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One of the highest authorities on agricultural and horticultural matters in the Township of Hope, is Nathan Choate, many years a member of the Council of Agriculture in the Province of Ontario. He is a son of Jacob Choate, farmer and lumber merchant, who was born in the Shaker town of Enfield, N. H., moved to Glandford, Upper Canada, in 1798, and a little later to the Township of Hamilton, County of Northumberland, where our subject was born, March 9, 1805. Seven years later the family removed to the Township of Hope, County of Durham.
Nathan picked up such an education as a new country could furnish fifty five and sixty years ago, and has spent his life in cultivating the soil and raising blooded stock, and the best varieties of fruit, being a very busy man till five or six years ago.
He has a farm of 530 acres joining the town of Port Hope, part of it, in fact, in the corporation; has long been an extensive grain grower: has also given a good deal of attention to fruit, such kinds as do well in this latitude, and has been quite enterprising as a stock raiser Devon cattle and fine wool and Southdown sheep being a specialty. As a farmer, stock grower, and horticulturist, he has been a leading man in this vicinity.
Mr. Choate was President of the County Agricultural Society for fifteen or twenty years; was in the Provincial Council of Agriculture, as before intimated, for some time; a Reeve about twenty years ago, and Justice of the Peace about thirty consecutive years. In his township and wherever known, he is much respected
Mr. Choate has had four wives and eight children, three by the first wife, who was Miss Charlotte Bedford; two by the second, who was Miss Millicent Boyce; and three by the third, who was Mrs. Martha Ayre. His present wife, was Miss Mary Ann Lukey. Five of the children are living. Charlotte Elizabeth is at home; Martha Achsah is the wife of Dr. Herriman, of Port Hope; Lucy Ellen is the wife of William Meeking, of Hope township; Nathan B., is a farmer and stock raiser near Waterloo, Iowa, and Asa works most of the homestead. Both sons have families, and are enterprising men.
When Mr. Choate came to Smith’s Creek, now Port Hope, in 1812, it was an embryotic town, in the rough, with many more red men than white in this vicinity. He has seen a town of 7,000 inhabitants grow up here as solid in its appearance as many towns in the Province which have put on city airs, and have more people and perhaps less wealth.
Another very early settler at Port Hope, was Marcus Fayette Whitehead, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1795, and appointed Collector of Customs in 1819, and held that office till 1872, Mr. Furby, in his “Reminiscences of Port Hope,” speaks of Mr. Whitehead’s character in very strong terms of commendation. He was very courteous and obliging. In dealing with smugglers, he tried to do his duty faithfully, and had ample opportunities for cultivating the virtues of patience and forbearance, not to mention “long suffering” in a fifty years experience in a single office of a somewhat trying nature. In his younger years Mr. Whitehead studied law with Thomas Ward, elsewhere mentioned; and at one time he was Deputy Sheriff of the Midland District. He died at Port Hope, April 27, 1875.