Tuesday, May 22, 2012

grave post - Chisholm





This mausoleum near the church of St Vincent de Paul in Niagara-on-the-Lake was erected by Hugh J. Chisholm, a millionaire of New York. The bodies of his father and mother, Alexander Chisholm and Mary Chisholm, first buried in the graveyard, were transferred to this solid structure.
This Roman Catholic church is located on the next street over from St Mark's Anglican Church (where the last two grave posts were taken). Until this church was built in 1834 all denominations used St Mark's graveyard.


Hugh J Chisholm was the fifth of Alexander and Mary Chisholm's ten children. Born in NOTL, he left school at age 13 after the death of his father in 1860. His career as a paper manufacturing magnate and railway president started with being a newsboy delivering papers on the Grand Trunk Railway. He met and became friends with another entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, who was also working on the same line selling candy and newspapers on the train between Port Huron and Detroit. (Port Huron is at the border of Michigan and Ontario). Hugh eventually became a distributor of newspapers, magazines and books and with one of his brothers moved on to create Chisholm Bros Publishing in Maine. Not completely satisfied with that career, he continued to expand into lithography and photographs and postcards, then into pulp and paper mills. Many, many pulp and paper mills. One of them, the Oxford Paper Mill, even began producing all the postcards for the US Post Office in 1901 and was the largest bookpaper mill in the world. It has been in continuous operation to this day, though under several different companies. He had moved to Maine where he became quite a dominant figure in the development of the state's pulp and paper industry and married Henrietta Mason of Portland in 1872 with whom he had one son, also named Hugh. His Chisholm Bros Publishing is still in operation under a Colin Chisholm III. Although he became a US citizen by the 1870s, I found at least two articles in the NYT where he mentions several times that he is a Canadian born American. He seems to have been rather well connected politically in both countries. His entrepreneurial and philanthropic interests extended to creating industrial villages and planned communities for his mill workers. He died in 1912 at his home at 813 Fifth Avenue NYC.
And in 1900 he had this mausoleum built for his parents. However, I could find no other information on any other members of his large family. He seems to have overshadowed them all.
You can read a bit more about Hugh J Chisholm here


find more graves and stories of rich and poor at Taphophile Tragics

12 comments:

  1. Is Hugh Chisholm in here along with his parents I wonder?

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  2. You'd think there would be some mention of it if he was.
    Then again, I find it strange that he had this mausoleum built and provided no other details. Makes you wonder if maybe he was estranged from his siblings?

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  3. Very interesting story, amazing what one digs up in connection with gravestones... :-)

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  4. What a fascinating post. He really did start at small and made it big.

    Herding Cats

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  5. And interesting, too, that the name that makes it into the present is Colin Chisholm III. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Hugh, but that is to the ear of the beholder, I guess.

    Judging from his earliest jobs, AND leaving whatever schooling at the age of 13, I suspect his parents were not well off at all. I wonder if they would really appreciate spending eternity in this rather grand and pretensious mausoleum. I hope Hugh looked after them well in live, and not just in death.

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    1. I suspect his mother was rather desperate with all those mouths to feed. Maybe he did help her out once he had made it big.

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  6. Another interesting rags to riches story. The article sings his praises as an impressive industrial giant. But sometimes the absence of information is more telling... I have many of the same questions as others... What happened to the nine siblings? Where did the parents live before they died? What was he like as a person? Where is Hugh himself buried?

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    1. I also found the lack of information very telling. I could find absolutely nothing about the rest of his family. i think he may have been very, very driven and perhaps not as loving as he could have been?

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  7. The name Chisholm rings bells with me! We (Australia) have a Caroline Chisholm (1808-1877. She was born "Jones" and married Captain Archibald Chisholm of the East India Company. She was a humanitarian. Many educational facilities have been named after her. I have tried to find out if her family is connected with yours mentioned in this post! I have found loose connections, but nothing definite except that Chisholms in the 19th century seemed to leave their mark on the world!

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    1. I guess the name is a little too common to make definite connections.
      If someone in Hugh's family had been to sea, more records would have been found.

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  8. I wonder if this was a millennial project for Hugh Chisholm, since it seems both his parents were already buried and the date on the mausoleum states 1900.

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    1. that seems an interesting possibility.

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