It all began in 1856...no really, it did! Henderson Brothers Contracting was originally started by my great grandfather's two brothers John and Richard in Cobourg, Ontario back in 1856. I come from a long line of skilled carpenters who can be traced back to Northern Ireland.
Henderson Brothers Contracting began as a small carpentry shop supplying skilled labour to local builders. Their specialty was cabinetry, door and window sash and mouldings. Shortly after joining forces, John and Richard purchased the land immediately south of the busy shops on King Street, east of Victoria Hall and established a planing mill (the site where the mill once stood is currently a large municipal parking lot). The brothers quickly became the local source for supply and installation of wood mouldings, trim and other building supplies.
At this time, my great grandfather William was out west in Winnipeg perfecting his own carpentry skills building houses for the ever expanding population being drawn by the lure of the West and the accessibility of the railroad. When his brother Richard unexpectedly passed away in 1892, William was called back to Cobourg to take over from his brother. At this time, Henderson Brothers were working on the large summer Victorian mansions for the wealthy Americans. Henderson Brothers were known by the visiting elite and high profile Architects such as Frank Darling (Parliament Buildings - Ottawa) and their services were in high demand.
William passed away in 1920 and John was once again on his own. My grandfather Stuart was called from his home in Toronto to assist his uncle, but times were changing rapidly. My grandfather was only 21 at the time and while his uncle was a skilled businessman, he was growing tired of the business. Never the less, Henderson Brothers carried on supplying and installing to the local builders until about 1926 when a local competitor threatened to squeeze Henderson Brothers out of business. While Stuart was confident that they could compete, John and the other family members still involved remotely in the business had had enough and agreed to close up. Stuart was crushed by the decision, and after the business and assests were finally sold off in 1929, he left Cobourg and never returned.
Several years ago I began to research my family history and was shocked to learn that my family, who had once been so involved and influential in the developement of Cobourg, had been forgotten from obvious history. I was determined to reestablish their name and preserve what is left of the heritage they provided. Most of the large American summer homes have been torn down, but there are still plenty of other homes that Henderson Brothers built or worked on around town. I am returning to use the skills I have inherited and the knowledge I have acquired to offer a whole host of services to home owners and builders in Cobourg, Northumberland county and Durham Region.