(A Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography, 1886)


   Canniff, William, M.D., M.R.C.S., Eng., one of our well-known medical men and Canadian writers, was born near Belleville, Ontario, in the year 1830.  He was the son of Jonas Canniff, who married in 1811 Letta Flagler, who was descended of a Knickerbocker family on the River Hudson.  The grandfather of our subject was a native of Duchess Co., N.Y., and he took for wife an Irish maiden of good parentage named McBride.  His father and a granduncle of our subject were U.E. Loyalists, and likewise members of an Irish Huguenot family.  The granduncle was born at Bedford, New Rochelle, New York State , in the year 1757.  Among the Huguenots expelled from France on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV., in 1685, were persons named Canniff.  They found a home in Ireland and became naturalized.  It may likewise be stated that these same two Huguenots were among the first settlers in New Rochelle.  When the American rebellion broke out, most of this family remained true to the empire, and at the close of the war John Canniff was a refugee in New Brunswick;  from which place he came to Canada in 1788, being one of the first to settle in Adolphustown.  He subsequently went to Thurlow, Hastings County, and settled there.  James Canniff, our subject's grandfather, came to Canada some years after his brother, and settled in Adolphustown.  After serving throughout the war of 1812, Jonas, Dr. Canniff's father, settled near Belleville.  Here he erected a saw mill, and afterwards a very large stone flour mill. Young Canniff was educated at Victoria College, Cobourg, and studied medicine at Toronto School of Medicine, and passed the Upper Canada Medical Board, and at New York University,;  and at the latter institution took his degree.  He was appointed a House Surgeon at New York Hospital, but after a year resigned the position and went to England.  He then studied in London hospitals, and took M.R.C.S., London.  In 1856 he passed the Army Medical Board, and did duty in the Royal Artillery.  When the Crimean war was over he left the service, and travelled through Great Britain, France, and Germany, attending the  hospitals of Edinburgh, Dublin and Paris.  Then he returned to Canada and commenced practice in Belleville.  He was called to the chair of General Pathology in the medical department of Victoria College, and at the urgent request of the dean undertook the professorship of surgery in the same institution.  He retained this position till 1863, when he resigned.  During the American civil war, our subject visited the hospitals at Washington, and was for a time with the army of the Potomac.  After witnessing a large number of cases he returned to Belleville, where he resumed practice for a time.  But for a while past he had some inclination for Toronto, and thither in a little time he removed.  Settling in Toronto, he began practice, and his name was so well known that no great difficulties lay in his way.  He resumed his position as professor of surgery.  Although devoted to his profession, he always took a deep interest in public affairs.  he was one of the originators of the "Canada First" movement;  but he always steadfastly set his face against those who outwardly, or in a covert way, advocated annexation.  Dr. Canniff has been president of the medical section of the Canadian institute. In 1867, he, received an invitation from the medical faculty of Paris to attend as delegate at the International Medical Congress.  In October, 1867, he, with others, formed the Canadian Medical Association at Quebec.  He was first secretary for the Province of Ontario, and has since been elected President.  He has contributed largely to medical and other magazines, and also to the daily press.  He has written "Principles of Surgery," a clever and valuable book;  "Settlement of Upper Canada", and various other works of interest.  Dr. Canniff was brought up a Methodist, but has for some time attended the Church of England.  He is now Medical health Officer for Toronto, and has held among other offices that of chief officer of the Census Commission.  He has six sons and one daughter.   His eldest son served with Gen. Middleton's advance guard in the late North West rebellion (1885), and was seriously wounded at Fish Creek.  It may also be stated the Dr. Canniff was at the front during the Fenian raids in 1867.  At the time of the Trent affair the doctor was president of a literary society in connection with the Methodist Church. The war fever in Toronto was high, and that society formed themselves into a company, of which our subject was elected captain.  He drilled for some time in the City Hall, until the matter blew over.  With respect to Dr. Canniff's literary works, there is only space here to say that the book, "Settlement of Upper Canada," is a very valuable addition to Canadian literature.  The subject is touched with a loving hand, and one delights to linger over its pages.  The matter contained in this volume must prove of greatest value to the future historian.  It may be stated that Cr. Canniff was the originator of the U.E. Loyalist Centennial Celebration held in Toronto, 1884, and occupied the chair at the meeting in the Horticultural Pavilion on the nomination of Lieutenant-Governor Robinson.  Dr. Canniff is in politics a Conservative, and a Freemason, being a member of Ionic Lodge of Toronto.





   Was a practitioner in Fredericksburgh at an early date, before 1792, and there is testimony that he was among the first, if not the first, to practise in the townships around the Bay of Quinte. After the war of 1812, he became a licensed practitioner, as "having practised before and during the war." The following notice appeared:

"DIED - October 6, 1841. At Fredericksburgh, Doctor Jacob B. Chamberlain, aged 78. Dr. C. was one of the oldest U.E. Loyalists in the Midland District, and was one of the oldest Magistrates."




(Napanee Beaver Oct 15 1889)

   It is frequently said that a man of unswerving principle or in other words a strictly honest man, will never make a successful politician. It does oftentimes seem to require a good deal of what is charitably called "policy" to retain popular favor. But in municipal affairs it should be otherwise, and we believe as a rule men do sooner or later find their level. those who have sat in county Council with William Charters when he represented South Fredericksburgh, and who have carefully watched his course in dealing with large and small public interests, must have come to the conclusion that he walked a very straight line with an eye single to the interests of his municipality and the county. Mr. Charters was for four years a member of the township council as councillor, and in the years 1887-8 filled the position of reeve. During this period he obtained a thorough knowledge of municipal affairs, and he conducted the business of the township with economy, honesty and efficiency. In January of this year his election was contested by Mr. Allison, and the latter was declared elected by a majority of two - these two being borrowed from Adolphustown for the occasion, being tenants without a legal vote. Mr. Charters still claims that the seat is his by right, and that legal process would have given it to him had he wished to prolong the strife. Mr. Charters preferred to abide his time and try conclusions before the people another year, and it is probable the issue will be renewed at the approaching election.

   An example of Mr. Charters prudence in the management of municipal affairs may be seen in the wire fence bonuses. Before the County Council he steadily advocated the erection of wire fences along the roads leading to the county town, with the result that a substantial grant was obtained for this purpose. A reformation was marked in the system upon which this money was expended. Instead of paying it out in an irregular way with little or no assurance that the fence was built, a fixed grant of 15 cents a rod was established payable after the fence was built, measured and certified to by the township engineer. The result is now to be seen and appreciated by the people who travel these roads.

   Mr. Charters is a fearless, upright and able representative, and in council his voice is always heard with respect and his views received with consideration.

   Mr. Charters was born on the farm on which he now resides. The site overlooks Hay Bay, and has a commanding view of the surrounding country. His farm is one of the best, being in the very garden of this district, and bears evidence of thrift and energy in its management. The subject of our sketch is a son of Nelson Charters, who in turn was the son of a U.E. Loyalist who came to Canada and settled on the lot which is still the family homestead. Mr. Charters, being forty-two years of age, is in the very prime of life. He married Adelia, daughter of Miles Storms, Esq., and they have a family of six children - three boys and three girls.

   The cut given above is an admirable likeness of Mr. Charters, and in appearance, as well as in principles and record he is an honor to his class and the community he has worthily represented.




(From the Napanee Beaver, July 29 1927)

A Biography - Gilbert S. Clapp - By Allan R. Davis


   Gilbert S. Clapp, another of 'Ontario's old Land Surveyors, was of Quaker and United Empire Loyalist descent. His ancestors came to Canada after the Revolutionary War. Joseph Clapp and Benjamin Clapp are named in the early records of Adolphustown, that historic township on the frontier of the County of Lennox and Addington. Benjamin Clapp held the distinguished office of Overseer of Highways in that municipality in the year 1793, and Gilbert D. Clapp was appointed assessor in 1804. Several of the Clapp families moved into the adjoining counties of Prince Edward and Hastings, where many of their descendants are found to-day. Those who remained in Adolphustown have become dispersed in recent years, until the name has disappeared from the municipal records, though descendants still remain.

   While no definite record is available it is now assumed that Gilbert S. Clapp was the son of Gilbert D. Clapp, of Adolphustown. He was born in 1809, and settled in Napanee, where, after the ordinary education and experience, he was admitted as a Deputy Provincial Surveyor on March 16th, 1835. He then began an active and successful career, and married Miss Mercy Simmons of that district, whose several sisters also married in that community. One of these became Mrs. Parker, the mother of Sir Gilbert Parker, the renowned novelist - reared in Hastings County. Another became Mrs. Tobey, of Napanee, who reared a large family; and another married Mr. Madden, whose tannery in Napanee was a well-known building for many years.

   The family of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert S. Clapp consisted of but one daughter, Fanny, who was reared and educated there, and their comfortable home became a favorite social centre until the Surveyor's untimely death in his fiftieth year, in 1859.

   Later, the widow married Mr. W.V. Detlor, of Napanee, and the issue of this marriage was two sons, Morley, killed overseas in the World War; and Sidney, now in business in Western Canada.

   The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert S. Clapp married Dr. R.A. Leonard, of Napanee. After practising his profession for some time, Dr. Leonard received the appointment of Postmaster, which position he held until his death a few years ago. His wife predeceased him only a few months, and they are buried with her parents in the family plot.

   Mr. and Mrs. Leonard have left a family of three daughters and one son, all of whom are now married and settled in life. These are Marion, Mrs. A.F. Lace, 59 Gormley Street, Toronto; Hazel, Mrs. E.S. Byers, of Gananoque; Frances, Mrs. R.J.E. Graham, of Belleville; and W.E. Leonard, who married Miss Girvin, of Winnipeg, and is now in business in Toronto.

   Like all the other surveyors of Central Ontario, Gilbert S. Clapp had a wide and lucrative practice in the new settlements of that heavily timbered country, and also beyond the confines of the settlements, northward, where the Government was always surveying new townships, building roads and bridges, and delimiting the vast timber areas which made many fortunes for operators, but which now have practically all disappeared. Those burnt-over lands and protruding rocks are now calling for that reforestation which inevitably must come with future generations, to ensure that re-settlement and activity of former years.




(From the Daily British Whig Jan. 19 1925)


   Joseph Clapp, an early U.E.L. Settler in this part of Ontario, married Nancy Miller, the daughter of a Loyalist in March, 1789. A grant of land for military services of the west half of lot 18 in concession 3, Adolphustown was made to Joseph. In 1808, Joseph sold his land and removed to South Marysburgh in Prince Edward county, erecting a saw mill there, naming the place Milford, and being the first settler in that township. He was called to the war of 1812, and like so many other Loyalists left his farms and mill in the care of his good wife and children, going to Kingston in the early fall, becoming a member of the Prince Edward County militia, Captain John Allen’s company. He died in the following February, aged about fifty, of some malady contracted while in garrison, and was buried in the military cemetery in Kingston.




(From The Watson Scrapbooks, Feb. 6, 1905)


     Roger C. Clute, K.C., LL. B., one of the prominent men of the Toronto Bar, was appointed yesterday a Judge of the High Court, in succession to Mr. Justice Idington, who goes to the Supreme Court  at Ottawa.  Mr. Clute was born near Picton in 1848, of U.E. Loyalist stock.  He was educated at the Sterling Grammar School and at Albert College, Belleville, taking the degree of LL.B. in 1873.  The same year he was called to the Bar, having pursued his legal studies with A.R. Dougall, K.C., and subsequently with Oster & Mowat, Toronto.  He commenced practice in Belleville, under the firm name of Clute & Williams, and soon built up a business of large proportions.  He was a member of the Senate of Albert college, and lecturer in the faculty of law until its union with Victoria University.  He was made a Queen’s counsel in 1890, and three years later came to Toronto as the head of the firm Clute, Macdonald, Macintosh & McCrimmon.  He has acted as Crown prosecutor in over thirty murder cases since 1881, when he secured the conviction of Lee, the Napanee murderer.  Among the celebrated trials which he has conducted was the Hancock murder case in Toronto in 1892. 


     Mr. Clute has taken an active part in the election campaigns since 1873, and contested West Hastings for the commons in the Liberal interest in 1891, but was defeated by Mr. Harry Corby.  He has served on several important commissions.  It was as the result of his investigations into the death of two men on the construction of the Crow’s Nest Pass Railway that the act relating to the conditions of labor on public contracts was passed.  He also inquired into the labor troubles in Rossland, and was Chairman of the commission that investigated the immigration of Chinese and Japanese, which led to the increase of the per capita tax from $100 to $500.  Mr. Clute married in 1873 a daughter of the late Henry Corby of Belleville.