William Wasnidge, at the age of 75, Still a valued employee of Farrell & Sons - Has read Independent since its inception.
How would you like to put in nearly 20,000 days at hard work with very few holidays; and still be working every day? That is the kind of record William Wasnidge, Lake Street, Grimsby, has. He will be 75 years old next Christmas day, and has been working and working hard since he was 8 years of age.
William Wasnidge was born in the township of McGillivray, county of Middlesex, on Dec. 25, 1849, the only son of Alfred Wasnidge and Eliza Bond. While still a child the family moved to Toronto and remained there until the death of Wasnidge Sr., when William was about 8 years old. The mother and boy came to Grimsby and lived where the house of William Farrell now stands, on the corner of Main and Elm Streets, though Elm Street was not opened for many years after. From here "Young bill" learned to work - he has been at it ever since; and today he goes regularly to the basket factory of H.H. Farrell & Sons where he puts in 6 days a week on one of the veneer choppers, while in the 66-year interim that has elapsed he has worked at 'most everything that a working man does in this part of the country.
When the youth was about 13 his mother married again to Freeman House of Clinton Township, and they went to live on lot 23 in the fifth concession of that township. A prosaic life on the farm for several years developed the brawn that has carried him through all the years since. At the age of 24, in 1873, he married Sarah Arminta Shepherd of the lower Thirty, and went to live just at the top of the mountain on the Clinton townline, and when their first child was born it was a question whether it should be registered in Clinton or Grimsby (This house later burned down). Soon he built on the north side of the Ridge Road in Grimsby township near the top of the Thirty and lived there until coming to the village in 1883.
On May 6, 1923 Mr. and Mrs. Wasnidge celebrated their golden wedding.
An uncle of Mr. Wasnidge, John Carter, living alone in Grimsby, had asked them to come and take care of him, which they did for 3 years, when the old man, then past the allotted span, decided to get married again. At the end of another 5 years Carter again came to them and remained until his death. In 1894 the house where he now lives at the foot of Ontario street on Lake street came into his possession and there they moved, and later remodelled the house. Mr. Wasnidge had one step-sister, Mrs. Ned Hyland of Hamilton, and there has been one daughter and three sons, two of whom are still living, Harry a druggist of Niagara Falls, and Fred of Winona, the daughter dying when 9 years of age, and the eldest son Charles being accidentally killed in 1917.
Mr. Wasnidge has always taken an interest in municipal matters and we find in the records of the Grimsby township council of May, 1880 where he headed a petition by the residents of the east gore to be attached to the Grimsby high school which annexation afterward became a reality. Another little political episode that he tells on himself, occurred about this same time. The late T.A.Kemp, his son John and Wasnidge had come down as a delegation from the east end on the mountain to attend a Liberal committee meeting in Fitch's hall from which meeting he was ordered out. And he has been a Conservative in politics ever since, except at one election when he voted for William Mitchell. The late W. Forbes was domineering the meeting and arose in his majesty with the request that all who had no connection with the meeting would leave. Wasnidge being an accredited delegate did not think this could have any reference to him and remained in his seat. A little later Forbes again arose and remarked "this is a private meeting and Wasnidge if you will retire we will proceed". T.A. Kemp had not yet come into the hall, but John Kemp started to explain but was quickly sat on and Wasnidge left the hall. As he went down the steps Kemp Sr. came up and on going into the hall was told what had occurred. This rather squelched the bombastic one and Wasnidge was sent for; but by this time he had made up his mind that a party that had such men as that in it was not the one he wanted to be in, so he stayed out since.
Mr. Wasnidge has been a reader of The Independent since its inception and today reads it without the aid of glasses.
It might be interesting to note that the elder living son Harry started in the drug store of S.A.Whittaker in Grimsby and after being there for a couple of years went to Niagara Falls and has been in the same drug store continually for the past 25 years.