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                                                                                William Malcom Steele

This research on William Malcolm Steele as a potter began with finding him in his later years in Cornwall Ontario.
Upon further research it was discovered he was a potter who played a significant role in potteries in both Canada East and the province of Ontario.
We follow him from his immigration to Canada and then through the different potteries located between Quebec city and Montreal along the St Lawrence river - beginning with Little river Saint Charles in the parish of St Roch.
He then worked in the parishes of St Michel D'Yamaska, St Augustin also known as Cap Rouge and in the town of 
St Johns all in Canada East (Quebec ) and finally in Cornwall, Ontario further up the St Lawrence river. 


Family history information was sourced from Ancestry and Family Search records.
Notary records ( N # ) are from the BANQ  and Land records ( LR # ) are from Registre Foncier de Quebec


                               William Malcom Steele was born on September 4, 1810 in Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland.
His parents were Andrew Steele and Elizabeth Malcom. 
He married Margaret Wilkie ( born on November 2, 1813 ).
Two different family histories on Ancestry have listed  two possible marriage records in Scotland. 
One in 1827 and the second June 3, 1832 in Duddington, Midlothian, Scotland.
Their first child Margaret was born in Duddington, Midlothian, Scotland on May 15, 1833.
By 1838 they were in Abbotshall, Fife Scotland as their second child Mary was born there in 1838.
Their remaining children Eliza ( born February 20, 1839 - 1906 ) , Helen Ellen ( July 28, 1841 -1910 ), Andrew ( April 28, 1843 ) were all born in Abbotshall, Fife Scotland as well.

 In the 1841 Census for Fifeshire, Scotland (pg. 84) is the listing for William Steele- Occupation Potter- and his family.

1a-1841 census heading.jpg
2-1841 census scotland steel.jpg

According to "The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1845"  in the section covering Abbotshall, county of Fife on pg.157

they mention under the title Manufactures - 

" A brick and tyle - work of considerable extant has been very long established in this parish. At the same place, a pottery for making brown earthen - ware is carried on."
It can be assumed William Steele worked at one or both of these works at some time.

In the year 1850,
at the age of 40 William Steele  and his family immigrated to Canada East and arrived at Quebec ( City )
(U. S. and Canada Pasenger and Immigration List ( 1500 - 1900's )Place Quebec 1850 pg. 349)

         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------   1851     ---------------------------------------------------------------

William Steele was hired by William Bell to manage the pottery at Little River St Charles near the city of Quebec.

W. & D. Bell's pottery was owned by the Scottish brothers William and  David Bell .
William Bell is a Farmer and Trader. David is referred to as a Brick maker in his 1853 patent for a Press or Machine for the manufacture of earthenware pipes and draining tiles. (Patents of Canada 1849 - 1855 Vol. 2 - # 402 )
They first started their pottery in about 1845-6 with the production of bricks.

In 1850 W. & D. Bell entered four samples of Pottery ( Earthenware ) in the Industrial Exhibition held in Montreal.
                                 The Quebec Mercury newspaper printed the prize list on October 26, 1850.

W & D bell pottery

                           It is at William and David Bell's pottery that William Steele was hired to work .

The contract was signed on July 3, 1851 and was to last for one year until June 11, 1852.
William Steele is of the city of Quebec and described as a " Thrower ". 
( a person who shapes pottery on a potter's wheel and bakes them in a kiln )
He also " shall take the general management of the pottery ". 
Therefore, Wm. Steele will be responsible for the pottery's operations.
He will be provided with a free house and firewood.
William Steele will work from six o'clock in the morning until six o'clock in the evening, ten hours a day
( two hours of break ) except for Saturday when he shall work until five in the evening. 
If Wm. Steele decides not to continue with this engagement, he must give six months notice. ( N # 1906 )

On this same day ( July 3, 1851 ) another potter's contract is signed.
His name is John Levack sometimes spelled as Levick.
He is hired as a " Fettler " ( a potter who smooths greenware -pieces which have not been in the kiln - with a knife, felt emery and a wet sponge- this term also refers to a worker who sands or cuts excess glaze from a tile ).
He is also hired as a " Foreman " ( a worker who supervises and directs other workers ).
Like Wm. Steele he is provided with a free house and firewood.
He will also work from six o'clock in the morning until six o'clock in the evening, ten hours a day ( two hours of break ) except for Saturday when he shall work until five in the evening. ( N # 1907 )
The 1841 Census for Fifeshire, Scotland  lists a John Levack - occupation Potter.  
He is twenty years old and was not born in this county. He lives at Arnotts Close Linktown, Abbotshall.
( This information varies slightly from Ancestry family trees on John Levack. )
He came to Canada in 1850 - in the same year as William Steele.

Six months into their engagements, 
both William Steele and John Levack decided not to continue a the Bell's pottery.
On December 10, 1851 - N # 1980 , they both give notice to William Bell. 
At the expiration of their engagement contracts  June-July 1852 ,
they will not continue to work for W. & D. Bell.

                 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------   1852     ---------------------------------------------

William Steele and John Levack  soon after make arrangements to operate their own pottery with James Mclaren.
It is located on the river Yamaska south of the St. Lawrence in the parish of St Michel D'Yamaska, county of Yamaska , district of Three Rivers.
It is approximately located about 12 miles from Sorel ( William Henry ) , 30 miles from St Hyacinthe, and 39 miles from Three Rivers. 
  James Mclaren is not a potter. He is the Keeper of the Common Jail ( Goal )in the city of Quebec.

(The spelling of his family name is mostly as " Mclaren " however he signed it in one document as " Maclaren ". )
He married  Martha Tracy on October 18, 1829 in St George, Hanovor Square England.
Their first child James ( November 22, 1832 ) was born " at sea " so this must be the year they came to Canada.

The 1842 Census lists him on St. Stanisla(u)s street in the city of Quebec - Keeper Common Gaol - family of 6.
The household would have included - James, Martha, son James, William Mark (born 1838 ), daughter Martha ( born 1840). Their son Charles ( born 1834 died in 1838 ). The sixth person could be hired help.

                         As stated James Mclaren was not a potter, he was a Jailer in the city of Quebec.
However, James Mclaren  had previously been involved with another pottery establishment before 1852.
Two years earlier in 1850 at the Industrial Exhibition in Montreal, he is listed in the prize list printed in the 
                                                     October 26 newspaper The Quebec Mercury

yamaska pottery

Unfortunately we can not say for sure where these roof tiles were being produced  in this 1850 period.
However,  there was a pottery in Sorel ( also called William Henry ) producing bricks and tiles connected to James Mclaren. 
There are three land records between James Sheppard jr. of William Henry ( Sorel ) Canada East and J. Mclaren.
J. Sheppard junior was a carpenter and Joiner as well as a Brick and Tile manufacturer.
He was bankrupted in 1850 and his land in the borough of William Henry was to be put for sale on October 28, 1850. ( Montreal Herald Daily Gazette )
James Mclaren was owed forty pounds eighteen shillings with interest due from November 26, 1850.
The court ruled in J. Mclaren's favour on February 26, 1852 and J. Sheppard junior was ordered to pay him.
J. Sheppard's father guaranteed the payment. He also had possession of Lot # 5 in Sorel as well as the patent
Brick machine, two brick carriages, and one hundred thousand bricks valued at twelve shillings and six pence currency per thousand. 
James Mclaren was paid in full by February 1857.( L # 4856, 4857, 8952 )
Another  notary document dated June 12, 1852 connects James Mclaren to Sorel as well.
He has William Steele arrange the shipment of his ( James Mclaren's ) household furniture from the borough of William Henry to Yamaska. ( N # 2020 )
It is possible the tiles of the 1850 Exhibition were being produced in the borough of William Henry ( Sorel ) and 
James Mclaren had an investment in James Sheppard's pottery products there.


            When William Steele and John Levick had decided to leave the employment of W. & D. Bell, 
they made arrangements with James Mclaren for a pottery in the parish of St Michel D' Yamaska.

                               This pottery is on two lots which was once the country estate of William Buchanan.
The following descriptions of this property are exerts from the book

 "Later leaves of the Buchanan Book " by Patrick Buchanan K.C.

yamaska pottery
4b-Buchanan estate 2.jpg
yamaska pottery

 The map is part of the " Plan de la Seigneurie de La Valliere ( ou Yamaska ) October 30, 1826.

                             The lots are marked in red. On the original map Wm. Buchanan's name is written on those lots.

The second map below the first is part of " Compilation des Seigneuries". It is a close up of the area.

The part shown is the area of  Isle de Domaine  ( Island of the Domain ) and the Petit Chenal ( Little Channel )

yamaska pottery
yamaska pottery

The property was sold  after Wm. Buchanan's death  by James Buchanan to Thomas Heaven in 1842.
He went bankrupt in 1844 and once again James Buchanan became the owner.
He sold it on December 12, 1850 to Richard Mayo Darch a merchant from the parish of St Michel D' Yamaska.

On January 17, 1851 James McLaren became the surety for Richard M. Darch on this land purchase.
In this land record # 3176,
James Buchanan is transferring his rights for the money still owed by R. M. Darch to Edward Bowen .
James McLaren co signs for Richard M. Darch to guarantee the money will be paid.

Richard Mayo Darch begins to default on his payments.
On November 18, 1851 - ( N #127, 128 and 251 also LR # 3439 -3440 )
( Just two weeks before William Steele and John Levack give their notice to W & D Bell in December 1851 )
James McLaren loans Richard M. Darch 300 pounds currency to be paid by 1854.
In return Darch morgages the property to J. McLaren.

The property is still described as in the original sale. It still has a flour , Saw and Steam Mill as well as many other buildings.

A bridge is now to be built by the small channel.

On this same date, James McLaren leases this property for a term of sixty years,
for 10 pounds per year - quarterly payments in August, November, February and May of 2 pounds 10 shillings each.
He may take the clay soil as much as is required for the purpose of manufacturing bricks, tiles and other pottery.
The use and occupation of the addition to the main dwelling house and two smaller houses with fenced off gardens as well as the use of one of the stables.
It covers both portions of land with all the rights and privileges as well as appurtenance on the property.
The lease will start on May 1, 1852.

Two months before the start of the lease, on March 6, 1852 - three documents, a Lease, a Power of Attorney and a Co Partnership explain these arrangements.  (N # 1196 , 1197, 1198 )

James Mclaren is leases the property to William Steele and John Levack.
The lease is to start on MAY 1, 1852 and is for seven years term ( ends on May 1, 1859 ).
The lease is for " two certain parcels or portions of land situated in the parish of St Michel D' Yamaska, in the County of Yamaska , District of Three Rivers.
They can use the clay from the property for the manufacture of Bricks, Tiles and other pottery ( earthenware ). 
They will also have occupation of the addition of the principal dwelling house and also two small dwelling houses with two fenced gardens on the property. One stable is also included in the lease.
The rent is for 10 pounds per year.

The Co - Partnership agreement is between William Steele and John Levack under " Levack & Steele ".
They will do Trade or Business as Potters in both of their names for seven years.
The said business will be carried on in St Michel D' Yamaska, District of Three Rivers.

In another document , William Steele and John Levack give James Mclaren the Power of Attorney to sign for them. He is also to be their agent in Quebec city. 
He will advertise and dispose of the products made by " Levick & Steele " in Yamaska.
James Mclaren will receive a third of the net profits for his efforts.

yamaska pottery

Almost a month after signing a contract with James Mclaren , 
On April 2, 1852 William M. Steele sues W. & D. Bell for breach of contract. He says he is owed 54 poundsand 58 shillings.
Although having given notice in December 1851, Wm. Steele is still under contract working at W. & D. Bell's pottery at Little St Charles in the Parish of St Roch until June 11, of this year 1852.
William and David Bell's defense denies there is any truth in the matter of their owing him money.
So both sides produce witnesses in court. 
Wm. Steele has 5 witness's - Pierre Paquette, Charles Maloy, Robert Scribbins, William Busley and John Levack.
The Bell's call 8 witnesses. 
Two are Crockery merchants in the city of Quebec- Alexander Gillespie and Thomas Bickell.
The case lasts until September 5, 1852.
It ends with William Steele receiving " a sum of money equal to the value of the services performed " from  W.& D. Bell
( case # 484 )
             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------   1853     --------------------------------------------

By the time the court case ended William Malcom Steele was already working with John Levack and James Mclaren
as of May 1, 1852.

            In the following year, the 1853 Canada Directory Supplement the pottery listed is under Yamaska .

yamaska pottery

By April, 18 1853,
J. Mclaren has A. Joseph & Co General Merchants at Napoleon Wharf Lower town, Quebec (City) acting as agents.

The following ad is in the Morning Chronicle and Commercial and Shipping Gazette newspaper in Quebec (City).
                           It is dated April, 22 1853 however this ad ran from April, 18 1853 until about May 14, 1853.

yamaska pottery

            Two months later on June 9, 1853 are these two ads in the Morning Chronicle. They ran until July 1, 1853.

yamaska pottery

The 1853 Quebec Industrial Exhibition was held in connection with the World's Fair at New York.
The June 10, 1853 Morning Chronicle newspaper lists the entries to the exhibition from both James Mclaren's Yamaska Pottery run by William Steele and John Levack as well as their former employers William and David Bell's pottery in Little River

( Petite Riviere ) St Charles.
Although the Bell's pottery won first prizes, the Yamaska pottery's entries include Blue Delft ( tin glazed earthenware ) and a large variety of items such as teapots, cups and saucers etc.. as well as bricks.

yamaska pottery
yamaska pottery

                                In the July, 28 1853 Morning Chronicle is a new ad by the agent A. Joseph & Co.
                                                   It mentions  for sale only brown ware and hard bricks.

yamaska pottery

There are problems at the pottery property.
Although Richard M. Darch leased the entire property with the mills, buildings etc to James Mclaren ,
he has not entirely left the premises. 
On August 13, 1853 -  James McLaren files a  protest against  Richard Mayo Darch ( N # 147 )
Richard M. Darch has eight days to vacate the premises.
He will also have to pay J. Mclaren for inconvenience and legal fees.
If he does not comply James Mclaren will stop paying the rent.

Although there were problems with the lessor R. M. Darch,
examples of the potteries products were entered in the Exhibition.

                       In the Montreal newspaper Montreal Herald ( a supplement edition ) dated October 11, 1853

is a list of prizes given  to entries of the 1853 Provincial Exhibition.
                                             Below are the prizes won by Yamaska pottery.

yamaska pottery

On November 10, 1853 ( N # 2587 )
Richard M. Darch transfers administration of the lease to Edward Mountain of the town of Sorel.

A few days later James Mclaren has to handle another type of problem. 
On November 17, 1853
( N # 2582 ) - Protest by James Mclaren to Joseph Delisle
Joseph Delisle , a Navigator from William Henry ( Sorel )was supposed to pick up bricks with his boat from the Yamaska pottery in the parish of St Michel D' Yamaska in October according to a written agreement.
Then he was also to deliver the bricks to A. Joseph & Co. at the Napoleon wharf in the city of Quebec.
However, Joseph Delisle did neither and now James Mclaren is demanding he pay for damages incurred as the bricks had been paid for and supposed to be delivered on time now long past due.
The bricks were to have been used on a house being built in October.

On November 26, 1853 ( N # 373 ) - Notification from Edward Mountain  to James McLaren.
Edward Mountain is demanding the rent he believes is due to him on the Yamaska pottery property.  

James Mclaren's response is in the form of a Notification and Protest against Edward Mountain.

On December 6, 1853 - (N # 2598 )
This document is to inform Edward Mountain the reasons he does not owe him rent.
When Richard M. Darch transferred the lease to E. Mountain, he still owed James Mclaren 316 pounds. 
The property had been mortgaged by R. M. Darch in 1851 to J. Mclaren.  Richard M. Darch had not made payments.
James Mclaren had sued and was suing in a pending case in the Superior court of Three Rivers and the asests of Richard M. Darch were already  attached to it when R. M. Darch had transferred the lease to E. Mountain.
It is also mentioned  Richard M. Darch also still owes 400 pounds to the original owner of the property 
- the late James Buchanan to which James Mclaren is the surety of payment.
At the time of the " pretended Transfer " it is again brought to E. Mountain's attention that in August Richard Mayo Darch had violated the lease agreements.

Richard M. Darch  had  " sold and alienated " the most valuable part of the saw property -" the engine boilers and works of the steam engine " built on the property and sold to him by James Buchanan.
Richard M. Darch had tried to defraud his creditors and James Mclaren.
He also pulled down the chimneys and other portions of the steam mills with malicious intent to defraud and injure.

James Mclaren's foreman William Steele was also sued for rent by Richard M. Darch which caused the property to be seized by the bailiff Maxime Beaupre. The damage amounted to 600 pounds.
The property damage now made it so James Mclaren had no security for the payment owed to him and J. Buchanan.

At the time of the transfer to Edward Mountain and for a long time before  Richard M. Darch was insolvent.
As of November 13, 1853 the rent is attached to the pending suit of John Baille a creditor of Richard M. Darch.
The notaries also inform Edward Mountain that Richard M. Darch intended to defraud James Mclaren as all this conspired before the transfer of the lease.
To all this Edwared Mountain responds " I can make no reply till I see Mr Darch. "
Therefore James Mclaren will by " all lawful steps " refuse and resist paying the rent. 

                -----------------------------------------------------------------   1854     ---------------------------------------------------

Despite all the problems
Early in the year 1854 Yamaska pottery received Honorable mention at the New York Exhibition.
                                                         January 30, 1854 - Morning Chronicle

13 -1854 jan 30 MC.jpg

On February 15, 1854 the Canada Gazette announces the Sheriff sale of the two portions of land in the parish of St Michel D' Yamaska . This is the property leased by James McLaren and on which is the Yamaska pottery.
On March 3, 1854 ( N # 4187 ) is a very hard to read document over viewing the case between James Mclaren's protest against Richard M. Darch. It would seem at this time it is agreed J. Mclaren has a right to use the property.
However, it will be sold to pay the creditors of Richard Mayo Darch on June 12, 1854.

A day after the date for the Sheriff's sale and three years after starting the Yamaska Pottery with James Mclaren,  
William Steele and John Levack dissolve their partnership on June 13, 1854. 
John Levack sells to Wm, Steele " the undivided half of the materials and things whatsoever comprising the stock in trade of the late partnership ".
All money owing and debts will now belong to William Steele. ( N # 3660 - August 4, 1854 )

                       However this does not end the Yamaska pottery in St Michel d'Yamaska.

There are another three notary documents signed on the same day.
The partnership of " Levack & Steele " is dissolved and their lease for the property  is canceled .
However, Mclaren then hires both William Steele and John Levack as journeymen potters to work for him at the pottery on his land. Their contracts are for a one year term having started on July 1, 1854.
In John Levack's contract he will work " day and night " if needed. 
This implies he would have been the one responsible for keeping the kiln at the proper temperature.
Their contracts will renew automatically at the end of the year but if they no longer want to work for James Mclaren they must give three months written notice.
Their house and fuel will be provided for them. ( N # 3658 - 3659 - 3661 - August 4, 1854 )

           William Steele and John Levack continued operating the Yamaska pottery for James Mclaren.

The Sheriff's sale on June 12, 1854 of the pottery property lots, had been delayed.
On September 8, 1854 is another claim against Richard Mayo Darch and now also John McArdle.

               On September 13, 1854 the Canada Gazette announces the sale to now be on October 3, 1854.

yamaska pottery
yamaska pottery

               On October 3, 1854, the property is sold.    James Mclaren is the highest bidder on both lots.

He purchases the larger portion for 832 pounds and the other smaller portion for 71 pounds.
James Mclaren will have to pay 300 pounds + interest to the estate of the late James Buchanan. 
It is part of the amount of the original sale to R. M. Darch in which he was the surety signer. To be paid in Nov. 1855.
He must also pay Edward Bowen by paying John Baille 120 pounds. ( LR # 4469, 4519, 4520 and N # 635 )
James Mclaren owes a lot of money for a property he had been leasing for 10 pounds annually.
However, he now owns the property on which the Yamaska pottery stands without  trouble caused by R. M. Darch

On December 1, 1854 he borrows 400 pounds from James Arthur Sewell , a Physcian and Surgeon of Quebec City.
For surety of payment he insures the property for 500 pounds. 
James Mclaren will pay J. A. Sewell in one year. ( LR # 4521 )
               ---------------------------------------------------------------------   1855     ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          The following ad is in the 1855 Quebec City Directory.

yamaska pottery
yamaska pottery

On April, 11 1855, the Morning Chronicle has the following ad by the new agent for Yamaska pottery products.
The reference to navigation routes is made as the shipments were made on the waterways by steamships.
This ad ran in the newspaper for about two months until June 1855.

yamaska pottery

A month later in the Saturday May 19, 1855 Morning Chronicle, the ship " Perseverance " has arrived in Quebec city and there is an ad for an auction on Monday May 21, 1855 for the products of Yamaska pottery . 

yamaska pottery

Later in the year 1855,
Yamaska pottery has won some prizes at the late Lower Canada Provincial Agricultural & Industrial Exhibition.

                                        September 20, 1855 - Montreal Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette

yamaska pottery
yamaska pottery

                 ------------------------------------------------------------   1856     ---------------------------------------------------

On June 10, 1856 John Henry Clint is now an agent for Yamaska pottery in Quebec city.

                                                        This ad ran in the Morning Chronicle until July 1856.

yamaska pottery

                                                   On July 9, 1856 in the Morning Chronicle is this following ad.

yamaska pottery

The engagements signed by William Steele and John Levack in 1854 to work for James Mclaren at the Yamaska pottery in the parish of St Michel d 'Yamaska were to be continued until each decided he no longer wanted to work there.
                    Now in August of 1856, a new contract is being signed between William Steele and James Mclaren.
N # 1660 - August 5, 1856
William Steele - Potter -  promises to devote his time and energy entirely to the production of pottery for James Mclaren for the term of one year.
He will take care of all business at the pottery.
He will be paid 100 pounds for the year ( monthly payments ) and a house will be provided.
( This is the same amount of money as his contract in 1854 ).

We found no new contract made for John Levack and it is not known if he departed at this time or stayed on.

John Levack ( also spelled Levick ) was married in 1855 to Philemon Ellen Bouchard ( 1836 - 1915 ).
The Canadian  family information on John Levack is sourced from his census records in the United States.
His son Sevair Levick was born in 1856, in Three Rivers. ( This could be the district of Three Rivers )
However, it shows he was still in the area. 
A few years later his daughter Agnus was born in April of 1858 in the town of St Johns, Canada East.
( now called St Jean sur le Richelieu , Quebec )
This means he was probably working at either John Gillespie's or most likely Orrin L. Ballard's ( Farrar) Pottery.
(see article on John Gillespie and Orrin L. Ballard ) 
A year later John Levack  moved to the United States in 1859.
His son Edward was born in Swanton, Vermont in 1862.
John Levack worked  at a Lime Kiln.
His life ended on March 25, 1904 in Massachusetts.

Three months after signing his contract with James Mclaren,
William Steele purchases a property in the township of Grantham, county of Drummond , district of Three Rivers.

This property borders on the St. Francis river and is close to the town of Drummondville.
November 24, 1856 - L # 4155
Reverend William Moray Ross  Rector of the Parish of Drummondville sells to William Malcom Steele , Potter of the Parish of St Michel ( D' Yamaska ) lots # 1 and # 2 in the second range of lots in the township containing eighty acres more or less. Also sold is the southeastwardly half of lot # 2 in the third range of lots in the township of Grantham. It contains one hundred acres more or less. The buildings, improvements and appurtenances included.
It is being sold for two hundred and ten pounds to be paid without interest on or before May 8, 1857.


                           -------------------------------------------------------   1857     -------------------------------------------

                                   In the January 1857 edition of the Farmer's Journal , is the following ad for Yamaska pottery.
Wm. Evans jr. was the agent in Montreal.

yamaska pottery

On May 23, 1857 William Malcom Steele has paid off his property in the township of Grantham. (N #81 )

On June 26, 1857  James Mclaren's life ended. 
He was traveling on the steamboat " MONTREAL "  on the St. Lawrence river.
On the return journey from Quebec City at four o'clock in the afternoon the ships boilers caught fire ( exploded ? ) when passing just opposite of Cap Rouge.
Of the 300 passengers aboard the ship approximately 250 died in this accident.

James Mclaren was listed as were E. L. and S. H. Farrar ( Potters - see article O.L. Ballard ) among those who lost their lives.

         The two following news clips are from the June 30, 1857 and July 17, 1857 Morning Chronicle newspaper.
The second date gives a full account of the inquest and verdict given to those who were involved with the ship.
The clip is only part of the newspaper article.
James Mclaren's name is mentioned in this article as he held the important job of keeper of the jail (goal) in the city of Quebec at this time. Although not mentioned he also owned the Yamaska pottery and brick works.

ebenezar l. farrar
yamaska pottery

                           After the death of James Mclaren the directory lists William Steele under Yamaska, Canada East.
Although William Steele's contract ended in August, he may have stayed longer while James Mclaren's estate was dealt with.

                                              1857 Canadian Directory ( corrected to November 1857 )

yamaska pottery

                    ---------------------------------------------------------   1858     -------------------------------------------

            However, early in the year 1858, it becomes apparent the Yamaska Pottery and Brick works is no more.

On February 22, 1858 the Canada Gazette announces the sheriff's sale of the property of the Yamaska pottery.

yamaska pottery

On May 1, 1858 in the Morning Chronicle is further information concerning the insolvent estate of J.  Mclaren.
This case started with a promissory note dated a year earlier on May 23, 1857. 
James Mclaren and A. Solomon owe 50 pounds to G. & H. Gibsone listed as Auctioneers and Commission Merchants  at

9 St. Peter , Lower Town in the city of Quebec.  It was due three months later ( August 1857 ).
However, James Mclaren passed away in June and when the notaries went to his last know address on the corner of St Stanislaus and St Anne street , his son told them " Mr Solomon will pay it. " ( N # 921 )

yamaska pottery

On May 15,1858 the Morning Chronicle has an ad for Yamaska pottery with the agent J. Tremain & Co. in Quebec city.
This would have been to clear up the produce and pay the creditors.

yamaka pottery

Although this ad and previous others describe the type of earthenware products being produced, 
the only  information on the type of clay and glazes used comes from an archaeological dig on this property in 1970.
In the " Patrimoine Archeologique Des Poteries Briqueteries, Tuileries et Fabriques de Pipes  au Quebec " says the sherds found were beige or red clay. Some of the sherds had yellow, green, black, or brown glaze on them.
we have no pictures of Yamaska pottery sherds or pieces and to our knowledge there are no marked pieces.

On July 1, 1858 the Yamaska Pottery property in the parish of St Michel D'Yamaska is sold by the Sheriff.
James Arthur Sewell, Physician and Surgeon of the city of Quebec purchases the two portions of land. ( LR #6742 )
(James Mclaren had borrowed 300 pounds from him in 1854 )


                         -------------------------------------------------------   1859     -------------------------------------------

Ten months after his purchase,
On May 10, 1859 James Arthur Sewell sells the land he bought by Sheriff auction on July 1, 1858.
He sells it to Antoine Labbe, a farmer of St Michel D'Yamaska for 300 pounds. 

However, later in 1872 Honore Lafleur of St Michel D'Yamaska plans to establish a Brick Manufactory in the area  known as " Petit Chenal.  " This may have been very near or on the old Yamaska pottery property.
There are financial interactions between Antoine Labbe and the Lafleur family.

An article in the newspaper La Gazette de Sorel on March 16, 1872 says he hopes to employ 40 to 50 men and produce 5 to 6 million bricks in the summer.
The following year the Canada Gazette announces Honore Lafleur is bankrupt.

yamaska pottery

With the ending of the Yamaska Pottery in late 1857- early 1858 and until later finding him in Cap Rouge in 1862 , William Steele could have found employment at another pottery or spent time at his farm in Grantham.

On October 12, 1859 William Steele and his wife Margaret Wilkie are residing on their property in the township of Grantham, county of Drummond.
A land record concerning their daughter, Margaret and John Charles Robbins ( son of William Robbins and Jane Anderson of the township of Wendover ) places them in Grantham. ( L # 6261 )

                        ----------------------------------------------------   1860 's    -----------------------------------------

In the 1861 Census William Steele, age 50 is listed in the Township of Grantham, county of Drummond Canada East.
His wife Margaret ( Marguerite ) Wilkie and children Mary , Eliza, Ellen and Andrew. 
His occupation is not listed. 

A year later on June 16, 1862 William's wife is still living at their property in Grantham.
However , William Steele - Potter is residing in the Parish of Cap Rouge , district of Quebec. 
They are giving the property at Grantham  to their minor son Andrew Steele who is at present residing at Lennoxville.
Wm. Robbins - Farmer ( and father of their son in law J. C. Robbins- daughter Margaret's husband )is accepting for Andrew.

( He will most likely operate the farm for Andrew. )
William and Margaret are also donating " all and every movable and personal properties - horses, cattles, agricultural implements and house furniture " etc.
In consideration of this donation, William and Margaret shall have the right to live on the farm with Andrew and family.

They will also be provided with a pention, food and comfortable clothes. 
They shall also be able to use the family carriage to go to church and call the doctor when needed.
The property will be mortgaged in the name of the donors. (L # 6607 )

Although no documents other than this land record on June 16, 1862 have been found,
William Steele was residing in the Parish of Cap Rouge , district of Quebec and working as a Potter at this time period.

This suggests he may have been working at the Cap Rouge pottery.
This pottery has a long history with different owners. 
We cover its beginnings through notary records until 1864 when it is certain William Steele was no longer in this area.
An updated history of the Cap Rouge Pottery can be found in the book " Philip Pointon ( 1831 - 1881 ) Maitre-Potier" by Jacqueline Beaudry Dion and Jean - Pierre Dion. It includes pictures of their products.

The Cap Rouge Pottery was started by Henry Howison, a Crockery Merchant in Lower Town Quebec city, John Pye, a Plumber and Zephirin Chartre, a Tinsmith also both of Quebec city. ( N # 535 - July 7, 1860 )
" Howison, Pye & Chartre " form a partnership on June 18, 1860 for the business of Manufacturers of Earthenware.
A day later on June 19, 1860. They purchased two lots of land from Thomas Delisle a Farmer and Brickmaker.
These lots are in the Parish of St. Augustin at the place known as Cap Rouge, county of Portneuf, district of Quebec.

The pottery lot is on the east side of the Seigniorial road, between the Seigniories of Desmaure and Gaudarville.
It contains seventy - eight thousand seven hundred and forty - nine feet ( french measure ). ( N # 388 )
It is bounded on one side towards the east by the River Cap-Rouge, and towards the north and south by T. Delisle.
On June 25, 1860 Joseph Hamel a Builder and Contractor is hired to build the Earthenware manufactury. ( N # 527 )
Philip Pointon was hired to manage and operate the pottery on June 30, 1860. ( Notary - A. Campbell )
The partnership and P. Pointon was to be for a period of ten years, UNLESS the business proved to not be profitable.
A year later on April 9, 1861 John Pye leaves the partnership and it becomes " Howison & Chartre ".
Production started sometime in the summer of 1861.
( Philip Pointon ( 1831-1881 ) Maitre-Potier by Jacqueline Beaudry Dion and Jean-Pierre Dion pg. 118, footnote # 19 )

On  May 31, 1862 in the Morning Chronicle is an announcement for an auction for Cap Rouge Pottery produce.

cap rouge pottery

         This is  the time period William Steele would have been in Cap Rouge and working as a potter ( L # 6607 )

 A few months later on October 21, 1862 in the Morning Chronicle is an article regarding the Cap Rouge pottery.
It is important to note they are looking for investors.

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cap rouge pottery

Unfortunately,  Howison & Chartre were unable to raise the funds they needed.
Dated November 27, 1862,
in the Canada Gazette the Bank of Montreal is claiming money owed by Howison & Chartre.
Five properties are up for Sheriff's sale, including the Cap Rouge Pottery property to be sold on March 31, 1863.
On March 2, 1863 John Pye ( one of the original owners ) pays off the debt of one hundred and twenty - five pounds.
It is made clear in this document he uses " his own money ". ( N # 645 ) 
On August  26, 1863 John Pye has a " Promise of Sale document " to Louis P. Gauvreau.
The 1864 Quebec city directory lists L. P. Gauvreau & Frere Wholesale Dealers and Crockery 30 St Paul Lower Town
Louis P. Gauvreau is listed at Cap Rouge.

   By the year 1864, William Malcom Steele is in the town of St Johns,  ( now called St Jean sur le Richelieu ).
In the following St Jean Church of England marriage record, he is mentioned as being of the parish of St Johns.
On December 27, 1864 in St Johns, Canada East ,
Margaret and William Steele's daughter Eliza marries Frederick Richard Sadleir of Sherbrooke, Canada East.

William Steele is still in St Johns two years later as he is leasing a place to live.
April 16, 1866 - N # 569
Jean Baptiste Archambault - Carpenter is leasing to William Steele - Potter residing in the town of St Johns.
It will start on May 1, 1866 and is for one year.
It is for the south part of the dwelling house located on the west side of Longueuil street in the town of St Johns.
This document was written up in the shop of G. W. Farrar , St Johns.
George Whitfield Farrar had a pottery in St Johns. ( see article The Farrar's pottery and Orrin L. Ballard ).
Since this document was drawn up in his shop and not the notary's office,
William Steele must have worked for G. W. Farrar while in St John

                             --------------------------------------------------    1870's -------------------------------------

          It is not known exactly when William Steele left St Johns, Quebec. It was sometime between 1867- 1871.

However he is listed in the following record.
1871 Census Town of Cornwall, county of Stormont, Ontario.

30-1871 census clip.jpg

Their son Andrew Steele age twenty - eight years old - Conductor ( for Railway ) is in Cornwall at the census taking.
He is married a later in the year on November 7, 1871 in Sherbrooke, Quebec to Adaline M. Johnston.

It is important to note a sixty year old  William and his wife Margaret Steele ( # 77 ) are one household away 
from Issac Hatfield Van Arsdale and David Flack ( # 75 ).

Flack and Van Arsdale purchased Orrin L. Ballard's pottery in Cornwall in 1869. ( see article - Orrin Lawrence Ballard )

                                          The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory for 1869.

flack & van arsdale

                             " Flack & Van Arsdale , Cornwall, Ont. " is the mark they used on their products.

flack & van arsdale cornwall
flack & van arsdale cornwall

                 Although it's possible William Steele came to Cornwall earlier (1867 after lease ended in St Johns ),
he definitively worked at the Cornwall pottery under Flack & Van Arsdale by 1871 when the census was taken.

                             He continued to work for them for a least 10 years and possibly longer.

On January 8, 1874 in Cornwall, Ontario William and Margaret sign paperwork so their son Andrew Steele can sell the property in the township of Grantham.
Andrew is a conductor for the Grand Truck railway and residing in Montreal, Quebec.
He is selling the Granham property to James Alexander McHardy a Merchant in Drummondville. ( L # 12803 )

                                                       1875 Alpine's Ottawa, Kingston city directory
Wm. Steele is listed under Cornwall, Ontario.

yamaska pottery

On September 8, 1878, the final discharge of the property in Grantham is signed in Cornwall by
William Malcolm Steele Potter of Cornwall and his wife Margaret Wilkie. ( L # 15891 )

                      ---------------------------------------------------- 1880's -------------------------------------------------

A few years later in the 1881 Census for the town of Cornwall , county of Stormont, Ontario - 
Seventy year old William Steele, occupation Potter and his wife Margaret are still in Ontario.

This following picture was taken from the Cornwall Community Museum website.
 ( )
It is a stoneware piece  marked with William Steele's name in blue glaze.
On the site it is mistakenly listed as a Merchant crock. It is an easy error to make as crockery pieces are usually marked with the Pottery owners name as in for example " Flack & Van Arsdale " or a Merchant crockery piece made for and  marked with a store owners name and address.
This piece was likely a presentation piece to a family member. 

wiliam steele cornwall ont

On June 27, 1885 William's wife Margaret Steele dies at the age of seventy - five in Cornwall, Ontario. 

                      ---------------------------------------------------------- 1890's ------------------------------------

Sometime after his wife's death, William Steele went to live in South Ward, Sherbrooke, Quebec with his daughter Margaret Robbins.
An eighty year old William is listed in the 1891 Census ( April 24, 1891 ).
He lives in the same household as John C. Robbins ( 60 ), Margaret ( 57 ), Guy  ( 24 ) and Charles ( 16 )

        Two years later on February 22, 1893  at the age of eighty - three William Malcom Steele's life ends.
He is buried in Sherbrooke, Quebec. 
His son Andrew Steele and W. B McCaw ( grandson Wilkie Bowman Mccaw ) are the witnesses.

yamaska pottery


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