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18 Archival description results for Settlers

18 results directly related Exclude narrower terms

Armstrong, Eliza obituary

Event Date : Friday, August 24, 1900
Event Type : Death

Description : On Friday last one of the pioneer settlers in this vicinity passed peacefully away in the person of Mrs. John Armstrong, relict of the late John Armstrong. Deceased was born on the 22nd of March, 1810, near the town of Killashandra, County Caven, Ireland, and with her parents came to Canada in 1831. Her maiden name is Eliza Magee. On the 14th of February in the following year she married Mr. John Armstrong, and shortly after settled on the south half of lot 12, in the 6th con. of West Gwillimbury, on the farm now occupied by Mr. Samuel Faris. Some years later Mr. Armstrong purchased, and for 38 years resided on the farm now owned and occupied by Mr. Jonathan Kneeshaw. In the summer of 1882 Mr. Armstrong departed this life and shortly after his widow took up residence in this village, and for the past 17 years has continued to reside on John st. A coincidence worthy of remark is that Mrs. Armstrong died on the same day of the month - 24th of August - as that of her husband who predeceased her just 18 years. Deceased who endured the hardships incident to pioneer life, enjoyed good health during most of her long sojourn upon earth. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother, and for many years was a consistent member of the Presbyterian church. Deceased died full of years and happy in the assurance of a blessed hereafter. Infirmities of old age was the cause of her recent sickness while resulted finally in her death. There was a family of nine children, seven of whom are now living, viz.: Mrs. Simon Armstrong, Toronto; Chas J. Armstrong, Bradford; John R. Armstrong, Ottawa; Mrs. Ingles, Wingham; Miss Martha Armstrong, Bradford; Mrs. B.L. Johnston, Toronto; and Mr. Allan Armstrong, West Gwillimbury. Miss Martha Armstrong resided with her mother and did the part of an affectionate daughter in making the declining years of her mother as happy and as cheerful as possible. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon to the Old Kirk burying grounds, the remains being laid beside those of her husband. In the unavoidable absence of Rev. Mr. Smith, who attended the deceased during her illness, Rev. Mr. Whaley, of St. Helen's, Ont., conducted a short service at the house and in the church at the graveyard, also improved the occasion by preaching a funeral sermon in the Scotch Settlement church, immediately following the burial service. The sympathy of the whole community goes out to the family and all sorrowing friends in their sad bereavement.

Bradford Witness

Auld Kirk Plaque

The historical plaque in front of the Auld Kirk commemorating the Selkirk Settlers who moved to West Gwillimbury and helped build this church.

Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board

Belfry Family

Contains photographs and information on the Belfry family and cemetery, located between Lowes Gate and Noble Drive on Line 8.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library

Belfry, Ira gravemarker

(on the top side): "Father"
(on the front side): "Ira Belfry, died July 11, 1887; Aged 79 years, 7 Mo, 23 Days. May he rest in Peace"
Ira settled on lot 14, con. 8 in 1830 where a one acre site for the Primitive Methodist Church, a cemetery and an early school was later built.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library

Early Days of the Marsh

Description : Early Days of the Marsh

Today, one of the richest and most widely known Garden Tracts in Ontario is the Bradford or the Holland Marsh. In the vegetable stores across Canada and in parts of the United States you will see potatoes, celery, lettuce, onions, and carrots, etc., bearing the label "Bradford Marsh" or simply "Marsh" as a sign of quality. But, the Bradford Marsh was not always a gardener's paradise. Unbelieveable as it may now seem, it was once nothing but an impassable marsh of Tamarack swamp, covering thousands of acres.

Beginning about Schomberg and flowing, or moving in a very sluggish manner in a northeasterly direction towards Lake Simcoe is the stream known as the Holland River, so named after a Major S. Holland, Surveyor General of Canada, who in 1971 visited the river in making a general survey of the Lake Simcoe region. This is the main river and it is joined by an eastern or Holland Landing tributary at a place called Soldier's Landing or Soldier's Bay about seven miles from the mouth. At one time, navigation to Lake Simcoe points from Soldier's Landing consisted of small craft. In 1850, when boats were larger and the western or main branch of the river was found to be much easier to navigate, having deeper water and broader streams and not so choked with marsh as the eastern branch, the steamer "Beaver" went on to the Bradford Holland River Bridge.

In 1819, the first settlers in South Simcoe, the Wallaces, the Armstrongs and the Algeos, crossed the river with great difficulty and landed at what is now known as the old wharf in the Scotch Settlement. Here for some years was the only river crossing and that was by a ferry pulled by ropes.

But by this time, the settlement at Bradford had become an accomplished fact and the question of some method of crossing the marsh and so as to give easier access to the Holland Landing had arisen. Petitions were sent to county councils and to the Government and finally under the constant urging of William Armson, Reeve of West Gwillimbury and Warden of the County, money grants were given and a road was made from Bradford to the river by laying logs across a width of marsh and filling in with earth. This was the corduroy road, the logs of which were still visible many years afterwards. Then to cross the river a floating bridge was laid down and a through direct road from Bradford to the Landing was completed and the Marsh was at least partly conquered. The ferry at the old wharf was discontinued.

In 1837 George Lount, Government Surveyor, surveyed as a townsite, the spot on the south side of the river just beyond the floating bridge, known as Amsterdam and the streets were laid out bearing such good Holland names as DeRuyder, DeWitt, VanDyke, Rubens, etc., but the townsite remained as only a townsite and no town arose, so in 1869 a lumberman named Thompson Smith acquired the patent of the unused site and built two sawmills, one on each side of the road just beyond the bridge. And the marsh was still largely unconquered. Rafts of logs were brought up the river by the tugs Victoria and Isabella, and this helped to keep the river fairly clear of weeds. The wreck of the Isabella lay near the railway bridge not so many years ago and it now probably lying on the bottom of the river.

The superintendent of the sawmills was James Durham and in 1870, Mr. Durham cut the floating bridge in two in order to get his logs through and this caused a lot of trouble but led to the erection of a bridge above the water. This bridge was 420 feet long and was complete in April 1871, the builder being Thomas McKonkey of Gilford.

To the many men working in the mills the great marsh became a familiar sight and the thought entered someone's head, why not cut that marsh grass or hay, twist it into ropes and sell it, and so was born the marsh hay industry and some use at last was made of the great wasts of land. The hay was twisted into long ropes. Later, hay-balers were brought into use and the hay was baled instead of twisted into ropes.This marsh hay was used for stuffing mattresses. Marsh hay twisting and baling went on for years and might still be the only marsh industry had not a bright idea entered the head of one D. W. (Dane) Watson, an intelligent, energetic young farmer of the Scotch Settlement who, however, had come into Bradford and acquired a grocery business where the Village Inn now stands.

This bright idea was, why not dredge a canal and drain the marsh and so turn waste land into productive soil? Mr. Watson got Professor Day of Guelph Agricultural College, interested in his idea and so was laid the germ that has sprouted into the now famous Bradford Marsh Gardens.

Bradford Witness

Early Settlers

Contains items relating to the Early Settlement of Bradford and West Gwillimbury. Headings include: Early Settlers General 1 of 3 Early Settlers General 2 of 3 Early Settlers General 3 of 3 Early Maps of Township
*East Gwillimbury & King Township

WEGWHIST Collection

Governor Simcoe's Papers

Transcription : Governor Simcoe's Papers

(The most interesting parts of the Simcoe Papers were mimeographed for Hon. Leslie Frost, who presented a copy to rev. Gordon Elliott of Schomberg. The latter lent his copy to Mrs. J.A.S. Mills for recopying. A preamble not is signed -- Endorsed: York, Upper Canada, 23 Stptr., 1793, Lieut. Govr. Simcoe. R 22 Decr.)

To those interested, copies of the story of Governor Simcoe's travels in this section of the province, are rare and, having been fortunate in obtaining one, as previously explained, we hope to give it to readers from time to time. If clippings are cut and kept, other may have the complete story.

Diary of Lieut. Governor Simcoe's Journey from Humber Bay Sheriff of the Home District (2)

1793, September 24th -- Lieutenant Pilkington of the R.E. Lieutenant Darling of the 5th Regiment, Lieutenant Givens of the Queen's Rangers; and A. Aitken, D.P.S., with two Lake La Claie (3) and two Matchetache Bay Indians, embarked in a batteau and went that night to Mr. St. John's on the River Humber.

25th -- Got up at daybreak to prepare matters for our journey. His Excellency, Lieutenant Governor Simcoe, joined us from York. We shortly afterwards were ready and entered the woods, keeping our course about N.N.W., crossed a long pine ridge. About one o'clock dined upon a small river which empties itself into the Humber, and, to make the loads lighter, took the bones of of the pork. After dinner, re-loaded our horses and pursued our journey. About four o'clock, it beginning to rain, we encamped on the side of the Humber, at the west extremity of the 3rd concession. We here got some wild grapes and a quantity of crawfish.

26th -- At eight o'clock continued our journey. In the early part of the day, went over a pine ridge; but from ten to six in the evening, when we encamped, went through excellent land for grain or grass, the trees uncommonly large and tall, especially the pine. Crossed two small creeks which emptied themselves into the Humber, on one of which (drunken Creek) we dined, and encamped on the second. The land through which we passed is chiefly wooded with maple, bass, beech, pine and cedar. During this day's march we passed the encampment of an Indian trader, who was on his way to his wintering ground on Lake La Claie.

27th -- Proceeded on early in the morning. Shortly after leaving our fires went through a ridge of very find pine, which appeared to be bounded by a deep ravine to the north. After crossing in an oblique direction the pine ridge, went over excellent land, black, rich mould; timber, maple, beech, black birch and bass. Crossed a ravine and ascended a small eminence of indifferent land. This height terminated in a point, and a gradual descent to the River Humber, which we crossed. We dined here, and remained two hours to refresh ourselves and horses. While at dinner, two men with two horses, who left the end of the carrying place in the morning, met us. They were going to bring forward the trader which we passed the preceeding day, and his goods. After dinner proceeded on. Went over very uneven ground, the soil in some places indifferent, but in general not band land. Saw some very fine yellow pine and birch. About six o'clock came to the end (5) of the carrying place and encamped. Here found Mr. Culbertson (6), Indian trader, and owner of the hut we passed the day before, encamped.

28th -- After breakfast, Messrs. Given and Aitken, with two Indians and two white men, went up the river (7) for three canoes which has been previously provided for the Governor, and I went with three Rangers to erect a stage near the river to put the pork, &c. on, when brought down from the encampment. Having accomplished this, upon our return we cut a few trees to make a bridge upon a bad pass in the swamp. Returned to camp about two o'clock, and shortly afterwards to the stage with seven of the Rangers, all with packs which we put upon the stage. We here met Messrs. Givens and Aitken, having returned with the canoes. The whole then returned to camp only me, who remained to take care of the baggage. In about two hours the whole came down, and we immediately embarked into five canoes, vis. the Governor, Mr. Aitken, an Indian and two Rangers in one; Messrs. Pilkington and Darling with their two servants in the second; Mrs. Givens and two Indians in a third; and an Indian and two Rangers with me in the fourth; and Mr. Aitken's surveying party in the fifth. We dragged our canoes till we came to the river over a part of the swamp where it would be impossible to walk without their support., it being a quagmire, the skin or surface of which was very thin. Proceeded about a mile and a half or two miles along the river, which in this short distance has several turns. Went about a quarter of a mile up a smaller river (8) which empties itself into the former and encamped. Soon after making our fires the Great Sail (9) and his family, (Messassagues), who were encamped further up the river, came to visit their Great Father, the Governor, to whom they presented a pair of ducks, some beaver's meat, and a beaver's tail. The Governor gave them some rum and tobacco.

29th -- Embarked into our canoes in the same manner as the preceeding day, paddled down the river, which is dead water, bordered on each side with quagmires, similar to the one we hauled our canoes over. Abotu two hours after leaving camp, Mr. Givens came into my canoe and the Indian went into his; but our canoe made much water and we could not keep up with the others, we shortly after got the Indian back again. At twenty minutes after one we entered Lake La Claie, now called Lake Simcoe, so called in memory of Captain Simcoe of the R.N. At the entrance of the Lake, we saw two canoes, who upon seeing us paddled off to their village, which was upon a point (10) about four miles off, to apprise them of the Governor's arrival. We paddled on towards the point and passed the village close in shore. The Indians, who were by this time assembled, fired a few de joie to compliment His Excellency, which we answered with three cheers, and then doubled the point, and put in shore in a small sandy bay to dine. Soon after our landing the Indians came in a body to wait on the Governor, to whom they presented a beaver blanket, which he declined taking then, but promised to take it upon his return from Matchetache Bay. They were all more or less drunk and made rather an unintelligible speech. They got liquor from four Canadians who had been sent from Matchetache Bay by Cowan, an Indian trader, to buy corn. His Excellency was sorry that he could not see Keenees, the chief of the village, with whom he was acquainted, as he was dangerously ill. We left our smallest canoe here, and got one Indian in lieu of the two Indians belonging to the village, who preferred remaining to proceeding on the journey. After dinner we re-embarked, and the wind being fair, hoisted sail, and about dark put in shore and encamped in a cedar grove about six miles from the village (11).

30th -- Left our encampment about ten o'clock. Mr. Givens was taken into the Governor's canoe, and in his place on of the Rangers put into mine. Sailed on with a strong breeze about six miles, and it blowing too fresh to cross Kempenfelt Bay, put in at Point Endeavour (12), where we remained till two o'clock and dined. After dinner, the wind moderating a little, we again hoisted sail and crossed the bay, which is between seven and eight miles deep and four or five wide. We had scarcely got over when the wind blew hard ahead, and it beginning to rain we encamped in a pleasant spot (13) on the side of the lake.

Reference Guide:--
(2) Alexander Macdonnell, 1762-1842, the author of this diary was born at Fort Augustus in Scotland and came to New York with his father in 1772, served a volunteer under Sir John Johnson at the seige of Fort Schuyler and the battle of Oriskany, 1777; ensign in 84th Regt., 1778-9; exchanged into Butler's rangers as lieut. 1780-4; sheriff of Home District, 1792-1805; member of Assembly for the Counties of Glengarry and Prescott, 1800-12; Speaker, 1805-08; agent for Lord Selkirk at Baldoon, 1805-12; Deputy Paymaster General of Militia, 1812-13; prisoner of war at Fort George, 27 May, 1813; Superintendent of Settlements, 1815-16; Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, 1816; member of the Legislative Council for Upper Canada.
(3) Afterward Lake Simcoe
(4) St. John Rousseau, trader, who had an establishment at Baby Point on the Humber River.
(5) On the west branch of the Holland River, near Kettleby, Ont.
(6) Elsewhere written Culbertson. He was a Scottish fur trader who lived in Kingston for many years.
(7) The Holland River (West Branch)
(8) On the North Branch of the Holland River. The position of Great Sail's encampment, half a mile father up the same stream, has been well known locally, being on Lot 7, Concession 3 of West Gwillimbury Township, about three-quarters of a mile up the branch from the main river.
(9) His descendants have been well known as the Big Sail family of Snake Island. In the version of this Diary printed in the Trans. Can. Inst., Series IV, I. 128-139, the name is given incorrectly throughout.
(10) Since known as De Grassi Point.
(11) On the Innisfil shore opposite Fox Island
(12) Named Bi Bay Point since settlement.
(13) An Indian landing place at a cove on the Oro shore.

(To Be Continued)

Governor Simcoe's Papers pt 2

Part 2 of the Governor Simcoe Papers series by the Bradford Witness & South Simcoe Times. Find part 1 and 3 in the related descriptions below.

Bradford Witness

Governor Simcoe's Papers pt 3

Part 3 of the Governor Simcoe Papers series by the Bradford Witness & South Simcoe Times. Find parts 1 and 2 in the related descriptions below.

Bradford Witness

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