Researchers of Port Hope ancestors are fortunate in that the owners of both funeral homes have extensive records which they are willing to share. As we have access to the Port Hope cemetery records (CemSearch) on our computer, you might want to check with us before contacting the funeral home.
The Ross Funeral Chapel is one of the oldest surviving establishments in Canada, if not North America, to be situated in its original buildings. In fact, this firm has been providing its services to the people of Port Hope and surrounding area since prior to the Confederation of our country. The property was originally granted to Jonathon Walton and Elias Smith from King George III on 26 August 26th 1797. The land descended to various owners until it passed into the hands of the founder of the firm, James Trevethan George and his son, Alfred, in 1892. In 1837, Alfred sold it to James T. (Bev) George, who, in turn, sold it to Wilfred Cosgrove George in 1952. In 1978, Craig Ross took over the business.
The Port Hope Evening Guide has on record that a Mr. Furby moved from Kingston to Port Hope in 1826 and operated a furniture business in a "building west of the original Guide office". In a family diary, in the possession of the family of the late Mr. Edwin Wilson of Garden Hill, is an 1850s entry of traveling to Port Hope to purchase a coffin for a deceased family member from Mr. Furby on Walton Street. It is difficult to determine that he operated from the present location (as he was on a leased contract, his name does not appear in the registry office), but it is quite possible that this was the location of that business.
The Ross records date from 1868, four years after the year of establishment, and generally provide the full name of the deceased and dates of death and burial. When e-mailing for information, Craig asks that you be as specific as possible, supplying full name and approximate dates if possible. Please do not make a general request for all records of a specific surname.
If the information you're requesting involves someone who died within the last eighty-five years, further information other than name, date and interment location, if available, will only be released to those of direct family relationship.
At the turn of the century, Walker's Funeral Home was located on Ontario Street next to the Ganaraska Hotel. As was common at the time, they also sold furniture.
In 1927, Jex & Smith Limited took over the business at the same location, where they continued to make furniture and also ran the ambulance service. In the mid-1950s, Ralph Carey took ownership, maintaining the Jex & Smith name, and in 1963 sold the furniture business to Joice-Sweanor and moved to the present location on Mill Street. In 1965, Donald Allison purchased the business, renaming it the D.E. Allison Funeral Home Limited.
Working as a salesman of funeral supplies, Don observed that while in most communities funeral homes were employed along the lines of Catholic/Protestant or English/French, Port Hope was unique in that Jex & Smith was used by Tory supporters, while Ross was preferred by Liberals!
Allison's records date from 1917. Scott, one of Don's sons continuing the family business, is pleased to answer inquiries from family members and descendants. Again, please do not make a general request for all records of a specific surname.