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Notes for John Harte and Eliza Howes Meakins

John Harte, 1896.

Eliza Howes Meakins Harte.

1823 John Harte was born on July 29. [1] John Harte was "from Dungannon, Ireland, manufacturer of stoves, Hamilton and Belleville, was secretary to a lord in Ireland." His parents were John Harte, a school master, and Margaret Leslie. [2] Dungannon is in the townland Drumcoo in the parish of Drumglass in the county Tyrone.

1835 Eliza Howes Meakins was born on February 26 in Montreal, and she was baptized on July 7 at at the Presbyterian Church St. Gabriel Street, Montreal, Quebec. "Charles William Meakins, Cabinet Maker, & Mary Anne Marshall his wife had a daughter born on the twenty sixth day of February last & baptized the seventh day of July one thousand eight hundred and thirty five named Eliza Howes by H Essen min'r. CW Meakins Mary Anne Marshall Ant'y Hamilton John Lepine." [3]

1849 John Harte immigrated to Canada. [4]

"John Harte, Belfast, Ireland. John brought a traveling desk in the sailing ship from Ireland to Canada. The sail to Halifax was supposed to take a month but because of storms took over two months. He stayed in Nova Scotia for a time, was married there. His bride died of "galloping consumption" within a year of their marriage. He contracted tuberculosis and spent about a year working with fishermen and cured himself. Then he wandered west. Taught school in Hamilton, at the little school house near the Reservoir. While he was teaching school he met Eliza Meakins and he married her. They moved to Toronto where John Harte founded a foundry. John Harte lived to be about 88 years.". [5]

"John's first wife died young. He was secretary to a lord in Ireland. He moved to Canada while grieving after his first wife died. He had wealth." [6]

1851 In the Canadian Census, John Hart was a teacher in Saltfleet, Wentworth County, West (Ontario), Canada. He was born in Ireland, and his age at his next birthday was 27. His religion was Episcopalian. [7][8]

1857 John Harte and Eliza Howes Meakins were married on May 25 in Hamilton, Ontario. [9]

1861 The Canadian census listed John Harte and his wife E. H. Harte in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario in a 1-story single-family frame house in St. Patrick's ward (District 1) with their children Marion (age 3 at next birthday), and John William (age 1 at next birthday, born in 1860). The religion of the family was Church of England. John's occupation was book keeper at Carpenter & Co. He was born in Ireland, age at next birthday 36. E.H. was born in L.C. (Lower Canada), age at next birthday 26. Both children were born in U.C. (Upper Canada). [10][11]

1870 On January 10, James Henry Harte was born in Hamilton, Wentworth, Ontario, to parents John Harte and Eliza Howes Meakins. John was a book keeper. [12][13][14]

1871 The Canadian Census listed John Harte (age 47, born in Ireland, origin Irish, occupation foundryman) and Eliza Howes (age 46, born in Quebec, origin English) in St. Andrews Ward (Subdistrict B), Toronto West (District 46), Ontario, Canada with their children Marion Elizabeth (age 12), John William (age 10), Adah Elenor (age 8), Charles Edward (age 3) and James Henry (age 1), all born in Ontario and of Irish origin. The older three children were in school, and the religion of all members of the family was Church of England. A servant Sarah Ann Carr, age 18, born in the United States, religion Congregational, and of Irish origin, lived with them. [15][16]

1871 John Harte was listed in Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871 [17], as a machinist, iron founder in Toronto, York, Ontario.

1874 John Harte was restored in the Freemasons, Barton Lodge, Hamilton, Ontario. [18]

1876 Mary Annette Eliza Harte was born on August 23 in Toronto, York, Ontario, to parents John Harte and Eliza Howes Meakins. John was a iron founder and lived at 40 Duke Street in Toronto. Her birth was registered on 27 February 1877. [19][20]

1880 “The Third Day of the Industrial Exhibition has re-confirmed the general belief of all concerned that the affair will be a success … All the exhibits are in order and ready for inspection … Stoves, Furnaces, &c. The display of stoves and furnaces is very large, and the space in the building devoted to this purpose is entirely taken up. Messrs. John Harte & Co., of Toronto, are on hand with a large and attractive display of stoves of all kinds, prominent amongst which is their “Crown Jewel” hall stove, in ten different sizes; also the “Banner,” a smaller stove, and the “Dufferin” cooking stove, besides a number of other patterns of excellent design and finish.” [21]

1881 The Canadian Census listed John Harte (age 56, born in Ireland, occupation "stovefoundry") and Eliza Harte (age 46, born in Quebec) in St Thomas Ward, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada with John W. (age 20, bookeeper), Ada E. (age 18), Charles E. (age 13), James H. (age 11), Sarah E. (age 8), Mary A. (age 4), all born in Ontario, and Sarah Scales, (age 29, born in Ireland, servant). The religion of the family was Church of England. [22][23]

1888 On January 20, a story about the failure of John Harte’s Stove Foundry in Belleville, Ontario, was printed in the Globe newspaper in Toronto. “Belleville Stone Works. Belleville, Jan. 19.—The stone foundry here, which is in the hands of creditors through John Harte’s dishonest management, will be ready next week. Harte’s brother-in-law, Charles W. Meakins, of Hamilton, was here yesterday, and, it is said will put in a claim for $4,000 against the concern. This will involve a lawsuit in which the company will endeavor to prove that Meakins, through Harte, drew more money out of the business than he ever put in. Harte was arrested and skipped out, leaving Meakins to pay his bail of $2,000. Some spicy developments are lookef for before the company is finally wound up. [24] “Stove Works, Not Stone Works. Belleville, Jan. 20—The item in today’s Globe intended to refer to the Belleville Stove Foundry was misprinted “Stone Works.”[25]

1891 Census, Hamilton City, Ward1, Ontario, Canada: John Harte, age 67, born in Ireland, both parents born in Ireland, occupation hardware merchant, and his wife Eliza, age 60, born in Ontario, both parents born in England, lived with their son John W., age 30, born in Ontario, occupation hardware merchant and daughters Sarah, age 18, Annette, age 14, both born in Ontario. The religion of the family was Church of England and all could read and write.

1893 "John Harte ... owned an iron foundry in Toronto. He lost the factory in the severe depression of 1893, and moved his family to Hamilton to try to make a new start. He never recouped his fortune.". [26]

1900 In a letter to his granddaughter Ella Frances Miles, John Harte wrote, "Chicago 30 Jan 1900
Dear Nelly,
Had reply from Dorothy & request from Marshall for a story. Dorothy says she knows the rhymes in the story are mine, but of the story she is not so certain. She doesn't know that spinning out such a yarn any length you like is only fun, but that getting up words to rhyme & keeping the sense and meaning clear is quite a task. I remember when I was about your age I commenced writing would be novels, after reading Ivanhoe & other of Scotts works; but my papers getting into my fathers hands he laughed me out of it, telling me that it would not pay, & that very few indeed ever succeeded to make authorship support life in any decency. Of course I believed him and beyond writing Acrostics, Valentines and love Sonnets for my lady friends in my early twenties never tried authorship again. ---Since coming to America never thought of such things, till now in my old age & idleness it employs my mind & makes me forget.
I enclose you a short poem written for yourself & using your name for the heroine and hope you will like it---indeed on reading it over I flatter myself that some of the stanzas come up to the standard of Marmion or Lady of the Lake. Hope it will please you---I will give Marshall a story next week, but am in doubt whether to place the story in America or the old Country---the impressions of my boyhood are not American but as it might please Marshall most, may talk of boys in the Wild West---Tell Marion if she wishes I will try & please her in same manner but she must first write me, stating which she would prefer---prose or poetry & I will do my best for her, as she is accustomed to good authorship & will expect something entertaining.
I trust you are all well & that your father keeps improving. Wasn't it awfully sudden the manner in which young Mr. Armour died---It will be a severe trial to his father in his bad state of health. Mamma is anxious to hear from your mother or Sarah as she had no news for nearly a fortnight but suppose they are so busy without kitchen help that their time is limited---
Will finish by saying that when Marion & Marshall hear from me, all my grandchildren who are old enough to understand writing will have something by which they can keep in mind their loving old Grandfather" P.D. Armour's son, P.D. Armour, Jr. died 29 January 1900, the day before the above letter was written. [27]

1901 John Harte (age 77, born July 1823 in Ireland) lived in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with his wife Eliza H. (age 66, born February 1835 in Quebec, origin English) and their sons John W. (age 40, born August 1860 in Ontario), occupation book keeper, and Chas E. (age 33, born Dec 1867 in Ontario), occupation Asst. Supt. Copper Co, and daughter Annette (age 24, born August 1876 in Ontario). John Harte immigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1849, and his occupation was "retired stove mfg." The family religion was Anglican. [28][29]

1905 On 6 November, John Harte died in Hamilton, Wentworth County, Ontario. His death records states that he was age 83, born in Ireland, his occupation was retired iron founder, and the cause of death was senile decay, reported by physician James Baugh. His residence was 535 Main St. East in Hamilton, Ontario. [30][31][32][33] On November 7, the Toronto Globe reported, “Died. Harte—At his late residence, 535 Main street east, Hamilton, John Harte, sometime a resident of Toronto, in his 83rd year. Funeral Wednesday 8th inst., at 3:30, to Hamilton Cemetery.” [34]

1911 In the census of Canada, Mary Harte (age 34, born in August), Sarah Berry (age 38, born in August), their mother Eliza Harte (age 76, born Febry 1835), and Sarah's sons John (age 8, born in May) and Joseph (age 9, born in Sept) lived at 535 Main, Hamilton East Subdistrict 2 Ward 1, Ontario. Mary was a book keeper for a distillery. Joseph was born in the U.S. and immigrated to Canada in 1903. Eliza was born in Quebec and the others in Ontario. [35]

1921 On 13 July, Eliza Howes Meakins Harte died in Hamilton, Ontario, in her 87th year. Her death certificate lists her cause of death as weakness from old age and heart prostration. She was born in Montreal, and her residence at the time of her death was 535 Main St. East (16 years). Her parents are listed as Chas. M. Meakins and Marian Marshall, both born in England. [36][37]


[1] Family Document, "John Harte July 29, 1923" in a birthday list written by Edwin G. Schafer. The 1901 census of Canada also lists John's birthdate as July 1823.

[2] Family Document, Evelyn Miles Krase Notes.

[3] Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967, Presbyterian Church St Gabriel Street, Monreal, Quebec, [Ancestry_Image].

[4] Canada Census, 1901, Hamilton, Ontario, Ward 1, [Ancestry_Image].

[5] Family Document, Notes of John Joseph Meakin Harte, from a letter written by Sarah Harte Berry.

[6] Personal Communication, Judith Schafer Chevalley Hiss, recalling information from her mother.

[7] FamilySearch.org, citing Canada census, 1851, [FamilySearch_Record].

[8] Canada Census, 1851, [Ancestry_Image].

[9] Gordon H. Allison, Hamilton Spectator, Deaths, Marriages, and Births 1857 (Manuscript, Hamilton, Ontario, Archives, 1992), 7.

[10] Canada Census, 1861, [Ancestry_Image].

[11] FamilySearch.org, citing Canada census, 1861, [FamilySearch_Record].

[12] Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS929; Reel: 3, 1870, [Ancestry_Image].

[13] Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS940; Reel: 10, 1870, [Ancestry_Image].

[14] FamilySearch.org, citing GS film 1844885, [FamilySearch_Record].

[15] Canada Census, 1871, [Ancestry_Image].

[16] FamilySearch.org, citing Canada census, 1871, [FamilySearch_Record].

[17] John Lovell, [Canadian] Dominion and Provincial Directories for 1871 (1871), 798, [Internet_Archive].

[18] Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, & Accepted Masons of Canada, 1874 (Hamilton, Ontario: Spectator Steam Printing House, 1874), 703, [HathiTrust].

[19] Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS929; Reel: 31, 1877, [Ancestry_Image].

[20] FamilySearch.org, citing GS film 1845214, [FamilySearch_Record].

[21] Newspaper, “The Industrial Exhibition,” The Globe, Toronto, Thursday, September 9, 1880, p. 9, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Globe and Mail (1844-2011).

[22] Canada Census, 1881, [Ancestry_Image].

[23] FamilySearch.org, citing FHL Film 1375882, District 134, Subdivision C, Division 1, Page 149, Household 770), [FamilySearch_Record].

[24] Newspaper, “Stove Works, Not Stone Works,” The Globe, Toronto, January 20, 1888, p. 3, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Globe and Mail (1844-2011).

[25] Newspaper, “Stove Works, Not Stone Works,” The Globe, Toronto, January 21, 1888, p. 1, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Globe and Mail (1844-2011).

[26] Family Document, Bishop John Joseph Meakin Harte Notes, "Reflections on my 1st 39 years".

[27] Family Document.

[28] FamilySearch.org, Canada census, 1901, [FamilySearch_Record].

[29] Canada Census, 1901, Hamilton, Ontario, Ward 1, [Ancestry_Image].

[30] Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 124, [Ancestry_Image].

[31] Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 124, [Ancestry_Image].

[32] FamilySearch.org, [FamilySearch_Record].

[33] FamilySearch.org, [FamilySearch_Record].

[34] Newspaper, The Globe (1844-1936) (Toronto, Ontario), November 7, 1905, p. 12.

[35] Canada Census, 1911, [Ancestry_Image].

[36] Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 284, [Ancestry_Image].

[37] FamilySearch.org, [FamilySearch_Record].

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