Ev­ery­thing you needed to know in 1845

Pa­per was “de­voted to gen­eral lit­er­a­ture, sci­ence, pol­i­tics, agri­cul­ture and com­merce”

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - EL­WOOD JONES El­wood H. Jones, Ar­chiv­ist, Trent Val­ley Ar­chives, can be reached at el­wood@trent­val­le­yarchives.com

There were pioneer news­pa­pers in Peter­bor­ough be­fore 1847. How­ever, it has been dif­fi­cult to get a de­pend­able his­tory as few copies have sur­vived, and only a hand­ful were mi­cro­filmed in the var­i­ous mi­cro­film projects of the 1960s and 1970s. The Peter­bor­ough Gazette be­gan with the is­sue of Au­gust 15, 1845, which has been mi­cro­filmed. Sev­eral of the is­sues mi­cro­filmed for 1846 had been copies kept by Dr. Hay. The mi­cro­film copy at the Trent Val­ley Ar­chives in­cludes a nice but in­com­plete run of 14 is­sues of the weekly news­pa­per from Fe­bru­ary to July from Vol. 1, is­sues 28 to 49. From Vol 2, 14 of the 52 is­sues were mi­cro­filmed.

The Peter­bor­ough Des­patch, founded in 1847, was the fore­run­ner of the Peter­bor­ough Ex­am­iner. The print­ing type and some presses of the Peter­bor­ough Chron­i­cle, which pub­lished be­tween 1844 and 1847, passed to the Gazette af­ter a se­ri­ous fire hit the of­fices of James McCar­roll, the ed­i­tor of the Chron­i­cle. The print­ing equip­ment and type of the Peter­bor­ough Gazette were ac­quired by the Peter­bor­ough Re­view which be­gan its re­mark­able run in 1853. The Gazette, too, may have been a vic­tim of fire.

How­ever, an is­sue, Vol­ume 1 Num­ber 6, of the Peter­bor­ough Gazette for Septem­ber 19, 1845 is quite in­for­ma­tive about the news­pa­per and about Peter­bor­ough.

The pub­li­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion box in this is­sue de­scribes the pa­per as “de­voted to gen­eral lit­er­a­ture, sci­ence, pol­i­tics, agri­cul­ture and com­merce.” The pa­per was pub­lished ev­ery Fri­day “for a Com­pany of Pro­pri­etors” by J.H. Dunsford from the of­fice on the south­east cor­ner of the Mar­ket Square, which would be the cor­ner of Char­lotte and Wa­ter. This of­fice also did “books, job and or­na­men­tal print­ing.” This is­sue of the Gazette ad­ver­tised the avail­abil­ity of the store next to the Gazette of­fice “with an ex­cel­lent Cel­lar be­neath, and a con­ve­nient of­fice ad­join­ing.” It was de­scribed as “am­ply fit­ted up with shelves, Drawers and Coun­ters.” The cor­ner was de­scribed as “close by the land­ing-wharf of the Steam­boat, and al­most in the cen­tre of the Town.”

The busi­ness direc­tory lists sev­eral peo­ple with of­fices at the Court House. Wil­son S. Conger was the first sher­iff of the Col­borne Dis­trict; Fred­er­ick Fer­gu­son was the trea­surer and Gov­ern­ment Land Agent; Charles Ru­bidge was the Reg­is­trar of the County of Peter­bor­ough; W.H. Wrighton was Clerk of the Peace and Deputy Clerk of the Crown; Wal­ter Sheri­dan was the Dis­trict Clerk; and John Reid was the Dis­trict Sur­veyor.

Robert Nicholls was listed as the Agent for the Bank of Mon­treal, with an of­fice on the north­east cor­ner of the Mar­ket Square, at the cor­ner of Sim­coe and Wa­ter. The build­ing at Wa­ter and Sim­coe that was built for Bank of Mon­treal was built in 1857-58.

News­pa­pers de­pended on sub­scrip­tions and on ad­ver­tise­ments for their rev­enue. The Gazette was a Con­ser­va­tive pa­per, and the gov­ern­ment of the western part of the Province of Canada was also Con­ser­va­tive. The list of lots for sale in the Col­borne Dis­trict would be a lo­cal gov­ern­ment ad. So was the no­tice of the Col­borne Dis­trict Agri­cul­tural Cat­tle Show and Fair which an­nounced “The third an­nual fair or Ex­hi­bi­tion of Stock, be­long­ing to this So­ci­ety, will take place in the Town of Peter­bor­ough on Tues­day the 7th Oc­to­ber, next.” I re­ported in Win­ners (1995) my his­tory of the Peter­bor­ough Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety that its first fair was in 1843 and not 1845 as seemed to be the com­mon wis­dom lo­cally. De­spite this, the So­ci­ety con­tin­ues to ad­ver­tise its an­nual fair as if it be­gan in 1845 be­cause it re­lies on pre­vi­ous ad­ver­tis­ing rather than my book.

The prin­ci­pal, the Rev. Robert J.C. Tay­lor, of the Col­borne Dis­trict Gram­mar School, com­monly known as the Gov­ern­ment School, an­nounced that he was pre­pared to ac­cept pupils into his fam­ily. The school aimed to pre­pare stu­dents for ca­reers in “Mer­can­tile pur­suits” or the Pro­fes­sions. Tay­lor was also of­fer­ing cour­ses in Math­e­mat­ics and Clas­sics. Henry Bald­win was the sec­ond mas­ter at the school.

The Rev. Mr. Tay­lor (1803-1852) was the Rec­tor of Peter­bor­ough, based at St. John’s Church. Af­ter 1845, this school was in the for­mer Bri­tish Wes­leyan Methodist Church which was on the north­east cor­ner of Sheri­dan and Hunter, near the Hunter Street Bridge. This is­sue of the Gazette car­ried the obit­u­ary for the Rev. John S. Mars­den, the Bri­tish Wes­leyan Min­is­ter, aged 33, who died sud­denly. Mars­den had been sta­tioned in Peter­bor­ough but served in a wide area. The Bri­tish Wes­leyans merged with the Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in 1840, more per­ma­nently in 1847, and emerged by 1854 as the Wes­leyan Methodist Church in Canada. Lo­cally, the church be­came re­dun­dant as Methodists met at the church on the west side of Ge­orge Street just north of McDon­nel Street.

J. H. Dunsford com­mented ed­i­to­ri­ally on Tay­lor’s ad­ver­tise­ment. “We con­grat­u­late our­selves, the Town and Neigh­bor­hood on the ac­cep­tance by the Rev. R.J.C. Tay­lor of the si­t­u­a­tion of Prin­ci­pal of the Col­borne Dis­trict Gram­mar School, and on his avowed in­ten­tion of re­ceiv­ing Pupils into his fam­ily. The Tay­lors had six chil­dren plus the son of the late Rev. T. Fi­dler, and by 1850 ac­cepted six other chil­dren. Tay­lor had “re­moved into a spa­cious and con­ve­nient man­sion, com­mand­ing an ex­ten­sive view of the Lake and River.” This may have been the house owned by Wal­ter Sheri­dan on Brock Street, and long the res­i­dence af­ter 1860 of the F.W. Haultain fam­ily.

Tay­lor had been a teacher in this school in the early 1830s, but in 1837 he went to Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin to get his cler­i­cal train­ing and to serve as cu­rate in English churches, and in St. Paul’s New­mar­ket. He re­turned to Peter­bor­ough in 1841 to be Rec­tor of Peter­bor­ough and to serve with the board of the Gov­ern­ment School.

When Tay­lor and his wife died a month apart in 1852, the mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion shared the rais­ing of the chil­dren.

There is an ex­ten­sive ad­ver­tise­ment for a Bazaar at St.

John’s Church. I have seen sim­i­lar ads over the years, but this is the only one I know for a bazaar to be held in Jan­uary 1846, but be­ing ad­ver­tised in Septem­ber 1845. “Bazaar. In the first week of Jan­uary next, a bazaar will be held at the Court House, the pro­ceeds of which will be de­voted to the pur­chase of Com­mu­nion Plate and the in­ter­nal dec­o­ra­tion of St. John’s Church.” Any­one wish­ing to con­tribute ar­ti­cles could contact one of the fol­low­ing women: Mrs. Hall; Mrs. Wal­lis; Mrs. Fer­gu­son; Mrs. Wrighton; Mrs. Ussher; Miss Mathias; or Mrs. Tay­lor. In ad­di­tion, a con­cert “of vo­cal and in­stru­men­tal mu­sic” was planned, pos­si­bly led by Baron DeFleur.

News­pa­pers such as this is­sue of the Peter­bor­ough Gazette are in­valu­able guides to the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity. The ear­li­est busi­ness direc­tory, and this for the whole Province of Canada, was in 1857-58. And di­rec­to­ries be­fore 1887 do not have street num­bers in the ad­dresses.

J. Wright, car­ry­ing “Dry

Goods, Gro­ceries and Hard­wares” was at the cor­ner of Ge­orge and Hunter, op­po­site the Al­bert House. The Al­bert House was on the south-west cor­ner.

Mogg and Cur­ran had just “burned a Kiln of Bricks, of Su­pe­rior qual­ity” at their yard in Smith Town­ship, “half a mile North of the Town of Peter­bor­ough and near Ben­son’s Mills.” This would be about where Mill Street meets Wa­ter in the park area that was the for­mer turn­ing point for the street­cars. There were sev­eral brick works in the Peter­bor­ough area of which Cur­tis Brothers were the largest. The first brick build­ings in Peter­bor­ough, in­clud­ing the first ho­tel on Char­lotte Street, date from 1845, but I have never read that Mogg and Cur­ran sup­plied those bricks.

“Dr. Hay has re­moved to his new res­i­dence in Brock Street, next door to Mr. Poole’s Fur­ni­ture Ware­house.” This de­scrip­tion might fit a house on ei­ther side of the Brock Street park­ing lot. The north side of Brock Street had sev­eral houses linked to doc­tors and was known as “Doc­tor’s Row.”

Alexan­der Macphail, who de­scribed him­self as “Apothe­cary, Chemist & Drug­gist” was in the Med­i­cal Mall, wher­ever that was. He had a cou­ple of ad­ver­tise­ments to­tal­ing about 10 inches. One ad listed all the patent medicines that he stocked. The main ad said he had “a com­plete and ex­ten­sive as­sort­ment of Drugs, Medicines, Paints, Oils and Dry Stuffs.” He car­ried “tar, pitch, rosin, tur­pen­tine, var­nishes, brushes, &c” as well as “Drug­gists’ glass ware, fancy ar­ti­cles, soaps and per­fumery.” Macphail also car­ried “English and Amer­i­can gar­den and field seeds, to­gether with ev­ery ar­ti­cle con­nected with the Busi­ness.” In a third ad, he was ad­ver­tis­ing a wide range of spices, from In­dia and Ja­maica and else­where.

H. McCal­lum, the agent for Leith Ale, had just re­ceived a fresh ship­ment.

Pa­trick Dupre, in Oton­abee Town­ship, was the agent for a New York nurs­ery, and had fruit trees and or­na­men­tal and flow­er­ing trees and shrubs.

There were a few le­gal no­tices sprin­kled across the four-page news­pa­per. Wil­liam McBurney an­nounced an ar­bi­tra­tion would be held “to con­tra­dict the 999 lies which have been told” and to set­tle all mat­ters in dis­pute with Wil­liam Lundy. John Ed­ward Ware con­tra­dicted a re­port in the Peter­bor­ough Chron­i­cle which sug­gested he was bank­rupt be­cause of his con­nec­tion with Thomas Bird, drug­gist.

The news­pa­per was also ad­ver­tis­ing the sale of build­ings and lots around the area. The largest ad, run­ning to about 15 inches, and in­serted by the Dis­trict Trea­surer, Wal­ter Sheri­dan, listed prop­er­ties for sale by the Col­borne Dis­trict. The lots for sale were com­monly 100 or 200 acres, but the range was from 49 acres to 400 acres. Sev­eral of the other lots or prop­er­ties for sale were of­fered by the Rev. J.H. Dunsford or Ge­orge Barker Hall. One in­ter­est­ing town lot for sale mid­way be­tween Ge­orge and Aylmer was de­scribed: “Lot No. 4, West of Ge­orge, and south of Mur­ray Streets, con­tain­ing half an acre, with a good frame 18x24, and a num­ber of Fruit Trees on it.”

The lo­cal news­pa­per was in­deed a mine of in­for­ma­tion about the area.

The Haultain house, the last house on Brock Street, was de­stroyed in the Quaker Oats fire of 1916. The back­yard went all the way to Hunter Street, and pro­vided a ter­rific view of the Oton­abee River. (Trent Val­ley Ar­chives)

This 1845 edi­tion of The Peter­bor­ough Gazette car­ried ad­ver­tise­ments and no­tices about the com­mu­nity.

An 1845 ad­ver­tise­ment for what would be­come the Peter­bor­ough Ex­hi­bi­tion.

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