Etc. -- Jonathan Austin's 1906 obituary
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A lightly edited transcription of a page 10 article in the 25 May 1906 issue of the Simcoe Reformer.


Simcoe's senior Business Man and one of our most highly respected citizens died suddenly.
Had passed the venerable age of 84 years

On Saturday afternoon last, about two o'clock, Mr. Jonathan Austin quietly breathed his last.

He had been up and about the day previous, taking an interest in the gardening operations at his house and feeling well and comfortable.

Shortly after midnight he was taken ill and medical aid being summoned, the termination of his long and useful life at an early moment, was pronounced. He lingered as told above until the following afternoon, then peacefully drifted from time to eternity.

Mr. Austin had for years been a singularly interesting link with the early history of our community. Born on the Austin homestead in Woodhouse, 4 Dec 1821, he came to Simcoe when a mere lad of 12 years, and from that time he had been a resident of the town.

His father, Solomon Austin, was the eldest son of Solomon Austin, to whom Governor John Greaves Simcoe granted 1,200 acres of land in Woodhouse in 1793, and who was the pioneer settler of that township.

Solomon Austin, the younger, accompanied his father when he made his tour of inspection to locate his lands. They traveled through the forest on foot from Newark or Niagara to the reservation of Chief Joseph Brant. who directed them their course to a stream, now the River Lynn, which they followed to the lake. From that point they made a circuit along the Bay shore to Big Creek, up Big Creek to a point above the present village of Delhi, thence south easterly to their old trail and down to Lynn Valley, where they decided to locate.

The details of this pioneer tramp through Norfolk Mr. Jonathan Austin had at his finger's ends and delighted to relate as he had it from his father. This trip was made in 1793 and Mr. Jonathan Austin's first hand knowledge of it certainly took us back further into pioneer days than any person now remaining.

When Mr. Austin came to Simcoe to live it was to be apprenticed as a painter to Hatch & Farnham, cabinet makers, Mr. Farnham afterwards becoming his brother-in-law through his marriage with his sister Elizabeth. Other sisters were Mrs. Nathan Pegg, Mrs. William Shand and Mrs. Henry Paskins.

In 1849, brothers. Jonathan and John S. Austin established a large carriage making business, which was by them conducted most energetically for a number of years. Later John S. withdrew from the firm and his place was taken by John Scott. Subsequently, Mr. Austin sold his interest to Mr. Scott.

Meanwhile, Mr. Austin had become interested in the drug business, and it was with this establishment that he was connected, together with his younger son, ex-Mayor Charles A. Austin, at the time of his death.

Mr. Austin married in July 1843 the lady who now survives him as his widow. She was Miss Harriett Beemer, daughter of Philip Beemer. In 1893 Mr. and Mrs. Austin celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. The celebration was one of the largest of its kind ever held in the community, something like 400 guests being present.

Mr. Austin's family consisted of two sons and two daughters. The elder son is Mr. James B. Austin of Washington, D.C., the younger Charles, mentioned above, Mrs. W. O, Foster of St. Thomas is a daughter. The other daughter, Mrs. Arthur J. Clark of Port Arthur, died years ago.

Mr. Austin was a prominent official and consistent member of the Simcoe Methodist church for 45 years, having joined in 1861, under the ministry of Rev. James Preston. In politics he was, as his family has ever been, a staunch Liberal.

The funeral on Monday afternoon was largely attended by the people of the community, the stores of the town being shut at the time as a mark of respect to the deceased. 

The pallbearers we Messrs. A. J. Donly, G. F. Counter, Joseph Brook, Daniel Matthews, J. Thos. Murphy and Ebon Edmonds.

His mortal form was laid away in beautiful Oakwood, to the establishment of which he had contributed greatly and over whose Board of Directors he presided for 21 years.

Jonathan Austin

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