Smithville, Ontario – Brief Records Of Smithville

William Forsythe was a storekeeper and Postmaster, whose place of business was on the sight of the present Post Office.

The first medical doctor in Smithville was Doctor Kelly, who married a daughter of Ned Griffin. The next doctor who practiced medicine in the village was Dr. Franklin. Other doctors who followed were Dr. Collver, Dr. Allway, Dr. Turner, Dr. Henning, Dr. McMurchie, Dr. Carlton, Dr. Zumpstein, Dr. Munro, Dr. George Munro, Dr. Robertson.

In the days when Smithville had a carding mill they spun, wove and carded. Farmers traded their wool for full cloth.

Militia. The general training of militia took place in Smithville in earlier days in the month of June, with Squire Ness as Captain. The training was followed by horse-racing, lots of whisky and frequent fights.

The Orangemen. The old Orange Hall was situated at the Trembley corner at the south end of Canboro Street. The Order had a large membership and in the year 1866 were on their glorious parade. Whiskey was cheap and flowed freely. John Dickey, the Marshall, rode his horse into Trembley’s hotel and broke through the floor. The Order does not permit drunkenness in our own day.

Toll Gates. The stone road leading from Smithville to Camp’s school was known as the Buckbee road, and had a toll gate opposite the present residence of George Adams. Toll gates, where a toll was charged the traveller, were quite common in Ontario in early days.

Musical; Bands. The following are past Band leaders in Smithville in the order of their time of leadership: Wheeler Camp, Jim Jimmerman, Ed. Camp, Will Camp, Elliott Taylor, Harry Patterson.

Choral. M. 0. Merritt has been a singing school master for over fifty years and for many years has been leader of the Methodist Choir.

Orchestra. Mr. Isaac Copeland started the first orchestra in Smithville of which we have any record. He has conducted many orchestras since that time. He is a teacher of violin and an accomplished player of that instrument, which is so difficult to master.

Vocal. Mrs. Madge (Field) Heslop, now residing in Welland, is a daughter of Smithville, whose voice was carefully trained in New York City with wonderful results. Mrs. Heslop has a Soprano voice of remarkable sweetness and range.

Clarionet. Mr. Will W. Camp is an excellent clarionet player who was conductor of several Smithville Bands and was leader for a number of years of the Presbyterian choir.

Organ. Professor Leslie Bridgman, now an accomplished musician, residing in Vancouver, is a native of Smithville. He was for a number of years a teacher of organ and piano in Smithville.

Town meeting was held once a year when the municipal affairs of the district were discussed.

Reunion. Smithville’s first old boys and girls’ reunion was held on September 26th and 17th, 1921, and was a grand success. Hundreds of old boys and girls met in reunion and declared it to be one of the happiest occasions in their lives. The old village and her citizens just beamed with hospitality and welcome.

Smith Griffin owned the first Tannery in Smithville which was located on the present agricultural grounds.

Waxey House was a shoemaker and kept store where the Martin Block is located.

John Tanner’s father kept a store in Martin Lally’s building. Mr. Lally bought out the business.

Police Village. Smithville first became a Police Village in the year 1887. The first Trustees were Andrew Patterson, Edward Adkins and Hugh Walker. The people became dissatisfied with the system and in two years reverted to the Township.

The Durkeys were originally the McDurks of Argyleshire, Scotland. They came to New Jersey and changed their name to Durkey. They afterward came to Smithville where they operated a Tannery. Mrs. James Teeter and Mrs. Calvin Page are descendants of this family.

The Camps were originally Scottish people bearing the name of Campbell, who espoused the cause of Bonny Prince Charlie. They came to New Jersey and thence to Canada, locating at Smithville where they were prominent in business for many years. Mr. Will W. Camp is a descendant of this family.

A distillery was once operated on the flats above the grist mill. There was no moonshine made here. It was all daylight production.

Stage Coach. The stage coach drivers on the route from Smithville to Grimsby over the old stone road were Lew Nixon, George Merritt, Harvey McCollom, and John Linderberry. The old Grimsby stone road was built about 1856.

Court was held in early days at Old Niagara. The jurymen received no mileage fee, but received the munificent sum of two shillings for each Jury on which they were chosen.

Smithville’s big fire occurred at midnight in the year 1886 and destroyed the following properties: William Morgan’s store, Constable’s printing office, a residence, Adam’s shoe store, Lally’s store, two houses and Will Adkin’s store.

Wool was carded at the carding mill and made into rolls. The farmers spun this into yarn and their wives knit it into socks which were sold.

The industries of Smithville sixty years ago consisted of two barrel factories. Mr. Lally employed seven shoemakers. Durkey’s harness shop and store employed seven men. There was a carding mill and a grist mill. Bushe’s buggy works employed thirty men. Russe’s foundry employed four men. Durkey’s tannery employed two men, Robert’s ashery two men. Nathan Williams operated a chair and coffin factory. Two sons were connected with the business, Albert and Spencer. Frank, a merchant of Ridgeville, is a son of Albert. At a later date George Copeland started a wagon works where he employed nine men.

At one period in Smithville’s past the village possessed eight taverns and saloons and two wholesale liquor stores. In those days the liquor business was not frowned upon as it is today. Drinking was more generally indulged in. It is said that whiskey sold as cheap as i8 cents a gallon, and Dug House had a strong liking for it. One day he took more of the fire water than usual and went home. His wife, who had seen him come home intoxicated on previous occasions, decided that it was time to administer a strong protest. She therefore proceeded to warm Dug’s ears with the palm of her hand. After receiving several good slaps, Dug partly sobered and very angry left the house and proceeded to the middle of the street. Here he took off his coat, threw it in the dust and tramping upon it declared to the world that he could lick any woman in Smithville.

Dug was not the only man of his time who liked a little more whiskey than he could naviate with. Alfred Aljou came home intoxicated and while still wobbly in his legs he upset a jar of cream. His mother in a rebuking tone of voice, said: “Why, Alfred, you have knocked over that jar, broken it and spilled all the cream.” “Well, mother,” replied Alfred, “who in the mischief disputes you.”

The following verse was composed by some Smithville Poet who was probably jealous of or disapproved of certain leaders in the public life of the village.

It read:—

Bishai Morse he carries the bell,

And old T. White -y rings it,

foe Forsyth he sets the tune,

And greasy Oill he sings it.

The Old Baseball Nine. About twenty-five years ago the lineup of the old baseball -team was as follows-

Pitcher—Mr. Vanatter.

Catcher—F. Roberts.

First Base—Nibbs Culp.

Second Base —J. Deans.

Third Base—Wm. McCollum.

Short-stop—Lewis Ruhl.

Right Field—Aylmer McPherson.

Centre Field—J. O’Connell.

Left Field—J. T. Grassie.