|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|
Formerly Flos and Vespra Townships
Including the City of Barrie
|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 SPRINGWATER (Flos and Vespra)
A HISTORY OF FLOS WRITTEN A CENTURY AGO
A HISTORY OF VESPRA WRITTEN A CENTURY AGO
SETTLERS PRE 1837
City of Barrie Census 1837
OLD TOWNSHIP NAME: Flos
Allenwood Anglican/Thor Churchyard Con 10, Lot 12
Allenwood Methodist United Church Con 11, Lot 6
Elmvale Union Presbyterian Churchyard Con 9, Lot 5
Hillsdale Methodist Con 1, Lot 56
Knox Presbyterian Church, Cameron's Farm, Con 7, Lot 20
Mt. St Louis Roman Catholic
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic, Apto
St Patrick's R.C. Phelpston
Vigo Roman Catholic Con 4, Lot 21
Waverly Gospel Hall
Waverly Methodists/French's Con 1, Lot 75
Gospel Hall Con 1, Lot 75
Swan Burying Ground Con 2, Lot 52
OLD TOWNSHIP NAME: Vespra
Christ Church Anglican
Dalston United Church
Midhurst United (New)
Midhurst United (Old)
Old Methodist (abandoned) also known as Lawrence Cemetery 1844
St James Anglican, Crown Hill
St Mary's R.C. Con 6, Lot 21
"A HISTORY OF VESPRA TOWNSHIP: PIONEERS AND SETTLEMENTS, COMMUNITIES, HISTORIC PLACES, PEOPLE AND EVENTS, by Allan Anderson, Betty Tomlinson Anderson and the Vespra Township History Committee, 1987, 800 p. illus. maps."
"THE REGULATION PLACE "HILLSDALE": The story of one Ojibway Family, by Frances Collins and Sylvia Holderny. Illustrations by Lois Hawkes, 1997. 130 p. illus. maps. The story of one Ojibway family as it is affected by the development of a white settlement. An historical account accompanies the unfolding of the Natives' story." BARRIE: A NINETEENTH CENTURY TOWN, by Gary French, Su Murdoch and Irene Perri, Rev. ed. 1993. 120 p. illus. maps. A pictorial history, showing the buildings of Barrie as they were in the last century, some still standing, much as they were, some modified, and many long since gone.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE TOWN OF BARRIE, prepared for the occasion of Laying the Memorial Stone of the new Post Office, Customs House and Post Office Inspector's offices, by Hon. Sir Hector Langevin, C.B., K.C., M.G., Minister of Public Works, Dominion of Canada, Wednesday October 8th, 1884. Reprinted, with added notes and illustrations, by the Simcoe County Historical Association, 1978. 18 p. illus. maps. An excellent short history.
NOTE: For the complete list of approx. 1800 names covering all of Simcoe County and an explanation on how this list was put together CLICK HERE.
SETTLER OCCUPATION ALGEO, R. N. Half-pay officer (Captain), Allandale BOYINGTON, Lucius Blank BINGHAM, John Innkeeper CALDWELL, Leslie Merchant CAMPBELL, Dugald Tailor CAMPBELL, James Shoemaker CARNEY, Richard Innkeeper CARSON, William Blank COBB, Richard Innkeeper and mail carrier CUNNINGHAM, Campbell Shoemaker DUGGAN, Jane Blank EDGAR, David Blank FIDEL Blacksmith GRAHAM, Andrew Tanner and General Store GRAHAM, Thomas Carpenter HAGGART, Timothy (Se also Sunnidale) HEWSON, Francis Justice of the Peace LANE, Jonathan Tailor (See Kempenfeldt) MacWATT, John Merchant MARTIN, Francis Carpenter and Constable MEIGHEN, Francis Blank MELDRUM, Thrift Innkeeper McCOY, Richard Shoemaker MORRISON, James Afterward Innkeeper at Craighurst McCAUSLAND, John Blank McCAUSLAND, David Innkeeper McDONALD, John Tailor McGUIRE, P Journeyman Tailor NESBITT, William Carpenter PERRY, John From Perry's Corners (Cookstown) ROSS, David S. Merchant ROSS, Robert Surveyor SANFORD, Sidney M. Merchant SMITH, Thomas, Blacksmith STOKES, George Carpenter STRONG, William Blank WALKER, Alex Blank
SETTLER Con. Lot BISHOP, Stephen 1 53 CAMPBELL, William 1 61 CRAIG, Thomas 1 43 DAVENPORT, Wm. 1 51 GAGER, Obadiah 1 48 HAMILTON, John 1 60 HICKLING, George, Jr. 1 52 HUNT, James 1 72 (N1/2) JOHNSTON, James 1 48 KETTLE, Thomas 1 74 MARLOW, Hugh 1 55 (N1/2) MARLOW, Hugh 1 59 (N1/2) MOORE, Alfred 5 1 MORAN, Dominic 2 4 (S1/2) MURPHY, Patrick 1 59 McCORMICK,George 2 46 McDIVITT, Daniel 1 52 McDIVITT, Daniel 2 52 McDOUGALL, David 1 44 McGENERTY, DENNIS 1 61 (N1/2) PEPLOE, Samuel 1 75 (N1/2) PREY, William 1 53 RICHARDSON, Gideon 6 1 RICHARDSON, John 1 41 ROWAT, John 1 53 ROWLEY, John 1 70 SWAN, James 2 47 WILLIAM, George 1 3
SETTLER Con. Lot BARRY, Thomas 11 19 BOYLE, William 1 24 BROWN, John 1 20 BROWN, Jonas 10 18 (W1/2) BRUCE, Agnes 1 31 CARNEY, Thomas 9 20 (W1/2) CARSON, William 6 17 CASTON, Thomas 1 32 CASTON, Aaron 1 40 COCKBURN, Joseph 1 40 CROW, Joseph 9 20 CRESOR, John 10 20 CULLEN, Samuel 6 15 CULLEN, J. 9 20 DALY, William 7 18 (W1/2) DEBENHAM, Charles 1 27 DRURY, Edward 2 26 DUNN, John 4 9 (E1/2) DUNN, John 5 14 (W1/2) DUNN, Patrick 4 16 (W1/2) FLETCHER, Silas 2 39 FOSTER, Thomas 10 18 (E1/2) GILL, Richard 3 11 GARBUTT, Joseph 1 40 GREEN, John 7 20 HENDERSON, James 2 20 HUNT, George 4 2 (W1/2) JONES, John 1 19 JOHNSTON, James 1 39 JOHNSTON, William 1 4 (N1/2) KEELY, Dennis 2 23 KELLY, John 7 18 (E1/2) KEMP, James 11 17 KENNY, Miles 7 15 LARKIN, William 1 4 (S1/2) LAWRENCE, John 1 5 LODGE, Francis 1 20 MAIR, Thomas 1 12 MARTIN, Denis 7 17 (E1/2) MOLLOY, Thomas 10 17 MOORE, William 3 12 MUNRO, John 7 14 (E1/2) MURPHY, Peter 3 19 (E Pt) MURPHY, Peter 6 17 (E1/2) McCLARE, James 5 3 (E1/2) McGORGAN, George 2 34 McGOWAN, Robert 14 21 (E Pt) McGUIRE, Patrick 10 19 (E1/2) OLIVER, George 4 12 PALMER, James 1 20 PARTRIDGE, John 1 17 PARTRIDGE, William 1 17 PEARSALL, Benjamin 3 9 PRESTON, James 1 40 ROLLINGS, William 4 8 (E Pt) ROLSON, John 1 29 ROBERTSON, Archibald 11 18 ROOT, Dudley 11 20 SEADON, George 9 18 (W1/2) SILK, Michael 2 19 SISSONS, Jonathan 1 16 SMITH, Hugh 7 16 (E1/2) STRATTON, John 2 16 SULLIVAN, Mrs. 3 18 TAYLOR, Henry 1 18 WHITE, Peter 1 26 WICKENS, Jas. M.P.P. 1 13 WALKER, Alexander 4 23 WILLIAMS, Richard 1 36 WILLIAMS, Thomas 5 1 WILLIAMS, Richard, G. 4 1
The following history is verbatim from the book "The History of Simcoe County" by Andrew F. Hunter. First published in 1909 and reproduced in 1948 by the Simcoe County Historical Society.
With the exception of an early settlement in what was known as "Upper Flos", this township did not become generally settled until later years. The cause of this tardiness in its development is not far to seek. Standing on the hills which run through the south-eastern portion of the township, one can see at a glance the flat character of the surface of the land throughout the greater part of its extent. As far as the eye can reach westward, there was nothing in sight for the pioneers but the long dark forest, extending away to the hills of Nottawasaga, and through this wide plain of unbroken forest ran the Nottawasaga River. It was certainly discouraging to early settlers to enter the forests here and open settlements; and so for many years the settlement of "Upper Flos" was the only attempt in that direction.
One after another the settlers arrived, pushing the limits of civilization further westward each year into the forest, until the Village of Apto took rise on the outskirts of the clearings, toward the southerly end of the township. This, however, did not take place until 1851, in which year the founder of the village, Dennis Gallagher, a pensioned soldier, located there. The post office, the first in the township, was opened in 1857, and was kept at the Vespra town line by Malcolm Stewart, who was postmaster until 1859. In the latter year it was moved to its present location and Mr. Gallagher became postmaster, being also the school teacher for the settlement. The first to settle in this part of the township were: Dominick Moran, who took up lot 4, con. 2, in 1836, or earlier, and John McAvoy, a retired soldier of the 89th Regiment, with his brothers, Patrick and Henry, who also arrived about the same time. John McAvoy was reeve of Flos in 1869-70-1. Thomas Barnard in the Coughlin families settled further west at a sligtly later time.
Further north, in the next portion of "Upper Flos," Gavin Turner, a native of Scotland, settled with his family on the second line, "Old Survey," in 1835. His sons, James, Gavin and John Turner, also became early settlers in Flos. John Rowatt also settled in the same tract about the same time. Gideon Richardson, a son of William Richardson, who settled on the Penetanguishene Road (Oro side) and who was mentioned in our account of that locality, made a beginning in the "New Survey" of Flos, on lot 1, con. 6, before 1836. His brothers, George and William, settled southward from his "location" at a slightly later period. In the same neighbourhood John Cumming settled in 1843.
The opening of the North Simcoe Railway in 1879 stimulated the growth of the central parts of Flos. Charles Anderson, of Anten Mills, became well known in lumbering circles about this time, the name of the firm being Anderson & Tennant, and from the first syllable of each man's name the word "Anten" was made up. Mr. Anderson afterwards operated large mills at Little Current, Manitoulin Island, but died November, 1896, at the age of 54.
In the year 1870, O.J. Phelps came to Flos and purchased a sawmill on Marl Creek, and from that time onward he became identified with the Village of Phelpston, which in the year after his arrival was established and named after him. Mr. Phelps was chosen reeve of Flos in 1872 and continued to hold the position until 1885, or a period of fourteen years, during which time he was mostly elected by acclamation. He was first elected M.P.P. for West Simcoe in 1883, and represented the riding in the Ontario Legislature until 1890, in which year he was appointed sheriff of Simcoe County, serving in this capacity for four years.
Vigo and its surrounding neighbourhood received its settlers mostly in the sixties. One of these was Henry Gribbin, who kept a wayside inn for many years. Dennis Gallagher sold his store at Apto in 1868, and removed to Vigo, becoming its postmaster, and establishing a store. For more than twenty years he was the mail carrier for the office, as well as for other offices in the south of Flos. He donated the site of Vigo Church, and was the business man of the place. But the fierce forest fires of September, 1881, destroyed his property there, and he retired to Phelpston, where he died, January, 1893, aged 83.
Henry Crossland settled with his family in the early seventies at the place which now bears his name, the post office having been opened about the year 1874, while the settlement around was still in a pioneer condition. Several settlers on the eighth line north of his "location" had come from the easterly part of Oro at an earlier time.
The two first settlers at the north end of the township were Thomas Allen and William Wood, and their names were given to the first post office in that quarter, by the process of combination into one word "Allenwood."
In the serious bush fires following the dry period at the end of the summer of 1881, many families in the western part of Flos lost their homes by fire and had to begin life anew. The circumstances were of such a serious nature as to call for much sympathy with the sufferers.
Anyone who has occasion to visit the Village of Elmvale now, without having been there for a few years, will be very much struck with the extensive improvements that have been made in that time. The contrast is even more striking if we look backward to the beginning of this flourishing village. Previous to 1847, the entire flat portion of the Township of Flos, where Elmvale, Fergusonvale and Phelpston now stand, and all the district west to the Nottawasaga River, was a wilderness seldom trodden by white men. In the year 1847 James Harvey came from the North of Ireland, and finding his way into the "bush" settled on the bank of the River Wye about a mile and a quarter east of where the village now is. His son, William Harvey, was superintendent of the township's schools for fourteen years, (1858-71), and for many years filled the position of township clerk and treasurer.
John Ritchie, father of John, William and Thomas Ritchie, came with his family from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and took up his abode near Harvey in 1849. William Ritchie and Edward Archer, with their families, followed in 1851. Nor did they themselves think there was any more land around them worth settling on, except what they had already taken up. About 1853, however, John McGinnis planted himself on lot 6, (north half) concession 8, which is now part of Elmvale, but called by the settlers at that time-the "Four Corners." These were followed by the families of Strath, Graham, Paterson, Dickey, and a short time later by those of Drysdale, Lambie, Kerr and Malcolm.
Gabriel French was also an early settler on the high ground, northeast of Elmvale, and numerous descendants of his still live in the neighbourhood. He died November 4, 1902, at an advanced age.
Years passed and these few settlers with occasional additions to their numbers continued clearing away the forest and making homes for themselves. About the year 1859, Thomas Stone opened out a store at the "Four Corners," and a few years afterwards Joseph Lambie opened another. The first place of worship was the Presbyterian Church- built in 1864 on the rising ground about one-quarter of a mile east of the village. This was beside the graveyard, where so many of the first settlers are resting.
Elmvale received its first boom when the North Simcoe Branch Railway was built in 1879, and it has continued to grow ever since without any visible interruption. In 1887, G. Copeland & Sons built a large flour mill with a capacity of 150 barrels a day, and with an elevator attached to the mill, capable of storing 30,000 bushels of wheat.
Wm. Rowley, sr., contributed an article on the "Early Settlres of Flos," to the Elmvale Lance of September 27, 1906. And the same paper in its issue of December 13, 1906, contained a sketch of the township's history.
Elmvale was made a Police Village by a By-law of the County Council, in June, 1894
The following history is verbatim from the book "The History of Simcoe County" by Andrew F. Hunter. First published in 1909 and reproduced in 1948 by the Simcoe County Historical Society.
At the distance of a few yards to the west of the railway depot was the old landing place, to the existence of which the present town owes its rise. This was the southeastern terminus of the trail known as the Nine-Mile Portage, leading to Willow Creek and thence by canoe down the Nottawasaga to the open waters of Georgian Bay. Any reference to the early history of the town would be incomplete without giving prominence to this Portage, and the important part it played in the early years of the 19th century.
It is impossible now to ascertain just when this portage was first opened. It dates back into the 18th century-prehaps earlier-and was a portage over which the Indians used to carry their canoes. Toward the close of the war of 1812-15, it was widened so that sleighs and waggons could cross it, to transport supplies to the Government posts of the upper lakes-especially Fort Michilimacinac at the entrance to Lake Michigan.
Some writers have stated that the first house built in the town was the Government storehouse erected near the railway station, but it would appear that no storehouse existed until the year 1819. During the war Sir George Head was sent to Canada to superintend the commissariat duties of the proposed naval establishment at Penetanguishene; and in the spring of 1815 he was temporarily dwelling in a cabin at Kempenfeldt, but resolved to move his quarters to the head of the bay-the site of the present town. For this purpose he set at work to build a dwelling some French-Canadians, who were of the small detachment of men stationed with him. This log house, built by the military officer, Sir George Head, appears, then, to have been the first building on the site of Barrie, of which we have any record. Probably it was soon destroyed, but what became of it is apparently not recorded. At all events the want of suitable accommodation at this terminus of the portage became seriously felt. The removal of the garrison from Nottawasaga to Penetanguishene, in 1818, increased, too, the need for better accommodation.
The Government, therefore, in the autumn of 1819, as nearly as can be ascertained, built two store-houses, one at the Willow Creek end of the portage, the other at Barrie. The latter, which was a log structure, besides being a depot for military supplies in transit to the posts on the upper lakes, also served to shelter the settlers and their effects bound for the neighboring townships. This military post at Barrie as it is said, was protected and supplied for a few years by an armed schooner on Lake Simcoe, kept in commission by the Johnson family of Holland Landing. Traders, settlers and Indians passed and repassed this depot in considerable numbers during the period now under review. The Rev. Thomas Williams, when about 14 years of age, was employed on this portage in 1824, with Alex. Walker, and has given some account of it as it then was in a flourishing condition in his "Memories." Nos. 3, 4 and 5. Commodore Barrie, after whom the place was named, and who was commander of the British war vessels at Kingston for some time, passed through in June, 1828, while on a tour of inspection to the various naval depots on the upper lakes. (Scaddings "Toronto of Old," p. 565.)
Andrew Borland, the Indian trader, patented part of the town site of Barrie, on March 9, 1827, viz., the W. part of the E. half of lot 24, con. 4, which was afterward known as the "Berczy Block."
The Government storehouse already referred to, which stood on Marks Street, immediately in the rear of the railway depot, was situated upon a military reserve of forty-five acres, bounded on the west by Bayfield Street and on the east by Berczy Street. After serving as a storehouse for some time, it was abandoned by the authorities, and was used as a dwelling for about three years by David Edgar, the second person to locate upon the site of the town. When it became evident, about 1830, that a town was arising at Kempenfeldt, the Government disposed of its reserve at the head of the bay to Captain Oliver; (west half of lot No. 24, con. 4), but at the end of two years, for some reason, the Captain re-sold it to the Government, which thereupon surveyed it into town lots, the instructions to Deputy-Surveyor Hawkins being dated April 6, 1833. Several persons immediately located upon the new town site, and its existence may be said to date from that year. The Government had built shanties along Dunlop Street for settlers, in the spring of 1832. Prior to 1832 the only settlers were David Edgar and Alex. Walker, but during the next three years the influx of settlers was considerable. From Walton's Directory for the year 1837, we learn the names of the heads of familes in the place at that time.
The completed list of about three dozen settlers may be found in the Appendix to this volume. Some account of each settler was collected by the Simcoe County Pioneer and Historical Society and was printed in No. 1 of the Society's Pioneer Papers.
Alexander Walker, the first settler to locate at the place, was a plain Scotch farmer, who taken to himself as wife, Miss Betsy Sweezy, of Haolland Landing. Their earliest house keeping experiences after locating at Barrie were in a dwelling which was little better then a barn; indeed the building was afterwards used as a barn. In June, 1830, a party of visitors from Yonge Street called on the Walkers, while they were dwelling in their primitive fashion. In keeping with the hospitable customs of the day, the party, although strangers, were invited to take a meal, which for the main part consisted of a homemade cake baked outdoors in the ashes of the fire kept burning in the yard for domestic purposes. The domicile-barn in which Mr. Walker spent his first days in Barrie was situated a short distance northeast of the Government storehouse. That autumn (1830) he built a house farther up the hill. He patented on September 26, 1833, the E. half of lot 21, con. 4, Vespra. The family of Mr. Alex. Walker consisted of four children. For a few years afterward he and his family were residents of the town. He moved from Barrie in 1838, and in subsequent years he became a lock tender on the Welland Canal.
David Edgar, the sone of a U.E. Loyalist, was a large, fine-looking man, but as teetotalism had not then penetrated into the Canadaian backwoods, he grew partial to whiskey, and latterly became quite dissipated by it. He had married a young lady of the Township of Ernestown, (Addington County), or nearer Napanee, the only daughter of an Irish gentleman named Sharp. In fact, the match was a runaway, and displeased her father greatly. The young couple came to Barrie, and took up their abode for at least three years in the deserted log storehouse erected by the Government. The he obtained on November 21, 1833, a patent for the east part of lot 24, con. 5, (60 acres) just west of Bayfield Street, and upon it, erected a house on Toronto Street of the present, to the south of Elizabeth Street. He had once contemplated building a house on the site of the present Post Office building, for which he dug the cellar, and erected a frame only, but made no further progress with the work. The foundation of this structure was discovered while excavating for the basement of the Post Office building, in 1884. The frame of this projected building was removed by Thrift Meldrum to a site further east (northeast corner of Poyntz and Dunlop), and used as a tavern for many years. Mr. Edgar's wife and family were dwelling and Barrie at the time of his death in 1840, but subsequently removed to Belleville. There she resided for many years afterwards, but had found her father and mother dead. Mr. Sharp had been induced, in his later years, to enter a speculation in which he lost all his means. Taken altogether the history of the family is a somewhat tragic chapter.
Following the survey of the town in 1833, several persons took up lots and located upon them at once; and the place received a considerable boom. Amongst those who had settled here before that date were Richard Carney, John Bingham, Sidney M. Sanford, and John McWatt.
In order to understand more fully the topography of the embryo town, it may be stated that the principal street (which corresponds with the modern Dunlop Street) ran parallel and almost identical with Marks Street, but a short way north of it. On one side of this old street stood the Government storehouse, while on the other side Richard Carney came in 1832 and erected a log tavern for the accommodation of travellers and others. The second early inn-keeper of the place was John Bingham, who also in 1832 erected, farther east on the main street, a hewn log tavern which has since developed into "The Queen's."
At the corner of Dunlop and Mulcaster Streets of the present, the Government had erected a log cabin for the convenience of arriving settlers. In this building Sidney M. Sanford opened a store in 1832, and thus became the first storekeeper. On Christmas Day of the following year he erected the frame of a new building at the corner of Owen and Dunlop Street, and continued therein for some years. He was subsequently appointed Treasurer of the County in 1884, and died August 12, 1885.
Mr. Sanford engaged as clerk in his store, John McWatt, who had left Cromarty, in Scotland, on June 25, 1832, for Canada. When he first visited Barrie three were but Edgar and Walker living at the place. He subsequently purchased Mr. Sanford's store business, and became the first Clerk of the Simcoe District Council in 1843 till 1852. He died May 21, 1892, in his 81st year.
In addition to the names of the earliest residents of Barrie given in the Appendix, there may be mentioned Dr. Archibald Pass, who arrived in July, 1835, and was the first doctor in the neighbourhood. As the pioneer doctor of the settlements around, he had some hard experiences on his travels, which extended as far as Nottawasaga and even further. He died December 2, 1861, in his 55th year.
Among the later arrivals who took a conspicuous part in public affairs was William D. Ardagh, a native of Tipperary, Ireland. He was reeve of Barrie from 1864 to 1871, and during the last three years of this term, he was Warden of the County. From 1871 until 1875 he represented North Simcoe in the Ontario Legislature. In 1883 he was appointed Judge of the Eastern Judicial District of Manitoba, with headquarters at Winnipeg. He died suddenly on April 16, 1893, at the age of 65.
Amongst others who took part in the affairs of the County was John Strathy, barrister-at-law, who was County Clerk for four years (1853-6).
He was succeeded by Richard B. Bernard, another citizen of the town, who also held the position for nearly four years (1857-9).
An epidemic of scarlet fever of a very malignant type swept over the town in the summer of (July and August) of 1843, carrying of scores of children, and during its ravages many familes lost heavily.
Barrie was incorporated in 1850 as a "town" undr 13 and 14 Vict., chap. 64, and Proclamation of September 27, 1850, the Act being framed to come into efect at the commencement of 1851. Under the Act just referred to, Barrie was classed along with others as a "town" "without any municipal organization." At the beginning of 1854 it sent a representative separately from Vespra, to the County Council, Jonathan Lane being its first reeve. But its municipal organization became then only that of a village, and remained so until 1871, when it became a "town" in the ordinary sense of the word as used to-day, with Robert Simpson as the first Mayor.
A petition for the incorporation of Allandale as a village came before the County Council as long ago as January, 1883, but the petition had not been "authenticated" and was not acted upon. Again in June, 1891, the subject came before the same body, and Wm. Kell was threupon appointed Census enumerator. He found it contained 984 inhabitants, and the Council incorporated it, with Robert Campbell as the first returing officer. W.P. Soules became the first reeve on the new municipality. The limits of the village were more definitely described in another By-law passed, January, 1893. The union of the village with Barrie took place January 1, 1897.
OTHER PARTS OF VESPRA
At Midhurst, a settlement was made at an early date, but it did not proceed with the same rapidity which characterized some other places. In 1825, a mill-site at this place was granted by the Government, on Willow Creek, for the purposes of sawing and gristing. The mills were built chiefly by subscriptions from the settlers, and were operated by George Oliver and John and Thomas Mair. They are said to have been the first mills built north of Lake Simcoe, and must certainly have been a boon to the settlers, as the nearest point at which there were mills up to that time was Holland Landing.
John Munro, a native if Inverness, Scotland, came to Canada with his wife and young family in 1832, settling for a short time in Penetanguishene, from which place he removed to Barrie and became one of the first residents of the town. About the year 1835 he moved finally to lot 14, con. 7, Vespra, where he lived for many years, undergoing the usual difficulties and hardships op pioneer life. Robert Munro, his son, continued as the representative of the family at this place, and Christiana Munro, a daughter, became the wife of George Sneath in 1845, surviving until April 13, 1894. Amongst those who located near Oliver's Mills was George Sneath, Esq., who arrived in 1842, from England. He taught school in Vespra for fourteen years, for a portion of which time he was also local superintendent of schools. He became clerk and treasurer of Vespra in 1854, and continued in office until his death, on July 13, 1907, in his 88th year. Mr. Sneath was the author of numerous sketches of the early days of this county. Hi son, W.A. Sneath, of Elmvale, was Warden of the County in 1897.
Another conspicuous person in Vespra of a slightly later time, was Robert Leadley, a native of Yorkshire, England, who came to Canada with his wife and two children in 1852 and purchased the Midhurst mills, which had been carried on by Henry R.A. Boys. Mr. Leadley has a long record of municipal service in Vespra, having been a member of the council for 30 years, for seventeen of which he was reeve, continuously (1867-83). He died July 28, 1893.
Another well known pioneer was Michael Quinlan, a native of County Clare, Ireland, who came to Canada in 1842, and settled on lot 21, con. 3, spending the remainder of his life on this lot. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1863. His death occurred November, 8, 1892, aged 74 years. Sevreal sons of his became premanent residents of the township and neighbourhood, of whom Daniel Quinlan was Warden in 1902, and is now the County Treasurer.
Joseph Tomlinson, of lot 8, con. 8, was the first actual settler in the Minesing settlement after the survey of the Minesing Road by George Lount in 1847. In fact, Mr. Lount located Mr. Tomlinson at the place. They had to go through the water of Willow Creek to reach his "location" when he first settled.
In 1833 the "Old Sunnidale Road" was opened by the Drurys, assisted by Alex. Walker of Barrie. The route chosen was from Barrie to Brentwood, and thence to Nottawasaga Bay. The present Sunnidale Road coincides with the original bush waggon-track made in 1833, except that portion nearest Barrie. For three miles this portion of the old one was in a different place and though not used nowadays, its course here may still be traced. When making this road through the forest, the workmen came upon the remains of a man, lying in the woods. It was impossible to recognize his features, but there were sufficient remnants of clothing, boots, and other articles to indicate that the body was that of a white man, who had perished during the winter. (Rev. T. Wiliams, in his "Memories, p.32, stated the body was that of Mr. Boothby, the surveyor's chainbearer). A lonely grave was made at the place, and for nearly four score years the unfortunate man has lain upon the hill, even the exact place of his burial having been forgotten.
The first person to locate upon this newly made colonization road was Dudley Root, who opened a tavern beside it at a distance of about eight miles from Barrie, on lot 20, con. 11. In fact, Mr. Root went to this place before the road was opened in 1833, having reached there by an Indian path or trail. A description of this man and his tavern, as they appeared in 1833, is given by Samuel Thompson in his "Reminiscences." In 1833, David Meacham left Glasgow, Scotland, with his family, to find a home in Upper Canada; but upon reaching Montreal, he died from the prevailing scourge of cholera. His widow with her little ones came on to this county, became the wife of Dudley Root and settled upon the newly made Sunnidale Road near Grenfel of the present time. Here the family encountered the hardships of pioneer life, and met them with bravery. One of the members of the family was Thomas Meacham, of Sunnidale, who afterward filled various municipal offices in that township.
The names of others who located in the same part of Vespra before 1836 are, Thomas Berry, Thomas Foster, Dennis Martin, John Kelly, and Myles Kenny, the latter of whom was a member of the first municipal council of Vespra.
Capt. McKinnon, who served in the Rebellion of 1837, is also to be mentioned amongst the earliest in that section.
Another pioneer of the same part was Robert McGowan, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who enlisted in the 71st Highlanders when quite young, and came with his regiment to Canada in 1826. With a detachment of soldiers he was sent to Penetanguishene, passing over the route thither when it was a wilderness. He remained there until his regiment was sent back to England in 1831. Upon his arrival there he was granted his discharge, upon which he returned to Canada, and took up lot 21 in the 14th concession of Vespra, but left it and then lived near Midhurst. He continued to be a resident of the township until his death in 1888, at the advanced age of 84 years, having left several descendants in the district.
Charles Hickling furnished the writer with a list of the first industries in the township, as known to him at the time of his arrival in 1831, supplementing the information about Vespra already given.
"The first sawmill was built about 1825, and the first grist-mill about 1827, by Geo. Oliver, at Midhurst. The second mill was built by Government for the Indians at Coldwater. The only tavern was near Hillsdale, kept by Wm. Prey (lot 53), 1829. The first store was kept by John Bruce, (1829), on lot 31; he also used to keep travellers. A brewery by Charles Kerridge, (lot 23 on the Oro side), in 1828. The first distillery was built by George Oliver, about 1836 or 1837, at Midhurst. The first blacksmith shop by T. Ambler, (lot 6), 1828. Peter White, J.P., (lot 26), at Dalston, built the first meeting-house, 1825."
An 1837 Census of Barrie
This following census was researched from the book PIONEER PAPERS originally published in 1908 by the Simcoe County Historical Society, Barrie. Facsimile edition printed by Mika Publishing, Belleville, Ontario ISBN 0919302-79-3. 1974.
On May 11th, 1898 a meeting was held by the Society to determine the first residents of Barrie, Ontario. At this meeting a list of 28 names was produced as they appeared in Walton's Directory for 1837. In using this list and by cross-refferencing the notes of W.H. Hewson, S.L. Soules and George Sneath I was able to put together the following census.
1. Lucius Boyington, no issue, native of Kentucky, named shortened to Boynton.
2. John Bingham, married but had no issue, native of England, wife's name unknown but were married in England. His wife had a nephew by the name of Alfred Arnall. John came up from Toronto. John had at least 5 brothers, Henry, Robert, Joseph, William & Edward and 2 sisters Mary & Martha. Martha married a Mr. Laing and Mary married John Wilkie of Coldwater. Henry had issue in town, Robert had a hotel in Bradford and William must have returned to England where he died. * See my notes at the end of this census regarding a discrepancy about the 2 sisters.
3. Dugald Campbell and wife both natives of Scotland. No mention of children.
4. James Campbell, a native of Ireland.
5. Richard Carney - a stepson of Joseph Crow a sailor from Portsmouth. Daughter Elizabeth. The mother of Major MacKenzie was Richard Carney's sister. He had a brother William Carney who was involved in the 1837 Rebellion. Richard left for Owen Sound and became a Custom House Officer. One of his son's was sheriff in Sault Ste. Marie. Richard later became sheriff of Algoma where he passed away in Sault Ste. Marie.
6. Richard Cobb but pronounced Cobe by everyone. He and his wife were Irish.
7. C. Cunningham, a shoe maker and native of Ireland.
8. Jane Duggan married a William Johnston.
9. David Edgar, born in Canada, originally from Napanee, had 3 children. The family moved to Toronto where Edgar was found dead in 1840, the family subsequently moved to Belleville.
10. Andrew Graham, a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland, born 1806 came to Canada in 1828. Originally lived in the Toronto vicinity, 1834 came to Barrie, married Mary Noble in 1835, she died in 1884 and he died Apr. 4, 1898.
11. Francis Hewson, native of Ireland, arrived in Canada 1817, had 2 sons Francis & William, he also had 3 daughters.
12. Francis Martin, Irishman, carpenter, employed by Francis Hewson to act as Constable at various times. Had 2 sons Thomas & John.
13. Francis Meighan.
14. Thrift Meldrum, native of Fifeshire, Scotland, died Dec. 6th, 1870, 75 years, buried in the old Prestbyterian Cemetery of Barrie.
15. Richard McCoy, native of Earnest-town, Co. Tyrone, Ireland, married a daughter of John Perry.
16. James Morrison, a native of the Island of Jersey, was a nephew of Leslie Caldwell and Mrs. Richardson.
17. John McCausland, one of the first settlers and brother to David.
18. David McCausland, 2 other brothers came later, Thomas and Alex.
19. John McDonald, tailor, left Barrie before the Rebellion.
20. William Nesbitt, born in Ireland, no known descendants. His brother Robert married Isabella Graham sister to Andrew Graham but left Barrie after being married.
21. John Perry, native of Ireland. Mr. Haggart and Mr. McCoy married daughters of Mr. Perry. John died about five years later. He originally came up from Cookstown which was known then as Perry's Corners. His eldest son John moved to Utopia and his son George at one time kept the Wellington Hotel.
22. David S. Ross, a Scotchman, arrived in Canada with his brother Capt. Ross, was station master at Holland Landing after the Northern Railway was built. On May 7th, 1898 Ross was living in Toronto as a portrait of him was publised in the Toronto Globe stating he built the second house in Barrie when in fact he built the second store in Barrie.
23. Robert Ross, an Irishman, married twice, no issue from his first marriage, but several from his second some of whom were Dr. R.A. Ross, another one named Wallace. There were some daughters alson, one married a Mr. C.A. Perkins a grocer.
24. S. M. Sandford, had a brother-in-law named James Smith a merchant in Toronto. Sandford left Barrie for awhile to work in Smith's store. Sandford was the first postmaster of Barrie, he was married to the sister of the famous Charles "Steamboat" Thompson. Sandford returned to Barrie where he remained until his death.
25. Thomas Smith, English, blacksmith, built first brick house in Barrie.
26. George Stokes, English, carpenter.
27. William Strong, an Irishman, married Christina Graham a sister of Andrew Graham. Had a son James who worked for the firm of Strong & Donnell.
28. Alexander Walker, a Scotchman, was the first settler in Barrie.
29. Mr. Pearson, note- he came to Barrie in 1838.
30. Leslie Caldwell, came up from Toronto, died before the rebellion as a result of a fire he was trying to put out. He had a sister named Mrs. Prudence Richardson who died Feb. 11th, 1879, 80 years of age. Barrie Union Cemetery.
31. William Carson, had a son named William living in Vespra.
32. "Tailor" McDonald, a Roman Catholic.
33. John McWatt, worked for Sandford at his store and tookover as postmaster after Sandford left for Toronto. NOTE- it is spelled MacWatt in W.H. Hewson's notes.
34. Mr. Fidel, first blacksmith in Barrie.
35. P. McGuire, arrived in Barrie about 1834, his daughter married John Hamilton who was a brother of Wm. B. Hamilton.
36. Thomas Graham, brother of Andrew Graham, there were two more brothers who arrived in Barrie a short time later, William and Alexander.
37. Timothy Haggart, married the daughter of John Perry.
38. Jonathan Lane, clerk of the County Court.
NOTES- According to the notes of George Sneath John Bingham's sisters were named Mrs. Dicker and Mrs. Lang. According to the notes of W. H. Hewson Mary married John Wilkes and Martha married Mr. Laing. (Laing spelled with an i).
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