In 1865, they formed the J. and H. Beatty Company, a steamship corporation with initial headquarters in Thorold and separate from the other Beatty steamship company, the Georgian Bay Transit Company.
By: Peter S. Chisholm, P.Eng.Page 1 2 3 Next Page
In 1963, Fleetwood K. McKean asked: “ Who were these men, the Beattys, who came coasting along in a sailing vessel, looking for timber a hundred years ago, at what was, for the North Shore, the dawn of history ?” William Beatty Senior (1799-1881) was born in Cootehill County, Cavan, Ireland. Trained as a land surveyor, in 1835 he emigrated to Thorold, Canada West, with his wife Frances, three daughters Ann, Harriet, Rosetta, and two sons, James H. Beatty (1826-1902) and William Beatty Junior (1835-1889). A third son, John D. Beatty (1838- 1912) was born soon after the family arrived in Thorold. Also from Coothill, William Senior’s brother and brother’s family, including nine-year-old nephew Henry Beatty (1834-1914), joined them in Thorold in 1843.From Thorold to “The Parry Sound Estate”, 1863
In Thorold, in 1835, William Senior would have been a contemporary of George Keefer’s family, including George’s son Thomas Coltrin Keefer (1821-1915). As outlined by Mary Wheeler, by 1863, William Senior’s holdings had grown to include a grist mill, a leather tannery, and a water power concession from the Welland Canal for a sawmill. Also, he would contribute to the maintenance of education and religion within the human settlement in and around Thorold that contained his enterprise and that of other pioneering entrepreneurs. Other Beatty ventures are described by McKean:
In the summer of 1863 William Beatty Senior of Thorold, along with his sons William, and James H., and his son-in-law, Nathaniel Wakefield, sailed up to the mouth of the French River in search of timber limits. In the course of these explorations they learned that [the] Gibson limits at Parry Sound were for sale. (One version has it that they were driven into Parry Sound to seek shelter from a storm and, thus came in contact with the Gibsons). The result was that James and William bought what the archives in Ottawa refer to as the “Parry Sound Estate” from W.M. and J.A. Gibson…. The Parry Sound Estate consisted of a small mill taking its power from the lower falls of the Seguin River, a few cabins, and a fifty-square-mile timber limit which began a mile and a half south of the river mouth and encompassed the land upriver and along the North Shore of the big sound . When surveyed, this limit was actually found to contain 84 square miles more than the original specification called for, and William Beatty [Junior] acquired additional limits in later years. The Beattys also bought the land where the town of Parry Sound now stands; it is recorded that on May 14, 1867, they acquired 2,198 acres of land at the mouth of the Seguin for the sum of four hundred and thirty-nine dollars (McKean 3).
The survey of new sources of timber to support their Thorold enterprise ended with the purchase of lands contiguous to a deep water harbour that would come to be first known as Parry’s Sound to honor the British Explorer Sir William Edward Parry (Francis 1366).The J. and W. Beatty Company (The Georgian Bay Transit Company), Parry Sound, 1865
William Senior, as silent partner, would share ownership of Beatty assets at Parry Sound with sons James and William Junior. This partnership was organized through the J. and W. Beatty Company in 1865, officially known as the Georgian Bay Transit Company. William Junior, an 1864 law graduate from Victoria University, Cobourg, Canada West, became responsible for The Georgian Bay Transit Company and related family interests in Parry Sound. Mary Wheeler notes:
A short time after his [William Junior’s] arrival the mills began to hum, settlers came to take up land, start business and to work in the camps. In a few busy years, he built a town site and a road to connect Parry Sound to the outside world …. William II [Junior] was so respected and admired by the people of Parry Sound he was called ‘The Governor.’ In the deed of every building lot he sold, he had inserted a clause prohibiting the sale of liquor on the premises. The ‘Beatty Covenant’ remained in effect until 1948.” As his father had done in Thorold, William II [Junior] did much to further religion and education in Parry Sound (4-5).
While William Junior managed the Georgian Bay Transit Company enterprise in Parry Sound, brothers James and John contributed in other unique ways. The youngest brother, John, attended to public service for several years after 1864, working as Crown Land Agent and the Indian Agent for the district. The eldest brother, James, was the senior partner in the Georgian Bay Transit Company and was responsible for shipping in support for its commercial operations in Thorold and Parry Sound.
James’ responsibility for shipping was frustrated by the absence of rail transport between Parry Sound and the settlement of Collingwood. To solve its transportation problem, the J. and W. Beatty and Company had its first steamship, the Waubuno (1865) and the second ship, the Manitoba (1870), built at Port Robinson, near Thorold. The Waubuno was a 193-ton-displacement wooden hull sidewheeler steamer.The J. and H. Beatty Company, Thorold, 1865
Incorporation of the Georgian Bay Transit Company in 1865 took place in the context of regional and family events that developed after the Beattys’ arrival in Thorold in 1835. The first of these events was the discovery of oil in Lambton County in 1858 by James Miller Williams (1818-1890). This created demands for improved commercial transportation by land and water. Also in 1858, surveyed by John H. Fairbank (1831-1914), the London-to-Sarnia Branch of the Great Western Railway opened to carry James H. Williams’ oil from Enniskillen Township west to steamships waiting in Sarnia. And by 1862, Fairbank had bypassed unreliable road transportation to barge his oil down the Thames River to Sarnia for outbound transport by steamship.Page 1 2 3 Next Page