The Smoke & Easterbrook Families
by Scott Forsyth

    You will find a brief description of the previous owners of Lot 12 prior to 1837 in the story titled “Before Brighton Beach”.

   Peter Smoke (1789 – July 22, 1871) came to Canada from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with his parents Jacob Smuck (1764-1836) &Mary (1768-1850) and Brother William around 1797.They settled in Glanford Township, Wentworth County on 188 acres on Lot 1/Concession 4.This land is very close to what is now the Hamilton Airport. Seven more children were born in Canada to Jacob and Mary. Peter was the only one of his siblings to change his surname from Smuck to Smoke.

   During the War of 1812 Peter Smoke served as a private in the 5th Lincoln Militia with his father and brother William. On January 21st, 1836 he and a former private of this Flank Company, received 100 acres each of the east half of Lot 19, Con.3, in Enniskillen Township, Lambton County. It is likely that he sold this land as this time period is close to when Peter Smoke purchased the west half of the Broken Front of Lot 12 in East Flamborough in June of 1837.

   Peter Smoke married Sarah Kirkendall (1798-Jan.12, 1881) around 1818. She came to Hamilton from Pennsylvania with her parents and siblings in 1811.
   According to the Aldershot Tweedsmuir Scrapbooks they had 10 children. The earliest record of them has to be from the 1861 Census as the Census from 1851 is missing except for the Agricultural Census which just lists the owners or leasers of land used for farming.

   The following is a list of their children. Some of the birth dates may not be correct but the dates of their deaths are….

1) Mary Smoke Young, March 27, 1819 – March 19, 1906. Married John Young and lived in Hamilton.

2) Hannah Smoke Blain, 1822-Oct. 10, 1894. Married John Blain & lived in Middlesex and Lincoln Counties.

3) Eliza Jane Smoke Cooper, April 2, 1823 – Jan. 17, 1908. Married Henry Gill Cooper, Carriage Maker and lived in Hamilton.

4) Dorothy E Smoke Blain, 1824-June 1909. Married David Blain and lived in Aldershot on Lot 10.

5) David N Smoke, 1827- August 1, 1860. Died of consumption at the age of 34.

6) William H Smoke, 1832-April 2, 1898.

7) Harriet Smoke Collar,June 18,1834–July 25, 1923. Married James Collar & lived in Detroit. They returned to Aldershot by 1908.

8) Rhoda Smoke, 1830-1908. Spinster. Lived and died in same house in Aldershot.

9) Samuel Frederick Smoke, 1838-1914. Married Fanny Heather from Guelph & lived in Aldershot.

10) Charlotte Smoke, Jan. 5, 1838-August 29, 1908. Spinster. Lived and died in same house in Aldershot.

11) John W. Smoke, May 23, 1841-Feb.4, 1923. Bachelor. Lived and died in same house in Aldershot.

This monument, in the Hamilton Cemetery,
holds the remains of Mother Sarah Smoke
and five of her children David, William,
Rhoda, Charlotte, and John.  It is believed
that father Peter Smoke is buried in the
Salem/Smoke Cemetery near the Hamilton

   Sarah Smoke’s father, David Kirkendal, (1760-August 3rd, 1854) and Mother Rhoda Sargent Smith (1780-1845) came to Hamilton from Delaware, New Jersey around 1811 along with five children. They were William (1798-1854), Mary (1800-1852), Sarah (1801-1881), Elizabeth (1804-1852), Joseph (1806-1850) and Samuel (1814-1861) who was born in Canada.

   They received grants of land from the Government. Besides the land they received on the Hamilton Mountain, they were also granted property on what is now downtown Hamiilton. This land was situated between James and Bay Street, north to Barton Street and south to King Street. By the 1830 David Kirkendal and other prominent fore Fathers began changing their agricultural land into plotted tracts that became a town then the City of Hamilton by 1846.

   The Smoke family remained on the west half of Lot 12 till around 1924 when the property was purchased by John Easterbrook. The last surviving Smoke family member to live in the family home was Harriet Smoke Collar along with her daughter Ethel Reycraft and their domestic helper Lottie Armstrong Crouchley (1897-2004). Harriet’s husband James Collar died March 4,1909.

   Thorough searching for information about the Smoke family only found minor mishaps. The earliest mention, besides the vague info from the 1841 Census, is that of Rhoda and Charlotte Smoke. They both attended The Burlington Ladies Academy of Hamilton in 1848 & 1849. Their cousin Sarah Ann Kirkendall was also a student there at the same time. This four storey brick school was located on the corner of King and Bay Streets.

   Five years after Peter & Sarah’s son David passed away, their youngest son John Wesley was fined for illegal fishing in March of 1865.

   Two articles were found in the newspaper from 1885 & 1888 that involved injuries. One was about William Smoke while standing in his field and the other regarding John W Smoke and his sister.

   According to the Aldershot Tweedsmuir Scrapbook Sarah Smoke was the first to donate money towards the erection of the Methodist Church that is now known as West Plains United. The church was a wooden structure and opened in early September 1881. The lot in which the church was built was donated by William Hendrie. Around 1929 the original wooden church was moved to Spring Gardens Road to make room for a new church that still exists today as a duplex residence.

Former West Plains Methodist Church

   For some unknown reason nobody from the Smoke family was recorded on the 1881 Census which that took place in the month of April. It has to be noted that mother Sarah passed away on January 12th, 1881 and that the informant on her death certificate is “William Hopkins, a Farmer from East Flamborough”.

   The second youngest son, Samuel Frederick Smoke, married Fanny Heather of Guelph on September 24th, 1885. According to a Directory from that year they are living on Lot 13 of Concession 1. The 1891 census shows that they are living in a 2 storey brick house. A year before he passed away Samuel and Fanny traveled to Los Angeles in October 1913. His border crossing papers indicated that he had a defective left eye. It is possible that they were travelling with Jane Ecclestone as she is listed below their names and all 3 were from the Hamilton area and travelling to California.

   On a directory from 1888 John W Smoke of East Flamborough is listed as the proprietor of the Hamilton Piano Stool Company.

   On the census from 1901 a relative by the name of Henry Kirkendall is living with Samuel & Fanny Smoke in Aldershot. He is 16 years old and was born in Newfoundland. His occupation was laborer or farm hand. It turns out that this Henry Kirkendall was the great-great nephew of Samuel’s mother Sarah Kirkendall Smoke. Sarah’s brother Joseph Sargent Kirkendall (Feb.24, 1806 –Feb.5, 1850) had a son George William Kirkendall, who had a son named Walter Maitland Kirkendall whose son was this Henry. His first name was George but at this point in his life he went by Henry.

   Henry’s Grandfather, George William Kirkendall passed away in 1873 and at that time he was the Reeve of Barton. His son Walter was a Sailor who married Mary Ann Stephenson in Topsail, Conception Bay, Newfoundland on October 26 1883. She was born in Newfoundland. Their son, George Henry, was born on June 4th, 1884. On March 15th, 1886 Walter Maitland Kirkendall accidently drowned at sea off the coast of Newfoundland. His vessel or schooner was named Mayflower. Searches for his wife Mary and George Henry did not turn up on the census for 1891 so it is unclear where they lived after this disaster.

   George Henry Kirkendall did not live a long life. On August 8, 1909 while walking the railway track she was struck by a yard engine in the Grand Trunk yard and died. At this time he was still working for his uncle Samuel Smoke and was on his way home from Zion Church in Hamilton. His companion, who was not seriously injured, worked for Samuel’s brother John W. Smoke and lived in the family home.

   There is one other connection to the Smoke family involving a member from the Kirkendall family. Sarah Kirendall Smoke’s sister, Elizabeth Kirkendall (1804 – June 9, 1852) married Thomas Taylor (1802 – May 21, 1883) on Jan. 31, 1826. One of their children, Rhoda Jane Taylor (1834 – May 13, 1871) married James Collar (1831—1909).

Thomas Taylor 1802 - 1883

   Born in Kingston, Ontario. James Collar is 21 years old and living with his parents and siblings in Hamilton Ontario on the 1851Census. His father ran a Grocery and Provision store. He married Rhoda Taylor on May 13, 1852 and by the 1860 American Census they are living in Detroit with three children. He also became a Grocery store owner.

   Elizabeth Kirkendall Taylor passed away on June 9th, 1852. Her husband Thomas Taylor got remarried to his daughter Rhoda’s husband, James Collar’solder sister, Dulina Collar(1832-1902) on January 3, 1854. After Rhoda Taylor passed away on May 13, 1871, James Collar married Peter and Sarah Smoke’s daughter, Harriet Smoke on October 23, 1872. They continued living in Detroit.

James and Harriet Collar at the Smoke family home.

    James Collar had four children with Rhoda when he married Harriett Smoke. James and Harriett had one daughter, Gertrude Ethel Collar (1874– 1962). Gertrude met and married Richard Henry Reycraft (1868 -1919), a Druggist in Detroit on October 23, 1900.

Ethel Gertrude and Richard Reycraft                                   

 Richard was going to University to become a doctor but an illness of Inflammatory Rheumatism cost him to lose two years of school. Instead of continuing on he decided to become a Druggist which he did until March 1908. Having a bad heart his doctor advised him to retire and do outdoor work. This is when Richard and Ethel G Reycraft came to Aldershot. He was to look after the Smoke farm. It is possible that this is the same time that Ethel’s parents, James and Harriett Collar came to live on the east half of Lot # 12.

   One last mention of a Smoke family member that appeared in the newspaper was on September 20th, 1902. John Wesley Smoke was assaulted by Samuel Parkin, the son of CharlesParkin the current tollgate keeper. This toll road, which is now Plains Road, was owned by the Hamilton & Nelson Road Company.

   The year 1908 was not good one for the Smoke family. Two of Harriett’s sisters passed away. Rhoda died in late January and Charlotte on August 29th. Both had been living in the family home along with their brother John W Smoke. Within a year James Collar also passed away on March 4, 1909. On his death certificate his place of death is called “Cedar Bank Farm, Plains Road, EF.

   On the 1911 census John Wesley Smoke is now living with his sister Harriett Collar, Ethel and Richard Henry Reycraft and Charlotte Armstrong, a domestic helper who had traveled alone from England when she was 12 years old. Hard times had forced her parents to send her to Canada to live.

      Lottie Armstrong  

   Richard Reycraft became a successful gardener in Aldershot. He was also the Treasurer and Trustee of West Plains Church and a local School Trustee. He suggested and fought for Fairfield School be built with two stories instead of one. One time he wrote the CNR to have them build a shelter at Waterdown Station in Aldershot to cover the farmer’s vegetables that were being shipped to Toronto and Montreal from the midday sun as most of the farmers would wait to the last minute to arrive at the Station which would cause a lot of confusion.  Richard Henry Reycraft died in the Toronto General Hospital on November 17, 1919. Likely he was visiting there as he is buried in Hamilton.

   Two years later on the 1921 Census John W Smoke 76 is still living with his sister Harriett 86, her daughter Ethel, 44 and their domestic helper Charlotte Armstrong 23 years old. John Wesley Smoke passed away on February 4, 1923. His sister Harriett died on July 28, 1923. Ethel Reycraft moved down the road to a house at # 200 Plains Rd West which is still standing today. This house is located just east of Boothman Avenue which back then belonged to John Easterbrook so is possible that this transaction was part of the Easterbrook purchase of the east half of Lot 12.

200 Plains Rd. West

   Ethel eventually moved to Glencoe Ontario, a village west of London Ontario on the #2 Highway. In 1957 Ethel is on a Voter’s List back in Aldershot living at 938 La Salle Park Road. This was the home of their former domestic helper, Charlotte. Ethel Gertrude Reycraft was buried on August 1, 1962 beside side her parents James and Harriette Collar.

   Charlotte Armstrong (1897 – May 29, 2004) married William Crouchley (April 30, 1892 – Sept. 30, 1971) on Oct. 13, 1923. William Crouchley came to Canada from England as a 16 year old farm hand in 1909. In the 1930’s & 40’s they lived on the Oakland’s property in what was to be known as the Cheese Factory. They farmed on the land where Aldershot High School is located. They eventually moved to 938 La Salle Park Road. A few years after her husband died she moved Bracebridge to be close to her daughter. Lottie Crouchley lived to be 106 years old and is buried with her husband William, the Reycrafts and the Collars in the Hamilton Cemetery on York Blvd.

938 LaSalle Park Rd.

   Sometime in 1924 the Easterbrook family purchased the Smoke property. Brothers JohnThomas Easterbrook Jr. (April 26, 1880 – May 8, 1959) and Frank Wood Easterbrook (July 24, 1885 – 1961) were already gardeners and farmers who had worked on their family farm on the Broken Front of Lot 9 (Easterbrook Avenue) with their parents JohnThomas Easterbrook Sr.(1837-1907)and Catherine Boothman (1845-1917). The other siblings were Eleanor Easterbrook Bray (1873 – Feb. 27, 1918), May Danforth Easterbrook (1874 – Feb.19, 1941), Sarah Easterbrook (1876 – 1934) and William Justus Easterbrook (Sept. 21,1882 – March1, 1920).

   John T Easterbrook Sr. was the son of Thomas Easterbrook (1813 – 1892) who had come from Nassagawey and settled on Lot 1, Con. 1 (King & Plains Rd.) in the late 1850’s. They ran a successful brick making business along with having sawmills on the property and eventually purchased Concession 2 of the same lot.

   John T Easterbrook Sr. first married Jane Douglas from Nassagawey, Halton County whose family also came to Aldershot around the same time purchasing Concession 1 of Lot 3. On the 1861 Census John and Jane are living in Nassagawey, Halton County. Jane Douglas Easterbrook passed away at the age of 25 on Sept. 2, 1864. She is buried in East Plains Cemetery. Six years later John Sr. married Catherine Boothman on June 9, 1870. The witness’s to their marriage was Summerfield Douglas, brother to John’s first wife Jane and Hannah Easterbrook, John’s sister.  John and Catherine settled on the eastern quarter of the Broken Front of Lot 9 stretching from Plains Road to the shores of Burlington Bay.

1st John Easterbrook house
   The 1871 Census tells us that their property was 27 acres in size producing wheat, oats corn etc. and his occupation is listed as a “pump maker”. By 1881 they had four children and John’s occupation was “Farmer” but he held a much higher position at this time as Justice of Peace for East Flamborough. From documents available it is known that he held this position till as late as 1898.

   In 1881 the Oakland’s Park & Pleasure Grounds on lots 7 and 8 had been sold and turned into a famous Jersey Farm with livestock imported from Europe. In March of 1884 John Easterbrook was chosen by the Canadian Jersey Breeders Association to conduct and oversee a test for the amounts of butter produced from each cow.
2nd John Easterbrook house

   On the1891 Census John and Catherine are living in a two-storey brick house with 10 rooms along with their six children.The address is 292 Plains Road West. Also on this property is an uninhabited one-storey house with seven rooms. Although he was still the Justice of Peace his occupation is still a Farmer.
   In January 1894 John Easterbrook was one of three men chosen to be a Liquor License Commissioner for North Wentworth County. In this same year John and Catherine’s eldest child Eleanor got married to Alfred Bray on March 15th. In 1901 they are living a short distance up from Plains Road on what is now Waterdown Road. On the following Census from 1911 they are in the vicinity of Lot 12.

   It is not known when John Sr. retired from the position of Justice of Peace. When the 1901 Census was returned all five children, May, Elizabeth, John, William and Frank are living with their parents in the brick house on 27 acres of the Broken Front of Lot 9. John Sr. and two of his sons, John Jr. and William’s occupation are noted as being Gardeners.

   In 1907 John Thomas Easterbrook Sr. passed away at the age of 70. The census from 1911 tells us that his son William JustusEasterbrook is now married to Mable Bowman and living in a separate dwelling, likely on the same property. They were married on Nov. 29, 1906.  It states that he now works as a Fishery Overseer for the Dominion Government. His siblings are still in the same house with their mother, Catherine Boothman Easterbrook who works at growing fruits and vegetables.

   John Easterbrook Jr. married Mabel Foster (Dec. 27, 1886 – Mar. 14, 1975) sometime prior to 1913 as this is when their first child was born. Frank Wood Easterbrook married Lilian Blanche Cartwright on January 17, 1917. The eldest daughter Eleanor who had married Alfred Bray in 1894, passed away on Feb. 22, 1918 from Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Their mother Catherine Boothman Easterbrook passed away on December 18, 1917 of heart failure. Also passing away was Eleanor’s brother William Justus on March 1, 1920 from Influenza.

   On Christmas day 1922, in the early evening, a terrible accident happened on the road leading to the Valley Inn from the west now known as Spring Gardens Rd.  Eleanor Easterbrook Bray's two grandsons and a friend were sledding down the hill on the road when two of the boys were struck and killed by an automobile.

Scene of the crime.

   According to the 1921 Census there were three houses on the Easterbrook property on Lot 9. Frank Easterbrook and his wife Lillian are living in the brick house. The sisters, May and Elizabeth are the owners of 6 room brick house and John Easterbrook Jr. and his wife Mabel are the owners of a 6 room plaster/cement house. With them are their 4 sons John 8, Larry 6, Ray 4 and Brian 3 along with a niece, Mabel Foster 8, from Saskatchewan and Violet Merrill 17, an employee.

June 1924

   It is estimated that John Easterbrook purchased the broken front of Lot 12 in early 1924. At first they were market gardeners and a decade later they added another sideline business by turning their fruit and vegetable stand into a small diner. This diner was run by John’s wife Mabel. Green houses were added to the property and the business flourished. An article from the newspaper in July 1924 tells us what was available at the Hamilton market. It is not known if this fruit came from the Easterbrook property on Lot 9 or 12.

   The original house that belonged to the Smoke family burned down in the late 1950’s and a new house was built on its foundation. This house was torn down and the majority of the property was sold for a new housing development.

   John Easterbrook Jr passed away In May 1959 and his wife Mabel passed away in September 1975.

   The 12 Inch Hotdog stand still does a thriving business on Spring Garden Road and is managed by John and Mabel Easterbrook's grandson, Ray.  Except for the increasing amount of pictures on the wall the interior of the diner still looks the same as it did so many decades ago.