1890s


One of the most prominent Mohawks associated with Deseronto was Dr Oronhyatekha (1841-1907), originally from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford. He studied at the University of Oxford for a while and trained to become a doctor at the University of Toronto in 1867. He became involved in the Independent Order of Foresters and successfully transformed the finances of the organization. Oronhyatekha married Ellen Hill, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga Reserve. They had a house in Tyendinaga and the doctor also built properties on Foresters’ Island, which is situated in the Bay of Quinte, opposite Deseronto. These included ‘The Wigwam’, his elaborate summer residence; a hotel, and pleasure grounds. The postcard below shows the orphanage on the Island which Oronhyatekha constructed for the Foresters’ Order, and which operated from 1906 to 1907.

Imperial Order of Foresters' orphanage

Imperial Order of Foresters’ orphanage

[Postcard loaned for scanning by R.N. Goodfellow]

Oronhyatekha’s fame overshadows history’s awareness of his Mohawk colleague, Kenwendeshon, who was born in Tyendinaga on April 8th, 1855,  the son of Cornelius Maracle and Nancy Hill (a great-granddaughter of Deserontoyon). We have recently been in contact with a descendant of Kenwendeshon, who has been gathering information about his ancestor from a variety of sources, including the Kanhiote Library and the Legacy Center of Drexel University College of Medicine. He has kindly agreed to let us share the information he has obtained, to allow us cast some more light on this man, the first of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte to graduate from a university.

Kenwendeshon (also known as John C. Maracle) trained as a physician at the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania and American University of Philadelphia (which has an intriguing history of its own), graduating in  1878. One of the items in the possession of Kenwendeshon’s descendant is a 1953 letter from the London Public Library which refers to a diary entry about an incident in 1874, when Kenwendeshon helped to turn the tide of a smallpox epidemic at the Moravian Indian mission at Fairfield (Moraviantown). The date is interesting, as he would only have been 18 at the time, and presumably unqualified: perhaps his association with Oronhyatekha began before he went to Philadelphia. Oronhyatekha had moved from Tyendinaga to London to begin a new practice in 1874, so may well have met the Maracles when he had been working in this area.

UPDATE, 25 May: Professor Michelle A. Hamilton of the University of Western Ontario has informed us that the epidemic was actually in 1879 and that Kenwendeshon left his practice in Syracuse, New York when Oronhyatekha asked for his assistance. Professor Hamilton also provided us with links to a file of digitized correspondence with the Indian Branch of the Department of the Interior held at Library and Archives Canada which details the response to the epidemic. Here is an example of the correspondence: a request from the Chief of the Moravian Indians to allow Dr Oronhyatekha to establish a temporary hospital “to isolate our small pox cases we have had four deaths six other cases local physicians refuse to come on the reserve”.

Telegram from Chief Stonefish, 21 May 1879

Telegram from Chief Stonefish, 21 May, 1879

A report from Oronhyatekha in this correspondence explains the circumstances of Kenwendeshon’s appointment:

…I have also employed a young physician who was formerly a student in my office & who himself has had the small pox to proceed to the reserve and be in constant attendance and to personally supervise the disinfecting of the clothing and houses of those Indians who have had the small pox.

[Professor Hamilton is currently co-writing a biography of Dr. Oronhyatekha with Keith Jamieson. This is going to be published by Dundurn Press in 2014.]

On November 20th, 1879 Kenwendeshon married Julia Hill Thompson in London and the couple had two children: Lillian, born in London in November 1880, and John Albert (Bert), born in Roscommon, Michigan, in August 1882. A note written in 1953 by Bert (reproduced below), suggests that Kenwendeshon worked with Oronhyatekha in London and Stratford before moving to Roscommon.

Note by Bert Maracle about Dr. Kenwendeshon

Note by Bert Maracle about Dr. Kenwendeshon

According to this note, Julia died in Roscommon when Bert was 14 months old (late 1884). We have not been able to track down a death record for her, but the two children were subsequently adopted into two different families, 400 kilometers apart. Lillian went to live with her mother’s two unmarried older sisters, Caroline and Georgina, and her grandmother, Henrietta Thompson, who lived in Queen’s Avenue, London, Ontario. Her brother, Bert, went back to Tyendinaga to live with his aunt, Susan in the household of his grandfather, Cornelius.

Kenwendeshon appears to have continued to working as a doctor  in Michigan: in Roscommon and, later, in Beaverton. He died in Beaverton on September 22, 1899 at the age of 44 and was buried at Christ Church in Tyendinaga. His mentor, Oronhyatekha, died eight years later.

This small house on First Street in Deseronto looks to have an idyllic location nowadays: no immediate neighbours and a pleasant view of open fields behind it.

House on First Street (from Google Street View)

But over one hundred years ago, its location was considerably less ideal. You can see it at the bottom left of the photograph below. Immediately behind the house was the vast site of the Rathbun Company’s brick and terra cotta works, busy with railway cars transporting raw materials to the factory from the Rathbun Company’s sawmills (sawdust was a key ingredient in the production of terra cotta):

Brick and Terra Cotta works

The works was in operation from 1887 until 1898, when it was destroyed by fire. As the house was so close to the buildings of the terra cotta works, it was fortunate to survive the blaze itself.

Deseronto Public Library traces its roots back to the foundation of the Deseronto Mechanics Institute in 1885. Mechanics’ Institutes were established as a means of providing educational opportunities for working men. Many of them provided lectures, social events and reading rooms for the use of their members, who paid an annual fee for access to these facilities.

Dr John Newton

A public meeting was held in the Town Hall on October 27th, 1885 to discuss “the propriety of forming a Mechanics Institute in the Village of Deseronto”. The attendees were assisted in their deliberations by Mr McGowan and Mr Scott, members of the Napanee Mechanics Institute. It was unanimously resolved that it was “expedient to form a Mechanics Institute in Deseronto” and Dr John Newton, Deseronto’s physician and Reeve, was elected as the President of the Institute.

On November 11th, the first Library Committee was established “to select books and prepare a catalogue”. At the same meeting it was agreed that “Mr E. A. Rixen be Librarian and Miss Millie Anderson be Assistant Librarian”. Ebenezer Arthur Rixen was the Rathbun Company’s  accountant and his involvement with the library was to continue for many years. The Mechanics Institute library would be open from 7pm to 9pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays and 3pm to 5pm on Thursdays.

Deseronto House Hotel

Rooms for the Mechanics Institute were secured from George Stewart, one of the Directors. The location of these rooms is not known but Stewart was the proprietor of the Deseronto House Hotel on Main Street and it is possible that the rooms were located within that establishment. In May 1887 the Institute paid for gas lighting to be installed in the rooms rented from Stewart. 80 feet of gas pipes were needed, at a cost of 15 cents a foot.

The first salaried librarian to be employed by the Mechanics Institute was Alva Solmes, who was also the caretaker for the rooms. He was taken on in May 1889 at a salary of $25 a quarter. Mr Solmes was a 43-year-old shipwright who had been born in the USA. By this time, the Institute was looking out for new accommodation and in 1890 the Directors were discussing building a new library with an adjoining Opera House. Estimates for such a building were received in September of that year but the depressed state of trade at the time meant that the idea was shelved.

Colp Block

In October 1890 the President of the Institute, Frederick Sherwood Rathbun, reported that he had obtained new accommodation for the Institute in Godfrey Colp’s new block. This building was situated on the southwest corner of Edmon and St. George Streets. The rent for the new rooms was to be $150 a year, payable quarterly. The Institute moved into its new home in 1891 and a new caretaker/librarian, Arthur P. Brown , was employed in the same year.

The Institute faced financial problems and by the mid-1890s was running an annual debt in excess of $300. Efforts were made to increase membership but the problem was resolved when a change in the law in 1895 permitted the conversion of Ontario’s Mechanics’ Institutes into free Public Libraries. Ontario had passed the Free Libraries Act in 1882, the first of its kind in Canada, which allowed municipalities to establish public libraries supported by tax dollars rather than membership fees. The 1895 amendment resulted in Mechanics’ Institute libraries being converted into free libraries from May 1, 1896. If the Directors of the Institutes agreed, the management of the libraries would be taken over by a Public Library Board and funding provided by the municipality. As a result of this Act, the number of public library boards in Ontario rose from 16 in 1894 to 54 in 1896. At this date, the annual running cost of the library in Deseronto was $250.

F. S. Rathbun

A public meeting in the Mechanics Institute on April 10, 1896 elected the first Board for the Deseronto Public Library. Its Chair was Frederick Sherwood Rathbun, Treasurer of the Town Council and brother of Edward Wilkes Rathbun, Mayor of Deseronto and head of the Rathbun Company. The new Public Library took over the Mechanics Institute’s books (including their Minute Book!) and premises and continued to employ Arthur P. Brown as its Librarian at the same salary as before. A set of Rules and Regulations for the library were drawn up.

Arthur P. Brown was born in Ireland in 1847 and came to Canada in 1881. His time as Librarian was not without its moments of controversy.  In 1898 the Board noted that he was refusing to lend certain books to particular individuals. It was decided that “we should not have books in the Library about which there was any reasonable doubt” and a number of books were “expunged entirely” from the collection as a result, including Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles: now seen as a classic, but apparently too controversial for some of Deseronto’s citizens in 1898.

The Board minutes noted on October 1st, 1901 that “many complaints are being made of the discourteous treatment received by the patrons of the Library from the Librarian”. It was resolved that the Secretary of the Board “be empowered, on a recurrence of the treatment complained of, to call a special meeting of the Board with a view to the selection of a suitable successor to the present Librarian”. Despite this reprimand, Mr Brown continued in the role of Librarian until 1915, with a total of 24 years in the post.

By the early years of the twentieth century the condition of Colp’s block was giving the Library Board cause for concern. At this time, the millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie was funding the construction of public library buildings: over 2,500 around the world and 111 in Ontario. The Board wrote to Carnegie in 1901 asking about the construction of a library in Deseronto. At this time, the Town Council was using the Library’s rooms for its meetings and it was hoped that a shared building suitable for use as a Library and Town Hall could be funded. However, the terms of the Carnegie grants were for dedicated library buildings only and so the chance of having a Carnegie library in Deseronto was lost.

Fire Hall, 1976

In June 1909 the Library moved to rooms above the Fire Hall on Edmon Street. The move was costly: the Librarian being paid $1 a day to move the books. It took 20 days to complete and the cost plunged the Library into another financial crisis. A meeting was held on October 28th, 1909 at which it was noted that the Board wanted to discuss the future of the Library with the Mayor and Reeve as “funds were exhausted and the Board was in debt”.

Scorched books

The Library continued to function in its location on Edmon Street until 1931 when a fire in the building caused extensive damage to the books. Some of them were sold off after the fire but others were trimmed and returned to the shelves. Several of these charred volumes are still owned by the Library. After the fire the Town Council offered the Library Board the old Tribune office on Main Street as alternative accommodation. Insurance money paid for the refurbishment of the property at 309 Main Street and the Library occupied that site for the next 70 years.

Library at 309 Main Street, 1976

The Great Depression saw hard times for the Library again and the Board reduced the salary for the Librarian, Mary Mitchell so much that she resigned at a meeting of the Board on September 19th, 1933 and it was agreed to close the Library until further notice. The closure was short-lived, however, being rescinded at the next meeting of the Board due to the appointment of Dorothy McCullough as Librarian, a post she was to hold for nearly 20 years. Mrs McCullough was succeeded by Helen Tunnicliffe, another very long-serving Librarian. In 120 years of having a salaried Librarian, only thirteen people have held the role:

Alva Solmes 1889-1891
Arthur P. Brown 1891-1915
Helen Cronk 1915-1921
Flossie Hall 1921-1926
Mary Mitchell 1926-1933
Dorothy McCullough 1933-1952
Helen Tunnicliffe 1952-1975
Stella Carney 1975
Heather Granatstein 1975-1977
Gloria Greenfield 1977-1983, 1987-1989
Gail Herman (later Maracle) 1983-1987
Glendon Brant 1989-1999
Frances Smith 1999-present

In 2001 the Library moved to its current location at 358 Main Street. This was once the site of the Deseronto House Hotel, the possible location of the rooms rented for the original Deseronto Mechanics Institute in 1885.

2015.13(2) 7

Opening of Deseronto Public Library at 358 Main Street, July 1st, 2001

 

From a Hastings County directory of 1868-1869, this map shows the street plan of the village of Mill Point, later to become the town of Deseronto.

Mill Point in 1869

It is interesting to see how few streets were laid out at that time: Thomas Street, which now runs the entire length of the town, was only two blocks wide in 1869. Centre and Prince Streets were yet to be established and there were no roads north of Dundas. In 1869 the village did have a Third Street, however, which is more than the town can boast today! Compare this plan with the appearance of the town in 1962:

Deseronto lots, 1962

In 1869 the industrial core of the village was firmly in the southwest corner, where the steam saw mill, wharf, post office and ship yard can be seen. The H. B. Rathbun and Son advertisement from the 1869 directory neatly summarizes the firm’s interests at this date:

1869 advertisement for H. B. Rathbun and Son

The 1869 map also shows the location of Deseronto’s first church, at the top of [St.] George Street, close to the current location of the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer. The Union Church had been built in 1868 as a shared place of worship: the Anglicans had a service there in the morning, the Presbyterians in the afternoon, and the Methodists in the evening.

Only one residence is marked on the earlier map: presumably that of the Rathbun family. At this period, Edward Wilkes Rathbun (1842-1903) had taken over the day-to-day running of H. B. Rathbun and Son, due to his father’s ill health. E. W. Rathbun built the Deseronto firm into a hugely successful business, becoming a millionaire in the process. While other family members built houses on Dundas Street, away from the busy industries of the waterfront, E. W. Rathbun liked to be close to his concerns. His Main Street home was a substantial property, as this photograph shows:

E. W. Rathbun's house on Main Street, Deseronto

This house no longer exists. To the front, it looked out on Central Park (now the Rathbun Memorial Park), which was laid out at E. W. Rathbun’s expense. He brought in A. J. Hopkins, a landscape gardener from Oswego, New York, to do the work.  The back of the house would have afforded good views of the Rathbuns’ industrial empire along the waterfront of the Bay of Quinte: Edward Wilkes Rathbun was clearly a man who liked to keep a close eye on his business!

As part of our series commemorating the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Deseronto Public Library, we highlight an item in the minutes of the Library Board’s meeting held on December 13, 1898:

1892 edition of Tess of the D'Urbervilles

The question of refusal on part of the Librarian to issue certain books to various individuals was raised by the Secretary who took the ground that we should not have books in the Library at all about which there was any reasonable doubt. Several books were named among which were the following:-

The Lady of Quality [‘A Lady of Quality’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1896]
Maggie [by Stephen Crane, 1893]
Tess of Duberville [‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy, 1891]
On the Sunny Shore [by Henryk Sienkiewicz, 1897]

It was moved by Mr. Costigan, seconded by Mr. Copland that we expunge these books entirely.

The Librarian was instructed that outside of these books he was hereafter to refuse no person provided the books desired were in the Library.

An interesting approach to the problem! All of these once-controversial books are now freely available on the Internet, so you can see why they were considered to be inappropriate reading for some of the town’s residents by following the links on the titles to the Open Library.

Mechanics Institute and Library Board Minute Book, 1885-1907

In 2010, the Deseronto Public Library is celebrating its 125th year of serving the people of the town. This is the first in a series of posts on the Library’s early history to mark this anniversary.

The Library started life as part of the Deseronto Mechanics Institute in 1885. The Deseronto Public Library Board took over the management of the Library on May 1, 1896 (the minutes for the Library Board are in the same volume as the earlier minutes of the Mechanics Institute). On that day, the first regular meeting of the Public Library Board took place, at which the following rules and regulations were agreed:

1. The Librarian shall, under the direction of the Board of Management, have the charge and superintendence of the Library, News Room and Premises, and shall be responsible for the care and safety of all books and other public property contained in them; shall enforce all regulations, collect all fines, and pay over the same to the Treasurer; must cut the leaves of new books, magazines etc before placing them on the shelves; shall issue no book unless the Library Card is presented at the time of drawing and the book registered thereon.

2. Any resident (Of Deseronto) over the age of twelve years shall be entitled to the privileges of the Library and News Room, upon signing the application and otaining the signature of one ratepayer (who must be approved of by the Board of Management) to the required guarantee or on making the Cash deposit. The signature of any ratepayer of the Town will be sufficient guarantee for himself.

3. When the ratepayer who has signed the required guarantee, desires to withdraw from it, he must give notice thereof, in writing, to the Secreatary of the Board, who will give a release as soon as it shall have been ascertained that no liability exists.

4. The privileges accorded in consequence of the required guarantee may be revoked at pleasure by the Board of Management.

5. Borrowers are especially cautioned against losing the Library Cards, as they will be held responsible for any book that may be taken out with such ticket. When a ticket is lost or rendered unfit for use, the borrower will be charged five cents for a new one.

6. Only one book can be drawn at a time and on one day. No book can be kept longer than fourteen days, but a book may be redrawn for seven days and repeated until asked for.

7. Books of Reference are not to be taken from the Library Rooms.

8. No one shall be permitted to take books from the shelves except the Librarian and assistant and members of the Board of Management.

9. Noise, audible conversation, or disorderly conduct in the Library and Reading Room is strictly prohibited.

10. The Library and News Room shall be open each lawful day, except the ordinary holidays, and such other days as the Board of Management may direct, from 7 P. M. to 10 P. M.

11. No Book shall be issued unless the Library Card is presented at the time of drawing.

12. Readers desirous of proposing books, periodicals or newspapers for addition to the Library, may do so by writing the same on a suggestion card and leaving same in charge of the Librarian.

13. The Librarian, or any member of the Board may suspend from the use of the Library and News Rooms, for a period not to exceed thirty days, any person repeatedly violating any of the Rules and Regulations, and shall report the same to the proper Committee.

14. Strangers and visitors in the Town shall be entitled to the privileges of the Library and News Room on furnishing the required guarantee.

15. Parties living outside of the Town may be allowed the privileges of the Library on payment of an annual fee of $1.00 each and on furnishing the required guarantee.

16. A fine of one cent for each day up to the value of the volume will be imposed for retaining a book longer than the time allowed by these rules. Fines will be imposed for marking in, or in any way injuring or defacing a book or magazine.

17. In cases where there has been any contagious disease in a house during the time a book belonging to the Library has been there the fact must be reported to the Librarian when the book is returned.

18. These regulations, or any of them, may be repealed or amended, and new Regulations may be made at any Regular Meeting of the Board of Management, a notice of at least one week being given of the proposed change by the proposer to each member of the Board and the majority of the Board concurring.

Things have moved on a little in the Library today. The staff will let you take books off the shelf yourself and borrow more than one at a time. They even let children under twelve join the library!

A recent accession into the archives was this fragile photograph album, dating from the late nineteenth century. It was found in the home of the late Beatrice Boulender of Niagara Falls and was donated to the archives by her great-neice, Aaron Baptiste.

Photo album 2010.06


The album contained 32 ‘cabinet card‘ style photographs of a number of individuals and families. Many of the photos were taken in Napanee at the studio of J. S. Hulett, who was a photographer in the town for over 25 years. One of the pictures was taken in Deseronto and one in Brighton. There are a significant number of photographs that were taken in Watertown, New York and a few in Plainwell, Michigan.

The picture below shows the See family and was taken in Bathgate, North Dakota. John See was born in Ontario in 1854 to Samuel and Mary See, who had both been born in England in around 1809. Samuel was a farmer. Census records show that John was the youngest of seven children, all of whom were born in Canada except the eldest, William. This means that the family must have come to Canada between 1833, when William was born, and 1837, the year of Elizabeth’s birth. Between 1851 and 1881 the family were living in Richmond township, Lennox County (in or close to Napanee).

John and Mary See and family, c.1893


By 1861, John’s father had died and his brother-in-law, Thomas Brown, was living with the remaining members of the See family. The same family grouping is seen in 1871, by which time Thomas and Elizabeth Brown already had five children of their own.

In 1881 John was married and living with his wife, Mary, and their two eldest children, William (4) and Annie (1), still in Richmond township. In 1886 they left Canada and moved to the United States. The 1890 US census was destroyed by fire in 1921, but in 1900 the family were living in North Carlisle, Pembina, North Dakota, by which time they had  seven children: William (23), Annie (20), James (17), Thomas (13), Richard (11), Grace (8) and Allice May (2). In this photograph, the baby is probably Grace and the picture would date from around 1893.

The album clearly has a connection to the Quinte area: it seems to record images of friends, or perhaps family,  who had moved away from the immediate locale and who kept in touch by sending back their photographs. As yet, we don’t know the exact connection of the people in the album to Beatrice Boulender’s family.

All the photographs from the album are now available through our Flickr account. We’d be interested to hear from you if you have any connection with any of the families who are pictured there.

Skating on the Bay at sunset

Skating on the Bay at sunset

There were many people enjoying the ice on the Bay of Quinte today: the photo shows some youngsters skating on what was once the log pond beside Mill Street in Deseronto. It brought to mind an advertisement from The Tribune of December 9th, 1892, which was encouraging parents to buy skates from the Anderson and Miller store on Main Street as a Christmas gift for their children.

The Bay is Frozen

I’m not sure how thrilled their mothers would be at getting “the latest improved Washer and Wringer”, though.

On this day in 1892 a concert was held at the Deseronto Opera House[1] by the Edith Ross Scottish Concert Company, who were invited to perform by the St. Andrew’s Society which had recently been formed in the town. According to the Tribune which was published on the next day:

The following lines, composed by Mr. A. D. McIntyre, the talented secretary of St. Andrew’s Society, as a welcome to the Edith Ross Scottish Concert Company, were read by him with great effect at their entertainment in the opera house last night:

Miss Edith Ross and Company,
We kindly welcome you,
And hope our hearts you will engross
With song and music too;
We trust that ye will feel at ease,
Just as you would at home,
And may our toes and fingers freeze
If we give cause to blame.

We hope that you will soon again
Revisit our good town,
Which surely in a year or so
Will be a city grown;
For we have here the energy
And everything beside
To make Deseronto go ahead
At ebb or flood of tide.

I’m sure if you took twa’ three days
To look our works around,
That you would wonder where on earth
Their likes could e’er be found;
With basswood, pine and oaken logs
Your brain would sure be tossed,
And round great piles of every kind
Of lumber you’d get lost.

You’d see the logs a rolling up
The runway from the dam,
Sliced into lumber instantly;
I tell you it is gran’
To see the slabs thrown, lightning speed,
From sound and healthy pine,
And in the finer part that’s left
Behold a nine by nine.

The Factory you’d visit too,
Where they make sash and door,
And ship them to Australia
And other countless shores;
Then you would ramble to the wharf,
Where ends the B. of Q,[2]
Its rails and solid bed stops short
When Jamie Stokes[3] they view.

And now you jump upon the train,
No trouble in the least,
And step off on the platform
At Deseronto East;
Blacksmith, Machine and Loco Shops
Are now left far behind
With Car Works and the Shipyard, full
Of crafts of every kind.

The Cedar Mill you’ve also passed,
Where ties are made and shipped,
And where the Shipyard’s sturdy oak
Is often sawn and ripped;
Another mill you have sped by,
Where shingles are the ware,
And now from off this platform,
Behold the Grist Mill there!

Here you can buy the purest flour
That ever yet was made,
And Oh! you’d open wide your eyes
Surprised at Richard’s[4] trade;
The wheat is brought by great shiploads
And by the Railway too;
But come a little farther down,
The Burners we will view.

Here’s where the refuse is all burned,
The sawdust and the dross
To wondrous chemicals are turned
That nothing go to loss;
And if you look away beyond
The Refuse Docks appear,
Which, in the summer, are filled up
For winter work and cheer.

And still a little farther down
The Secret Works you see,
Where one of Scotland’s honored sons[5]
Practises chemistry;
And right behind, encircled neat,
The Gas Works you espy,
From whence our streets and ilka house
Receive their light supply.

And yet a wee bit farther on
Red Terra Cotta stands
In its artistic excellence
Pourtrayed by Hynes’[6] hand,
Who pounds and moulds it with his fist
This and the other way,
And then brings forth a matchless bust
In Terra Cotta clay.

But what’s the use in trying thus
Our industries to name,
For it would take a week or more
To numerate the same:
Imagination needs must fly
Far North, South, East and West,
In town and city, bush and plain,
You see the Rathbuns’ Crest.

Again, a welcome please accept
From old St. Andrew’s boys,
Who wish ye “Merry Christmas”
And many earthly joys;
And as you travel through this world
Do not forget, we pray,
The thriving town and leal hearts
On Quinte’s famous bay.

This poem is a wonderful snapshot of the industries along the Deseronto waterfront in 1892. According to the 1901 census, Archibald Duncan Macintyre was an accountant who was born in Scotland on 3 March 1859. We can surmise from the contents of his poem that he worked for the Rathbun Company. He came to Canada in 1876. In an account of the first annual St. Andrew’s Day dinner (November 30th, 1892), the Tribune described Macintyre as “a true and loyal Highlander” and a man of “poetic genius”. A few years later, he had become the Chief of the Sons of Scotland and the Archives holds this photograph of him:

Photograph of Archibald D. Macintyre, c.1902

Photograph of A. D. Macintyre, c.1902

Macintyre died in William Street, Trenton, on December 13th, 1921. His occupation was given as “Filing Clerk, C.N.Ry [Canadian National Railway] Stores”. He had been living at that address for three years before his death. He was, however, buried in Deseronto’s cemetery: an event that also took place, coincidentally, on December the 15th.


[1] At this date the Opera House was on the upper floor of the Baker Block on Main Street
[2] The Bay of Quinte Railway
[3] James Stokes was listed in the 1891 census for Deseronto as ‘wharfinger’: the man in charge of the day-to-day business of the wharf. He was 42 at the time of the census. He died in Toronto on April 4, 1913, aged 64.
[4] This was presumably Richard Rayburn, the flour mill manager, according to the 1891 census.
[5] The 1891 census lists 41 year-old William D. McRae as “Superintendent, Gas and Chemical Works”. McRae was born in Scotland.
[6] Michael J. Hynes, artist and manager of the Terra Cotta works

The Santa Claus Parade will be taking place on Saturday evening (November 28th) at 6.30 in Deseronto’s Main Street and Rathbun Park.

To start getting you into the seasonal spirit, here is an advertisement for the Bay of Quinte Meat Company which appeared in Deseronto’s local newspaper, The Tribune on December 9th, 1892. This store was located in the Baker Block on Main Street, on the route of Saturday’s Parade.

Advertisement for the Bay of Quinte Meat Company, 1892

The advertisement reads:

CHRISTMAS
We intend making the finest display of
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Mutton, Veal, Game, Poultry, Vegetables, and every variety of
FRESH and SALTED MEATS
This Christmas that has ever been seen in Deseronto, or in fact, in Ontario.
—————————————-
We are already booking orders for Turkeys. “Now is your time to do likewise,” and thus be sure of your Christmas dinner before the turkeys see this ad. and strike.

Our store on Christmas Eve will be far more worth seeing than any Christmas Tree. Arrange to bring your families to see it, no matter whether you require anything or not. Just come along and have a look, and if it does not make you hungry to see so many nice things ready for the oven it won’t be our fault. Owing to our increased trade, and anticipating an immense rush of thousands of new customers during Christmas week, we are now trying to make arrangements with Mr. Baker to add another hundred feet on to his already fine block.

Some of our customers are buying their turkeys now, and eating them too, so that they will not be left when the rush comes.

Do not be afraid – we will have enough for all. Only give us your order now and not have to wait, as we were only able to secure the services of a few less than fifteen men to serve you on Dec. 24th. So come one and all and see the great Christmas Fair.

ADMISSION FREE

THE BAY OF QUINTE MEAT CO’Y

Baker Block, Deseronto

A good illustration of the fact that the use of humour in advertising was not a twentieth century invention!

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