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Aug 20 1990

C . McQuesten and Company 1835-1857

By Lynn Campbell, Ontario Agricultural Museum
August 20, 1990

[Page 2] The history of McQuesten and Company has been given a cursory examination by writers and historians. However, most of these histories have repeated inaccurate accounts of the company's founding and development. This papers seeks to redress the question of how, why and when this company was founded and, moreover, place it in the broader perspective of Ontario history. Studying the early development of this company reveals a great deal of information about the nature and operation of early industrial enterprises. Such themes as the importance of personal relations between the owners and operators, the precarious nature of shipments of supplies and communication, and the fine line between prosperity and failures, are all illuminated by a chronological study of the early years of this firm. Considered in toto [sic], a microeconomic examination of C. McQuesten and Company provides a clearer insight into the macroeconomic world of nineteenth century business.

The date of the actual founding of the company is somewhat of a mystery. The official history of the Sawyer- Massey Company (the direct descendant of C. McQuesten and Company) maintains that the origins of the firm can be traced to 1835 when John Fisher, an American from New York state, decided that Hamilton was "a very desirable place" to establish a foundry. 1 Fisher, according to this history, established a small foundry and began to make "one machine at a time". 2 He experienced severe financial problems and decided to appeal to Calvin McQuesten of Brockport, New York and two other gentlemen to join him in the firm and supply him with some badly needed capital. These gentlemen did indeed join [Page 3] Fisher and according to this history, the firm prospered. This version of the founding of the Company is also to be found in several secondary sources. For example, R. Butler in his article on Hamilton's industries repeats the same story 3 as do Ross Irwin and Harold Turner in their History of Ontario's Threshing Machine Industry. 4

The primary evidence, however, suggests something different. A copy of an agreement dated May 18, 1835 clearly shows that the land on which the foundry was built was sold by David Kirkendale to Joseph H. Janes, Priam B. Hill and Calvin McQuesten. 5 Moreover, a partnership agreement from the same year dated October 1, states that an equal partnership was established in the "furnace and manufacturing business, between Calvin McQuesten and Priam B. Hill of Brockport, New York, John Fisher of La Grange, New York, and Joseph H. Janes of Upper Canada". 6 Furthermore, correspondence between Fisher and McQuesten quotes Janes as stating that he was sorry he ever went to Brockport to start the furnace. 7 This statement would seem to indicate that Janes was the individual who [Page 4] initiated the establishment of the Foundry, not John Fisher.

Who exactly were these four men who were responsible for starting this foundry? Very little information is known about Joseph H. Janes. The partnership agreement describes him as a resident of Upper Canada and later correspondence indicates that he was a skilled machinist and a foundry man. 8 He also seems to have been in Fisher's estimation a bit of a gadfly with "so many notions in his head that I know but what dependence to put in his head that I know what dependence to put in him". 9 Among his interests during the short time he was with the firm were land speculation, 10 a carriage factory, 11 making scales, 12 and establishing his own factory. 13 Janes' various and widespread business interests are consistent with research findings on other early nineteenth century businessmen. Gerald Tulchinsky in his study of the Montreal business community from 1837-53, found that many entrepreneurs had "multiple and simultaneous economic interests (and)...were never committed, it seems, to only one business or necessarily to once place. Such diversity of interest and mobility is evidence of their remarkable astuteness and flexibility." 14 To support this [Page 5] theory Tulchinsky cites many examples - Peter McGill fur trader, staple dealer, shipowner, forwarder, banker and railway promoter and James Ferris - insurance and gas companies and real estate speculation. 15 Douglas McCalla's research on Isaac Buchanan in Hamilton also shows the diversity of entrepreneurial interests during this period. Buchanan was involved in wholesaling, real estate speculation, railroads and many other ventures. 16 Therefore, Janes' numerous business interests are very typical of business men of this period.

Calvin McQuesten was also very much a model nineteenth century businessman. Born in Bedford, New Hampshire in 1801, McQuesten was originally trained as a teacher and later as a doctor. In 1832 he moved to the thriving community of Brockport, New York which was located on the recently completed Erie Canal. In Brockport, McQuesten opened a medical practice and a pharmaceutical business. 17 He continued to operate this pharmaceutical business long after he had moved to Hamilton to devote most of his time and energy to the foundry business. Nor was the foundry his sole interest in Hamilton. McQuesten was also involved in real estate speculation 18 and mortgages 19 as well as having interests in a cotton mill in New Hampshire, a timber mill in Wisconsin, the Victoria Mutual Insurance Company, the Canadian Felt Hat Company, Hespler mills, the [Page 6] Hamilton Tribune and the Gore Box. 20

[Photographs of John Fisher and Dr. Calvin McQuesten]

John Fisher, another partner in the firm and cousin of Calvin McQuesten, 21 was also involved in a variety of concerns. Like McQuesten he was born in New Hampshire and later moved west to La Grange, New York, where he worked in the dry goods business. 22 Fisher must also have gained some experience as a foundryman since some of his correspondence deals with his involvement in casting at the Hamilton foundry. 23 However, Fisher's degree of expertise in casting and managing a foundry is questionable since at one point he declares, "I am a stranger to the business myself and do not feel competent to judge in all cases when out [sic] affairs are managed in the best way". 24 Fisher, like McQuesten, was also involved in several other business enterprises. For example, land speculation 25 and mortgages. 26 His business interests, however, were not nearly as diverse as McQuesten's and his interests seem to have been much more concentrated on the foundry and his other major preoccupation - politics. This interest can be seen in the fact that he served as an alderman and mayor of Hamilton and later capped his political career by becoming a Congressman for New [Page 7] York state in 1868. 27

Little is known about the fourth partner in the firm, Priam B. Hill, other than that he lived in Brockport, New York, where he was a neighbor of Dr. McQuesten 28 and that he later moved to Wisconsin. 29 Hill, though he probably never actually invested any money in the firm, since he sold his interest to McQuesten in 1836, 30 was probably the key individual in the formation of this company. Hill was the brother-in-law of James Seymour, 31 a partner in the Backus foundry in Brockport. 32 This iron foundry was formed in 1828 by Harry Bachus and Joseph Ganson. The firm underwent a Variety of partnership changes and was known at various times as Backus, Webster and Company; Balch, Webster and Company; Backus, Burroughs and Company; and Backus, Fitch and Company. The firm initially produced threshing machines and horse-powers and later acquired considerable fame for producing 100 of the first 200 McCormick grain reapers ever manufactured. 33 Hill's familial connection to Seymour, therefore, [Page 8] explains how the new company acquired access to the Backus firm for equipment, patterns, supplies and machines.

Given all this information it is possible to draw a probable scenario for the founding of McQuesten and company. Knowing the aggressive and assertive personality and business interests of Janes, as well as his comment that he started the furnace, it is probable that he approached Backus and Seymour in Brockport about opening a furnace in his home, Hamilton. 34 They, in turn, probably referred him to Seymour's brother-in-law, Hill. He, in turn, approached his neighbor, Calvin McQuesten, who would have had the necessary capital to bankroll the firm (from his pharmaceutical business). McQuesten in turn called upon his cousin John Fisher, who was not only experienced in running a business, but probably was familiar also with casting techniques. Therefore, an intricate web of business, family and personal ties brought these four men together to found this firm.

The question of why Janes went to Brockport to promote the foundry is also obvious. The Backus business was perhaps the only factory producing threshing machines and horse-powers within hundreds of miles. Moreover, Brockport itself was a thriving community and may have epitomized for Janes what he hoped Hamilton would become. Brockport prior to 1820 was a quiet cross-roads community in the heart of the prosperous wheat-growing area of the Genesee Valley. 35 However, with the decision to extend the Erie canal [Image of the Canals of Upper Canada, c.1840] [Page 9] throughout Brockport and beyond, the village underwent a tremendous burst of growth because of its new prominence as a central shipping and business point. The canal, incidently [sic], was diverted to Brockport because of the direct personal influence of James Seymour, Hill's brother-in-law. 36

Janes probably hoped the same growth would occur in Hamilton and undoubtedly stressed the numerous advantages of Hamilton as a site for a foundry. Hamilton in 1835 was a newly incorporated town (1833) with a population of around 2,800. 37 This was a large increase from just a few years earlier and helps to show what a thriving, growing community Hamilton was at this time. Wholesalers like Isaac Buchanan were even moving their headquarters from Toronto to Hamilton. The reasons for Hamilton's zeal and projected growth were mainly geographic. Here, the foremost reason was its location in continental North America. Hamilton is "situated close to the two great routes into the North American continent, namely the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes water-way and the Hudson-Mohawk valley". 38 The city's initial response to this opportunity was curbed because of the land barrier at the end of the bay. However, with the completion of the Burlington Bay Canal in 1827 the city became an integral shipping point on these two axis. This position was consolidated by the fact that Hamilton offered an excellent sheltered harbour with fairly level shoreline. Both of these factors [Page 10] were important for a foundry as they meant that iron and coal supplies could be shipped in cheaply and easily.

Hamilton boasted of other advantages that were of specific interest to a company planning to sell threshing machines. Hamilton being located near a break in the Niagara escarpment at the Ancaster Hills, allowed teamsters to haul supplies from Hamilton to the Grand and Thames valleys areas which were just being opened for settlement. 39 Hamilton, therefore, acted as an entreport [sic] for immigrants and the supplies they needed and in turn the developing agricultural hinterland shipped their exports from Hamilton. By far the largest crop in Hamilton's hinterland, as it was in the Genesee country of New York where Backus was located, was wheat. 40 Lord Durham wrote that the peninsula between Lake Erie and Lake Huron was "the best grain country on the continent". 41 As early as 1830 an average of fifty loads of wheat a day were shipped from Brantford to Hamilton. 42 This fact insured that the new Hamilton firm would have a lucrative built-in market for threshing machines as the Backus firm did in Brockport.

Hamilton's position as an entreport [sic] for new immigrants also guaranteed the new firm a constant labour supply. The growth and prosperity of Hamilton attracted skilled labourers such as ironworker James Stewart of Glasgow who began [Page 10] working for McQuesten and Company shortly after his arrival in Hamilton in 1835. 43

The geographic proximity of Brockport to Hamilton could also have been a factor in Hamilton's favour. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the Welland and Burlington canals in 1827 44 (see map) the travelling time between Hamilton and Brockport was considerably shortened. Hamilton was now directly linked to Brockport by an intricate network of canals and waterways. This was important for McQuesten planned to stay in Brockport to direct the acquisition of pig iron, patterns, coal, and capital (for which he had numerous connections) while Fisher managed the foundry in Hamilton. Thus, the Hamilton firm was to become a virtual western subsidiary of the Brockport firm.

This westward movement by Fisher and McQuesten epitomizes the immigration pattern of New England entrepreneurs. Both Fisher and McQuesten were born in New Hampshire, moved west to New York State and then west again to Hamilton, each time following up on opportunities perceived in new areas being opened up. With this constant movement west, both Fisher and McQuesten fit perfectly into the pattern found by other historians of New England industrialists. 45

The site McQuesten and his partners chose to build upon was located at the corner of James and Merrick, specifically Block 5, Lot 5, in the Kirkendale [Page 12] survey. It measured 60 x 120 feet. 46 The choice of the location was not haphazard, located only a few blocks from the main intersection of Hamilton, at the corner of King and James, the firm was close to the merchants in the core of the city and the roads that led there. 47

The geographic location of this firm fits perfectly into the framework that Ian Davey and Michael Doucett described for Hamilton. They point out that what appears to be a jumble of mixed activities in the youthful city are actually very strongly demarcated areas of activity. At the core of the city were the trading and financial centres, surrounded next by the artisan shops and manufacturing establishments, and finally around the outside were located the hotels and boarding houses. 48

An exact description of the foundry at this time does not exist, but a fair picture can be drawn using data from various sources. The foundry was a building of not less than 18 x 24 feet and was located on the west side of James Street. 49 The source of power for the operation was a horse-power in the basement. 50 It was used to power a bellows that introduced a blast into the [Page 13] cupola. The cupola was fed scrap-iron and pig-iron by the bucketful from the top 51 and molten iron was removed at the bottom. 52 The shop was also equipped with a lathe, planning machine and crank. 53 The latter machines were for turning out the wooden patterns that made the impressions in sand moulds and for cutting out the various parts of the machines they planned to produce. 54

[Images of an official Sawyer-Massey Sketch of the Company's First Plant, and an Accurate Sketch of McQuesten and Company's First Building]

The picture of the foundry emerging from this information, while a far cry from the industries of today or even a 100 years ago, does not fit into the description many agricultural implement company historians use to describe early companies. Historians such as W.J. Phillips and J. Gilmour maintain that most agricultural implement firms started out as small blacksmith shops employing only a few men and producing very basic tools. 55 While this may have been true for some firms, the ability to do their own castings and therefore produce a wide variety of machines, far removes McQuesten and Company from the accepted norm.

Philips and Gilmour were correct in this case in their emphasis on the importance of the United States connection. Both stress that most Ontario agricultural implement firms never produced any original patented equipment, but [Page 14] merely reproduced and sold proven American implements. 56 This was definitely true for McQuesten and Company for they imported their machinery patterns and some complete machines from New York state. 57 Janes even inquired about the possibility of patenting the Backus machines in Canada. 58

The foundry was operated in Hamilton by Janes and Fisher with the help of a few employees such as a Mr. Stiles, who made the patterns. 59 McQuesten, meanwhile, stayed in Brockport where he oversaw the acquisition of iron and coal from American sources as well as being in touch with the Backus company. The construction of the foundry was probably complete by December 1835 for on December 16, 1835, James wrote to McQuesten in Brockport inquiring as to why the coal and iron had not yet arrived for they had "engaged a large number of castings and must get going as soon as possible". 60

New York was not the only source of raw materials for a letter dated December 20 from Fisher to McQuesten notes that the iron from Long Point had not arrived. 61 This is a reference to the Long Point furnace established by John Mason in 1816 which had been operating under the name Van Norman and Company [Page 15] since 1820. This furnace produced pig iron made from local supplies of bog iron. 62

Fisher's letter of December 20 also introduces a problem which kept recurring over the next few years. In this communication Fisher informs McQuesten that Janes has left Hamilton probably never to return after having sold out every dollar he owned. Moreover, he left over $2,500 in debts including some money to the firm. 63 Janes' departure was only temporary for by February 3, 1836 he was back in Hamilton working for the foundry. Fisher, however, wrote McQuesten that he was far from pleased with his performance. He stated that Janes' "manner of doing business is far from what I conceive to be for our mutual interest". 64 Furthermore, he went on to complain that Janes spent only one-quarter of his time in the shop and Fisher was unable to "learn from Monday morning till Saturday night any reason why he should be absent one day of six". 65

By March the situation had improved and Fisher reported that Janes was spending more time at the shop and he assured McQuesten that he and Janes were getting along fine. This situation did not last for by April 22 Fisher wrote McQuesten that Janes was leaving the firm and going to Michigan. Janes was apparently concerned that Backus had taken advantage of McQuesten and he felt [Page 16] that Backus was his worst enemy. 66 This rather cryptic reference would seem to indicate that Janes felt that the Americans involved in the firm were in league against him. Once again though, the reports of Janes' departure were premature. On April 30, Fisher informed McQuesten that Janes was still in the firm but that he planned to leave for the west the following spring. 67

Janes' recurring departures and threats of departure must have been a considerable trial to Fisher and McQuesten. However, that was only part of the problem. The correspondence between Fisher and McQuesten shows that there was constant tension between Fisher and Janes. Janes appears to have been a very domineering, aggressive and assertive man. Fisher in contrast, appears to have been very hesitant. His letters to McQuesten are full of doubts about his ability to manage the firm, 68 to make decisions (for example whether or not to acquire insurance) 69 and even whether to continue the business. 70 These problems must have put a considerable strain on the firm and it is probably McQuesten's meditating influence that kept it going.

Unfortunately McQuesten's replies to Fisher's constant list of complaints and problems do not survive for McQuesten saved only the correspondence addressed [Page 17] to him and only a percentage of it survived. However, the fact that the business did continue in operation would seem to indicate that McQuesten supplied solutions to Fisher's problems. Moreover, McQuesten's occasional visits to Upper Canada could have helped to sort out many trials facing the firm. 71

Another problem that constantly appears to have plagued the firm was the lack of money in Upper Canada. Fisher often wrote McQuesten that there was "no money in circulation" 72 or that there was no money in Hamilton or York. 73 This shortage of funds forced the firm to accept goods and services in exchange for some of their products. For example, Fisher reported that they "sold 9 ploughs, 4 for lumber, 2 for teaming, 2 for cash and 1 for a note". 74 This lack of cash made it difficult for the firm to pay their suppliers. The lack of cash was not a problem unique to this firm. In Upper Canada, as in most new countries, there was a shortage of circulating capital. 75 Therefore, any available currency was used. This resulted in a bewildering array of currency: "Currency was confused, for sterling ($5 to the pound) was paid for imports from Britain, dollars to the United States, and both Halifax Currency ($4 to the pound) and York Currency ($2.50 to the pound) in Canada itself; while there were in addition all sorts of coins in circulation, as well as considerable counterfeit money". 76 [Page 18] This shortage of cash meant that McQuesten and Company were often forced to accept barter for their products and helps explain why they were constantly strapped for cash to pay their suppliers.

The foundry faced another major problem in 1836, that of securing suppliers of pig iron and coal and paying for them. Over the winter months the lakes were frozen and all shipments had to wait until spring. 77 The order which was to last them through most of the winter was help up and by May the firm was even buying up old iron Scotch kettles 78 to melt down. The basic physical problems of transportation and the ordering of supplies was also hampered by problems in communication. Fisher often notes that he had not heard from companies from which he had ordered materials. 79 He did have one advantage though, namely that he ordered many of his supplies from New York state, sometimes even through the Backus Company. 80 In either situation he replied on McQuesten to ensure their prompt delivery.

Fisher's lack of operating capital was also a disadvantage when ordering supplies. The firm was always short of cash and it was a constant scramble to pay creditors. On at least one occasion Fisher had to leave a shipment or iron at the wharf because the "charges were too high too [sic] retrieve it". 81

[Page 19] Despite the problems of securing supplies, the foundry was turning out a considerable and varied line of products. The first heats at the foundry were on January 7, 1836. 82 At this time there were at least six men working for the firm in addition to Janes and Fisher. They included "Mr. Harris and Brother Sammuel in the Furnace, 1 man at the Lathe, 2 men working patterns and doing other bench work, 1 man preparing wood plows". 83

The products manufactured included ploughs, 84 horse-powers, 85 scales 86 and threshing machines. 87 The latter product was particularly important for the 'wheat mining' farmers of the local area. The first successful threshing machine was invented by Andrew Meikle in 1796. The machine mechanically combined three labour intensive-tasks (shelling the grain from the head, separating the straw from the grain and the chaff, and separating the grain from the chaff) formerly done by hand. These machines did all of these jobs at once, eliminating many hours of labour. 88

The machines that McQuesten and Company built were exact replicas of the ones that Backus and Company produced - they were cut from the same [Page 20] patterns. 89 (see figure #1) In fact, the Hamilton firm, at least initially, was selling "threshing machine mills" made in Brockport by Backus. 90 However, by September the firm was producing their own machines. Business appeared to be doing fine through the early months of 1836 and Fisher was convinced that "we have the best machinery in our furnace to be found in the reach of my acquaintance". 91 In September, however, the wheels on the machines started to break. The problem was a flaw in the pattern which caused a weakness in the casting. As Fisher reported, the consequent breakage caused much embarrassment and hurt their reputation. In fact, the problem was so serious that Fisher point out to McQuesten that if it continued they would have to quit the business. 92

Fortunately, McQuesten and Company were able to hire a skilled foundryman from New York state who was able to solve the problem. It is interesting to observe that skilled labour was in such demand that McQuesten had to pretend to the man's employer that they were offering him one-quarter of the firm as an incentive to join the firm. Otherwise his previous employer would not have let him go. 93

[Sketch of C. McQuesten and Company's First Threshing Machine]

[Page 21] The fact that the company had to import a worker from New York state also shows how little industrial development was occurring in Hamilton at this time. McQuesten and Company was the only foundry in Hamilton and therefore they had no one else to turn to for help in the immediate area. Considering the circumstances, it was natural to turn to New York state for help, depending on their extensive business and personal ties in the foundry trade.

This problem solved, the company continued on as before. In fact, the future looked bright. In January 1837, Fisher wrote McQuesten that "I think we can do $5,000 or $6,000 of business this year ...(and) ought to make a goof profit if no misfortune occurs". 94 This would have represented a considerable projected increase over the previous year's sales. (see fig. 2) Production in the winter months seems to have centered around the manufacture of ploughs and edges for the spring market. 95 Later in the year there was a switch to making threshing machines for the fall market. Production was obviously oriented to the agricultural seasons.

There is also a hint in Fisher's correspondence with McQuesten that the factory's line was beginning to expand. For example, Fisher wrote to McQuesten that Winer's steam engine was complete. 96 This reference suggests that the foundry was producing some type of rudimentary steam engine at this time. In addition, Fisher was pondering the possibilities of producing stoves and hollow [Page 22] ware. 97

Production, however, was still hampered by the vagaries of supply. On more than one occasion Fisher wrote McQuesten that they were out of coal or iron and production was being held up. 98 Furthermore, often the supplies that they did receive were of poor quality. In August, Fisher informed McQuesten that he was "finished purchasing of Van Norman- his iron is a damage to us". 99 Problems also existed with the coal supply. Once Fisher wrote McQuesten that the most recent supply of coal was full of slate and therefore useless. 100

Cash flow, however, continued to be the major hindrance. Part of the problem was that the firm was unable to collect from its customers the money owed them. Fisher, for example, notes in a letter, that he went to Whitby to collect $450 and was unable to collect even a farthing. 101 To compound the matter, Fisher was again having problems securing any money locally. This was at least partially a reflection of the scarcity of funds available as he wrote McQuesten on April 12, 1837, 102 but it is also apparent that it was increasingly due to the firm's financial insolvency: [Page 23] "I thought I (Fisher) would go to the bank and borrow $500 but the door was shut - I called on McNab who is one of the directors and enquired of him where there would be a prospect of obtaining money, but he thought it might be long but could not say for with any certainty- It depends on the treatment of any bank from you and if you are in "hot water" to your shoulders our banks cannot expect many favours... I do not know any place where I can raise at present $20". 103

Indeed prospects began to look so bad that Fisher and McQuesten began seriously to consider selling the foundry. Janes who felt that he was being crowded out of the furnace, tried to buy out Fisher and McQuesten. 104 Fisher, in turn, was becoming so exasperated with Janes that he said he would give $100 to have Janes go out west. 105

The lack of capital was obviously still bothering both Fisher and McQuesten for Fisher stated that "if your (McQuesten's) apprehensions are well-founded I am perfectly willing our business be closed tomorrow. I would rather leave tomorrow than be perpetually and constantly harassed ... owing to the derangement in business with you and us at this time we are not able to obtain money". 106

However, the firm weathered this crisis and even turned down an offer of $2,500 for the shop. They refused the offer, stating that they would not sell for less than $3,000. Moreover, Fisher indicated that even it [sic] their price was met they [Page 24] would build again - on a dry spot. 107 This seems to indicate that even though they were experiencing problems both men understood the potential of the market in Hamilton.

It is also important too, to remember that at this time Upper Canada was experiencing a severe economic depression. The problem had begun in May, 1837 with the suspension of specie payments by many United States banks, an action immediately followed by similar moves by British and Upper Canadian banks. This event triggered a general depression in both Britain and the United States. In Upper Canada there were numerous business failures as well as declining immigration, prices (especially wheat) and imports. 108 Given these economic conditions then, it is a sign of the economic health of the firm that it continued to operate and did not go under as so many others did.

In the fall of 1837 the firm faced their most severe test to date. With the outbreak of rebellion in Upper Canada, Fisher wrote McQuesten that it was "the beginning of a civil war" and that "we shall probably deeply regret that we ever came to this province". 109 Fisher at this time was literally "living in constant fear". He sent his two sons to New York state, but would not leave himself for fear of having the furnace burned. He also believed that their business was at an end and he expected to stop work in a few days. 110

[Page 25] John Fisher's fears at the time he wrote this letter (Dec. 7, 1837) were probably fuelled by numerous and outrageous rumours that must have reached Hamilton about the rebellion. December 7 was after all the day of the Battle of Montgomery's Tavern and it is quite possible that exaggerated reports of the size of the rebel army and the battle that followed, were alarming to the local citizen's. The other primary reports from this period portray none of the fear and panic

1. Sawyer-Massey Co. Commemorative Catalogue, 1903 pg. 3.
2. Ibid.
3. P. Butler "Hamilton's Industries", Made in Hamilton Quarterly, (Summer, 1919) p. 22.
4. H.S. Turner and R.W. Irwin, Ontario's Threshing Machine Industry, (Guelph, 1974) p. 36.
5. McQuesten Papers, Whitehern, #188-190, May 18, 1835 (Henceforth all references from this collection simply cited as Whitehern #).
6. Logie-McQuesten Papers, Hamilton Public Library, #512, Oct.1.1835 (Henceforth all references from this collections simply be cited as HPL #).
7. McQuesten Papers, Public Archives of Ontario, #201, April 30, 1836 (Henceforth all references from this collection will be simply cited as PAO #).
8. For example see PAO #206, Nov. 22, 1836.
9. PAO # 162, April, April 22, 1836.
10. Ibid.
11. PAO #169, August 24, 1836.
12. Ibid.
13. PAO #215, March 18, 1837.
14. G. Tulchinsky, The River Barons, (Toronto, 1977) p. 7.
15. Ibid.
16. See D. McCalla, The Upper Canada Trade 1834-72, (Toronto, 1979) p. 2.
17. T. M. Bailey, Dictionary of Hamilton Biography, (Toronto, 19810) p. 145.
18. Whitehern, #280-83, May 5, 1837.
19. Whitehern #311, Oct, 1850.
20. Bailey, op. cit. p.146.
21. PAO #168, Oct. 20, 1882.
22. Progressive Batavian, March 31, 1882.
23. PAO #168, Oct. 2, 1836.
24. PAO #194, March 25, 1837.
25. Whitehern #280-281, May 6, 1837.
26. Whitehern #311, Oct. 3, 1850.
27. Batavia Dailey News, March 30, 1882.
28. Whitehern #163, August 19, 1845.
29. Ibid.
30. HPL #512, Oct. 1, 1835.
31. New York State Genealogical Records.
32. M.E. Smith, We Remember Brockport, (Monroe County, 1979) p. 26.
33. W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, (New York, 1877) p. 169. Curiously enough this firm which later became the Johnston Harvester Company was later purchased by the Massey-Harris Company who also later purchased an interest in the descendent of the McQuesten company - the Sawyer-Massey company.
34. PAO #201.
35. Smith, op. cit. p.6.
36. Ibid.
37. H.R. Page, Illustrated Atlas of the County of Wentworth, (Toronto, 1975) p. XVI. The population figure may be lower since the figure 2,800 is from 1836.
38. A.W. Wingfield (ed.) The Hamilton Centennial 1846-1946, (Hamilton, 1946), p. 85.
39. Ibid, p. 23.
40. R.L. Jones, History of Agriculture in Ontario, 1613-1880, (Toronto, 19460 p. 85.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid, p. 107.
43. See James Stewart's obituary, Hamilton Spectator, Dec. 24, 1890.
44. J. Weaver, The Location of Manufacturing Enterprises: The Case of Hamilton's Attraction of Foundries 1830-1890. Unpublished paper McMaster University, 1982.
45. Ibid.
46. Whitehern #188-190, May 18, 1835.
47. R.D. Roberts, "The Changing Patterns of Distribution and Composition of Manufacturing in Hamilton between 1861-1921". M.A. Thesis McMaster University, 1961, p. 161.
48. I. Davey and M. Doucett, "The Social Geography of a Commercial City c. 1853" in Katz et al, The People of Hamilton, Canada West. (Cambridge, 1977) p. 330.
49. Whitehern #188-190, May 18, 1835.
50. PAO #207, Oct. 17, 1835.
51. Weaver, Foundries, p. 9.
52. Sawyer-Massey Commemorative Catalogue, (1906), n.p.
53. Whitehern #277-78, Nov. 2, 1835.
54. Weaver, Foundries, p. 9.
55. See W.J. Phillips, The Agricultural Implement Industry in Canada (Toronto, 1956) p. 38 and J. Gilmour, Spatial Evolution of Manufacturing in Southern Ontario 1851-1891, (Toronto, 1972) p. 172.
56. Ibid.
57. Whitehern #277-78, Nov. 2, 1835 and PAO #240, Sept. 4, 1835.
58. PAO #208, Dec. 16, 1835.
59. PAO #240, Sept. 4, 1835.
60. PAO #208, Dec. 16, 1835.
61. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836.
62. W.J. Patterson, "The Long Point Furnace," Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records, (1949) p. 70-78.
63. PAO #237, Dec. 20, 1836.
64. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836
65. Ibid.
66. PAO # 162, Apr. 22, 1836.
67. Ibid.
68. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836 and PAO #194, March 25, 1836.
69. PAO #201, April 30, 1836.
70. PAO #228, Sept. 28, 1836.
71. PAO #185, Nov. 29, 1838.
72. PAO #162, April 22, 1836.
73. PAO #201, April 30, 1836. York was renamed Toronto in 1834; however, this reference would seem to indicate that it was still commonly known as York.
74. PAO #162, April 22, 1836.
75. M.Q. Innis, An Economic History of Canada, (Toronto, 1936) p.119.
76. E.C. Guilett, The Pioneer Farmer and Backwoodsman, (Toronto, 1963) Vol. I, p. 91.
77. PAO #162, April 22, 1836.
78. PAO #197, May 23, 1836.
79. PAO #162, April 22, 1836.
80. PAO #165, May 19, 1836.
81. PAO #169, August 24, 1836.
82. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836.
83. PAO #194, March 25, 1836.
84. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1837.
85. PAO #162, April 22, 1836.
86. PAO #169, August 24, 1836.
87. PAO #228, Sept. 8, 1836.
88. Irwin and Turner, op.cit. p. 1.
89. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836.
90. Whitehern #274.
91. PAO #237, Feb. 3, 1836.
92. PAO #288, 1836.
93. PAO #181, Nov. 21, 1836.
94. PAO #234, Jan. 16, 1836.
95. PAO #215.
96. Whitehern #279-82, May 6, 1837.
97. Ibid.
98. PAO #203, Sept. 20, 1837.
99. PAO #232, August 29, 1837.
100. PAO #231, Jan. 2, 1837.
101. PAO #224, Jan. 16, 1837.
102. PAO #184, April 12, 1837.
103. Whitehern #282, May 6, 1837. The MacNab referred to here is Sir Alan N. MacNab - politician, solider, lawyer and at this time of an official of the Gore Band. For further information see Bailey, op.cit.
104. PAO #135, Feb. 20, 1837.
105. Ibid.
106. PAO #165, May 10, 1837.
107. Whitehern #283, May 6, 1837. The firm at this time was experiencing considerable flooding in their basement.
108. D. McCalla, op.cit. p. 24.
109. PAO #193, Dec. 7, 1837.
110. Ibid.
111. For example none of the local historians of Hamilton or memoirs and papers from the period (for example the Land papers at HPL) mention any unrest or tension at all. The only reference are to the calling of a few men to fight the rebels.
112. PAO #193, Dec. 7, 1837.
113. PAO #171, Feb. 20, 1838.
114. Ibid.
115. Ibid.
116. See Bailey, op.cit. p.15-17.
117. Weaver, Foundries, p.16.
118. PAO #236, March 23, 1838.
119. PAO #190, May 29, 1838.
120. PAO #235, April 27, 1838.
121. PAO #235, April 27, 1838.
122. PAO #161, June 16, 1838.
123. PAO #186, June 26, 1838.
124. PAO #185, Nov. 29, 1838. The Patriots in this reference would appear to mean the supporters of the Crown who were probably a little over zealous in proclaiming their loyalty and questioning others - especially Americans.
125. Ibid.
126. PAO #161, June 16, 1838.
127. PAO #183, March 11, 1839.
128. Ibid.
129. Ibid.
130. Ibid.
131. Whitehern #144, August 7, 1839.
132. PAO #183, March 11, 1839.
133. PAO #95, April 14, 1843.
134. Ibid.
135. Hamilton Land Registry Office Records.
136. Assessment Rolls for the City of Hamilton, 1852. The assessment records for this period are given in pounds and dollars.
137. Assessment Rolls for this period are given in pounds and dollars.
138. HPL #547, Sept. 23, 1853.
139. PAO #2, June 20, 1840.
140. L.D. Sawyer joined the firm in 1844. Canada Illustrated News, 1892.
141. Assessment Rolls for the City of Hamilton, 1855.
142. [Citation missing]
143. Land Registry Office Records, Hamilton.
144. Ibid. On March 4, 1853 McQuesten and Fisher purchased Lots 5,6,7,8. Plan 254 near the foot of Wellington Street, and on March 16, 1853 Luther and Stephen Sawyer purchased part of Lot. 37, Plan 254.
145. Roberts, op.cit., p. 161.
146. G. Bertram, "Economic Growth in Canadian History 1870-1915" Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, (1962) p. 163.
147. City of Hamilton, Hamilton-The Birmingham of Canada, (Hamilton, 1893) n.p.
148. Assessment Rolls for the City of Hamilton, 1855.
149. Ibid.
150. Hamilton Land Registry Office Records.
151. HPL #119 and #892, Dec. 9, 1857.
152. Bailey, op.cit.
153. Hamilton Land Registry Office Records.
154. Assessment Rolls for the City of Hamilton.
155. Daily News, Batavia, New York, March 29, 1889.
156. For a complete description of McQuesten's personal and business interests see the McQuesten entry in Bailey, op.cit.


Assessment Roll for the City of Hamilton, 1849-57, Public Archives of Ontario

Canada Illustrated News, Toronto, 1892

Daily News, Batavia, New York

Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton, Ontario

Land Registry Office Records, Hamilton

Logie-McQuesten Papers, Hamilton Public Library

McQuesten Papers Section Four, Public Archives of Ontario

McQuesten Papers, Whitehern Museum, Hamilton, Ontario

New York State Genealogical Records, Rochester, New York

Progressive Batavian, Batavia, New York

Sawyer-Massey Co. Ltd. 70th Anniversary Catalogue, 1906, Reprinted Erin: Boston Mills Press, 1981.


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