Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

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Home | All About Niagara | The History of Niagara | Niagara Townships

Grantham Township

The township of Grantham was bordered by Lake Ontario to the north, Niagara Township to the east, Louth township to the west and Thorold Township to the south.

Grantham Township had some of the most fertile farmlands and was soon the counties most populated township. Like many other townships the first matter of business was recording the crop marks that would be used to identify ownership of livestock. This early form of branding was important to avoid disputes over ownership when livestock were allowed to roam at large.

The first Township Council Meeting was held at Paul Shipman's Inn at Shipman's Corners (latter St. Catharines) on January 5th, 1818.

William Chisholm was named the township's first Clerk, George A. Ball and Samuel Wood, Assessors; Jacob TenBroeck, tax collector; and George Adams and Thomas Merritt, town wardens.

The names of other early settlers to Grantham Township were Ball, Lampman, Bessey, Durham, Emmett, Lambert, Parnell, Secord, Brown, Havens, Harris, Miller, Goring, Travers, Read, Stull, Keith, O'Brien, Dorr, Dressel, Clark, May, Haynes, Hainer, Hartzell and Dittrick.

For the next ten years the Council met at various taverns around Shipman's Corners. In later years they would meet at the home of John Wright. His home, known as Big John Wright's Hotel was located on the corner of Niagara and Geneva Streets, St. Catharines, where the Fire Hall now stands. Council had a regular habit of adjourning for a half hour at a time, especially when the meetings were held in taverns.

Grantham Township would become one of the counties greatest industrial townships. The Welland Ship Canal would bisect the township and ship building would become the township's leading industry.

Many other industries would soon spring up along Grantham Townships many waterways, the largest of these being McKinnon Industries, which would go on to become known as General Motors.