from The Guide  September 6, 1877
Port Hope as I found it in 1826 - Having in my last given a few reminiscences of the first settlement of Port Hope and the Township of Hope, I pass over the events that transpired and the progress that had been made in the long period of time that elapsed between that period and 51 years ago and I shall now confine myself to the recollections of that period.
[If this letter was reprinted from 1870, then the original must have said 44, rather than 51 years for 'O T' to have arrived in Port Hope in 1826, as William Furby did.]

The village at this time contained about 200 inhabitants, who, for guidance in all local matters, were subjected to the laws passed at the Township meetings held, according to the old English custom, on every New Years Day, which affected the Township generally. The Township assessor assessed the property of the village in common with that of the whole Township and the taxes of both were united in one fund. Each village lot was estimated as a quarter of an acre of cleared land and assessed in the same proportion with that of the Township, the taxes amounting to only a few coppers yearly. When, however, the inhabitants petitioned the Legislature to have the village incorporated, they assessed each lot at $25. For this act, the assessor supported by the people of the Township, upbraided them. The village still, and for some time subsequent, retained its appellation of Smith's Creek.

We will now commence on Ward Street. The first structure we meet is Smart's store and the Post Office, the late David Smart, Esq, being postmaster. This building was situated near the spot where now stands the Irish Presbyterian Church. On the hill was his residence, the northeast part of which is still standing, near the place where the dwelling of Mr John Riordan stands was the residence of the late Mr Dennis Riordan.

We now ascend the hill where the Messrs Henderson, Hatton and Mitchell resided, of whom the principal person was Mr William Henderson, who constituted the very life of the village for merriment and genuine social entertainments. If we except the introduction of roast beef and plum pudding - those famous dishes peculiar to John Bull - these entertainments were got up in the most gentilitous style of a true Irishman, and, of course, we need not mention that a little more than a little of the 'craythur' was passed round the festive board to keep up the old Irish hospitality. Dancing and singing were indulged in and of course the favourite music of 'St Patrick was a Gentleman' and 'The Shillelagh that Fire'. These social festivities brought to mind Goldsmith's inimitable couplet - 
'At a dinner so various, at such a repast
Who'd not be glutton, and stick to the last?'
This preeminently characteristic place was christened 'Protestant Hill' by Mr Thomas Henderson, brother of the hero of this little episode.

We now proceed to King Street. The first edifice with which we meet is the old schoolhouse situated on the site where now stands the residence of the late Dr Wm Smith. Then we approach the old St John's Church, which we shall notice more fully in the sequel. The next is the most beautifully picturesque residence of the place, that of Mr M F Whitehead, Esq; then a frame house occupied by Mr Moses Stevens, the hatter, situated near where now is the brick residence of Charles Smith, Esq, and then the only remaining building on this beautiful street, situated at what once was denominated the Point, nearly opposite the residence of the late F H Burton, Esq, MP. It was removed in 1869. This house is worthy of a passing notice. It was erected for Elias Smith, Esq, by his son Peter and was the first frame house erected between Belleville and York (Toronto), if it were not the first between the former place and the head of Lake Ontario. Mr Smith sent goods from Montreal by Mr E Collins, who occupied this building as a store, the first establishment for the accommodation of the settlers, and also as a school, where the youth first received instruction in their country's vernacular. Mr Smith, together with his family, arrived in 1798 for a permanent settlement and took up his abode in this house, which had been fitted up for his reception. In this house the writer heard the first hymn sung in a private dwelling in the village. So much for this old unobtrusive pristine mansion - the recipient of so many prized incidents

On Mill Street were two houses, the property of Mr W Lott, opposite where the ruins of Mr N Winter's now is, thence to the grist and saw mills of the late J D Smith, Esq. The western portion of the present building constituted the grist mill, the saw mill adjoining it on the north side. Mr Smith's residence was on the opposite side of the street and his store (known as the 'red' store) was a little north thereof. Farther on was Stevens' hatter shop, next to which was the store occupied by the eccentric T T Orton, auctioneer, etc and the shop of Mr Jacobs, watchmaker. The present Royal Hotel was the first brick house erected in the village. It was erected by the late John Brown, Esq, and was then occupied by Mr Mark Hewson, better known by the familiar sobriquet of 'uncle Mark'. Next came the old log building situated on the hill in the rear portion of the late Mr Might's premises. It was intended for a malt house. The pretty little 'Forest Island' in the creek opposite the brick tavern presented an enchanting scene with its beautiful verdant drapery and did much to relieve any monotony that might be discernible in this part of the village. It was demolished to make room for the stores of Mr R N Waddell, Esq, the present sheriff of these United Counties.

Crossing the bridge, the pedestrian comes to Queen Street, meeting, where Mr Gillett's store now is, the blacksmith shop of Mr Thum. On this side of the street were several manufacturing establishments among which was the old blacksmith shop erected by Mr James Hawkins, Sr in which axes and scythes were formerly manufactured and which boasted at that early day, a trip hammer propelled by water power. We shall refer to this establishment again. Farther on was reached the wool carding establishment of Mr Paul Hayward; the wooden chair-bottom and wheel-head manufactory of Messrs Sawyer and Phelps - the only one in British North America at that time - where a large number of pails were finished weekly and of quality and durability unequalled by any made now-a-days; and Mr Downey's cut nail factory, the machinery of which had been manufactured by the proprietor, who turned out great quantities of nails daily. These works were all propelled by water power, the privileges being situated on the west side of the creek, opposite the grist mill and being leased from J D Smith. On the west side of the street where the ruins of Mr Hunter's stave factory now are, were the residence and tannery of James Robertson, Sr, Esq. Where the machine shop, foundry, etc of Helm and Nicholls is situated, was the first distillery in the neighborhood, erected by J D Smith, Esq. To the north of the Market Building was a house occupied by a barber and the next a two story dwelling erected by James Sculthorp, Esq, of which we shall speak by and by. We next approach the residence, store and distillery of John Brown, Esq, south of where now is erected Devlin's Hotel.

On Walton Street the first building is the store occupied by Messrs Sawyer and Phelps; a small building adjoining occupied by Mr Davis, tailor; then some wooden stores being erected by Mr Robertson; on the adjoining lot, owned by Mr Brown, was the blacksmith shop of Mr Adam Hawthorne; then the dwelling of William Brogdin, Esq; on the railroad was Mr Rosebury's tavern; then Mr Finkle's store, where Mr Quay's grocery store is; on the corner of Walton and John Streets was the old tavern kept by Mr George Walker, whose aged widow is still living. On the opposite corner was the fanning mill establishment of Mr Thos Harper; then the newly erected residence of Mr John Cundle, the first butcher in the place, situated where the St Lawrence Hotel now stands; the next, a small house belonging to Mr Sculthorp, where the feed store occupied by Mr W E Beamish stands; in the rear of which was the old Red Tavern, which will receive our attention at some future period; then come the 'Sparrow's Nest', which was the cooper shop and residence of Mr Sparrow, belonging to Mr Brogdin and situated where now stands the brick house in which Dr Clemesha resides; the house adjoining the residence of Dr Powers was Mr Christopher Mitchell's blacksmith shop and that to the west his residence; the next house we meet is that of Mr Harry Adamson, the tailor, now occupied by Mr Petrie, the brick wings of which were erected by Mr Knapp. Now comes the residence of the eccentric and erratic T T Orton and that of the inimitable 'Old Shoemaker Smith', the former where the residence of Peter Robertson, Esq, is and the latter where that of James Robertson, Esq, stands.

Returning down the north side of the street, the first house we meet with is the residence of the late Mark Burnham, Esq, occupied by Mrs Burnham; then the house where Mr John Hewson resided; then the one belonging to John Saxon where the late M Perks' brick buildings are; next to Addy's shop is situated a house belonging to a Mr Wood; and in the rear of Mr Russell's cabinet wareroom, the residence of Nathaniel Webster, Esq. At the corner of Walton and Cavan Streets are the Messrs Fowkes' store and the residence of Mr Erasmus Fowke; a little to the east there was an unoccupied blacksmith shop. In the fall Mr Brogdin got up his block of wooden stores on what we called the 'frog pond', where now is erected the brick block belonging to W S Tempest, Esq; next a house erected by Mr Mark Hewson and a small dwelling near the bridge constituted all of Walton Street.

We will take Cavan Street next. The first buildings we meet are Fowkes' brewery and distillery. The only other buildings until we come to Brown's mills (afterwards Molson's but now lying in ruins) were Smart's distillery on the premises now owned by William Craig, Esq; and Lott's dwelling on the premises of Edward Dodd, Esq. Besides his grist and saw mills, Mr Brown had a linseed oil and cake establishment, but for want of sufficient material it was discontinued. He had also the cut nail machinery which he purchased of Mr Downey fitted up here, where he manufactured large quantities of nails.

The only houses on John Street were the residence of the late Mr Lee Thum to the south and Mr N Sissons, and the tannery of Wm Sissons on the opposite side, and Mr Paul Hayward's dwelling house on the lot adjoining the Bank of Ontario. There was also a house in course of erection where now stands the brick residence of the late James Robertson, Sr, Esq, and the dwelling of the widow of Elias Smith, brother J D Smith, Esq, denominated 'Aunt Betsy's house', situated near the site of the Grand Trunk station.

There was a weekly mail between Montreal and York, hitherto carried on horseback by Mr Jonathan Ogden, a resident of Port Hope, who this year commenced a mail stage. He received the mail as before at the Carrying Place (Trenton) when brought up the Bay of Quinte from Kingston.

This was the first year in which cash was paid for wheat. Its price was two shillings and sixpence per bushel. Tea was eight shilling and nine pence per pound, sometimes ranging as high as ten shillings. Dry goods and hardware were a hundred percent more than now. Window glass (English) was $18 per box of 100 feet.

The only educational establishment in the village was the old schoolhouse on King Street, presided over by an elderly person who was in the habit of carrying his whiskey flask with him to school where he became so badly intoxicated every afternoon as to be totally unfitted for the performance of his duties, the children being left to amuse themselves or go home, as they thought proper. We regret to say that intemperance was too prevalent among teachers at the period of which we speak. Any person was thought qualified to teach 'the young idea how to shoot'. This pedagogue was, however, dismissed and an improvement commenced to dawn and gradually progress.

The old St John's Church (now St Mark's) erected by the late John D Smith at his own expense, was the only place of worship in the village and its burying ground was a common, unfenced. Even the streets, we were informed, had been the recipients of the settlers' remains. There was no resident clergyman and we were indebted to the gratuitous services of the Rev Mr Bethune, the Incumbent of St Peter's Church, Cobourg, who preached every Sabbath evening until 1830 when in response to a petition presented by the inhabitants to the Lord Bishop of Montreal, the Rev Jas Coghlan was sent. He was succeeded by the esteemed pastor, the Rev Jonathan Shortt. Such was Port Hope in 1826.

Early in the fall of this year the village was visited by a temperance advocate who urged the necessity of organizing a temperance society and who stated that his rules and regulations prohibited the use of whiskey, brandy and gin as beverages but permitted the use of wine and beer. One of our quaint inhabitants shrewdly replied that it was too expensive an institution for him so he therefore could not comply with its conditions. He did not succeed in organizing a society.

The mind, when thus rambling back to scenes of earlier days, is presented with so many interesting incidents witnessed by our self or related by others, that we shall, though contrary to our first intention continue our cursory remarks. There are matters connected with the politics of the time to which we refer inadmissible in these reminiscences, yet if the political history of the County of Durham, when part of the old District of Newcastle, was impartially delineated even for the election in 1827, when Charles Fothergill and John D Smith were returned to the House of Assembly of Upper Canada held at Little York (Toronto) until the last election under the old election law, and just after the union of the Upper and Lower Provinces, when Durham was emancipated from the thralldom of the rival County by the return of John T Williams as its representative - here would be presented a lesson worthy of the study of the patriotic statesman and political economist.

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