Watford

Watford, My Home Town

by Don Hollingsworth

 

Main St., Watford, 1940s
Main St., Watford, 1940s, west side looking north. courtesy D Hollingsworth

These are the memories of Don Hollingsworth, who was born in Watford and lived in Watford for  over 60 years. They were recorded in 2006 by Don and transcribed by Janet Firman and Noreen Croxford. Don and his wife Jean now live in Strathroy.

Irish Town (south of railroad tracks)

Starting south of the bridge in Irish Town was George Searson’s sawmill. It was there when I was a boy, and is still there, run by his sons Harley, Darryl and Carlyle.

Next we move south of that to the Wilson Service Station, which I believe was started in 1946. Norm [Wilson] either built or moved a small building onto the property when he first started, and eventually built a new service station and home combined. Later on, as his son Dave grew older, Dave started a radio repair, television repair and sales and service. This was carried on for a good number of years until Dave eventually gave it up. Norm also had the licensing office for the Ministry of Transportation, selling vehicle licences and driver’s licences. They ran this until Dave sold the property about 12 years ago to Nancy Saul, who still owns it today.

Bond St.

Next we move to Bond St. and head east, to the very east end where Rainbow Chemicals was located at one time. They came from Tilbury and specialized in liquid farm fertilizers. The original manager was Ted Rhodes. Three of the original employees that I remember were Bud St. Peter, Wayne Redmond and Rick Mitchell. I believe this business was sold and eventually closed down.

We then move up the street on the north side where Watford Mobile Concrete originated. Started by the McCabe family, it ran there for a good many years, but eventually they closed down and went out of business.

Across the street Wilcocks’ Silo Builders started up Nelson and Harley started this, and the business is still in operation today, but they specialize, I believe, in farm feed bins.

Next to that was Cameron’s Collision Service. Originally the building was built by Bruce Sharpe and rented by Merv Williamson. He sold out to his son Bob who eventually closed it down, and later on Al Cameron bought it from Bruce and then established a body and collision shop.

Portion of Watford Insurance map, 1900. courtesy University of Western Ontario Archives

Main St. Watford, 1940s, east side looking north
Main St. Watford, 1940s, east side looking north. courtesy M Parker

Frank St.

The beginning of Imperial Poultry was in the’30s,when Sam and Ben Handleman, two gentlemen from Toronto, started picking up poultry in the Watford area and taking it to Toronto to be sold. I believe in the ’40s they decided that they could do their own killing and selling, and they began Imperial Poultry on Frank St. It expanded over the years and became quite a business. Eventually Sam got sick, and the business was never the same afterwards. It went into bankruptcy. During that time they started a partnership with a company from England who did canning.They built a new building along side Imperial Poultry, and I believe the original idea was to set up a canning factory. One of their employees, John May, lived here for quite a few years. Eventually that business agreement was called off, and he went back to England.

Front St. East

Coming over the bridge – my first memory of a business there on the right hand side, which would be the southeast corner of Main [Nauvoo Rd.] and Front St., was Basil Saunders. Basil had a machine shop there. Originally this building was a hotel. It was not a hotel in my time, so I don’t remember names or who built it or anything like that, but I knew Basil was there until his son Ross bought the property from him and moved Basil up onto Wall St. Basil Saunders served in the First World War, and was gassed, and disabled from that. Basil was a really, really fine machinist. Before he got into the machine shop business in the ’20s, he ran one of the first tiling machines in the area, and Basil also helped dig the lines for the first water system for the Village of Watford.

Ross Saunders built a brand new garage there [southeast corner of Nauvoo and Front] and opened up a Chrysler dealership. Ross sold this to McGregor’s from Forest. They closed it down and Russ Watson bought it and turned it into a lumberyard and planing mill. Eventually it was bought by Grogan Ford, and the building was torn down.

Down to the east end of Front St. was Watford Androck Wire Works. It was affiliated with factories in Rockford, Illinois. At that time Harold Newell was the manager and Loftas Miller was the foreman along with Jerry Piercey. Kenny Williamson was in receiving and Peter Garson was the shipper. Androck did a pile of business at one time selling horse muzzles to keep flies off the mouths of horses. Carloads were shipped out west. They also built kitchen utensils etc. In 2006, it was closed by the Newell Company.

Coming up farther west on Front  St. –  At  one time where Grogan’s cleaning shop stands now was the blacksmith shop run and owned by Neil Fair. I don’t remember when Neil passed away, but it doesn’t seem to me that it was there very long when I was a boy.

Nauvoo Road (east side, north of railroad tracks)

Next on the corner was the old hotel, run in my day by Frank Hobbs and his wife and son Frank Jr. They eventually sold out and there were different owners in between which I don’t recall, until Mike Muka bought it. I would say Mike bought it in the late ’60s or ’70s. He eventually sold it. It is closed at this time. [Staks restaurant is on the main level in 2008.]

Coupland Harness Shop, Watford
Main St. Watford, 1940s, east side looking north. courtesy M Parker

Next to the hotel when I was a boy was Coupland’s Harness Shop. Mr. Coupland was there quite a number of years. He was a harness maker and a really nice man.

Next to that I am not sure, but I believe at one time it was a barber shop, and before that, I understand that Jack McConkey, when he first came to Watford, had a store in there. I am not positive of this. It was eventually a barbershop, and the last barber I remember being in there was Clayton Morgan. At one time Allen Fair worked with him.

Next to that was the old telephone office, which was there for a long, long time, and is now the law office of Wallace Lang. The first telephone service in Watford started in 1885.

Next to that, where Terminal One is, it used to be Cook’s Meat Market. It was there forever. I believe that Walter Cook was there originally, and Roy Cook eventually took over, and was there until it was closed as a meat shop.

Cook's Meat Market, Watford
Cook’s Meat Market, Watford: Roy Cook is on the left; Glen Edwards is on the right. In 2008 this is the site of Terminal One Variety. courtesy D Wilson

After that, Doug and Thelma Thurlow opened up a variety store. It was eventually sold to Cecil Bowes but today it is owned by Terry (Dolan) Bloomfield.

Next to that is McLaren’s Pharmacy. It was started in the 1800s. It was burned out once and the last McLaren to own it was Alex.

Next was the old Roche Hotel. I don’t know who started it originally, but the Roches were certainly there when I was a young boy. Tom, I believe, was the owner at that time, and then his sons, Clare (Nig)  and Harold. They ran it for a number of years and then sold out. One of the buyers after that was John Broga. John ran the hotel for a good many years, and eventually sold out to Al Soby. Bob Drinkwalter also owned that hotel at one time. Eventually it burned down.

Next to the Hotel is the Bank of Montreal. I believe it was originally the Merchant’s Bank. It was built in 1918.

McLaren Drug Store, Watford
McLaren Drug Store, Watford opened October 1, 1869. courtesy A McLaren
Roche Hotel, Watford 1950s
Roche Hotel, Watford 1950s. courtesy M Parker

Huron St. East

East of the bank used to be what we called the old town shed, and it was originally part of the old Roche Hotel. They used it for tying up horses when they drove into town with their wagons, cutters and buggies. The liquor store stands now on that property. I don’t remember when it was torn down, but I believe at one time they held farm sales there. I’ve got a feeling it was my Uncle Gord [Hollingsworth] that did this, but I am not sure.

At one time, the Cursots lived in a house across the street. Mr. Cursot was a veterinarian. Eventually that house was torn down by Ray Morningstar and he built an office and storage for his Imperial Oil distributorship.

Nauvoo Road (east side, heading north)

Next to that, moving west, was the Ike Hastings building. Ike was a master craftsman when it came to woodworking. He had quite a building there.

It took in the store north of Hank Venema’s Imperial Jewellers and the restaurant now on the corner and also

took in the building behind the restaurant on the corner. The restaurant building on the corner was bought from the Odd Fellows by Don Hollingsworth, who bought it from Mr. Hastings, or the Hastings estate. I would also like to mention that when I bought that corner property, at that time the Independent Order of Odd Fellows owned all that property, although I am not sure. The store on the corner was bought by Don Hollingsworth and made into a men’s wear store in 1964. Our store was on the corner of Huron and Main. It was sold in 1976 to Tony Cini who came from St. Thomas. Tony was there for about five years, and then his brother took over the business. It was eventually closed, and I am not sure what happened, but it got turned into a restaurant, [Good Morning Donut & Deli] which it is today.

Before I forget, Les Kenzie ran a tailor shop and it was a dry cleaner’s agent for a long, long time. He used to specialize in made-to-measure suits, but he also did all kinds of alterations.

Prior to the Hollingsworth purchase, the Odd Fellows had built where Imperial Jewellers is today. The store to the north of that has had quite a few tenants over the years. I can’t remember them all but Fuller Electric was the first tenant.

Originally the building where McClung’s Flowers is now, on the east side of Main St., used to be an egg grading station, and at one time they sold machinery out of there. Part of the Searson family, I believe Jimmy, ran the [machinery] dealership. The egg grading station was, I believe, run by the McClung brothers. At least part of that building, upstairs, was used as a poolroom, originally started by Vance Kersey. When Vance retired it was taken over by Skin McEwen who came from Stratford, Ontario. He and “Maw”McEwen ran it for a long time, but eventually it was sold. It didn’t last long after that. In the early ’70s Darryl Cowley bought the building and renovated it completely and opened a ladies’ wear store. The Cowley family ran this for a few years, but eventually closed it down. Then the property was sold to the Town of Watford, and they had their municipal offices there for a number of years. When they joined Warwick [1998 amalgamation of the Township of Warwick and Watford] as one community, the offices moved out to Warwick Township. The property was sold to Alan and Darlene Woodfinden and now it runs as McClung’s Flowers.

Next to that, where the dry cleaners used to be, was City Service. They had a depot in there for storing oil, and an office where the business was run out of. It was run by Archie Fisher when I was a young lad. Eventually they moved down to the west end of Front St., and the building stood vacant for awhile. I remember Al Westgate, who ran Westgate Transport, used it for storing his trucks. He used it as a garage. Later it was bought by Jack Brand who started Watford Dry Cleaners.

Next to that is the old Guide-Advocate, which was owned by the Aylesworth family forever. It has now passed out of the Aylesworth family. Then comes the post office.

Ontario St. East

Moving across the street on the northeast corner of Ontario St. and Main St., when I was a boy, the building was empty, but had been built as a bank. It was converted into a restaurant by Hyman Anderson. Then it was sold to different people. George Wong was one of them. He was a little Chinese chap, and his wife was Fran. They ran a good restaurant there, then sold out. The last restaurant owner was Nick Vafiades. Eventually it burned and was torn down.

Behind the restaurant, going to the east was our jail and fire hall. There is quite a bit of history to that which I will not get into.

East of that is the old blacksmith shop. One of the blacksmiths that I remember was Ernie Charleton. Eventually Ben Winters opened it up as a welding shop and ran it for a good many years. It is torn down, and the lot is now empty.

Watford Lock-up

Nauvoo Road again

Coming back up onto Main St. and to the north of the bank, one of the last businesses I remember in there was Mr. Callahan. He had a farm and an orchard, and he sold apples out of there. Before that, I remember Ed Graham being in there. Ed fixed radios and appliances and different odd jobs like that.

Next to him, when I was a young guy, was a hairdressing shop run by Marg and Jean Haggarty, who eventually ended up marrying Frank and Don Edwards. The Haggarty girls had their beauty shop on the east side of Main St., between Ontario and Erie St. They owned this, but before that I believe it was a barbershop, but I can’t remember the chap’s name who owned it. After the Haggarty girls got married, that shop was run for a while by Doris Winter, who eventually moved her business to her house, after she married Dan Orrange.

Next to that was Thurlows, who had a confectionery store at one point. After they moved out, I believe a doctor was in there at one time, and also Mrs. Elliott ran a paint and wallpaper shop in that area, which I believe was the same store, but I am not sure. It may have been the old hairdressing shop where she was.

Upstairs was the old Lyceum Hall, where, when  I was a kid, they used to have plays, and back in that time a roaming chap used to show movies. As a young boy I remember taking tickets for him, standing at the bottom of the stairs and taking the tickets for this show. Eventually Cliff Callahan, who I mentioned before had the store where he sold apples, ran the old Lyceum Hall, and held dances up there for a number of years.

I also remember that at one time, Herb Clark was in that block someplace. He had a feed store. The mill was out behind when I was a boy. He used to grind grain up for farmers. There was a road in behind off of Ontario St. where the mill seemed to sit in the middle and the road went around it in a circle as I recall.

Moving on to the north was the old bakery. In my day it was run by F. B. Taylor. They had an ice cream and confectionery store in the front. I remember the old confectionery bar, I guess you would call it, where they dispensed sodas and toppings for ice cream sundaes. They were one of the first people I remember having a juke box, and we used to go in there after school and dance. Behind this store was the bakery. Mr. Taylor was a baker and he baked bread and cookies and whatever. Eventually they quit and sold out to Gord Trenouth. The bakeshop closed and Gord and his wife ran the confectionery store, then turned it into a restaurant.

The Taylors moved next door to the north, which at one time was the PUC [Public Utilities Commission] office. The whole works was run out of there. They had a service area at the back where they did repairs on the meters. Upstairs at one time Dr. Hicks had his dentist office. As I mentioned before, the Taylors moved to the north from their original location and had a restaurant there for a while. I believe it was sold to Andy and Phyllis Ward, and they ran it for a while. Then Ivan Morgan and his wife ran it for a while, and different people after that. Eventually it was closed down.

To the north of that was Brown’s Plumbing and Heating. Winston Brown ran that until he retired and it was turned into different stores. I can’t remember them all. One was a movie outlet, Video Vision, and Canadian Waste [now Waste Management Corporation of Canada] has an office there.

Next to them is a small building, where as a boy, I remember lawyer Logan had an office. He used to come from Sarnia once or twice a week. Where lawyer Logan had his office on the east side of Main St., between Erie and Ontario, at one time when I was small, there was a shoe repair shop in there, and the chap that ran it was named Greasy Robinson. Why they called him Greasy I have no idea, but eventually he passed away, and that is when I believe, Charlie Husty moved from Alvinston to Watford. He did not use that building, and, as I recall, it was turned into a law office after that.

Next to that was Dr. Russell Woods. Originally there was an old building there, I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember that Mr. Prentis had a tailor shop in there. He passed away and the building was torn down. Dr. Woods came to Watford, built in there and set up his dental practice.

Right on the corner, City Service built a gas station which Orville Wallis ran. Wilfred Bradshaw ran it for him when I was a young lad. The back part of the service station was a body shop, run and owned by Orville Wallis, and the body man was Keith Cowan. It has changed hands different times since then, but the longest owner was Jack Caley, who was in there a number of years before moving across the street to the old Wallis location.

Across the street where Orville started out was a Supertest service station, and Orville was there until 1949 when he bought Johnny Haws’ property down on Simcoe St. and Main St. He built a brand new garage, opening it in March, 1949. Orville at one time had Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick dealerships and GMC trucks. Eventually GM made him give up the Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. He had a choice; he could have kept Chevrolet and Olds or Pontiac and Buick, and he chose to keep the Pontiac and Buick, which his grandson Sam still runs today, but now in Sarnia.

After the Second World War, Orville Wallis was not only the General Motors dealer, but also took on the J. I. Case machinery dealership. He had this for a number of years. I think he gave it up about 1949 and sold it to Howard Burnley. Howard ran this business out of the building where, later on, the Watford Dry Cleaners was located. Howard, I believe, sold it to McGregors from Forest, who also bought Ross Saunders’ Dodge dealership.

Next to the Supertest station was Mrs. Callahan’s millinery shop, where she made hats for ladies. Jim, her husband, used to sell and put the inscriptions on monuments. One time while putting a name on, he got a chip from the monument in his eye, and it blinded him for the rest of his life.

After the Callahans passed away, Bob App opened a flower shop there. Eventually it was sold to Phyllis Thrower, and then sold to Bob McClung. The flower shop is still called McClung’s Flowers, but is owned by the Woodfindens.

Going north from Wallis’, the next place I remember as a business was where the Esso station is out on the corner. It used to be old Hwy 22 and the Main St. of Watford. It was originally a Texaco station, I believe, built by Jack Joynt, and then I believe Howard Jenkins took it over and Roy Wilson was in there for awhile. Eventually it was bought and taken over by Mac MacLachlan. It was run by Mac, and then taken over by his son, Mac Jr. It was sold a few years ago, and today is owned by Tease Vandenheuvel.

North from there was the Watford Dairy. It was owned originally by William Connelly. Back in, I would say, the ’30s we had a case of typhoid fever in Watford, caused from unpasteurized milk, and Mr. Connelly bought the first pasteurization milk plant in Watford, and he eventually sold out to Wilbert Jarriot, and Ken Muxlow. Today it is closed. Connelly at one time was reeve of Watford and also Warden of Lambton County. His wife, Kate, wrote many articles from interviews of pioneer settlers.

Nauvoo Road (west side, north end)

Across the street was the gas station. I believe it was originally built by Swanton Chambers. Different people have owned it since then. Ben Winters owned and ran it for a good many years. Ivan Morgan ran it. Skip McCallum ran it for a good number of years. Eventually it was bought by Vi and Wayne Caley, and Vi is still there today.

Front St. West

Now moving back to the southern end of Main St. and Front St. west, you go to the very end. Where Watford Roof Truss is now there used to be the British American (BA) oil and gas distributorship. On the left side of the street just before you took the lane back to the BA property, Ray Morningstar had tanks for fuel that served his Imperial Oil customers. Later on City Service had a building next to the Guide-Advocate. They then built a new building and tanks at the west end of Front St. to service their customers. Bob Mitchel was their employee at this time. Later on Bruce Higgins and Ken Morgan took over and ran it for many years. Watford was blessed with three distributorships of gas and oil products at one time.

Across the street were two livestock shipping yards. One was run by … Elmer Moffat and Billy Woods. The other one was the Edwards Bros. — Orville and Clayton and their father.

Then coming up the street on the south side was, and still is, the old lumberyard. When I was a youngster the yard was owned by Billy Williamson. He not only sold lumber, but he also sold cement and coal.

Then to the east of that were the old grain elevators. In my day they were owned by Andy Hay, who eventually sold to Andy and Jack Aitken. They ran it for a number of years. Andy took it over, I believe, and bought out [his brother] Jack. Eventually Andy sold it to a company that was not from Watford. They brought in a manager, and from there, as I remember, it was sold to Bill Thompson, and he ran it for a great number of years. It has been torn down now, and is a storage area for fertilizer and feed, and I am not sure who runs that [McNeil Feed & Grain].

Next to that when I was a boy was Earl Dobbin’s coal yard. Earl Dobbin was a man with many hats. He originally started out in the draying [hauling] business I believe, and he had a coal yard and an ice business. He used to own an ice storage facility on the southwest corner of Mill St., which is the street that runs down to the CNR station, or did at that time, but is now closed off.

There was a large old building there that I understood came from the St. James Church property. Now I am not sure if it was an old church or an old storage shed or what, and I could be wrong on this. Anyway, I remember ice being stored in there, all covered with sawdust. That is what they used for insulation to keep the ice cold. As I remember, this ice was cut mostly out at Port Franks, and also at Warwick Village, when at one time the creek there was large enough at the flats, and they could cut ice. I believe my wife’s father, Lloyd [Cook], helped cut, and drew ice for Earl Dobbin, who, by the way, was my uncle. His wife Ethel was my dad’s sister.

Anyway,to go on with Uncle Earl,as time went on after the Second World War, and refrigerators came into vogue, he got into the appliance business and sold GE [General Electric] refrigerators for a good number of years. Then as the coal business wound down, Uncle Earl bought out the BA distributorship. I am not sure who owned it at that point. I think it was Lyle Elliott that actually ran it, but anyway, Uncle Earl took it over one way or another, and ran it until he sold the oil business to John Bork. Uncle Earl was also the express deliverer in Watford. The express used to come in by train, and Uncle Earl would deliver it all over town.

While I am thinking about people that were in the draying business, I forgot to mention that Sam Janes was in the draying business in Watford for a good many years. He lived over the bridge on Rachel St. and kept his horse in his barn behind the house. Sam did most of the draying for Androck. He brought their freight to the freight sheds, but he also did custom work for people. My father, I believe, sold the business to Mr. Janes. Dad bought it from Herb Kersey.

Going back to the other side [north side] of Front St. on the west end was Gribbon’s Mill when I was a boy. I don’t know who started this mill, but anyway, Dave Gribbon was there for a long, long time, and eventually sold to Al Banks. He ran it for a number of years and then it was bought out by a consortium of different people around the village of Watford and around the countryside. At one time, behind Dave’s mill, or beside it, when I was really young, I remember Uncle Gord, Gord Hollingsworth, used to have his [auction] sales there, before moving to its present location on Victoria St. [housing in 2008]. It was there for a long, long time. After Gord died, Russ took it over for a few years, but eventually sales like that were no longer in vogue so it was closed down.

Going back to Front St., and moving up to the corner of Front and Main, that would be the northwest corner, was at that time Cowan’s Law Office. It was there for many years, run by Stella McManus mostly, with Mr. Cowan coming out from Sarnia periodically through the week.

Nauvoo Road, west side, north of tracks

Watford Garage, 1937
Watford Garage, 1937: Ray Morningstar was the Ford dealer. courtesy D Hollingsworth

Next to that, to the north, would be Bob Graham’s. Originally Ray Morningstar had it, and that was the Ford dealership with service and garage at the back and gas pumps out right on the street when I was a kid. In the late ’40s it was sold to Bob Graham Sr. Bob Graham was quite the guy. Of course after he bought it, the war came along and there were no new cars to sell, so Bob got into the machine shop work, making pins for ammunition or guns or something. He had a machine shop in the back of the garage, and it ran all during the war. His main man at that time was Blake Stoner, who worked, I think, day and night to keep these machines running because it was just kids running them, and they ran 24 hours a day. They did two 12-hour shifts at that time. Then after the war, cars started coming out and Bob got back into the car business. He also got into the appliance business, which was eventually taken over by Alvin Perritt. The garage business was eventually taken over by Bob Graham Jr. who, I believe, in 1975 sold it to Larry Grogan, who is still there today. The appliance business closed when Alvin got so he couldn’t handle the business anymore as I remember it.

It seems to me I am getting ahead of myself every once in awhile. Go back to Front St. and the coal and lumberyard of Billy Williamson, which I mentioned before was eventually sold to Hiram Moffatt who ran it for a good number of years. Hiram also built quite a few houses around town. He had employees who did carpenter work, and I myself bought a new house from him over on the end of Rachel St. in Irish Town in the early ’50s. Eventually Hiram sold out to his son Keith, and then Melvin Powell, and it is still run today by Keith Moffatt and Melvin Powell’s son Dave.

Once again to go back where Bob Graham and Alvin Perritt had their appliance store [on the west side of the Nauvoo between Front and Huron St.] at one time there was Dr. Sawer’s office. Dr. Sawer was in Watford for a good many years, coming from Napier to Watford in the early 1900s I believe. He was the doctor that delivered both my brother and me. He was a doctor who, when you went to pay him, would say “about $1.00.”

Next to the doctor’s office, as I recall, used to be the Towers Bakery and Confectionery Store. The bakery being out behind again, and the store out front, where they sold ice cream and bread, of course, and cookies and cakes and all the rest of the baking. Mr. Towers was killed and the business was sold, I believe, to Bill Miller. Bill did not run the store. He just ran the bakery, as I recall, and delivered bread around Watford and vicinity.

Next to that was a barbershop, and I think it was run at that time by Don Richardson who was a brother to Basil Richardson who was also a barber, and Basil had his shop next to the Guide-Advocate for a good many years. Anyway, when Don Richardson closed, I believe Clayton Morgan moved across the street to that barbershop. Upstairs, over the barbershop was Dr. Howden’s dentist office.

The next building I remember to the north would be where Charlie Husty who came from Alvinston was. He had a business in Alvinston first and then moved to

Watford. He was a shoe repairman. At that time all he did was repair shoes. Eventually Charlie moved into the Towers building and not only repaired shoes, but also sold them for a good many years.

After Charlie moved out of where he was originally, the OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] had an office in that location for some time. Eventually all this was converted and taken over by the Watford Legion.

Next to that was a grocery store. I forget who owned it, but when I was a boy it was Ed Thompson and his son Elmer. They had a truck that they used for a country route. I am not sure who Mr. Thompson sold out to, but eventually Cal Hartley and his wife owned it. Then John Bebingh’s dad, Derk Bebingh bought it, and eventually John took over from his father. The store was converted from a grocery store to a shoe store. There was a fire and the shoe store burned down. It was turned into Palace Restaurant, which it today still is.

Next, to the north of that was McKercher and Parker Hardware, originally owned by Art McKercher and Arnold

Parker. Don McKercher worked there and I believe when Arnold died, Don took his place as a partner, and it was sold to Lorne Hodge in the ’70s [Pro Hardware]. Eventually it was closed down, and is now Lawrence Zavitz’s office and the Seniors Centre is there.

Next to that, originally when I was young, was where the Stapleford Bros. had an egg grading station, and they also bought and sold poultry. That was closed down after the war. William Woods built a locker service there, where you could rent a locker and store your meat, vegetables or whatever in cold storage. His son Elmer ran it for a while and then it was bought by Al Kernick. Al was there for a number of years and eventually sold out to Darryl Cowley, who was the last person to butcher meat and run a locker service at that location. After that, it has been several businesses. One of them was a store where they sold yard goods, and it was owned by Alex Smith and his wife. Today it is a Grammie’s Pizza Parlour owned by Carman and Jean Wilcocks.

Another business on Main St., between Front St. and Huron St., on the west side, was the old Jimmy Menzie poolroom. Jimmy ran it for a long time, and he was noted for smoking his cigars. He ran a good poolroom and there was no monkey business in that poolroom when Jimmy owned it. When he died, the poolroom closed

Huron St. West

Going down to the west end of Huron St., at one time there was a building there that they called the Rabbit Pen. Mother and Dad lived down at the west end of Huron St., and I was born there. During that time, Basil Saunders had a machine shop in there, eventually moving uptown, and he was in the old hotel on the southeast corner of Main and Front St.

Moving up the street on the corner of Huron and Warwick St., when we lived down  there, Ike  Hastings had a sawmill. He used to do custom sawing and planing. Eventually he moved back up to his shop on Huron and Main  St.

Nauvoo Road west side

Moving up to the northwest corner of Main and Huron St. was the McConkey building, where Jack McConkey and his wife ran a ladies’ wear, men’s wear, and boys’ store for a good number of years. Jack started, as I mentioned before, over in the Main St. block between Front St. and Huron St. on the east side then built this store that is still there today, in two stages. The first one was right on the corner of Huron and Main. He built the men’s wear store to the north of it later on. In the ’40s, his son-in-law, Jack Burchill and his wife Gwen (McConkey) bought this out from Jack McConkey. They ran it for a number of years, but in the summer of 1958, Jack Burchill was killed in a car accident. Gwen wanted to sell the men’s side of the business, so in January 1959, I, Don Hollingsworth, bought it from her, and I was there for five years before buying the property from the IOOF Lodge across the street and building a new store.

Burchill's Clothing, Watford
Burchill’s Clothing, Watford, later the Royal Bank; in 2008 Mid-Town Convenience. courtesy G Richardson

Right next to the McConkey main building was a small building that was at one time a garage for Mr. McConkey, and the Burchill’s converted this into an office and originally Alfie Sharpe was in there, who was one of the pioneer guys in Watford, selling and repairing televisions. Eventually Alfie went to live in Sarnia, and it was turned into a veterinary’s office. As I recall, Dr. Allen started there.

Next was the Harper business, which at one time was furniture and undertaking. Mr. William Harper bought it from the Cook family. His son Carman ran the business after Mr. Harper passed away. Mr. Harper also had two other sons, Lloyd and Don. I remember Don working there,because the Harpers also had the ambulance business, and I quite remember Don driving the ambulance. I don’t know whether Lloyd ever worked for his father or not. He could have.The Harpers at one time also owned a transport business which was sold to Ed McKinlay. I remember that the Harpers used to have a horse-drawn hearse. It had wheels on it, or could be converted in the wintertime with skis to make it into a sleigh. It was quite a beautiful looking, ornamental horse-drawn hearse.

I should mention more about McKinlay Transport. Ed McKinlay was a native of Alvinston and moved to Watford and bought Harpers tractor-trailer truck back in the ’40s. That was the start of McKinlay Transport. From there he kept buying the odd truck. This was all during the war, and he could not buy new equipment, so there were many long nights and days of repairs. One of his original drivers was Art Harrower. Art was also a bit of a character. He called his old truck “Betsy”. Ed went on to eventually buy a fleet of new trucks after the war. They were mostly Whites. He built a new garage and warehouse on the east end of Watford, just off of Wall St. Eventually that became too small, and his company got too big, and he moved the operation to Dixie, which is near Toronto. Ed passed away, and the business was carried on for a few years by his sons Ron, Murray and Ernie. Eventually this business was sold to Central Transport which at one time was run by Jimmy Hoffa.

Next to the Harper building, going north was, as far as I can recall, the old Dave Maxwell building. I believe Mr. Maxwell died when I was very young, and the building was empty for a number of years. I remember we used to take a short cut there through the alley coming home from the public school, and they used to have a ramp for taking vehicles or whatever, up to the second floor, and I can still remember seeing that old ramp one day when the back door of the building was open. It was bought by McKercher and Parker, and turned into a seed cleaning plant. They also went into the International Harvester machinery business.

Eventually this business was bought by Sanford Lucas and Elmer Thompson. Elmer stayed in the business with Sanford for a few years, but eventually sold out to him. I believe Sanford ran it alone for awhile, but then he took on a partner by the name of Jack Randall from Oil Springs. Sanford sold out to Jack, and Jack in turn sold to Bert Sanders. Bert ran it for a few years in that location, and then moved to the north of town where the dealership is still. In the meantime, Bert converted from International to Ford. At one time, part of that building was also a butcher shop run by Gordon Moffatt.

Next to that was the old Rogers Hotel. Now, it wasn’t a hotel when I was a kid. It was a garage run by Keith Doman, and I remember Lloyd Harper worked for Keith at one time. Also, Jack Joynt had a Chrysler dealership, back in the time when Chrysler had the Airflow, which was the name of a model which was a very distinctive car. On the corner, facing Ontario St., was a lunch counter, run at that time by Bill Leitch. Bill got called to the army in the late ’30s or early ’40s, and Doug and Thelma Thurlow first started out there when they came to Watford.

After the war, that property was sold and part of it torn down, and the rest of it made into a gas station. This was a BA gas station, originally run by Gord Redmond and his brother-in-law, Fred Griffiths. The station was built by somebody from Petrolia. After Fred and Gord gave it up, it was run by Bob Graham Jr. for a while. Today it is a woodworking shop of some sort, but in between, that is where Watford Slipper Factory started. Joe McCartney first came to Watford and they started to make slippers in that building, and then moved to the Armories for a few years, and eventually moved out to the 4th Line, where the present building stands. It is no longer a slipper factory. It is now run by Auto Tube, and I don’t know exactly what they make.

Ontario St. West

Going west on Ontario St., at one time on the south side there was a blacksmith shop, run by Mr. Sharp, but I am not sure of his first name. It was eventually torn down, and I don’t remember anybody else being there. Mr. Sharp was married to Jack Stapleford’s daughter Rosie.

Farther down the street at the corner of Warwick and Ontario, on the south side, there were two businesses. One run by Jack McCaw, and the other was run by Skinny Slimmer and his dad. They ran the garage end and Jack ran the auto wreckers. This I think was all gone in the ’30s. Mr. McCaw and Mr. Slimmer died, and I don’t remember just what happened after that. Eventually Ed McKinlay started using it as a garage, and he repaired his trucks there at one point. Two of his mechanics were Gerry Cowan and Jimmy  McCarter. In  between owners McCaw and Slimmer, in the late ’40s, Howard Swales had a window manufacturing business.

To the north of that building, on the corner of Ontario and Warwick, was an old building that, as I understand it, was the building where the first hydro was produced in Watford. I don’t remember the name of the people, and when I was a child it was empty. The Wire Works used it for storage for cartons. At one time, I think that building might have been used for producing machinery, or it could have been a foundry [later Burns Supermarket, now Gibbs Wilson Contracting].

The old arena in Watford, the Quonset building, on the north side of Ontario St. was there when I was a kid. It was a Quonset steel building, and was colder than blazes in the wintertime. When I was young, the manager of the arena was Clarence Hone, who was one of the paper decorators in Watford. Clarence was there for quite a few years, and then Ed Graham took it over, and was there for a long time. In the early 1950s, the Rotary Club sparked a campaign, and they put in artificial ice. An addition was added to the south side of the building later on. After the arena took fire and burned down completely, a new arena was built up in the northeast corner of Watford.

When I was a kid, part of our entertainment was to go to hockey games [in the Quonset building]. My dad used to have a foot warmer with charcoal, and we had an old bearskin rug. He would take us kids to the arena, put the foot warmer at our feet and cover us with the rug, and we were warm as toast. Some of the hockey players that I especially remember are Carm Harper, Mac McTaggart, Mac McIntosh, the Stapleford brothers, Harvey and Laird, and later on Mike. Before the Second World War in 1939, Watford used to have what they called the kid line, composed of Roy Caley, Ace Routley and Johnny Taylor. They were quite a line. I remember also Cricket Annett, Bob Rawlings and Mike Crow playing for Watford.

Nauvoo Road (west side)

Moving up towards the Main St., on the northwest corner of Main and Ontario, when I was young, was the Post Office. Eventually it was closed, and the new Post Office built over on the opposite corner, the southeast corner of Front and Ontario where it remains today. The old Post Office was bought by Herb Clark who moved from across the street, and he had his mill out behind, and it was a much bigger mill than he had across the street. The flour and feed store was out front. He also got into toys and sports equipment. That was after Roy Caley became employed there, and Roy Caley worked there for many years. This store eventually became the Home Hardware run by the Reids, now by Theo Caris, his son Kevin [and daughter-in-law Jen].

Next to that was the old Elliott Cameron grocery store. Cameron and Company was the name they called it. It was run by Alec Elliott and his sister-in-law Lottie Cameron. I believe the Camerons originally started that store.

Next to that was the Coristine Farmers Co-op. Tommy Coristine ran it for a long, long time. Eventually his daughter Alice and her husband Chuck Way took it over. It changed hands different times, and I believe Chuck and Alice owned it a couple of different times.

J.W. Edwards calendar, 1929
J.W. Edwards calendar, 1929: Calendars were a common way of promoting a business, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. courtesy D Aitken

Next to that was the old Red and White grocery store. When I was a boy it was run by Frank Pritchard and his wife. My Aunt Ariel worked there for a number of years. When Mr. Pritchard died, Murray Manders took it over, and he ran it for a long time. Then Leonard Martin and his wife Bea bought it. They ran it for a few years and then George and Pat Bork bought it. George ran it for a few years. The store was converted to an automotive store run by Jeff Hackney when George built his new IGA store out on the north end of Watford, which is still there today, and still run by George. [The former IGA is Foodland in 2008 and no longer run by the Borks.]

Next is the old Brown building where Elmer Brown, and his father before that, ran a clothing store — men’s, women’s and children’s. They sold rugs, blinds, yard goods and anything to do with millinery (hats). It was sold to Dick Day and his son Rick. Dick died while running the business, and it was taken over by his son Rick. Rick ran it for a few years, and then he sold it to Ken Powell. Ken kept it for a few years, and eventually it was closed down. It has been two or three different businesses since then, and at the present time it sells a lot of crafts and craft products, and is called the Watford Mercantile.

Next to it was the old Bert Cook Drug Store. Mr. Cook was the druggist there for many years. I don’t know who had it before him. That is also where Carl Class had his jewellery store, and repair store. He used to repair and sell watches and clocks.

When Mr. Cook finally quit business, Lorne Acton bought it and ran a television repair, sales and service in there for awhile. Then it was sold to St. Willibrord Credit Union [Libro] which is still there today.

Next to that were a variety of businesses, and the last one I remember being in there was Mr. Herb Bean. His father owned a hardware store. It was closed down, and for a number of years the store stood empty. Then after the war, Bruce McLeod from Strathroy, who owned the King Theatre there, opened up a theatre in Watford, and ran it for a few years. When television started to come in, it closed down. It has had a number of businesses in it since then. At the present time there is a restaurant called Four Sisters Pizza & Ice Cream in it, and I am not sure what else.

Next was the Wellworth Store. In my day it was run by Fred Williamson and his wife. It was always called the Five and Dime Store. They ran it for a long time. They also had the same type of store in Glencoe. It was sold out to Cal and Dorothy Hartley, who sold it to somebody else who didn’t last very long, and they closed the store down. The last business in there was Tony Verberne, who had a television repair business and sold electronics [S.A.V.].

Next to that was the old Carroll and Thompson store run by Ed Carroll and Manford Thompson. They also sold hardware. Lyle Cundick bought them out and ran it for a good number of years. Eventually it was closed and stood empty for awhile.

The building to the north of that used to be Edward’s Butcher Shop on the southwest corner of Main and Erie St. When they quit, I believe a man by the name of Jack Schram ran a butcher shop in there for awhile, and that is where the Burns brothers, Ed and Al, who came to Watford after WW II, started. They started as a butcher shop and eventually put in a few groceries there. Then they went on to build a brand new building on the northeast corner of Ontario and Warwick St. They later sold out to a chap that came from Tillsonburg. Eventually it was sold to Doug Campbell. He closed it down and moved to Strathroy. It still stands there today, but has been closed as a grocery store for a number of years.

Ross Keys bought that corner store  at  Main  and Erie St. and opened up a Western Tire store, which is an automotive accessory store, and ran it for a long, long time until his wife passed away, and he closed it down.

Erie St. West

Going farther west, on the northwest corner of Warwick and Erie St. is the Harper Funeral Home, which Carm, and his son Jim have run for a number of years. Carm died at a young age in the early ’60s. Jim just sold out in the last few years to the Denning family from Strathroy.

Nauvoo Road

Coming up farther east on Erie St. is the Carnegie Library on the northwest corner, at Main and Erie. Next to the library at one time was Dr. Urie, who was a doctor in Watford for a long time. Next to Dr. Urie was Jack McGillicuddy, who was a veterinarian. I don’t remember too much about him.

I have  tried  so far  to  place the  businesses that  I remember in their respective places on Main St. I just realized that I had forgot  a  couple.  Lambton  Mutual was on Main St. between Huron and Front St., on the west side for many years. It was taken over by Bebingh Insurance, who recently sold the store, or vacated it at least, and built a new store on the land between what was Dr. Wood’s office and lawyer Logan’s office. The Bebingh Insurance Co. has been in Watford now for a number of years, taking over from Ed Fisher, who sold out to John Bebingh originally, and now the company has been taken over by John’s son, Rick.

The Lambton Mutual Insurance of Watford’s initial meeting was October 2nd, 1875, held in the Town Hall at Warwick Village.The first five directors were John Dallas of Bosanquet Twp., George Shirley of Brooke Twp., George Dewar of Plympton Twp., John T. Eccles and Wm. Auld of Warwick Twp. Over the following years Albert B. Minielly, Helen Minielly, George McCormick, Blake Perry and now Ronald Perry have been either Directors, Secretaries- Treasurer or Managers of Lambton Mutual, which has been a vibrant company ever since it was established 125 yrs ago. In the year 2000 it had put in 125 yrs.

Other Businesses In and Around Watford

Parker Home

Another business started in Watford was the Parker Home. Mr. and Mrs. Russell Parker owned it, along with their sons Gord and Donald, who passed away early in life. Mr. and Mrs. Parker came from the west, I believe in the late ’30s or early ’40s, and bought a large old home on the corner of Victoria and Warwick St. That would be the southeast corner. During their time it was expanded many times, and eventually Mr. Parker died, and Mrs. Parker sold it to her son Gord, and his wife Helen (Duncan). They ran it for a number of years, and then Gord passed away, and Helen sold it to a company from London, who ran it for a few years from the same location, and then built a new Nursing Home down off of Sunset Avenue in Watford. [The Parker Home is now Victoria Manor.]

Taxis

I would like to include the taxi businesses in Watford. One taxi was run by Harry Restorick, who had a 1927 or ’28 Pontiac. Harry was most reliable. Every day when the trains came in to the Watford station, either from the east or the west, Harry was there. The other taxi operator was Neff McCormick. Neff was not quite as diligent as Harry, but he was a character. He used to go up to Main St. and polish his car. At times he would run backwards down the street. Why, we don’t know, but some would say that Neff was just a bit odd.

Egg Grading

Next I would like to mention the egg business that was on Ontario St. It was started originally by Melvin Williamson in his house. He had the egg grading station in his basement when I was a boy. He continued that for quite a number of years and then it was sold to Lloyd Barnes and Lyle Sitlington when they came out of the army after the war. The boys built a new building beside the original house, which Lyle lived in, and they ran that for quite a number of years. Lloyd eventually became the clerk for the Town of Watford, and Lyle went to work for Immigration Canada. They sold their business to the Borks. I believe the Borks just eventually closed it down.

One of the other egg grading stations in Watford was started on Erie St., west of Main St., on the south side. It was originally built by Norm Huctwith, and eventually sold to Mac Tait, who ran it for quite a number of years. I remember Mac used to sell his eggs in Montreal, at least one truck load a week, or maybe more. Bernie Smith was one of his drivers who used to drive to Montreal. Eventually the egg business changed and Mac decided to quit, and he moved to Strathroy, to become Clerk-Treasurer of Strathroy.

Public Utilities Commission

The Watford Public Utilities Commission manager for a few years, until he went to Africa, when I was real young in public school, was a chap by the name of Otto Salsman. Then George Fuller came over from Arkona and took over as manager of the PUC. At that time the office was on Main St. on the east side between Ontario and Erie St., and Dr. Hick’s office was above it. Later on, I believe when Carm Harper was Chairman of the PUC, a new building was built on Huron St. Eventually George Fuller retired and Harry Fuller was appointed manager. Harry was manager for a good number of years until his retirement. Then it was Bruce Shelly. The last manager in Watford before it was combined with Sarnia Hydro was Ron Copeland.

Trades

I would also like to mention the contractors or carpenters that were in business when I was younger. They are Jordie/George Stephenson, Albert Higgins, Orville Clark, Russ Shea, Russ Watson and probably others that I have forgotten about. Wince Brown was the only plumber in Watford for a long, long time. Some of the electrical contractors that served Watford were Fred Fuller, Harry Fuller, John Lambert, Ken Bryce, my cousin Carm Hollingsworth and others that I have forgotten.

White Rose Station.

The White Rose Gas Station used to be at the north end of Watford. I believe the first owner or leaser that I remember was Sidney Routley who was my mother’s uncle. When Sidney retired Clare Callaghan took over and was there for a number of years and eventually left when Ken Westgate took over. From there on I do not know exactly what did happen but the place was sold to the town of Watford for storage and municipal equipment.

Lumber

Another instance in Watford that sort of made headlines back around 1895 was the Jacob Lawrence & Sons Lumber Yard. They had a yard in Sarnia and one in Watford. The one in Sarnia used to float logs down Lake Huron from Georgian Bay. That’s the way they supplied that mill. They supplied square timbers, planks, boards, staves, headings, lathe, shingles, plain stock and milled goods for both local and export markets. Both these yards, especially the one in Sarnia (Watford I believed closed earlier) survived well into the twentieth century.

Fawcett’s Bank

Another business in Watford that Watford is probably not too proud of is a bank owned by Thomas Fawcett, called Fawcett’s Bank. Eventually this Bank went bankrupt and hundreds of depositors in Lambton, Kent and Middlesex Counties lost tens of thousands of dollars. This gentleman eventually wound up in North Carolina as president of the bank there. When they were having trouble with this bank [in Watford] at the last the ledgers got lost. They felt they were maybe burned. But eventually the estate was all settled up. The people settled for four and three quarters cents on the dollar, nearly three years after the bank shut its doors. Then, strangely, the books resurfaced about a year after that. That is, a year after the Fawcett estate had been wound up.

Agricultural Implements

Back in 1876 a man by the name of Thomas Doherty established a Watford Agricultural Implement Works. He was quite a tinkerer and a very smart man who eventually invented his own threshing machine. His Watford plant also produced mowers, reapers and ploughs. In 1882 he decided to leave Watford and went to Sarnia and opened what they called the Doherty Manufacturing Company, which made stoves. He left his Watford business in the hands of a man by the name of David Thom. A few years later Doherty, who was a very inventive man, announced his Ferris Steel process. He commanded world wide attention in metallurgical circles. A few years later Doherty sold the rights to this invention for six hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which was a lot of money at that time.

Oil and Water Wells

Further east on the 4th Line in the late ’30s Andy Heal from Petrolia drilled and produced the first oil wells in that area. One was on the Sam Burchill farms and several on the Westgate farms. These were all drilled by Andy Heal but they were short-lived. Some of them produced 100 barrels a day when they were first started but they eventually petered out and were shut down. Andy kept in the drilling business after that, drilling mostly water wells. When he passed away Murray Ward bought it and continued that business until he passed away.

Elarton Salt Works

John Youngston one time owned and ran the Salt Block Mine west of Warwick Village. Eventually, I understand, John either lost this or shut it down. He had trouble losing drill bits into the holes and this, consequently, I believe, cost him the business. John moved into Watford and for many years repaired and sold batteries for automobiles.

School

I would like to talk about some of our teachers when I was in high school and in public school. In public school the first principal was George Pollcock. He resigned and moved to Lambeth not too long after I started to school. From then it was Alex Gilroy, Celestine McManus, Marjorie Hick and Marjorie Stevenson. They were the teachers that I had when I was in public school. In high school, the principal was Harry Miller; teachers were Jim Musgrove, Helen Hamilton, Inez Sheppard and Adam Graham.

School Busses

First of all, I would like to say, that when the school busses were first started in Watford, they were owned by Orville Wallis, Gerry Cowan and Lionel McCaw. This would be approximately 1946, and the first three busses they had were used busses from the London Transit. They were Ford Pushers, and they did the job for a while, but they certainly were not cut out to be school busses. They got stuck in the snow very easily. Eventually Lionel sold out to Gerry and Orville, and Gerry bought out Orville. Gerry ran it on his own for a number of years, and then he sold out to Garfield McNaughton from Newbury. Unfortunately, Gar passed away at a early age and it was run by his only son Jack for considerable years, and then sold to Badder Bus Lines, who still own it.

Watford Band

The Watford band in the 1930s was led by Cy Freele. This band was very, very good and entered competitions in Toronto. This band always came home with prizes. They used to have what they called band tattooes. Some of the members I remember were George Smith, Bill Miller, Don McKercher, my brother Bob Hollingsworth and Jack Colbourne, who was killed in the Second World War.

Other Memories

Now I am going to try to remember some of the other people in Watford.

Ross Saunders

Ross Saunders started his body shop back in the ’40s, and continued that into the ’60s. Merv Williamson took over the business for a few years, and Ross went into the insurance business for a while. Eventually he got out of the insurance business, and went into the automotive antique and restoration business and machine shop business.

Clancey Caldwell

Another person that I neglected to mention was Clancy Caldwell, who owned a dairy at the end of St. Clair St. in Watford, and the farm is still back there. It was a family run dairy, and it eventually closed because of problems with typhoid fever in Watford. Also back on the same farm, his father-in-law Mr. Brown, ran a greenhouse, and I can remember my dad going back there and buying flowers and vegetables.

Todd McTavish

Another person I remember in Watford was Todd McTavish, who lived where the Lambton Mutual office now stands. Todd was a character, and a great violin player, and he taught violin. He passed away many years ago.

Boughner Family/Lorne Hay

The Boughner family lived between Warwick and John St., on the south side of Huron St. I believe the property is now owned by Andy Ross. At the time that the Boughners lived there, there was a barn back there, and they ran a small dairy. The Boughners moved away, and Lorne Hay bought that property and built a chicken hatchery. The hatchery later burned down. Lorne sold the property and moved to Sarnia, where he became a great land developer and builder. He was very successful.

Russ Harrower

Another person on that same street down at the far end, at one time, was Russ Harrower, who had a steam engine and a thresher, and did threshing around the area. We moved from that area in 1933, so my memories of the Harrower family are of this big old steam engine and thresher. After we moved to the east end of Watford on Huron St., I sort of lost track  of  the  Harrower  family, and only remember that Russell and his family moved to Sarnia.

Dr. Cursot

I mentioned the Cursot family before. Dr. Cursot was a veterinarian. They lived right behind the old Hastings building on Huron St. Dr. Cursot never owned a car. He always had to rely on anybody who wanted him to treat their animals to come to get him, and take him to where they wanted him to go. Dr. Cursot had two boys who were mentally challenged, and he also had a son Jim who was very smart on radios back at that time, and he eventually ended up in the U.S. Army in the Second World War.

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Carhartt family in front of their store. courtesy W Dunlop

Clare Lambert

Another person that was around Watford for a long time was Clare Lambert, who was the deliveryman for the local stores up town. He delivered for the grocery stores, hardware stores, or whatever. Clare was also a character in his own right.

Clare Lambert's last delivery of groceries, 1956
Clare Lambert’s last delivery of groceries, 1956. courtesy G Richardson

Jack Caley

The garage that City Service built originally on the southeast corner of Erie and Main, after many years, Jack Caley took it over. Jack was there for a number of years, having started his mechanical career with Ray Morningstar. He built up a substantial business, and his brother Ike, who had worked at Androck, came in to work for him. Jack was in a bad motorcycle accident that left him with a bad leg and bad arm. However, he continued to do mechanical work and was very good at it. Later on Jack moved over to the Supertest building across the street that Orville Wallis had vacated in 1949. Jack ran that for a number of years and when he retired, it was sold to Ken Acton.

Jack Woodall

I would like to mention Jack Woodall, one of the old- time Watford workmen. Jack was an Englishman, a hard worker who knew the town drains by heart, and when something went wrong, he knew exactly where to dig. He was a longtime [PUC] employee, and eventually died of cancer. Watford had quite a few different foremen of the works department. Ross Rillet, Clarence Harper, Eddie Jackson and Bud St. Peter were a few.

Warren K. Cook

Another of Watford’s native sons, although before my time, was Warren Cook. His father was Harry Cook and his mother was Melissa Kenward. Warren went on to become the owner of Warren K. Cook Clothing Company, which was still in business when Jean and I owned our store. They were top of the line, and well known for their quality clothing, and this business was operated in Toronto. Harry and Melissa were buried in Watford Cemetery.

T. B. R. Westgate

T. B. Westgate, was born east of Watford on the 4th Line into a large family. He walked to school. When he went to high school he walked seven miles each way each day. On finishing high school he went on to school to become a teacher, I’m not sure where, but I believe to the University of Western Ontario. When he graduated he went out west and taught for a few years. Then he came back to Ontario and went to Huron College and decided to be a missionary. He joined the South American Missionary Society and went to Paraguay for a number of years and did extensive missionary work there. Later on, around the 1900s, he returned home and went to Africa.

Lloyd Cook

Lloyd Cook, my father-in-law, bought the general store in Warwick in 1923 with his wife, Anna. They built living quarters onto the then existing store. A few years later Lloyd got into the livestock trucking business or trucking business. At that time he had one of the best licences to truck in Ontario, which was an open C, meaning he could haul anything anywhere in Ontario at anytime. Eventually his son L.S. went into business with him but they sold out the trucks and the licences to Bud Cundick. Bud is still in the trucking business at this stage, basically taken over by his son Dale and Lynn and his daughter Buddy [Leanne].

I know I have missed lots of other business owners, however these are my memories as of now.