The Founder of Bothwell
The Honourable George Brown
Bothwell received its name from Bothwell, Scotland given by the Honourable George Brown. George Brown was born in Edinburgh, England on November 29, 1818. His father was a known person both in business and political fields. His mother was the only daughter of George MacKenzie of the Cottage of Stonoway, in the Island of Lewis. George Brown received his education in England and was very good in mathematics.
Peter Brown and George came to America in 1838 with out the rest of the family. The father started to work for a newspaper office in New York and after a short time sent for the rest of his family. In December of 1842, Peter and George Brown started their own newspaper, the British Chronicle. Peter was the editor while George took the position of publisher and general business manager. In 1843, George came to Canada to sell on interest in the paper to Canadians readers. In less than ten years, George Brown would be come one of the best known and the most influential of Canada’s citizens. George was only twenty- five years of age when he started a new life in Toronto. The family later joined George to live in Canada.
“Toronto Globe” newspaper in 1844. Brown
was always interested in politics but was unable to obtain a seat in Parliament
because of his different views. In
October of 1853, the Globe became a daily paper where George could express his
opinions. With the use of the
paper, he was able to bring people to his way of thinking, more than if he had
been in government. George was a very energetic person and he could be found in
the middle of any of the events that took place at that time.
In the autumn of 1857, Brown finally took a seat in parliament but after
Confederation in 1867, when Canada became a nation, he did not return to a seat
in government. He did however remain active in politics through out the
remainder of his life. The
Honourable George Brown though his willingness to join sides with John A
MacDonald made Confederation happen. He
is one of the thirty-six Fathers of Confederation.
Brown, as a legislator in the government, knew the
route for the new railway, which was under construction from Toronto to Windsor.
In 1850, he purchased 4000 acres of land in Zone Township.
In 1854, Dennis Boulton made the survey for Mr. Brown, which the town now
uses. When laying out the town of Bothwell, George named the streets after
family members and trees of the area. The other lands where used for farming
with several sawmills and a furniture factory built near the railway. George
Brown profited handsomely from the timber that was cleared from the land and
sold to the railway. He used
his paper to draw people into the area with great promises of good life for
But in the 1857 live in Bothwell was tough with little or no money and few jobs. In those years, Bothwell only existed but did not grow. Then in 1868, James Williams began digging for crude oil along the Thames River. The First Nation People had used the oil for many years before as medicine. In 1863, a man named John M Lick struck the largest oil well in North America putting Bothwell on the map as a “Boom Town”. The railway became a very important during the oil days of Bothwell. The trains brought in more people to the town; much needed supplies and news about more oil discoveries. Bothwell grew into a booming town, much bigger than it is today but several major fires and a sudden drop in oil demands changed Bothwell into the town we have today. There were several small oil peaks in the later part of the century but never reached the level of the first oil boom.
George died on May 9, 1880 at the age of sixty-one years and five months. George
Bennett who worked for Brown at the Globe Printing Company, was fired for not
doing his job. He became angry with Brown and pointed a gun at him. The two men
struggled and the gun went off, shooting George Brown through the leg. The man
was arrested and a doctor examined Brown's leg. As no serious injury had
occurred, the doctor sent George home to rest for a few days. Mr. Brown
continued to work at home but as time passed his condition became critical. The
wound became infected and six weeks later the Honourable George Brown died
surrounded by his family. It was the largest funeral that Toronto had ever seen
at that time.
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