Port Hope

The following is extracted from W.Arnot Craick's 1901 Port Hope Historical Sketches (Illustrated), published by the Williamson Press, Port Hope.

"The father of journalism in Port Hope was the late William Furby, Esq., who was born in Yorkshire, England, on September 5th., 1799. As a youth he acquired the printer's and cabinet-maker's trade and then crossed the Atlantic in 1819. He settled in Port Hope in 1826 and for many years engaged in the furniture business in a building to the west of the present Guide Office. In 1831 Mr. Furby in partnership with a Mr. Woodhouse purchased the printing plant of Mr. John Vail who had established the Port Hope Telegraph a few months previously, and continued the publication of this, the first newspaper in Port Hope.

[The Telegraph was a small, five column affair, many times only printed on one side of the sheet. Advertising occupied 75 per cent of the space, the remainder being devoted to long reports of the doings of legislature and European occurrences. Very little local news was included, much of the material being editorial in nature.]

"Mr. Vail's press was one of the old wooden variety, which Mr. Furby soon after superseded with one of the first iron presses ever brought into Canada. His partner, Mr. Woodhouse, died in thr summer of 1831 and Mr. Furby continued the publication of the Telegraph alone. Its name was altered to the Warder in June 1833 and to the Gazette in April 1836.

[This paper, 22 inches by 15 inches, consisted of five double measure columns very closely set in small type, occupied with miscellaneous stories, agricultural hints, news items from England, Ireland, Scotland and the United States, some editorial matter and numerous advertisements. Local items were few and far between, with little mention made of Port Hope.]

"The latter newspaper, which professed neutrality in politics became extinct in 1838 but was probably followed by another paper. In 1844 Mr. Furby began the publication of the Port Hope Gazette and Durham Advertiser and in 1851 altered the name to the Guide. It was about this period that Mr. Charles Lindsey, now an old and respected citizen of Toronto, rendered Mr. Furby's paper famous by means of the brilliant articles, which secured him a distinguished place among Toronto journalists.

"In 1856 George M. Furby, Esq., elder son of William Furby took over the Guide and entered partnership with Mr. Crea. Under their management the Guide became a tri-weekly publication. Two years later Mr. Furby sold out his interest to Mr. Crea and the latter continued to issue the paper until 1861 when it ceased publication for a few months. Until 1875, when Mr. George Wilson secured the paper, it passed through several hands, among them being those of Mr. C. Blackett Robinson, but during this period its publication could not be said to be continuous. Mr. Wilson bought the Guide from Mr. Moody and began to issue a daily paper in July 1878.

"Until about 1850 there was no opposition paper in Port Hope. The first such was the Watchman, published by Mr. Steel. In reality this paper had its origin in Mr. Furby's office, for during its first two or three years' existence it was issued from Mr. Furby's press. Then Mr. Steel set up a plant of his own and until 1855 the Watchman was regularly published. The following year a professedly Conservative paper, the British Standard appeared under the editorship of Mr. James, while in November, 1857, it was succeeded by the Port Hope Atlas. This paper was edited by the distinguished writer, Mr. Charles Roger, known by his journalistic contemporaries as the "Carlyle of the Canadian press" and now better known as the author of a History of Canada. He came to Port Hope from Quebec and resided here but a few years.

"Several other papers have been in existence in Port Hope from time to time. Among these might be noted, the Echo, a Church paper, edited and published by the late Dr. Shortt; the Messenger issued from 1860 to 1863 by Mr. Hayter and the latter year removed to Millbrook; the Valuator, published in the sixties by the late Thomas Galbraith; and Mr. W.T.R. Preston's News bought by Mr. Wilson in 1883, after a life of three years."

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario