Know Your Neighbours Special Edition Pt 6 – Emily Lena Merritt and Catharine Nina Merritt

Catharine Nina Merritt (left) and Emily Lena Merritt  (Wendy Young Collection 2001.134.30 and 2001.134.39)

Catharine Nina Merritt (1859-1926)

Catharine Nina and Emily Lena Merritt were both daughters of William Hamilton Merritt Jr. and Janet Laing.

Catharine Nina Merritt was born in Brockville, Ontario on January 25th, 1859. Her grandfather was William Hamilton Merritt (1793-1862), promoter of the Welland Canal. Her great grandfather was Thomas Merritt (1759-1842) who served in the Queen’s Rangers during the American War of Independence and fought in the War of 1812. She became a member of the Women’s Canadian Historical Society in 1895 and then of the United Empire Loyalist-Association. In 1905 she organized a U.E.L. branch in St. Catharines and became its first president. Her best-known play “When George the Third Was King” commemorated the loyalty to the British Empire of Thomas Merritt. Catharine was involved in the theatre both as a director and an actor, particularly with the Garrison Dramatic Club of Toronto. Her play “A Little Heaven” was performed at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto April 6, 1910 and she acted as one of the lead roles.

Catharine Nina died in Toronto in 1926.

Emily Lena Merritt (1858-1943)

Emily Lena Merritt was born in 1858, the daughter of William Hamilton Merritt Jr., and Janet Laing. Emily was also the granddaughter of Honourable William Hamilton Merritt and Honourable James Norris. Lt. Col. William Hamilton Merritt was her brother and Catharine Nina Merritt was her sister.

Emily Lena was an amateur artist and enjoyed drawing and painting nature and landscapes.

Emily died in Bracebridge, Ontario on September 4th, 1943.

This series is written and compiled by Alicia Floyd, Collections Technician – Archival at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre

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