Joseph elected Chairman of the Board of School Trustees for the Village of Aurora
This marks the beginning of Joseph’s many civic contributions.
Joseph Fleury elected as a Councillor in the Village of Aurora
Alex Fleury leaves Aurora Agricultural Works
Joseph’s brother and business partner re-locates to Markham and later Stouffville, which dissolves the partnership. Alex would go on to establish his own foundry.
Image Courtesy of Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum
Ann Hughes dies
At the young age of 33, Ann Hughes passed away leaving her husband Joseph and three children: Herbert (11), Clara (10) and William (6)
Clara, Will and Herbert Fleury, c. 1867,Image Courtesy of David Fleury
Joseph reports that the Agricultural Works employs 71 men and has sold $82,000 worth of goods in 1873. The line of farm implements is expanded to reapers, mowers, grain drills, horse hay rakes, plows, cultivators and a large number of the smaller articles used by agriculturalists. Joseph also decides to get into the sewing machine business and by the end of 1873 his first sewing machine, The Fleury, is successfully completed.
“ The quantity of iron cast every day averages about two tons.”
AURORA BANNER, MAY 1873
Joseph received a requisition from 75 ratepayers who were concerned that the previous year’s Aurora Council had increased taxes by 25 per cent without making any visible improvements to the village. After publishing a letter to the electors of the Village of Aurora confirming that he would allow himself to be put in nomination for the Reeveship, he is elected with 81 votes against 64 for E. Pease. He is re-elected, by acclamation, each year through 1880.
Joseph Fleury marries Sarah W. Hughes, the sister of his first wife, Ann
Sarah W. Hughes, c. 1870s
Addition to the Foundry
The new building is over 60 feet wide and 100 feet long.
Adele Fleury is born
Adele and Viola Fleury,
Image Courtesy of the Coleman
Collection at Duke University
Aurora Agricultural Works employs 70 men and does annual business of $120,000
At about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 6, 1876, devastation strikes the foundry when a fire rapidly engulfs the wooden Machine Shop and the building to the west. All the valuable machinery is a complete loss. Fortunately, the large brick building containing the blacksmith shop, pattern room and moulding shop are saved by the exertions of the Fire Brigade and citizens.
Citizens meet in Town Hall and agree to offer Joseph a loan of $3,000 without interest for a period of five years.
The following week, Joseph publishes a letter to the citizens of Aurora thanking them for their sympathy. In regard to the financial offer Joseph professes:
“ Under different circumstances your kind offer would be gladly accepted, but, since a kind Providence has prospered and blessed me in business with bright prospects for the future, I feel it would be an injustice to accept the pecuniary aid so kindly tendered. I therefore most respectfully decline to accept your very liberal assistance.”
(Aurora Banner, August 18, 1876)
By early September, barely a month after the fire, the Aurora Banner announces that the walls were up on the new buildings of Mr. Fleury’s Agricultural Works and in early October, moulders are able to take off a cast. In less than three months’ time manufacturing at the Aurora Agricultural Works is back to the pre-fire pace.
Joseph begins the construction of a grand family estate known by the name of Inglehurst. It is located on the east side of Yonge Street, between Maple and Catherine Streets and designed by architects Langley, Langley and Burke.
Inglehurst, 1889, Image Courtesy of David Fleury
Methodist Church, c. 1900, Aurora Museum & Archives (x82.36.10)
Aurora Methodist Church
Joseph sits on the building committee for the new Methodist Church located at the corner of Yonge and Tyler Streets. Joseph is one of three men tasked with procuring the building plans and specifications.
The church officially opens in 1878 after the building committee meets a total of 49 times.
Visit from Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie
Canada’s Second Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie, Library and Archives Canada / C-000096
On July 3, 1877, Joseph Fleury, Reeve of Aurora, is at the Aurora train station to meet the Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, Alexander Mackenzie. It is the Prime Minister’s first visit to the County of York North and to Aurora. The Prime Minister and his entourage of politicians and other distinguished men are given an official welcome at Town Hall, breakfast at Joseph’s home and the home of Chas. Doan, and then proceed in a grand carriage procession to Newmarket.
Establishment of the Aurora Agricultural Society
Joseph Fleury was one of the founders, and the first president of the Aurora Agricultural Society. Beginning in 1877, the Society organized a Fall Fair in Town Park, which was an annual event for six years.
Viola Fleury is Born
Elected Warden and Chair of the County Council of York North
Joseph Fleury becomes the first Reeve from Aurora to hold this position.
Toronto Industrial Exhibition
On September 6, 1879, at the opening of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, Joseph Fleury, as Warden, reads an address on behalf of the York County Council to the Governor General and Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria. The Aurora Banner gushes, “Our village is highly honoured in the person of the Reeve being Warden of the County, and having the honour today of presenting to the Vice-Regal party the address of the County Council.”
The Globe, September 1879
Rumours of a move
In May, 1879, rumours begin to circulate in Toronto newspapers that Joseph Fleury is considering a move of his company to Hamilton or Toronto. The matter attracts so much attention that, on June 3, a public meeting is held in the Town Hall to consider what steps can be taken to induce Joseph not to remove his Agricultural Works from Aurora.
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June 15, 2021
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