ELGIN COUNTY BRANCH
ONTARIO GENEALOGY SOCIETY
BOX 416, ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO N5P 1N4
Volume VII Issue Two June 1988
A TRAGIC ACCIDENT: THE BLACKS OF SPARTA – BURIED ALIVE
Mrs. Evelyn Olde submitted an article from the “Clinton New Era” dated April 13, l874, but unfortunately it was not complete. Mr. Ralph Black, formerly of St. Thomas submitted the following two newspaper articles on his family. The first article is from the “Canadian Home Journal” Friday, April 17, 1874. The second article could not be located in the newspaper to verify which newspaper published it.
BURIED ALIVE — A sad accident occurred on the farm of Mr. JOHN BLACK, on the lake shore three miles east of Port Stanley, on Saturday last. Mr. Black was about 27 years of age, and was married about a year ago. His father is Mr. JOSEPH BLACK, of Yarmouth. On his farm is an old well, about 25 feet in depth, situated in a bank of quicksand. Two or three days before the accident the curb of this well was removed, and on Saturday John Black proposed to clean it out and put in a new curb. His father strongly cautioned him against going down into the well, the wet sandy soil being of so treacherous a nature as to make such an attempt exceedingly hazardous. Not heeding the caution, and doubtless underrating the danger on Saturday afternoon John, his brother, Peter, about 17, and Wm. McDOWELL, a hired man, aged about 21, proceeded to clean out the well, using for the purpose a windlass and chain. The well, we may explain, was walled in with brick a short way from the bottom, the rest being curbed in with the plank which had been removed, John Black went to the bottom and had commenced to remove the earth when the quicksand caved in fastening him above the knees. McDowell at once went down to his assistance and had nearly succeeded in freeing him when stooping down to extricate Black’s feet a large section of the sand gave way, covering Black completely and McDowell to his chest. Peter Black then descended, and while at work was buried to the neck by another descent of sand. Mrs. Black, John’s wife, gave the alarm, but before assistance arrived the three unfortunate men were buried several feet below. About 25 men from the neighborhood immediately set to work to exhume the bodies, which from the nature of the soil took seven or eight hours to accomplish. A wide trench had to be dug to approach the well and an excavation 25 feet in diameter was made at the top. The bodies were found in a perfectly natural state, save a mark or two made by the spades in recovering them. The elder Black and McDowell, who were found near the bottom, were still retaining their hold of the chain attached to the windlass. McDowell, who was a son of Mr. ALEX. McDOWELL of Dexter, was buried on Monday, and the Blacks on Tuesday. The lamentable event caused much excitement in the neighbourhood, and the keenest sympathy is universally felt for the young widow and parents in the sad affliction.
l874, to be exact — there occurred on the first concession road, between Port Stanley and Dexter, one of the saddest fatalities in the history of Elgin County. Back about three quarters of a mile from the road lay the Black homestead, the founder of which JOSEPH BLACK, was one of the most respected residents of this part of the country, rearing a fine family of four stalwart sons, exceptional as to physique and of courteous, gentlemanly demeanor. One daughter, also upheld the traditions of the family as to distinguished appearance and charming personality. The eldest son JOHN married a MISS MEEK of Port Stanley, and assumed charge of the farm upon the death of his father. Noticing the old curb was caving in, Mr. Black, with the assistance of his hired man, WILL McDOWELL, of Dexter, had cleared away the old plank cribbing which surmounted the bricked—in well for the last fifteen feet or so, to the top, and, without realizing that loosely filled in earth had surrounded this old curbing, Mr. Black fastened a large bucket to a chain reaching to the bottom of the well, some fifty feet from the surface and letting himself down, began to clean out the debris scattered there from their work above. Scarcely had he started operations when the loose light sand began seeping in through and under the brick wall, and before he realized his danger and could signal to be drawn up, he was firmly embedded in the sand up to his knees. McDowell went down to assist Mr. Black (by then covered breast high), and he too was quickly engulfed in the tide of inflowing sand, so could neither help his employer nor himself. A younger brother, PETER BLACK, thought he could at least rescue McDowell, so went down the fatal chain, with the two victims still clinging thereto, only to meet a like fate with the insidious seepage of sand. Mrs. John Black, formerly Miss Meek, witnessed the whole tragedy, helpless to avert, powerless to save. As the form of young Black disappeared from view, she sent a little girl, stopping at the home, to the distant road, telling her to stop the first person passing to give the news of disaster and asking for aid. A commercial traveler, on the way from Port Stanley to Sparta, was the man to receive the news and he ran his horses to Dexter, finding Mr. JOSEPH LEVERTON outside his store with a light wagon ready to start on a business trip. Mr. Leverton called to JOHN PREFFER, living opposite, and he in turn summoned LESTER RYCKMAN, and securing shovels, all three were quickly on the way to the scene of the terrible accident. The sight of the galloping horse, with excited, shouting men, attracted attention and swelled the number of would—be rescuers materially, but although the body of Peter Black was speedily uncovered with almost superhuman effort, life was extinct and death must have quickly followed his burial by the treacherous sand. All three men were found in upright positions, one above the other, all clinging to the chain in vain hope of being able to free themselves and climb to safety.
It was near noon when the fatality occurred, and about one o’clock when the first rescuers — the three men mentioned — started to dig out the entombed men, but it was not until about nine that evening that the last body, that of John Black, was taken from the fatal death trap.
The body of McDowell was taken to his mother’s home in Dexter and the funeral services held one day previous to that of the Black brothers, the officiating clergyman using as his text, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man…
…loyalty exhibited as worthy of emulation by those processing higher ideals than held by this brave boy who had done what he could to succor and save his employer. The grave of Will McDowell may be found in the little seminary burying ground on the Union—Sparta road, and but few of his relatives are left in that part of the country. The double funeral on the following day from the scene of the tragedy was memorable in the annals of the countryside, as scores, yes hundreds of vehicles came from various parts of the country to attend the services for the victims of this regrettable accident. The cortege was over one mile in length, and the interment in the Union cemetery was over before the last carriages came upon the scene.
Had the new wooden curb or crib, been put into place before attempts to clean out the well, all this sorrow might have been averted; but no one was there to warn as to faulty construction of this early well and all unknowingly, John Black with his splendid manhood with life so precious, and full of promise for the future, went to his death entailing the loss of a brother and faithful helper.
THE BOOK OF DETROITERS – 1914- ELGIN COUNTY
copied by Joan Abele Griffin
CHARLES ALBERT BROWNELL, advertising, born Westville, N.Y., Oct. 8, 1853, son of
JOSEPH BROCK AND MARY (MILLROSS) BROWNELL; descended from THOMAS BROWNELL, Danbury, Conn. 1630; educated public schools until 13. Married MARY ELIZABETH WEST, May 23, 1878 of Tillsonburg, Ont. Children: NELLIE (died 1880), JOSEPHINE (Mrs. R.A. POLHAMERS), RUBY (Mrs. R. C. RUDD), BLAINE, EDW_W and DAISEY. Apprenticed at 13 for 3 years to learn printers trade; part owner and publisher The Bruce Reporter, Kincardine, Ontario, 1875—1878; joined advertising staff of Daily Tribune, Bay City, Mi. 1880; in general advertising business Detroit since 1898. Presbyterian, Mason, Residence 114 King Avenue.
HERBERT JAMES CONN, president of Peninsular Milled Screw Co., born Elgin County, Ontario, June 12, 1869, son of MEREDITH & MARY (MORDEN) CONN; educated in public schools and Chatham Business College. Married in Canada, 1891, ELIZABETH LAMB; 1 son — CLARENCE ROBERT. Began active career as clerk in private bank, Alviston, Ontario. Removed to Detroit 1889 and engaged as contractor and in cedar supply business, 1889—1903; assisted in organizing the Peninsular Milled Screw Co., 1902. Church of Christ, Republican, Mason, Canadian Order of Foresters. Residence 265 Burns Avenue.
JACOBY DECIMAL SYSTEM
The Jacoby Decimal System is based directly upon relationship. The children of the immigrant ancestor are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. in chronological order: those of number 2 are 21, 22, 23, etc; those of 23 are 231, 232, etc; those of 231 are 2311, 2312, etc; and so on as far as required. The relationship of any two descendants is obtained by comparing their index numbers, thus: 213 and 229 are first cousins — since they have the same grandparents — #2; while 13164 and 12486 are third cousins.
In case 237 has 14 children, the 13th child is numbered 237.13, thus indicating that the number 13 is to be treated as any single numeral. The fifth child of 237.13 is 237.13.5.
If 432 represents a daughter, her first husband is designated as 432—a, and her second husband as 432—b. If 432 was a son, his wives would be designated in the same manner. If that daughter’s second husband had been married previously, his first wife is 432—b—a. In this manner any relationship by marriage can be clearly indicated. The origin and history of this system and a few others are given in the Jacoby Family Geneology, published in 1930; or locally in the Family Tree of William B. Willson.
HODGKINSON’S CORNERS to TROY to AYLMER
It is common knowledge that Elgin County was named for the Earl of Elgin, governor general of Canada from 1847 to 1854, and St. Thomas was named as a compliment to Col. Thomas Talbot, but not many know Aylmer had two names in its early days.
Before it took on village, proportions, it was known as HODGKINSON’S CORNERS, after the Hodgkinson family which operated the first pioneer store on the main corner.
Then, for a number of years, Aylmer answered to two names — Hodgkinson’s Corners and TROY. Troy remained the official name until events moving toward the Rebellion of 1837; then criticism arose of the name.
Early settlers from around Troy, N.Y., gave the village its name and a meeting of the burghers was held in Casell’s wagon shop to decide on changing it.
Although it is on record that those attending the meeting favored retaining Troy, a patriot evidently pulled a fast one and sent the name of Aylmer to the Upper Canada Post Office Department. And, so, the village was named for Lord Aylmer, governor general of Canada at the time.
If not for that, the name of Troy would have been carried around the world on the labels of canned fruits and vegetables if the name Aylmer had not been adopted.
(Unfortunately it is not known in which newspaper this article appeared – 1987)
St. THOMAS – THE RAILWAY CITY
From the St. Thomas Times Journal – Wednesday, June 29, 1927, copied by Shirley Ewanick
1867 – 1927 – ST. THOMAS
— Is the Railway City of Canada
— Has six lines of railways and a lake port seven miles south, served by the railway — Is half—way between Detroit and Buffalo or two hours ride to either city on the M.C.R. or Wabash Railroads.
— Hydro—Electric rates are among the lowest in Ontario.
— Has a water supply sufficient for a city of 60,0000 population.
— Has a modernly—equipped fire department, the city’s fire loss record being one of the lowest in Canada.
— Has a large Memorial Hospital, equipped with X—Ray and other modern facilities .
— Owns an industrial area of 75 acres available for Manufacturing sites at cost . — Is on the Lake Erie North Shore Trail (Provincial Highway #3) — Is the centre of a rapidly developing tobacco growing area.
— Retail stores are unsurpassed anywhere in appearance or in the variety, quality and quantity of merchandise handled.
— Is also known as the Flower City of Canada.
— Seventy—five percent of its residents are amateur horticulturists actively engaged in the beautification of their home surroundings.
— Has 115 acres of public parks and play grounds.
— Has several miles of asphalt streets.
— Has upwards of 80% of the people owning their own homes.
— Has 12 churches, 8 public schools and a parocial school, a collegiate institute and a vocational school.
— Alma College, Western Ontario’s only institute of learning for young ladies .
— Has a Chamber of Commerce, and Industrial Committee, Kiwanis and Lions Club.
— Is situated in the midst of the most prosperous agricultural community in Canada . — Has ninety—five percent of its citizens are of British extraction.
St. Thomas, City Hall — completed in 1898 — designed by the late N.R. Darrach.
St. Thomas, Library built in 1910, also under supervision of Mr. Darrach.
St. Thomas Population — 1867 — less than 2,000 — 1927 — 18,000.
1867 — St. Thomas was in a valley under the west Talbot hill and on the crest of the hill.
1927 — The main business sections of Talbot Street extended east to Alma Street. In 1867 Alma Street was in what was called Millersburg.
1867 — one railroad — the London and Port Stanley.
1927 — the L.&P.S.R.R. is electrified and is one of the finest radial lines on the continent.
1927 — St. Thomas had five steam railroads, the Michigan Central, the Wabash, the
Canadian National, the Pere Marquette and the Canadian Pacific. Thus its name the
St. Thomas — 1852 . . . became a Village
— 1861 . . . became a Town
— 1881 . . . became a City
In early days called Kettle Creek and also called Stirling. Some of the first arrivals came from Stirling, Scotland.
1810 — Nucleus of St. Thomas was formed when Daniel Rapelje, Capt. R.D. Drake, David Mandeville, Garret Smith, Archibald McNeil and a family named Curtis, took up residence at the foot of the hill (Talbot Hill) once known as Drake’s Hill.
1812 — U.S. Troops reached Kettle Creek, or Stirling and about 1,000 men helped themselves to food, cattle and supplies from the struggling settlers.
DANIEL RAPELJE: — had 200 acres of land on the Southwold side of the creek. On the north side he built a grist mill —— later sold to the Turville’s. Also owned land on the Yarmouth side of the creek. He parcelled it into lots and gave land for the Old St. Thomas Anglican Church (now on Walnut Street), erected 1824.
1817 — First store opened by James Hamilton. Warren’s Store . . . the principal business of St. Thomas. About the same time, the brothers John and William McKay arrived in St. Thomas. Previously managing a business for the Hon. Issac Buchanan at Clearville, they started in business here for themselves.
1832 — About this time, the village spread as far as Stanley Street. In the 30’s came Murdoch McKenzie, James Carrie, Thomas Lindop, Bela Shaw, James Chrysler and George Wegg.
Wm. McKay was best remembered as the clerk of the county council for nearly 30 years. A position occupied by his son since 1882.
1832 — Doctors J.C. Goodhue, E.E. Duncombe and D.J. Bowman were practising in St.
Thomas. In the early 30’s — Borbridge, the proprietor of a harness shop. John and Charles Roe occupied the first brick building in the community, the Metcalfe block, built by Benjamin Drake. At one time there were no houses west of William Street, Queen Street, or Metcalfe Street. Less than 100 years prior to 1927, the west end of Talbot was used as a race track.
When St. Thomas was incorporated as a village, the population was 1,300 and in 1861 the population was 1,631 and in Confederation year about 1,800. In 1870, the inhabitants numbered less than 2,000. The coming of the railroad changed the whole outlook for the district.
1872 — Building operations began to grow rapidly. Hundreds of private dwellings went up and in the same year, the east end, then known as Millersburg, and which was part of the township of Yarmouth, was added to the town. Substantial brick business blocks were erected in the easterly direction. In three years the population grew to 6,000.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS – MEETINGS AND UPCOMING EVENTS
APRIL MEETING: Was a social evening with a silent auction of genealogical articles.
MAY MEETING: The guest speaker was our local member, Don Cousins who gave a very interesting presentation of slides of Port Stanley from his own collection. One of the older buildings was the Clifton Hotel which was built in 1895. The Port Stanley Casino opened in 1909 and was closed at the start of the Second World War. In 1926 the Stork Club opened and many of our members remember special memories from past years — at 15 c. to attend and 5 c. a dance — in the summer of 1923 Guy Lombardo was one of the large bands of that era — as well as Benny Goodman, Eddy Duchin, Wayne King — only a few to mention. At one time 500 couples could be dancing at one time. In January of 1979 the Stork Club burnt — a very sad time as the lovely building was never restored.
Many large pleasure ships cruised the area, in 1919 the Theadore Rosevelt sailed from Cleveland to Port Stanley and often had 500 to a 1,000 passengers aboard. People would stay overnight or for the weekend with so many things to see and do — train rides, ferris wheel, roller coaster, etc.
JUNE MEETING: Transcription of cemetery stones — contact Norma Smith for the June, July and August recording dates.
JUNE, JULY, AUGUST: No regular meetings but transcription of the Elmdale Memorial Park will continue. Contact Norma Smith for dates & times.
SEPTEMBER MEETING: Dan Walker of Norfolk Branch OGS will be the guest speaker. He will have something for Beginners as well as something for the more advanced genealogist .
SEPTEMBER 24, 1988: Annual Norfolklore ‘88 Genealogy Fair, Simcoe — Everyone Welcome.
UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS’ ASSOC. OF CANADA
MISSING: 2,500,000 Canadian descendants of the Refugees from the American Revolution of 1776—1783. The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, (membership 3,000) invites enquiries.
Free information and research assistance from any of the following:
Chris Graham, U.E., (Kingston & District Branch Genealogist)
Major H.W. Smith, U.E., Kingston
Russ Waller, U.E., Kingston
SMITH– Oliver SMITH b 1834 Burra Shet Is., m Mary Jane SMITH. Oliver d Nov 1872, left two sons John and Thomas and dau Mary. Where is Oliver bd? Lived in Southwold. Did Mary Jane remarry, if so, to whom? Are there any descendants around? Would like to exchange info. Anne Black.
SMITH– James, bro of Oliver, m Sophia (Sophie) ? . Lived St.Thomas 1891 census, no family except my gr grandmother Elizabath Sinclair SMITH. James d 1905, bd where? Any info appreciated to Anne Black.
CHASE– Walter lived in Malahide and purchased land 5/02/1843. He m Ann SECORD. had 4 children- Alfred b 1824, David b 11-1829, Mary and Walter Jr b 10-6-1834. Would like to know where Walter Chase was born and who his prts were. Info to Martha Weldon.
SECORD – Ann m the above Walter CHASE. I would like to know where she was born and her prts names, etc. Info to Martha Weldon.
WALTERS, (WATERS ) – Need info on James WAT(T)ERS, a Baptist who was tenant farmer on the 5th-6th Conc Yarmouth Twp, Elgin Co., in 1842 census. 1st wife Mary Adelaide RUTTAN was mother of their 4 ch: Wm Henry, Amanda, John Wm and William
Cornelius. Mary was dau of John RUTTAN and his wife GlLLIE?/GILTJE?/GILTJlE?/ GITTY? DUTCHER. Place/date of birth of James and Mary? exact d of Mary C 1833/34? birth dates of children? place/date of marriage of James and Mary Waters. 2nd wife Nancy BUTLER wed by 1836 to James, where? when?. Birthdates of their ch: Lindley, John, Sarah and Elizabeth (Bessie)M? Family tradition says James b Jan 1800/1802 in Long Island, New York and had U.E.L. connections. Did he/Nancy live in Ohio before settling on Conc 1, lot 23, Caradoc Twp., Middlesex Co., Ont. in 1844? Will exchange info on above families with anyone interested. Mrs David W. Moyer.
BROWN- Researching BROWN families in North and South Dorchester Twps, McCALLUM families in South Dorchester twp., and ROGERS family in Mapleton area and allied families to above. All info to Mrs David W. Moyer.
MacKENZIE-MADISON-MATHISON-ROSS– Roderick MacKENZIE b June 1822, Dornochtain, Scotland arrived C.W. ca 1845, d 6 May 1894 in Dunwich. Bd Scotch Cem in Wallacetown, Elgin County. Wife was Ann, MATHISON, MADISON, or ROSS, b 1824 at Inverness, Scotland, d 9 Dec 1899, Southwold Twp, Ontario. Bd with husband. Married in Canada or Scotland????When??? Ch: Robert, Alex, David, Jennie, Elizabeth, Jack, poss others. Need prts, accurate date of arrival, clarification of wife’s name and place of marriage. Any info to aid search in Scotland. Please contact W.E. English.
SMITH-MARR- Lorena SM1TH, dau of Isaac and Mary SMITH, m William Gilford MARR 15April 1874 at Corinth, Ontario. Would appreciate receiving any info on this couple. Mrs Barbara Hoffmann.
STRINGER– Margaret, b 1819, Southwold Twp, Elgin Co., m Hiram MANN 8 July 1835 in Middlesex Co., d London, Ontario 28 May 1908. Ch: George, Sarah Emmeline, Edward, John, Henry, David, Francis Marcus, Maria, Mary, Daniel, Allen, Lizzie. I understand there were 16 children but these were found on 1861 census of Westminster Twp. Need info on parents. All info to Margaret A. Conway.
BRADFIELD – VAUGHN ( VAUGHAN)– Henry BRADFIELD, b ca 1825, England, d ca 1883, Norfolk Co, Ontario. Prts- Jonathan BRADFIELD & Sally YOUNG(?). Nancy VAUGHN, b ca 1832, where?, d ca 1902, Norfolk Co., Ontario, prts — Azariah VAUGHN & Eveline J. ?. Married ca 1852, Niagara Falls area (Canada or New York)?? Ch: Mary Eliz., John Henry, Ada, Evertine “Effie”, Thomas, Ida, Lionel Bertram “Bert”. would like info on either family and am willing to swap. Info to Karen S. Pendell.
BLAKE – Alice, b 1875, in Wilts, England. Prts George BLAKE and Pauline Salisbury, m Dec 1863 in Milford, Salisbury, England. Other ch: Harriett, George, Emma or Emily, Frederick, Ernest. Alice was living in Picton, Ontario in 1918. Would like any info on this family. All info to Karen S. Pendell.
HILL-NESBITT– Thomas & Elizabeth HILL and their 2 sons, Robert and John emigrated from Ireland. Settled in Township of Asphodel, Co of Peterborough, Ontario. Other ch b in Asphodel were Jane Anne and Elizabeth HILL. Robert HILL m Jaine NESBITT at Wesleyan Parsonage, April 23, 1849, by Rev. J. Douse, (info from the Cobourg Starr Paper). Ch: William m Hannah; Thomas, Margaret, Elizabeth, Martha J.,Mary Ann (my grandmother) Hugh and Robert Hill. Their religion was Church of England. Mary Ann HILL b 1864, Ontario, d Jan 1, 1892 in Michigan, m James Benzonia WALKER Their 3 eldest Sons b county of Madison, Nebraska,USA. Two younger sons b Benzonia, Mich. Any info to Mrs Shirley M. Ewanick.
ELGIN COUNTY BRANCH
ONTARIO GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
BOX 416, ST. THOMAS, ON. N5R 3V2
CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Norma Smith
CORRESPONDING SEC. Miss Anne Daugherty
MEMBERSHIP SEC. Mrs. Marg Daugherty
QUERY SECRETARY Mrs. Norma Smith
NEWSLETTER EDITOR Mrs. Brenda Edmonds
PUBLICATIONS Mrs. Jean Bircham
MEETINGS: Elgin County Branch, OGS., meetings are held on the Second Wednesday of each month in the Carnegie Room of the St. Thomas Public Library on Curtis Street, EXCEPT – June (reserved for cemetery transcription); December (reserved for a social evening) -locations to be announced; July and August NO meetings held.
TALBOT TIMES is published quarterly. (Mar. June Sept. Dec.). Articles and news items are invited. Submissions should be made at least one month before publication, to be published if space allows, or held for subsequent publications. The TALBOT TIMES makes every effort to provide accurate information and disclaims responsibility for errors or omissions. Articles do not necessarily reflect the views of branch officers or newsletter staff.
QUERIES: Elgin County Branch members are allowed two queries published free of charge in each newsletter. Additional queries per newsletter or queries for nonmembers are $3 per query. Queries should be submitted at least one month before publication directly to Mrs. Norma Smith.