township. 1882, married Sarah Jane Thomas of Nassagaweya, Ontario. Two sons. Practiced Buffalo, Winnepeg and Chicago. Founded Manitoba Medical College. Professor of clinical surgery, Illinois State University. President, Chicago Medical Society. Surgeon-in-chief, Chicago General Hospital. Pronounced by American Journal of Surgery to be the "cleanest and cleverest surgeon on the western continent." Devised many operations known by his name. Awarded Commandership of the Order of Christ of Portugal, the highest honor that that country could bestow on anyone outside of royalty.

Fidler, Joshua (1815-1887). - Physician. Born, Sussex, England. 1846, settled in Lindsay. 1852, married Laura Jellett of Cobourg. Eight children. Gaol surgeon for 22 years. 1866-1867, Chairman Lindsay Board of Education.

Flavelle, John D. (1850). - Born near Peterboro, son of John Flavelle and Dorothea Dundas. 1873, married Minnie Cooper of Lindsay. Three daughters. 1864, Settled in Lindsay and entered into business in Dundas and Flavelle Bros. dry goods firm. 1884, became manager of milling interests of the firm. Has a reputation in two hemispheres for superlative skill in curling. 1911, President Canada Cereal Co., a big milling merger. 1915-1921, Chairman of Board of License Commissioners for Ontario. Chairman, Board of Governors, Ross Memorial Hospital. Chairman, Lindsay Waterworks Commission.

Flavelle, William M. (1853). - Brother of J.D.F. Settled early in Lindsay. 1886, married Mary Helen Aird Four sons, two daughters. Pioneer in cold storage business in Canada. President, Flavelles', Ltd. (cold storage and creamery). President, Victoria Loan and Savings Co. President, Lindsay Cemetery Co. Methodist. Conservative.

Fox, Saumal J. (1834-1911). - Born near Bowmanville, Ontario of English and Scotch descent. 1871 moved to Ops. Worked at printing and in his father's brickyards, south of Lindsay, where he ultimately assumed control. 1877, married Rosanna Free. 1893-1911 M.P.P. (Conservative) for south Victoria.

Graham, Alex. C. (1848-1919). - Born near Beaverton, Ontario. 1855, brought to Eldon. Married Annie Stephens, of Beech Lake. One son, two daughters. Taught school for 21 years, chiefly in Victoria county. Clerk of 7 th Division Court for 30 years, and postmaster at Victoria Road for 20 years. Also a Police Magistrate and Secretary of North Victoria Agricultural Society. Presbyterian.

Graham, Henry (1832-1907). - Merchant. Born Quebec. Lived in Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls and (principally ) Kinmount. Married Elizabeth Taylor of Bobcaygeon. Six children. General store at Kinmount. Commissioner and Justice of the Peace for over 25 years. Liberal. Prominent Baptist.

Graham (1807-1880). - Born Westport, Mayo, Ireland. 1830, settled in Ops, first on Lot 18, Con. 1, later on Lot 13, Con. 11. Colonel in the militia, Methodist, and one of the first board of trustees of Lindsay church.

Greener, James (1813-1897). - Methodist minister. Born in north of England. Pastor main Lindsay Methodist church, 1857. 1867-1869. Founded East Ward Methodist Church 1878.

Gregory, Edmund (1830-1892). - Born in south of England. 1851, settled in Millbrook, Ontario. 1857, came to Lindsay with John Knowlson and founded drug store. Methodist. Liberal. Five sons, one daughter.

Hale, George (1846-1916). - Journalist. Born in Omemee. 1870, together with his brother, W.M. Hale, founded the Orillia Packet: Prohibitionist, Anglican Conservative. 1874, married Marion Gow. Two sons, two daughters.

Harstone, J.C. (1853-1911). - Educationist, B.A. and honor graduate, Toronto University. Principal of Lindsay Collegiate Institute, 1888-1903. A noble and lovable character and an inspiration to his whole student constituency. Secretary of Lindsay Curling Club for many years.

Head, John (1843-1895). - Born Stowmarket, England. Elder of Lindsay Presbyterian Church. Secretary of Tract Society and of Central Charity Committee. President Lindsay Teachers Association. President Horticultural Society. Member town council.

Heaslip, Nelson (1841-1890). - Bexley pioneer, coming from Niagara District. Presbyterian. Conservative. Warden of Victoria county, 1883 and 1886.

Herriman, Weston Leroy (1831-1908). - Physician. Born in township of Haldimand, Ontario. Prizeman of first graduating class in medicine at Queen's University. 1855, served in American Civil War and practiced in Orono, Port Hope and Lindsay. Authority on scientific agriculture. First secretary of Children's Aid Society.

Horn, Andrew (1850-1892). - Born Ollon, Scotland, son of Alex. Horn. 1852, came with parents to Mariposa. With father in woolen mill enterprise. Director Mariposa Agr. Soc. and Lindsay Central Exchange.

Hudspeth, Adam, Q.C. (1836-1890). - Lawyer. Born Cobourg. M.P. (Conservative) for south Victoria, 1887-1890.

Hughes, Josiah Charles (1843-1886). - Born Omemee. 1862, went to British Columbia. 1871, member of first legislature of B.C. 1878, appointed by Dominion Government as Indian Agent for the northwest coast.

Hughes, Lt.-Gen. Sir Samuel, M.P. (1853). - Born Darlington township, Durham county, son of John Hughes and Caroline Laughlin. Twice married: (1) to Caroline Preston (deceased) and (2) in 1875 to Mary, eldest daughter of H.W. Burk, ex-M.P. for west Durham. One son, two daughters. Teacher of English and History, Toronto Collegiate Institute until 1885 when he bought Lindsay Warder which he edited until 1897. 1872, champion of America in mile race in rowing. 1897, Lieutenant Colonel commanding 45 th Regiment. Served with Imperial forces in South African War. 1892-1904, M.P. (Conservative) for north Victoria. Since 1904, M.P. for Victoria and Haliburton. Prominent Orangeman. 1911-1916, Minister of Militia and Defense in Conservative Cabinet. Foresaw the Great War and forced some measures for preparation on an unbelieving country. Responsible for the astounding rapidity with which early contingents were mobilized. Lieutenant General, 1916.

Hunter, John (1823-1892). - Born Dumfriesshire, Scotland. 1845, came to Canada. Owned gist mill and sawmill at Kinmount. Postmaster and J.P. there for many years. Several times reeve of Somerville.

Ingle, George (1837-1913). - Builder and lumber merchant. Born at Port Hope. 1853, settled in Lindsay. Planing mill, 1872-1913. Married Miss Matthews of Millbrook. Mayor of Lindsay, 1901-1902.

Jorden, William 1826-1909). - Born, Cavan, Ireland. 1834, brought to Canada and settled of shore of Sturgeon Lake. Member of first councils of Fenelon township and of Fenelon Falls.

Junkin, John (1820-1904). - Born at Kest, Ireland. At 19, married a wife of same age and sailed for Canada the following year with wife and baby girl. Settled in Verulam. Seven boys, five girls. Liberal. Methodist.

Kains, Thomas (1850-1901). - Civil engineer. Surveyed line of Victoria Railway. In partnership with Hogg, issued first complete map of Victoria county. Went west in the eighteis and became Surveyor-General of British Columbia.

Keenan, Thomas (1812-1883). - Merchant. Born Tyrone, Ireland. Came to Lindsay about 1840, and opened general store. After fire of 1861, built several fine brick blocks on Kent street. Extensive land-owner. One of Lindsay's first magistrates. An uncompromising teetotaler. Liberal. Roman Catholic. Thrice married. Father of 21 children.

Kempt, George 1822-1885). - Born Cromarty, Scotland. In business at Keene, Belleville, Kingston, and Newcastle. 1853, settled in Lindsay. General store, lumbering, milling, grain buying. 1867, M.P. (Liberal) for south Victoria. Sat for 5 years, but refused renomination. 1872, appointed Sheriff of Victoria county.

Kennedy, John (1835-1906). - Born Tipperary. 1857, opened store in Lindsay. For 34 years treasured of Ops. Five sons, two daughters.

Kennedy, William (1838-1921). - Born Shercock, Cavan, Ireland. Came to Canada as a boy and spent most of his life in Bobcaygeon. In government service for half a century and Superintendent of Public Works for Ontario for 17 years. Anglican. Two sons, three daughters.

Kirkconnell, Thomas Allison (1862). - Educationist. Born Prescott county, Ontario of Scotch-Canadian parentage. 1895, B.A. degree for Queen's University in Mathematics and Science. 1875-1894, taught at Port Elgin, Vanleek Hill, Madoc, and Port Hope. 1895-1903, principal Port Hope High School. Since 1903 principal Lindsay Collegiate Institute. 1906-1909, member Advisory Council of Education for Ontario. 1919, honored with a LL.D. by Toronto University. Baptist. 1889, married Bertha Watson of Port Hope. Four sons, one daughter.

Next - History of the County of Victoria Part 25

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