Colchester, Harrow, and Oxley, Ontario

· History

Colchester, Harrow, and Oxley


Town and Township Politics (1960’s Emphasis)
The Town of Harrow

The Colchester North and South Townships




(Notice: Because of the size of some of the images, loading time may be slow. Furthermore, some web-sites, such as the Windsor Star, do not allow direct linking to the web pages of interest – sorry for the inconvenience. Where these have been found to be undesirable to their respective owners, they have been removed. To save time, only footnotes ending in 1 and 6 have been linked, starting with these two numbers, up to 91. Where the distance between these notes was greater than usual, a few extra links were added, especially between images. Use the browser return button to get back to the original position on your page.)

This article describes three small communities, and their surrounding area, of Essex County, Ontario, Canada, largely as they existed in the years 1956 to 1971. To make the article more relevant, some historical and current characteristics of the area are added. For readers interested in something shorter, the Harrow Chamber of Commerce provides some data,1 which can be augmented by the history of the Harrow Fair2.

The present status of the places mentioned in this article is to consider Harrow and its lesser communities as smaller built-up areas of the town of Essex. The boundaries of the general area under discussion have changed so often, as to make it difficult to decide whether to be inclusive or exclusive in dealing with Colchester North, formerly separated from its southern half by Concession Road 7.

The Township of Colchester was established in 1800 according to one source; in 1870, according to another. Division into north and south was in 1879. Near the end of 1997, the province of Ontario created the “The Corporation of the Town of Colchester-Essex-Harrow”, for the entire area originally referred to as the Township of Colchester, and redubbed it, effective January 1, 1999, ”The Corporation of the Town of Essex”.3 This article excludes the community of Essex from consideration.

Names found in this article are available in old copies of telephone directories or on the Internet, and therefore are not private information. Priority was given to names familiar to the author, such as schoolmates, past employers, and proprietors of establishments patronized by his family. Unreferenced material which is not common knowledge may be based on personal memories, or undocumented research done on Upper Canada for a different article.

Additional material will be added as found, and as time permits.Because of the complexity involved,  if any new footnotes will ever be added, they will not be in numerical sequence. Presenting the information takes priority over niceties! However, lack of time means that some links may no longer be valid as the reader gets to this page, while the information at other links may have changed. I would also like to add that this article is a compromise between a formal essay and a blog – the notes – including complete link names to Internet articles, are meant to document the sources used. Chicago style requires a full URL.

Spelling of this page conforms to Canadian usage. If not, it is the author’s oversight. Links which have disappeared, and any advertising found here, are not under his control.


The Harrow region was an example of diversity before the word ever was used in the modern sense. It, as well as some of the neighbouring communities, are also geographically unique. These are two aspects which will be emphasized here. As the schools located in Harrow eventually accommodated children from the rest of the area known as Colchester South township, including the villages of Oxley and Colchester, and perhaps all or part of Colchester North, Harrow may often refer to the population of all of the above. It has an important agricultural research facility, which includes a weather station that has logged Canada’s record rainfall.4 The location of this facility is justified in that Harrow, or the county to which it belongs, is where Canada has its mildest fall,5 and its most “growing-degree” days. Even as far back as 1918, it was reported that it was here was here where there was set a world record for the price of a bushel of corn [maize].6 Slightly less noteworthy is the praise lavished by William Murdoch, MPP, on what he touted as “a marketing scheme which has changed all the old methods of marketing,” – the formation of the Harrow Potato Pool by 51 farmers in 1935.7

When it was but a village of 400 or so souls, it produced a noted Jazz pianist, and a couple of generations later, a million-selling hit singer [see under Ethnicity].

Unassuming, with so many of the Lake Erie shore cottages on the Canadian side owned by Americans, even without any specific hospitality industry to serve these visitors, one can imagine a generous property tax contribution by this temporary population, as well as much heavier sales in town during the 2 to 4 months of the stay of these guests. For lack of any specifics, this author estimates the contribution at a minimum of a 10 % population increase, with a higher purchasing power than the permanent inhabitants, and based on observable church attendance, this may have been at least as high as 30 %. Those Cadillacs and Lincolns seen in the area were not Canadian-owned!8



The above image has been modified from the image at the author’s article on Alexandre-Maurice Delisle. ©2013 Paul Karl Moeller. It is from an original image labelled LAKE HURON, LAKE ERIE, AND LAKE ONTARIO. Availability of the original image : NASA : Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC. Modifications include labelling, extraction of Essex County, marking of approximate boundaries of the county, and the Colchester Townships, and enhanced contrast. Due to rescaling, the wider base of Colchester South does not appear sufficiently to the north. The yellow line shows that Colchester is directly south of the northernmost position the county, and south of Detroit. The distance is 25 miles, or 40 kilometres. Colchester lies just south, by 1.55 km., of the 42nd parallel – the northern border of California.



All of the communities of this article have homonymous counterparts in England, so, strictly speaking, the names merely honour their British namesakes, and it is the word origins of the latter which are under discussion.

Harrow comes from a word meaning “temple”, incorporated into the location of Harrow-on-the-Hill, now a part of London, England.9 Colchester comes from a Saxon variant of Latin meaning ”Fortress of a Colony”. (Other definitions exist, such as “fortress” + Colne, a river, and that word is said to derive from a word meaning “narrow”, “strait”, or “confined”, of which “strait”, as a narrow body of water is the best, as a third definition says that the origin is a word meaning “water”. People thought, mistakenly, that the word derived from “Cole’s Castle”, “castle” coming from the same root as the word for “fortress”.)10 Oxley means ”ox enclosure or clearing”.11


Colchester Reef Lighthouse,

Not Cole’s Castle! Colchester Reef Lighthouse 41.9322°N 82.891°W . Photograph by Mike Drexler of Drexler Consulting

w:en:Creative Commonsattribution

 The above photograph is licensed under  the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Attribution: Mike Drexler.  Details at


Latitude and longitude are boring, and do not supply useful information to most readers, so, for those unfamiliar with the area here described, here are several ways of finding Harrow quickly, without using Google Maps.
1) Look at a map of North America, preferably with different colours for Canada and the United States. Identify those 5 big lakes that separate the two countries. Identify the northern shore of the southernmost part of Canada (the final part of a peninsula), between the lakes of Huron and Erie, more precisely, between Lake Ste. Claire and Erie, or if possible, the mouth of the Detroit River draining into the larger lake. If the map is large enough, Harrow is about one third of the distance from the river’s mouth, directly east.
2) Locate Detroit, Michigan, in the United States. Believe it or not, if you travel straight south (from its centre, or east), you cross over into Canada. Before reaching Lake Erie (only 3 miles, 5 kilometres away), lies Harrow. If you continue, you get to Colchester’s east side.
3) Find the northern border of California, or the city of Chicago, and go east until you hit Lake Erie, and Canada’s southernmost point, coincidentally named Point Pelee. Point Pelee is almost at the eastern boundary of Essex County, so about one quarter of the distance between the beginning of the waters of the lake, and the point, a bit north, you have Harrow.
4) For Europeans, locate the centre of Corsica, or Skopje, or the northern border of Portugal with Spain, go West until you reach the westernmost part of Lake Erie.
5) For Asians, find Fushun, Ch’ongjin, or Hakodate, go due east or west, whichever is easier on your map.
6) For Latin Americans, the only options are to locate Punta Burica (southernmost point of Costa Rica, partially shared with Panama); the Panamanian city of Puerto Armuelles; or the Cuban municipality of Los Palacios, and go north, until Lake Erie is crossed to reach Canada.

Major world cities which are just a bit too far south for accuracy are Rome, Seoul, and Peking;  Alma Ata and Vladivostok are a bit too far to the north.12


The region is subjected to tornadoes, a newsworthy one was that of 2010.13 Summer heat and humidity may be compared to a city such as Buenos Aires, with the difference that the sultry period only lasts half as long. Even without global warming, in this vicinity,, Lake Erie  did not freeze well in the winter. American military helicopters often fly [or, flew] over the Canadian beaches, their pilots clearly visible. Essex County is the last part of Canada to get snow, if lucky, in time for Christmas.14 In a 12-year period, school buses were probably unable to make their rounds due to winter weather about twice. Snowmen are lucky to last two weeks. The child’s verselet about those April showers bringing May flowers is valid; and before winter, the so-called Indian Summer makes its pleasant appearance. In June of 1989, the Harrow weather station of Agriculture Canada at the research centre (mentioned below) measured a Canadian record of 264 mm. in 24 hours.15



While agricultural use of land has largely bereft the land of its deciduous trees, one may point out the existence of remaining pockets of wild or maintained woodland. Foremost is the presence of the tree which is emblemized on the Canadian flag: the maple. Others are poplar, willow, birch, horse chestnut, and oak. The Dutch elm was destroyed by disease between around 1963 and 1980, even the experts from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, could not save their historic specimen of half a millennium from being converted into furniture. (Similarly, the sweet chestnut was on its way out of the region in the 1940s.) Furthermore, one finds: sumac, mulberry trees, elderberry and lilac bushes, and some vines among the trees. Weed species (plants for which no use has been found) include (but names may differ in other parts of the English-speaking world) pig-weed (amaranth), ragweed, jimson-weed, crab-grass, common plantain, dandelion, burdock, thistle, nettles, goldenrod, and wild hemp, in addition to the treacherous plague of poison ivy. Goldenrod and dandelion provide a canopy of yellow between summer and fall, with the former, of course, guaranteeing misery for hay-fever sufferers.


Higher forms of native animal life in the Harrow region were extinguished before 1980. Since deer are found at Point Pelee, it may be guessed that they were in the entire county at one time. There was a bounty on foxes, but sightings must have been rare. The most visible larger mammal was the skunk, and squirrels were relatively ubiquitous. Beaver or muskrat built a dam not far from the Colchester region on a creek between Oxley and the marina of Cedar Beach, to the east. A bat, I’ve seen once – not in a belfry, but a peach sapling. In the winter, field mice sought shelter of homes, usually summer cottages, which were owned by, and dwelt in, only during the estival vacations of Americans.

The other warm-blooded species could be interesting in the warm season. Robins, Baltimore orioles, goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, hummingbirds; barn and cliff swallows, and blue-jays are what a person not dedicated to bird-watching might see. Ducks and geese pass through, providing seasonal sport. The area near the town of Essex is supposedly noted for crows, and farmers did need techniques to avoid damage to the corn crop by other black birds, including starlings. Sparrows were year-long residents. Hawks, owls, and small doves were also seen.

Harrow Hawk?

Bird of prey photographed with a $4.00 camera purchased at the Harrow “Dime Store” in the 60s. Picture developed by the author, as a member of the Harrow High School Photo Club.

Of cold-blooded life forms, there were toads, garter snakes, milk snakes, and various species of turtle, including snappers (snapping turtles). Rattlesnakes might have existed in the area. One snake specimen that I have never been able to identify was black, with a decoration of yellow and a dark orange tending to red, perhaps such as that of a diamondback rattler. I was only five at the time, it was in my play area, so I just high-tailed out of the vicinity!

To speak of fish, one of course speaks almost exclusively in terms of those found in the lake off Colchester South township. Some enter the larger creeks. Around 1963, the lake was still relatively clean, and it could harbour garfish, a primitive species from the dinosaur age, which could not survive the pollution to come. Also, there was a smelt run in the spring, and children would just catch them with buckets from a creek, so plentiful were these little fish. People with boats went bass-fishing. The only other species which I could see, or identify, was the catfish. There were small fisheries on the shore of the lake, which eventually could do no more than catch what would become cat-food. Some fishing boats took shelter at the harbour in Colchester. Eventually, pollution, and the invasive species, the lamprey, took their toll, and some fishermen were happy with carp. Too bad they didn’t know lamprey is in some places of the world considered a delicacy!

Interesting Lepidoptera are the Monarch Butterfly, which breeds in the region, and the Cecropia Moth. Swallowtail Butterflies are also seen. There is also a pest which is present in all of the Northern Hemisphere of the globe – the Cabbage Butterfly.

Field guides for fish and snakes previously listed here were no longer found on 20190803.


Town and Township Politics (1960s Emphasis)

When this author first came to Essex County, the riding of Essex South was represented by the Progressive Conservatives – but he was too young to notice.  The Conservatives were successful at the provincial level, a William Murdoch, who had married into the Bondy family, represented Essex South in Toronto from 1943 to 1963.  He served on a school board, and as treasurer of the municipality of Harrow.  Though he died in Amherstburg, he is buried in the Colchester Memorial Cemetery.16  A one-time Member of Parliament for the riding (name for an electoral district in Canada) was Stuart Murray Clark (Liberal) who not only represented the area from 1935 to 1957, but was born in Harrow, and is also buried in Colchester17. After a five-year hiatus, it was Eugene Whelan (†2013) who dominated federal politics in the region.18 He was not one to limit pressing the flesh at the malls, but even visited houses in the countryside. On December 10, 1970, a Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution held hearings in Windsor. Susan Harrison and Paul Moeller of Harrow District High School made a presentation on behalf of their history class, headed by Gerald A. Pouget, and advocated that education be a federal matter.19 Moeller was unhappy with his presentation, and appealed to Mr. Whelan’s good offices to have the script corrected. A copy of the proceedings was mailed back, with the comment that no corrections were necessary.

Likewise, in the summer of 1971, a great moment came for the area. Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau flew over the region by helicopter, and visited the Harrow Senior Elementary School to see the constituents, and to field their questions. The crowd was huge, but there was none of that omnipresent security visible that is nowadays usually associated with country leaders. The auditorium was packed, and the overflow watched the event in closed-circuit TV-equipped classrooms.20 No doubt, Mr. Whelan was largely responsible for this visit.

Further input by the Federal Government, to which one may suspect the intervention of Mr. Whelan, a farmer first, Minister of Agriculture later on, was the modernization of the Agricultural Research Station on Highway 18, east of the town.21


The Town of Harrow

Early History

At the time that Samuel de Champlain explored as far west as Lake Huron, the area was probably home to the Neutral Confederation of Iroquoian indigenous peoples, one of the constituent groups having been the Wendrôhronon. The former has been described as inhabiting the region from around the Niagara River or Toronto down to Windsor and Lake St. Clair, and extending 60 miles inland from Lake Erie. The latter, more precisely, lived in the area bounded by the lakes named Huron, St. Clair, and Erie, which would then include present-day Essex County. [Francis X. Talbot, Saint among the Hurons, Garden City: Doubleday-Image, 1956, p. 335, n. 3, p. 333, n. 5, respectively, verified: in Frederick Webb Hodge, Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico Volume 3/4 N-S, Volumes 3-4, “Neutrals“, and Raymond Charles Vietzen, Indians of the Lake Erie Basin, or Lost Nations, (snippet view by Google), both accessed 20180309.]  The present author once found  most of a stone tomahawk head in a field. The cutting edge had been worn quite smooth.

In 1824, James Woods, Sr. had plans made for him for a community to be named Hopetown. We might expect that Mr. Woods had, indeed, hopes for woodland, but no reference to him is found in the list of 1880 Colchester South residents,22 so we await to see where he lived, or when he died. In the 1840s, the projected community was referred to as Mungers’ Corners, and this time round, a Mr. John G. Munger is revealed in the 1880 records as a manufacturer of machinery for iron and wood, which suggests lathes, drills, and saws. Perhaps, in the 1860 again renamed town, now Harrow,23 some of his machinery helped in the laying of the railway line from Windsor,24 which passed through on the Tuesday before September 28th, 1888.25 The wording of that day’s edition of the Amherstburg Echo suggest that there was only one road to cross. In those early years, the rails provided passenger services on a regular basis, and for Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations in 1892, it is recorded that 300 people travelled in 14 cars, suggesting about 22 passengers per coach. A Leamington aficionado of the rails dismisses Harrow as only existing because of the tracks going through that area,26 ignoring the Queen’s Highway 18, which would allow a more flexible transport schedule once trucking rigs became important.


Lake Erie And Detroit River Railroad Locomotive No. 13, 1885, in Walkerville. Public Domain image obtained at

Going back to 1876, the population is recorded as around 150, doubling about 20 years later,27 when it had become important for grains and hogs. The lumber yard started up in 1890 by a Mr. S. C. Zimmerman,28 its owner until the 1909 purchase by Cyrus Franklin Smith, would exist, under various names, for just over 100 years.29 The road to the harbour at Colchester must have been in reasonable condition, as the approximately 3 times longer route to Amherstburg, with its westward location on the Detroit River, was ignored because of mud. Vessels from the village on the lake transported products, (hogs are specifically mentioned), under what must have been more cost-effective or timely conditions.30



In the 1960s, the population depended on the signs posted along the 4 major entrances into the place. From one side, one might read 1800, from another, 2000. There were numbers in-between. The population seems to have peaked at under 3000 in the 2001 census, and then dropped to under 2800. (Figures valid for about 2007.) The population statistics found for the past are: 1870: 150; ca. 1890: 300; 1906: 400.31 More than 1000 inhabitants were not to be found in Harrow until 1941.32


In simplified terms, the town, around 1960, consisted of 4 blocks south of King Street, 6 west of Queen Street, and 8 east thereof. A look at the town plan shows that no two blocks were of the same size. From Erie Rd. to Arthur St., there were 3150 feet, from the railroad to Wellington, 2400 feet. The four blocks south of Queen and East of Erie were about 1400 by 900. This gives about 137 acres of blocked-in land, and about 150 acres of land with all houses along the highways included, though not undeveloped space, such as the park (fairgrounds).33

Showing Harrow Ontario as it was in the 1950s and 60s

Harrow Town Park from a Postcard, 1954. This area also serves as the annual fairgrounds. Teeter-totters and swings can be seen to the right, picnic tables to the left. To the right of these tables, between the trees, and in the background, are bleachers for a baseball diamond. A nice, shady place for rest or play during the summer months! Photo Credit and other details from the download site, Click image to enlarge.


Street-naming Conventions

As a Canadian town, of about 18 streets in 1960, the main streets were named royally: King Street, which ran from East to West, and was in fact an extension of the Queen’s Highway #18, and Queen Street, which eventually also took its name change on the way north to the nearest city, Windsor. It did not extend south of King Street. Victoria, of course, is named for a long-reigning British monarch. Whether Wellington was a British hero, or a local resident, is less obvious, but to assume the former is more reasonable. The major road from the south from Colchester is Erie, named after the lake, in turn, after an Indian tribe. Three, maybe four street names, suggest the woody original state of the area: Maple, Walnut, Oak (apparently no longer with that name), and perhaps Roseborough. Three streets were apparently named for local men of prominence, Clark, Sinasac, and Munger. A fourth, labelled Brush & McLean, was also named Home St., and is now called Centre. There remains a Secord Street, perhaps named for a Canadian heroine, previously described here as having the apparently non-descript name (Second Avenue – but we have confirmed that that was a mistaken spelling in our source), leaving three or four streets named for individuals not identified by this writer: Landsdown, McAfee, Arthur, and Church.  The name Clark may have had to do with the one-time factory in town of that name, there was a banker by the name of Sinasac, and the Munger name is associated with a jeweller and a bailiff.



For such a small community, there was definitely diversity in religion, even if it was limited to Christianity. This is not an exhaustive alphabetical list: Anglican, Baptist,34 various Evangelical churches, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic,35 and United. (Separation of Methodist and Presbyterian may be an error, in the context of their later coming together, at least partially, into the United Church.) The Baptist congregation eventually built a new church to the east of town. Volga Germans had a little church somewhere outside of town, to the north, that must have been the Mennonite Church. A custom that I observed there on a Christmas Eve of the late 1950s was the distribution of presents to all the children there – including the unexpected outsider.  Other religions were to be represented by teachers at the local high school, but they did not live in the community.

Major churches are not doing well now, because of a scandal primarily involving treatment of the schoolchildren of native populations on reservations, and subsequent pay-outs. No longer do they seem to suffer from standing room only in the summer-time, such has been the decline in number of worshippers, although secularization has played a role.

One of the Many Churches of Harrow, Ontario. Click to enlarge.


Major Buildings

The Town Hall, in addition to its obvious function, housed the public library, which received $24.00 [adjusted for inflation, about $500] from the Ontario Government in 1903.36 There was an exchange of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. Beside it, was the post office, which in 1960 would still have had the word “Royal” prefixed to its name. A defunct movie theatre, the Roxy, rounds out the major buildings on King Street, although I have always wondered about the house close to Erie, and next to the one-time Cities Service station, which had a water fountain. I never saw signs of life there. Almost forgotten were the two banks, the Toronto-Dominion, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Between King and the high school, the war veterans had their Legion Hall. The main churches, the Anglican, Catholic, and United;37 and the elementary schools, were more or less on the same street, 2 blocks from King, to the north, while the high school was 2 blocks to the south. The biggest building was a factory (see the next paragraph).38

Showing Harrow Ontario as it was in the past.

Harrow, Ontario, Municipal Building, Postcard sent, if not published, in 1948. Public Domain image downloaded at, where the reader can find more information. Click on image for full size.



The Canadian Encyclopedia that I saw in the early 1960s referred to industries that no longer existed. The following suffered the same fate. You’ve heard about the jolly green giant? Well, the only trailer trucks of a commercial nature to be seen in Harrow in 1960, off King or Queen, were those with the giant splashed across the sides of truck-pulled trailer wall, with the slogan, “Next time you spill the beans, be sure to make them Clark’s”.39 However, sources only mention the company as canning tomatoes. It looked like it could employ the entire population of the town, and then some, though I have no idea. Clark’s had convenient access to the Chesapeake and Ohio railway line.

Showing Harrow Ontario as it was in the past.

Photo (added 20190805) of the W. Clark Ltd. Factory, Public Domain, Courtesy of the web-site  A farmer is delivering baskets of filled with tomatoes. Around 1960, through piece-work at 10 cents per basket, a worker might have earned 10 dollars a day. Click for full-size view. A more modern view from 1953 can be seen at

Between Clark’s and the railway office, there was also the Harrow Farmer’s Cooperative, which, at the time of this writing, by implication in Wikipedia, had something to do with Hiram Walker’s Distillery, in Walkerville, Windsor. The same source claims Walker more or less founded the town by his need for grains. There may be a story there, for anyone capable of getting at the right people and documents.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, there was another factory, Quality Canners of Canada Ltd,40 which became part of Associated Quality Canners.41



Harrow had a Woolworth’s, (5¢ to $1.00) Department Store, (aka “the Dime Store”) still with a wooden floor. After Clark’s, they would have had the most employees, I’ll take a stab at between 10 and 15, definitely not enough to absorb the working-age population. Beside it, was a hardware store, and nearby, Darby’s Drug Store. A former Harrow resident tried to jog my memory into remembering Dency Quick’s Jewellery Store. The only Quick’s I remember was what I thought was a shoe store and repair shop, but I was informed that this footwear established belonged to Roy Grant.42 There was another one owned by a man whom I only remember as Joe, who was also a school bus driver. Likewise, my informant tells me of a furniture store across from a funeral parlour – not Smith’s, both belonging to Mardill (perhaps, Mardell).  This may have been after my time.

Showing Harrow Ontario as it was in the 60s

King Street West, from McAffee St., downloaded from the Southwestern Ontario Digital Archives. We see, from left to right, what might have been Mardell’s Furniture Store, Ann Lupsor’s Harrow Book Store, Dency Quick’s Jewellery Store, Darby’s Drug Store, David Reid’s Men’s Wear, the Dime Store (red front), The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a shop dealing in paints, unremembered buildings, one of which may have been a restaurant, and just before Cunningham’s Department Store may have been the office of Dr. Veale. I believe some of these last buildings burned down around 1968. Further info at A Black and White view, similar to this one, is also available, dated 1965 at It barely shows the right side of the street, with a truck coming out of Queen Street. Behind the truck, two of the places of business would have been the Harrow Hobby House, and Pouget’s Pool Hall. Recessed behind that, would have been the Post Office (if it is not still there) and the Bell Telephone Station.


To show Harrow, Ontario, in the early 20th Century

Supposed Picture of King St ., looking West, from 1910. I cannot imagine who the owners are. The local Pool Hall might have been the only survivor. Might this not be a view “from the west”? Notice that the last tall building (almost all with false fronts) has the arched form found on the Dime Store in the previous picture. Downloaded from the same source as the previous illustration, with URL as


To show Harrow, Ontario, in the early 20th Century

A third picture of King Street, this one of the East Side. This has been colorized by hand. Notice that the streets are not yet paved. There seem to be 6 horse-drawn carts – these have left their ruts in the street. I am guessing that one of these has just turned into McAffee Street. More information at

A worthy competitor to both Woolworth’s and the drugstore was Langford’s Dairy Bar, as it probably had the best assortment of candies (3 blackballs for 1 cent!), and distributed the only Christmas catalogue, with must-see toys for the children. Teenagers might have found something to their liking at the Hobby House. Originally, the only grocer’s was Halstead’s Market, later I.G.A. came to town.  To the west of Halstead’s was an establishment, I believe, which sold items for farms or gardens.  The Roxy location was selling meat for a few years, but later was home to a bakery. These were all on King Street, as were two restaurants. A place of certain alleged distinction was Reid’s Men’s Wear, with a selection so good, that it was said that even people from afar came to buy there. I miss their shirts, which were advertised by Reid in the local newspaper as, “In Harrow, it’s Arrow”.

Though small, of particular interest is the Harrow News Publishing Company, which put out a weekly. One of the owner’s sons, a classmate, showed me the presses, and they had modern machinery upon which, before the word “outsourcing” ever existed (not in my 1991 Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary) did work, if I am correct, even for the Windsor Star – and probably published Langford’s catalogues (see previous paragraph).

The Harrow News, the law offices of Clark & Golden,43 and a blacksmith, were all located on Queen Street. Here too, were Cox’s Meat Market, which had such quality, that I used to eat an uncooked frankfurter right there before leaving.  After much thinking, I also remember a used-car lot, and a service station which at one time was also a dealership, I believe, for American Motors.

Also on Queen St. was an establishment with a red and white check checkered design, and the word “Purina”, an animal feed supplier. Instead of a furniture store – or perhaps the same, was an establishment which sold used items such as ice-boxes.44

Perhaps misplaced in this section is the Harrow Farmer’s Co-operative. Its importance was enhanced by having Eugene Whelan [mentioned herein, under “Town and Township Politics (1960’s Emphasis)“], as a director and president.45



In 1960, Harrow was served by 3 schools, a Public Elementary School, the Harrow District High School, and a Roman Catholic Separate School for the elementary level. Before 1970, all of these would have significant changes. In about this order, the Catholic school became a Catholic public school, and doubled its size. Among its pupils would be found at least two non-Catholic girls and a Jewish boy. The non-denominational public school would have an entirely new building for the senior elementary level. The high school was at first obliged to add so-called portable classrooms. In the meantime, the Catholic school was now triple its original size. As a rough indication, the ratio of Protestant to Catholic must have been about 5 to 1 (1966 figure). The 1957 number of pupils in the Catholic school was around 160. At that time, some public school pupils were still in “Little Red Schoolhouses” of one room or so,46 in rural areas, so we might guess the Public school to have had between 320 and 480 pupils. In 1963, the Catholic School would have had between 200 and 220 students, the calculation becomes difficult, as they added Kindergarten, and the lower grades had more than the final grade, where there were only about 20 children.

The size of the Catholic school would have increased faster than that of the public one, because of an influx of Portuguese immigrants, “from the Azores” according to one classmate from the Iberian mainland. The Jewish pupil mentioned earlier, belonged to the Portuguese community. It would be interesting to know if the integration was a success.

Secondary school education has been offered since 1904, and the original structure of a formal building, was put in place in 1917. Some time after, until about 1966, it used to have vocational training, but afterwards, students with these practical studies were bused off to a school in the town of Essex, in the centre of the county. In 1966, the high school absorbed 120 students into Grade 9. Of these, about 40 studied for 4-year business-oriented diploma (short-hand, typing, business topics in general). Five years later, forty remained in Grade 13, of which it might be presumed the majority went to university. This would be less than the average number of Canadian university graduates at present, but more graduates have become possible because of grade inflation and job market demand. (As an illustration of declining standards, before I entered high school, Old English (Chaucer) was no longer taught), and I was only one of 7 who dared take Latin. The year after I entered university, remedial English was obligatory for freshmen.)

In spite of what this author took as a model of cultural diversity, there was a delay in fully integrating the schools, as pointed out in an article by Jamie Bradburn: “The story of Ontario’s last segregated Black school“, dated Feb. 26, 2018, with references to The Globe and Mail of Nov. 9, 1964. This fact mars this present relation of a cultural diverse environment – by which we expect integration to be understood.  The good news is that the situation was such that the school in question was visited by Ontario’s Premier Bill Davis. Students were transferred to the school in the following image, which had been enlarged to accomadate all the additional students that the closure of 8 or 9 of the smaller schools of the township and one in Harrow, of which this author was unaware [S.S. #9]:

Harrow Public School, around 1950. A suggestion of cold weather and global warming in progress. The central heating would have been fueled with coal. Image in the public domain, downloaded from


Diversity at the High School

Before I finished secondary school, it had become a microcosm of the United Nations. This is how I remember the composition: a Ukrainian; a Guyanese of ancestry from the Indian subcontinent; three French-Canadians; an Ibo from Nigeria, or Biafra, he would say; a Chinese teacher from Hong Kong; a Yugoslav-German; a one-time Iraqi-Jew who had served in the Israeli 6-Day War; an Italian-Canadian (head of the English Department); a German-Canadian (head of French and Latin), and only perhaps 4 or 5 teachers of British stock (including the principal and his vice.) The Nigerian was married to a Jamaican woman, who taught at the Catholic school, if I am not mistaken. Thus, religiously, the school, through its teachers, presented the spectrum form Catholic and Protestant Christian, Jewish, and probably Hindu or Sikh (as might be deduced from the surname, Singh).47

Data as from the year 2000 generally show the elementary schools at Harrow at being at or above the provincial average.48 Harrow District High School did quite well in literacy, according to the year 2000 statistics.49


Diversity in Organizations

The town had many organizations, some of which are occasionally considered as at least somewhat Masonic in nature.50 The Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, Lions Clubs, Sons and Daughters of the British Empire, Orangemen, Legionnaires, Kinsmen, and Elks. One of these invited Shriner’s Circus into town once a year. Catholics had their Women’s League, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Knights of Columbus. Children had Boy’s and Girl’s Cubs and Scouts. The Negro population had their own Masonic organization.51 I also believe that the Daughters of the British Empire existed.



Around 1960, the population of the town was largely of British stock, with some anglicized French-Canadians.

An extended family of Mexican-Canadians, the Hernandezes, engaged in well-drilling – for water, gas, and petroleum. One family lived near the high school, the other on Queen Street. I believe there may have been a third. Ms. Ann Lupsor owned the town bookstore, a species of variety and magazine store, with a few books and gifts. She was the architect of the town’s getting its skating rink. The name seems to be Hungarian, as was the name Pocantos. The blacksmith, I believe, was Yugoslav. There were Dutch families, for example, Manshande, and at least one of Spanish origin: Lopez. Town French-Canadian names included were Archambault, Bezaire, and Pouget.

On the negative side, and almost lost in history, but found through a once-classified Royal Canadian Mounted Police document, is an attempt to form a Hungarian Communist “club” in the community.52



(The following, for those readers who started here, reflects the 1960s.)

Based on the nature of the community, government was probably no bigger and no more expensive than need be. The mayor was in fact the town milk-man, a Mr. Ryan. He would meet with his councillors but for a few hours a month, all who had other jobs. The most notable undertaking in the period under discussion is the installation of a tower by the Ontario Water Resources Commission, to regulate the pressure of the water. The mayor even explained  to primary school children, how the tower was to be paid for. The water itself was channelled into town from a pumping station by Colchester.

This facility took a long time in coming. The Essex Free Press reported back in 1945 that the Harrow Board of Trade had called a meeting, attended by people from Essex, including Mayor Francottie, and on the Harrow side, by Mayor Heaton, Reeve J. Meloche, Mr. Clark, of the local factory, and the local Member of the Provincial Parliament, William Murdoch.53



Policing was provided by a single officer, a local resident, of the Ontario Provincial Police. This comes down to one police officer per 2000 residents, plus the tourists that passed through. A one-time weekly Police report in the Harrow News revealed that the work was almost exclusively limited to handling traffic violations. A retired gentleman, Mr. Bentley, a one-time landlord of my family, owned a house across from the town funeral home, was probably a retired police officer, and used to provide some extra security during the annual Harrow Agricultural Exhibition.54

Around 1940, the Police Chief was O. Sanford, according to The Police Chief Blue Book 1939-1940.  It is unclear whether this refers to the town, or the township, but here we find an officer from Harrow listed among those of New York and London, England.

The fire department was volunteer. It was something to see the prominent businessmen run out of their stores to the fire station, to don their uniforms, and get to the blaze. The stragglers joined in their own cars.



A Dr. William Thomas John Veale, who had a tremendously large fish-tank in his waiting room, represented a time when Harrow had more autonomy. Until the function was usurped by a city-county unit, he was the Medical Officer of Health for Harrow and Colchester South, as well as the coroner. However, there must have been another physician, unknown to this author55 There were two other physicians whose original obituraries are no longer available, Dr. R. McCormick and Dr. W. Wren. This meant that the town had one doctor per 1000 inhabitants, but if the rural population is factored in – which is absolutely necessary – there was one doctor for about 3,500 people. Dr. Carr provided dentistry in the professional building located near Halstead’s. The town was without a dental practice for a time after his retirement or death.56

Ambulance services were provided by the owner of Smith’s Funeral Home.


Recreational Opportunities

Harrow had a large park, which was in effect the Harrow Fairgrounds, site of an annual exhibition, attracting attention from the neighbouring communities. It was not only dedicated to the farm, but also showed off school projects, and gave the scouts and others an opportunity to raise money from their food or beverage stands. The park had quite large bleachers for the baseball diamond. An ice-hockey rink was added after 1980 between the park and the high school.

Golfing at an 8-hole course is possible in nearby Oxley. A large park, Caboto,57 was also located by the lake. Point Pelee National Park and Jack Miner’s Bird Sanctuary were places to visit. though more correctly, these two were located in neighbouring townships. They are still worth mentioning though, because they could easily be reached within an hour.

Swimming or sunbathing is possible at the public beach at Colchester, unless one wants to leave the township, and go to Cedar Beach, which offers a marina, and warm, shallow waters, probably less polluted than those a bit more to the west. In 1960, contamination was not yet a problem – the dirty water resulted from a double whammy caused by phosphates in detergents and fertilizers, and a chemical factory on Zug Island, on the American side of the Detroit River.


Employment Opportunities

For both Harrow, and the surrounding townships, I understand that the labour force which could not be absorbed by the farms and related activities, mainly went to work in one of Windsor’s automobile factories: American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, or General Motors. Windsor, together with Detroit, were known as the Motor Cities. An agreement between Canada and the United States gave Canada 10 % of the production.

A limited number of jobs might have been available in one of the many service stations, FINA (just east of town), Texaco (Western Tire and Auto Supply), ESSO, and Cities Service – one with green and white colours on King and Erie. I no longer remember the brand of gasoline sold by the one on Queen St., which dealt in American Motors-made cars at one time.


[Some additional material has appeared since this article was originally published, the curious might access it here. It is noteworthy for its historical material, and includes data about, among others, Senator Paul Martin, of whom my father had said that the senator owned was seen in the summertime in the area, but I did not believe this.]

Colchester is a village largely populated by tourists during the summer vacation season. At this location, many dwellings were truly cottages in the original sense of the meaning, small, mean, one-room affairs very close to the neighbouring buildings, containing but a minuscule washroom, and probably without property rights for its dwellers. It would not be right to call them beach houses, because the shore was reached by a long set of stairs.

Showing Colchester Ontario as it was in the past

A Beach near Colchester, showing stairs, and the easily-eroded shoreline. At some points, the sandy bluffs were about 3 times higher, with quite deep stairways. This image is date 1925, I do not remember this beach. More information at Click to enlarge.

About one block before coming to the place where the previous photo was taken, at the end of Erie Road, or the East side of Colchester, we find a ravine. This picture is from 1915, and we can see the steep steps on the left. It must have been partially modified by highway works. When I lived there, Erie Road ended at Highway 18A, but the east end was a little further south, and a guard rail separated the road from the ravine, which I never dared to go down. It suffered severe damage during a storm. I take this to be what is shown as Kiles Drain, [probably meaning “Klie’s”] found among the photos in the Windsor Star article “Photos: 25th anniversary of Harrow Flood” of the big 1989 storm. Public Domain picture, from

Colchester Beach, a public bathing place, would be the southernmost part of Essex County, if Point Pelee were cut off where it starts curving southwards. Here is a nice picture from <1960>.58

The village had three variety stores of varying sizes, the smallest as part of a gasoline station, at the east end, the largest at the west end. It had an Anglican church, and its accompanying graveyard. Its most interesting feature, perhaps, was the dock and harbour. The dock was marked with skulls and crossbones to show where reckless divers had drowned on account of the undercurrent. Other than the church, the most important place was the police station, manned by three part-time officers in the employ of Colchester South township. The police chief, Gordon Marontate, who had his retirement party in 1980,59 had as his principal occupation his farm, upon which a two-headed pig was once born, according to the Harrow News. According to the Windsor Star, Chief Marontate never once used his revolver in the line of duty. One of the two deputies was a radio and television repairman. A VHF radio kept him in contact with the police station, if need be. The biggest “crimes” were usually the discovery of break-ins into summer residences, in search of alcoholic beverages by younger people. This crime prevention force no longer exists; policing of Harrow, Colchester, and the townships of that name are now done from the town of Essex, of which these places are now but appendages. Cruisers, though, are stationed by the former Harrow Municipal Building.

Historically, Colchester used to be larger than Harrow. Land for the village is reported to have been set aside in 1792. In a map further below, this is shown as a Loyalist Settlement. The oldest standing home, which the author does not know, was built in 1813 by a blacksmith from Pennsylvania, John Snider, and supposedly, is still inhabited by his descendents. A tavern, which gained a certain amount of fame, was built around 1840, by Edward Sinasac, another name which does not figure in the 1880 McGill University Online Atlas details; although the tavern did survive into the 20th Century, and it may be suspected that it enjoyed its last few years thanks to Prohibition.

Showing Colchester in the Early 20th Century

Street View of Colchester, Ontario, 1925. It seems to give the lie to Colchester being, or ever having been, larger than Harrow, but homes would be further to the south (left side of picture). This would be what I knew as Highway 18A, view toward the West. The building on the left might be what was once George McVittie’s General Store. The turn to the right would lead to Sinasac’s Inn, but before that, the future(?) Highway would continue westward. I seem to remember the building at the end of this street as a bit smaller. More data and credits at Click to enlarge.

As mentioned under “Harrow”, Colchester served as a shipping point to Amherstburg for hogs and other products. Furthermore, logs were sent by steam-boat to Chatham from this village in the early 1900s.60

Showing Historic Colchester, Ontario

Edward Sinesac’s Tavern, 1920 – Colchester, the latter thus dubbed “Sacksville” by some.

The above image is labelled as being in the public domain: It is from the Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive,



Oxley was first settled in 1792, in connection with United Empire Loyalist John Arthur Ridsdale, on 162 hectares of land, later the property of Philip Ferriss. Barring confirmation of information, the present writer sends you to this <link>.61 The article does confirm the passenger rail service to Harrow, stating that on one Sunday in August of 1905, a large crowd arrived in Oxley after deboarding an overloaded train in Harrow. The picture of Oxley Beach does not show what I remember from my very early years as some barrier against erosion, a breakwater perhaps.

It is difficult to describe a place like Oxley. other than with the word “quaint”, and with the best ratio of trees to houses of any of the 3 communities described here. It was something like 4 or 5 houses, not even occupying its 4 corners. (In fact, there is, or was, a place in the county called Four Corners, and I remember it as nothing more than a farm house at an intersection.) Oxley was most noted for it Holy Family Retreat House, and for the nearby Woodbridge’s Cannery, now called Lakeside Packers.62 If you’ve never heard of them, they’ve provided products for more famous labels, Bick’s, for example, if I remember correctly.63

It has a golf course, and according to online research, it has a winery which can perhaps be visited.64

Oxley had the township’s only taxi (and I include the town of Harrow in this).
Both Colchester and Oxley were located on the Queen’s Highway #18A. After about 1982, it was demoted to County Road 50.


The Colchester North and South Townships

The Colchester Township within Essex County in 1880


Division of Essex County into Townships in 1800, showing Present-Day Colchester as Settlements of Loyalists.
– Extract of Map from

The  Townships: 1880 and 1960s

The limited data that could be found for 1880 gave names and occupations of those individuals who subscribed to an atlas of that time.65 These names were all of male adults. Of themselves, the data are not statistically significant, but there are some valid conclusions to be made: Colchester South was largely agricultural, while Colchester North less so, as lumber operations suggest a sizable quantity of trees. The following visual presentation based on a McGill University data set,66 and map,67 might best describe a cross-section of the population found in the two townships. (Colour definition was lost in processing, and cannot be helped.)

Colchester - Harrow - Oxley

A View of Occupations in 2 Townships of Essex County.

There is a record of both townships’ agricultural societies receiving grants of $88.00 (about $1800, adjusted for inflation) in 1903.68

Colchester North township was sparsely populated, with farming such as that which might be appropriate to clay soils. Run-off was difficult at the end of the winter. I have never seen much of it, but it seems to have been dedicated largely to corn (maize).

Colchester South is just north of Eden, or a little less than a tropical paradise. If the winters weren’t so bad, they could be growing citrus fruits. As in the north, it is agricultural, but the soils are better, tending to sandy and loamy.69 Here is what I have seen:

The farm animals there were dairy cows, sheep, swine, chickens (for eggs), a turkey farm, perhaps beef cattle, and horses. The area at or near the turkey farm was later used by a nursery farm for fruit trees.70

Of vegetables, some of which might be considered fruit, but here, basically anything that is harvested from a non-woody plant, we might name early tomatoes, late tomatoes, sweet corn, cantaloupes, watermelons, 3 types of peppers, red, green, and a long form of hot; potatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, and pumpkins. Tomatoes predominate, and are mostly sent to the H. J. Heinz Co. factory by Leamington, in the eastern part of the county. Pickling is done at Lakeshore Packers, mentioned above, under “Oxley”.

Of grains, there is soy, corn (maize) for animal feed, wheat, barley, and oats. Of these, corn predominates.

Of fruits, in addition to strawberries and walnuts (as a dry fruit), we had apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries. If you have ever heard of peach varieties with such names as Harbelle, Harcourt, or Harbright, they were developed at the government-operated Agricultural Research Station to the East of Harrow on Highway 18. It was known as the Dominion Experimental Station at Harrow, before being renamed the Harrow Research Station in 1959. An expansion was completed in 1969, and in June of 1970, it was visited by Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau.71

If I remember correctly from previous research, a variety of tobacco developed for the local market was developed by a scientist, Walter A. Scott, at the same research station.72 Another former employee, who lived in Colchester South, at one of the many beaches, was the high school vice-principal, Brian Harrison, deceased in 2005.73 There was also a large tree nursery, Mori’s by name, on Eugene Lamoure’s farm.74 Thousands of mostly peach trees were grafted here annually. Later, it would also start with cuttings which would develop so as to be used in vineyards.

A notable variation to what is found elsewhere was the planting of sunflowers by Pollard Brothers, who at least as late as 1968 provided statistics of production of this crop for Ontario. The company web-site provides further information, but their calcium-chloride operation on unpaved roads was an annual sight.

Sometime after I left the region, someone started planting these latter in the township, eventually leading to the development of wineries. One of these is owned by Bernard Gorski.75

Not all was farming. There were a few oil wells providing some extra cash for the farmers who were lucky enough. Esso (Enron) had a mini-refinery with 4 storage tanks, and 2 main fractionating towers. A smaller unit called itself Place Gas-Oil. At one time, there was a drilling rig in the lake, quite close to the shoreline, towards which ice movements eventually pushed the abandoned equipment.76

The shoreline presents a difficulty for property developers. Most of the lake laps a thin strip of beach adjacent to sandy cliffs, some of them quite high. I have seen a case of an American property owner investing thousands of dollars to prevent erosion, by putting metal plates against the cliffs, which ignored two facts: the force of the winter ice could destroy them, and the absence of any defences by neighbours would leave him first with a peninsula, and finally with a total loss. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in property value must have been lost. With all this soil filling Lake Erie, no wonder it is the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

A development which has taken place is the installation of windmills for the creation of electricity.77 These may be located near Gore Road, which is not named for the environmental crusader, Al Gore!78


Diversity in the Township

[Terminology used here reflects correct language of the early 1960s.] A one-time Wikipedia article described Harrow as being associated with many Blacks and Germans. It was probably more the township which the writer had in mind. The Negro population was the result of settlement by escapees from the Southern States through the so-called underground railroad. Two of these families owned trucking companies, and at some time one of them had a contract with the town of Harrow. All of this without the mess of affirmative action. Their presence was a topic of interest to the head of the Harrow High School history department, Gerald A. Pouget.79 At least one individual of this community made it to fame, Shirley Matthews, in 1963, with the hit, “Big – Town Boy”. She was female vocalist of the year in Canada in 1964.80 Another name with praise attached to it is jazz pianist Kenny Kersey (1916-1983), born in Harrow.81 There was also an inventor, Elijah McCoy, whose principal contribution made work safer in the railway sector of the economy.82

Incorrectly attributed in a popular on-line encyclopedia is the location of a man who, by some, is considered Canada’s first black lawyer, Delos Roger [or Rogest] Davis, who lived in New Canaan, a disappeared community of Colchester North.83  He was the third lawyer of colour, and he is incorrectly identified with Anderdon Township.84

A couple of other persons who are deserving of mention, but whose names were unknown to me until now, are Colchester-born Anthony Wellington Banks (1840 – 1929) and his brother, Erwin Stuart Banks. The former was both the first black constable in Canada, and the deputy game and fish warden for Ontario, while the later was the first African Canadian member of Harrow’s Town Council.85

The German population may have come at various different times. One group is reported to have been Hessian soldiers fighting for the British in the American War of Independence, who then settled in Southern Ontario. Maybe some Pennsylvania Dutch – (Germans) who did not support the Revolution left with these Hessians. Why not? A few years after the one-time American Colonies seceded from Britain, until 1792, the counties now called Essex and Kent were part of a district of Upper Canada called Hesse. The other districts were Nassau, Mecklenburg, and Luneburg, territories which in Germany also were governed by King George III.


District of Hesse, Upper Canada.
From an original image labelled LAKE HURON, LAKE ERIE, AND LAKE ONTARIO. Credit for the original image, available : NASA : Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC. Modifications include labelling, extraction of Hesse District, marking of approximate boundaries of the district, and t enhanced contrast. The red vertical line shows the boundary between the districts of Hesse and Nassau. Sources vary as to the time that these names existed.

Credit for the original image, available <here>.

Perhaps someone came during the Franco-Prussian war, and the Volga Germans might have come around the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  At least one Swiss-German farmer lived in the area. It has been said that a certain number of ethnic Germans (here, soley referring to descendents in remains of the one-time Austro-Hungarian Empire) from outside of Germany got their farmland as a consequence of pay-outs to their being “victims” of Nazism in the countries adopted by their ancestors. Some names, all predating my time, are Klee (Prussian?), Grundner, Ellenberger, Feist, Riediger, Wenzler, Welzel, Gross, Hartman [(might be British)] owner of a photo studio, and publisher of the free summer weekly, The Beachcomber.86 [If it was published by Harrow News, then at least he got the credit for the prominent cover-girl picture]), and the somewhat surprising non-Germanic name of Duransky. On a historical level, one finds the names of Toffelmire and Knapp – these sound German, the former being a variant of Toffelmeier, of which various spellings exist. On Sunday mornings, a Leamington radio station played an hour’s worth of German and Austrian music, from waltzes, to Lili Marlene, and perhaps marches familiar to soldiers.

In town, Ann Lupsor’s Book Store sold imported German magazines, such as Stern, and the Ontario German community newspaper, Ontario-Courier, so there was a market. I am unaware of any other ethnic group being catered to, not even the French-Canadians, who, it must be admitted, probably no longer spoke their ancestors’ language. Illustratively, there were names such as Bezaire, Dufour, Langlois, Maitre, Marontate, and Pouget.

About 1962, an influx of Portuguese immigrants, farm labourers, began. I only know the family names of one-time classmates Ferreira and Porto, which were among the first families to arrive.

Other ethnicities are betrayed by the surnames such as Gorski (Polish), Gasparet and Canduso (Italian), and Kok (Dutch). There was also a Belgian family. And, as was stated for Harrow, some individuals might prefer to be called of Irish, rather than of British stock. The same might be said for people of Scottish ancestry.


Symbiosis between the Colchester Townships and Harrow

This article has shown that the fortunes of Harrow, vis-à-vis the Colchester Townships, has had its ebb and flow. However, one cannot be separated from the other. Originally, Harrow was a banking post-village [sic],87 or police village,88 i.e., an entity less than a village, of the Municipality of the Township of Colchester South. This was true even after the coming to the railway. It is thus that at times the name of Colchester has supremacy, and at others, Harrow; so occasionally, the name of one of these places includes the other. Colchester once had its own post-office, as did Oxley, but now, they no longer exist except as rural route addresses of the central town. The Colchester Townships had their own primary schools, but now, they have given place to the public school in Harrow. The agricultural society of the area started in the Colchester South, but the word “Harrow” now comes first. In 1918, it was reported that the Clark’s factory was looking for contracts on almost 2 square miles worth of tomatoes, which obviously had to come from the township. The municipal water supply hails from a pumping station in Colchester, and the sewage has been dumped into Cedar Creek. The research and weather station run by the federal government, is located outside of town, but is named after the town. The train station at all times, perhaps with the exception of the years of Clark’s canning operation – and even then – served the rural areas more than the town. It goes without saying, that a rural dweller might try his luck in town, and that a retiree might try living along the lake. Town and township roads named after certain families find the descendents of these families in one place or another. The United Empire Loyalist family, McCormick,89 had one branch along Highway 18A, while another family lived in Harrow.90 The Sinasacs had a tavern in Colchester, and apparently Harrow’s bailiff and jeweller, so now, a street named for them in the latter community.

A name which has often cropped forth is that of Ferriss. It is seen on the 1880 map, it is referred to in our referenced description of Oxley, it was the name of a Harrow grocer, the name of a reeve of the Township of Colchester South, and the name of the town hardware store in the 60s. Tofflemire has a road and a family graveyard site in the township; and, at the time of this writing, a dental practice in town.

Aside: Vagaries in the Railway’s Naming

While the railroad which passed through town deserves its own story, inhabitants of the region deserve to know by what name their forefathers would have known the line which passed through the area.

It was first known as the Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit Railroad, [or, perhaps, as the Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit River Railway, but sources differ] and probably at the time of its first passing though the Colchester Townships, just Lake Erie and Detroit Railroad. [The word “railroad” betrays Hiram Walker’s American heritage, “railway” is the more Canadian term.] In 1904, it was renamed to Pere Marquette, itself the name of a failed U.S. Railroad. In 1947, it became the Chesapeake & Ohio, which underwent one more change, when it became part of CSX, before, as it were, being forced to ride the rail out of town in 1991. A couple of photos on the web might well explain the demise of the service.91


Lengendary Lives Along the Lakeshore.

All in all, perhaps Harrow and the surrounding area sound excessively boring.  Within the limits allowed by the necessary protection of privacy to living persons, here are references to 3 people, of various degrees of fame, who lived, or had stayed, along the lakeshore of Colchester (South) Township.

The first may not be true.  Our source played at least one successful prank upon this author’s English class.  He affirmed that in a certain building along the then-named 18A Highway, where it was close to the shoreline, Al Capone once hid out in the attic.  Perhaps the owners of the building do not want any attention coming their way.  No confirmation has been found yet to this story, so on to the next one.

This writer once saw a gentleman, whom he assumes, with good reasons, to have been a big-game hunter, practising with an elephant gun upon some driftwood flotating in the lake at least at least one kilometre away.  The empty cartridges, several of which were taken home as souvenirs, are 3 inches (7.5 cm) long.  Accurate shots made the wood jump about 2 metres into the air.

The hunter was also noted as a conservationist, by having saved endangered species through culling of their predators, is deceased.  No evidence has been found in the Harrow telephone information, or in Google Earth, to show current residence in the immediate area, but at least part of the family is still in Essex Country.  More details  will be given if permission is offered.

The third person can be named, as both famous enough, and deceased. It was a summer resident, by the name of Paul Engel, apparently so-named in the local area to avoid unwanted company.  His complete name was Elwood Paul Engel, and he had designed cars for both Ford and Chrysler. What captured this writer’s imagination was a picture of him with a racing motorcycle used on the Utah Salt Flats. The first link is to an automotive blog where he is mentioned four times, the second page is more specific. According to Wikipedia, his Chrysler years were 1961 to 1974.  He died in 1986.


Harrovian Contributions in Arts and Sciences to the World.

This article has mentioned a couple of contributions to the North American music scene, and the invention of an oiling device, which seems to be the limit of Harrow’s contributions to the world – though new varieties of plants from the Agricultural Station are developed anonymously, it is possible to mention other achievements made by people from Harrow, which may or may not be correctly called Harrovians.

It was then decided to use Google Scholar as a tool to see what written works have been recognized by names associated with the district. At the time of this writing, the tool gives too much to sift through, and constant changes to how it works mean that there are no guarantees that readers will find the same results. However, of the names submitted below, it can be said that real contributions were made in the Arts or Sciences by individuals, known to be, to the present author, up to 1971, as part of Harrow; or when the author is not familiar with the person mentioned, the same is identifiable as a relative of the aforementioned category, or otherwise noteworthy. Reader additions  to the list, which would comply with the preceding conditions, are welcome for consideration.

Buterbaugh, Edwin.  Chief Radio Engineer (Director of Engineering), Vice President (CKLW). Worked at CKLW and at WJR.  Experimented in AM Stereo, a first in Canada. Implemented a system whereby CKLW was heard in the Detroit Tunnel.  Billboard Engineer of the Year Award, 1977, etc. See note 34 in our article, “Some Thoughts on CKLW Radio” on this website for more praise.  Author of “Test Results of the Harris Corporation V-CPM AM Stereo System Conducted by CKLW Radio on Behalf of the Canadian Department of Communications Technical Advisory Sub-Committee on AM Stereo”. July 13, 1979. Document presented to the Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C., in the Matter of Stereophonic Broadcasting, F.C.C. Docket No. 21313.

Cervin, Catherine.  Co-author: “What women expect of family physicians as maternity care providers”, Canadian Family Physician,  May 2007 vol. 53 no. 5, 874-879; Reviewer, Healthcare Policy / Politiques de Santé, May 2010, Vol. 5, No. 4;  author: “An Exploration of the Factors That Influence The Practice Choices of Family Medicine Residents“, [link accessed 20190805].

Harrison, Brian. Mentioned above. Cited in “Canadian Journal of Botany”, “The Enzymically Catalyzed Oxidation of Indoleacetic Acid”, Author of “Note on the Vegetative of Reproduction of Peach Cuttings”, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Vol. 38, March 26.1958, 515-516, author of “Peach harvesting studies,  Post harvest fungicides”, in Annual Report, Canada Department of Agriculture, Fruit Vegetable Production Research Committee 1953 pp. 39-43.

McKeen, Dr. Colin. Worked in Plant Pathology, Harrow [Research Station]. Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology for several years. Founder of the Canadian Chestnut Journal. Served for a term as the President of the Canadian Society of Phytopathology. Described in the following terms in Ward, op. cit., “became involved in a far-reaching program … contributed many scientific papers, and earned an international reputation for himself and the Station in vegetable pathology … definitive monograph on tomato diseases.” Cited in “Report / National Vegetable Research Station (Great Britain)”, 1959. Cited in a work from Rutgers University, College of Agriculture, 1973. Listed in American Men and Women of Science: The physical and biological sciences, Volume 5; Volume 15, [sic] Issue 5.92

Biographical information about Dr. McKeen was gleaned from two pdf documents, though names differ, they are the same: “CCC Founder Retires”, in Newsletter (of the Canadian Chestnut Council) #40, Jan. 2006, and Dr. Colin D. McKeen, in “The American Chestnut, its Near Demise and an Attempt to Restore it”, The Canadian Sweet Chestnut, #49, Jan. 2009. The Council, and an additional honour are on Facebook.

Meiri, Avner (Saigh, Fouad).  Iraqi-Jew, emigrated to Israel, served as translator in the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab countries (if I remember correctly what he had told me).  Emigrated to Canada, taught at Harrow District High School.  Later I met him at the Windsor Public Library – by chance, and he was now in the insurance business.  “The Devil’s Kite”, The ScribeJoumal of Babylonian Jewry, No.58 (item not on line),
June 1993. Note, (extract): “The Skullcap”, The Scribe, Sept. 1995, No. 64, p. 10.  Waters of Babylon (Lugus, 1996); “Ezra Haddad”, Author, Historian and Educator, The Scribe, Autumn 2000, No. 73.

[Moeller, Artur Werner]:  Williams,  P. A.;  Gordon, A. M.;  Moeller,  A. W., Effects of five antitranspirants on white spruce and white pine seedlings subjected to greenhouse drought,” in Tree Planters’ Notes, 1990 Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 34-38, 2 citations found. This is now referenced by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Google Books, under “Williams, P.A.”. Works for Ministry of Forests, British Columbia. Previously worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. [TechProfile]

Riediger, Dr. Cynthia L.  Tenured professor at the University of Alberta, Senior Geologist at Shell Canada. Alone, or with others, contributed articles to: Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, with articles such as “Hydrocarbon source rock characterization and thermal maturity of the Upper Triassic Baldonnel and Pardonet formations, northeastern British Columbia, Canada”; attended International Conference in Edinburgh in 2001, thanked in “The distribution and carbon isotopic composition of unusual polycyclic alkanes in the Cretaceous Lengshuiwu Formation, China” by its Chinese authors.  Posthumously awarded the Governor-General’s Medal for Bravery, and a Carnegie Medals Award for extraordinary courage.93

Riediger, Susan. Acknowledged, with others,  in: Wayne R. Hawthorn, Canadian Journal of Zoology, 1978, 56(7): 1507-1513, NRC Research Press. Works at the Harrow Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Scott, Water. A. Work on Burley Tobacco. Conclusion: Work was useful for the tobacco industry. At a time when agricultural land was not as necessary for food and perhaps biofuel as now, tobacco was without a doubt a profitable alternative for many farmers. [See footnote “72” for sample citation. Another document, together with R. J. Haslam, was, “Culture of Cigarette Burley Tobacco” (formerly viewable at, Canada Department of Agriculture, 1964.]



Harrow, and its surrounding area of Colchester North and South townships, was an area with variety, and with respect for diversity, before the latter word was ever used in the modern way. Though small, it had a first-class research station, which has now been in existence for more than 150 years. While I cannot recommend the beaches, it is said that the wines of today are good. The place is geographically unique, in a way than any country can only have 5 such points, easternmost, westernmost, southernmost, northernmost, and exact centre (always disputable point!). Harrow High School fit the bill. Maybe I’m wrong, I come to think of it, and it was Harrow itself that said, “Southernmost Town in Canada”. And always, practically in line with Rome, Chicago, and Northern California!

If one adds to the present population of the area, the number of people who have passed away and passed onward to other communities, the total number of souls would probably be less than 10,000 for town and township. This means that better than between 1 out of every 1000 or 2000 souls has provided some sort of fame to the area. This is in the field of research and music. At the same time, publicly available on-line records give data for about 1 out of every 10 people (subject to statistical error). It may no longer be politically correct to speak about the development of new types of tobacco, but one may be proud of the new species of fruits developed at the top-level research facility.gc Perhaps the record rainfall is nothing more than anecdotal, but the best growing season of the country is a definite plus.

The one-time rails connecting Windsor, Harrow, Kingsville and Leamington, of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, are now used by hikers. It would be better to have something greener, a public transport system connecting the communities, if only on a limited basis, say weekends, and during the holiday seasons. The tourists from the States should drop off at the terminals, of the above-mentioned towns, and enterprising individuals could provide a taxi or limousine service to the summer homes, thus creating more jobs.

All in all, this community may be worth studying by sociologists for its successes, and whatever occasional failures, as a model in diversity, which, according to a perusal of this list, is even more diverse than in the 60s.


Paul Karl Moeller lived briefly in Windsor in 1956, then in Harrow and Colchester South Township until graduating from Harrow District High School in 1971. He is a graduate of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, where he studied History and Political Science.

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[Page Authentication Test: 31 май Павел Карл Мёллер 2013  ©  Paul Karl Moeller]
Revised, October 16, 2013,  June, 2016, March 9, 2018. Links updated, and many new pictures added between August 3-14, 2019.

Notes: For a look at the kind of poultry which might be on exhibit at the Harrow Fair, the following book, not directly related, could, at the same time, give exhibitors some idea of what could still be done: Carol Ekarius, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA, USA 2007. The author regrets not finding Tingen’s turkey type!
Historic businesses in Harrow, Oxley and Colchester are listed in, this information seems to be compiled from the Western Ontario Gazetteer and Directory 1898-99 containing that portion of the Province West of, and including, the City of Toronto and South of Georgian Bay, Ontario Publishing & Advertising Co., Ingersoll, Ontario, viewing options at

Disclaimer:  Advertising which appears is beyond control of the author.  Ads which appear below this disclaimer and before  the end of this page are not part of WordPress.


1 Harrow Chamber of Commerce, “Community History : Township of Colchester Established in the 1870s”, <>  link no longer exists. It has been replaced by the following link, with a modified history beginning is 1792, (accessed 20190803):

2 “Harrow Fair History”, <>.
3  Town of Essex, “Local History”, 2013, (giving 1800 as the year of formation of the greater t(ownship), “Community History …”; ibid., for 1870 date; for division into 2: “Town of Essex”, ibid.; for posterior amalgamation and naming : County of Essex, The article “Restructuring of the County of Essex”, (of former link 1910, or, with 1999 mentioned only, Town of Essex, op. cit.. The updated order, (accessed 20190803), for restructuring can be found at
4 Rainfall referenced under “Weather”.
5 For mild weather: National Climate Data and Information Archive, ‘The “Weather Winners” Highlights‘, Date Modified: 2013-02-04.
6 “Seed corn guaranteed to germinate 98 per cent, sold at the world record price of $50 per bushel at William Taylor’s recent auction sale near Harrow Ont”, under heading “Current News of the Week”, Canadian Grocer, March 22, 1918, p. 33.7 Debates and Proceeding of the 2nd Session of The 23rd Legislature of The Province of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, February 16. 1950, et. seq., H-7. By ignoring the effects of inflation during the period, the success of the pool was overstated, and it would furthermore be necessary to see if costs did not outstrip the rate of earnings, but all things being equal, the profitability did increase. Results can be checked with the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator.
8 For the impact of American visitors, these reflections are offered:
Referring only to Americans I knew, and who would no longer be in the area, one lawyer had 3 big cars to his family: his, his wife’s, and his eldest daughters. Their neighbours, a doctor or two, would have the same kind of vehicle – and I know of at least one more physician. At another beach, a Detroit auto designer, had his own fancy car, and at still another, a dentist justified having a large vehicle by claiming it to be safer in case of a collision. [From the foregoing it would seem that the professional population, even if not practicing, doubled during the summer.] One town gasoline station had a sign, “Welcome, American visitors”, which went on to explain that they would be getting more value for their money, because the Canadian, or Imperial gallon, is larger than the U.S. gallon. At the time, the Canadian dollar also was worth more than its U.S. counterpart, but was gladly accepted at par.
9 Etymology of Harrow, in Wikipedia. A comparison was made with the word “harrow” in The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1934.
10 Colchester data to supplement Wikipedia‘s entry was at,, (a broken link) and, with further back-up for the word “Colne” at

11 To verify the meaning of the suffix “ley” of Oxley, various names were tested, which, in the majority of cases, concord. Two other examples of names derived from animals are: Shepley (sheep + ley), and Hartley (Hart + ley, but disputed. Names from trees are Berkeley and Oakley. Other forms of vegetation is found in the denomyns “Woodslee”, near Windsor; and “Wheatley”, the name of a community just outside of Essex County. Other illustrations are: Kingsley, Bradley, Hailey. Occasionally, the etymology is disputed, and may or may not concur with the “clearing” idea, as with Harley; Beardsley, with contradicting information; and Farley, with a contradiction once noted. Spelling of such words may vary, such as “lee”, “lea”, “leigh”, or “lay”, compare Berkeley and Barclay. Of course, some such suffixes are accidental, such as in “parsley”. For names of people, more may be found at

12 Data in the preceding paragraphs were derived as follows: Parallels were examined in Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, and The New Rand-McNally Pocket World Atlas, 1961. The first and last maps for this article were specially edited from a prior edit by the present author, and the original was in the public domain on a NASA website, referenced under the maps in question. The portion of the map which is Essex County was compared to the result for Google Maps, found using the search terms, “Essex County Ontario”., and additional edits were made as required.
13 The article may Jeff Bolichowski, after a search on 20190803, was found to be available no longer. The original link is retained for historical purposes. “After huge storms, tornado: Harrow, Colchester reeling”, (<>, as well as <>) The Windsor Star, June 07, 2010, and the following in the Windsor Star by Nick Brancaccio:Gallery: Tornado upgraded to F2“, 06.10.2010, link at ><>.
14A NASA satellite photo was seen around 2001, which the author has been unable to find again. We are substituting this image which gives a similar idea of the county’s shoreline on Lake Erie being less affected by snow than the surrounding area:

The Southern Half of Essex County is free of snow in this crop, and subsequent rotation, of an image taken from, where more information can be found. The inset was taken from a larger image available by clicking the image at that site, with its URL as Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, are under snow, Toledo, Ohio, is not. The original image is available to the public, courtesy of NASA. The adapted work here is copyrighted.

15 For the rain record, see (Link not working 20190814) The same data is found at Photos of damage caused have been found online at Flickr, posted by Barry Bapper, of which here is one of Klie’s Beach, here is a similar one, showing damage to trees, and the proximity of the damage to farm buildings, and this one shows damage on the rail line that runs through Harrow from Windsor.

16 Wm. Murdoch, MPP, Parliamentary History. Connections to Harrow are mentioned in the Wikipedia article, “William Murdoch”

17 Data in Wikipedia, and at the parliamentary website:. Both this Liberal, and the Conservative Wm. Murdoch, are buried in the same cemetery, Colchester Memorial, as evinced by the present author’s perusal. (Direct linking to pictures is prohibited.)
18 Federal voting data can be seen under “Essex South” in Wikipedia.
19 I am unable to locate the source document for the Joint Parliamentary Commission on the Constitution, which took place in Windsor on December 10, 1970, but it can be found at university libraries in Canada.
20 The visit by Trudeau to Harrow would have been covered in The Windsor Star and The Harrow News, sources unavailable to the author. For Eugene Whelan, Canadian Press, “Eugene Whelan’s contribution to Canada remembered at funeral”, Toronto Star, Feb. 23, 2012, <> and the Windosr Star obituary (found again, 20190808:, originally “Eugene Whelan, Obituary” in The Windsor Star, with a mention by Bill Keller, “MOSCOW’S OTHER MASTERMIND; Aleksandr Yakovlev, Gorbachev’s Little-Known Alter-Ego”, in a New York Times article on “Gorbachev’s” Agricultural Minister.
The present author found of particular interest Trudeau’s seemingly evasive, but in fact, very honest answer to a question put by Mary McKeen about protecting the environment. His reply was that it could be done, but that it would be expensive. It seems that the Prime Minister did not evade the issue, because a similar theme would be followed by Gorbachev after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both country leaders are associated in some way with the Canadian Maurice Strong.

21 See paragraph referenced by footnote “ei”. (Internal reference: mentioned in Progress Report 1947-1954)

22 For the early history of the town, the referenced material is: 1824, 1840s, 1860: Elaine Weeks, “Harrow: Hopeful Beginnings, Strong Traditions, Walkerville Times #16, Summer 2001. The same is found in “Local History”, op. cit.
We have questioned, in the first versions of this article, if it was called Mungers’ Corners, naming the village for the family; or Munger’s Corners, for the individual. While the question has not been absolutely resolved to the author’s satisfaction, he now tends to believe that the double plural form is the correct one, based on what he wrote under “Street-naming Conventions”, herein, below.

23 For 1880 map data, see below, under Colchester … Townships.
24 For construction of the railroad through Harrow, see “Hiram Walker’s Influence on Harrow and Area”, on the same web page as Weeks, “Hopeful Beginnings”,22 which has information partly excepted from “Harrow and Colchester South: 1792 – 1992?, Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, (HEIRS), 1993. The Amherstburg Echo is quoted therein.
25 Exact date, as suggested by that newspaper, was fixed through an online calendar, which shows that the Echo article reported the completion to Harrow as having occurred on September 25, though a “local paper” had predicted it would be for the 22nd.

26 The view that Harrow owes its existence to the railway was expressed by Time Swaddling, in an article by Cheryl Vigh-Basden, Leamington Post; Tri-Town News, ( “Kingsville Train Enthusiast Writing about his Love for the Rails”, July 12, 2012. (Article no longer available, noted on 20190803.)

27 Population in 1876 and 1896 are from an untitled webpage (no longer available, as noted 20190803) of the Harrow Baptist ( A different source, the Western Ontario Gazetteer and Directory 1898-99 containing that portion of the Province West of, and including, the City of Toronto and South of Georgian Bay, Ontario Publishing & Advertising Co., Ingersoll, Ontario, gives the population as at about 500 at the time of publication, thus diffea href=ring sharply from the figure of 300. Since it lists Colchester and Oxley separately, if the population did not more than triple in 23 years, either the figure is wrong, or some, if not all, of the surrounding community is included, especially since no population statistics are given for the hamlets by the lake.
28 Zimmerman’s lumberyard is mentioned by Weeks, op. cit.aa-22
29 The following owner, Cyrus Franklin Smith is described in “Ronald Cox’s Ancestors, Cousins and their allied families”, rootsweb, updated: 2013-05-29.
30 Road conditions, and transport to Amherstburg, by Weeks, op.cit., but are interspersed with the present author’s suggestions.

31 J. David Wood, “The Population of Ontario: A Study of the Foundation of a Social Geography”, quoted in Guy M. Robinson, ed., A Social Geography of Canada, Dundurn, 1991, p. 105.

32 Note “27” in previous section, and the republished 1906 edition of Lippincott’s New Gazetteer, under “Harrow”.
33 One Harrow resident claims that the majority of the buildings are now 150 years old: “Essex council votes to spruce up Harrow,” CBC News, Feb 7, 2012. A map of the town as it used to be is available in: Division of Sanitary Engineering, Report on a Water Pollution Survey of the Town of Harrow – County of Essex, July 6, 1965, (last page), Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Toronto.
34 (Harrow Baptist Church history link which was previously included is no longer available [20190804]). A more complete listing of churches is found at the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, Harrow and Colchester South, “Active Churches“.
35 Unavailable to the present author is a work by Gerald Anthony Pouget, published by the Historical Committee of St. Anthony of Padua Parish: A History of St. Anthony’s Parish: Harrow, Ontario 1906-2006, mentioned, but not for reading, on <>.

36 The money to the Harrow Library (not necessarily the same one), is at: Treasury Department, Ontario, Public Accounts of the Province of Ontario for the Year ended 1903, (Toronto: L. K. Cameron, 1904), p. 52., an resource, which, if it cannot open at the previous link, has alternate viewing methods.  An experience that modern readers may find unusual, is that the present author was probihibted from viewing a book with a Darwinian account of the creation of the world.

37 I have seen some dinner or collector’s plates showing a couple of these churches. An attempt to incorporate actual images of these was abandoned, but the Methodist and United Church sample postcards can be viewed through the links provided. I hope to have remembered correctly that both were on Munger Street. The third example, (or second, if my assumption was wrong) is the Catholic Church, St. Anthony’s.  Unfortunately, while the image is fine at the original site, it would not look good here.  It looks to have been a newspaper clipping pasted onto a postcard. This was the original building, which looks like it was made of stones found in fields, or along the lakeshore.
38 There are pictures on Flickr with some of these buildings.

39 Their is a reference to Clark’s requiring a certain acreage of tomatoes in a comment by W. H. Ferriss in the report, “Past Year’s Business Highly Successful”, Canadian Grocer, January-March 1918, Jan. 11, p. 17, col. 3, where it is referred to as the W. Clark Co., and as having a “large modern factory in our town”. An excerpted review of Clark’s Prepared Food Company is that of Roberts, Leslie M. “Like Father, Like Sons,” Maclean’s Magazine, 44:9 May 1, 1931 p. 19, 54, once found in the listing Books about Companies C, 2013, Western University, (London, Ontario), but now only listed without a link (data updated 20190804). Ernest Clark was in charge of tomato canning operations in Harrow, according to the source. Apparently, Clark’s was a good corporate citizen, in that it treated ins own effluents, when the town was surveyed for water pollution in 1964 (Water Pollution Survey, see further below).

40 Quality Canners existed at least during the period 1927 -1935, data previously found in a link no longer available, but referenced here (updated 20190804). “Annual Financial Review – OPQ, 2013, Western University (London, Ontario),. A 1928 bylaw regarding a street closure for Quality Canners, signed by Reeve W. H. Ferriss was once found on-line in  : By-Laws of the County of Essex : Colchester South, 16 April, 1928, pp. 79-80. On August 4, 2019, this was no longer available.

41 An advertisement about the purchase of Quality Canners by Associated Canners is found in the Montreal Gazette, March 28, 1928, quoted in

42 E-mail response by a former resident of Harrow: “Responses to the last 2 letters”, to this author, at, April 23, 2007. (The aforementioned site not longer exists, and closed before the author could back up all files.)

43 Windsor Star in, “James Golden, Obituary”, May 17 to May 18, 2013, is, like the next reference, longer available (as noted 20190804). Additional information was on the web page of his son’s law firm, Golden Law Office Blog, “In Memory of James John Golden, (November 27, 1926-May 16, 2013)”. Mr. Golden once spoke about his profession to a high school class attended by the present author. His wife, Gladys, (deceased) was a president of the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society.

44 Same as in note az.a for the furniture store/funeral parlour. About the meat, now, with the high bacteria count, and pink slime, even cooked to perdition, these sicken the author. In the early 1970s, while at university, a consumer report on this product showed that all tested varieties needed cooking before eating, suggesting that there indeed was a time when this was not so.
45 Some references to Whelan’s connection to this cooperative can be found in the following (if one link does not work, try another): Wikipedia, Windsor Star, and (linking not allowed, or policy unknown) and (Reference updated 20190804).

46 Barry Bapper on Flickr shows a picture of one such school with 29 students and 2 teachers. Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, “Early Public Schools of Harrow and Colchester South” show 15 of such small schools, opening between 1842 and 1878, with most of them closing in 1965. From an environmental point of view, one might say that things got worse for St. Anthony’s School property, before they got better. In 1960, the schoolyard was a spring thaw patch of mud. However, stately shade trees lined the West side, the extension of Erie Road. These would probably absorb a lot of the water later on. Perhaps this was for tiling purposes that these trees were cut down; or maybe to eliminate the playground risk that somebody, unseen by the person on yard duty, would climb them, fall down and get hurt? In this century, the school was rebuilt for about 285 pupils: Andy Comber, “New St. Anthony School – ‘Wow'”, The Harrow News, September 6, 2005, p. 4.

47 Google Books lists a small booklet or pamphlet published, apparently, by H.E.I.R.S. (Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society), and written by Gerald A. Pouget, which may contain some relevant material: Students and Teachers of Harrow High School, 1904-2004.
48 Data changes annually. This link is for the Fraser Institute report for the school-year 2017-18. (Accessed: 20190804).
49 Sean Fine, “Ontario Grade 10 literacy tests”, The Globe and Mail, April 18, 2001, (linking prohibited).
50 Comment: If Freemasonry is not a secret society, nothing negative should be construed by the words “of a somewhat Masonic nature”. If Freemasons do belong to a secret society, this author does not hold the other fraternal societies to be in the same category, but that perception is common in many parts of the world, including Moslem countries and Latin America. The dilemma was posited in: Tome de Castella, “Would You Want to be a Freemason?”, BBC News Magazine, 9 March 2012. A question about the relationship between the Rotary Club and Freemasons, which suggests such ties, is here.The charitable work of these organizations is probably not known by many. This author’s personal opinion can be partially concluded from the following quote from Reinhold Niebuhr, available on several sites, such as “Evil is not traced back to the individual, but to the collective behaviour of humanity.” [See this blog’s article, Conspiracy Theory 1A6.]

51 A picture from around 1955 shows black masons lined up east of the then Municipal Building, and across from Halstead’s Grocery. Alvin D. McCurdy fonds, Archives of Ontario, Code I0024736, Ref. Code F 2076-16-5-916-5-9. Masons marching in a Harrow Parade. The same source, describes Negro Masonry, next to the picture to of the march.

52 Because of a very long URL, a search is recommended for: “Report on communist and Fascist Organizations and Agitation in Canada”, No. 904 Weekly Summary, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Headquarter, Ottawa, Ont. November 1, 1938; and this partial URL : “” [without the quotation marks] Update: current link is :

53 The following link referencing the Essex Free Press once supported this information, but is no longer available: A search on August 4, 2019 gave the new address as, but was either already out of date, or was temporarily unavailable.  If anyone cares to try the current situation, try and search the terms “Essex ON Free Press” without the quotation marks.

54 A description of current policing was formerly found in at, but could not be accessed on the date of the last review of links.
55 For Dr. Veale, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Mar. 18, 1967, vol. 96, “Obituaries”, 687. The Windsor Star its link at “McCormick” above identifed one doctor as a relative, a certain Robert Baker:, “Community’s kindness inspired small-town MD”, The Windsor Star, January 9, 2008. This same article was the link for Dr. McCormick. For Dr. Walter Wren: Obituary, The Windsor Star, 12 & 13 April, 2010. An obituary also appeared in CMA Bulletin, “In Memoriam”, CMAJ July 13, 2010, 182(10), p. 1139. One further site, active August 2019: Unconfirmed research results show a Dr. Daniel Mitchell ( – result shown as “forbidden” on 20190804) as setting up a practice in Harrow around 1887, where he married a local girl, Mary Cameron, but he left for Tilbury in 1891. Of course, this was a time without antibiotics, most vaccines, and all the precision machinery of modern medicine. He died of pneumonia in Blenheim, only 30 years old. One of the first practitioners to have come from Harrow might have been Cecil R. Craig, a 1942 graduate of the University of Western Ontario.

56 Dentistry later came to be provided by a descendant of one of the early inhabitants of the county. The family name is in this article, but this is not the place for advertising the present.

57 Caboto Park belongs to Windsor’s Giovanni Caboto Club, but public access is possible.

58 Dexter Color Canada, pub. “Colchester: On The Sandy Beach Of Lake Erie, Harrow, Ontario, Canada” [from Walkerville Times Collection, identifier : 12572-D]

59 New link found accessed 20190807, but direct linking prohibited. Search Windsor Star, Gordon Marontate, Obituary.
This author received a clipping taken from the Windsor Star in 1981, which he should still have (but cannot find) about Mr. Marontate’s retirement. If possible, details will be given. An obituary taken from the same paper was found in federation genealogie. (Updated 20190804).

60 Weeks, op. cit.

61 Article by a person identifying herself as “History Babe”, “A cool place named Oxley. Yeah, O-x-l-e-y.”, Posted July 27, 2012 on WordPress.

62 This link is the Company’s web-page.
63 Changing market conditions are described in the Windsor Star, “Lakeside one of last pickle packers,” Feb. 1, 2012. This article was provided with a new link on 20190804.
64 Reference originally offered to the no-longer-available, Visitor Guide, 2011. The updated version is here. (Accessed 20190804)
65 Description, together with footnotes “66“(next)  and “67“(following next).

66 Digital Library, McGill University. Colchester South, Colchester North

67 The map referred to seems to be from an 1880 atlas published by H. Beldon and Co., as the date coincides with the information on the McGill University Digital Library.

68 Grants to the agricultural societies are mentioned in Public Accounts, op. cit., page number pending.

69 For soil types, N. R. Richards, A. G. Caldwell, F. F. Morwick, Soil survey of Essex County, Experimental Farms Service, Dominion Department of Agriculture and the Ontario Agricultural College, 1949.
70 My memory fails me here, but not with the locations of the types of farm under discussion. The turkeys I saw were on the back of property on or near land owed by Buchanan of the local florist by that name. I also seem to remember the name “Tingen’s Turkey Farm”. That there were Tingens in the township is confirmed, specifically Oscar Charles Tingen, on Tommy Markham’s History & Genealogy web-site, entry # 301. O. C. Tingen died in Harrow in 1960. One of his sons, Roy, brought turkey farming to Cuba: Shep Lenchek, “The Adventures of Max Tingen”, “El Ojo del Lago“, n.d.  Also see, GR Staff, “Max Tingen” [obituary], Guadalajara Reporter, 13 February 2004. (The original link is no longer valid, go to page 10 of this pdf file, accessed 20190804.) It appears that a heavyweight strain of turkey is named for him, when searching for his name in Hendrix Genetics, “Max Tingen The History of Hybrid Turkeys” (, or the almost similar article by Kingsley Smith, “The History of Hybrid Turkeys”. (Updated 20190804). Perhaps the property acquired by the Tingens was the one advertised in the Montreal Gazette on October 14, 1948, under the heading “Turkey Farm at Harrow on Lake Erie”. The advertisement describes it as the “finest and largest confinement method turkey ranch in Canada … said to be the most efficiently layed out in Canada”, according to some industry leaders, with a capacity for 40,000 broilers. These sound like superlatives worth crowing about! However, I believe that when Mr. Tingen left Canada, there was another interesting story, which requires confirmation. Perhaps if someone can confirm what I think, the information can be added.

71 Mentioned in this file on the 100th anniversary of the research station, PDF file, pp. 1, 7, and 8.

72 His published research is mentioned in Progress Report 1947-1954, Experimental Farm, Harrow, Ontario (to which our link is no longer available, but we have A History of the Research Station Harrow, Ontario, 1909-1974 with references on pages 5, 23 (with picture, wearing his trademark hat), 26 (pictured), 29, 42, 49, 52, 54, 65, 69, and 71.) A specific article was Results of fertilizer experiments with burley tobacco at Harrow”, in the same data base to which we no longer have the link. He is furthermore mentioned as having been on loan from the Harrow Research Station to one at Delhi, Ontario, on p. 17, (the 2nd of the three indicators in the following): Earl Kenneth Walker, Delhi Research Station, 1933-1983, Agriculture Canada, Historical Series No. 17, 1983. Some references are shared with those of Brian Harrison, in the note just following.
73 Brian Harrison, gets 12 glancing mentions: Gordon M. Ward, Vol. 10,  A History of the Research Station Harrow, Ontario, 1909-1974. History of Research, Research Branch, Canada Department of Agriculture, n.d., mentions Mr. Harrison as having joined as the 1st resident horticulturist in 1937, as being in the war, as going into teaching because of the salaries, and as returning in 1971 as general manager, and another position, pp. 25, 30*, 39, and 48, with a photo on page 26*. Asterisked pages also mention Walter Scott, i.e., the photo, and the going to war.
74 His wife drew the illustration for Ward’s description of the Experimental Farm. The strong tornado, mentioned here under “Weather”, was reported as having uprooted strong trees on the Lamoure farm, see: Jeff Bolichowski, “After huge storms, tornado: Harrow, Colchester reeling”, Windsor Star, June 07, 2010.
75 Ted Whipp, “Essex County wineries cheer premium harvest,” The Windsor Star, Nov 30, 2012, updated Dec 4, 2012.

76 “During the 1950s and 1960s a number of new discoveries in Ontario occurred, including Colchester, Malden and Kingsville.” Ian Colquhoun, “Middle Ordovician Trenton-Black River Group Carbonate Play,” Ontario Oil & Gas 2004 edition, p. 16., A publication of the Ontario Petroleum Institute. The map, p. 24, titled “Oil & Gas Pools of Southern Ontario”, shows 2 points on the southern shore of Essex County, one for oil, one for gas. A government publication showed a map with a red patch east of Colchester, and green dot near Harrow, as oil and gas wells. The oil rig eventually ended up as a wreck on the shore of a small cove under a bluff of some farmer’s field. This I know from exloring the shoreline as far as I could between somewhere west of Colchester, where I was stopped by barbed wire, and perhaps a mile westward, until stopped by another obstacle.

77 Dennis Archambault, “The Politics of Wind Power” Metromedia; Features, September 22, 2011, (link to article not permitted); “Construction underway on Harrow wind farm,” CBC News, December 30, 2009; a description is given in; subsequent government investment in Richard A. Kessler, “Canadian government takes equity stake in Ontario wind farm,” Recharge News, June 25, 2010;; linking prohibited.
78 The coincidence between the environmentalist Gore and the windmills is striking, but the road name preceded any such event. A gore, according to the 1880 atlas mentioned previously, is [a unit of length] less than a concession. The latter runs the length of a township.
79 Reference to Mr. Pouget and “African” in “African Canadian Communities : Cemeteries”, Windsor Mosaic Website, 2005.  We will mention here an item found in 2018 in an old copy of the Harrow News: “Gerald Pouget honoured with Certificate of Achievement” which mentions his work with H.E.I.R.S. [October 24, 2000, p. 1. (As a bonus, Mr. Walter Enns, another former teacher of Harrow High is on the same page as a member of the Rotary Club.)]
80 See brief material, with a passing reference by Daniel Caudeiron and Jude Kelly, “Rythm and Blues”, Canadian Encyclopedia. (Both links updated 20190804.)

81 Kersey gets a passing mention in the Canadian Encyclopedia (updated 20190804) under “African Music and Musicians”, and in Wikipedia, “Kenny Kersey”, already linked.

82 For more information on McCoy.
83 An article provided courtesy of Doug Gammon: Rob van Nie, “New Canaan thrived, then died“. The Windsor Star, Monday, February 25, 1980, p. 8, Regional, gives the middle name as Roger, and gives the information that he owned 150 acres, and was said to be the first black lawyer in Canada. This latter distinction is repeated in an article courtesy of The North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg, Ontario, “First Black Lawyer in Canada“, The Walkerville Times, and the name Delos Rogest is given. That name is found in a third article, which disputes the distinction that he was the 1st black lawyer, in this no longer available piece Gary Bennett, “Tipping the Scales of Justice”, The Gazette, University of Western Ontario, Thur. Feb. 13, 1997, [published in Queen’s Encyclopedia.]; however, similar data is found here.
84 Footnote 10 of the article linked here on Anthony Banks, commenting on Erwin, is further supported by the online version of the 1881 Atlas of Essex County, which may be incomplete.

85 The equivalent file for Anthony is here.

86 A comment has kindly been provided below this article by a Hartman relative, Kim Hesbon.

87 Lippincott’s New Gazetteer,31 op. cit.

88 By-Laws …, op. cit. 40
89 The Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society has posted some graveyard sites, from whence the United Empire Loyalist connection was determined.
90 I hope this is not a confusion between McCormicks and MacDonalds. At any rate, I am referring to a farm along Highway 18A which was notable for the billboard with the message, “Seek ye the Lord, while He may be found.” For anyone with the time to peruse CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project, “Colchester Memorial Park Cemetery“, 2013, namesakes of these can be found, a total listing of about 1711 minus 252 names of living individuals, whose final resting place has been reserved.

91 A couple of photos by Barry Bapper on Flickr show that the rails have become rather third-world in quality. Here we see deformed tracks, with the Farmers Co-operative in the background, while this one shows a derailment damage after Harrow’s record storm (already mentioned above).

92 As an aside on the research station: while the present author personally associates peaches with the research centre, he is aware of its contribution in developing new species of pears and apples, and of which the former deserve special mention. However, fruit in the region much predates government assistance to the region. An article on the CBC, “Ontario spends half million dollars on pear trees”, Apr 12, 2012, has revealed that, of 40 remaing specimens of “Jesuit” pear trees in Essex County, the best living specimen, estimated to be 300 years old, is on a private farm near Harrow.

93 The first link here was originally to one of many the Gerald A. Smith Funeral Home obituaries, unfortunately no longer available, with its “Life Legacy” for Ms. Cervin. “Decorations for Bravery Ceremony” on web page of the Governor-General of Canada, February 6, 2013. “Carnegie Medals Awarded to 18 for Heroism”, December 19, 2012, Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.



Comments RSS
  1. Kim Hesbon

    re: Hartman ([might be British] owner of a photo studio, and publisher of the free summer weekly, The Beachcomber [If it was published by Harrow News, at least he got in the prominent cover-girl picture]),
    Just thought you might like to know that the photographer and publisher of The Beachcomber was Hartman Hesbon (my 1st. cousin 1x removed). He was born in Colchester and died in Windsor, Ontario in 1992. You are right about the cover girl picture, I have a copy still of one of his front pages where he used my cousin as a model. Hope this is helpful to you if you want to update this info.

    • Paul Karl Moeller

      Thank you for the information. I’m glad I didn’t state an ethnic origin as a certainty. It is remotely possible that I saw a small printing press on the studio property when Mr. Hartman took a group portrait of part of my family, but this is too long ago for me to remember.

    • John Lalor

      The Beachcomber was published by Sun Parlour Advertising on Drouillard Road, Windsor, Hartman was indeed responsible for much of the content of the paper, as was Warren Parr the printer, but most particularly the front page girl. (A studio shot of a local beauty in a bathing suit.) The paper was a summer ‘ad-rag’ and distributed free in many outlets along the Erie shore in Essex County.

      • Paul Karl Moeller

        Thank you for the information. Some of it may sound vaguely familiar to me. But a mystery remains. I remember a small printing press outside of Mr. Hartman’s studio. Would anyone knows what it was used for, or how it got there? – P. K. Moeller.

  2. faszhafred

    Hello, Paul.

    Fascinating read! I remember you as I graduated from HDHS in 1970.

    In this blog you mentioned a “nondescript” street name of “Second” Street. I don’t remember there being a “2nd” Street in Harrow but I DID live on SecoRd Street. Could that have been an error? Anyway, it would be fascinating to connect. I use Facebook all the time so I’ll look you up. Have fun, old friend!

    Reply: Thanks very much for the correction. As I cannot rely upon my memory for everything, I was using a map provided by the Government of Ontario. I have confirmed that the source was in error. Nice hearing from you.- Paul.

  3. PMBAGirl

    Hello. I was in Colechester recently locating a farmhouse which belonged to my family at some point in the 30s and 40s. I did find the property and it seems that this extremely large farm is still intact and the home has been maintained immaculately along with the outbuildings. It’s a long Essex County Road 50 W., west of colchester. The farm house was built probably in the mid-1800s. I’m very interested in the history around this property and would love to write to you privately about it as I’m not cool with exposing the address on a public Internet Discussion board. Please let me know how I could reach you and if you’d be willing to chat with me about this.

  4. Gary Nantais

    Hello Paul, the furniture store you refer to in the commerce section is “J. H. Madill’s”. There was an attached funeral home at the back with an entrance from McCaffe St. I remember going there as a young boy with my mother when one of our neighbours passed away. You may remember the Miller boys from Colchester? One of them bought an old Pontiac hearse from Madill’s and drove it for regular transportation when we were in high school.

    REPLY to above: Hello, Gary, nice to hear from you. I remember your locker being next to mine in the last year of high school. Since in a junior year, we shared lockers, I suppose these were assigned alphabetically.

    The information I had previously about that furniture store was from someone younger, who lived out of town. I first had to read this in Spanish, and it did not make sufficient sense to me. Now that it is in English, I remember the Miller boys.

    The delay in answering is due to very strict quarantine conditions locally. I think that I may be violating them, but I really am out of touch with the world – no television, no radio, no cell phone, a newspaper every two weeks to seewhat is going on. I am borrowing someone’s computer to try to read my e-mails, but I have forgotten the password. It looks like I’m in for another month of this.

    Hope you are well, and thanks for the message.

    Yours truly,


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