John Henry Brandon was born in 1857, the son of Andrew and Martha Brandon. In August 1879 John Brandon “purchased the grocery and provision business of McDougall and Kerr and removed to the McArthur Block” [CP 22 August 1879; 3]. What no doubt happened after this was that Brandon formed a partnership with Findlay McDougall, for their business was known soon afterwards as McDougall and Brandon. Fire destroyed their store house on Francis Street West in May 1880 [CP 14 May 1880; 2], but by September they were “building a grain storehouse at the rear of their premises on Colborne Street.” “They have also put down iron gratings in front of their shop windows for the better lighting and ventilation of their cellar, which they hope to have fully stocked with such articles of farm produce as require to be kept out of the reach of frost” [FFG 25 Sept. 1880; 2]. They hired “pedlars” to sell goods outside the village, and also operated a grocery delivery sleigh and wagon. The “handsome blinds” were installed in August 1881 “inscribed in mammoth letters the names of various leading articles to be found within” were seen by E.D. Hand as an “indication of prosperity and taste” [FFG 20 Aug. 1881;2]. In 1882 a 30 foot addition was built onto the back of the McArthur Block, and the partition dividing the two parts of the store was removed allowing the counters and shelving to be expanded the entire length of the shop [FFG 16 Sept. 1882; 2, 11 Nov. 1882; 2]. The improvements according to Hand were “far ahead of what anyone would have expected, a few days ago, to see in Fenelon Falls before 1900.” [FFG 25 Nov. 1882; 2]. Their store was one of the first to introduce a “Withrow & Hillock’s patent arctic refrigerator” [FFG 21 July 1883; 2], allowing them to sell fresh white fish and salmon.
At some point, probably January 1883, Johnston L. Brandon was brought in as a partner. The firm was afterwards known as McDougall and Brandon Bros. That partnership was dissolved on March 3rd 1884 [FFG 22 March 1884; 2] and the business again continued by Findlay McDougall and John Brandon. By April, however, the “widely known grocers and provision dealers” had sold out to R. [Richard] M. Butler [FFG 12 April 1884; 2] of Barrie.
McDougall and Brandon opened a steam grist mill in 1884 and called it the North Star Roller Mill. Both as a partner with McDougall and on his own, John H. Brandon became a prominent businessman in the village. Brandon went into partnership with Samuel Swanton in August 1889 to form Swanton, Brandon & Co., dealing in lumber. Although the business did not survive under this name, it was probably absorbed into the other Brandon interests. Brandon was in the ice business [FFG 21 March 1890; 4] and had an ice house on the edge of Cameron Lake; in 1910/1911 he was the appraiser for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation. From 1909 on he was listed in the directories as dealing in coal and lumber. He died in Fenelon Falls on Thursday December 11th 1924, having been born, lived and died on the same property in the village; the house where he was born being close to his late residence [FFPL 24.19]. He was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery.
39 “McDougall & Brandon” is listed in the January 1880 edition of D&B (an 1879 edition has not been located). The same name is used in the Canada Post and in the Gazette. Upon the sale of their business in April 1884, McDougall and Brandon note in a “Card of Thanks” that they had been in business “during the past five years”… (i.e. 1879). [FFG 2 May 1884; 2]. See also under McDougall and Brandon.
40 One such peddler was William Ellis of Fenelon [township] who “died very suddenly… early Tuesday morning last (1 June 1880) [CP 4 June 1880; 3]. William Robson was also hired in November 1882 to work in the business [FFG 11 Nov 1882; 2].
41 A Notice to Creditors appeared in January 1883 stating that McDougall and Brandon would call the attention of those who have not settled their accounts to the fact that” … “they intend making a change in their business”, and ask that bills be paid by February 1st. The ad is dated 19 January 1883. [FFG 20 Jan 1883; 2].
42 The following appeared in a 1928 article [FFPL 28.12A] on village businesses [referring to Dr. David Gould and Gould’s Drug Store]: Always actively interested in the business affairs of the town, Dr. Gould served on the Council and Board of Water, Light and Power Commissioners. He was a member of the council which made arrangements with MacDougall, Brandon and Austin to take over the stone mill property, and secured authority from the Legislature to form a Board of Water, Light and Power Commissioners with permission to borrow money to the extent of $75,000. The Council borrowed $68,250, erected a new dam on this side of the river, built the village power house and installed the electric power plant. The stone mill was taken over also and rented to the late Mr. J. H. Brandon who operated it for years.