William H. Church [ 1860 - ]

The 1904 Souvenir of Fenelon Falls [[38]] provides an excellent introduction to William Church. “W.H. Church, President of the Church Manufacturing Co., is a native of Fenelon Falls, being born here in [1860] . He is a man of strong inventive ability and is the holder of a large number of patents for woodenware novelties. He was the first person to commence the manufacture of woodenware in Fenelon Falls, and the Church Manufacturing Company manufactures several of his patents. He traveled for 15 years and some years ago a Guelph firm commenced to manufacture a washing machine for which he holds a patent, the local company manufacturing one of a similar design, together with knock-down camping tables, folding chairs, sham holders, and other novelties. Mr. Church found considerable difficulty in getting his patents on the market until last year when he succeeded in forming the present company. The works which are situated on the south side of the river, near the railway are run by electricity. They are continually taxed to their utmost capacity and arrangements are now in progress to double the capacity of their factory.”

Church appears briefly in D&B as a peddler of tea during 1887. His “travels” as a salesman must have begun soon afterwards, for he appears to have moved in and out of the community. An ad, dated Feb. 15th 1889, for his “Bevel-Edged Splint Blinds” appeared the Gazette for some time during that year, and by 1891 he is listed in the Census as a 30 year-old, Ontario-born, carpenter. The Gazette recorded his return home from Toronto “where he has been working for several months past, and he has no present intention of going back to the city.” [FFG 18 Oct 1895; 4]. Church’s “strong inventive ability” resulted in patents for a “dustpan which is to do away with the necessity of stooping” [FFG 10 Jan 1896; 4], and a “patent churn, which was put on the market last year, [and] sold so well that its manufacture has been re-commenced at Mr. Sandford’s factory” [FFG 4 March 1898; 5] Several of Church’s products were manufactured at Sandford’s Furniture and Woodenware Co. Limited including the “buttercup churn”, “potato masher, towel roller, meat pounder and rolling pin” [FFG 22 April 1898; 5]. The Church Manufacturing Company opened in 1903, and was listed in D&B only until 1905. The 1901 Census lists him as a “Commercial traveller”. There is no record of his fate afterwards.

217 The original states 1890, but the date is corrected in the “Publisher’s Announcement” on the last page.

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