ELGlN COUNTY BRANCH
ONTARlO GENEALOGY SOClETY
BOX 416, ST.THOMAS, ONTARIO, N5P 3V2
Winner of the BEST ARTlCLE MARION KEFFER AWARD for O.G.S. Newsletter, 1988
VOLUME III ISSUE THREE SEPT. 1989
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN:
I was very pleased and proud to accept the award for “WINNER OF BEST ARTICLE MARION KEFFER AWARD FOR O.G.S. NEWSLETTERS, 1988”. Twenty O.G.S.
Newsletters entered the contest and our article by William Stewart about the White Bronze Monument Company won and will be reprinted in the next edition of Families. I am also pleased to announce that all the known cemeteries in Elgin County are transcribed and published. I wish to congratulate all those people who worked hard in the process. Your work is greatly appreciated.
It’s now September and our meetings resume at the St, Thomas Public Library. I hope to see you there. If you have any questions or problems please feel free to contact me or any of the executive.
Little remains historically of the once thriving hamlet of Copenhagen on Highway 73 south of Aylmer and just north of Port Bruce, except Tate’s Furniture store (formerly a hotel), and the old public school.
The origins of Copenhagen can be traced back to 1851 when 200 acres in Concession 2, Lot 11, Malahide township was sold to Charles Kuntze, a native of Denmark. He erected a hotel on the southwest corner of Lot 11, Conc. 2 (the northeast corner) and named it the Copenhagen Inn, honouring his native capitol, and the hamlet that was soon to develop became known as Copenhagen. Mr. Kuntze operated the hotel for over
20 years and was followed by a succession of innkeeers, namely John Kaiser (1870’s), Thomas Wonnacott (1870’s—80’s), George Wonnacott, Joel Day (1890’s), Densmore
Westover (1900) and George Minhinnick. At this time, the front of the hotel faced south, but when the building was sold to Bill and Ira Tate in the 1930’s, it was moved back from the corner and turned to face west. Here the Tate family operated a variety store, and after building several additions, the present building several additions, the present furniture store was opened by Ira’s son Howard.
Across from the hotel stood Wonnacott’s General Store which was opened about 1870 by George Wonnacott from Port Bruce. In 1892 his son Charles and wife Catherine took over the store until it closed in the 1920’s. Wonnacott’s store was also the post office and was the hub of activity in Copenhagen in those days, as they sold groceries, dry goods, and just about anything else one needed. The story is told about a hen that laid eggs in the school woodshed that belonged to Wonnacotts. The school boys used to take the eggs this hen laid and trade them at the store for black licorice. This bartering ended when Mrs. Wonnacott found out that the hen belonged to her.
Every village in those days had a blacksmith and buggy shop, and Copenhagen’s was operated by Edward Wonnacott, Harry Bennet and lastly Ed Herrington, in the 1920’s. In 1912 Joseph Bagnall and his brother—in—law, Durwin Howse built an apple evaporator just north of the church and operated mostly in the fall using apples from local orchards. This business employed many area women seasonally until the building caught fire in 1918 and burned to the ground.
Copenhagen also had a community hall which was built in 1892 east of the hotel. The hall was the scene of a lot of activity including a literary and debating society, Macabee Lodge, and countless community social events. In 1912 it was moved to a lot almost across from the church where it stood until its closure in 1957.
The first school in the community was an old log shanty on the Jones Farm east of Copenhagen, but in 1858 a corner lot was purchased across from the hotel and a frame schoolhouse was built.
This was replaced in 1870 by the existing brick building and known as S.S.#l Malahide. The front addition was put on in 1960 and included washrooms, cloak room and teacher’s room. The school was closed in 1966 and was purchased by the Tate family.
As in other communities in the last century, worship played an important role in these pioneer’s lives and Copenhagen had two churches in the early years. The Episcopal Methodist church was located east of the main corner and was connected with Sparta church but was eventually closed and moved in 1889.
In 1871, as Wesleyan Methodist Church was built just north of the hotel and across the road on a quarter acre lot. This frame building was replaced in 1888 by a brick edifice which eventually became part of the Malahide Circuit of the United Church of Canada. Due to declining membership it was closed in 1957 when all of Malahide circuit amalgamated into one central congregation at Dunboyne. The Copenhagen Sunday School continued to meet at the schoolhouse but joined with Dunboyne in 1964. The church was sold to Gordon Jones, grandson of one of the church’s pioneers, Richard Jones, and stood abandoned until it was torn down in 1979 to make way for Mr. Jone’s new home which incorporated some of the old bricks from the church.
Some of the pioneer families settling in the Copenhagen vicinity included Clemens,
Crosby, Durdle, Gillett, Ensley, Fairbrother, Gloin, Howse, Jones, Kelly, Kuntze,
Godfrey, Laidlaw, Leeson, Lindsay, Magee, McTaggart, Percy, Pineo, Porter, Simpson, Sinclair, Prowse, Reid, Roberts, Saunders, Swartz, Swayze, Tate, Vanslyke, Vanwicklen, Welter, Whitcroft, Wilson, White, Wright, Wonnacott.
COPENHAGEN CEMETERY – existed on a farm owned by James Dielman. The tombstones are believed to have been pushed over into the gully before the land became part of the farm. It is believed that Mike and Jean Kemp now of B.C. (whereabouts unknown) transcribed these stones.
(extracted from Pioneer Days at Copenhagen, 1981 by Jim McCallum.)
JAMESTOWN developed at a water power site on Catfish Creek just a few miles upstream from the harbour town of Port Bruce. There JAMES CHRYSLER, a wealthy merchant from the nearby town of St. Thomas, built a distillery, grist and sawmills, and a store and gave Jamestown its name. Barges shuttled back and forth between Port Bruce and Jamestown carrying lumber out and supplies in, and the town became quite an active community.
One seasoned traveler, geographer, W.H. SMITH, visited Jamestown described it as “a small settlement near the south—east corner of Yarmouth on Catfish Creek, about one mile from Lake Erie, (which) grist and saw mill, distillery, and about 10 houses.” in 1846 and the township contains a grist mil, distillery, and about 10 houses.
But, alas, from Jamestown, transportation emphasis shifted from water to road. Her decline was swift. Thirty—five years later little remained. In 1879, in his Atlas of Elgin County, Beldon recounted: “Jamestown, a flourishing little place in 1840, has gone to decay.”
The valley of Catfish Creek has remained quiet and picturesque, a serene river valley where only farms break the stillness. Except for traces of old roads, no vestige of the milling activity which once filled the Valley has survived to this day.
Taken from the GHOST TOWNS OF ONTARIO, Volume 1, by Ron Brown.
Names from JAMESTOWN:
Rebecca Pineo Durdle
Frank Henderson “Whiskey Jim Durdle”
George P. Durdle
Deliaha Durdle Miss Summers
Colin Monroe, Sheriff
JOHNSTOWN was never recognized by the postmaster general as a community. This settlement, located southeast of Yarmouth Centre in Yarmouth Township, never had a store or any businesses except for a sawmill and a cheese factory. It was here that CAPT. JOHN MARLATT SR. settled in 1811, on Lot 15, Concession 8, and his son, JOHN JR. located on Lot 20, Concession 7. Capt. Marlatt passed away in 1868 at the age of 81. His son established a hotel in Yarmouth Centre on the northwest corner.
Another John – JOHN McVEY, settled on Lot 15, Conc. 8. His neighbour was JOHN TAYLOR, who also had a neighbour, JOHN C. CAUGHELL.
Johnstown Mystery of the Missing MARGARET McVEY, on November 6, 1878, also gives some notoriety to Johnstown.
Extracted from Sims History of Elgin County with permission of the Elgin Co. Library
Proceedings of the COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF ELGIN
Extractions from the session held at the Court House in St. Thomas.
ELGIN HOUSE OF INDUSTRY – Year ending October 31, 1877
DEATHS Dec. 1876: Jan., June and Nov. 1877
Feb. 15 Mary Vanwilklin 80 yrs Old Age
Feb. 19 R.C. Brockway 44 yrs Chronic Diarrhea
Feb. 22 Catherine McIntyre 58 yrs Pneumonia
July 19 Peter Kelly 35 yrs Typhoid Fever
Sept. 6 W. M. Little 9 mos Cholera Infantum
Sept.19 Dora Vennor 3 mos Hydrocephalus
Sept.22 Lena Carter 4 wks Stomatitus
Oct. 28 Nancy McKellar 107 yrs Old Age
ELGIN HOUSE OF INDUSTRY – Year ending October 31, 1879
DEATHS Jan., June and Nov., 1879
Jan. 20 Archibald McCormick 81 yrs Dropsy
Jan. 26 David Peters 48 yrs Paralysis
Feb. 11 Sarah Hepburn 88 yrs Erysipilas
Mar. 22 Catharine Ross 95 yrs Influenza
Apr. 20 John Pendel 73 yrs Accident
June 3 Archibald McCormick 22 yrs Consumption
July 5 Edward Rhodes 31 yrs. Consumption
July 15 John McIntosh 54 yrs Syphilis
Aug. 29 Ashley Wellington 87 yrs Appoplexy
Oct. 7 John Thomas 68 yrs Consumption
Oct. 26 Mary Sinclair 100 yrs Old Age
The Death of the Late George Parker, Esq
The subject of this sketch was born in the county of Kent, in the township of Howard near the present village of Rondeau, April 8th, 1821 (died 20 January 1895). His father, who was a very courageous and energetic man, removed to this township (Malahide) when he was eleven years of age.
This township, now so famous because of her wealthy and enterprising farmers, was then almost one solid forest where the wolves and bears loved to prowl. No school ben then was heard, not church spire seen towering heavenward. The fair town of Aylmer was unknown. One little log cabin contained the inhabitants that had dominion and authority over the soil upon which the present town is built. This little cabin stood upon the soil where the famous Mansion House now is erected.
Georgie, as his parents called him, was a dutiful and loving son and, like most boys, showed great respect for his mother. He was a very active and courageous boy and assisted his father in clearing up the homestead, demeaned it a pleasure to assist in every good work, counting any sacrifice a pleasure that might make a home happy. He grew up to manhood much respected by his comrades, and owing to his force of character and kind disposition was enabled to secure for himself a beloved partner for life by the name of Miss Susan Jane Stover, of the fair township of Howard, Jan. 20th, 1847. He succeeded his father in business and then settle down on the old homestead. He was a man of commanding appearance, strong constitution and of a jovial nature. Owing to his quick perception, courteous manners and integrity of character, he soon won for himself a host of friends, so that it was said of him, no man hath more friends than he in the counties of Elgin and Kent. He soon added farm to farm and had the reputation of being the best farmer in the township. He was a good business man and the position of councillorship was offered unto him on several occasions, but he modestly declined. The deceased had more than ordinary strength of body and believed in using that strength which God gave him, for a good purpose. He was a great lover of the truth, liberty and patriotism. When quite a young man he enlisted as a volunteer and was willing, if necessary, to sacrifice his live for his country’s defence. He went without a murmur, and soon won for himself a name among the soldiers, owing to his courage and patriotism. Not only had he a great reputation as a farmer but also that of a stock raiser. For miles around he was called upon to come and relieve the suffering horse; and when unable to go his counsel and advice was sought. The deceased had a large family, five sons and three daughters. Owing to the deceased’s industry and thrift, he was enabled when his sons arrived at the age of manhood to make them each a present of a farm.
His sons, James, Alfred and George Wallace (died @ 58yr., Dec. 16, 1917), have each settled on adjoining farms to the homestead. Alvin sold his farm and bought a hotel in the village of Mount Salem. Judson sold his farm and purchased a much larger one in the fair township of Yarmouth. Byron, the youngest son, occupies the homestead. Mary married Mr. John Simons, and lives in the city Battle Creek, Mich., Isadore and Elva married Albert Chamber are at home. He had but one day’s illness before his death, which was caused by heart trouble. He died at 6 a.m. on the 20th of January after a period of 48 years of married life. He was the first to place a tombstone in the Dunboyne cemetery, and that was in memory of his father. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Kimbal Pomernoy and Brown. The Rev. Mr. Kimball preached a very impressive sermon to a large and sympathetic gathering from the words, “There shall be no more sea There.” When about the middle of life e was converted to God and jointed the Free Will Baptist church, and retained his faith in Christ until his departure. About two weeks before his death he seemed conscious his end was near, and was frequently heard singing many of those beautiful hymns he learned in early manhood. The last he was heard to sing, though the most blessed of hymns was:
O happy day, that fixed my choice
On thee my Saviour and my Lord;
Well may his glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all aboard;
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away.
He was a very kind and affectionate husband, a kind and dear loving father. The sons and daughters, even after arriving at the age of manhood and womanhood, would love to gather around the fireside at home and hear the gather give his experience and relate his exploits and how, like David, he killed the wolf and bear. But alas; sorrow now fills their heats. The father was the first of the family to break the cain at the ripe age of 74. A vacant chair now remains, but what is their loss is his gain. He leaves a beloved family and one sister, Mrs. Jane Murray (wife of Dr. Jas. Murray) of Ridgetown. The beautiful casket in which he was enclosed was decorated with a pillow of flowers with the name “Father” inscribed upon it. His five beloved sons and cousin, Henry, bore his remains, which were interred in the Dunboyne cemetery. The country mourns over the los of a patriotic citizen, and the neighbours over the loss of a wise councillor and benefactor.
MARION KEFFER — 1911—1987 (OGS#15)
Marion Keffer was one of the founding members of O.G.S., Vice President from 1961 to 1970, Research Director and Editor of “The Name Game” for Families for years. She left behind a legacy of knowledge in her many published works about her pioneering families, Shunks and Keffers. In her memory her family and friends donated money which was deposited into an account. The O.G.S. decided that it was fitting what some of the donation should create awards in her name for BEST NEWSLETTER, OVERALL; BEST ARTICLE OR FEATURE; and BEST VISUAL. The first presentation of these awards were given at the banquet at the O.G.S Seminar at Waterloo on Saturday, June 3, 1988. Winners were:
BEST OVERALL NEWSLETTER …. Kent County Branch BEST ARTICLE Elgin County Branch BEST VISUAL Kent County Branch.
CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS
AYLMER CEMETERY -C043 –
Humphrey JOHNSTON d 11 Jan 1863, not 6 June 1929
Margaret JOHNSTON, first wife of Humphrey JOHNSTON d 23 Aug 1852.
STACEY Ancestors Wanted
To claim documents and bibles found in the estate of Pauline Stacey. Port Stanley, and
St. Thomas. Some of the names are: Frederick and Pauline Stacey
Aulton F. Stacey, Detroit
Florence and Luceil Stacey, Detroit
Frederick and Caroline Norris Stacey
Pauline, Charles Raymond, Caroline Dorine, Carrie, Gertrude Margaret, Grace Myril Stacey.
Contact: Norwich and District Archives, R.R.3, Norwich, Ontario N0J 1P0
WESTOVER – We are collecting ANY WESTOVER info, Ontario, Quebec & USA. Will share any we have with you.. Contact Don and Majorie Erkfritz.
POWELL–STOVER-KILMER-PRATT– Searching desc Horace and Catherine
(DENNIS) WESTOVER, res Malahide 1835+, Ch: Mary Ann m H. HARRIS; Wm Henry; Elizabeth m Ben THOMAS; Lyman; Philinda m Wm NICKLESON; Rebecca m T.
FROST & L. HENDERSHOT; Lucinda m W. SHINGLER & W. POWELL; Horace m Margaret STOVER; Catherine m T. KILMER & P. FROST; Jacob m Nancy PRATT; Joseph Martin m Mary ——?. All info to Don and Marjorie Erkfritz.
DANGERFIELD-TRULL-Seeking info regarding ch. & desc. of Sarah TRULL b 12 March 1804, Gloucester, England. Married George DANGERFIELD. Baptist family. Emigrated to St.Thomas, Aylmer area, Ontario. Known children: Sarah 1830-1927, John George 1835-1885, Jabez 1837-1872, believe all born in England. Sarah d 24 March 1889.
Believed bd with sons and husband at Aylmer, Ontario. Contact Judy Oldright Loebner.
FITZPATRICK-COLLINS – Michael FITZPATRICK m Catherine COLLINS Children: Mary Ann FITZPATRICK m John GARVIN, Jane FITZPATRICK m George LODGE, Elizabeth FITZPATRICK m Simon LAIRD, and Catherine FITZPATRICK m Joseph GRIFFIN. All info to Rosemary Peacock.
YOUNG-NICKERSON-BROWN-CARTER-WHITESELL – Need info on Rufus YOUNG who d Port Bruce, Malahide Twp, Elgin County ca 1876 and his wife Martha d 1873. They had Ch: William, Lyman, Sylvenus, Nancy, Charles, James, Sarah and Jennie. Sylvenus YOUNG m Eliza (NICKERSON) LOUCKS. She had bros Levi and Alfred NICKERSON sons of Levi NICKERSON of Malahide. Sylvenus and Eliza had son Levi YOUNG who m in 1885 near Port Bruce, Mina Mahala WHITESELL, dau of Andrew WHITESELL, d 1858 bd Dunboyne cem, and Sarah Jane BROWN. Andrew was son of Daniel WHITESELL and Elizabeth FELKER, both bd in Luton cem. Can’t read death date. Who were their parents? Sarah Jane (BROWN) TELLER was dau of Walter BROWN and Jemma CARTER of Malahide. All info to Bruce C. Johnson.
JOHNSON-JOHNSTON-CONNOR-CHRISTIE – Humphrey JOHNSON/JOHNSTON mto Margaret WHITCROFT? settled near Springfield in Malahide Twp, Elgin County ca 1816. His son Wellington JOHNSON m Margaret JOHNSTON from Ireland. Their son Humphrey m secondly Isabella CONNOR who d 1902. All bd in Aylmer cem. Isabella was dau of Henry CONNOR and Ellenor CHRISTIE. They are bd at Delmer cem in west Oxford Co. Ellenor was dau of Alexander CHRISTIE of NY and Isabella REED? bd at Delmer in 1852. All info to Bruce Johnson.
WESTOVER-KILMER-FROST – Catherine WESTOVER m Thomas KILMER 1862 in Malahide, m # 2 William FROST, need desc/ancestors of her father Horace. All info to Donald Erkfritz.
PARKER-PRATT – Wish to correspond descendants of George PARKER, d 1838, and Edward PRATT d 1897, both res of Elgin Co. All info to Donald Erkfritz.
JOHNSTON– Edward b ca 1783 Ireland, with wife Margaret settled on Lot 8, con 8, Malahide in 1817. No record of him after 1838. Was he father of Maria Jane JOHNSTON (1829-1882) wife of Robert James NEWELL, and her brother Samuel JOHNSTON? Would like to hear from anyone related to JOHNSTONS in Malahide. Info to James L.McCallum.
BRADLEY– Am trying to piece together relationships of the following BRADLEYS in Malahide Twp. Onissimus Gould BRADLEY 1797-1878, native of Connecticut; Levi BRADLEY 1806-1851, native of New York. Daniel BRADLEY 1791- ?, native of New York; Lucy Ann BRADLEY 1824-1856, dau of John BRADLEY and Lucy Ann ARNOLD of New Brunswick. Lucy BRADLEY married Archibald CLAYTON and lived next door to Levi BRADLEY near Springwater. Would like to hear from anyone related to BRADLEY family in Malahide. All info to James L. McCallum.