The Beatty family is reported to be of Scottish descent. William, son of John and Jane (Bannore?) and grandson of James, emigrated to Thorold, Ontario from Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Ireland in 1835 with Frances Hughes, a possible cousin. He took up a homestead, secured a water power concession for a sawmill on the Welland Canal and started a tannery. Beyond this we know little, for most of the family records were lost during the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada.
In the summer of 1863, he - along with his sons, William and James H., and his son-in-law, Nathaniel Wakefield, sailed up to the mouth of the French River in search of timber limits. In the course of these explorations, they learned that the Gibson limits of Parry Sound were for sale. From W.M. and J.A. Gibson, James and William bought what the Archives in Ottawa refer to as the 'Parry Sound Estate', consisting of a small mill taking its power from the Lower Falls of the Seguin River, a few cabins, and a fifty-square-mile timber limit which began a mile and a half south of the river mouth and encompassed the land upriver and along the north shore of the Big Sound.
James H.'s obituary on the front page of the 31 Jan 1902 Thorold Post
In the year 1838 William Beatty came from Ireland and settled at Thorold with his family of growing boys and girls. At that time, the subject of this report was about eleven years of age, and early in life manifested unusual qualities of mind and character. Working together, the father and sons established an extensive tannery on the site of the present Penman knitting mill, though the buildings have mostly been rebuilt since to adapt them to different purposes. The brick building to the rear was used as the office and store, as the business embraced all the lines of goods required by custom shoemakers, in those days an important business in all towns, such a thing as a factory-made shoe being then unknown. The business flourished until about 1849 or 1850, when a saw-mill was built a little farther down on the west side of the canal.
Not long afterwards the lumber business was moved directly across the canal, where there was more level land, and the buildings reconstructed on an enlarged scale. In 1875, this second Beatty mill was sold to Gillespie & McLean, and afterwards to McCleary & McLean. In the early sixties, the Beattys, the boys now grown to full manhood and being in active charge of the business, began to take an interest in shipping and built the steamer Waubuno on their own grounds, this being the first steamer to ply on Georgian bay between Collingwood, Parry Sound, and Bruce Mines. This proved a profitable route, and later on they built the Manitoba at Port Robinson for the Beatty Sarnia line to Duluth, and still later the Quebec and Ontario. James H. himself built the United Empire, the best wooden boat then placed on the upper lakes, at a cost of $138,000, and she is yet in commission. This again was followed by the Monarch. In 1899, all the Beatty interest was sold out to the Northwestern Transportation Co., in which they became heavy stockholders, and of which John D. Beatty is still manager. James H. was made president of the Trader's bank some years ago and also of the Federal life insurance company, and for many years was direct manager of the Beatty Sarnia line of steamers, besides being active in many other enterprises. In 1860, he married the daughter of Rev. Wm. McCullough of St. Catharines, who died the next year, leaving him one child, now Mrs. A.D. Hansel of Stockton (Cal.). For nearly twenty years he remained a widower and then married Sarah, daughter of Samuel Campbell of Thorold, who survives him, with five children, viz., James Campbell, Annie, Jennie, Hugh, and Lawrence. He also leaves one brother, John D., and two sisters, Mrs. Swizter of Millbrook (Ont.) and Mrs. Wakefield of Oaklands (Cal.).
The biography of James H. Beatty deserves to be written by the ablest pen. He was a man possessed of a rare combination of business ability and liberal, open-handed Christian charity, if the cause presented to him were deserving. If he deemed it undeserving, few and firm but kind were the words with which he dismissed it. And seldom did he err in judgment.
The Methodist church at Thorold was the object of his especial liberality, and it never needed extraordinary funds but that he drew his cheque for half the sum required, the only condition being that the church should raise the other half. This was true of the expensive enlargement which took place in 1882, the new organ and carpeting in 1893, and at other times. Besides this, he was a heavy contributor to the regular running expenses of the church. As Dr. Potts explained, he was also a warm supporter of the wider denominational work, and not the least of his favorites was the educational interests.
In early life he took an interest in public matters, and in 1858 was elected reeve of the village of Thorold without having served the usual apprenticeship in the council. He held the office for only one year, but in i860 was elected councillor, also in i861, and in 1862 was again reeve, in 1863 councillor, and then retired from public life. He was an able platform speaker, and was of great assistance to his brother William during his parliamentary campaigning in the sixties.
One who had known him intimately for a lifetime said to the writer: "James H. Beatty was a sound reasoner and a most valuable adviser; had he taken to law instead of business, he would have been the greatest man in Canada."
Direct descendants of William Beatty
William Beatty (1799:Ireland-1881)
+Frances Hughes (c1802:Ireland-1891)
...2 Ann Beatty (c1825-
...2 James Hughes Beatty (1826-1902)
.... +(1) Mary Jane McCullough (1838-1861)
........3 Mary Harriett Beatty (1861-1905)
.... +(2) Sarah Campbell (1855-1938)
(d/o Samuel Campbell & Prudence Thompson)
........3 Jennie L. Beatty (c1880-1970)
........3 James Campbell Beatty (1883-1925)
......... +(1) Annie Fawcett McCleary (1882-1918)
.............4 Jean Beatty (1908-1994)
.............4 Helen Ewart Beatty (1911-1989)
.............. +John Marshall Kyle (1908-1973)
..................5 John Christopher Kyle (1945-
..................5 Barbara Elizabeth Jean Kyle
................... +Peter John Bolton
......... +(2) Bernice Anna Petch (1893:USA-1983)
.............4 James Hughes Beatty (1923-
.............4 William Lawrence Beatty (1923-
........3 Annie F. Beatty (1886-1970)
........3 Hugh Beatty (1890-1972)
........3 Lawrence S. Beatty (1893-1920)
........3 John Ernest Beatty (1898-1898)
...2 Harriet Beatty (1832-
...2 Rosetta Beatty (1833-
...2 William Beatty (1835-1898)
...2 Samuel Beatty (c1836-
...2 David Beatty (c1837-
...2 John David Beatty (c1838-