The Five Johns

John Dickenson - John Gibson - John Moodie - John Patterson - John Sutherland

John Dickenson

John DickensonJohn Dickenson was born on August 4, 1847 in Northumberland, England. He came to Canada when he was 11 years old and settled in Glanford Township with his family. Following in his father's footsteps, John became a stone mason and later on owned a brick works in Glanford. He went on to become a contractor, building schools in Wentworth County as well as part of the Ontario Hospitals in Hamilton and MimiCompany Besides constructing buildings, John's firm also paved roads laying the first asphalt paving in Hamilton.

John had a variety of interests which can be seen in the positions he held. From 1893 to 1905 John represented South Wentworth in the Ontario Legislature. He was the first manager of the Central Fair (held in Victoria Park) and the planner and developer of the Hamilton Jockey Club. John was the president of the South Wentworth Agricultural Society as well as the Pioneer Plowing Club. He was also president of several businesses including the Hamilton and Brantford Electric Railway and the Hamilton, Grimsby and Beamsville Electric Railway. Similarly, John was director of the Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway.

John Dickenson died on January 4, 1932.

John Gibson

John GibsonJohn Gibson was born on January 1, 1842 in the township of Toronto. He was the youngest of seven siblings, having four brothers and two sisters. A few months after his birth on April 5, John Gibson's father died. In 1851, the family moved to the township of Oneida to live on a 200 acre farm. Instead of working on the farm like his brothers and sisters, John attended school in Hamilton beginning in 1853. John was very diligent and hardworking, consequently he was named Head Boy of Central School and in 1859 was given the honour of turning on the water for Hamilton's new waterworks. The same year he began attending the University of Toronto, going on to receive numerous scholarships including the Prince of Wales Prize. During his stay at university, John decided to join the militia and upon returning to Hamilton in 1864 he transferred his membership to the 13th Battalion. In 1866 John was promoted to Lieutenant and fought against the Fenians at the Battle of Ridgeway that same year. Thanks to his experience in the military John was a renowned marksman. He represented Canada's rifle team at Wimbledon in 1874, 1875, and 1879. John was with the 13th Battalion till 1895 and during this time he was promoted to Commanding Officer.

Besides keeping order, John also had an interest in law. In 1870, he entered into a law partnership with Francis Mackelcan. Two years later they were appointed city solicitors and in 1890 John was to become Queen's Counsel. In 1899 John was made a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

John GibsonJohn became attracted to politics in the 1870's. Starting as Hamilton's Reform candidate in 1879, John would win that election and go on to acquire increasingly important titles. John was appointed Provincial Secretary ten years later, and it was in this position that he helped to pass the Children's Protection Act of 1893. In 1896 John became the Commissioner of Crown Lands and in 1899 he was chosen to be the Attorney General of Ontario. In 1908 John attained the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario which he held until 1914. During this time he was also knighted.

In addition to having held political positions of leadership, John Gibson was president of several companies. He was the first president of the Cataract Power Company and subsequently was the president of the Hamilton Terminal Company, the Hamilton and Brantford.

Electric Railway, and the Hamilton Street Railway until 1908. Additionally, he was at one point the vice-president of the Hamilton Radial Electric Railway as well as the president of the Hamilton Hotel Company. Finally, he became the president of National Steel Car in 1914.

On June 3, 1929 John Gibson died of a stroke. He had a funeral with full military honours at the Central Presbyterian Church in Hamilton.

John Moodie

John MoodieJohn Moodie was born on September 21, 1832 in Scotland. He apprenticed as a cabinet-maker in Newton-Stewart and then worked in Glasgow. John came to Canada in 1856 and established a dry goods store in Hamilton. On the suggestion of a travelling salesman, John and his two older sons imported hand-knitting machines and started making underwear in 1888. They called their business the Eagle Knitting Company and it became one of the largest mills of its kind in Canada. John was the first treasurer of the Cataract Power Company and would later become its president. John had the distinction of having Lake Moodie near St. Catherines named after him.

John Moodie died in 1902. At his death, John was one of the wealthiest people in Hamilton with an estate worth $1,117,000.

John Patterson

John PattersonJohn Patterson was born on March 13, 1857 in County Tyrone, Ireland. His family moved to Hamilton in 1867 where he attended Central School for a year. He got his first job at the age of 12 and left home at 14. Initially, he worked at the law office of Martin and Ferguson but moved on to the Wanzer Sewing Machine Company, E. & C. Gurney, and Spring Brewery.

In the mid 1870's John moved to the United States to pursue the lumber industry in Ohio and Illinois. However, he soon returned to Canada, and using the knowledge he had gained he started a lumber and planing mill business with his brother Thomas in 1878. Called Patterson Brothers, John's role in the business only lasted until 1893 at which point he let Thomas run it himself. In 1896 John came up with the idea for the hydroelectric power scheme which would eventually become Dominion Power and Transmission. In 1887 John got the endorsement of the city of Hamilton to build 300 coke ovens east of the city limits. However, it wasn't until after he secured the rights to a soft coal field in Pennsylvania in 1900 when he actually made use of those ovens. In 1908, John established the Hamilton, Waterloo, and Guelph Electric Railway Company but unfortunately the railway line was never achieved.

On January 26, 1913 John Patterson died. Though there was talk of erecting a suitable memorial in honour of John's contributions to the city nothing was done. However, his name lives on in a dead-end lane called Patterson Street which runs east from Queen Street North in Hamilton.

John Sutherland

John SutherlandJohn Sutherland was born in 1852 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was also educated there. He was first employed by Cunard Steamship Company in Montreal and later on with the Grand Trunk Railroad at Stratford, Midland, and Niagara Falls. In the early 1890's John retired from the Grand Trunk Railroad and came to Hamilton. He subsequently entered into the contracting business.

Besides co-founding the Dominion Power and Transmission Company, John had an interest in the National Gas Company where he served on the board of directors. Additionally, he was a member of the Hamilton recruiting league during World War I.

John Sutherland died on November 28, 1916.

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