Today’s topic is about the history of 3 remarkable women who called historic Mississauga home.
Sreetsville’s Helen Beaty (nee Ker), 1792-1868, took over the operation and management of the family’s grist and flour mill after her husband, John, passed away in 1842. “Hetty” was known as a formidable and dominant business woman at a time when it was very rare for women to be involved in industrial, commercial or economic enterprises. She was also active in the congregation at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and was widely known and respected as a leader in her early community. In time, management of the mill passed to her son William, and the enterprise remained in the Beaty family until 1895.
Hannah Clegg, 1860-1954, came from Yorkshire, England, in 1867. By the age of twelve Hannah was working at the Barber’s Toronto Woollen Mills, south of Streetsville. Young Hannah worked from 6:30 am until 6 pm. Hannah began to bring a teapot to work with her, and around 10 am every day she made tea, until one day in 1875 when William Barber, the owner, found out and took exception, as workers were not allowed breaks except for lunch and dinner. Barber forbade it, and apparently the women employees, led by Hannah, went on strike. Barber relented, and the 10 am tea break was permitted, and was eventually adopted in legislation.
Kate Aitken, 1891-1971, was a journalist and a famous Canadian radio and television broadcaster from the 1940s into the 1950s, and was one of the most famous female broadcasters of her era. She was also known as an expert in cooking and etiquette, and her advice was relied upon by millions of homemakers. Kate moved to a property along Mississauga Road, south of Streetsville, in 1953, and dubbed the property “Sunnybank Acres”.