Henry Austin [ 1852 - 1908 ]

Born in Verulam Township about 1852, Henry Austin had a butcher shop in operation before 1876 as he was burned out in the McArthur block fire of March 29th (CP 31 March 1876; 2]. A butchering business under the name “Austin & Bros.” appears in the D&B directories from 1876 to 1878. Late in 1880 Henry moved his business “across the street” into the Cunningham Block and “was reported to be going into the grocery trade” [CP 3 Dec 1880; 3]. This was no doubt in response to the closure of his brother John’s grocery store in September. A week later Henry and Thomas Austin formed a partnership and opened out a general store, with the meat business “carried on as usual” [CP 10 Dec 1880; 3]. Described variously as a “general store” or as “grocers and butchers” Austin Brothers did business for most of the decade until the partnership was dissolved in March 1889 [FFG 15 March 1889; 4].

Henry continued “in the old stand” as he supplied beef for Gilmore’s lumber shanties in Harvey Township during the winter of 1889/90 [FFG 29 Nov 1889; 5]; he also hired R.M. McKenzie to work in the store later that fall [FFG 3 Oct 1890; 4]. Further changes were underway by October 1890 when Austin rented “the store lately vacated by Mr. Joseph McFarland, which he had “fixed up and painted”. He then opened a store selling “ready-made boots and shoes” [FFG 3 Oct 1890; 4]. By the end of the year he sold the “grocery and boot and shoe business” to Messrs. Jas. Arnold and Thomas Graham “who were to take possession on January 1st.” “Mr. Austin will henceforth confine himself to butchering and cattle shipping” [FFG 26 Dec 1890; 5]. By January 1892 the “butchery” too was sold to S.W. [Walter] Metcalfe [FFG 15 Jan 1892; 4], although Austin continued to be mentioned in the local papers as a butcher and cattle shipper right up until May of 1896 [FFG 15 May 1896; 1]. Some local directories continued to list him as a butcher until 1901/02.

In November it was announced that “the proprietors of the North Star Roller Mill [had] taken Mr. Henry Austin into partnership”, and the new firm of McDougall, Brandon and Austin were to operate as millers, grain merchants, drovers, and butchers [FFG 6 Nov 1896; 4]. This partnership became known as the Village Syndicate, and Austin remained an important part of the local economy for at least another decade. He “engaged extensively and very successfully in the business of cattle dealing, butchering, farming, etc., both on his own account and [in] partnership with F. McDougall, J.H. Brandon, and others. At the time of his death he was engaged exclusively in the management of Grand Island, in Balsam Lake, known as The Syndicate farm. Henry Austin died on April 12th, 1908, in his 56th year, and was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery. A business managed by his estate and under his name continued to appear in the directories until March 1915. His home on Louisa Street of 1885 still stands.

26 Variant spelling: Austen. Brother to Thomas and John Austin.

27 In the 1881 Assessor’s roll of the Village he is listed as a 28 year-old grocer.

28 The business appears as “Austin & Bros.” in D&B and was in operation at least by January 1876.

29 Henry Austin’s business appeared under his own name in 1880, until the partnership with Thomas was announced.

30 See under the Cunningham Block. This block was located on the east side of Colborne Street, south of Francis.

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