James McCollom came from near Albany, N.Y., to Canada in 1793, and settled at Smithville. He had thirteen children, who became scattered, settling at various points in Canada. Daniel, however, settled on the old homestead, where Jasper McCollom lived at a later period. Daniel had a large family. One son, Philip, remained on the old homestead. Another of Daniel’s sons was Murry, who settled on the farm adjoining Philip’s. It is the descendants of Murry who are the best known in Smithville, as they lived there for a number of years as highly respected citizens. There were three sons, Melvin, Harvey and Alva. Melvin’s family consisted of Maude, Claude, Ruey, Ray and Hazel. Ray of this family still lives near Smithville. Harvey lived for many years at Smithville and his family consisted of the following children: Will, Nellie, Lizzie, Susan and Ethel. Alva, another son of Murry, is now living in Smithville. His family consists of the following: Ellis, Cora, Ruby and Annie. Murry McCollom also had two daughters, Alice, the mother of Sterling Turner of Smithville and Matilda, the mother of Harry Farr, also a resident of the village. An outstanding characteristic of the descendants of James McCollom is a happy disposition, and a kindly manner. They have been largely agriculturalists, and successful in their calling. They have played an important part since 1793, in the Agricultural development of the district. Theirs was the task of hewing out a home in the midst of the forest, and the land cleared by James McCollom and his family has been kept busy producing ever since, by his sturdy and ambitious descendants.
At the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, owing to religious strife in England, many refugees fled to Holland, where they could worship in freedom as their conscience and knowledge of the truth dictated. Among these refugee families were the Hills, who remained for two generations in the Dutch country. In 1720 Anthony Hill came to America, and settled in New York State. Uriah Hill, Jr., of Peekskill, N.Y., a great great grandson of Anthony Hill, wrote the history of the Hill family. The Canadian Branch of the family he traced from Anthony Hill down the line for six generations to the author of this little volume. Thomas T. Hill an attorney, now living at Carmel, N. Y., a great, great, great gandson of Anthony Hill, had some part in the preparation of this history. He states that Uriah Hill spent several thousand dollars and traveled several thousand miles to prove up the history and to insure accuracy, so that the history quoted from this book may be considered authentic. It is said that Anthony Hill lived at Queemans Landing, on the Mohawk River. He had a son, William Hill, whose wife was Bethiah Smith Hill, They lived at what was then known as Red Mills, now Mahopac Falls, N.Y. William’s youngest son was Abraham Hill, the grandfather of Thomas T. Hill of Carmen. Another son of William and Bethiah Hill was Solomon, born August 3oth, 1756, at Red Mills. Writing of Solomon Hill, Uriah Hill, in his history, says in part: Solomon Hill, M.P.P., son of William and Bethiah (Smith) Hill, born August 3oth, 1756, at Red Mills, Dutchess, (now Mahopac Falls, Putnam) County N.Y.; died at Smithville, Lincoln County, District of Niagara, Canada, August 3oth, 1807. During the War of the Revolution he was loyal to the British Government and removed from Red Mills to Coemans, Albany County, N.Y., where in December, 1783, he married Bethiah, daughter of Richard and Mary (Smith) Griffin, and grand-daughter of Abraham and Margaret Smith of Philips Precinct, Dutchess County, N.Y. In 1795 he removed to Smithville, Canada, where his father-in-law had previously removed and settled.
‘For his loyalty to Great Britain a large tract of land was granted him by the British Government. Upon his removal to Canada, he took an active interest in public affairs, received a commission in the local Militia and in 1804 was elected a member of the Provincial Parliament, which office he held to the time of his death. He was a man of high character, exemplary habits, deeply religious, of unusual ability, and a very able public speaker. After the death of his father, he made a short visit to Red Mills and disposed of the real property devised to him by his father to his brothers, Abraham and Cornelius Hill.’
H. R. Page, in his history of Lincoln and Welland County, 1876, refers to Solomon Hill’s election to Parliament against seven other candidates, and refers to him as a very clever speaker.
Solomon Hill had a son, Nathaniel, who married Eleanor Field of Niagara-on-the-Lake, River Road. The old homestead of Solomon Hill was situated where Fitz Hugh Patterson’s house now stands. Nathaniel Hill moved part of this building to where John Woodruf Hill’s cottage home is now located, using the old building as a kitchen and building the present cottage front. I believe that we are safe in saying that the old portion of the home is the oldest building in Smithville, as Solomon Hill was among the early settlers in the village. The old Crown Deed of this farm, 220 acres, composed of W. F. H. Patterson and John W. Hill farms, is an interesting document. It shows the transfer of this property from the Crown to Edward Griffin, to Bethiah (Griffin) Myree, Bethiah Myree to Jacob Myree, Jacob Myree (step-father of Nathaniel Hill) to Nathaniel Hill, Nathaniel Hill to his son, John Woodruf Hill, (the grandson of Solomon Hill), who now owns the property. The seal attached to this document, dated 1798 measures four and a half inches in diameter, and is five-eighths of an inch thick. It was made of beeswax, and was the old Crown Seal of His Majesty, George HI. Solomon Hill was a member of the fourth Parliament of Upper Canada, and was the first member of Parliament sent from Smithville.
Martin Lally was born in Balinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland, April 6th, 1809. At the age of eighteen he concluded to try his fortune in new lands, and sailed for America in the good ship “Sunderland,” manned by Captain Barry and crew. After some four or five weeks’ voyage he landed in Quebec, where he learned that the dreaded disease, cholera, was sweeping the land. He did not tarry long here, but crossed the line into United States, where he worked for a time in Syracuse and Lyons. Returning to Canada he came to Thorold. From Thorold he journeyed to Grimsby in Her Majesty’s Mail Coach, a lumber wagon. From this point he went to Smithville, a hamlet of a few houses, but to him a promising point as a source of supply to the lumbering district of the Chippewa and Grand River, and a farming community covering a large district. His first purchase was a lot on Griffin Street, now owned by The Union Bank of Canada, also the property on West Street, on which the Lally homestead is situated.
In 1844 he opened a general store and prepared to serve his patrons. Before long he felt the need of help. In Hamilton he found clerks, and as there was no ready-made footware or clothing available, he brought in tailors and shoemakers. He also started a cooper shop. The latter business outgrew his anticipations. In a short time he was delivering flour barrels to mills at St. Catharines and Thorold, pork barrels to Hamilton, as well as supplying the apple barrels for the fruit district between Beamsville and Winona. Shortly after he settled in Smithville he married a widow, Mrs. Hopkins,.daughter of Benjamin Fralick of the Township of Thorold. This family was one of the pioneer stock, her grandmother being one of the first three white children born at Niagara. She ably assisted her husband in his efforts to carve out a future in Canada. She had a family of nine children, seven of whom are still living. She died at the age of 93.
As business increased Mr. Lally built more stores and dwellings for those whom he employed, all of which burned in the big fire of 1886. He purchased a farm west of Griffin Street where a fine limestone quarry, furnished building stone for those requiring it. On the north-west limit of his property he donated a site for the Catholic Church. When he came to Smithville a barn was standing where the park is now located, this he purchased and removed in order to improve the appearance of the street.
He was active in business until the age of 76 years and died in April, 1886.
At the time of his death the country was visited by an unusual snowstorm of four feet deep on April 6th. The storm was so bad that Midgely Murgatroyd closed his store for two days, refusing to venture forth.
Mr. Lally owned a two-horse carriage, which in his time was considered one of the finest vehicles in the neighborhood. It was purchased about 185o from Homes and Greenwood of St. Catharines. The style of this carriage was striking and the upholstering elegant. It was built to convey the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward) through the city when he visited St. Catharines. As a youngster I recall playing in this old carriage and remember distinctly the elegance of the interior finish.
Abishai Morse, Esq., was born in the Town of Moravia, Cayuga, County, N.Y., on July the 9th, 1805. His parents were Puritans of Anglo-Norman lineage. He belonged to the same family as the Rev. Jedediah Morse, the father of American Geography, and the father of Samuel F. B. Morse of telegraphic celebrity. Abishai Mores’s parents came to Canada soon after the war of 1812. He became largely a self-educated man, and in later years took a keen interest in educational matters. He, with Robert Murgatroyd were responsible for the commencement of a High School in Smithville. He was a chairman of the Public and High School Boards for nearly thirty years. He occupied the position of Postmaster, Clerk of the Division Court, Township Reeve, County Warden, Magistrate and Councillor. He was for over fifty years a local preacher in the Methodist Church. He had two sons who went into the ministry. Mr. Morse was an outstanding figure in his day, and a leader in the public activities of Smithville. His son, Ernest A. Morse, lived for a number of years on the old Morse farm, a mile above Smithville across the Twenty Creek, at the point known as Morse’s Rapids. He now lives at East Bloomfield, N.Y., where his son, George, resides. Another son, Eric E., lives at Ridgeville, Ontario, the only one of nine great grandchildren of Abishai Morse living in Canada at the present time. He is a successful fruit grower and a respected citizen.
George Brant was born at Basingstoke, County of Hants, England, in the year 1818. He came to Canada with an English Regiment and was stationed for a time at Quebec. He was tall and carried himself erect, and as an old man he retained a military bearing.
He became engaged in business in Smithville, as a merchant, druggist, undertaker and postmaster. He married Elizabeth Murgatroyd, a sister of Robert Murgatroyd. He was a prominent Mason when that organization first had a lodge in Smithville, which was held over his drug store.
The story is told that Mr. Brant was very fond of rice. His wife, leaving him to keep house for a few days, he decided that he would cook a good supply of his favorite dish. Buying several pounds of rice which did not appear to be much in bulk, he placed this in a kettle, added some water, and placed it on the stove. Soon the rice began to swell, and it was found necessary to divide the amount into two kettles, adding more water. Still the grains seemed to multiply, with the result that Mrs. Brant returned home to find all her pots and pans full of cooked rice.
We print below an advertisement, in the form of a circular in rhyme, used by Mr. Brant in his business. It illustrates the fact that up to this period the transaction of business was still conducted largely by barter, or exchange of goods, rather than by the use of currency. Mr. Brant died at Smithville in the year 1895.
VER SAP SAT
If furniture you wish to buy,
I’ll tell you who can you supply, And goods the best in quality,
Brant’s is the place to find them.
Dry Goods also, there you’l find,
And they are cheap too, for the kind,
Do not mistake but bear in mind,
Brant’s is the place to find them.
Some Hardware too, you’l also find,
I do not say there’s every kind,
But what there is, is cheap dy’e mind,
Brant’s the place to find them.
There’s furniture all kinds you need,
And Carpets, broadcloths, Prints, & Tweed,
And Hardware, very cheap indeed,
Brant’s is the place to find them.
Please call, examine, ask the price,
His son will show you in a trice,
And if you will take my advice,
Go to Brant’s and find them.
All kinds of produce he’ll receive
And highest prices he will give,
And if you’l only me believe,
Brant’s is the place to go to.
Lumber, Shingles, Cord Wood, Butter, Eggs, and all kinds of produce, taken in exchange for goods.
Robert C. Murgatroyd
Robert C. Murgatroyd was born at Lansengburg, near Troy, N.Y., on July 14th, 1823, of English parentage, shortly after their arrival in America, and came with them to Smithville when he was about nine years of age. His father owned the farm on which the late Thomas Kettle lived. In his early manhood he was paymaster in the Gloucester Iron Works at Philadelphia. I have heard him describe the triumph of Jenny Lind in that city, and I recall from boyhood his description of her charming manner and wonderful voice.
For a number of years he carried on a large carriage factory business in Smithville in company with his father and elder brother Thomas, under the name of Thomas Murgatroyd and Sons. He was for a short time in partnership with his brother-in-law, George Brant, in the mer- cantile business. Later on he was with his brother Midgely, engaged in the grist milling and wool carding business. In 1867 they purchased the bankrupt stock of Kerrigan Bros. of Smithville, and began the mercantile business known as R. and M. Murgatroyd, which continued in business until 1881 when the firm of R. Murgatroyd and Sons was formed, which took over the former business. This firm was composed of Robert Murgatroyd and his two sons, Robert, Jr., and Ellis. In 1887, they added banking to their business activities handling most of the drafts, cheques, etc., for the Banks, until the Union Bank of Canada opened a branch in Smithville, on June 22nd, 1905, when the cheque and draft business was handed over to them.
Robert Murgatroyd, Sr., was one of the Provisional Directors of The Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, and journeyed many times to Ottawa with deputations on matters concerning it. It was through his influence that it was deflected from a straighter course (about a mile from Smithville) to the village. He used his time and influence toward the passing of the Bonus By-Law of $4,000 from the Township. This provided for the stopping at Smithville of a certain number of passenger trains daily each way, which has insured the village the splendid train service it has today.
I remember Robert Murgatroyd best as I saw him almost daily, seated in his store, where he held friendly converse with his friends and patrons. In front of him was a huge box stove which could swallow a cord wood stick with ease. During some part of every day the head of the firm would be found seated near this big stove. Whenever I had occasion to go there, if I found Mr. Murgatroyd’s chair vacant, it seemed as if something was wrong with the store. Mr. Murgatroyd had a per- sonality which made you feel and note his absence. He knew nearly every man, woman and child who came in his store and greeted them in a kind, friendly way, which was characteristic of the man. Here, as a boy, I have listened to many a hot political discussion with Mr. Murgatroyd championing the cause of Liberalism, and Mr. Charles Elliott or some other citizen upholding the banner of the Conservative Party. These debates were sometimes almost as warm as the big box stove, which was the silent witness of many a heated discussion. During election time Mr. Murgatroyd often took the public platform as chairman of a meeting, or speaker for some Liberal candidate. He was a man of good business judgment, a loyal citizen, and of a kindly disposition. He died in Smithville in March of the year 1910.
This is a well-known family in Smithville. Thomas Walker and his wife, Grace Laidlaw, came to Smithville in the year 1854 from Thornhill, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. They had a family of thirteen children, many of whom were for many years citizens of Smithville, where the boys were engaged in various businesses. One of the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Walker was married to William Adkins, a son of Edward Adkins, a former resident of Smithville. Mrs. Harold Hibbard of Smithville is a daughter of William and Mrs. Adkins and Edward now of the Village of Grimsby, is a son. Both of these children were born in Smithville.
Another of the children of Thomas and Grace Walker is Hugh D. Walker of Grimsby, who has made his mark as an inventive genius and as an industrial leader. He was born in Smithville on September the first, 1867. After leaving school he was apprenticed to W. H. Morgan, to learn the tinsmithing trade. He was then fourteen years of age. He remained with Mr. Morgan for three years, after which he went to Brantford. In 1887 he returned to Smithville and bought the Morgan business. He remained in Smithville for eleven years, during which time he invented the first metal shingle, with a lock on all four sides. These he manufactured in Smithville. In 1898 he moved to Preston, where he started the Preston Metal Shingle and Siding Co., which has grown to be a large concern. In 1905 he moved to Grimsby, where he started the Specialty Mfg. Co. He later started the Metal Craft Co., with which he is still connected.
Smithville is proud to own Mr. Walker as a son.
Thomas Walker, Sr., died in the year 1891, in his 67th year. Mrs. Walker died in 1919 in her 9oth year.
John B. Brant
John Banfield Brant was the son of George Brant and Elizabeth Murgatroyd Brant. He was born in Smithville in the month of May, in the year 1855. He began his business career by learning the tinsmith trade in Toronto, after which he opened up a business in Smithville with William H. Morgan. The firm was known as “Brant and Morgan.” This partnership was carried on for a time, after which Mr. Brant took over the business. He was appointed Postmaster in 1879, filling the position which his father had previously occupied. He then sold out the tinsmith business. He retained the office of Postmaster for thirty eight years. During the last fifteen years of this term he was ably assisted by his daughters, Mrs. (Rev.) Frank D. Roxburgh, now living in Alberta, who was very capable in performing this work, and Mrs. James Copeland (Gwen.) of Toronto, who also inherited her father’s business ability. Her smiling face was always a cheering picture at the wicket.
Mr. Brant travelled as a young man over a large part of Europe. In addition to filling the position of Postmaster, he was a Notary Public and a man of marked business ability. His hearty laugh for many years cheered the lives of his friends. He was a man who took all the enjoyment out of life he could, and it was reflected in his happy disposition and hearty laughter. He died at his home in Smithville in the year 1919.
Andrew Ruhl was born in Germany and came to Canada as a youngman. The journey across the broad Atlantic was taken in a sailing vessel which was three months making the voyage. They encountered many heavy storms and were often doubtful of seeing land again, but after many weary weeks they arrived in New York Harbor.
Mr. Ruhl served his apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker and at night attended school in order to learn the English language. He was not long in America before he spied a lass whom he chose as his wife. He said to me on one occasion: ‘My wife, she speak no Sherman then, and I speak no English, but we make love shust the same.’ He became a first-class cabinet-maker of the old school and later on he opened a shop in Smithville in the old court house, where he made furniture for the living and coffins for the dead. Hiram Field and Andrew Ruhl were bosom friends. Hiram was an amateur ventriloquist, who practiced the art in order to create some amusement for himself and his friends. He would often call at the workshop of his friend Andrew Ruhl for a chat. Andrew prized his cabinet-making tools and always kept them in excellent condition. Hiram would pick up a plane, run it across an old board and with his ventriloquism imitate a plane striking a nail, when Andrew would roundly cuss him for being a fool. Mr. Ruhl later moved into a building known as the old ‘lovejoy,’ an old hotel building, which was situated across from the “White Elephant,” or “White House” hotel, and near where the office of the Royal Bank of Canada is now located. Here he lived and plied his trade. He later moved into a house on St. Catharines Street, where he was a neighbor to the writer. He was fond of pets and kept a pet lamb which followed him about like a dog, hopping and frollicking at his heels.Many happy times have I spent with the old gentleman, who entertained me with songs of Germany and stories of his early life. One day in fun I asked him with as innocent an expression as I could command, if Germany was as large as Smithville. He replied: “You t0m fool, vat you know about Germany; as big as Smithville! You t m fool!’ He had two sons, Lewis and Anthony and a daughter, Minnie, who was loved by all who knew her.
The old gentleman had a ready wit, a good memory and remained youthful until the time of his death, which occurred at the home of his son, Lewis, at an age well over eighty years.
The Rev. J. M. Van Every
This dear old friend of my father and mother in reply to my request for a brief outline of his life and work said: “I was pleased to learn that a Smithville boy had the ambition to undertake to write the history of his native town. The subject is dear to me, and the author I highly esteem, knowing so well his parentage, whom I also esteemed:-
John Marshall Van Every is the son of John C. Van Every and Lousie Bartlett. He was born January 21st, 185o, at Smithville in the home now occupied by the Artist, John Field. At the age of fifteen he began teaching school in January of the year x866. His first school was at Silver Street, now Bismark. When he made application for this school the principal trustee manifested astonishment that one so young would apply for the position. He retired from the room to confer with his wife, and upon his return said that the boy might have the school for three months on trial.
The trustee’s wife had favored a trial because of the pluck exhibited by the youngster in undertaking the task.
Here he taught for two years. The enrollment of scholars was 85. His salary was fifteen to eighteen dollars per month and board was one dollar and a half per week. He :taught school at Abingdon for one year and for one year at Mud Creek.
On Friday, November the fifteenth, 1867, he attended a young people’s prayer meeting at the home of James B. Hopkins, Smithville, and there made a public profession of Christ. On November 17th, 1867, he joined the Wesleyan Methodist Church and in May, 1869, began his public ministry.
On March 14th, 187o, he left Smithville to take up the work of the christian ministry in Missouri. His first Circuit was New Loudon, Mo., where he had ten appointments. Here he travelled from one appointment to another on horseback.
In 1872 he was transferred to the Detroit Conference where he spent fourteen years. While stationed at the Upper Peninsula he had an associate pastor (Indian), who preached at the Chippewa Indian point, extending for two hundred miles on the south shore of Lake Superior. While in this Conference he built up several city charges , which were located in the mining districts. In 1884 he was elected treasurer of the Detroit Conference.
In 1889 on account of Mrs. Van Every’s health he removed to California. The Jamestown Daily Alert of May 29th, 1888 said: “Mr. Van-Every has been one of the most popular and successful pastors ever in the city. In California he did splendid work in a saloon infested district, after which he was given a church in Oakland, California, a beautiful city on the Pacific coast, where he and Mrs. VanEvery still reside. Mrs. VanEvery is a native of Missouri and has been a true christian helper in the work of strenuous years. Reminiscing of Smithville, Mr. Van-Every said: “When I left Smithville in 1870 the village proper had about five hundred inhabitants. There was only one school house where I attended when, now Doctor, Fred Eastman, was teacher in the public school downstairs, and William Cruickshank was the teacher in the Grammar or High School upstairs. The dignified Robert Thompson was Postmaster. The merchants were Martin Lally, Jos. Durkee, James Middleton, Cicero Harris and George Brant. The Squires were Abishai Morse and Jacob Kennedy. The churches were Wesleyan Methodist, Methodist Episcopal, Christian Universalist and Catholic. The hotels were run by Palmer Buckbee and Mr. Bates. There were two flour mills, one by the bridge and the other near the public school. The following men from Smithville went into the ministry, namely Isaac B. Tallman, David Kennedy, George Field, George Bridgman, Edwin McCollom, Abishai Morse, W. P. French, J. E. Russ and J. M. Van Every. Those were the days of the Kennedys, Morses, Bridgmans, Fields, Brants, Thomsons, Lallys, Teeters, Durkees, Murgatroyds, Collards, McColloms, Middletons, Hills, Nesses, Daltons, Camps, etc.” Mr. Van Every visited his old home town in 1906 renewing old friends of his boyhood days. He takes a keen interest in all things pertaining to Smithville and has a warm spot in his heart for the place of his birth. Smithville on the other hand is proud to own him as a son.
D. Ward Eastman
D. W. Eastman was born in Smithville in the year 1838, and is the son of W. 0. Eastman and Catharine Keefer. His grandparents were of Welsh and Alsatian origin. His paternal grandfather was the Rev. Daniel Ward Eastman, one of the most outstanding and most widely known of the early missionaries of Canada. He was a licentiate of the Presbyterian Church at Morristown, N.J., and came with his wife on horseback from that state to the Niagara District in 1801. Father Eastman, as the pioneer missionary was known, carried the gospel over Indian trails from Oakville on the east to Bothwell on the west. He personally organized seven Presbyterian churches in the Niagara and Gore District. and with the aid of two others organized the first Presbytery with twenty-six churches in charge. One of Mr. Eastman’s charges was Niagara Falls South, which recently celebrated its ‘Loth anniversary. Another was the church at Pelham which has passed the century mark. In covering the missions under his charge he rode on horseback through the wilderness to Oakville, Brantford, Eramosa and as far west as Bothwell. More than once saddlebags formed his pillow in the forest. Over three thousand couples were joined in marriage by him. The fee for performing the ceremony in the early days was small, a bag of grain, or, if paid in cash, usually two dollars. A story is told of one couple who came to the Manse to have the happy event consumated, who brought a bag of beans for the minister’s fee. The groom, being doubtful about the acceptability of these, went to see the minister first. He had scarcely entered the Manse until he popped his head out again and called: “It is all right Maggie; he will take the beans.” Another old chap who was very fond of money, after the wedding ceremony, handed Mr. Eastman, who had a sense of humor, a ten dollar bill, expecting to receive his change from the then customary fee of two dollars. ‘Thanks, very much,” said the minister, pocketing the bill. “l see you appreciate a good wife.” At the age of fifty, Mr. Eastman became blind, but from a well-stored mind he continued to preach the Old Gospel.
Such was the character and life of the paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Mr. Ward Eastman.
His maternal grandfather was George Keefer, who, as a lad of eighteen journeyed on foot through bush trails from New Jersey to Thorold and for services in the Revolutionary War received a grant of six hundred
acres of land, covering the site of the present Town of Thorold. His son, Thomas C. Keefer, the most eminent Canadian Engineer of the past generation, surveyed the line for the St. Lawrence bridge at Montreal. He was elected President of the Canadian and American Society of Civil Engineers.
Mr. Eastman recalls hearing that remarkable patriot, William Lyon Mackenzie speak in the Methodist Church at Smithville, with Squire Morse in the chair.
Mr. Eastman’s education began in the old school at Middleport. He was appointed a trustee of the Smithville High School which office he held continuously for thirty-seven years. For a number of years Mr. Eastman kept a drug store where the Boulter store is now situated and the writer recalls many visits to Mr. Eastman’s store, his principal purchases being a cent’s worth of candy.
Catharine 0. Eastman, a sister of D. W. Eastman, married on Sept. 5th, 1865, J. T. Middleton, who became Sheriff of the City of Hamilton, where he still resides. Mr. Middleton is well and favorably known in Smithville where he lived for ten years.
D. W. Eastman was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Smithville for many years. Upon his retirement from business he removed to the beautiful Town of Barrie, where he still lives. He gave one son to the ministry, Rev. Fred Eastman, who married Emily Hamilton, a daughter of Doctor Hamilton, a former respected physician of Smithville. Mr. Eastman retains a splendid memory and a clear intellect in his 84th year. He is one of Smithville’s sons who bears an unblemished name and is held in high esteem.
John Field, Sr.
Over ninety years of age, Mr. Field is Smithville’s oldest citizen, and the first photographer in the village, having started a photograph gallery in the year 1851, with his brother George.
The name Field comes from De La Felde, people of Normandy, who afterwards settled in England. Marshall Field, the great merchant of Chicago, was a descendent of the same Field family. The following history of photography will show the broad field of this art, which has been Mr. Field’s experience, as he has followed the development of photography from its very beginning in America.
A Frenchman by the name of Nicephore Niepce is regarded as the inventor of Photography. He was the first man to obtain a permanent picture with the aid of light. Born in 1765 at Chalons-Sur-Saone (France) he joined the army, but ill health and failing eyesight compelled him to resign his commission. With his brother Charles, he later began to make experiments in chemistry and mechanics. Gradually he turned his attention to the art of lithography and eventually the idea of forming sun pictures occurred to him. There are certain resinous and bituminous substances which when exposed in thin films to the action of light and air become insoluble in oils. In his process of picture making, Niepce coated a silver plate with a varnish consisting of a solution of bitumen of Judaea in oil of lavender. When dry this was exposed for six or seven hours in a camera provided with a lens. The image was developed by immersing the plate in oil of lavender, which dissolved the portions of the bitumen unaffected by the light, leaving a picture in insoluble bitumen. After experimenting with various materials Niepce made his bitumen process known in 1829, but it was never used to any great extent. Another Frenchman named Daguerre had also made experiments in Photography and in 1829 he entered into partnership with Niepce. When the latter died, Daguerre continued the experiments. The outcome was the process known as the daguerrotype, which was popular for many years. It was with this process that John and George Field began their art in Smithville in the year 1851, shortly after Daguerre had given the process to the world. The back of the daguerrotype produced by the Field brothers was of copper and the front of pure silver. These sold for twelve shillings each. Many years after the process known as the tintype was introduced which sold much cheaper than the daguerrotpyes. The price charged for these was twenty-five cents each. Mr. Field has many of these old pictures taken nearly a century ago, which are as well preserved and as clear as if taken but a few days.
The Fields migrated to America and settled in New Jersey, some of them coming to Canada at the time of the early settlement, locating along the Niagara River and at other points in Ontario. Ellen Field of Smithville, the mother of John Hill, was a descendent of the Niagara River family. Other descendents of the New Jersey family living in Smithville are John Field, the subject of this chapter; Isaac Field, Mrs. Nellie Hays, daughter of Doctor Field; and Miss Mary Field. John Field is the father of DOctor John Field, school Inspector at Goderich:
Mr. Field is a well informed man, who at his advanced age retains his memory and full mental powers.