William Jessie Nesbitt (1865-1937)
The Sash Our Forefathers Wore
William Jessie Nesbitt was born on Seven Mile Island in 1865, the son of Edward and Martha (Gilroy) Nesbitt. His early life was spent at the homestead, but on reaching manhood he moved to Toronto, where he worked for the Street Railway Co. for 13 years, and the Russell Motor Car Co. for nine years before moving back to Port Perry.
While in Toronto he married Sarah Verral, of Toronto, on October 26, 1898, and the couple raised two sons, Winnett Edward and William Oswald.
The couple moved to Port Perry in 1917, and it wasn’t long before he was appointed to the position of town Constable.
For 20 years, William Nesbitt was known as “The Chief” on the streets of Port Perry. He was a faithful servant as constable and street commissioner, with duties which included directing traffic, ringing the town hall bell, helping neighbours and hunting down law breakers.
William Nesbitt was kindly disposed and was ready with sympathy with those who really needed help, but he could be both stern and brave as required. In memory of “The Chief,” a minute’s silence was observed at the municipal nomination meeting, the town flag was flown at half mast and words of appreciation were expressed by the town Reeve and councillors.
He was a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge and of the Independent Order of Oddfellows: also the Port Perry United Church.
William Nesbitt passed away in Toronto on December 25, 1937 in his 69th year. His funeral was held at the Port Perry United Church, which was filled to capacity.
Following the service the town bell tolled and a long cortege slowly made its way up the hill to Pine Grove Cemetery, where he was laid to rest.
His wife, Sadie, predeceased him on June 11, 1926.
With information from "Faces of Scugog".