Buckingham Palace Asks for Our Help

Buckingham Palace has reached out to Windsor Public Library for information on our city. A comprehensive new history on Windsor Castle is scheduled for publication in 2016 and a chapter will include research and information on settlements around the world sharing the “Windsor” name.

Plans call for the history to cover 11 centuries from the foundation of the castle in the 1070s to its current official and private use by Her Majesty the Queen. The book will be comprehensively illustrated and incorporate new research by 11 authors, including academics and others with knowledge to contribute. It is intended as an authoritative work for the scholarly as well as the general reader.

“The Windsor Castle Project certainly sounds exciting and will add to the global thirst for information on the monarchy”, says WPL CEO Kitty Pope. “The Windsor area is full of historical significance in the settlement of North America. We are the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Canada west of Montreal. Our local history resources are full of interesting and unique information on the period in question and local history librarian Tom Vajdik was happy to provide a response. Of course, we will purchase a copy to share with the community when it becomes available.”

As part of the introductory chapter
“on the fame of Windsor”, research will be included on overseas settlements which share the name “Windsor”.  OUR SUBMISSION TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE FOLLOWS.


Detroit, Michigan, located on the north shore of the Detroit River, was founded in 1701 by Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac. In 1749, French settlers began to build homes and farm on the south shore of the Detroit River. In 1796, British citizens were forced to leave Detroit, which was part of the young United States. Many of them settled in the small Canadian town of Sandwich, which was 3 kilometres down river from Detroit.

However, the shortest crossing between the US and Canada was the hamlet of Windsor. At first, there was no real name for this area, and it was known by many names, including : The Ferry, the Ferry opposite Detroit, the Sandwich Ferry, the South Side, L’ Assomption Settlement, and Richmond.

In 1835, a prominent citizen subdivided his farm and started to call this new subdivision South Detroit. This name did not sit well with the local residents. On Sept. 6, 1836, a community meeting was called in one of the local taverns to settle “once and for all” a name for the community. The two most popular names being debated were Richmond and South Detroit. There were no records kept of this historic meeting, but historians speculate that there was a tie vote between Richmond and South Detroit. Instead of breaking the tie vote, merchant James Dougall suggested the name Windsor because it reminded many people of “the old country” and thus Windsor got its name. James went on to become mayor of Windsor and Dougall Road was named in his honour.

 This delightful story comes from the book “Birth of a City” by Carl Morgan. It was published in 1991 to commemorate Windsor’s centennial.

Written by

10 Responses to "Buckingham Palace Asks for Our Help"

  1. Gary Tetzlaff says:

    Thanks to the the holders of the newspaper/microfilm for making it available online.

    ink.ourontario.ca ce/reel00362-x0-y0-z1-r0-0-0

    OurOntario.ca is a project of Knowledge Ontario
    This collection is a pilot project to digitize backfiles of community newspapers in Ontario.

    The Canadian Emigrant
    p. 2 COL 3 bottom
    SANDWICH, Sept. 13, 1836.

    “The meeting for the purpose of naming the village at the Ferry on the 6th instant, resulted in its being called WINDSOR.”

    Now if there is a reference to the details of that meeting…

  2. Gary Tetzlaff says:

    the source of Jonathan Marsden’s mistaken date of naming Windsor is no less than Wikipedia. That article’s reference No.1 is a blog.entry. eeks!

    The Western Herald leather bound copy formerly owned by Francis Cleary is held at the Francois Baby House (not th Duff-BabyHouse).

    Francois Baby was James Dougall’s father-in-law.

    The article on origins of place names in Essex County was published in the Ontario historical Society occasional papers and was authored by John Marsh’s father Arthur W. Marsh.

    A newspaper published in Sandwich during this period was the Canadian Emigrant ( published form approx. 1831-1837) In 1904, Judge Woods of Chatham was reported to Vol 1 No. 24 issued October 13, 1832 and also vol. 3 No.6 and also Vol. 6 in his possession. Can anyone locate any copies of this newspaper from 1836?

  3. Gary Tetzlaff says:

    In the pursuit of secondhand information in the absense of first hand variety,
    is there older published evidence surrounding the naming of “Windsor” in the Western District (later Upper Canada and eventually Ontario) than is provided by William D. Balfour and/or John A. Auld.  of the Amherstburg Echo 6 April 1888 page 4 James Dougall Dead?

    Obituaries or biographies/sketches for the following:
    Hon. Joseph McDougall – relating to the desire to call the settlement “South Detroit”

    John Hutton – and his Sandwich street hotel the “Windsor Castle”

    visitor to the area in 1837 Mrs. Anna Jameson or any others who referred to the area as being “Richmond”

    “Who said it first”, matters. And this 6 April 1888 article seems to be the source of the credit attributed to James Dougall, at the moment.

  4. Gary Tetzlaff says:

    In 1836 John Hutton’s hotel called “Windsor Castle” may have had more than a little influence on the alternative name attributed to James Dougall alone. The Sandwich Street hotel may have been Mr. Dougall’s inspiration, indeed.
    What better research exists concerning that proprietor and hotel in this process of hamlet nomenclature – a community free of churches at that time?

  5. Gary Tetzlaff says:

    Perhaps a trip to the Duff -BabyHouse and some research into unindexed, non-digital newsprint published in 1838 might being order. There is a leather-bound copy of a newspaper from that period that belonged to Francis Cleary that shed real light on the Schooner Ann incident over several days of 1838.
    That volume was shared with John Marsh of the Amherstburg Echo in in the first decade of 1900s and its contents are very revealing about Essex County History.

    In 1904, the same John Marsh revealed the names of places in Essex County for the Essex County Historical Society. While researching the Hiram Walker railway history, I added the name of Pelton as an auditor for the Michigan Central Railway, to his list. Consulting that document might also serve to enlighten those who seek the source of more modern treatments. (The Windsor Library holds a copy of that one c.f. ECHS publications.)

  6. john van veen says:

    i just got told that i had to pay 40 00 for a library card because the one i had expired….i have a library card from chatham-kent but it was refused …how much sense does that really make…..i am going to be here in Windsor part-time, more with my familly but my mailing address is out of town …..so i am banned from the library because i can’t afford to pay because of me being on canada disability…..your 40 00 charge is wrong shame on you….

    • Windsor Public Library says:

      As a non-resident, unluckily charges apply for WPL privileges. Windsorites pay for library services indirectly through their taxes but if you owns a property or can establish residency in Windsor, you won’t have to pay. Did you consider having a visitor card for $10 for a month?

    • Dayna says:

      Every public library works this way – if you don’t have ID with an address in that city, you don’t get a free card. I couldn’t go to Chatham and take out books with my WPL card. They’re two separate systems.

      WPL has nothing to be ashamed of here, sir.

      • Dee says:

        When I worked in Toronto during the week, and came back to Windsor on weekends, with a residence in both places, I was able to get a library card at the Toronto Public Library free. I was able to take out a couple of books and they then verified my place of employment and used that as my local address. Then I had full privileges. There are many people who “live” in more than one location on a regular basis.

      • Colleen St.Pierre says:

        I understand the reasoning behind WPL not honoring another cities library card, but maybe they should consider a per day charge for someone to use the facilities. Some people that are on a disability pension like myself can hardly afford a $40.00 fee or even a $10.00 a month fee.

        There are often times when exceptions to every rule should be taken into consideration.

Leave a replyLeave a Reply to Dee