Chapter 10                     Sea Captains & Sailors


For many decades of the settling and growing years of Burlington and Nelson Township, the action and interest was at the waterfront.  There were three wharfs at Wellington Square, and others to the east and west at Port Nelson, and what is now LaSalle Park.  The waterfront was where supplies and people arrived to, and goods and passengers left from.

The waterfront also became a place of employment. Ships were being built which needed men and boys to sail on them. Often these were sons from the rural area who were familiar with the ships and where they were going.  They drove regularly to the docks with their produce and lumber, ready for shipping to a market elsewhere on the lakes. Some of these early residents had indeed arrived here on ships, from Britain.

Greenwood Cemetery has several markers which clearly identify former residents as “Capt”.

BHS Archives

 Captain William Partlowe  – 1840-1904

William Partlowe was born in Nelson Township in 1840, and came to Burlington in 1854, residing here continuously until the time of his death in 1904 at age 64. His obituary relates that Mr. Partlowe was a sailor and had been a Captain for over thirty years, sailing the lakes in the summer season, and spending the winters at his home. Five years prior to his death he found it necessary to give up his occupation, due to poor health. William was survived by his wife Louise, (nee Green) and five children, three sons and two daughters.


William was a member of the Canadian Home Circle. A few weeks after the funeral his wife put a notice in the Burlington Gazette, of thanks and appreciation, to the Canadian Home Circle who had paid her the sum of $2000.

Captain William Partlowe was interred in the family plot in block 5 of Greenwood  Cemetery.  There is no memorial marker.
National Library of Canada


Captain Daniel Henderson  – 1827-1906


Daniel Henderson was born in County Armagh, Ireland in 1827. He came to Canada with his parents at the age of one-and-a-half years, and settled at Little York, now Toronto.  At the age of 12 years he began life as a sailor, which occupation he followed for over fifty years. He came from Toronto first to Bronte, before settling in Burlington.  Daniel sailed out of this port for many years, having had charge of the Sultan, Helen M Baxter, and barge Mary Jane which he ownedA story in the Burlington Gazette in June of 1902, tells that Capt. Henderson was the 1st master of the Ella Baxter, built in 1862 by Baxter and Galloway.

The captain took a very prominent part, in saving the lives of the crew and passengers from the Ocean Wave, which was burned on Lake Ontario.

Captain Daniel Henderson and his wife Margaret (nee Reid) were survived by six daughters. He also had three brothers, Capt. Wm., of Kansas City, Missouri, Henry of Nelson Township, and J. W. of Burlington.

Captain Henderson was interred in his family plot, Block 4 of Greenwood Cemetery.

The inscription reads: Capt. D. Henderson died June 18 1906, aged 79 years.



Capt. Daniel Henderson’s home

472 Elizabeth Street


BHS Archives



Henry Henderson  – 1836-1917

Henry Henderson, a younger brother of Capt. Daniel, was born  on Bay Street, in Toronto, in July of 1836.  At an early age he moved to Bronte and began sailing, being master (captain?) of his own boat before he was eighteen years of age.  His obituary says he was an expert sailor, and new the great lakes from end to end, and was entrusted with rich cargoes.  He sailed on the first boat that carried the lumber that spanned Niagara River with the first bridge.  Henry was twice shipwrecked, once at Long Point

and once at Burlington Beach.  He sailed the Great Lakes continuously until he was about forty-two years of age, when he took up farming in Nelson Township, now east Burlington. He worked at this second career for over thirty-two years.

Henry and his wife Maria (nee Wilson) had eight daughters and three sons. One son predeceased them. Henderson Road is named after this family.

Henry Henderson died in February of 1917, at age eighty-two, and was interred in his family plot, Block 7, Greenwood cemetery.                                                                             BHS Archives

J.W. Henderson – 1849-1927

John Wilson Henderson (J.W.) also a brother of Capt. Daniel  and Henry Henderson, was born in Bronte in 1849 and moved to Burlington at about 28 years of age- about the same time that Henry gave up sailing.  J.W. sailed the lakes for John Waldie for many years, then he too, took up other occupations. He kept the Freeman House at Freeman and the Hotel Raymond (later the Coronation). J.W. was also a successful auctioneer and real estate  agent for many years. He even served as the village constable. J.W. served on the public school board and was a member of Burlington Lodge No. 165 and the Order of Oddfellows as well as Knox Church.  With his many activities, the name of J.W. Henderson was frequently on the pages of the Burlington Gazette.




Hotel Raymond on left, Queen’s Hotel down the road

BHS Archives


J.W. and his wife Christina (nee Filman) lived on Martha Street at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, one daughter and three sons.

J.W. Henderson died in May of 1927 and was interred in Block 3 of Greenwood Cemetery. The Masons attended in a body and conducted their ceremony at the house and grave.