Tributes to William Armstrong from Grape Growers' Association and the Niagara Historical Society

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MONDAY, JAN. 31, 1921

GRAPE GROWERS Held Large and Successful Banquet in St. Davids


About two hundred and fifty fruit growers assembled in the I. O. 0. Hall at St. David's on Saturday evening to enjoy the banquet and programme arranged by the local executive of the Grape Growers' Association. Prominent growers were present from Homer, Stamford, St.Catharines, Queenston, St. David's and surrounding district. After partaking of the sumptuous banquet, ably served by a party of young men, Crysler, who acted as chairman the absence of the President of local Association, Mr. W. Armstrong, welcomed the guests and spoke about sad circumstance that prevented the presence of Mr. Armstrong.

The toast to The King was raised. The assembly rose and responded singing God Save the King. Mr. Crysler then presented a resolution to a letter of condolence be forwarded to Mr. Armstrong, expressing and tending the deep sympathy of all present, in his sad bereavement.

The resolution carried unanimously, with all standing, and heads bowed.

Mr. Charles Lowrey proposed a toast to the Grape Industry and brief and happy speech congratulating the local association on the splendid attendance and told of the days when the first grape vines were planted in the district. He also carried the audience back to the time when grapes were marketed in old split baskets, weighing from twenty to thirty pounds. In conclusion, he averred that in the year 1921 there are greater prospects for good prices than there has been for any year the history of the industry, and demand is equal to the supply.

In reply to this toast, Mr. H. Simpson also congratulated the local executive on the successful event and splendid banquet. He paid splendid tribute to Mr. Armstrong saying "The grape growers in the district, have every reason to be proud of the man they have elected to look after their interests."

He gave a brief resume of the situation in the past 24 months when the farmer "was getting the feathers and the other man the chicken." He also expressed his confidence that the industry has never been before in such good condition as it is now, further that the business end of all in excellent hands. In conclusion he strongly urged the growers and members of the Association to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the executive.

Major Shepard, with a few fitting remarks, proposed a toast to Grape Growers Association, and called on Mr. Welstead, the President of the Association, who willingly responded.

Mr. Welstead gave an interesting account of the conditions leading to, and the history of forming of Association. He also emphasized the necessity of the Association keeping close to the Niagara Grape Growers Limited, which is only the business end of the association. He also pointed out great need for every grower in the district belonging to the Association, and assisting the Grape Growers Limited, to get contracts. Further, he explained that the company wished to take up the matter of packages, but didn't know how many were needed until the contracts were signed; this showed the necessity of all farmers signing their contracts through the various locals as soon as possible. "We want to get all the contracts so that the wine men will buy the grapes through the Association; if the grapes are handled through the Association the overhead expenses will be small. The company must sell stock to have a good financial standing and we want you all to be shareholders, firstly for your money and secondly for your splendid enthusiasm." In conclusion Mr. Welstead explained that it was now possible to secure stock from the local Associations, and made a strong appeal to all members to avail themselves of this opportunity.

Deputy Reeve Dr. Watson, in a few appropriate words, expressed his pleasure at being present and enjoying such a good time. He proposed the toast to the Grape Growers, Limited.

Mr. Montgomery, manager of the company, responded and proceeded to a brief outline of the splendid work done by the company in its first year. He explained that the prices on the Canadian market didn't compare favorably with those quoted on American markets because the Canadian jobbers had always controlled the situation and would "sit tight" until the prices came down. Last year was the first year that the price was held anywhere near where it should have been.

Mr. Montgomery told that the $33,000 net profits made by the company last year(after deducting all expenses and keeping enough to run on until the season opens again were paid out in a pool to the growers, and at Stoney Creek alone $13,000 was paid to the growers that they never expected to get. The growers were all paid $85 per ton first and then at the close of the season received their share of the pool.

Mr. Montgomery went on to say that next year the company expects to handle the grapes consigned to American markets, in the "Jumbo" basket. This basket sells well and commands the highest price. Continuing he gave a brief resume of the peninsula, as to the number of contracts signed this year already and explained that the aim of the company was to have 100 per cent of the contracts, then they could control the price as they had done last year. The winery can get any individual man's grapes, just the same as he usually did, and we want him to have every grape he needs but we expect him to pay the average market price. All growers who sold grapes through the company last year (whether members of the Association or not) got their share of the profits the same as the rest, and this year these same men are shareholders and taking out stock in the company."

Mr. W. Smith also responded to the toast and averred that all the growers should "stick to the organization." He was a delegate to the national convention held in Cleveland, and quoted varying prices given at various points which showed, beyond a doubt, the great need of organization. Mr. Smith claimed that it was the intention of the Grape Growers Limited, to back up the Niagara Peninsula Fruit Growers Limited, to the best of their ability. The Grape Growers Limited, have done something to be proud of.

Mr. Clemens, secretary of the company, in a strong and brief speech, told of the organized opposition that tne company had met with from outside points last year. He pointed out that the farmers, who amount to one-seventh of the population, are paying one-third of the taxes of the country and they have a right to demand a just return for all their work. He touched briefly on the great package shortage that the company faced last year, and hoped that the duty would be lowered, if not entirely removed this year. The success of the company is due to the loyalty of the growers. It was organized, managed and run for, and by the growers, and is the only means saving the industry. Mr. Clemens further stated that there were only 225 shareholders out of 1000 growers, and pointed out that they could dictate the price, which they have a right to do. Opportunity comes but one; get a hold of it while you can. The Niagara Peninsula Growers Limited are organizing about March 1st to handle all the other branches or fruit industry, and its success is assured if the growers are behind it. It is the biggest opportunity you ever had and on YOUR head and in YOUR hands rests the success or failure of the fruit industry. (Applause.)

Mr F. Cole, a delegate to the National convention at Cleveland gave an interesting report. "By joining up with the National Association we have done a wise things and they are backing us up," he said. Mr. Cole H, claimed that the men in the National organization are real business men and show much enthusiasm and interest. We must stand shoulder to shoulder, and sell the grapes collectively so as to get the last cent there is in them, and if we stick together we will win. In reference to the new company, he claimed the Grape Growers Limited, will assist as much as possible, to get on its feet. Bad distribution was the cause of the shortage of peaches in some places and great abundance in others; we must stand together for success..

Mr. Frank Lowrey claimed that the canner had no grievances against the grower but that he was in empathy with the grower. He spoke of the great need of cold storage, and better transportation and distribution. After expressing his regret that Hon. Hon. Mr. Doherty was absent due to illness, he proposed a toast to the Legislature.

Mr. Swayze, M.L.A., responded and expressed his personal sympathy to Mr. Armstrong in his sad loss, and spoke of the great tribute paid to the departed citizen, which spoke highly of his ability and the respect shown by "his fellow citizens. Continuing Mr. Swayze believed that the government should appoint a commission to look after the farmers' produce, the same as it has for electricity, etc. He spoke of his willingness to help in trying to solve the problem of quick' transportation of perishable fruit. He also claimed that Hon. Doherty was in sympathy with establishing cold storage plants. Mr. Swayze explained that if they wanted things done they should make their wishes known and send delegates and deputations to Toronto, and their interests would be looked after. (Applause.) In conclusion Mr. Swayze expressed his appreciation of the excellent banquet and enthusiastic gathering.

Mr. Evan Fraser, M.P.P., was present and expressed his regret and deep sympathy for Mr. Armstrong; on but congratulated the local association on their splendid "spread." Mr. Fraser told how he had travelled last summer from coast to coast, and didn't see a single peach tree between Toronto and British Columbia, but saw large quantities of fruit in Winnipeg that had been grown in British Columbia. Why should peach growers send stuff to the middleman to sell again before it finally goes to the consumer? In this way the farmers receive what the merchant thinks he can "pay him off" with.

Mr. H. E. Simpson expressed his great pleasure in proposing a toast to the Niagara Peninsula Growers Limited. He explained that grapes only comprise 15 per cent of the crop and a few sane and thinking men had get together to form the new company to care for the balance of the crop. He appealed to all to drink to the health, wealth and wisdom of the Niagara Peninsula Growers, Limited.

Mr. Arthur Craise, the Representative of the new company responded to the toast, and explained how that last year in Exhibition time, three farmers from the Peninsula, had met Hon. Mr. Doherty in Toronto. He told them at that time he could see that they were not getting what they should in return for their work. Shortly after wards he left for England, and while there investigated the Old Country markets, and found that there was a great demand for White peaches.

During his absence a few growers met in Vineland and discussed ways and means to form an Association to] J kand'c the output of the Peninsula to handle an output of peninsula and sub-committee was appointed to draft up the rules and regulations.

Every man who goes into the new company must sign up his entire crop; the grapes are sold through the Grape Growers Limited, and the balance through the Niagara Peninsula Growers Limited. "The amount of stock held by the shareholders will be based on the fruits, other than grapes, handled by the company. The company will be launched only with the support of the growers and on March 1st, the committee will decree whether sufficient capital has being provided and sufficient management is assured. Mr. Craise explained that the company intends to establish cold storage plant.

Much fruit could have been saved last year had we had proper organization and more cars. He claimed that

the company couldn't be launched at a better time, and it win an opportunity to grow up with business and wean another crop like last year's comes they will be able to handle it capably.

He explained that it was the intention of the company to pay twice a month on the basis of the daily pool. Mr. Craise explained that his heart and soul was to the work and expressed the hope that all growers would see the wisdom of joining the new company and striving to make it a success. He expressed a regret that Col. Roberts, chairman of the commission, and Hon. Doherty we absent

Mr. Fisher spoke of his sympathy with the movement and also paid the tribute to the integrity of Hon. Doherty and conveyed his belief that the Minister of Agriculture would carry out everything that he suggested.

Mr. H. E. Simpson moved and was seconded by Mr. H. C. Sheppard, in the following resolution: We, the members of the Grape Growers and Niagara Growers Association desire to congratulate you on the administration of the Agricultural Department. Especially do we commend the wisdom and necessity of the legislation known as 'Rural Credits.' We are of the opinion that had 'Rural Credits' been the policy of the province for the past half century, the rush to the cities and towns, of the bravest and best of the boys and girls would have been averted. The greatest and surest asset of any province is her developed farms. Had 'Rural Credits been the policy of the province for the time mentioned we have no hesitancy in saying that the assets of Ontario would be four or five times as great as they are. The motion carried unanimously by a standing vote.

Mr. Swayze explained his pleasure at having the resolution carried in that manner, and also in conveying the results to Hon. Doherty. He spoke of the vital importance of the matter and illustrated it by telling how in 1910 the census snowed seventy percent of the population in the country and thirty per cent in towns and cities, while in 1919 the census showed that figures were reversed. We can live without motors, silk hose, but we can't live without the produce from the soil.

Warden F. H. Gallinger hoped that the peach growers could get on as good a "footing" as the grape growers, and with a few pleasing remarks proposed a toast to the ladies. Messrs Allen Shepard and James White made a few appropriate remarks in response to the toasts and expressed their appreciation of the excellent repast that had been prepared by the ladies.

One of the most successful and enthusiastic meetings ever held by the growers in the peninsula came to close at a late hour with the hearty singing of "God Save the King."



February [1921] meeting


added Black Leaf 40. He advocated spraying peach trees in the late fall for curl leaf, if not at that time then as early as possible in the spring.

In regard to blackberry orange rust he said it was spread by the wind chiefly. An afflicted plant should be dug up at once and burned. A good preventive was to spray the bushes when in leaf with Bordeaux, 3 lbs. blue-stone to 5 lbs. hydrated lime, and 40 galls water, as soon in the spring as the leaves will hold a spray, and repeat in eight or ten days. It is a disease of the tissues of the stem and winters over in the plant.

Curl leaf in red raspberries is bad in the Niagara District. The Herbert variety seems not to be affected, and Prof. Caesar advocated planting that variety where the curl leaf was bad. The cause of this disease is not known.

Blackberries will stand spraying after the foliage comes out, but red raspberries will not, as they are apt, to lose all their foliage.

F. H. Dudley, State Horticulturist for Maine, says that dusting the trees has been proven by tests in Maine to be quicker and more effective than spraying. A crew can dust 300 trees in 54 minutes. The material used was arsenate of lead, sulphur and tobacco dust.

In the death of William Armstrong of Queenston, the Niagara Peninsula has suffered a great loss. Mr. Armstrong was a pioneer in the fruit business and was very successful. He was for many years a leading feature at fruit growers' meetings and was also President of the Niagara Peninsula Fruit Growers Association. He had a beautiful farm near Queenston on the Niagara Riven and specialized in peaches and tomatoes. The writer has many times visited Mr. Armstrong on his farm and always came away with some information of importance. He was exceedingly hospitable, delighted in doing kind actions, and was very highly respected all through the fruit district.

English dealers are of the opinion that apples from British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia more than equal any exported from the United States.

The potato crop of Canada in 19 20 amounted to 138.527,000 bushels, grown on 784,544 acres, the average yield per acre being 176 1-2 bushels. The average for the preceding year was 146 bushels to the acre.

Last week potatoes in car lots only brought 9Oc to $1 per bag in bulk at the track, Toronto, which is far below the cost of production.

On February 12, there was a large market at Hamilton. Potatoes were slightly higher in price at $1.40 to $1.50 per bag. Eggs were down to 65c to 70c per dozen for strictly fresh. Other prices were: Apples 25 to 40 cents per basket; beefs, per large basket, 40 cents; cabbage, per dozen, 60 to 70 cente; celery, per dozen, 90c to $1.

Latest o notations from London, Eng., on Canadian apples are; Nova Scotian Russerts, $13.20 to $14.40 per barrel; Ontario Russets, $13.20 to $16.40 per barrel; Greenings, $13.20 to $13.75 per barrel.

A nice little fall of snow occurred during the past week, affording the orchards and fields a good blanket which was badly needed. Already, however, it has begun to lessen owing to milder weather. It seems very hard this season either to keep our snow or produce enough ice for cutting purposes.

A meeting of the directors of the Niagara Grape Growers' Limited was held on the afternoon of February 9th which a very satisfactory report was presented; the report of the auditor, J. C. White, showing a substantial balance on hand after paying all expenses of organization and equipment, also giving a bonus to the share holders. Contracts have already been signed for the output from 2500 acres of grapes, and the company has an option on 500,000 (12-quart, 30,000) 6-quart, 50,000) and 11-quart baskets available for the members at prices considerably less than that asked by the local factories. There are now 250 shareholder members and several thousand associate members.

On the afternoon of February 10th the Saltfleet section of the Niagara Grape Growers' Association held a meeting at the Townhall, Stoney Creek, for the purpose of ascertaining the basket requirements of members for the season, also for signing up contracts for the sale of grapes and receiving stock subscriptions. Ex-Warden Geo. Millen was chairman, and the chief speakers were President T. J. Mahony and P. H. Montgomery, sales manager. About 95 per cent, of the local grape growers were present nearly all of whom signed up contracts with the N. G. G. for the disposal of the 1921 season's crop. A recent report from Grimsby says that the mild weather has caused the peach buds to swell and also points out that there is a considerable risk to the safety of the peach crop should a severe cold snap occur between the present time and the middle of March. Grapegrowers in that locality have made a start at pruning their grapes but muddy conditions in the vineyards has held back the work.

A report from Niagara-on-the-Lake of February 8th, says that strong efforts are being made to start a new basket factory there. At a well attended meeting hold in the Niagara Hotel, at which W. W. Armstrong occupied the chair and the chief speaker was Reeve T. B. Revett, a number of those present pledged themselves to take up stock. The factory is to be located in the old canning factory on Melville Street, and the new company is to be known as the United Growers' Packages, Limited. The provisional directors are A. T. Baker, President; W. A. Griffis, Vice-President; T. B. Revett, secretary-treasurer W. H Hunter, and C E. Secord. The town of Niagara is likely to grant tax exemption and other concessions and the new concern expects to be in operation soon.



[...] there was a large attendance on February meeting of the Niagara Historical Society, which took place in the Public Library, 21 members present and Miss Carnochan as chair.

After the minutes were discussed number of letters were read [...] one from the Ontario Historical Society, accepting the Society proposal to hold the next annual meeting next June 11th and 12th); another was from General Cruikshank, the President of the Society, and had reference to the plans proposed for both days.

Miss Carnochan told of a visit from a Miss Phoenix, who sought information regarding some of her ancestors from the Hodgkinson family. Mr. Parnell of St. Catharines, who also is connected with this family, told something of its early history and his little talk was very interesting to all.

Mr. Parnell told that one of the first Hodgkinson's was a U. E. Loyalist and saw service in 1812 and previously with Butler's Rangers. He then mentioned that another of his ancestors, William Reed, built a church at Homer in 1795 and that the Rev. Robert Addison, the first rector of St. Mark's, preached there. At the close of his little talk, Mr. Parnell presented the society with a copy of the first map ever made of the Township of Grantham, dated 1791, on which the names of early settlers were marked on their holdings; he also promised a number of documents copied from the Archives, that may be useful for future publication and win surely be interesting.

Reference was made to the loss of a valued member in the death of Mr. William Armstrong of Queenston and a resolution was passed that the secretary send a letter to the family, conveying the sympathy of the Society

in their sorrow.

All other business being disposed of, two papers were read, both a part of the recent history of the town. The first paper was a sketch of the Polish Camp period, read by Miss Carnochan and gave much valuable and interesting data, including the inception of the Polish Legion idea and the way it was carried out. Nearly every phase of the camp's history was briefly described and extracts read from articles written by Father Rydlewski, Major Young and others connected with it. The paper closed with the "epic" written by Major Young, "The Polish Touch at Niagara " which appeared in the local paper shortly before the close of the camp, and which, said Miss Carnochan,was the finest piece of literature she had ever read. Miss Carnochan's paper was most interesting and her hearers regretted that it was not longer.

The second paper was entitled Polish Relief Work and was a report of collections of money and clothing made and sent away to the Polish Relief by Mrs. Ascher, the Secretary of the Historical Society who also told of incidents in connection with the work and recited expressions of grateful appreciation from the Polish people to the Niagara people for their generous kindness in time of need. The paper gave the total money collections and also a lengthy list of the articles of clothing that comprised the contents of 60 bails that were sent out between April 1919 and December 1920. The money collections were begun on Aug. 6th 1918. Special mention was made of the help given by the Women's' Institute, the Girls' Service Battalion and the Bowling Club and especially generous contributions from Miss Carnochan, Miss Alma, Mrs. Manning and Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Mc Phedran, A. J. Coyner, E. P. Healey, Thos. Mulholland and other good ends, and also of help cheerfully in many ways by Mrs. Ryan Arthur and other friends.

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In Memoriam
Newspaper articles with reports on meetings of the Niagara Grape Growers Association and the Niagara Historical Society in 1921. Both organizations paid tributes to William Armstrong who passed recently.

Scrapbook sheets with newspaper clippings mounted on black paper; Unknown publication.
From Armstrong family collection.
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    Latitude: 43.16682 Longitude: -79.04957
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Tributes to William Armstrong from Grape Growers' Association and the Niagara Historical Society

Newspaper articles with reports on meetings of the Niagara Grape Growers Association and the Niagara Historical Society in 1921. Both organizations paid tributes to William Armstrong who passed recently.

Scrapbook sheets with newspaper clippings mounted on black paper; Unknown publication.