from The Guide November 22, 1877
It will be said that we are writing about little things in our narrative of events transpiring in those early days;
as some of them seem almost too insignificant to have any notice taken of them, were it not that they
portray the contrast between the place as it was at the period we are writing about and
that which it has now attained, and therefore we shall continue in the same course. Indeed, apart
from the great achievement our pioneers accomplished in subduing the howling wilderness, it
is not to be expected that any great events would take place either in politics, philosophy or deep and
abstruse lore, at the commencement of the settlement of a new country. The commercial business and
mechanical arts must necessarily have been very limited.
Even in 1822 our old townsman, Mr Brogdin, was in need of the very requisite article,
sand paper, to finish a piece of cabinet work he had in hand, when to his astonishment he found
there was none to be obtained. It was an article that had never been in use.
What was to be done? He got one of the leading merchants to send to Montreal for a supply, who,
thinking the article would be unsaleable, sent for six sheets (the quantity asked for), which were received after a lengthened time.
What would our cabinet makers think of such a stock?
In the early part of the winter of 1829, the same merchant had disposed of his fall
stock of tea and had replenished it by two chests from Little York, which he deemed sufficient for his trade until navigation opened in
May, when he would receive his spring supply from Montreal. How long would this stock last any one of our grocers now?
In 1835 Mr T W Hastings unobtrusively settled in Port Hope and engaged as superintendent for
Mr Arnott of the Durham House, corner of Walton and John Streets, where is now erected the
Queen's Hotel kept by Mr Mackie. Mr Hastings is entitled to more than a passing notice at our
hands as he certainly did more to enhance the standard of hotels in this town than any person who
preceded him, which his subsequent career fully manifested. He may truly be designated the
father of these necessary places of accommodation for the wayfaring community. In
1837 he opened the Queen's Arms Hotel belonging to the late Mr Carlton Griffin,
situated on that part of Messrs O'Neill's Block in which their grocery store is.
The people were not prepared to receive Mr Hastings in any other character
than an ordinary tavern keeper; but it was soon observed that he was
'the right man in the right place'. The St George's Society organised about
this time, engaged Mr Hastings to get up their first public dinner in honour of the Tutelar Saint of old England.
In this, his initial effort, it was obvious that our host was no common caterer on such occasions.
All present were agreeably surprised to find among many other delicacies they had not been
accustomed to, since their arrival in their adopted home, for the first time fresh lobsters
were served in Port Hope.
Mr Hastings was the first hotel keeper that conveyed passengers' baggage
to and from the wharf. The vehicle, propelled by two boys, used on these occasions was that descriptive an
renowned one known by all the English speaking community from infancy as the carriage of the famous Jack
Spratt - the wheelbarrow - until his cab in the shape of a one horse waggon was finished,
when he conveyed the passengers and their baggage to and from his hotel on
the arrival of the steamboats at the wharf. He was the first who established a livery stable in the town.
The reputation that Mr Hastings in a few years gained was not of a local conventional character but was
so universal that 'Hastings Hotel' had become a household word around the travelling
community and commercial men, not only in Canada but those of the principal
cities & and towns in the United States, who had business transactions with this country, as, being the
wayfarer's home where he could rest as in the best regulated private
residence. It was, in truth, more like a private house than a hotel in this respect.
No midnight orgies were allowed; at 10 o'clock as a general rule the bar was closed and all was
quiet. This great achievement was one of the means of gaining for him the
well-merited reputation from an appreciating public. The example set by
Mr Hastings has borne fruit by the steady progress of competition in hotel accommodation for the
increasing travelling public; and at the present day, Port Hope has as well regulated hotels as any city or town in the Dominion.
The invention of the endless or belt saw, that has recently been brought to perfection in France, is accredited to an inhabitant of
that country, but we are inclined to the opinion that the invention of this great and important improvement of which
cabinet makers technically designate the fret or jig saw belongs to an inhabitant of this town.
In 1834 or 1835, the late Mr Loveland of Port Hope, chair maker, conceived the idea
that if a belt was constructed of saws and tightened on two drums, the one perpendicular to the other,
it would far supersede the Jig saw in getting out his chair seats, etc. For this purpose he had several buck saws welded
together and fixed up as above in the shop on Cavan Street (burnt some years ago), now the property of
the Barrett estate but at that time owned by Mr Hawle, who erected it
and the dam, where that of Barrett's now is, on the property leased by him of the late J D Smith.
Though Mr Loveland, like many other inventors of important improvements
to machinery, failed in perfecting his machine, he was sanguine that the time was not far distant when
his principle would be matured, which is now fully consummated, it
being in general use in the cabinet and other factories in Canada.
We may be allowed the digression by stating here that the Messrs Jacques
& Hay of Toronto, Ontario, had the first of these machines in use on the continent of America, which
they imported direct from Paris as soon as they were brought into use there and before they were manufactured in Great Britain.
Notwithstanding Mr Loveland's partial failure in perfecting his design, the principle was exhibited, and there is no doubt he
conceived the idea before the principle was cogitated in France, and his experiment was the archetype, and he the first
inventor of this invaluable innovation to the usefulness of the saw for the purposes to which it is adapted.
There are few, if any, living witnesses in Port Hope to bear testimony to what we have stated
respecting the achievement of Mr Loveland.
We claim another important improvement as belonging to Port Hope which, like
the preceding one is of more than local character. In this instance, it is
a very judicious innovation in what was formerly designated the Methodist Chapel or meeting
house, but which has since in Canada received the more appropriate name of
In 1836, through the energetic exertions of the late William Barrett, to
whom its construction is attributable, the late edifice was completed, being the second
place of worship belonging to this denomination in the County of Durham. At the suggestion of the
late Alexander Davison, a steeple was erected. This, we believe, was the first edifice belonging to the Methodist society that
had this very appropriate appendage attached; therefore, we may safely assert that Port Hope set the
example in giving the house of worship of this branch of Christians the semblance of its sacred purpose, rather
than the appearance of a secular character, which it too generally resembled. Most of the churches belonging to
this body, which have been erected in Canada subsequent to that in Port Hope, have been built on this plan.
The old church above referred to was burnt down about three years ago
and the present handsome edifice erected at a cost of over $50,000; this is said to be
the finest church in Ontario belonging to any denomination outside of the City of Toronto.
One of the most important institutions, the Durham Agricultural Society, had now surmounted all the difficulties
with which it had been surrounded, which were attributed to the aversion a great many farmers manifested
for a lengthened time to support it; but the acquisitions to its membership of a number of farmers arriving from
England infused new energy into its almost despairing friends, which was also
the means of many of our farmers, who had hitherto kept aloof, coming forward to join the
Society. Thus strengthened, it was progressing steadily in its usefulness when, in
1850, the Darlington members, who had increased their numbers for the purpose, came down to Port Hope
at the general annual meeting for the election of office-bearers for the ensuing year, and took the members here by
surprise by electing all the officers and directors from their own section
and established the institution at Bowmanville, where it remained until
1852 when the County of Durham was divided into two Ridings, East and
West. The old Society was then dissolved and each Riding formed a
separate society, under the names of the East and West Durham Agricultural Societies, both of which are in a
flourishing condition. With the exception of the last two years when the Darlington members held full power, the old
society had but two Treasurers - the late Jacob Choate and Mr William
Sisson, who succeeded Mr Choate on his resignation. When the East Durham Agricultural Society was organised,
Mr Sisson was elected Treasurer. In 1841-42, Messrs Board and Butterfield manufactured the first
buggy with steel springs in this town. The business heretofore was confined to double and single
waggons and sleighs for farmers' use and single waggons and cutters of the plainest description were the
only vehicles for pleasure.
Origin of the name 'City of Bricks' accorded to Port Hope.
The slow progress Port Hope made in improvement for a number of years
and the even tenor of its sluggishness were noticed with surprise by all transient visitors
and those foreigners whose business called them here; from whom the universal
question was asked - 'Why a place endowed with such natural facilities for making a city, continued in this
laggard and monotonous state?' The answer to this it is not necessary
to mention here, but when the late J D Smith sold the grist mill and the water
privilege with the land on Mill, Walton and Queen Streets to Messrs Gilmour
and Company, Port Hope took a leap from its hitherto inertness and the brick
buildings near the bridge of Messrs Waddell, Gillett, Ritchie, Barrett and Little rose like magic, the
substantial stone mill by the above Company, together with many other brick
buildings following in quick succession, so that the old inhabitants thought they were translated to some foreign
place without their own will or consciousness.
At this momentous epoch, whence commenced the future improvements of Port Hope,
Mr Jesse Clement, editor of an ably conducted periodical, the Western Literary
Messenger, published at Buffalo NY, on his return from one of his foreign visits, in his eulogistical notice of
Port Hope, christened it the City of Bricks.