|Adjala-Tosorontio||Bradford-W. Gwill.||Clearview||Essa||Innisfil||New Tecumseth|
Road (Part 1) (Part 2)
|The Schools||The Early Press||The Pioneer Churches||Publications||Simcoe Main|
For an entire road map of
Simcoe County CLICK HERE
#1 Town of Collingwood (See Clearview)
#3 Town of Wasaga Beach (See Clearview)
#4 Camp Borden
#6 New Tecumseth
#7 Bradford-West Gwillmbury
#9 City of Barrie (See Vespra)
#13 Town of Orillia (See Severn)
#18 Town of Penetanguishene (See Tiny)
#19 Town of Midland (See Tay)
BOOKS ABOUT ORO-MEDONTE
SETTLERS PRE 1837
A HISTORY OF ORO WRITTEN A CENTURY AGO
A HISTORY OF MEDONTE WRITTEN A CENTURY AGO
CLICK HERE for a photo of the
Old Knox Presbyterian Church, Line 9 Oro Twp. Established in 1845
OLD TOWNSHIP NAME: Oro
Abandoned Con 6, Lot 11 African Episcopal Church Con 4, Lot 1 Bethesda Congregational Church Con 3, Lot 11 (near Edgar) Cameron Family Con 13, Lot 6 Craighurst Anglican Church Edgar United Church Con 3, Lot 10 Esson Presbyterian Church Con 11, Lot 10 Guthrie Presbyterian Church Con 5, Lot 20 Knox Presbyterian Con 9, Lot 10 Leigh's Corners Con 12, Lot 16 McLeod Con 12, Lot 12 McPherson Family Con 13, Lot 7 Little Brick aka Oro Station United Church/Oro Mission Con 6, Lot 25 Rugby United Church Con 12, Lot 11 St John's Anglican, Craighurst Con 1, Lot 40 St Mark's Anglican, East Oro St Thomas Anglican, Shanty Bay Con 2, Lot 28 West Oro Baptist
OLD TOWNSHIP NAME: Medonte
Craighurst Presbyterian Con 12, Lot 23 Hillsdale Presbyterian Hobart Vasey Union Moon (private) Con 9, Lot 15 Mount St Louis R.C. Con 4, Lot 10 St. George Anglican Fairvalley Con 11
"THE STORY OF ORO, by The Township of Oro History Committee, 2nd ed. 1987. 344 p. illus. maps. A very comprehensive history of the township."
"KITH 'N KIN: REMINISCENCES, BIOGRAPHIES, GENEALOGIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, featuring Oro Township Pioneer Families, compiled and edited by Joanna McEwen, 1978. 409 p. illus. maps. A marvellous record of Oro families, many of them first settlers."
"MEN OF COLOUR: an historical account of the Black Settlement on Wilberforce Street and in Oro Township, 1819 - 1949, by Gary E. French, 1978. 182 p. illus. maps."
"KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 1845 - 1986, by Oro Township History Committee and Knox Church Trustees, 1986. 50 p. illus. maps.
"OUTHOUSES AND APPLE PIE, by Loreen (Rice) Lucas, 1996. 171 p. illus. map. A life of reminiscences by the author, her hardships, joys, setting up new homes, her store-keeping venture in Oro. A delight to read."
SETTLER Con. Lot ALIBONE, George 8 9 (E1/2) ANDERSON, Thomas G. 12 24 ARCHER, William 1 69 (W1/2) BAILEY, John 12 6 BAILEY, Robert 6 1 BEARD, James 11 2 BARR, Walter 11 6 (E1/2) BARR, George 6 11 (E1/2) BELL, John 7 8 BELL, James 7 8 BORLAND, John 11 22 BOYD, William 10 16 (E1/2) BOYNTON, John 3 9 (W1/2) BRADLEY, William 1 56 BROOMLAW, John 1 70 BROTHERSTONE, Jane 9 6 (W1/2) BRIMSMEAD, Richard 11 5 (E1/2) BUNTON, Conway 5 5 (E1/2) BYRNES, John 2 57 BURNFIELD, James 6 14 BUTCHER, Joseph 12 8 CALLAGHAN, Patrick 4 6 (W1/2) CALLAGHAN, John 5 7 CARTHEW, John 10 17 CAVANAGH, Thomas 10 6 (NE1/4) CHAMPAGNY, Peter 10 15 CONNOR, Michael 4 9 CONNOR, John 4 8 COOK, James 10 2 (SE1/4) COOK, John 11 2 CRADDOCK, Joseph 12 23 (SW1/4) CRAIG, Thomas Sr. 1 43 CRAIG, Thomas Jr. 1 44 CRAIG, John 1 43 COWAN, Samuel 6 6 (E1/2) DAVENPORT, Benjamin 1 70 DOLLER, Joseph 10 19 DOUGLASS, William 8 7 DUDDY, Thomas 7 7 DUNAGHAN, Miles 1 75 EPLETT, John 9 12 EVANS, Joseph 6 8 (E1/2) FITZGERALD, Charles 6 4 FLANAGHAN, Michael 3 8 (E1/2) FOWLER, John 8 8 (E1/2) FOX, James 11 8 (E1/2) FOX, James 10 20 FRENCH, Samuel 4 7 (E1/2) FRAWLEY, Cornelius 3 10 (E1/2) FULLERTON, John 9 7 (E1/2) GANTON, David 3 8 (W1/2) GOSS, Joseph 11 7 (W1/2) GRANT, John 5 1 GREENLAW, Robert 2 49 GREENLAW, James 2 50 GROUETTE, Wm. 13 22 HALLEN, George 13 11 HARVEY, John 5 13 (E1/2) HINDS, John 3 1 (W1/2) HOLT, Zechariah 4 1 HORSBURGH, Alexander 9 8 (SE1/4) HUGHES, Patrick 1 60 (W1/2) HUSSEY, John 3 6 INGRAM, Robert 1 49 INGRAM, James 1 50 INGRAM, George 3 5 INWOOD, John 8 8 JACQUES, Franklin 1 41 JAMIESON, John 13 1 (E1/2) JAMIESON, Ann 5 10 JOHNSON, David 2 54 KEARNS, William 10 6 (SE1/4) KELLY, Thomas 9 10 (E1/2) KENT, William 10 12 KINGHORN, Andrew 5 6 (W1/2) LAING, Alexander 1 42 (N1/2) LAWLER, Cornelius 12 1 (W1/2) LEONARD, James 1 69 LITTLE, Robert 6 1 LIVINGSTON, Dougald 11 6 (W1/2) MILLER, Robert 6 12 MILLER, Alexander 6 13 MILLIKEN, Thomas 1 54 (S1/2) MOON, Henry 10 16 MOON, Edmund 9 15 MOON, George 3 56 MORAN, John 2 41 MORDAN, Robert 5 12 MOREHEAD, Graham 1 53 (N1/2) McARTHUR, Patrick 3 1 McCABE, Michael 9 20 McCARROLL, Robert 9 1 McCLURE, Samuel 7 3 (E1/2) McCONDRA, Thomas 5 5 (W1/2) McDONALD, John 6 8 (W1/2) McHUGH, Daniel 13 1 (NW1/4) McHUGH, Peter 13 1 McKAY, George 1 72 (N1/2) McKINLEY, John 11 3 (E1/2) McKINLEY, Duncan 11 3 McKINLEY, Donald 8 2 McLEAN, Dougall 10 10 (E1/2) McLEOD, Malcolm 2 52 McMURRAY, Michael 4 9 McNAMARA, Lawrence 3 10 NICHOLL, Robert 1 65 NICHOLL, S. 9 22 O'DONNELL, Patrick 6 2 (E1/2) ORTON, John 9 7 (W1/2) PARKER, Thomas 4 7 (SW1/4) PILGRIM, Henry 9 14 POWER, William 4 6 (E1/2) QUAIL, Thomas 9 5 (E1/2) REARDON, Jermiah 7 5 (E1/2) REID, Archibald -- -- RILEY, Thomas 9 19 ROBINS, Jethro 7 7 (E1/2) ROSS, Richard, Colmer 7 15 ROSS, William 5 8 RUTHERFORD, Allan 11 9 RUTHERFORD, Justus 6 9 SEAL, John 6 6 (W1/2) SHANAHAN, John 3 9 (NE1/4) SHANAHAN, Thomas 3 7 (E1/2) SHIRE, Charles 10 1 (W1/2) SLEIGH, Edwin 8 15 SMYTH, Traverse 1 53 (S1/2) STEELE, Elmes 12 9 STEVENS, John 9 8 (W1/2) STOKLEY, James 1 71 SWITZER, William 10 1 (NE1/4) TERRY, Jane 7 3 (W1/2) THOMAS, John 8 16 THOMPSON, William 7 10 THOMPSON, Dougald 11 3 (NW1/4) THORNTON, Peter 11 1 (E1/2) THORNTON, Thomas 11 1 (W1/2) TEARNING, John 9 10 (W1/2) TURNER, George 1 59 WALKER, George 7 1 (E1/2) WATT, William 4 11 (E1/2) WHELAN, John 12 7 (W1/2) WILLIAMS, Joseph 7 5 (W1/2) WILSON, Lieut. George 10 14 YATES, John 2 53
SETTLER Con. Lot ADAMS, John 8 27 ADAMS, James 9 26 (E Pt) ALGEO, William B. 11 23 ALLINGHAM, J.D. 11 24 AMBLER, Thomas 1 6 ANDERSON, George 11 18 ASHFIELD, John 6 9 BARBER, Luther 3 6 (E1/2) BASKERVILLE, William 13 14 (E1/2) BASS, Malen 3 12 (E1/2) BAILEY, Thomas 6 18 BATTERS, Charles G. 7 17 BELL, Gilbert 8 7 BERGEN, Michael 1 19 BLAIR, William 8 6 BLACK, Hector 9 12 BONE, David 13 10 (E1/2) BROWN, Samuel 1 20 BROWN, George 12 11 (E1/2) BROUGH, Charles, Rev. 14 13 BUCHANAN, Francis 13 7 (W1/2) BUSH, James 5 12 (W1/2) CALDWELL, George 2 12 CALL, John 2 21 CAMERON, Duncan 12 6 CAMERON, Daniel 12 12 (W1/2) CAMERON, Malcolm 13 6 (W1/2) CAMPBELL, Arch 5 17 CAMPBELL, John 7 17 (W1/2) CARTHEW, Arthur 13 22 (S Pt) CHAPEL, John 2 11 CHEDWICK, Richard 3 7 CLARK, John 10 2 CLARK, Alex 10 1 CLARK, Joseph 14 8 CLIFFORD, Henry 2 30 CAUGHLY, Daniel 2 14 COLEMAN, James 14 7 (S1/2) COTTON, Noah 10 14 (E1/2) CRAWFORD, Henry 10 14 (W1/2) CREA, William 3 14 CROOKS, Richard 9 23 CROOKS, Richard 12 20 CROSS, William 1 33 CURRIE, Edward 9 5 CURRIE, John 10 6 CUPPAGE, William 13 2 DAVIS, Edward F. 12 22 DARKMAN, George 2 15 DELAY, John 2 E DRURY, Thomas 1 11 DRURY, Richard 1 12 DUNSMORE, William 6 16 (E1/2) EDDY, George 2 24 EDWARDS, Joseph 2 31 ELSMERE, Joseph 4 1 (W1/2) EMMS, James 1 31 FELL, Isaac 14 11 FELTERS, Mary 14 10 (N1/2) FERGUSON, George 6 14 (E1/2) FERGUSON, Thomas 14 8 FIRTH, George 7 15 FITZGIBBON, Thos 13 1 FLAHERTY, John 2 10 FORSTER, Richard 2 24 FRAZER, William 14 14 FRAZER, John 4 20 GALBRAITH, John 9 10 (S1/2) GALBRAITH, Angus 10 8 GALBRAITH, Donald 10 13 GARDINER, William 2 23 GARDINER, John 2 25 GILCHRIST, Duncan 8 6 GILLESPIE, Arch 9 11 GOSLING, John 2 24 GOUGH, John 1 E GRAHAM, William 3 11 (WPt) GRANT, Donald 7 12 (E1/2) GRAY, William 3 14 GRUETTE, Peter 12 20 HALL, H. 10 16 (E1/2) HAMMOND, John 12 1 (E1/2) HART, Isaac 1 32 HARTWELL, William 2 11 HARDY, John 13 6 (E1/2) HARKLEY, John 4 1 (Pt) HARRISON, Wm. 10 12 (W1/2) HATCH, William 7 14 (W1/2) HAWKINS, Charles 3 5 (E1/2) HEPBURN, Caesar 4 12 (W1/2) HICKLING, George 1 15 HICKLING, Wm. 2 20 HICKLING, Ebenezer 2 19 HOLDSWORTH, Thomas 10 16 (W1/2) HODGES, Richard 12 24 HORN, Peter 12 15 HUGHES, George 1 6 HULLICHAN, Patrick 13 15 HUNT, Wm. 1 40 JACKSON, Samuel 5 12 JACKSON, John 2 3 JARRETT, Charles 11 1 JENNINGS, Henry 6 11 (E1/2) JERMEY, Samuel 10 12 JERVIS, John 2 F JOHNSON, Matthew 14 7 (N1/2) JOHNSON, John T. 3 12 JOHNSON, Benjamin 2 27 JONES, John 5 13 (E1/2) KEATING, Horace 12 23 KERRIDGE, Charles 1 23 KYLE, Wm. 12 1 (W1/2) LALLY, Edmund 5 28 LAUDER, Walter 5 9 LANGMAN, Nicholas 14 6 (W1/2) LANGMAN, Joseph 14 6 (E1/2) LAWRENCE, John 1 7 LITSTER, Henry 12 9 (E1/2) LEIGH, John 13 16 LEITCH, Angus 8 2 (NE1/4) LEONARD, Wm. 2 28 LIVINGSTON, Neil 9 7 LOFTUS, James 3 6 (W1/2) LOCKE, Joseph 13 13 (E1/2) LUCK, Edward 1 16 MARSHALL, John 14 12 (W1/2) MILLAN, Daniel 6 14 (W1/2) MITCHELL, William 12 12 (S1/2) MOFFATT, James 14 9 (E1/2) MONK, Charles 6 27 MONRO, Jeremiah 5 10 MORRIS, John M. 4 11 (E) MORRIS, Noah 4 11 (W1/2) MORRISON, Thomas 14 10 MONTGOMERY, Henry 2 29 McCALLUM, Peter 10 6 (NE1/4) McARTHUR, Duncan 8 7 McARTHUR, Duncan 9 5 McCUAIG, Duncan 5 16 McCULLOCH, Robert 6 16 (W1/2) McDONALD, Michael 10 15 McDUFFIE, Peter 9 1 McDUFFIE, John 10 2 (W1/2) McDOUGALL, Arch 6 14 McEACHERN, Duncan 8 12 McEACHERN, John 8 11 McFAYDON, John 9 10 McKAY, Angus 9 12 McKENZIE, John 8 16 McKERROLL, James 10 1 (W1/2) McLEAN, George 1 39 (N1/2) McLEAN, John 10 4 (E1/2) McLEOD, Donald 12 12 (N1/2) McLEOD, John 13 8 McMILLAN, Duncan 9 10 McMILLAN, John 11 8 McNAB, Alex 10 1 (E1/2) McNIVEN, John 8 3 McPHERSON, John 13 7 (E1/2) McVITY, Wm. B. 11 25 McVITTOE, Charles 10 25 NAISH, James 13 13 NORMAN, George 12 16 O'BRIEN, Edward G. 2 2 OADES, Francis 1 27 OLIVER, Robert 1 1 (E Pt) OLIVER, George 1 18 ORMSBY, James 12 14 (E1/2) OVERS, George 2 40 PAILK, William 9 13 (E1/2) PARKER, Simon 6 6 (W1/2) PARTRIDGE, Charles 1 17 PAXMAN, John 11 8 PEARCE, Joseph 7 15 PERKINS, Wm. 8 16 PRENTIS, James 8 1 (NW1/4) PULFORD, George 8 14 PUTNEY, Robert 6 8 RAWL, John 13 17 REID, Duncan 9 2 (E1/2) REID, John 3 15 (E1/2) REID, Hugh 9 2 REID, Wm. 14 10 RICHARDSON, Samuel 1 5 RICHARDSON, Wm. 1 36 (W1/2) RICHARDSON, Jesse 5 10 (E1/2) ROBERTSON, George 13 10 (W1/2) ROSS, Malcolm 8 17 RUTHERFORD, Wm. 12 8 (E1/2) RYALL, Edward 12 19 (W1/2) SCOTT, John 11 10 (SE1/4) ST. DENNY, Henry 2 26 SHAW, Henry 10 12 (S1/2) SIMPSON, Wm. 11 15 SINCLAIR, John 3 16 (E1/2) SMITH, Matthew 4 7 (E1/2) SMITH, John 6 11 SMITH, Duncan 9 6 SMITH, John 9 13 (W1/2) SMITH, Peter 11 20 SUMMER, Edward 2 D SWAN, Robert 11 15 (W1/2) TABOR, James 13 14 (W1/2) THOMAS, Samuel 4 8 THOMAS, Samuel 5 13 THOMPSON, John 11 6 (W1/2) TUDHOPE, Walter 8 1 (NE1/4) TUDHOPE, William 11 7 (NE1/4) TUDHOPE, George 11 6 (E1/2) TURNER, Benjamin 4 12 (E1/2) TURNER, Edward 8 2 (Pt) USHER, Frederick 1 8 WALKER, Edward 3 8 (W1/2) WALKER, John 4 9 WALKER, Joseph 7 3 (E1/2) WATSON, James 1 28 WHITE, James 1 26 WHITLEY, John 3 28 WHITING, George 10 11 (E1/2) WILSON, John 10 15 YOUNG, John M. 14 12 (W1/2)
Even before the survey of Oro in 1820, it was the intention of the Government to devote part of it to the philanthropic uses of a coloured colony. A few coloured settlers were located, but for some reason or other the initial enthusiasm of the project died out, and nothing further on the part of the Government was done until about 1830. In connection with this proposal they appointed Lieut.-Col. Edward George O'Brien, who had settled in Oro and founded the community of Shanty Bay, to act as Government Agent for the location of the negro immigrants.
He had, at the age of fourteen, entered the naval service as midshipman on board H.M. frigate Doris, but the peace with America in 1815 blighted his hopes of advancement in the navy. A lengthy extract from his "jottings," made while in the service, appears in Thompson's "Reminiscences," and describes his first experience of life at sea. Leaving the navy, he entered the army for a time and served in the West Indies, where his health failed him, but soon after he again went to sea and made numerous voyages to the East. Illness forced him to leave the service and come to Canada.
In his pretty log cottage at Shanty Bay he dwelt during the first years after his settlement, and his relations with the settlers of the neighbourhood were of the most friendly character. Mr. Thompson in his "Reminiscences" has preserved a glimpse of his residence as it appeared in 1833, and has also recorded various incidents in his career.
In those early years he was a commissioner of the Court of Requests at Barrie, and occupied the position of chairman of the Quarter Sessions for the Simcoe District. He was one of the first magistrates in this locality.
When the uprising of 1837 took place, he called together a company of stalwart settlers, and marched for Toronto; but before arriving there he received instructions from Sir F.B. Head, the Lieut.-Governor, to proceed to Bond Head and remain there to take charge of the place, for there had been some disaffection in the district. After Simcoe had been erected into a county, Mr. O'Brien and his family removed to Toronto, where they resided for many years. He began business in the city as a land agent, and was subsequently Manager of the Provincial Insurance Company, unti 1857. In 1848 he became partial proprietor of the Toronto Patriot newspaper, but on May 25th of the following year occured the great fire which destroyed the Patriot printing office. Shortly afterward Mr. O'Brien sold his share in that newspaper to Mr. Ogle R. Gowan.
Lieut.-Col. E.G. O'Brien's life, as well as that of his wife, have been warmly eulogized by their comtemporary generation. Their charitableness caused them to be respected by people of all shades of opinion; and it is recorded that to Mrs. O'Brien, Toronto is indebted for its first ragged school. Several members of their family became distinguished in various ways. Lieut.-Col. Wm. E. O'Brien was commanding officer of the 35th Battalion, Simcoe Foresters, resigning October, 1897, and was member of the Dominion House of Commons for Muskoka; Lucius R. O'Brien was generally acknowledged to be the foremost Canadian artist in his day; while Henry O'Brien, K.C., of Toronto, is a well-known member of the legal profession. In the burial ground of the Shanty Bay church, which they mainly assisted to establish, Col. O'Brien and his wife are buried, and over them an Irish cross bears the following words:
"In loving remembrance of Edward George O'Brien, who died September 8, 1875, age 76; and of Mary Sophia, his wife, who died October 14, 1876, age 78. This stone is raised by their children. He having served his country by sea and land, became A.D. 1830 the founder of the settlement and mission of Shanty Bay. She was a true wife and zealous in all good works. Faithful servants, they rest in hope."
Shanty Bay with its old associations was the centre of a movement which has much interest from an historic point of view. The movement referred to consisted in the bestowal of land along the lake shore to retired British half-pay officers by the Government of Upper Canada. This practice had been followed by the Government for some time previously, but when Sir John Colborne became Governor in 1828, for some reason or another he formed a preference for the Lake Simcoe section, and advised almost all the half-pay officers who applied to him for grants to settle on the north shore of Lake Simcoe. There was, accordingly, about the year 1830, a demand for sites along the Oro shore, where a delightful view of the scenery of the lake could be had. But the soil being poor and stony many of those who located found to their sorrow that they could not live upon scenery alone, and the subsequent stampede was almost as hasty as the rush to get located.
The folowing is a list of those officers of the army and navy who obtained land grants, beginning at Kempenfeldt and proceeding eastward to Hawkestone: Captain Ross, Capt. Oliver, Col. O'Brien, Capt. E.A. Walker, Capt. Monck, Major Adam, Major Laurie, Capt. Charles McVittie, Col. Wm. B. McVity, Col. Davis, Johnson Allingham, and Col. Carthew.
Each oficer received a grant from Sir John Colborne, the Lieut.-Governor, the land being distributed amongst them in proportion to their rank and services. It was usual at that time to allot the land to officers according to a statutory schedule taking account of the length of time in the service and the quantity of land to which each class was entitled; and the Oro allotments were made in this way. (See chapter on land Grants Vol. 1).
Reference has been made in former chapters to some of those whose names are mentioned in the preceeding list. Capt. Robert Oliver has been mentioned in connection with Kempenfeldt. Prior to locating in Kempenfeldt Capt. Oliver resided on the site now known as "Woodlands," in a large, substantial log edifice owned by Eli Beman of Holland Landing, the occupants being (besides himself), his wife, 3 sons, 2 servants, with Meyrick Lally, and John McWatt (who had arrived in 1832 on the newly constructed steamer).
Major James Adams received his land grant near Oro station in 1832, and became one of the earliest magistrates in Oro. He was the Home District Councillor for the township in 1842, and in the following year was the first Treasurer of the District of Simcoe, but died a few months after his appointment. Descendants of his have lived in the same neighbourhood since that time.
Capt. E.A. Walker moved from his first "location" near Shanty to the county town and represented Vespra Township (with which Barrie was then included for municipal purposes) as District Councillor throughout the entire period of the Simcoe District Council (1843-9).
Col. Wm. B. McVity afterward became the first Clerk of the Peace when the County of Simcoe was organized. He died April 6, 1877.
Capt. Monck was a cousin of Lord Monck, the first Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada.
Capt. Malcolm Ross of the King's Regiment received 1,400 acres in 1832 in concessions 7, 8 and 9, near the shore.
Several of the half-pay officers who have been mentioned were located at or near Hawkestone. Amongst those who occupied a conspicuous position in the locality was Lieut.-Col. Arthur Carthew, late of H.M. 64th Regt., an officer of Cornish origin. But he did not dwell permanently at Hawkestone. Some time after 1836 he built a commodious house on a part of the Deer Park property on Yonge Street, the interior fittings of which, according to Dr. Scadding in "Toronto of Old" were of solid black walnut, had been bought from the Jarvis' family residence by him, and transferred without much alteration to Deer Park. Col. Carthew is also said to have made extensive improvements on property near Newmarket. He died on October 4, 1878, at the advanced age of 82 years.
These officers, in settling on the lake shore, encountered the usual hardships of the backwoods. Rev. Isaac Fidler met with one of these officers at Newmarket in 1832, and refers to him in his "Observations in the United States and Canada." As already mentioned, Sir John Colborne did all in his power to induce well-to-do immigrants to settle north of Lake Simcoe; but, with few exceptions, nothing was gained by the experiment but a sorrowful experience.
The settlement of the half-pay officers, so unique in its conception, was evidently an attempt to follow the classic policy of the Romans, who settled the veteran or retired soldiers on the outlying colonial frontiers to establish there "communities of loyal, able and valiant citizens." The plan looked all right on paper, but was unpractical for modern times.
The grantees of these lands, although receiving estates which were larger than what one would call "small holdings," and which were not in accordance with more recent land policies and the prevalent views of to-day as to what the size of land grants should be, did not impede settlement, as the land along the shore generally was somewhat stony in places and the soil not always the best. (It was not such land as practical people would take up first.) On the contrary, the officers had usually some wealth, and in making their disbursements for clearing and for what they needed, they circulated money and helped to make times good. In nearly every case, they lost money by their settlement while the community gained it. After selling their land for what they could manage to get for it, they generally moved to the towns where they passed the remainder of their days. Thompson's summary from his "Reminiscences," will form a fitting conclusion to our own remarks on these officers:-
"Where are the results of the policy which sent them there? What did they gain- what have their familes and descendants gained- by the ruinous outlay to which they were subjected? With one or two exceptions, absolutely nothing but wasted means and saddest memories."
A colonization road into upper Oro was cut through from Hodges' Landing at an early date, and joined with the earlier route from Kempenfeldt to Penetanguishene, at Dalston of the present. The Hodges' Landing road soon became a feeder of the Penetanguishene Road, and owing to hills and the big swamp on the lower portion of the latter, it probably shared for a time as much as, if not more traffic than, the Kempenfeldt part of the same route. But in 1847, through the instrumentality of the Hon. W.B. Robinson, Commissioner of Public Works, and member of the Legislative Assembly for Simcoe, the Kempenfeldt-Penetanguishene Road was thoroughly cleared out to the width of sisty-six feet, and made passable for its entire length of over thirty miles. This step removed any further necessity for using the Hodges' Landing road, But, as late as 1851, we find the road distinctly marked on the county map in Smith's "Canada: Past, Present and Future," which, however, might have been copied from some old map, as one map-maker copies from another.
Hodges' Landing received its name from Richard Hodges, a native of England, who settled there in 1830, on lot 24 beside Lake Simcoe, and his son, William, born here in 1834, may also be classed among the pioneers. Capt. Davis settled on the east side of the Hawkestone Creek about the same time as Richard Hodges on the west side.
Wellesley Richie, the Government Land Agent, built shanties for the emigrants newly arriving to go into the northerly parts of the township, on the west side of the stream. There was a trail form this Landing to the Rugby line, toward the northeast, by which the settlers reached their new lands in that quarter.
S.M. Sandford, who had the first store in the county town, did not succeed in business there, and, with Capt. Bell, was one of the first to make a start in business at the Village of Hawkestone. They built a store on the east side of the creek at a short distance from the lake shore. The present wharf at the place was built by the Dominion Government in the year 1900.
Another of the early settlers in the backwoods near Hawkestone was George Anderson, a native of the County of Tipperary, Ireland, who came to Canada in 1832, and after living in Toronto four or five years came to Oro and took up lot 18, con. 11. He died September, 1890.
Still another pioneer was Peter Smith, who came from Islay, Scotland, in 1834 and settled on lot 20, con. 12. He was a zealous churchman, having been an elder of the Presbyterian church during twenty-six years.
As early as 1819, the project of settling negroes north of Lake Simcoe was under consideration by the Government, as it appears from the Dominion Archives Report for 1897, (State Papers, Upper Canada, p. 100), and we find the Davenports were located in Flos very soon after this early date. Accordingly we may infer that the African name of Oro was intended to signify the uses of the township, according to the Government. The actual settlement, however, began about 1830, with commissioning Lieot.-Col. E.G. O'Brien as the Governemnt Agent for locating the negroes. These were placed mostly along the second line of the township, which thus came to be called Wilberforce Street, in commemoration of the British philanthropist. Particulars of these colored pioneers are scanty enough at the present day, yet a list of their names, so far as the writer has been able to glean them, may be of some interest:
|Luther Barber||lot 6, con. 3 (E. Half)|
|James Bush||lot 12, con. 5 (W. half)|
|John Call||lpt 21, con. 2 (1831 Patent)|
|Daniel Caughly||lot 14, con. 2|
|George Darkman||lot 15, con. 2|
|John DeLay||lot E, con. 2|
|George Eddy||lot 24, con. 2|
|William Hartwell, (Daniel ?)||lot 11, con. 2|
|Caesar Hepburn, (Hebron ?)||lot 12, con. 4|
|Samuel Jackson||lot 12, con. 5|
|John Jackson||lot 3, con. 2, (patent lot 4, 1828)|
|Benjamin Johnston||lot 27, con. 2|
|William Leonard||lot 28, con. 2|
|Jeremiah Monro||lot 10, con. 5|
|John Neilson Morris||lot 11, con. 4, (E. half)|
|Noah Morris||lot 11, con. 4, (W. half)|
|Henry Montgomery||lot 29, con. 2, (a carpenter)|
|Henry St. Denny (St. Dennis ?)||lot 26, con. 2|
|John Smith||lot 11, con. 6|
|Edward Summer||lot D, con. 2|
Although more than a score of these "darkey" families arrived and were "located", scarcely a quarter of that number of familes exist in the township at the present day, the climate having proved to be to rigorous for them. In course of time many moved to more genial climes. Samuel Thompson in his "Reminiscences," speaking of the period about 1833 says:- "The inhabitants of the colored settlement were constantly at loggerheads with each other or with their white neighbours."
At the Middle Crossroad, John C. Steele, the eldest son of Capt. Steele, of Medonte, settled at an early date on lot 16, con. 6. He was Reeve of Oro for a period of eighteen years (1859 to 1876, both years inclusive) continuously, and was Warden in 1875. Some Reminiscences of the early days of this county, written by him, appeared in the Orillia Packet in 1893-4, and were unusually interesting. The post office maintained here in former years bore the name of Steele in honor on this well-known family.
Some events and characters of the early days of the settlement along this Crossroad, have found places in the writings of Miss Miller (Marion Keith).
William Hatch, a native of England, settled on lot 14, con. 7, a mile from Steele post office of later times, in 1832, which lot was afterward owned by Joseph Harrison. Mr. Hatch brough a bag of sovereigns from England with him when he came, and found it useful in helping him through the pioneer days. His sons, Henry and Richard Hatch, carpenters, lived first near Guthrie, and Henry afterward had a woodturning business in the county town. The first orchard in Oro grew from apple seeds which Mr. Hatch, sr., brought from England and planted on the farm just mentioned.
George Firth, a native of Yorkshire, England, also settled on lot 15, con. 7, in or about the year 1832. He was the inventor of a mouldborad for ploughs, which had a name in its day. His son, John Firth, lived for many years of the Penetanguishene Road, half way between Wyebridge and Penetanguishene, on lot 105, which came to be known as Firth's Corner.
Near the Middle Crossroad and in the vicinity of East Oro, a number of families from England settled in the early years of the township's history. A few of these deserve passing notices.
Joseph Pearce, a native of Yorkshire, located on lot 15, con. 7, about the same time as the last named settler.
Three English families took up "locations" in con. 10 in 1831.
Samuel Jeremy, lot 12, con. 10.
Henry Crawford, lot 14, con. 10, (W. half)
Noah Cotton, lot 14, con. 10, (E. half)
Of these, at least two were natives of Suffolk County,- Jeremy and Cotton. Mr. Jeremy died February 1, 1890, in his 82nd year. Henry Cotton and wife both reached advanced ages. Samuel Cotton, a son of this pioneer, died August 10, 1892, in his 86th year.
John Leigh, another native of England and his sons settled upon lot 16, con. 13, and this locality has always received the name of Leigh's Corners from this pioneer.
William Baskerville and his sons, (Henry, James, John, Samuel and William), settled upon lots 14 and 15 (E. half), con. 13.
In this part of the township there settled at a slightly later date (1841) Henry Creswicke, a man who afterward held the position of County Surveyor and had the supervision of public works for nearly forty years. He was born September 26, 1804, at Hanham Court, Bitton Parish, Gloucestershire, England, received his education first at Bristol, and then at Reading Grammar School undre the famous Dr. Valpy. Mr. Creswicke first came to America in 1830, spent three years in Michigan, then returned to England and served as civil engineer on the Great Western Railway under some distinguished engineers. In the year 1841, with his wife and a small family he again came to America, at the request of Col. W.B. McVity and settled in Oro, on the west half of lot 15, con. 13. At the suggestion of Capt. J.A.E. Irving , Warden of Simcoe District in 1843, he prepared for and passed his examination as County Surveyor, after walking from his home in Oro to the City of Kingston, which was then the seat of government. His first work as County Surveyor, to which office he was appointed by Government in 1843, was the laying out of the Sturgeon Bay Road, a work done under the government Board of Public Works. Among some other of his noteworthy works in the early years was the West Gwillimbury Plank Road, besides numreous other roads and bridges mentioned in the chapters on this subject, and with these may also be included the road (1852) from Holland Landing to Mount Albert. After residing in Oro for some years he moved to the county town, and besides being county surveyor, he was an auditor of the accounts for the administration of justice for many years. At the June session of the County Council, 1881, Mr. Creswicke tendered his resignation as County Surveyor, and the Council accepted it, yet he was to retain his position until the end of the year 1881 and the office was to be abolished from that date. At the next session (in November), on the eve of his retirement the Council tendered to him their congratulations on the successful and energetic manner in which he had discharged his duties as County Engineer and Surveyor for the unusually long period of 39 years. He died January 21, 1883, and at his funeral, on the 24th, the County Council, which was then in session, attended in a body, out of respect for his memory. Of his sons, Henry Creswicke, jr., was a Provincial Land Surveyor, and Alfred E.H. Creswicke is the County Solicitor.
In 1835 there came to Oro a pioneer who had marked individuality of character, and who afterward held the position of Superintendent of Schools for the County. This was Henry Adolphus Clifford, a native of the vicinity of London, England. He received a good education in his young days, travelling two miles daily to an advanced school or college in London. Coming to Oro in 1835, he settled first on lot 27, con. 2. At a later time he moved from the farm to open a store at Dalston, and kept the post office when it was established, which was named after the suburb of London from which he came. He had a large share of the faculty of self-help, having learned something of the trade of the bookbinder; he was also carpenter, wheelwright, and shoemaker, and at a later time a photographer, too, having taken the photograph of himself from which the engraving which appears in this history was made. By his habits of thrift he acquired property, and at one time had as many as four farms in Oro. He was appointed Superintendent of Schools for Simcoe by the District Council in 1846, and served in this capacity until 1850 when the faulty system of having a superintendent of schools in each township was adopted. Mr. Clifford's reports on the schools of those early days, so far as they were printed by the District Council, show a remarkable grasp of the business with which he was dealing, and are pregnant with weighty observations on the subject. When engaged inspecting the common schools of this district, he travelled on horseback from one school to another, his inspectorate then including the present limits of Simcoe County as well as a considerable part of the present county of Grey. He was absent from home much of the time, and as there was a good deal of money in the house (because he paid the teachers, this being a very different system from that of the present day), it is said that Mrs. Clifford had some fears for its safety. So one night when there was a little more that usual, she kept a large cauldron full of hot water ready at hand and boiling for the entertainment of burglars, if any of these should make her a visit. None came, however, for the hearty reception which she had prepared for them. In December, 1870, he moved to South Falls, Muskoka, (a few miles from Bracebridge), where he kept a store and built his own buildings, made his own plows, harrows, boots and shoes, etc., altogether proving himself to be a handy man, and just such a one as could only thrive in Muskoka in its early days. He kept the store and post office at Muskoka Falls for 31 years, and died August 5, 1901, 91 years of age.
Another early settler who took a leading part in school matters in the early days of Oro was the Rev. Ari Raymond, who also lived in this part of the township. He taught school a mile west from Edgar of the present day, and started there the Congregational Church. It is said he was a clever kind of a Yankee,- genial, kind, and at the time he lived in Oro was still young in years. He was a good carpenter, and a handy kind of man, generally.
In the early days of Canada, with the exception of ministers of the established churches, no person could be regarded as a minister with a right to solemnize marriage rites until he had appeared before the Justices of the Peace in Quarter Sessions, with satisfactory proofs of his ordination. The records of the Quarter Sessions at Barrie show that Ari Raymond, Congregational Minister, on January 6, 1846, duly produced proof of his ordination, and a certificate was granted to authorize him to solemnize marriages in accordance with 1 Wm. IV., Chapter 1.
Northward from the last mentioned, at the townline, Joseph Ellsmere, a native of County Down, Ireland, came to this country with his family, in 1832, and settled on lot 1, con. 4, where they saw some of the rugged experiences of life in the wilderness. In the family were two sons, John and Joseph, who are also to be included in the roll of pioneers.
One of the early settlers at Edgar was Robert Richardson, son of the pioneer who lived on the Penetanguishene Road, and who has been already mentioned. Another was Alexander Miller, a member of the Medonte family of that name. Mr. Miller had formerly taught school at Dalston, and at one time kept the post office at Edgar.
Several Highland families from Islay, Argyleshire, settled first on the "dry lots" in the northern parts of the township, because the land was dry and the forest easier to clear. But they soon found out their mistake, and removed to more fertile ground southward.
Some of those who settled in the early years in the "dry lots" were the sons of Farquhar Bell, they having taken up lot 7, con. 8. His three sons, Gilbert, Duncan and Malcolm came from Scotland in 1833, and after living in the "dry lots," settled on lot 15, con. 8, on which the Township Hall was built at a later date. Another brother of theirs, Archibald, besides other members of the family arrived later, (before 1846, however). Their sisters were Mrs. Donald Galbraith and Mrs. Colin Gilchrist. Descendants of these families of Bell are numerous. The sons of Archibald Bell were Farquhar, Gilbert and Duncan, one of whom (Gilbert) taught school and had a general store at East Oro, and at another time taught school at Shanty Bay.
The Islay settlers in Oro and Nottawasaga brought various customs to their new homes in Upper Canada from their native Highlands. None of these were so odd as the one they employed to full their home made cloth in their own homes at what they called "kicking bees." These unique "bees" in Oro have furnished the title given by James B. Steele to his story of "McLarty's Kicking Bee."
The Campbell family were well known in the early days of Oro. Of these there were five brothers,- Donald, Archibald, Alexander, Angus and John. The last named, (John,) settled in Thorah Township, near Beaverton.
This family came to Canada from Islay, in 1831. John Campbell, son of Donald, was in the milling business, and carried on a lumber mill at one period of his life. Two sons of Angus, viz., Duncan and Neil Campbell, entered the Winnipeg College, and were well known citizens there.
Perhaps the most widely known of the original family, were the brothers Alexander and Archibald, who were twins. These settled for a time near the head of Kempenfeldt Bay, and built the first house in Barrie. As they lived in the county town for the purpose of working at their trade, they remained until 1844 or a little later, and removed to Oro, where they took up lots 17 on opposite sides of the same road, Alex. in the 4th concession and Archibald in the 5th. In the family of Archibald, the sons were Archibald, Donald and Neil. Of Alexander's family, George, a member of the County Council for a number of years, Mrs. J.J. Brown (Barrie), and Mrs. Muir. These two pioneer brothers rest near each other in the graveyard of Guthrie Church. Archibald, born November 15, 1807, died December 21, 1881; Alexander was the last of the five brothers to survive, having died October 18, 1887.
The Currie family were also among the early settlers to arrive, having come in 1833. A part of this family, after living in Oro for a year, moved to Nottawasaga and became pioneers in that western township.
After the Islay settlers left their first locations in the north part of Oro, extensive tracts of land, comparatively clear of stumps, were left uncultivated, and formed a wide common. Across this lonely stretch of ground, a settlers' road led to the northeastern parts of the township from Galbraith's Corner, diagonally to the next concession line. Around this dreary road some grim associations used to cling, for a story is current that about the year 1853, a woman walking to the home of her relatives to spend the Christmas holidays, was cruelly murdered in a lonely part of its course. The circumstances are narrated in a story which was written by Miss M.C. Ferguson, of Orillia, and which was awarded a prize in the Montreal Witness Story Competition, August, 1892.
Duncan Gilchrist was one of the prominent settlers in the northern tract now under review. In 1813, Mr. Gilchrist had belonged to the volunteer coast guard in the west of Scotland, under the Duke of Argyle. He came from Bowmore, Islay, in 1834, with his family, landed at Hodges' Landing, and they made their way along the rough settlers' road and through the bush to lot 6 in the 8th concession, some two miles or more northwest of Galbraith's Corner. On the outbreak of the Rebellion of '37, he volunteered, and in the year after the Rebellion he was an officer in the volunteer company stationed in the garrison at Penetanguishene. His sons, Colin, Duncan and Ronald, may also be included in the roll of pioneers.
Prominent amongst those Islay settlers who remained on the Upper Crossroad and near it, until later years, were the brothers John, Angus and Donald Galbraith. John Galbraith, the inn-keeper, kept the widely-known tavern of pioneer days on lot 10, con. 9, at what became known as Galbraith's Corner. As this place was on the stage road from Barrie to Orillia, Mr. Galbraith and his hostelry were well known to travellers, and it was a stopping-place of considerable notoriety in those early days. Mr. Galbraith was a councillor in the Township Council for some time. At this same corner, Knox Church, the pioneer Presbyterian place of worship in Upper Oro, was erected, and in it services were held in Gaelic down to a recent date. Some of the original settlers of this neighbourhood never acquired the English language, or did so very imperfectly. A large proportion of these settlers now lie in the churchyard where they attended services for so many years.
Duncan McMillan and his wife, natives of Islay, settled in 1831, on the lot on which the church was built, and after living there a few years he became dissatisfied with the scarcity of water, sold his claim to the farm for a cow, and bought a homestead near Jarratt's. This couple lived together during the unusually long period of sixty-three years of married life, the wife (Margaret McKerroll) dying first, on June 7, 1892, in her eighty-ninth year.
The earliest settler on the townline of Medonte and Oro was Peter McPhie (McDuffie in the lists) who came in the twenties and settled on lot 1, con. 9, Oro, near Coulson, when all around them was the forest wilderness. He was one of the very first of the Islay settlers to arrive in this country. He died in 1848.
Oro furnishes an exception of considerable interest in the settlement of this county. Its earliest settlers were chiefly Highland and Lowland Scotch, especially in the upper parts of the township, this fact having been noticed by Dr. Thomas Rolph, whose Statistical Account of Upper Canada appeared in 1836; and the general character of the settlers has been preserved almost unchanged since the township's first settlement.
Other pioneers who "located" near the Upper Crossroad in the vicinity of Rugby in the year 1831 were: James and William Tudhope, with their sons, Matthew Johnson, Henry Litster, William Rutherford, Donald Grant; John, Angus and Donald Galbraith, and many others.
The Tudhope families settled in Oro in 1831, James Tudhope, on lot 6 in the 11th concession; and his son George, afterward clerk of the township, took up half of lot 6 in the 12th.
They were natives of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and in the year mentioned, left the crowded districts of Scotland for the forest wilderness of Upper Canada. When George took possession of the lot opposite his father's, between Rugby and Jarratt's Corners, he married Miss Rutherford, a daughter of the pioneer of that name in the same neighbourhood, and entered upon the task of clearing his land. He became the first clerk of the township when it received municipal organization in 1835, and was again clerk in 1836, 1838-9-'40,'41. At the beginning of 1857 he was chosen clerk once more, and held the office until his death, January 19, 1892, having occupied the position for forty-one years. He was also secretary of the Agricultural Society from its inception, retaining the position for many years. His son, Henry J. Tudhope, was chosen his succesor as Township Clerk.
Wm. Tudhope, Orillia, was another son of James Tudhope, sr. He becane proprietor of extensive carriage works in Orillia, and his son, Jas. B. Tudhope, has represented East Simcoe in the Ontario Legislature since 1902. James Tudhope, who moved to the Township of Wallace about 1854, and afterward until his death about Aug. 1, 1894, resided in Listowel, was also a son of Jas. Tudhope.
Wm. Tudhope, brother of James, sr., settled on lot 7, in the 11th concession, and his son Walter took up, a year or two later, lot 1 in the 8th concession.
Daniel Cameron (clerk of the township from 1842 to 1845) settled quite near Rugby in 1831. The families of McCallum, Robertson, Ormsby, Cameron, Donald McLeod, and Buchanan settled also in Oro early in 1831.
The post office bearing the name of "Rugby" was established August 1st, 1860, the first postmaster being Walter Hunter, who afterward became a pioneer in the western part of Flos Township, in the neighborhood of Crossland post office at a later date.
Nearer Jarratt's, the Islay people formed a settlement at an early date, as the land there was better supplied with streams of water than the parts passed earlier in this chapter. Alex. McLean came in 1831 and settled on lot 3, con. 8. He died in 1875. His wife, Ann McPhie, came with her parents to Oro in 1834, and survived until January 29, 1901, having reached the age of 91 years. James McKerroll with his family arrived in 1831 and took up lot 1, con. 10.
Hugh Reid settled near the same place in 1834. He attained the ripe age of 82 years, and died Marach 15, 1890. Duncan Reid, with his wife and five children, came from Islay in the fall of 1836 and took up lot 2, con. 9.
John McLean settled upon lot 4, con. 10 (E. half), almost among the first to arrive in the neighborhood, and lived to a recent date, reaching the advanced age of 103 years.
The brothers Clark came to this settlement in 1832, John Clark with his family having come in that year, and "located" near Jarratt's. Duncan Clark was Clerk and Treasurer of the township from 1846 until 1856, both years inclusive.
Some other settlers than the natives of Islay settled in this locality, in which may be mentioned John Hammond. He and his family passed through their full share of the hardships of pioneer life.
Farther east, Charles Jarratt located on lot 15, con. 14, about the same time; while Rev. Charles Brough located also in 1832 on lot 1 in the 11th con.
Carruthers in his "Retrospect," notes having visited Mr. Brough on September 17, 1833:-"Called upon the Rev. Mr. Brough, of the Church of England, and during my stay with him I was much pleased with his conversation. He is labouring in the Township of Oro, etc., with much diligence in the Gospel."
Mr. Jarratt's land having a good mill site upon it, an exchange of lands was made by these two settlers in the year 1835; Rev. Mr. Brough then proceeded to erect a mill which began operations shortly afterwards. Peter McCallum took up lot 6, con. 10, at an early date; while his son, Daniel, who had previously attended Princeton College, joined him in 1840.
In the year 1832, three or four pioneers with their families arrived in the wilderness south of Bass lake, and began to subdue its wilderness. These were the following:
Joseph and Nicholas langman, natives of Cornwall, England, who took up lot 6, con. 14.
John Hardie of lot 6, con. 13.
Francis Buchanan, lot 7, (W. half), con. 13.
As already stated in this chapter, under the subdivision of Hawkestone, Wellesley Richie, the Government Agent for placing settlers on their lands, was stationed in 1832 near Bass Lake on account of its convenient position for the performance of his duties.
(See also "Memories" of Rev. Thomas Williams, p. 47.)
Archibald Reid, a native of Islay, Argyleshire, Scotland, was also another of the early settlers near Jarratt's Corners. He came to Canada in 1834 and settled, first in Oro, but shortly afterward removed to Medonte, to lot 2, concession 9, where he continued to reside until his death, on Februaary 12, 1890.
Further west, in concession 7, on lot 1, George Walker, a native of England, settled in 1833. He had been a soldier before coming to Canada, and received this land for his services. His death occured on May 24, 1888.
One account states that the first settler in this part of Medonte was Samuel McClure, formerly of the 13th Light Dragoons, who with his family, and the family of a comrade soldier, named Ferris, had set out from Ireland for Canada in 1831, but Ferris had died of cholera at the quarantine station in the St. Lawrence River. Mr. McClure's stepson, James Quinn, afterward became the first reeve of Orillia Town, and took a prominent part in public affairs.
The first person to make the beginning of a village at Warminster was Walter Barr, who built a tavern here on the Coldwater Road, and for sometime it was the nearest stopping place to Colwater.
Of "Captain" Steele, R.N., whose name was once a household word in Medonte and the surrounding townships, a brief biography is preserved in Morgan's "Sketches of Celebrated Canadians." His election in the spring of 1841 over Wm. B. Robinson for the County of Simcoe brought him into special prominence.
Lot 19, concession 12, was the farm upon which Commander Elmes Steele, R.N., or as he was more familiarly called, "Captain" Steele, originally settled, and which his family called "Purbrook." Commander Steele, as already intimated, was the member of the old Canadain Parliament for the county during the years 1841-4, and for some time was Lieutenant-Colonel of the militia of the county. John C. Steele, his only son by his first wife, after having gone through a term as pioneer at this Medonte settlement, at length settled in Oro, became reeve of Oro for several years, and was warden of this county in 1875. He contributed some interesting reminiscences of pioneer days to the Orillia Packet in 1893-4, written from his residence in Coldwater, to which he had retired some years ago, having been appointed Division Court Clerk. Another son, Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel B. Steele, made his first entry into active military life in the Northwest Mounted Police about the time of the formation of the force. Still more recently he had command of Lord Strahtcona's Horse in South Africa (1900-2) during the later period of the Boer War, and afterward served in the permanent South African service. James B. Steele, another younger son in this well known family, has long resided at Beaver lake, ALberta, and has written some interesting sketches of the early days in Simcoe County, as well as of the district in which he resides.
The Rev. George Hallen came to Medonte in 1835, as the pastor of St. George's, and bought from a settler named Bywater, lot No. 11, concession 13, on which there was a log house when the Hallen family arrived in this locality. In 1840, Mr. Hallen removed permanently with his family to Penetanguishene, where he became chaplain to the establishment, and was the first rector of old St. James' Church, which was dedicated by Bishop Strachan in 1842, although built two or three years earlier. In the cemetery of St. James' Church now rests the remains of the Rev. Mr. Hallen, who died in Toronto in 1882, and also some members of his family. He was one of the first to take an active interest in the history of the immediate district in which he lived, and aided with his pen the advancement of historic work. At one time he thought of buying the land on which the Old Fort at the Wye River stands, and took a surveyor to the place for the purpose of locating its position correctly and making maps of the fort and its surroundings. The valuable, early maps thus do to his exertions were reproduced in the writer's report on the historic sites of Tay Township, through the courtesy of his son, Edgar Hallen, of Orillia. Preston Hallen and Richard Hallen, other sons of the pioneer clergymen, were also well known residents of Orillia in late years.
Lieutenant George Wilson, R.N., settled on lot 14, concession 11, early in the thirties. He was chosen representative for the united townships of Medonte and Matchedash to the Simcoe District Council for 1843, but during that year he received the appointment of Collector of Customs at Sault Ste. Marie, and resigned the office of councillor. His son, William Wilson, became the occupant of the lot mentioned.
Captain Thomas G. Anderson, the Indian agent, came to Coldwater in 1830. He received a grant of several hundred acres on the Coldwater River, extending for some distance from the village up the river, built a log house on it and moved his family to it from Penetanguishene. His estate was in the flat lands or swamp near the Coldwater Road, and from the nature of the soil he called it "Clayfields," which he sold to Wm. Noble Rutledge at a later time. While here he superintended the cutting of the Coldwater Road to Orillia, and the erections of houses for the Indians along the "Indian Hill." He kept the Medonte post office in its first years, being its first postmaster (1834-38). His wife was a daughter of Captain James Matthew Hamilton, some time of Penetanguishene. In 1837 the Government transferred him to Manitoulin Island at the time the Indians were located there, and shortly afterward he moved his family to the island. His son, Rev. G.A. Anderson, of the Mohawk Reserve, Bay of Quinte, died Maarch 12, 1896. Volume VI. of the Ontario Historical Society's "Papers and Records" contains an article on Captain T.G. Anderson, with much family history. Captain Anderson himself also kept records and diaries of some parts of his life, and these have been published in the Orillia Packet, and in the Wisconsin Historical Society's Collections.
The Indian mill at Coldwater was built by Jacob Gill, a millwright who was familiarly known in that section for many years. He has been already mentioned under the head of Orillia, where he resided on first coming to the locality. Amongst other early persons in tht section was William Rawson, who came from Drummond Island with the migration of 1828, and afterwards lived in Price's Corners for some years, becoming familiar to the Medonte settlements.
Joseph Craddock also came from Drummond Island in 1828 with the migrations of soldiers and attendants, and lived for a short time at Penetanguishene. He came to Coldwater in 1830, received a grant of 50 acres of land (the southwest quarter of lot 23, concession 12) on which he resided till his death. (See Mr. A.C. Osborne's paper on the "Drummond Island Voyageurs," in Papers and Records of the Ontario Historical Society, Volume 111.)
Another early settler at Coldwater was William Grouette, the government interpreter at the Indian agency here. He received a grant of lot 22, concession 13, in the early thirties.
John Borland came first to Coldwater in 1828, and resided here permanently from 1841 onward. He was a son of Captain Borland, the fur trader, and was also among the first in the district.
Another well known settler of Coldwater, at a slightly later date, was George Caswell, who acquired the government mill there, and was one of the central figures of the place for a number of years.
Coldwater was made a Police Village in November, 1897, by a By-law of the County Council.
Edmund Moon was an early settler, having taken up lot 15, concession 9, when around him was the wilderness. He was first appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1847, and was postmaster of the Medonte post office after 1838, the post office here being named Moonstone, after him. Henry and George Moon also arrived early. Many descendants of these pioneers now live in this part of the township.
John Carthew, a brother of Colonel Arthur Carthew, of Hawkestone, was a well known early settler in Medonte, having drawn lot 17, concession 10, as part of the land grant for his services.
In concession 6, Robert and Alexander Miller took up lots 12 and 13 at an early date. Robet Miller was first appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1857, and in various ways took part in the public affairs of the township.
William Thompson came from Ireland to Canada in 1832, and took up lot 10 in the 7th concession. His onlu son, also named William, lived here throughout his life, which closed April 28, 1892, in his 80th year.
John Fowler arrived in 1832 with his family and took up lot 8, concession 8, Alex. and Joseph of this family may also be classed as among the pioneers.
A Mount St. Louis a few settlers located in 1832 and shortly afterward. One of those who came in 1832 was John P. Hussey, who kept a store and post office at Mount St. Louis, of which he was appointed the first postmaster in 1857.
Charles Fitzgerald also came in the same early period to that neighbourhood. John Fitzgerald, of the same family, was the first deputy-reeve of Medonte in 1872, and held the position for four years, being also a township councillor at other times. He died April 4, 1890, in his 64th year. Although he had begun life with scanty means, by industry and perseverance he prospered and became comfortabaly well off.
A little further west, John Yates settled upon lot 53, concession 2, in the same early period.