George John Grange 1808-1876

Author: Unknown

Publication Date: 1965

Edited: 2021


Since we live on Grange Street, I thought I would investigate the origin of the street name. However, I found few references to Sheriff Grange. In spite of this, it was obvious that he contributed a great deal to the general growth of the city.

George John Grange was Irish and was born in 1808. The first reference to him is in Burrow’s Annal, which states that Grange with a Mr. Courtney and a Mr. Bartley purchased a distillery, built by a Mr. A. McVean, on Sheriff Gow’s property. He and his partners increased the size and scope of the business. This was supposed to have been in 1832, but in another reference Sheriff Grange was supposed to have come in 1834.

After relinquishing the distillery, Grange bought the Red Mill and 50 acres on Waterloo Road and worked it for some time. As a matter of interest, the Historical Society is in possession of a small, coloured drawing of the Red Mill done by David Allen.

In 1840, Mr. Grange was made Sheriff for the district of Wellington, and he held this post until his death in 1876. Sheriff Grange sat on the first Board of Health in 1849, which was formed at the time of Cholera epidemic.

In 1845, Sheriff Grange called a public meeting to see if the citizens wished to have the Lord Elgin visit Guelph on his Canadian tour. The answer was in the affirmative and Sheriff Grange led a deputation to Lord Elgin.

In 1850, Sheriff Grange was on the Committee which organized the Mechanics Institute and in 1851, he was on the building committee planning the second St. George’s Church. He also assisted in the laying of the cornerstone.

In 1852, Sheriff Grange inherited a large fortune from an Irish relative, and he then entered Real Estate transactions in Guelph, Toronto, and Waterloo.

The 1861 census of Guelph indicates that the Grange family lived near H. W. Peterson in the South Ward. The family consisted of George John, age 50, his wife, Mary, 45; Frank 20; E.A.A. 18; and Edward, age 16. Ellen Diana married John Juchereau Kingsmill, son of Admiral Charles E. Kingsmill.

In the Anglican Section of Woodlawn Cemetery may be found the Grange family plot, from which I elicited the following information:

"George John Grange (1808-1876) and his wife Mary (1815-1874)."


According to this information there were more children than those listed in the 1861 census. They were Harriett, Edmund, Frank, Emma, Mary Charlotte and George. Mary Charlotte married John Connelly and died in Niagara. E.A.A Grange married Bessie Webster. He lived from 1848 to 1921 in Guelph and his wife lived from 1857 to 1930. Their son, James Webster Grange (1890-1910), drowned at Lake Simcoe. E. Rochefort Grange, son of E.A.A. and Barbara, lives in Toronto.

Frank Grange married Agnes Webster and E.A.A.’s son Edward R. Grange married Barbara Wilson Saunders (1899-1958). Frank and E.A.A. Grange married sisters, the daughters of James Webster, Registrar. Sheriff Grange is known to have had a brother here in 1837, who served under Captain Poore in the Rebellion of 1837.



- Eileen A. Hammill.