8 Clairmont St
Ontario Tourism Region : Niagara Falls and Wine Country
Pop. 17,846. City in the Reg. Mun. of Niagara on Lock Seven of the Welland Canal and Hwys 58 & 406,8 km S of St. Catharines.
Thorold''''s first settlers arrived between 1784 and 1787.
Most were officers and men of Butler''''s Rangers, a United Empire Loyalist company that had fought under Col. John Butler and wintered in the Niagara region during the American Revolutionary War.
During the War of 1812 militia were raised from the township to defend the Niagara Peninsula, which was briefly in American hands in the summer of 1813.
It was during this period that Laura Secord made her famous walk from Queenston to the headquarters of Lt. James Fitzgibbon at the DeCew House in Thorold T.
Her warning made possible the capture of the entire invading American contingent by a force of loyal First Nations Peoples at Beaver Dams, just outside present-day Thorold.
The foundation ofthe DeCew House, destroyed by fire in 1943, has been preserved as an historic site.
Beaver Dams is the oldest settlement completely within Thorold T., and was an important place in the industrial and political life of the early years. It was the name of the post office when it opened in 1826 with miller George Keefer as the first postm.
Beaver Dams was never incorporated, and much of it was flooded during construction of the fourth Welland Canal when the post office was moved to Stump Town at the centre of the present town.
Egerton Ryerson, superintendent of education for Upper Canada, 1845-75, was the first Methodist minister in the new church at Beaverdam in 1832.
The township and the city were both named after Sir John Thorold, MP for Lincolnshire, England, who was greatly interested in colonial affairs.
The first cotton factory in the province was ajoint-stock company founded by local citizens in Thorold in 1847.
Twenty water-powered looms produced sheeting, scrim, and batting in an operation that heralded the establishment of what was to become a major provincial industry.
Thorold''''s Kissing Rock
Around the time of the opening of the fourth Welland Canal a Great Lakes sailor named Charles Snelgrove, originally from England, would bring his lady friends to a rock near Lock 7 to kiss the girl goodbye before embarking on his ship.
Soon other sailors learned of the rock and started to bring their girl friends or wife to kiss goodbye at the rock. Some chipped off a small piece of the rock to carry on their voyage as a good luck talisman.
And some sailors even considered it was bad luck to embark at Lock 7 without first visiting Kissing Rock. The Kissing Rock is still at Lock 7, presumably bringing to modern visitors the good luck it brought to sailors ... if they follow the tradition.
Welland Canal bombing
Lock 24 of the Welland Canal at Thorold was heavily damaged in 1900 by a bomb placed by members of an Irish-American group called Clan na
Gael who sought independence for Ireland. The explosion did not achieve the intent to cause a catastrophic release of water. Three men
were immediately arrested in Thorold: John Walsh, John Nolan and Luke Dillon who gave his name as Karl Dullman. Dillon/Dullman was
well known to U.K. and U.S. police from previous bombings there. It took a jury 35 minutes to find all three men guilty even though Dillon
could not be placed at the scene. All were given life sentences. A local newspaper, uninhibited at the time by libel laws described the men as
"degenerate outcasts" and described Nolan as "what biologists would call low-browed plug-ugly, the type of man who cleans spittoons because he
has not enough enterprise to be a burglar." Welsh was released after some years and Nolan went insane in prison. Despite persistent efforts
by Irish-American groups to effect Dillon''''s release, he remained in prison until 1914. The Americans believed the Canadians kept Dillon in jail for
so long because they feared his release would antagonize the very strong Loyal Orange Lodge, a secret society that opposed Irish independence.
From Ontario Place Names 2007/10 David E. Scott Ph. 866 471 4123 or 905 680 7884
Natural Resources Canada in the Region of Niagara.
Address of this page: http://www.ruralroutes.com/thoroldontario