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Monthly Archives: February 2008

What Blockhouse? What Island?

The Small Island off Brockville and Its History

It was not much more than a rocky outcropping covered with grass and shrubs when the village of Buell’s Bay was first developing on the present site of Brockville.

The earliest name attached to what we now know as “Blockhouse Island”, was “Refuge Island.” For what reason, we don’t seem to know. Ownership of all the islands in the river were originally vested in the Crown, and this one was no exception.

During Brockville’s involvement in the British-American War of 1812-15, it was not considered significant enough to be fortified. In area, it then took up only about a third of the present land space.

Refuge Island on Flint map

This is taken from part of a map drawn originally for Billa Flint of Brockville who was applying to lease part of Refuge Island from the Crown in 1827.

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Later, at the time of the frightful appearance of the epidemic cholera morbus in 1832, local authorities acted quickly in June of that year to establish a quarantine station on the island for all emigrants from foreign shores wanting to land at Brockville. The first elected Police Board was able to mobilize the resources of the newly-incorporated village, along with the appointment on June 12, 1832 of a Board of Health to recommend measures to combat the disease in Brockville. In addition, the village council passed measures to prohibit all immigrants from landing, to erect a building on the island for the reception of immigrants, and a special police force to enforce the regulations.

The first case of cholera at the port of Quebec was reported on June 8, 1832. At Brockville the first case of cholera developed among the immigrants on June 19th. At that time, work was progressing on the hospital building on Refuge Island. Alexander Grant had been appointed to act as the Health Officer, and to supervise the team of special constables. Eight days later it was reported that Dr. Robert Gilmour, a young Scottish-born physician and the local coroner, was dead, after being stricken with inflammatory fever, caused by exhaustion and overwork, while administering to the sick on “Hospital Island.” On June 29 Alexander Grant was directed to build sleeping accommodations for the doctors attending the sick. Shortly after, Dr. Upton and his wife took charge of the new hospital.

Brockville may have simply been lucky, but by reacting in such an efficient way, the disease barely entered the mainland, and the local population was mostly spared the tragedy that was felt at most of the ports along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. For example, at Prescott, where travellers transferred to the larger lake steamers, 88 deaths were reported out of 188 cases of the disease. By comparison, at Brockville there was a total of 22 cases and only 12 deaths. By the 20th of July, the Police Board decided that it was no longer necessary to restrict boats and baggage at the harbour, as the threat of contagion was over.

A few years later the island was called upon in the aftermath of the Canada rebellions of 1837. The citizens of Upper Canada were well aware that a new threat was developing in the northern American states during the year 1838. Hordes of young Americans known as “Patriot Hunters” had become convinced by disloyal agitators that Canada was ripe for further uprisings against their British masters. These members of the Patriot Lodges were misguided, it turned out, and when the threatened invasion took place on November 12, 1838, east of Prescott at the hamlet of Newport on Windmill Point, the citizens and authorities of Upper Canada rose against them. Brockville and the surrounding area organized their militia forces in defense of their homes and country. Many rushed to fight at the Battle of the Windmill. The young men of Brockville were quickly organized into the Brockville Independent Company, a group of 69 volunteers led by Captain Robert Edmondson MD, and Lieut. James L. Schofield.

In the summer of 1838 before the invasion which led to the Battle of the Windmill, the Royal Engineers Dept. had sent out instructions to establish armed posts at some of the towns on the St. Lawrence, one of which was Brockville. The island in front of the town, at that time known as “Grant’s Island,” was selected as the most defensive position, and the local militia commander, Colonel Adiel Sherwood moved to strengthen this position in the summer of 1838.

Built in Brockville

Blockhouse drawing - Doug Grant 1983

This is a drawing made by the author in 1983 as a member of the Brockville Ontario Bicentennial Committee. The committee at that time proposed to Brockville City Council that the re-creation of the Blockhouse on Blockhouse Island would be a good Bicentennial Project but this project was turned down, after local citizens spoke out against the idea.

During the winter of 1838-39 about 300 men of the First Regiment, Leeds Militia were on active duty in Brockville. The thirty-one members of Captain John Bland’s Independent Company of Artillery was responsible for operating a six-pound gun which was placed on the island in August 1838. In January 1839 a wooden blockhouse was constructed on Grant’s Island. The work was carried out and supervised by 2nd Lieut. Benjamin Chaffey of the Artillery Co. Chaffey, a few years later, was responsible for building the new Court House in Brockville. The Blockhouse was to serve as one of the barracks for militiamen on duty here and to provide a defensible position in case of attack.

The Brockville Blockhouse was never actually involved in any battle, as the threat of American invasion faded during the later months of 1839. The so-called “Patriot War” remained just a strong memory as peace was restored.

Denny’s sketch of Blockhouse Island

This sketch of Blockhouse Island in 1845 was made by Col. William Denny (1804-1886) while traveling between Montreal and Kingston. Denny was a British officer-artist with the 71st Regiment and served a total of fifteen years in Canada, as well as retiring here in 1854.

The Blockhouse remained a landmark on the island, which now became known as “Blockhouse Island,” as it is today. Numerous artists were able to “capture” its likeness over the next twenty-one years. It was included in many scenic drawings of the Brockville shoreline. From these drawings we are able to see its features as it stood before the growing town.
In the late 1850s, the island was selected as the location of the terminus of the new Brockville and Ottawa Railway. The stretch of water between the mouth of the new Railway Tunnel and the island was filled in by numerous loads of rock and earth, much of it probably excavated material from inside the tunnel itself. In 1860 the plans were to build a roundhouse and auxiliary buildings on the site of the blockhouse, and the Blockhouse’s removal was imminent.

Grant’s Island on military map

A Royal Engineers’ drawing of Grant’s Island (Blockhouse Island) dated 1850 shows the position of the blockhouse and privy ten years before the island was expanded and joined to the mainland by the Brockville & Ottawa Railway, and was used to house a large roundhouse and other buildings. This map is drawn with north to the left.

On May 4, 1860, the Blockhouse was used for target practice by the Brockville Artillery Company who managed to send seven cannon balls through it , but failed to destroy it. Four days later it was the scene of a mysterious fire which engulfed it, and destroyed what remained.

The B&O Railway roundhouse and warehouses were partially destroyed by fire early in the 1870s, but were soon rebuilt. The peninsula continued to be a very important part of transportation in Brockville as goods were transferred from rail to ship for many years.

Blockhouse Island is now known as a pleasure spot for locals and visitors alike, and will probably continue to do so for many years to come, but how many people will still remain confused by the name Blockhouse Island applied where no island nor blockhouse exist?

Blockhouse Island from Bird’s Eye View Map 1874

This view is extracted from the full town Bird’s Eye View Map of Brockville created by artist Herman Brosius and the lithographers employed by the Charles Shober & Co of Chicago.

Sources: It would not have been possible to tell the story of Brockville’s experience with cholera were it not for the minutes of the Brockville Board of Police meetings kept by the first village clerk, Robert H. Fotheringham. This Minute Book is now in the Archives of Ontario in Toronto. The credit for prompt action goes to board President (Mayor), Daniel Jones, Jr, and elected members (councillors), Jonas Jones, Henry Sherwood, Samuel Pennock, and John Murphy.

Additional information was printed in the local newspapers of the time. A good reference dealing with the epidemic in Canada is Dr. Charles M. Godfrey’s book, “The Cholera Epidemics in Upper Canada 1832-1866.

The graphics used here were taken from copies of the originals.

William Denny’s drawing is held by the Library and Archives Canada in the Denny Papers, MG 24, F33. Information about his career is covered in the LAC publication, Images of Canada (1972).

The military history related here is from the author’s personal collection. Information has also been drawn from material collected by Herb Sheridan for the 1983 Brockville Provincial Bicentennial Committee.

Bob Stesky of the Brockville & District Historical Society has created a page about the American artist Herman Brosius and his Bird’s Eye Maps or Panoramic Views of towns and cities all over North America. Brosius came to Brockville in 1873 or 1874 to sketch the town as it was at the time. This lithographic was published in Chicago in 1874 and has proven to be one of the most detailed records of Brockville. I have found it most accurate and complete, showing streets and buildings in 3-dimensions from the air. This article is found on the Internet at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~onbdhs/panoramic_maps.html

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

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The early Bank of Montreal in Brockville

3 Wall St. at the corner of Pine St. on Brockville’s Court House Square

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Bank of Montreal ca.1865

This is a very old picture of the Court House Square branch of the Bank of Montreal, taken about 1865. Constructed of cut and dressed limestone, the property was enclosed for many years by an impressive white-painted fence of wood.

Sources: This photograph of the bank in its earlier days was taken from a small “carte de visite” taken by Brockville photographer, A.C. McIntyre and found in a box of memorabilia saved by the late Dr. Jack McDougall. This is the earliest picture discovered of this building to date.

Built in Brockville

The Bank’s History

The Bank of Montreal established its first agency in Brockville in September 1843, according to bank records, but its first location is not known. James Stevenson came to Brockville from Bytown as the first manager. He remained here until 1849, when he moved on to Hamilton.

In 1851, it is recorded that the Bank of Montreal, with Thomas Lee as agent, was located on Court House Square. The location was the Hubbell Building on the east side of Court House Ave. And a map of Brockville published in 1853 indicated the “Bank of Montreal” at that site, and lists F.M. Holmes as the agent. The bank was a tenant only, the property at that time was owned by Dr. Elnathan Hubbelll who died in 1856. The Court House Ave. building then passed to the control of Dr. Hubbell’s sons, James and Henry.

This was also the time that the directors of the bank in Montreal decided to build their own building. They chose a site just south of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, on the east side of the square, and were able to open their new branch in 1857.

The building, built of grey, cut stone, was done in the style of banks of the time. The architect is not known, but was probably from Montreal. The ground floor housed the banking hall, and the manager’s residence was upstairs.

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Bank of Montreal later

This photograph of the bank from the south-west dates from about 1900-10

Brockvillians became used to seeing this building facing Court House Square, and were naturally appalled when it became known in 1966 that the bank was not happy with their branch and intended to replace it with a new and modern structure. This was built at the rear, and the old building was torn down and disappeared.

drawing of front - Bank of Montreal

The front elevation of the bank as drawn by a U of T Architecture student in 1963

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copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

A View of Eastern Ontario and Northern New York following the American-British War of 1775-1783

A View of Eastern Ontario and Northern New York following the American-British War of 1775-1783

1784 Map – showing Upper Canada & northern New York State

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Geographically, the area shown in this map is well-known to most people in this area of Ontario. However, at the time when the decision was made to expand the boundaries of the populated and settled areas of Canada, this area was a vast, uninhabited territory.

The Treaty of Paris of 1783, which officially closed the Revolutionary War between the American States and Great Britain, and recognized the new United States as an independent nation, made a division of the territory previously claimed by the British government.

The treaty defined the boundary between the two territories, as follows. From the mouth of the St. Croix River (now between New Brunswick and Maine) the international line proceeded to its source, then north to the “highlands” forming the watershed between the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Lawrence River. Thence, it proceeded along these “highlands” to the Connecticut River, down that river to the 45th parallel, and thence due west to the St. Lawrence River. Following up this river, the line passed down the middle of the lakes and rivers which form the Great Lakes system, to the northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods. From this point, it was to extend “due west to the Mississippi.”

The vagueness of some of these descriptions to actual terrain was later to prove impossible to agree upon, and required further treaties such as the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842). Consider the fact that the Mississippi River did not start as far north as the line drawn from the Lake of the Woods. This had to be settled by agreement in 1818. It was, however, easy to distinguish Canada from the U.S. in our area of the St. Lawrence River.

The American population had been split into factions of “Loyalists” and “Rebels.” These Loyalists were also known as “Tories” to their enemies. They were made very unwelcome and were displaced from their homes by the fortunes of war, then forced to flee northward. The emigre settlers traveled from the “Loyalist” refugee camps east of Montreal in the spring of 1784 to the newly surveyed townships on the north side of the St. Lawrence. These families formed the new settlements then known as Cataraqui (Kingston), New Oswegatchie (Augusta), and New Johnstown (Cornwall), and embarked on the strenuous work of re-establishing themselves in a new and virgin land.

On the south side of the St. Lawrence, the lands of New York State were not fully developed for many years. In 1784, some of the places that the Loyalist immigrants had left behind were, in many cases, hardly more than frontier settlements themselves. A look at this map shows the American towns that were located along the Mohawk River, Hudson River and the Lake George and Lake Champlain waterways. Overland travel in northern New York State must have been primitive and difficult, to say the least.


copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

Col. David Wylie, Journalist, Publisher & Local Politician [1811-1891]

David Wylie was a Scottish journalist who came to Brockville in 1849 to take over the ownership of the “Brockville Recorder“.


David Wylie engraving 1878


This portrait engraving of David Wylie was taken from”The History of Leeds & Grenville” written by Thaddeus Leavitt.

Notable Brockvillians

About David Wylie

From 1849-1875 and 1879-1885, David Wylie was the owner and editor of the “Brockville Recorder“.

A native of Scotland, he was born in the town of Johnstone, Renfrewshire on March 23, 1811, the son of William Wylie and his wife, Mary Orr. William, his father carried on a boot and shoe business in Renfrewshire, but emigrated to Montreal in 1819. He died in Canada before he was able to send for his wife and three sons. His mother was left the task of bringing up her young family in the village of Paisley where they had moved.

David at the age of fourteen (1826) was apprenticed to the printing trade for seven years with Stephen Young, a printer in Paisley. He completed his term with the University Printing Office in Glasgow where he was able to take courses in Latin, French and stenography.

Wylie began his work in journalism with the “Greenock Advertiser“, after which he went to the “Glasgow Guardian“, then the “Liverpool Mail” in England where he was engaged as a reporter and proofreader. His career moved ahead and he took charge of the office of the “Fife Herald” in Cupar, Scotland where he remained a while and developed his writing skills.

In 1845 he came to Canada as had his father, and accepted an offer to take charge of the office of a Mr. John C. Becket in Montreal. He was convinced of the benefits of responsible government from an early age and began to write on the subject while in Montreal. His next job was as a parliamentary reporter for the “Montreal Herald” which lasted until the burning of the parliamentary buildings in 1849. His last work there seemed to be a long report on the subsequent recalling of the Upper House which took up 18 columns in the Herald.

It was at this point that David Wylie came to Brockville to take charge of the “Recorder“, formerly owned by William Buell, Jr. He had as his partner for a short time, a printer named William Sutton who later went on to the “Victoria Chronicle” in Belleville. A staunch “Reformer” himself, Wylie carried on the traditions of the paper as established by the Buell family since its early days.

David Wylie soon became involved in the public life of his new town. During his first year’s residence in Brockville he was elected to the office of public school trustee. He spent about thirty years on the School Board working to better the educational system. He was chairman for many years.

Previously while in Montreal (1847) Wylie had became a member of Captain Lyman’s Rifle Co. Later in Brockville he held every rank up to Lieutenant-Colonel in the Brockville Rifle Co. from which he became known as Col. Wylie. In 1875 he was appointed Paymaster of Military District No. 4 by the Alexander Mackenzie government and held this position until the Liberals lost power in 1878. He was allowed to retire with his rank of Lt. Col.

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David Wylie ca1865

This portrait of David Wylie was copied from a small carte de visite taken ca.1865 by the photographic studio of A.C. McIntyre in Brockville.

Wylie was a member of the Oddfellows Lodge since his early years in Liverpool when he joined the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. He took up membership again in Montreal and was elected Grand Master of the Order for Canada.

In party politics, he always worked for the reform party, and once stood for election for Parliament in South Leeds, but was defeated. He was, however, an elected member of Brockville Town Council for the years 1867-72.

David Wylie was married twice. Records do not make mention of his first wife’s name. On October 5, 1865, he secondly married Sophronia (Holden) Craig, a widow who was a native of Augusta Township. They had a son and a daughter. His wife outlived him, dying in 1912.

He ran the Recorder successfully for many years. The launch of the daily Evening Recorder on November 10, 1873 was something of which he was especially proud. He ran this company up until 1875 when he decided to give up his holdings and sold out to Dr. S.S. Southworth and Thaddeus W.L. Leavitt. Their tenure was short-lived, and Wylie resumed the editorial chair four years later. Finally he sold his interest to J.J. Bell who then teamed up with Thomas Southworth in partnership.

Col. Wylie continued to live in Brockville until his death on December 21, 1891, a well-respected member of his community.

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

The Albion Hotel – no longer a Brockville Landmark

19-21 King St. E. [now on the site of the Wedgwood Retirement Facility]

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The Albion Hotel, Brockville

When this photograph was taken about 1909, this hotel had been known as the Albion Hotel for over thirty years. Patrick Ludlow, then the proprietor, had been connected with the business for nineteen years. Along with a bar and dining room, the hotel boasted twenty-five bedrooms. Notice the two definite sections of the building. There is no information about when the addition on the right was added to the 1830s part.

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Built in Brockville

The long history of this Hotel

It is a great shame that this building no longer stands on our main street as it did until it was torn down a few years ago. It was one of Brockville’s oldest hotels, dating back to about 1830.

The original owner was the Hon. Charles Jones (1781-1840), an early Family Compact politician and the possessor of much of the land in the eastern third of old Brockville.

However, Jones was not a hotel keeper. He leased the building to Eri Lusher who operated it as “Lusher’s Hotel” in the 1830s. For three years (1843-46) the hotel was rented and operated by William H. Willson as the “Brockville Hotel“. He later went on to build the most successful, the “Willson House” at the corner of King St. and Market Square East.

The next proprietor was John McKenzie from Prescott who opened his “North American Hotel” here in 1846. The property was then owned by Charles Dickinson, Sr.
In 1851, Hiram Fulford ran a business in this building which he coined “Fulford’s Masonic Hotel“, while McKenzie tried another location. John McKenzie soon returned and operated “McKenzie’s Hotel” here until 1865.

Charles Dickinson’s widow, Maria Dickinson, through her will, gave the hotel property to her son Charles W. Dickinson in 1877.

From 1865-1874 this was the “International Hotel” at 175, 177 King St. according to the previous way of numbering the main street from west to east.

Then, for a long period (1875-1916), the hotel was known as the “Albion Hotel“. In this period there were various hotel proprietors such as James O’Donahoe, James Johnson, James Dillon, Patrick Ludlow (11 years), and Thomas P. Christopher.

In 1905, ownership of the property passed to Charles and John Stagg through the will of their great-uncle Charles W. Dickinson. They held on to the hotel until 1928.

It was in 1917 that the hotel name changed to “Garbutt’s Hotel” with the arrival of Harry Garbutt. He soon turned it over to Erle and Jessie Ashley who ran the hotel and then purchased it in 1928 retaining the name Garbutt’s for all their tenure. Their children, Mary M. (Milne) and Richard E. Ashley retained ownership in the family until 1964.

In the 1940s and 50s, David T. Dextor was the manager.

In more recent years, I do not know a lot about the ownership or operation of the business.

In 1964 the hotel was sold by Mary Marguerite (Ashley) Milne and her brother, Richard E. Ashley to Kay and Tim Kelly.
The Kellys set about to renovate and redecorate the building they had taken over.

One of their changes was to rename the business, “The Carriage House“. This couple made an impact on the community while in Brockville but later left town in the 1970s.
The hotel was purchased in 1970 by a Dutch couple, Thomas and Maryke Van Kimmenaede. Their ownership lasted until 1985 when they sold out to Mel Murdock and Ted Weise, who were then the owners of the “Manitonna Hotel” next door.

Desmond Nolan was known to be the manager for some of the later years.

Sources: The photograph above was published by the “Evening Recorder” in the 1909 Brockville Board of Trade souvenir booklet, “The Island City”. Many of the historical details have been gleaned over the years from newspaper ads, articles and business directories.

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

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Grand Trunk Railway Depot [built in 1855] & Grounds in Brockville

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Brockville Grand Trunk Depot & Grounds ca.1855.

This is the earliest photograph that shows the original Grand Trunk Railway grounds on the south side of the main line in Brockville. Later the present joint or union station was created on the north side of the tracks to also serve the Brockville & Ottawa Railway. On the left is a corner of the stone GTR Station. Note the early gas lamp under the roof overhang. The building in the background is the northern projection of a large wooden, cross-shaped Engine House which shows on early maps of this area, just west of William St. Looking carefully, you will see two eastbound wood-burning locomotives complete with tenders loaded with cordwood. Lining the platform in front of these engines is a crowd of people posing for the photographer. They are overlooking the formal garden between the two buildings. Two gentlemen and two ladies are standing on the garden path.

Sources: A copy of this photograph was published in the 1906 souvenir magazine put out by the Brockville Recorder on the occasion of the Old Boys Re-union held from July 28th to August 3rd, 1906. The caption under the photo reads “The old Grand Trunk Station at the head of Buell Street, and the arrival of the first GTR train.” This may be true, making it one of the oldest recorded photograph taken this early (1855). The souvenir publication mentioned is one of the most valuable records of Brockville history, as it contains hundreds of unique scenes and portraits from the period and before.


Built in Brockville

Canada’s Grand Trunk Railway

There were a few pioneering efforts in Canada before 1850 to establish small, dedicated-use rail lines, but by that time there was only 55 miles of rail in the Province of Canada.The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada was incorporated in 1852 following the passage of “An act to make provision for the construction of a main trunk line of railway throughout the whole length of this province” in 1851. The company established to manage this project was almost entirely financed by British interests, and the major contractor, Peto, Brassey, Betts and Jackson were experienced railway builders in England.

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Samuel Keefer, Civil Engineer (1811-1890). A resident of Brockville.

Samuel Keefer, a civil engineer, then living in Brockville.

A line route was surveyed by Brockville civil engineer Samuel Keefer initially from Montreal to Toronto a distance of approx. 333 miles, After a series of hearings it was decided to build a single line track based on the new and wider “provincial” gauge of 5’-6”. It was argued that comfort of seating, and decreased side to side motion would be one of the positive results. In addition, the GTR would be joining with the already wide gauge line at Montreal of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railway.

Brockville was fortunate to be chosen as the first division point from the Montreal end. This point was necessary for regular engine servicing which at that time was required after each locomotive had traveled about 100+ miles. The local economy gained immensely by this decision as special facilites and housing for the train crews was needed.

Keefer was also hired in 1853 to superintend the construction of the line. By November 1855, rails had been completed from Montreal to Brockville, and the new locomotives were tried on this stretch as shown in the photograph. The following year saw the completion of rail construction as far as Toronto.

The far western portion from Toronto to Sarnia was opened in 1860. By that time the new GTR was hopelessly mired in financial difficulties, owing at one time over 800,000 Pounds to their creditors in England.

The Government of Canada continued to sink public funds into the operation and attempted to pay off its debts in 1862 with the passage of the “Grand Trunk Arrangements Act”. The public found this distasteful and for a period the railway was very unpopular. Eventually the beneficial results of a modern means of transportation were recognized in the country, and the rail system expanded to meet the needs.

[Any photographs on this site can be viewed full size in a separate window by double clicking on the picture on the page until you reach the enlarged version further into the system]

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

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Frederick C. Gordon, Brockville Artist

Notable Brockvillians

Frederick C. Gordon was a young artist whose discovered works seem to be limited to black and white lithographs used to illustrate scenes in the Brockville area. These drawings were published in a couple of business booklets published in the 1890s.

Gordon did not seem to live in Brockville for very long, but he did advertised his services as an artist here in 1886, and was involved in education as the superintendent of the Art Dept. at the Brockville Business College. The college was first located on King St. W. in the Halladay Block, east of John St.

I would be interested if anyone has any more information about him, or has discovered any of his paintings.

Fred Gordon liked to show himself in his artwork. Here he is sitting on a rock, sketchbook in hand, out at Fernbank Point.
Fred Gordon liked to show himself in his artwork. Here he is sitting on a rock, sketchbook in hand, out at Fernbank Point.
Smuggler’s Cove on the St. Lawrence River, west of Brockville as drawn by Fred Gordon.
Smuggler’s Cove” on the St. Lawrence River, west of Brockville as drawn by Fred Gordon.

A Sketch by Fred Gordon of the “Highbury Brewery”, at the Willows, west of Brockville.

Sketch by Fred Gordon of “Highbury Brewery“, at the Willows, west of Brockville.

William Buell House, drawn by Fred Gordon in 1887.

William Buell House, drawn by Fred Gordon in 1887. This was actually William Buell’s third house. The drawing was made by Gordon for James G. Findlay, a dentist who was married to Eliza Wilkinson. Dr. Findlay (1864-1951) was the son of Martha Ann (Buell) Findlay (1828-1887), William Buell’s youngest child. The claim to be Brockville’s oldest stone building was a mistake on their part. It is known that the Nehemiah Seaman House at King and Perth St. was built in 1816.

“Idlewilde” the home of William R. Gardner and family as drawn by Fred Gordon in 1888.
Fred Gordon’s drawing shows “Idlewilde“, which overlooks the river at 77 Hartley St. in Brockville. This house was designed by architect, James P. Johnston (1841-1893) of Ogdensburg and built in 1880-81 for Henry A. Field. Field was the owner, in partnership with his brother, of a successful hardware business on the main street. At the time of the drawing the house was owned by industrialist, William R. Gardner.
Brockville Business College drawn by Fred Gordon.

This drawing shows the location of the Brockville Business College at 4 Court House Ave. in Brockville.The college rented the top 2 floors of the north end of the Fulford Block. Fred Gordon worked in this well-known business school as the Art Teacher during his period in Brockville.

copyright, February 2008, Doug Grant, ON

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