Sketches of Some of the Early Immigrant Families to Windsor & Essex
County, 1950 and Earlier
Many families arriving to Windsor and Essex County may not be included
in the presentation. If they wish they may give their family history
and be included any time.
If there are errors in the brief sketches presented, these may be corrected
and more information added if available.
In the majority of cases, Windsor was not the first place of settlement.
You will also find that many of these immigrants did a variety of jobs
to survive before achieving success and stability.
Read the following stories of:
Alex Abraham (Ali Chaban)
He arrived in New York from Shiba’, Lebanon in 1911 and processed
to Manitoba. He earned his living selling wares from door to door. In
1913 he returned to his village and donated a well. He returned to Canada
and settled in Windsor where his friend and relative Sam Zarzour was
He first opened a grocery store in Windsor and after several years bought
the Blue Bell Motel on Huron Line and which is currently under new ownership.
He arrived in Canada in 1900. He first settled in Ottawa then moved to
Brandon, Manitoba. He moved to Windsor in 1941 where he was joined by
his brother Alex in 1942. They each opened and operated a grocery store.
He arrived I Windsor in 1913. He opened a wholesale fruit and vegetable
business. His wife Genevieve was a sister of Tony Farah the first priest
of St. Peter's Church. His sister Mary was married to Louie Peters who
with other members of the community was instrumental in building St.
Peter's Church on Parent Ave. and who was the founding member of the
Hasroun Club (Hasroun is a town in Northern Lebanon,
many of the early immigrants to Windsor came from there). St. Peter’s
Church is now relocated on Tecumseh Road.
He arrived in Quebec from what is now Syria at the age of 18. He came
to Windsor few years later and worked at the Fords plant. He later opened
a variety store.
Tannous Cory (Khoury)
He arrived in Montreal in 1902. He was a school teacher by profession.
He worked in Montreal as a door to door salesman for several years. In
1913 he got married and returned to Syria. He got stuck there during
the World War I. He later returned to Quebec in 1925, and moved to Windsor
Peter Carom (Boutros Karam)
He came to Quebec from Hasroun in Lebanon in 1902 at the age of 15. His
son Fred (CPA) moved to Windsor and was one of the people helping Louie
Peters in building the St. Peter's Church on Parent Ave., his son Dr.
Donald Carom is a prominent physician in Windsor today.
Abdo Deep (Theeb)
He came from Karoun in the Bekaa' Valley Lebanon to Canada in 1923. Arriving
in Montreal he was met by older brother whom he had never known. He worked
on his brother's farm near Carleton Place in the Ottawa Valley shearing
sheep, as well he peddled goods door to door. He subsequently opened
a shoe shine stand. Later he worked for the Hydro Electric
Power Commission of Ontario. His job brought him to Sarnia then Walkerville.
During the 1929 depression he was laid off, but because he was such
a good worker he was the last of his team to be discharged.
With his small pickup truck he picked up fruit and vegetables from farms
in Essex and sold them to small retailers in Windsor.
He met and married Anna June 10th in 1933 at Lincoln Rd. United Church,
the only denomination at that time willing to unite a Christian and a
non-Christian (Muslim) in marriage.
They opened up a grocery store a few blocks from Windsor City Hall.
They had 3 daughters and two boys.
Abdo volunteered as a civil defense worker in the World War II and received
a certificate of appreciation from the Government of Canada signed by
Prime Minister Mackenzie King.
He arrived in Montreal from Syria in 1921. He moved to Windsor and was
a partner in the Golden Mile Bowling Alley on Tecumseh Rd. in the 1950's.
Nick Haddad’s mother arrived in Montreal in 1914 and married
Nick Haddad's father in 1918. Nick joined the army in 1937. After the
he opened a grocery store in Windsor. Nick's son Michael is a lawyer
in Montreal. His cousin George was a child prodigy at the age of 4
and later a concert pianist and a professor at Columbus University
Neif Jasey (Hejazie)
Was born in Khirbet Ruha, Lebanon in 1906 and came to Edmonton Alberta
in 1927. He worked in his fathers business. In 1930 he was joined by
his wife. He worked in Northern Alberta trading fur with the Indians.
In 1932 he moved to Nova Scotia where he opened a clothing store.
He finally arrived to Windsor in 1949. He first purchased a clothing
store in Harrow then two years later a Motel on Dougall Rd. At that time
he became involved with the Arab community in Dearborn and was instrumental
in helping them complete the building of a mosque which until then had
been a basement. Subsequently as a member of the Windsor Islamic Association
he played a major role in fund raising and supporting the construction
of the Windsor Mosque on Northwood street.
Ibrahim Joseph (Ibrahim Zabian)
Was born in Syria in 1903. He came to Montreal in 1920 and later moved
to Windsor. He has ten children living and working in Windsor. One of
his sons operates Joseph Fruit and Vegetables market on Tecumseh West.
Was born in Syria and came to Quebec in 1904. He had twin sons born in
1914. After their birth he moved to Windsor in 1914. One of his sons
Omar, age 93, lives in Windsor as well as many of his grand children.
He arrived in Grand Rapids in 1900 and moved to Sault St. Marie Ontario
in 1902, then to the Blind River (1902-1905), where he opened a grocery
store. Later in Godsin mines he opened a clothing and grocery store.
In 1940 he moved to Windsor and opened a furniture store on Tecumseh
near Pillette which still exists under new management. He had many successful
children and grand children in many professions such as Dr. David Mady.
Phillip’s parents arrived in Cleveland in 1924. Phillip worked
for the Red Cross (1925-1928). He moved to Windsor and opened a produce
business in 1928. His son Charles is a Windsor developer. Son Ray after
being in the produce business is now a Deacon at the St. Peters Church.
Daughter Diane is a retired Head of the Dramatic Arts Department at
the University of Windsor.
Born in Rafied, Lebanon, immigrated to USA at the age of 18 in 1908.
In 1929 he moved to Edmonton, Alberta. In 1930 he married Badriyeh.
They moved to Windsor in 1948. He bought an apartment building. His
son Dean is a lawyer in Toronto.
George left Lebanon in 1910. He lived with his brother in Kirkland Lake
before coming to Windsor.
Albert and Adel Shalhoub
Albert's grandfather was born in Zahle Lebanon in 1854. He came to Detroit
in 1899 and moved to Windsor in 1901-1902. Albert's father Charles was
born 1893. Albert owned the Paramount Fruit Market on Ouellette Ave.
Sam Zarzour (Salem Zarzour)
Sam was born around 1884 in Lebanon. Arrived in New York at age 14 in
1898. Married Ruby in 1917 in U.S.A.
Moved to Manitoba in 1920. In 1931 he moved to Windsor and opened a
grocery store. Later he operated a bowling alley. He has two sons and
two daughters. One son lives in California, the other practiced ophthalmology
Joseph John Zaid
Joseph and wife Mary left Hasroun Lebanon in 1898 and landed in Montreal.
After two years they moved to Detroit then to Windsor in 1902. They
purchased a grocery store and invested in a building with Peter Carom
Karam). One of Joseph’s sons practiced family medicine in Windsor.
Joseph and Abraham Zakkour
Two brothers who came to Canada and opened a fruit market in 1903.
Dr. Michael Joseph Ziter
Dr. Ziter was born in 1921 in Windsor of Lebanese parents. He lived
10 years in Detroit, and then immigrated to Lebanon in 1931. He studied
Arabic, French and Italian languages obtaining BA in these languages.
He went to French Jesuit Medical School in Beirut Lebanon. Then he went
to Rome for one year for the post graduate in anatomy.
Dr. Ziter returned to Windsor in 1947, and received the license to practice
medicine in Canada. He worked with Dr. George Ghanem George who was the
first doctor in Windsor of Arab background. Dr. Ziter was the second
Arab speaking doctor in Windsor.
He is married to Irene and they have 5 children; Michael a Physician
Michigan, Paul and Dale both medical doctors in Windsor, Mary Lee a Physiotherapist
in Vancouver, and Christine a Pharmacist in Windsor. Dr. Michael and
Irene have 14 grand children. They live in Windsor since 1949.
Dr. Ziter retired from practice in 1998, but still working as a physician
He is a member of Beach Grove club of OMA, ECMS. He travels yearly to
Florida, Venezuela, California and often to Lebanon.
Further elaboration of family histories and additional family history
of those that came to Windsor up to 1950 are welcomed.