Early Believers in Brockville

Percy Woodcock
First Baha'i in Eastern Ontario
Internationally Recognized Artist

Mr. Woodcock's painting in Brockville Library

1855-Born on August 17th in Athens, Ontario (then called Farmersville) to Rev. Eli Woodcock, a minister in the Episcopal Methodist Church, and Phoebe Ann Wiltse.
1867- Educated at Albert College in Belleville.
1878- Married Aloysis Pratt of Montreal. They had three children, all of whom predeceased Percy.
1881-  Moved to Paris, France to continue professional education as an artist. Studied for four years under Gerome at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts.
1883- Held his first exhibition at the Paris Salon; also exhibited in 1885, 1886, 1887 and 1888.
1885-  Studied under Benjamin Constant for two years. Also studied art in England and Holland.
1887- Returned to Canada and took up residence at Waterniche in Brockville ( this house burnt down in June 1951) .
1888-90- Became the principal at the Brockville Art School in the Comstock Building on Court House Avenue (building torn down over 1966 - 67) .
1890-  Travelled widely in Canada, Europe and the United States to paint and exhibit.
1898- Listed in the Canadian Men and Women of the Time, First Edition (Henry James Morgan; Ed.) as being "of no particular religion".
1900-05-  Met Baha'is and the Baha'i Faith in Chicago and to some extent in Montreal. This likely happened while he was arranging his 1903 Exhibit in Chicago. He and Aloysis and their daughter May identified themselves with the Faith.
1905- Contributed to the fund for the building of the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois (Contribution to the funds of the Baha'i Faith is considered a privilege, reserved only for the Baha'is.).
1908- Resided temporarily in New York, while still maintaining official residence at Waterniche in Brockville.
1910- Made presentation on Baha'i Faith to an audience of black intellectuals at Howard University.
1911- The entire family participated in Green Acre Baha'i School in Maine.
1911- Moved the family residence to the Windsor Hotel in Montreal.
1912- Met Abdu'l-Baha's party in Naples and travelled with them to North America on the Cedric.
1930- Donated the painting "Landscape: Province of Quebec" to Brockville Public Library.
1936- February 20, died at his home in the Windsor Hotel in Montreal.

Emma Hope ( Bell) Convery

Hope was born in 1913, and lived in Brockville. She used to say when she was a teenager, her mother would take her to Baha'i gatherings. She spent the early days of her life in Brockville before moving to New York State for study and work. After retiring she moved back to this area. Hope passed away in 1995 and is buried in cemetery of Brockville.

Frederick Forbes

Mr. Frederick Forbes

Frederick attended primary school at a boarding school in the Laurentians but completed high school in Quebec City. In 1937, after completing high school, he went to work in the gold mines of northern Quebec to accumulate money and experience to go on to get an engineering education.

In 1940 he interrupted his university education to join the R.C.A.F. for the war effort. He was posted to England to work with the R.A.F. servicing nighttime operations. At the end of the war he returned to Canada to complete his engineering training at McGill University in Montreal. When he completed his studies he joined the work force as a project engineer and started family life.

In 1958 some neighbours introduced him to the Baha’i Faith and he joined the Baha’i community of Westmount, Quebec. He became employed by the CNR and used Baha’i consultation to ensure success of complex projects.

In 1967 he moved to Ottawa to join the Civil Service. Here he served on the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Ottawa as secretary for many years.

In 1976 he retired from the Civil Service and pioneered for the Baha’is to the Arnprior area where he stayed until 1985. In 1985 he moved to his final home, Brockville, Ontario, eventually helping to form the first Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Brockville and participating in their many projects such as the building of the Peace Monument on the Water St. Frederick (Rick) will be remembered in Brockville for his wanders around the town looking for someone to discuss serious matters with, especially aspects of religion and the Baha’i Faith.