Profiling Sam Pedlar

By Melissa Cole, Curator

Samuel Pedlar was born in St. Blazey, Cornwall England.  He sailed on the timber vessel, the barque “Clio” with his parents, his brother and three sisters on April 5, 1841.   They arrived in Quebec on May 21, 1841, reaching Skae’s Corners and travelled north up Simcoe Street to Concession 5 where they stayed with Richard Luke and his family for three weeks.


Samuel Pedlar was Oshawa’s earliest historian.  He recognized the fragile wealth of the human memory and spent thousands of hours preserving it through his manuscript known as, The Pedlar PapersHe devoted many years of his life talking to members of the community and interviewing first and second generations that had sprung from Oshawa’s earliest settlers.

He chronicled the social and economic development of Skae’s Corners to the community that grew to be Oshawa, he wrote every detail down he knew about Oshawa’s early settlers including businesses, schools and churches.  He even wrote about, what he called “ancient, minor industries” such as the Moscrip’s Foundry, Spaulding’s Brewery and Nichols Grist Mill as well as Demill Ladies College.  Established in 1875 and flourishing 20 years later this school was one of Oshawa’s first institutions of higher learning.  In this manuscript he mentions almost everyone that lived in the area at the time except for himself.

Little is actually known about Samuel Pedlar.  He played no part in the family business, The Pedlar People Ltd.  His brother George Henry Pedlar assumed control of the business when their father Henry Pedlar passed away.

Pedlar headstone in Union Cemetery; Photo by Melissa Cole

Five years before his death at the age of 77, feeling unable to keep up with the work, Pedlar donated his manuscript to the Ontario Archives where it remains today.  The Oshawa Museum has a copy of the complete Pedlar Papers.  Samuel Pedlar was determined that the memory of the Oshawa’s early settlers would live on through his manuscript – he has brought many of our early settlers to life!

Discover more about the life of Samual Pedlar and other early Oshawa settlers who are buried in Union Cemetery in our latest publication, Until Day Dawns: Stories from Oshawa’s Union Cemetery, available online or at the Oshawa Museum Shop.


Lest We Forget: Profiling Alfred Hind

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

For the past few weeks, I have been deep into research/writing mode, which admittedly isn’t out of the ordinary.  We were asked by a local Scout troop to lead a Union Cemetery tour, focusing on soldiers in honour of Remembrance Day.  We talk about the Veteran’s plots in general on many of our tours, but we did not have one looking at specific individuals.  Speaking with the leader, I became excited about the possibilities of this tour and about filling in a gap with our current program offerings.  So I turned to the archives and various online databases, and I began my research.

There are two Veteran’s Plots in Oshawa’s Union Cemetery: World War I and World War II.  Looking at the stones and learning more about these brave men and women was truly fascinating, that I could have written this post about any one of them.  There was Ernest Bush, who in WWII fought with the Princess Pats, married an English woman while stationed overseas, but succumbed to military Tuberculosis upon his return home.  There is also the mystery of Nursing Sister Hayes, for whom we need to do more research to learn more about this brave woman who enlisted and helped the wounded.  Of course, we have the story of Private William Garrow, who enlisted for WWI and was killed in action less than 10 months later.  He was 22 years old.

For some soldiers, there was little information available, but for the more prolific, like Albert Hind, we were able to learn quite a bit about him.

From the Daily Reformer, 1927
From the Daily Reformer, 1927

Albert Frederick Hind was born in England in 1877, and came to Canada in 1907.  He was a police chief constable for the Town of Oshawa at the time of the outbreak of World War I.  He earned the rank of Major with D Company of the 34th Regiment, and would serve overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Upon returning from the war, he was promoted to Police Magistrate, a position he would hold until his death.

Certificate appointing Alfred Hind to Police Magistrate
Certificate appointing Alfred Hind to Police Magistrate

He passed away at age 53 in 1930.  His cause of death, heart inflammation, was attributed to his service during WWI; the maple leaf on his headstone is indicative of this.  His funeral was at his house on Simcoe Street in Oshawa, and he was buried in Union with full military honours.  The regiment paraded from the Armouries on Simcoe Street to the cemetery, and three traditional volleys of the gun were fired at the graveside.

Hind Headstone, World War I Soldier Plots, Oshawa Union Cemetery
Hind Headstone, World War I Soldier Plots, Oshawa Union Cemetery

Because of the position he held in the community, his death was reported in the local newspapers, and his colleagues remembered him fondly.  Magistrate Willis of Whitby said of Hind:

“He placed many an erring young man on the path of right.  His work has left the world the better for his acts of kindness in placing men on the right path.  He is a victim of the Great War, and just as much a hero as those who died on the field. He went to fight for freedom and liberty and returned broken in health.  Since his return he has not been the physical man be was before he went… Major Hind used his best judgement at all times, without prejudice of vindictiveness. He will be missed in Oshawa.”


Hind was only one of many men and women from Oshawa who fought for Canada.  We owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us and those who still see action in combat.  On November 11, we will pause and remember.  Lest we forget.

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.