Pioneers & Entrepreneurs|
The biographies featured in this section, by no means cover all of the men who contributed significantly to the development of the Scugog area. Information about many of the pioneers who first settled in Reach and Scugog is almost non-existent, as there were no newspapers to report on happenings in this area until late in 1857. Even throughout much of the 1860s information is scarce, due to a great number of missing issues of the Ontario Observer, the areas first newspaper.
On the following pages are some the men who cut their way through the bush to get to Lake Scugog. They cleared the land, built crude log homes, opened saw mills and grain elevators, built thriving towns from crude settlements, brought the railway to their doorstep, and laid the groundwork for the communities we live in today.
Jessie Ireland arrived from the Bay of Quinte and became a resident of Port Perry in the year 1868. From the time of his arrival, he always took a deep interest in the advancement of the town and was ready to contribute his share to his progress and welfare.
Mr. Ireland invested somewhat extensively both in land and water and purchased a steamboat for the navigation of the lake, but operated it only for a short time. One of the projects he took part in, was the construction of the Scugog Bridge. He was quiet and unassuming in his demeanor, but was both industrious and enterprising and at one time owned and managed the Royal Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Port Perry.
Jessie Ireland was 81 years old when he passed away on April 30, 1913, at the Grand View, Manitoba residence of his son-in-law, Adolphus Wheeler. He left behind a widow, Katherine Elizabeth (Bowen), one son, Jessie Jr., and four daughters to mourn his loss. His funeral took place from his residence on Scugog St, and he was laid to rest in the family plot at Shaw's Cemetery, near Seagrave. His wife, Katherine Elizabeth, died on June 6, 1917, at 81 years of age.
GEORGE WESLEY JACKSON
George Jackson was born on Scugog Island on May 28, 1862, the son of James and Hannah (Petch) Jackson. In 1888 he married Hannah (Hood) and from this marriage came one child, Myrtle (McKay). After the death of Hannah Jackson, he again married in 1899 to Zula May (Tonkin). From this marriage there were four children, all of whom, along with their mother, survived his death. They were James Edwin, Dr. George Harold, Marguerite (Brock) and Helen Patricia.
About 1896 he began his work as an auctioneer and his natural ability for the work made him one of the most popular auctioneers in the this section of the Province. His reputation was so well known, he was often asked to perform his duties outside of the area, in such places as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Guelph and North Bay. He was an auctioneer for 40 years and highly respected.
Mr. and Mrs. Jackson moved to Port Perry from Scugog in 1901. They first lived at 349 Queen St., then moved to 355 Queen St. In 1906 he moved to a fine brick residence at 234 Mary St, formerly owned by James Carnegie.
In public life, Mr. Jackson offered his services for the progress of the town. He served on the village council for a number of years, and was chairman of the building committee for a new arena in Port Perry. He was given the honour of officially opening the arena in January 1922.
He conducted an implement business from his office and sheds on Water St., selling all kinds of farm equipment and machinery.
Geo. W. Jackson was one of Port Perry's most esteemed and finest townsmen, and when he passed away on June 2, 1931, the entire community was saddened by his loss.
His funeral service was conducted from the United Church, Port Perry, which was crowded with those who came to pay the last tribute of respect to one whom they honoured most highly. Interment took place at Pine Grove Cemetery, Prince Albert.
JAMES EDWIN (TED) JACKSON
Ted Jackson was born in June 1900 on Scugog Island, and moved as an infant to Port Perry with his parents, George and Zula Mae Jackson.
Mr. Jackson spent his entire life in the Port Perry and was educated at the town's public and high school. He began his commitment to society and the community very early age, serving in the Royal Naval Air Service during World War I, when still a teenager.
After returning home from the war, he began auctioneering with his father, and following the death of his father, continued auctioneering on his own. He became one of the most sought after and popular auctioneers in this part of the County
Ted Jackson was also successful in business, opened an implement dealership on Queen St. He later moved his store to the west end of town and operated Ted Jackson Appliances until his death.
Mr. Jackson served an an elder and steward at Port Perry United Church, was a member of the Oddfellows Lodge, and the Royal Canadian Legion. He served as a councillor for more than 10 years and as a hydro commissioner for a time.
Like his father before him, Mr. Jackson was appointed chairman of the committee to build a new arena in Port Perry, which was officially opened in January 1951.
Mr. Jackson passed away on December 21, 1975, in his 76th year. He was survived by his wife, Gertrude (Elliott), son Wesley, daughter Zula; and sisters Marguerite Brock and Patricia Love, and brother Dr. Geo. H. Jackson. Interment was held at Pine Grove Cemetery, Prince Albert.
Samuel Jeffrey born in 1852 and was raised in Port Perry, later becoming an enterprising and energetic businessman. He was known throughout the Dominion of Canada as a maker of fine harness, and devoted his entire working life to his business.
He made his start with B.F. Ackerman and was for a time in Uxbridge, and in Rome, N.Y. In 1887, he went into partnership with Thomas Courtice, a relationship which continued until the death of Mr. Courtice in 1901. When he joined Mr. Courtice, the shop was in the retail trade only, so Mr. Jeffrey started the wholesale business, and during his forty years in this line, built up a large trade. In February 1912, the business was renamed S. Jeffrey and Son, when his son Cyril Jeffrey joined the firm.
He served six years on town council, two of them as Reeve. He also spent time on the School Board, serving as chairman for some time. He was treasurer of the Methodist Church for a long period, and served as treasurer of Port Perry's water and light commission.
Mr. Jeffrey passed away at 93 years of age, in 1952 and was interred at Pine Grove Cemetery. His wife, Annie Isabella (Courtice) passed away on Wed., July 12, 1916.
CHARLES WESLEY JONES
Charles W. Jones, was born Oct. 27, 1842 in Orono, and educated at Albert College. After leaving college he taught public school for one year, then began his business career at Madoc.
About 1870 he moved to Port Perry to manage a general store for Paxton & Jones. Two years later he and his brother William bought the business and for eight years carried on a large trade under the firm name of Jones Bros.
He had extensive experience in general store keeping, being in partnership at various times with his brother William, with Mr. Paxton and with his son George M. Jones. In 1883 he resumed business in partnership with D.R. Davenport.
In 1909 Mr. Jones moved to Bancroft where be became associated with Sheriff Paxton in the mining and lumbering business.
The original Jones Bros. store was destroyed in the fire of 1884, but he rebuilt a new 39'x105' two storey building. This new general store was ranked among the best in the county, with departments including dry goods, gents' furnishings, house furnishings, groceries, millinery and dressmaking.
Mr. Jones had a pleasing personality and at one time had intended to enter the Methodist ministry. He was married to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Paxton, Esq., M.P for North Ontario riding in 1885. She died in 1879 at 28 years of age.
C.W. Jones passed away on Aug. 20, 1920, and was interred at Pine Grove Cemetery, Prince Albert. Many places of business were closed and the town bell tolled in his honour. Mr. Jones was survived by his wife Mary, four sons and four daughters. Mary Ann (O'Brien) Jones passed away in January 1944.
DR. GEORGE W. JONES
Dr. George W. Jones commenced his medical career in Prince Albert in 1860 and entered into a partnership with his younger brother, Richard, following his graduation from medical school. In October 1866 the young doctor was appointed Associate Coroner for the County of Ontario. In 1868, the brothers opened an office above Allison's Drug Store, and also opened a drug store on Queen St., Port Perry.
When he was 29 years of age, Dr. George Jones, became embroiled in controversy, when his application for a divorce from his wife Anne Catherine for adultery was refused. He moved to Michigan, then returned a few years later, taking with him young Anna Paxton to be his bride. A malicious scandal followed, with Dr. Jones being accused of kidnapping young Miss Paxton, all of which was disputed as mere fabrications, by both Dr. Jones and his wife Anna.
Dr. Jones went on to become the first physician to set up practice in Imlay City, Michigan, and was the first president of the newly charted village, and served as postmaster for 12 years, until he retired in 1894.
He passed away at Imlay City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 1928 at the age of 89 years. He had been prominently identified with the business of Imlay City for 60 years at the time of his death.
REV. GEORGE JONES
Rev. George Jones was born on the Island of Guernsey in 1808, shortly after his parents moved to Quebec. After the war of 1812, the family moved to the neighborhood of Perth, Ontario. At the age of 21 years, he commenced to preach, and one year later married and moved to a farm near Orono.
During his years in the ministry he travelled extensively throughout the province and he was the first Methodist minster to ever preach in Reach Township.
He retired at Port Perry, in a home located at the north-west corner of Scugog St. and Ella St., which his sons William and Charles built for him in 1873.
Rev. G. Jones had many children born to him by his first marriage and two by his second. A funeral, preached by the Rev. G. Abbs, took place in the Methodist E. Church, Port Perry, and he was buried beside his first wife in the Methodist Episcopal burying-ground, Orono.
DR. RICHARD JONES
Richard Jones was a son of the late Rev. George Jones, a Methodist clergyman, and his wife Laura Mallory, and was born in Clarke Twp., Durham County, on Jan. 9, 1834. He received his education in the Public Schools of the district and at Albert College, Belleville, and afterwards graduated in medicine from the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Jones later took up post graduate work in New York City in order to better fit himself for his life-long work and one in which his heart delighted, that of ministering to the needs of others. He began the practice of his profession at Madoc about a year before the discovery of gold, which resulted in such a keen interest being taken in that district and a consequent boom in population.
After three years, however, Dr. Jones removed to Port Perry, Ontario County, where he entered into a partnership with his brother, Dr. George W. Jones, who later removed to Imlay City, Michigan. Dr. Jones resided at Port Perry for over twenty years during which time he carried on a large and successful practice among all classes in town and country. He was pre-eminently a doctor of the old school and gave to the poor freely and cheerfully not only professional services but food and medicine. He was not only to them the good and trusted doctor but also the kind friend and sympathizer. Dr. Jones was therefore called "the poor man's doctor," but his service and life among all classes was such that all of the offices in the community were at his command.
He served as Reeve of Port Perry in 1882; was a member of council, a trustee of the High School Board from the time of its organization, and a member of the Port Perry Library Board.
In 1887 he removed to Toronto where he continued his practice until his removal to Cobourg in 1901. About 1912, on account of illness Dr. Jones retired from practice and devoted himself to the cultivation of orchard and garden at his residence on D'Arcy Street. Two years ago he had a serious illness from which he only partially recovered. Ten days before his death he was taken with pneumonia and he passed peacefully away early Saturday morning, Dec. 15, 1917 at his late residenc "Avalea", Cobourg, Ont.
In 1865 Dr. Jones married to Miss Lucinda R. Mallory, only daughter of the late C. R. Mallory, Esq. His devoted wife and their only daughter, Miss Laura L. Jones, B.A., of the C.C. I. staff, survived him. Of Dr. Jones' family there survive also, his brothers, Dr. Geo. W. Jones of Imlay City, Mich.; Mr. Chas. W. Jones of Bancroft, Ont.; Mr. W. M. Jones, of Miami, Man..; and his sisters, Mrs. Hedges of London, Ont.; Mrs. Thomas Bedford of St. John, N.B.; Mrs. J. W. Isaacs of California; and Mrs. Wm. Tuer of Liberty, Texas.
Although not unexpected on account of his advancing years the passing of Dr. Jones caused much sadness with many friends and patients who loved him for his kindliness of heart, staunch friendship and real worth. This also is true of the many friends whom he drew around him in his earlier years, when although the hard worked busy, doctor, he had time also for the friendly word and act of kindness.
Many friends gathered for his funeral at the home to pay a last tribute of respect. Rev. H. B. Kenny conducted a helpful service, with words of appreciation for the service and life of the one who had passed on before, and of comfort to those who remained.
The interment was in the Cobourg Union Cemetery. The pall bears were Dr. Ivey, Dr. Ferris, Mr. J.E. Skidmore, Mr. A.J. Gould, Mr. B.J. Mallory and Mr. Harry Mallory.
WILLIAM M. JONES
William Jones was born near Orono on Dec. 2, 1840, son of Rev. George Jones. Both his parents were United Empire Loyalists who settled near Perth, Ont.
Like many other young men of that period, he taught school for a few years, but business proved more attractive than teaching, and in the early 1860s he became a manager of a flour mill in Madoc, where his brother Charles was a partner in a general store business.
In 1869, both brothers moved to Port Perry, where two years later they purchased a general store from Thomas Paxton and George W. Jones, and established a thriving business under the firm name of Jones Bros. For the next 27 years, except for a short period spent in iron mining in Haliburton and a few years devoted to farming in Darlington Twp., William Jones kept store in Port Perry, at first in partnership with his brother Charles, and later by himself.
In 1898 the call of the West led him to take up farming and he settled in Roland, Manitoba, where he lived until he passed away on Monday, July 11, 1929.
Mr. Jones was a man of marked mental and physical vigor. He was keenly interested in public affairs and greatly attached to his church.
The late Mr. Jones was married twice, first to Eliza Jane (Sylvester), who died in 1890, and later to Ellen (Cook). He was survived by his second wife and three children, Charles S, Henry M., and Mrs. F. C. Couch. Wm. Jones was the last survivor of a large family, several of whom lived in Port Perry - Dr. Richard and Dr. George W. Jones who practiced medicine here, and William and Charles ran a general store.
CHARLES C. KELLETT
Charles Kellett was born in Dublin, Ireland about 1844 and came to Port Perry when little more than a boy.
For many years he was engaged in the sale of nursery stock, and lived in a house located on Bigelow St. Later he moved to a new home, and operated his 15 acre farm, next to the fairgrounds for many years, becoming a noted grower of nursery stock. He also raised strawberries and small fruits together with assorted farm produces.
C.C. Kellett had a keen interest in agriculture, which led him to become a valued member and director of the Agricultural Society. He was a charter member of Fidelity Lodge, the A.F.&A.M., Port Perry, and served on council for two terms.
Mr. Kellett passed away at his home on Sunday, Nov. 30, 1924. His funeral was taken charge of by the members of the Masonic Lodge. His wife, Sophia (Shaw), predeceased him on Wed., March 1, 1916. She wa interred at Bethel Cemetery. Mr. Kellett was survived by his son Clarence.
William Kennedy was born in Scotland in 1837 and came to Canada when he was 12 years of age. For a number years he lived in Quebec, before moving to Port Perry in 1861.
Eight years later he moved to Uxbridge to begin a lumber business, but returned a few years later and continuously lived in Port Perry until his death. He was one of the longest residing, and most highly and deeply beloved citizens of the town.
Mr. Kennedy was connected for several years with the Sexton Milling Co. He built the first flouring mill in the town in 1878, and later became a grain buyer. His career in the grain business spanned more than 30 years, as an expert buyer and judge of grain. Throughout his life he was seen every day, faithfully at his duties on the market or in the elevator.
Mr. Kennedy was a Presbyterian in religion, and a staunch Conservative in politics. Throughout his life was dedicated to his church and community. He was also an active and enthusiastic member of the Orange Order for 51 years; a member of the Board of Education for 15 years; Chief of the Rescue Fire Company of Port Perry for 20 years, and also found time to serve on the village council.
He was described as a "great souled man", who even at the ripe age which he attained, was filled with the joy of life. In 1863 Mr. Kennedy married Elizabeth McConnell, of Manchester, and the couple raised nine children
Mr. Kennedy passed away on Monday, March 26, 1923, at the home of his son-in-law in Toronto, at 86 years of age. His remains arrived on Tuesday morning via Grand Trunk Railway and were conveyed to his home. A funeral was held at St. John's Presbyterian Church and interment took place in Pine Grove Cemetery. He was predeceased by his wife by a few years.
JAMES B. LAZIER
James B. Lazier, one of the communities oldest and most devoted residents passed away at his home in Reach Twp., on January 13, 1894, aged 71 years.
He was a first class mechanic, and in his younger days made lots of money and spent it like a lord in the enterprises which he considered were for the public good. He operated a factory and kiln from his home on the 7th conc. of Reach, just north of Port Perry, which was destroyed by fire in Aug. 1881.
In death, he left behind a loving widow, and three sons who operate businesses in the United States.
James Leonard was Port Perry's most well known photographer for more than 30 years. He started his business in the late 1850s and in September 1874 he erected a new building for his studio on Perry St, near the corner of Queen St. Here he practiced his trade for the remainder of his life.
Mr. Leonard was married to Araminta (Ewers), the daughter of Abel W. Ewers, one of the town's pioneer municipal officials, and to them was born a son, William.
James Leonard passed way on January 8, 1884, at 51 years of age, with his son taking over the photographic business. Mrs. Araminta Leonard passed away on Mon., Nov. 4, 1918 at 79 years of age.
WILLIAM H. LEONARD
William Leonard carried on one of the most successful photography businesses in Port Perry for more than half a century. He was the son of photographer James Leonard, who practiced his vocation in the district until he passed away in 1884.
Wm. Leonard learned his trade from his father well and executed excellent pictures, finishing them in any of the leading styles desired. He is responsible for many of the pictures of personalities, families and town scenes from the early part of the century which can be found in the local museum.
In 1884, Mr. Leonard's studio was destroyed by fire, but he erected a new building on his Perry Street lot. Later he purchased the buildings, adjoining his to the south, and the entire building became known as the Leonard Block.
He maintained his gallery, in the original Leonard building, located at the corner of Queen and Perry St., which had its entrance off Perry St. William H. Leonard passed away at 92 years of age on May 25, 1947.
JOSEPH T. LETCHER
Joseph Letcher was a resident of Ontario County for half a century. He was an energetic man in business, as an active and skillful mechanic and successful builder. He left behind many buildings erected under his direction. He was for a time, a partner in the Dominion Planing Mills, in Port Perry, having purchased them by auction in 1881.
Mr. Letcher was an esteemed townsman and friends were saddened when he was struck by that blighting disease, paralysis, which disabled him from following many active pursuits of life.
In 1890 Mr. Letcher moved to his daughter's home in Toronto where he lived for the remainder of his life. He passed away in that city on Sunday, Nov. 5, 1893, at the age of 85 years, at the home of his daugter and son-in-law, Mr. E. Hicks. He was the father of 10 children, five sons and five daughters.
Following the funeral in Toronto, a procession on the Grand Truck Railway arrived at Port Perry Station, then proceeded to Pine Grove Cemetery for interment.
WILLIAM H. LETCHER
William H. Letcher, son of the late Joseph Letcher, was born in Columbus on July 8, 1851 and spent his entire life in Port Perry, with the exception of 11 years when he lived in Welland.
He took an active part in town affairs. He was a member of the school board for many years and was Chairman in 1920; was an active worker in Masonic, OddFellows, Sons of England and Orange Lodges. He was a Past District Deputy of I.O.O.F. for Ontario County and Past Master of Fidelity Lodge No. 428, A.F.&A.M. He was also an active member of the United Church.
During his life he was an enthusiastic supporter of clean sport, taking an active part in baseball, lawn bowling and curling. He served as president of the Port Perry Curling Club.
In October 1911 he purchased the furniture and undertaking business of Town and Spears and operated it successfully until 1914 when his son, Merlin, took over the family business.
Mr. Letcher passed away on Wed., December 14, 1927, and a funeral service was held at the family residence. Many of his friends gathered at the home to pay their last respects to an an old friend and prominent citizen. In passing he left to mourn his loss, his wife Caroline (Bowers), two daughters, Mrs. J.C. MacNab and Mrs. Allan Crawford, and one son Merlin.
The burial service at Prince Grove Cemetery was conducted by members of Warriner Lodge No. 75, of which he had been an active member for over 40 years.
W. MERLIN LETCHER
Merlin Letcher took over the furniture and undertaking business of his father, William H., in April 1914 and operated it successfully until it was sold in 1928 to Archie McDermott.
Mr. Letcher was a active member of the community serving in the public's best interest for many years. He was elected a councillor and held the post of Reeve for 13 consecutive years, from 1933 to 1945. The high point in his political career was being elected Warden of Ontario County in 1937.
Another highlights of his public life was receiving a medal from Buckingham Palace to be worn in commemoration of Their Majesties Coronation on May 12, 1937.
In 1953 he served as President of the Provincial Lawn Bowling Association. The same year, his wife, Marjorie C. (Mellow) was honored when she retired from Library Board after 29 years service in 1953.
Mr. Letcher passed away suddenly at Dayton Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, April 19, 1961, beloved husband of Marjorie. The funeral service was conducted from Port Perry United Church, with interment at Pine Grove Cemetery.
James Lucas began his business career in 1893 as an office manager in the Paxton -Tate Foundry, Port Perry. He later accepted a position with the Anderson Furniture Co., Woodstock.
Following the death of Aaron Ross, in 1896, he returned to Port Perry as an associate member of the firm of A. Ross & Sons. In 1911 he purchased William Ross' grain business and in 1916 joined up with Hogg & Lytle Limited, retiring in 1933.
Long and successful business dealings gave him many advantages - he gained many friends in the community, ample competence for himself and his family, and experience taught him business principles that became of prime importance to him in his outlook upon life.
Mr. Lucas turned his attention to municipal affairs as the years passed. He served as Reeve of Port Perry in 1920 and 1921, and as councillor for a number of years. He approached the new duties with certain well defined ideas, which did not always meet with popular favour, but to which he continued to give loyal and aggressive support.
The municipal flag was at half-mast in Port Perry on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 1939, for as the bell tolled, the body of James Lucas was passing on the way to its last resting place.
The tolling bell and half-mast flag were tokens of community esteem for a man whose life had been spent largely in Port Perry.
The late Mr. Lucas was a home-loving man, and progress made by his son and daughter gave happiness and pride to both Mr. and Mrs. Lucas.
Richard Lund occupied a conspicuous and highly important position in the community, and was identified with Port Perry from its early existence as a village. He identified himself with, and was an active promoter of every movement, commercial, educational and religious.
He was one of the first merchants to open shop in Port Perry and only retired after he saw the ground being occupied by young merchants of the right stamp, those who would lay the foundation for its future.
Educational interests received his active encouragement and support, as Secretary-Treasurer of the Board of School Trustees while the village was as yet too small to maintain a school, and too financially weak to pay a proper teacher. He generously added a handsome supplement to the salary of the teacher from year to year, taken from his own pocket, to retain the services of a good teacher.
He was a son of toil, active, industrious and persevering, and notwithstanding that he had accumulated a very liberal share of this world's goods. He filled several important offices - as Magistrate and Clerk of the Division Court, but he preferred farming. He was appointed returning officer for the first election of the Township of Scugog, after it separated from Reach Twp. in 1855.
The death of Richard Lund was both sudden and unexpected, at his home in Port Perry, at the age of 64 years. He passed away on July 25, 1883 and was interred at Pine Grove Cemetery, Prince Albert beside his wife, Sarah Elizabeth who predeceased him in 1852, at 32 years of age.