A Former Westonite (Westonian) Remembers

Don Brown is a retired elementary school principal currently residing in Grimsby, Ontario. He has considerable roots in the Weston area and has spent some time researching the genealogy of his family and sends this brief summary of his findings that may be of interest to local residents and history buffs.

My great great grandfather, John Porter (b. 1797 d. 1874) was adopted by Benjamin Davis (a blacksmith, who was Weston village’s first resident) and his wife, Elizabeth, following the death of his father George Porter while working as a carpenter in York (Toronto) in the early 19th C.

Benjamin Davis had moved his wife and three children from Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) where he started working on the building of Fort George in 1794. His adopted son became known as John Davis Porter.

Following the death of Benjamin, John and his adoptive mother, Elizabeth donated land at the SE corner of the Weston Plank Road and King Street in 1821 to the Methodist Episcopal Church which is now Weston Central United Church. John built a home on the land across the street where the Weston Public Library now stands. He owned and operated a lumber mill on the nearby Humber River. He married Louisa Longstaff (b. 1897 d. 1882) in 1825

John and Louisa Porter’s 3rd daughter, Mary Emily (b. 1837 d. 1918), married Robert Spoor Brown (b. 1830 d. 1921), my great grandfather in 1856. They lived in a home they named “Elsmere” at what was then the north end of Elsmere Avenue.

Robert was one of the founding members of the Riverside Cemetery board. He carried on the family tradition of bookbinding started by his great grandfather in the late 18th C in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England as Vice President of the Brown Brothers Printing Company on Wellington Street in Toronto. Their son, my grandfather, Frederick William Brown (b. 1860 d. 1948) was their eldest son. Fred Brown started attending the original High School District #1, County of York in the year it burned, 1874. He worked locally as a bookkeeper and married Elizabeth Catherine Monkman (b.1865 d.1947) who had moved with her family from Albion Twp. to Rosemount Ave. in Weston.

His second eldest sister, Margaret Brown married Joseph Nason who, with Dr. F.D. Cruickshank authored the book “History of Weston”, first published in 1937. Joseph Nason was born in Weston in 1861 and died in 1944. He received a BA degree from the University of Toronto in 1881, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1886. He was the first chairman of the Weston Public Library Board in 1914.

My father, Victor Aubrey Brown (b. 1900 d. 1973) attended H.J Alexander Public School (originally King Street School) when the principal was Mr. H.J. Alexander. He was the manager of the Beaver Lumber (formerly Irvine Lumber) on Weston Road. My mother, Sadie Luverda Brown (b. 1902 d. 1970) moved with her family from a farm in Albion Twp. In the twenties, as had the family of her future mother-in-law, Lizzie Monkman. Sadie worked as secretary of Central United Church until her passing in 1970. Her sister Eveline McCort (b. 1899 d, 1982) and their mother Sarah McCort (b. 1864 d. 1959) who lived at #69 King Street were also members of the church following their move to Weston.

I lived at #93 King Street from the time of my birth in 1943 until my marriage to Sharon Ann Butler in 1966 in Central United Church. I attended Memorial P.S. from 1948 to 1955, Weston Senior P.S. (C.R. Marchant Middle School) from 1955 to 1957 and Weston Collegiate and Vocational School from 1957 to 1962). Those who were teens in the late 50s and early 60s may remember me as a founder of Club Central, a biweekly teen dance operating out of Central United. 

If anyone would like to get in touch with Don, please contact Weston Web with your details and they will be forwarded.

4 thoughts on “A Former Westonite (Westonian) Remembers”

  1. A wonderful family history. I wonder if Porter Avenue is named after George Porter? Thanks for sharing.Report

    1. Ha! Let’s take the introduction to a 24 September 1877 Daily Globe article (Another Weston Horror: A Woman Beaten to Death by Her Husband, page 2) to see what the “folks of old” had to deal with in their day: “The quiet little village of Weston has gained an unenviable notoriety within the past nine months, as the scene of no less than some five or six inquests on the bodies of persons who have died either by violence or by accident, the painful events being traced in almost every instance to an inordinate use of strong drink.”Report

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