Historical Society of St. Catharines

Celebrating the history of St. Catharines and its vicinity

Research Interests

If you are conducting research on St. Catharines history or the surrounding area and wish to connect with researchers with similar interests, submit your name, e-mail and subject(s) to the Historical Society’s website and we will post it on this page.  Hopefully this will lead to several new contacts.  All subjects are listed in alphabetical order.

Dalhousie Yacht Club – The Club will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012.  It has formed a history committee that are interested in collecting images, text and stories about the Club.  Please contact Dan Sundy at drsundy@vaxxine.com with any information.

Harris, George (Family History) – Port Dalhousie c.1850s
Contact: Gordon Harris – gordon.harris@xplornet.com

Making Lucius Garden 2 – DeCew Falls Water Treatment Plant
By: Elizabeth Chitty

48 Responses to “Research Interests”

  1. Looking for newspaper, magazine articles and news video footage about the 1971 Niagara Grape and Wine Festival Queen Pageant and the 1971 Miss Garden City Kiwanis Pagaent. Can anyone help direct me to any online historical records or local Archival Resources for these events and this time?

  2. Good day. I’m hoping this request fines everyone well and safe from this plague.

    I’m researching William (Peter/Lemuel – other first names noted through time) Matthews/Mathews who was the “drummer boy” that made it out of the Devil’s Hole Massacre on Sept 13/14, 1763 on the Niagara (US side) portage. Matthews was said to live in Niagara near Isaac Swayze, with an occupation of “caneseat maker”. He is said to have lived until 1821. I’m looking for information to validate his living in Niagara and possibly where his homestead and resting place are located.

    I ran across a document on eBay: “The Mini Atlas of Early Settlers in the District of Niagara 1782-1876 published by the Historical Society of St. Catharines – Corlene Taylor and Maggie Parnall coordinators, and I thought I would give it a try.

    Any info on Mathews by chance?

    Carl Skompinski


  3. Calvin Jefferson said

    We are putting together the 100-year history of the stagehands union, IATSE Local 461, of St. Cat’s … hoping to find some old photos of the old theaters and cinema houses in the city (The Grand, Griffin’s Opera House, King George, Family Theatre, etc.) … as well as any information and history on Local 461 itself. Please contact me at calvin@unionhistories.com.

  4. Hi Historical Society of St. Catharines! My name is David Raymont, president of the York Pioneer & Historical Society in Toronto http://www.yorkpioneers.org In 2017, we publishing the autobiography of Sir William Howland, a former member of our society and a Father of Confederation. I understand Howland owned a mill in the St. Catharines area. Would anyone have a photo of Mr. Howland in a group of people, or of his mill? Best wishes, David.

    • Gail Benjafield said

      Sorry to be so late to reply, but I have just joined the Board. If you simply google “Howland Mills” “St Catharines, this will lead you to photos of the Mill. To be found under Welland Mills-Niagara Greenbelt, and Welland Mils-Heritage Thorod LACAC.> Also contacting the St. Catharines Public Library, Special Collections should be of use.

  5. Cassandra said

    Hi there, I recently started working at Hannelore Headley’s Old & Fine Books at 71 Queen Street, in St.Catharines. I’m trying to find some information on the building itself. Year it was built etc. Would love to connect with someone that may have some knowledge of the building previous to it being a bookstore.

    Thank you.

    • Gail Bemjafield said

      You ought to consider contacting the St. Catharines Heritage Advisory Committee through the city of St. Catharines website. This committee has volunteer members do research into the city’s older buildings, for a ‘Famed History’ for current proprieters. As well, the Special Collections Room at Centennial Library has city directories going back to the 1860’s which can directly answer that question. THere is also a binder called Buildings by Street in that collection.

  6. I am looking for information on Capt. Bernard King (b. abt. 1817 – d. Mar. 28, 1898), of Port Dalhousie . He began as a lake captain and went on to work as manager for a syndicate of prominent St. Catharines men searching for oil in Enniskillen Twp. and Petrolia, ON (including Calvin Brown, James Norris, Robt. Lawrie, Sylvester Neelon, etc.). On Nov. 23, 1866, he struck Petrolia’s most famous gusher, mythologized as the strike which started Petrolia’s oil boom. He was brother-in-law and business partner to Edward McArdle and was associated and resided with the McSloy family, of Canada Hair Cloth Co. fame. Petrolia150 celebrates the sesquicentennial of “King’s Flowing Well” in 2016 and we would greatly like to find an image of Capt. King, or any other information. Thanks

  7. Nina Topic said

    Hi everyone, I am researching about St. Catherine’s parachute club that was established 1948, as the part of the project related to Canadian parachuting history. It was the first parachute club in Canada. Any information would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  8. Roger McNeill said

    I am interested in anyone that can help me with the history of my home. 337 Queenston st St Catharines. It was part of the W Seymour farm Lot 12 conn 7, later mentioned in plan 170 as lot 38 but nothing at the registry office. Plan 170 stops at lot 29. The first address information I have from the special collections of the library is 1933. Prior to that it isn’t listed. Grantham must of had there own records. The house is 1900 ish and I would like to verifiy this. Hope someone can help

  9. RICK ALLEN said

    Looking for photos of the RCSCC RENOWN DRUM and BUGLE BAND that was active in the 50’s 60’s

  10. L Morgan said

    My ancestor Elsie Amelia Blundell (b.1893 Essex, UK) arrived in Canada in 1913, she married Arthur Herbert Brown on 20 November 1915 at the Christ Church, Welland. I believe they had a son called Herbert in 1923, this is the only information I have for this family, would love to hear from someone that might be able to help with more information as I live in the UK

  11. Kathy said

    Hi, I’m just looking for some information about the history of the house I am living on and what existed before the house did… I live on 368 glenridge..

  12. Rebecca Flom said

    I am looking for information on the (former) BESTWARD restaurant (or family) located in the St.Catherines area in the 1980/1990s.

    Any lead would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  13. Steve Chamberlain, Delta BC Canada said

    My Mother is related to the THOM family of St. Catharines Ontario. I am looking for history on the family and ancestors of Robert Cole, Lizzie Ismond Cole and her husband Arthur Adam Craise ( Their Daughter Margaret married Donald Thom) also, anyone with the names of the children and descendants and history of Harriet Hopkins Secord and David Cole would be of great help .

    • Bill Stevens said

      Many of those you are interested in are buried in Port Dalhousie … go to Canadian Headstones.com and search St. Andrew’s and St. John’s Cemeteries listed in the Niagara section. A photo and transcription of each monumnet can be found.
      Don Thom is buried in St. Andrew’s with Margaret … Don was a past president of the St. Catharines Rowing Club and very active in rowing throughout his lifetime. The Cole family is mainly buried in St. John’s.

  14. Can anyone tell me if the existing Queenchester Terrace (I think it is still referred to as that: the former Linwell Hall and CNIB home) at Queenston and Eastchester Streets was formerly the Children`s home that was established at that crossroads in 1918?

  15. Wendy Beres said

    My great-great-great grandmother Jane Elinore Humphries-Precore was sister to Alexander Merideth Humphries who served as Reeve of Port Dalhousie in 1909. I am looking for information on any descendants of Alexander’s daughter Jennie Viola Humphries-Fairles as well as his son John (Jack)Johnston (Ruth Brown) Humphries. Jennie Viola Humphries was married to Clarence Edwin Fairles. He was in accounting/banking in the Toronto area. They still lived in the Toronto area in 1957. I have no date of death for her or where she is buried. No indication of children. John (Jack) Johnston Humphries and his wife Ruth were residents of St. Catherines. The date for his death is December 14, 1967. I have no information regarding any children they may have had, information on his wife Ruth, or his occupation. I would sincerely appreciate any assistance.

    • Bob Murphy said

      I have considerable info on the Humphries families which I can share. I am in Toronto.

      • dave watson said

        Jennie Viola Humphries-Fairles and Clarence Edwin Fairles were my maternal grandparents. Please contact me at yhe email below to discuss.

  16. Denielle said

    I am interested in St. Catharines history of the 1920’s. I am doing a school project where we had to select an era and survey gravestones from that period. I am interested to know anything about the city historically during that time, as well as where I can find obituaries online or clues as to how people died.

    Would anyone happen to know of any reason why young children were dying in the later 20’s? (1926 and beyond). About 1 of every 5 graves I looked at were children. Thank you in advance for your help!

  17. Laird Alexander ross said

    I have a Gillette NEW Long Comb razor in the original Gillette case. It was manufactured in Canada most likely between 1930-1941. The top of the case is marked “Compliments of The Lee Garage, St. Catharines, Ontario”. This was some sort of auto dealer as the box also has Morgan and Essex motor car logos. Can anyone provide further information as to the time frame that this dealership existed and what it’s address was as I’m attempting to narrow down the date of manufacture of this razor. Thank you.

  18. Fantastic post.Thanks Again.

  19. Jim Bundy said

    I’d like to know more about the English Electric company at St Catherines during WW2. My Dad Leonard Purcell Bundy, who passed away last weekend at 91 years old worked there a a young Electrical Engineer. I believe his work there was related to power systems. In 1943 he went to Toronto and joined the RCAF. Any suggestions as to sources of information on this? I love to research.

    • Paul Smith said

      Hi my Grandfather Clifford Smith worked there as a supervisor. I thought they made transformers there, I know there were PCB,s in the building. They closed up and moved to Toronto in the early 60’s. They gave him a tiny pension so he had to keep working.

  20. Don Tanner (Oakville, Ontario) said

    I am researching the descendants of Epaphus Ismond (1797 – 1838) and one of his sons Isaac Jackson Ismond (July 22, 1824 – June 28, 1906) who was born and lived in Port Dalhousie most, if not all of his life. He married a Sarah Culp (August 7, 1823 – January 4, 1907). Both Isaac and Sarah are buried in the St. John’s Anglican Cemetery. They had the following children (with known wifes and children noted) (1) Celeste Jane Ismond, b. 1844; married Norval Gregory (b. 1837, d. 1925); child is Percy S. Gregory (2) Palmer B. Ismond, (b. Jan 14, 1847, d. Oct 21, 1920); married Sarah. M. Mihell; children unknown, if any (3) Martha Ismond (b. 1849); married Franklin Grobb (b. Nov 29, 1843); children were Charles Hillyard Grobb (b. Oct 7, 1873) who married a Hattie May Griffith; Frederick Ismond Grobb (b. Jul 9, 1877) who married an Anna Martin (b. Jun 2, 1890) — 2nd marriage; Jessie Evelyn Grobb (b. Jul 14, 1883) who married Charles W. Westaway; and Robert Gordon Grobb (b. Sept 20, 1885), wife and children unknown (4) Jemima Ismond (b. 1852) who married Robert Cole; one known child Elizabeth Cole (b. 1883) (5) William M. Ismond (my great grandfather) — I have his complete list of descendants to the present day (6) Emma Estelle Ismond (b. May 20, 1857) who married Andrew C. Gregory (b. 1853) — they lived their entire lives in Port Dalhousie I believe and are both buried in St. John’s Anglican Cemetery; children were Charles G. Gregory (b. 1888), Mary Olive Gregory (b. 1890), Cecil Kathleen (b. Nov 4, 1992), Stanley Philip Gregory (b. Nov 11, 1995; d. Sept 2, 1918 in France during WWI) and Evelyn Gertrude Gregory (b. Apr 26, 1903) (7) Norval Gordon Ismond (b. 1866; d. Nov 07, 1928) who married Lillie May Hipple (b. May 17, 1875; died Apr 29, 1959), only child was Eva Ismond (b. 1915) and (8) Blanche Ismond (b. 1871; died prior to the 1881 census).

    I would like to speak to anyone who is a direct descendant of any of the people noted above or can direct me to someone who might be a descendant (particularly in the St Catharines area).

    Thank you very much for any assistance you might be able to provide with respect to my research.

    • Charlene Grobb said

      I am a Grobb descendant that lives in the Niagara Region. Franklin Grobb is the son of Moses Grobb b. Oct 13,1774 (d. May 2, 1877) and Catherine Funk b. Oct 9, 1805 (d. Sept 20, 1889). They had the following children: Esther; Sarah; Jonas; Lydia; Mary; Elizabeth; Franklin; Sophia. Franklin Grobb and Martha Ismond had the following children: Charles H.; Frederick; Robert G; Jessie Eveline. Moses Grobb is the son of Abraham Grobb b. Feb 4, 1771 (d. June 23, 1842) and Catherine Funk b. Oct 9, 1805 (d. Sept 20, 1889)

    • Steve Chamberlain, Delta BC Canada said

      Hello Don and Charlene pls email me at sy.flightdeck@gmail.com I have information of interest to both of you. Include a header of “Request for Chamberlain Ancestry” in the subject line and a link to this page pls.

    • Steve Chamberlain, Delta BC Canada said

      Isaac Jackson Ismond (July 22, 1824 – June 28, 1906) married Sarah Culp (August 7, 1823 – January 4, 1907).

      Isaac and Sarah had the following children (with known wifes and children noted)

      1 – Celeste Jane Ismond, b. 1844; married Norval Gregory (b. 1837, d. 1925); child is Percy S. Gregory

      2 – Palmer B. Ismond, (b. Jan 14, 1847, d. Oct 21, 1920); married Sarah. M. Mihell; children unknown, if any

      3 – Martha Ismond (b. 1849); married Franklin Grobb (b. Nov 29, 1843); 4 children were
      Charles Hillyard Grobb (b. Oct 7, 1873) who married a Hattie May Griffith;
      Frederick Ismond Grobb (b. Jul 9, 1877) who married wife #1 = Anna Martin (b. Jun 2, 1890), wife #2 = ?
      Jessie Evelyn Grobb (b. Jul 14, 1883) who married Charles W. Westaway; and
      Robert Gordon Grobb (b. Sept 20, 1885), wife and children unknown

      4 – Minnie Amanda “Jemima” Ismond (b. 1852 d. 1899) married Robert D Cole (b 1845 d. 1897). 4 children were
      Elizabeth Cole (b. 1883)
      Herbert S Cole b. 1877 d. 1939
      Robert Cole b. 1879 d. 1884
      Frederick E Cole b. 1887

      5 – William M. Ismond

      6 – Emma Estelle Ismond (b. May 20, 1857) married Andrew C. Gregory (b. 1853) 5 children were:
      Charles G. Gregory (b. 1888),
      Mary Olive Gregory (b. 1890),
      Cecil Kathleen (b. Nov 4, 1992),
      Stanley Philip Gregory (b. Nov 11, 1995; d. Sept 2, 1918 in France during WWI) and
      Evelyn Gertrude Gregory (b. Apr 26, 1903)

      7 – Norval Gordon Ismond (b. 1866; d. Nov 07, 1928) married Lillie May Hipple (b. May 17, 1875; died Apr 29, 1959), only child was Eva Ismond (b. 1915)

      8 – Blanche Ismond (b. 1871; died prior to the 1881 census).

    • Steve Chamberlain, Delta BC Canada said

      Minnie Amanda “Jemima” Ismond (b. 1852 d. 1899) married Robert D Cole (b 1845 d. 1897). their 4 children were
      1 – Elizabeth “Lizzie” Cole (b. 1883) married Arthur Adam Craise (b. 1882 d. 1947) (Thom Family of St Catharines)
      2 – Herbert S Cole b. 1877 d. 1939 married Edith C Humphrey (b. 1878 d. 1959)
      3 – Robert Cole b. 1879 d. 1884
      4 – Frederick E Cole b. 1887

    • Donald Thom said

      I am a grandson of Lizze (Elizabeth) Ismond Craise. She passed away 28/Mar/1974.

  21. Can anyone assist me with Civil War Confederate agent Robert E. Coxe and his home in St. Catherines?

    Many thanks,

  22. Anne Jarvis said

    I am wondering if it is possilbe to get a list of soldiers who were in the Coloured Corps in the War of 1812. In Adrienne Shadd’s book ‘Journey from Tollgate to Parkway’ she states that Maggie Parnall reprinted the list in 1996 in ‘Black History in the Niagara Peninsula’. The original list was in Alan Holden’s Military History Collection and owned by your society. I think that Margaret Parnall’s document may have been in Wilma Morrison’s library in Niagara Falls now held by the St Catharines Library.
    Thanks for any help you can give me,
    Anne Jarvis, historical interpreter at the Grifin House a black National Historic Site.

  23. george hornbeck said

    i am trying to locate any info on George R Lee born in st. catherines on sept 23, 1790
    married sarah rose dec 22, 1816 cayuga county, new york
    if you locate any info please email thank you

  24. Susan Gilber Irwin said

    I am looking for information on the family name of Spanger. My mother-in-law was born in Merritton on January 18 1918. We think her parents were Eva Corsoran/Harmon and a G Spanger. They moved to Toronto at some point where she was raised, possibly without her father.
    Thank you,
    Susan Irwin

  25. Lorri Busch said

    COLE FAMILY, of St Catherines. I am researching this line and am interested in anyone that may have known them. They moved to St Catharines from Toronto around 1913. They are:
    William Cole (d1946)
    Margaret Ann Cole (d 1967)
    Alexander Cole (d 1961)
    Margaret Ann Cole (m Welch) (d 2000)
    William Cole Jr
    Mary Beatrice Cole (m Thomsen)
    + more children that died at a young age.

    Margaret Ann Sr was friends with GRACE DELDAY and KATHLEEN NEWMAN when she died and mentioned them in her will.
    I would love to know more about this family, particularly Margaret Ann Sr who was my great grandmother.

  26. Lucy Grover said

    I am looking for Family of Samuel Simpson for England that settled in Canada., he was born 1792 His wife was Ann was born 1792 from England they had the following children Harriet Simpson*
    1816 – Samuel Minton Simspon 1818-1902 (moved to Lewiston NY and was a Cival war hero) Then George 1827 adn Caroline 1829 and then Fred 1829 lost a child on boat over. and help would be greately appricated. Thank you

  27. Roz Kelly said

    I found my ancestors in the 1861 census for St. Catharines. The column heading above the list of names reads “Inmates”. Can anyone explain what this means? Thank you.

  28. jamie klarke said

    Jamie Klarke, MLA2, UofG.

    RE: Merritton Canal, Early Settlers, ex-patriots, labor force?
    I’m looking or information on who the first settlers who cleared the land and were potentially employed on the canal and locks. I’m trying to make a connection to those who actually built the canals to perhaps other structures in their places of origin, establishing a cultural history that has a link south of the border.

    I’d also like to know specific facts about the building of the canal structures… how many men were employed, what the workday was like, what were the safety practices. As a point of interest any reports of accidents and other strangely documented, anecdotal information would make my project rich.

  29. Noella Oberlin said

    My query is about the parents of Frances Jane Holden Secord who died in Gowanda, NY 8 May 1888 and was brought back to Canada for burial.

    I am a descendant of the Secord family from Stephen Secord and Hannah De Forest, my 4th g grandparents who were both born in New York state.

    Stephen and Hannah and their son, willam Edwin Secord and his wife, Frances Jane Holden are all buried in the Warner Burying Ground in St Davids.

    I recently obtained a copy of Frances death certificate which states she was born in Vermont. The birthdate would be about 22 Aug 1815.

    For the 3 Granthan Twp Census of 1861-81 each year she was said to be born in the US so the Vermont birth is verified. However I dont have the parents names.

    Frances was only 15 when she married William in Ontario 1831 so I assume her parents were also with her in Canada.

    Although Frances spent her life in Canada, it appears that some grandchildren moved back to the US and lived in New York state. She may have been visiting one of them when she died.

    I am hoping that one of her descendants may know something about the parents of Frances or which town in Vermont she was born in etc.

    Thank you

    Yours sincerely

    Noella Oberlin

  30. J. Lu said

    Hi, I’m doing a research essay on ‘how the First World War affected my community’. I’m more interested in the industrial development side of St. Catharines that may have been promoted or have prospered during the wartime, or companies/factories founded or created during that time. Any information regarding the topic however, is welcome.

    As an additional inquiry, does anyone know where I can find information regarding the Edith Cavell elementary school in St. Catharines?

  31. Ruth Tait said

    I am doing research on the building of the 1st Welland Canal to create a graphic novel of the story. I would like to hear from anyone who has done research on this period in the region. I have to build a visual mental map of the environment, living conditions, population demographics, habitations, tools, etc. I do not have extensive experience working with historical materials, although I have now done a considerable amount of reading at the Toronto Reference library and online and am planning a trip to St. Catharines in May. My expertise is essentially as an artist working with graphic novel forms. I look forward to hearing from anyone interested in this subject matter.

  32. alysha said

    Hi everyone I am doing a research project on montebello park in St. Catharines if anyone has any information that might help me out I would greatly appreciate it. I am looking for mainly primary sources and I amd concentrating on why people commemorated there and what people are commemorating when they meet there. So if anyone has any information please let me know it would be greatly appreciated!

  33. shadia maloney said

    I am doing a 25 page thesis on fugitive slaves in St Catharines and I would like to find resources from the 1820s up until 1865. I was wondering if I can find census records and assessments or any other primary documents online. Can anyone help me?

    • dsharron said

      Hello Shadia,

      Your supplied e-mail address did not work.

      Thank you for you inquiry. I am not aware of any of this information being online. However, there are several places locally to seek out and contact.

      1) Brock University – has assessment and collectors tax rolls for St. Catharines going back to the 1850s I believe. I know that Harriet Tubman appeared in one of these rolls for the year or two she was living in St. Catharines. There are other census and African American resources in the library as well.

      2) St. Catharines Museum – has an exhibit called “Follow the North Star”. I am not sure what kind of written resources they have, but I am sure that they can help.

      3) Norval Johnson Heritage Centre in Niagara Falls – specifically about the experiences of escaped slaves and the black community in Niagara Falls and the area

      To see what census data is available online, visit http://www.cyndislist.com/census-canada.htm.

      I hope that this helps.

      Good luck,


  34. Louise Halloran said

    My ancestor, W.H.Carey (Westenra Henry) drowned in the Welland Canal in August 1875. He had been living in Oswego at the time (originally from Ireland)and had been working as a sailor on schooners on the lakes. Could anyone let me know what might have happened to his remains – where he might have been buried or his death recorded? I would be so grateful – many thanks!

  35. Gordon Harris said

    I don’t know if genealogy counts as a research interest but that is mine and I am researching the George Harris family that lived in Port Dalhousie in the 1850s. Would love to connect with someone doing similar research in the area.

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