We wish in this chapter to give our readers a few short sketches of the lives of some of the sons and daughters of Smithville, who have brought honor to their native village, in their various callings. Many others have gone forth into the world and carved out for themselves a successful and honored career. We cannot however, refer to them all, nor have we the information at hand to do so. To all these successful men and women, we would record our appreciation of their success and would express our joy in all that makes them happy. May they bring fresh honors to the village of their youth as the days and years turn their hair to silver and to grey. May their thoughts often turn to the old home fireside, to the companions of youth, and to those days which will sweeten the coming years as they mingle with the busy world.
Professor Charles Patterson, son of Frank Patterson, was educated at Smithville High School, and Tufts College, Boston. He is now Professor of English Literature in Massachusetts Agricultural College. Mr. Patterson is also an artist in Shakespearian drama. A few years ago he gave “The Merchant of Venice,” as a benefit concert for the Smithville Public Library.
Doctor John Field, Jr., son of John Field, the Photographer, was educated at Smithville Public and High Schools, completing his education at College. He was for a time principal of the High School in Goderich. He is now a School Inspector, with headquarters at this place.
Rev. William Pell French, son of John French, was educated at Smith ville schools, after which he took a theological course at College. He is now preaching the gospel in the United States.
Edgar Russ, son of William Russ, a native of Smithville, is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church.
Dr. John Cutler, Jr., son of John Cutler, is a medical doctor, practicing in the United States.
Lena Field, daughter of Isaac Field, was educated at Smithville High School, after which for a time she taught school. Taking advanced education she became a missionary of the Presbyterian Church, going out to the field of Trinidad. Miss Field is a clever young woman, who is filling an important mission in the world.
George Bridgman, was the son of Wesley Bridgman. He was an artist of outstanding ability. At the time of his death he was a resident of the city of Vancouver.
Professor Leslie Bridgman, son of Milton Bridgman, is a son of Smithville, who-is-a leader in the musical achievements of the City of Vancouver, where he resides.
James T. Middleton, known to many of the older citizens of Smithville as “Jimmy” Middleton, was for a number of years a merchant in the village. He is the son of Arthur Middleton. He has for many years occupied the position of Sheriff in the City of Hamilton.
Rev. Fred. Eastman, son of D. Ward Eastman, was educated at Smithville High School, and completed his education at College, after which he was ordained as a minister of the gospel.
Thomas Pearson, was a Scotchman of the old school. He held the position of Division Court Clerk for over fifty years, with credit to the district and to himself. He was a respected citizen and a familiar figure in Smithville for many years.
John Dunn, was a Pettifoger, who for several years, pleaded cases in Division Court, against the lawyers. John was of Irish descent, and possessed the characteristic humor of his countrymen. He was for many years a familiar figure in Smithville. He died in the month of July, in the year 1922. at the age of 93.
William H. Morgan is of English parentage. His father was Richard Morgan, of Smithville. He was for a number of years engaged in business in Smithville, where he was highly respected. He later removed to Toronto, following the life of a Commercial Traveller, which position he still retains. He has been an active worker in the Presbyterian Church in Ontario. He was superintendent of a large Sunday School in Toronto, and is now superintendent of Knox Church Sunday School, in Fenwick, where he resides. Mr. Morgan is a strong champion of the splendid ideals and traditions of the British race from whence he sprung.
Marcus 0. Merritt, son of Robert Merritt, has conducted successful singing schools throughout the Niagara Peninsula for fifty years. He received his early musical training from Jacob A. Griffin, a nephew of Smith Griffin. He has been a leader of the Methodist choir in Smithville for twenty years. The community is indebted to him for his splendid contribution to the musical training of the young during the past half century. Mr. Merritt possesses a baritone voice of rich quality, which has given pleasure to the lovers of music in Smithville for many years.
Major F. 0. Burch, is an old Fenian Raid veteran, and has the honor of being the father of men prominent in the military achievements of the British Empire. He gave a brave son to England’s cause when his son Edgar was killed in the South African War. Major Arthur Burch, another son, was a senior Chaplain in the Canadian forces in the World War. Major Frank Burch is an ex-member of the Township Council, and a respected citizen of Smithville.
A. D. De Lacey, has been a resident of Smithville all his life. He has held the position of Division Court Bailiff for Lincoln County for over fifty years. He was for many years a successful auctioneer. During the long tenure of his office as Bailiff he never made himself offensive, and his kindly manner has made him many friends in his native village and county, where he is widely known.
Doctor Sidney S. Morgan, son of Richard Morgan, was for a number of years Principal of Hamilton Normal School. He now occupies the position of Director of professional training for the Province of Ontario. Mr. Morgan is one of Smithville’s sons of whom she can be justly proud.
Martin J. Barry was born in Smithville. He is the grandson of Martin Lally and lived with his grandmother until he had completed his education at the Smithville Public and High Schools, after which he became active in the life insurance business. He now occupies the position of District Manager of the Imperial Life Assurance Co., with his headquarters at Guelph. He is one of Smithville’s boys who has many warm friends in his native village.
Mary E. Sammons was born in Smithville and with her brothers and sisters attended school at the old red school at Middleport. While still in her teens her family removed to Grimsby where she attended High or Grammar School. She began teaching school at the age of seventeen and taught for forty years, retiring from the profession about five years ago. Most of her work was in the Niagara Peninsula. She now resides in Hamilton and retains a loyal friendship for all her old friends. It is impossible to estimate the value of such a life, devoted for forty years to the youth of our land. We are sure that the children who have come under the influence of her personality and intellect will be better men and women as a result of that privilege.
Joseph M. Martin, J.P., has for many years been a prominent business man in Smithville. Before Smithville showed signs of progress and growth he had sufficient confidence in its future to build a splendid business block, his present place of business. Strictly honorable, he has made a success of his business undertaking.
Cicey Smith was a well-known character in Smithville thirty years ago. He lived in a little frame house near Middleport. He was a tall, wiry man of remarkable strength and endurance. He was a shoemaker by trade, and was also said to be the greatest woodchopper of his time. He swung a seven pound axe with speed and skill, and would lay a tree low with remarkable speed. He was also a great cradler. In earlier days many strong men who cradled in the fields from early morning until dark, took a great deal of pride in the record which they could make in the acreage cradled in a given time. Cicey was also a ventriloquist and often amused the children on the streets of Smithville. Beneath a rough exterior was a kind heart. He seldom left the village without a well-filled pocket of stick candy which he handed out to certain children on his way home. I can recall receiving some of these sweets from his hand. Cicey Smith is a name that will never leave the memory of many who are now grown up children, and sweets will never again taste as good as those received from Cicey’s hand.
William P. Henning, son of Doctor N. P. Henning, was born in Smithville, educated at the public and High Schools there and at Toronto University. He has filled important positions on the teaching staffs of the largest business colleges in the United States. He is now a teacher in one of the High Schools of Pittsburg, Pa. His wife is a Smithville girl, who was Ella Hill before her marriage.
John Teeter is the eldest son of James Teeter of Smithville. He was educated in the public and High Schools of his native village. Early in life he showed a marked ability in art. A natural love for the brush and canvass has developed this talent. For many years he has painted the scenery for local amateur plays which have delighted the eyes of many audiences. Many of his oil paintings are splendid achievements and reflect his ability as an artist. Mr. Teeter’s work is largely original and creative and his ability in artistic work singles him out as a genius. For many years he has delighted the people of Smithville with his paintings of Sacred subjects, which have hung on the walls of the Presbyterian Church at Christmastide.
John Cartwright was the eldest son of Sidney Cartwright. He was born in Smithville and when England went to war with South Africa he enlisted and went over with the Canadian Militia. A reception was held for him upon his return. Although he came back to his native village without a wound he developed a fever soon after his return which cut off his young life. He was of a friendly, happy disposition and the early call of death was sincerely regretted by his townsmen.
Robert W. Wade or “Bob” as he was best known in his home town is the son of Charles Wade. He was Principal of the Smithville public school for a number of years. At the time of the South African War he joined the colors and served overseas. I heard him say on the evening of his return: “Well, boys, I thought I would like to fight just once for Old England, anyway.” Mr. Wade is a born agriculturalist, the son of a farmer, and soon after his return from the war he attended the Agricultural College at Guelph, and later became one of the Professors of that College. He is now head of the live stock branch of the Ontario Department of Agriculture, and is one of the most energetic officials of the !Provincial Government. He is well-known by stock men all over our Province. He married Maude Elliott, who was a Smithville girl.
Doctor Henning followed his profession in Smithville for many years. He was the loved and respected family physician of many old families as long as he remained in Smithville. He was a clever student of medicine and kept abreast of the times in medical research. He was a man who loved honor and honesty and practiced both in his dealings with men. His death occurred at the home of his daughter, Mary, at Hamilton, having reached an age well beyond the three score years and ten.
J. A. Schnick was born in Germany and came to America as a young man. He located in Smithville where he established a tailor shop. He has been for many years a respected citizen of the village, taking an active interest in education, having been a member of the Public and High School Trustee Boards. He has been Superintendent of the Presbyterian Sabbath School for many years. He is a man of sterling qualities, active in business and a worthy citizen of Smithville.
James E. Johnston.
Mr. Johnston was a familiar figure in Smithville for many years. He was a clerk for the firm of R. Murgatroyd and Sons at Smithville and for a time conducted a branch store for them at St. Anns. Up until the time of his death he was a trusted and faithful employee of this firm. He was a man of exemplary habits, kind and courteous to all.
Heroes of the Great War
In response to the call for overseas service in the British army, the following young men of Smithville responded, and by their service and sacrifice on the battlefield, won the respect and appreciation of their native village. We present their names below with pride in their achievement and with thanks to God for their safe return to native soil:
Gordon Shrum, University Battery; William Grassie, Artillery; Wesley Cartwright, Stretcher Bearer; Walter Field, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles; C. Schnick, Infantry; E. Schnick, Infantry; Jack Brant, Motor Transport; Jack Sheppard, Despatch Rider.
If there were any others who went from Smithville, they are included in this tribute as men worthy of their country’s pride.
George Merrithew has been for many years a familiar figure on the streets of Smithville. He has lived to see many changes take place in the village. He is an honest old citizen, who has a smile of welcome for those who return to visit their native village.
W. S. Hibbard, V.S.
Doctor Hibbard has for many years practiced as a Veterinary Surgeon in Smithville. He has also conducted a horse and car livery business for a number of years. He is widely known, and commands the respect of his townsmen and friends.
Doctor Tom Grassie, the son of Charles Grassie, was educated at Smithville schools and Toronto University. He is a successful dentist, practising in Welland. He has a wide circle of friends in his native village.
Professor Israel Allen has been for many years a teacher of organ and piano and his efforts have been attended with success. He has ably filled the position of organist in the Methodist Church for many years.
John S. Davis, B.A., is the son of John Davis of Smithville. He was for a number of years a High School teacher, after which he studied law at Osgoode Hall and was admitted to the Bar. He practiced law in Latchford and Cobalt during the boom years of these mining towns. He is now following his profession in his native village.
Nearly every village boasts of an Amateur Dramatic Club and Smithville is no exception to the rule. In earlier days such plays as “Ten Nights in a Bar-room” and “East Lynn” were presented to Smithville audiences. Among the amateur actors of this time were Frank Patterson, Harvey Patterson and Jerry Collins. At a later period a number of New England plays were presented. Some of the players were Miss M. Henning, Miss Grace Walker, Miss Bell Walker, Calvin Warner, William Trembley, George Davis, Claire McMurchie, George Henning. Fred Johnson and John Teeter were the artists who looked after the scenery for these plays. A revival of interest in amateur dramatic effort took place a few years ago when that charming old New England play, “The Old Homestead,” from the pen of Denman Thompson, was produced. Some of the players in this production were Mrs. Roy Goring, Miss Belle Walker, Mrs. George Brant, Mrs. Harold Hibbard, Mrs. Tom Elliott, Clarence Merritt, W. F. H. Patterson, John Teeter, George Davis, Mr. Armstrong and Harry Patterson. Playing the star part, that of Uncle Josh, Mr. George Davis excelled many professional actors playing in this class of drama. Some who saw the author of the play Denman Thompson, act this character in New York and Chicago, declared that Mr. Davis was his equal. Mr. Davis as an amateur actor, is a wonder on the stage. “The Old Homestead” was staged under the direction of Mr. John Teeter, while the scenery was the product of his brush and was worthy of being hung in any theatre.