BRANT COUNTY, ONTARIO TOWNSHIP HISTORIES
These Brant County, Ontario township histories have been transcribed by Bill Bowman from Warner and Beers History of Brant County 1883. They are being posted as Bill completes them. A big thank you to Bill for his hard work!
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In the Village of Burford there still lives , in the full enjoyment of all his faculties, an old man of ninety-eight. He can remember the time when all the region now covered with the villages and farms was an unbroken wilderness. The Township of Burford, now one of the finest agricultural districts in Canada, was then tenanted only by wild beasts, or by wandering savages of some of the least civilized Indian tribes. Where now wheat fields, reaped , with little human labour, by elaborate machinery, send their harvest gold into the farmer's treasury, one unvaried forest growth fed by the creeks and rivers that were its veins and arteries, surged over hill and valley, an immeasurable sea of verdure. The Township of Burford is at the western side of the County of Brant; it has on the east side of the Township of Brantford and Oakland; on the west the Townships of East Oxford and Norwich: on the north the Township of Blenheim in Oxford County; on the south the Township of Wyndham in Norfolk County. It extends nine miles east and west, by twelve miles north and south, and contains sixty-seven thousand two hundred acres. The concessions are counted from the north, the lots from the east. Its settlement began in 1793, and was fully accomplished thirty-four years later. Every part of it is now thoroughly cleared. Burford is a pure agricultural district; there are no manufactures to speak of; which perhaps partly results from the absence of such water privileges as are possessed by other townships of the County of Brant to such a remarkable degree. The country is for the most part level, and this is especially the case in the eastern portion; in the centre it is low and swampy; to the west and south there are slight undulations, the effect of some prehistoric water-courses.
The quality of the soil is some of the best in Canada; a rich sand loam, with clay and gravel sub-soil. The geological formation is limestone of the fossiliferous stratum, which extends all through Ontario. The abundant deposits of gravel are of much use as forming a natural system of drains. The government estimate of the value of the land in this township was that it consisted of one-third land of the first quality, mostly in the eastern section called the Plains; this was valued at eighty dollars an acre; one-third of the land was second class quality, valued at forty dollars an acre; the rest was inferior, and valued at twenty dollars an acre. This estimate was made in 1881. Now the best quality land is valued at a hundred dollars an acre. The most fertile part of the township extends from the eastern town line for three miles westward. It is perfectly level land, and the soil is specially adapted for bearing wheat. It was originally covered with dense woods of oak. In the centre of the township is a strip of low swampy ground, with woods of black ash, elm and a little pine and cedar; but though the timber is poor, this section makes good pasture land. To the west of the township, and in the south from the Village of Scotland westwards the land is excellent. Burford contains no large towns or business centre, but the Dominion can boast no finer farming country. The homesteads and villa residences which dot its expanse are of no little taste and elegance. Every two or three miles we come to a little village with its neat church and cluster of stores. Two of these, Burford and Scotland are of larger size and no inconsiderable attraction as summer resorts. Although there is no large river in Burford Township, it is irrigated by a number of small streams or creeks, which flow in an easterly direction towards the Grand River and its tributaries. The chief of these is "Horner's" or "Whiteman's" Creek, so named from Thomas Horner, the first white man who settled in the township; it enters Burford on the first concession, lot fifteen, to the north-west of the township, and then flows to the south-east from the first to the sixth concession, where it enters Brantford. It affords valuable water privileges and gives motive power to a number of grist mill and lumber mills. "Big Creek" rising in Oxford flows into Burford at the southern part of the west boundary, and flows with an exceedingly tortuous and sluggish course east in Wyndham. "King's" and "Landon's" Creeks with several minor tributaries, intersect the township, adding beauty and verdure to the land through which they flow. But ever year since the destruction of the forests which fed and secured them, the streams grow less; the brook trout and other fish, thirty years ago so abundant in these creeks, have disappeared, poisoned it is thought, by the sawdust from the mills.
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In this township are excellent, affording easy communication with the many market centres on all sides of its boundaries. The principal one is the old London Road, leading from Hamilton through Brantford, Burford and Oxford to London; one branch of it runs from the centre of the township, south-west to Norwich, the other leads in a northerly direction to Woodstock. The Brantford, Norfolk and Port Burwell Railway enters the Township of Burford at the seventh concession from Brantford, and pursues a south-westerly course to Norwich, having stations at the Villages of Burford and Harley. Considerable attention is being paid to the planting of shade trees along the principal thoroughfares, and in general to the replanting of the forests.
The settlement of Burford Township dates from 1793, under the regime of one of the most eminent of the founders of English-speaking Canada, Governor Simcoe. He had been captured by the Americans in the War of Independence; and at a time when party feeling ran high, and the Americans were much embittered against their British opponents, Colonel Simcoe as he then was, received much kindness from an American named Thomas Watson. When the war being over, General Simcoe was appointed to be Governor of Canada in 1792, he invited his American benefactor to settle with his family in Canada, promising a grant of land. Watson accepted the invitation and came, bringing his nephew, Thomas Hornor, to whom a grant was made of the Township of Blenheim, on condition that he should erect a saw-mill at his own expense, and take other steps to encourage settlement. This he undertook, and had journeyed to New York to procure the necessary equipment, when on his return he found to his astonishment that "another king had arisen who knew not Joseph," in the shape of Governor Simcoe's successor, who refused to confirm the grant of Blenheim Township- a strange thing, if we remember that a grant of a township was not thought such a great matter in those days. Undeterred by this rebuff, Mr. Horner built his mill, and entered into possession of land which was obtained by purchase and surveyed by Augustus Jones, father of the late celebrated teacher and missionary, the Rev. Peter Jones. Mr. Horner was in 1798 appointed Captain in the Militia, and in 1806 Deputy-Lieutenant of Oxford, an appointment most unjustly withdrawn from him on the outbreak of the War of 1812. This, however, did not prevent him from rendering most valuable assistance to the British cause by securing to General Brock the support of the Iroquois of the Six Nations. Seventy-five of their warriors were led by Mr. Horner to aid Brock's advance on Detroit. Mr. Horner as magistrate ruled over a district as large as an English county, including what is now Burford, and all through the deeds and documents relating to its early history his signature is attached.
In the early part of the present century other settlers came into the eastern part of Burford, it being soon discovered that the "oak openings" of the plains in that district had a soil of exceptional fertility.
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In 1797, the FIRST WHITE CHILD WAS BORN IN BURFORD, The recently-deceased Stephen Landon. In 1808 the late Henry Lester, a native of New York, settled in Burford, where a few pioneer families had already established themselves; those of Wheeler Douglas, Dr. Allen, John Yeigh, James Rounds, John Fowler, Justus Stephens, Nathaniel Landon, Abraham Daton, Captain White, Michael Showers, the fosters, Lymburners and Woodens. Several of the descendants of those "first families" of Burford have kindly furnished us with their recollections of those early days. The Burford settlers by no means endured the same hardships and privations that earlier settlers endured in less easily reclaimed districts. The period of forest clearing lasted but a short time, and the period of agricultural prosperity soon set in. Still much had to be endured. Around them was the desolate forest whence the ox-team then the only conveyance by which it was possible to travel, could with difficulty thread the dark and tortuous passages cleared among the dense undergrowth by the woodman's axe. Bears and wolves abounded. By the testimony of Mr. Thomas Lloyd-Jones, of Burford, and of Mr. Muir, a magistrate of long standing and high character in the Village of Burford, it is an undoubted fact that the packs of wolves were at one time so numerous and so daring, that it was impossible for children to attend school without an armed escort. Mr. Muir, when a young boy, has lain awake in his father's log-house while three separate packs of wolves, wild with hunger, were howling round the farm-yard, sniffing at the crevices for the smell of human flesh, or striving to penetrate with tooth and claw the outbuilding where the cattle were secured. Once a settler was attacked, unarmed by a wolf; powerless to beat it off, he bethought himself of flapping his coat in its face. Fortunately, this scared it away. A still stranger wolf story rests on the authority of the late Mr. Wooden, of Burford. He with his brothers were attacked at night by a pack of wolves. They were unarmed, and saved themselves by climbing a sapling just large to support their weight, and more easily climbed than trees of greater size. All night the wolves gnawed and tore at the tree-trunk. It was only the daybreak that saved the hunters; the tree-trunk had been nearly gnawed through. The bears were not at all so dangerous to human life, but were still worse neighbours, to the farmer than the wolves. The latter did no damage to the crops, but to bruin nothing came amiss; a stray pig, a cow, a hive of bees, a field of grain, a patch of corn. Mr. Thomas Lloyd-Jones well remembers the scene in the village when the advent of a bear was announced. All was hurry and excitement; everyone turned out to join in the hunt, and with all sorts of weapons.
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The fauna of Burford at the time did not differ from that of other parts of Brant County. Beavers abounded, and their strange hydraulic and architectural cabins were seen on the creeks, and amid the swamps of the central portion of the township. Besides the more common snakes, the deadly rattlesnake was found among the gravelly hills, but this terrible reptile has now disappeared altogether, extirpated, it it thought, by the introduction of the farmers' hogs, who are said to devour all manner of serpents with impunity. The well-known Canadian writer, Mr. R. W. Phipps, informs the author that several members of his family were for a considerable time residents of Burford township, and that he knows from personal experience that rattlesnakes were then common. At a camp meeting, when the visitors had retired to rest, they were startled by the sinister sound of a large snake's rattle. But an Indian convert, who happened to be present, soon found and killed the reptile, whose body, five feet long, he skinned and fried for next day's breakfast! A cousin of Mr. Phipps while ploughing in company with that gentleman, was stung by a rattlesnake whose fangs pierced through his leather top-boots. His life was saved by the copious use of whiskey, which, especially with those not addicted to drinking, is a certain cure for snake bites. As rattlesnakes have now disappeared from Burford, it were devoutly to be wished that whiskey too should cease to exist!
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Most of the early settlers of Burford took part in the War of 1812, when, the English troops being engaged in European warfare, the brunt of the contest had to be sustained by the brave farmers of Canada, and well did the men of Burford respond to the call of patriotic duty! One of the oldest settlers, Henry Lester, fought as Quartermaster Sergeant all through the war, and distinguished himself at the battle of Lundy's Lane. Jacob Yeigh served as Lieutenant, and both he and his brother acted with much gallantry; a silver medal of great beauty was to have rewarded his services, which however, he forfeited by the prominent part he took in the rising of the Patriots of 1837. His countrymen's regard for his memory as a true Canadian does him more honour than any court decorations. The military history of Burford has a comic aspect owing to the stampede of the Burford Militia, known as "the Races of Malcolm's Mills." Then, as now Burford was zealous in the volunteer movement. In October, 1814, a company of Burford Militia, consisting of about fifty men, under the command of Captain White, was stationed in the neighbourhood of Mr. John Fowler's farm, at Burford. News arrived of the approach of the American General, McArthur, with seven hundred cavalry. Lieutenant Jacob Yeigh was absent procuring supplies for the commissariat, but Captain White lead his men to the rendezvous at Malcolm's Mills in Oakland Township. There Colonel Ryerson, a relative of the late Superintendent of Education, with captain Salmon and Bostwick, at first determined on resistance, and threw up a breastwork on the bank of the creek; but cool reflection taught them that discretion was the better part of valour, and that there was truth in the poet's words-
"He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day."
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The entire force made for home with such speed that Captain Bostwick's troop took the shortest way of escape so conscientiously that they rode straight through the mill pond. When General McArthur and his seven hundred came up an hour afterwards, they found the barrack empty. the immense superiority of the invading American force which on other occasions, when more fairly matched, showed that it could fight well. Other skirmishes took place during the many irregular operations which characterized this war, and on a farm a couple of miles west of Burford Village, bullets and soldier's buttons are still occasionally dug up. The war over, the Burford farmers for a time shared in the depression which prevailed in Upper Canada, on account of the neglect of farming work by men employed in militia service, and the scarcity of money. This soon passed under the judicious measures then adopted by the Government and a fresh influx of settlers poured in, consisting mainly of those who had been engaged in military service during the war. Mr. Charles Perley settled at what was afterwards Bishopsgate Village, Burford. Capt. Michael Showers, who had been a distinguished officer during the war, and had performed special services at the battle of Stony Creek, settled at Burford in 1816. About the same time Mr. Wooden settled at Cathcart Village, and a number of other veterans of the war at Scotland, a village on the south-east township line near the scene of operation as in 1814. About this time too Mr. Lloyd-Jones, father of the present Reeve of the township, arrived from Denbigh in North Wales. The township was now pretty well settled; the nuclei of the Villages of Cathcart, Victoria, Harley and Kelvin, began to form in the western part of Burford from north to south, useful centres of exchange to the neighbouring farmers, although never destined to equal in importance the older Villages of Burford and Scotland.
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Education and Public Schools Began to be attended to. As early as 1808 a rude log school house had been built in Burford Village, where a rough and ready but sufficient primary education was administered by Captain White, a fair mathematical scholar, and a rigid disciplinarian of the old school. He taught there from 1808 to 1811, when he left to take part in the war. Others succeeded, and the log school house being burned down, a neat frame building took its place. About the same time a school house was built at Cathcart, and several sprang up in the other centres west and south. But that at Burford, then as now, was considered the most efficient and best equipped. After the organization by Chief Superintendent Ryerson of our present school system, Burford Township was divided into its present twenty-eight school districts. The school at Burford Village, School Section No. 8, presents a pleasing appearance of neatness and order. The teachers are Mr. A. E. Kennedy and Miss Galbraith. The development of this settlement was now, and for some years afterwards, materially aided by the construction of Government roads. In earlier times the only mail was carried once a month from Niagara, by Indians who traversed the trails in the forest. With education and the establishment of easy means of communication with Woodstock, Hamilton, Brantford and Toronto, came an interest in politics. The Township of Burford has never boasted a local journal, but from the earliest period those of Toronto and Niagara circulated there, and twenty years later such newspapers as the Examiner, of Mr. Francis Hincks, and the Colonial Advocate, of William Lyon Mackenzie, were eagerly sought after.
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Legal and Municipal Organization For the first twenty years of the settlement there existed no means of enforcing contracts, or enforcing the payment of debts. Mr. W. C. Trimble, of Brantford, relates an anecdote highly characteristic of the legal proceedings of those early days, how a creditor met a recalcitrant debtor at a logging bee, and having in vain exhausted all his powers of persuasion in appeals to the debtor's moral sense, constituted himself judge, jury and policeman by bumping the defendant's head against a log until he consented to an immediate settlement of the debt. After 1812 courts for the transaction of civil business were held at Long Point Bay on Lake Erie. Then London became the capital, at a distance of sixty miles, and instances are known of men consenting to pay an unjust debt rather than incur the expense of a long journey and many days delay. Afterwards Woodstock, a much more convenient distance, became the County Capital of Oxford, of which Burford formed a part until 1852.
The first Township Council of Burford met on january 1, 1850. It was held at the tavern kept by Mr. Henry Dorman at the Village of Cathcart. Ramsford Rounds was elected the first Reeve, and Colonel C. Perley the Deputy Reeve, and George G. Ward was appointed Clerk. The other members of this first Council were: I. B. henry, Robert Muir and Charles Hedgers. It is remarkable that Messrs. C. Hedgers and Henry continued members of Burford Council for twenty-one successive years. Mr. Muir also had a long tenure of office. In the following year Douglas Stevenson was appointed Clerk, as successor to Mr. Ward, and in 1854 Robert Hunter took the office. In 1855 Mr. Alonzo Foster succeeded, being also Township Treasurer. The present municipal officers are: Reeve, Mr. Thomas Lloyd-Jones; First Deputy Reeve, Mr. Alexander McIrvine; Second Deputy Reeve, Mr. James Harley. This gentleman is a brother of the member of Parliament for Oxford. Councillors: Mr. Thomas Rutherford, Mr. John Rathburn; Clerk, Mr. Albert Foster; Treasurer, Mr. Archibald Harley, M.P.P. Mr. Robert Muir, above mentioned, has been on the Commission of the Peace since 1852.
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The Burford Revolt in 1837 The insurrectionary movement of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie and his supporters in 1837, may well be considered the central point in the history of English-speaking Canada, the crisis between a tyrannical local oligarchy and the reforms which led to Responsible Government and nationality. Its importance has been little appreciated by the so-called historians in Canada. One alone- the only historian of our national history whose work aims at being something higher than a mere slipshod compilation- Mr. Dent, in his most original and eloquently written "Last Forty Years of Canada, " has had the insight to perceive and the courage to eulogize the services rendered to Canada by "the grand old rebel." Next in importance to the movement on Toronto, headed by Mackenzie himself, was that of his friend and colleague, Dr. Duncombe, in the Township of Burford. Burford was the scene of a rising the events connected with which have been left unnoticed by those who have written on the events of 1837. The facts are here put down- it is hoped in a spirit remote from partisanship, "nothing extenuated and naught set down in malice"- as gathered partly from the family and friends of Duncombe, and partly from the men or the sons of the men who took part on either side in the various sections of Burford.
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For the facts in the following account of the part taken by the Burford people in the movement of 1837, we are indebted among others to Mr. Tufford, formerly of Bishopsgate Village, Burford; to his wife, daughter of Dr. Duncombe; to Mr. Gibson, of Bishopsgate, and Mr. Muir, of Burford; the last mentioned, although a Reformer, having opposed the insurrection. As has been shown in the General History of Canada, for years before 1837 every effort was made by that large majority in Upper Canada who desired reform to secure Responsible Government. In no part of the Province was this more earnestly supported than in Burford, where many of those who had been foremost in fighting on the British, or rather on the Canadian side against America in 1812, were deeply implicated in this premature effort to secure Canadian independence. A chief grievance against the family Compact Government was the attempt made under Bishop Strachan's inspiration, to set up a State Established Church. This touched the farming community especially, who felt the injustice and the injury to agriculture of setting apart the large tracts known as the "Clergy Reserves" exempt from taxation, and by their unimproved state, injurious to neighbouring settlements.
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At this time the whole of the east centre of Burford Township, from the town line westward to Boston Village, was owned by Dr. duncombe. This gentleman, an American by birth, had settled in Burford some years after the end of the War of 1812, and purchased the land on which the present Village of Bishopsgate is built, with about two hundred acres besides. Dr. Duncombe was one of the first to practise the medical profession in Burford and the adjacent townships. Being a man of as much energy as professional skill, he was sought after through a wide territory, and acquired both fortune and reputation. In personal appearance he was somewhat below the average height, but with an active muscular figure, pleasing feature and lips and brow expressive of a resolute, determined nature. His manner in public or private speech is described as singularly winning; he had the true orator's gift of apt illustration and eloquent language; quite untrained in military tactics, he had, like Mackenzie, of whom the same may be said, determined courage and the faculty for leading others. Such was the celebrated Dr. Duncombe, as we picture him from the accounts given by those in Burford who knew him, and by those who remember him as a speaker in Parliament at Toronto, and from the portrait now in the possession of his daughter. All through the north-western and southern part of Brant County, and above all in his own Township of Burford, Dr. Duncombe acquired great influence. His frank amiability, his readiness to take any trouble in order to extend the benefit of his professional skill to his poorest neighbours, endeared him to all in Burford. He was also a good practical farmer, and on all agricultural matters in thorough sympathy with his rural friends, who also had the good sense to appreciate the culture and oratorical powers which they themselves did not possess. Soon he was elected member of Parliament, and there justified the choice of his constituents by his oratorical powers no less than by the determined resistance with which he met the attempts of the Family Compact oligarchy to curb the rising spirit of the Reform movement. The Reformers of Burford had reason to be proud of their representative, who soon became one of the recognized leaders of the Reform movement. Together with William Lyon Mackenzie, Dr. Duncombe was sent as a representative of the demands and grievances of Upper Canada. Through years and amid the bitterness of patient effort, the reformers struggled to obtain what are now regarded as people's rights by constitutional means. At length the limit of patience seemed to be reached, and William Lyon Mackenzie resolved to appeal to arms. We have elsewhere recorded in detail the events of Mackenzie's rising in Toronto. Neither he nor Duncombe had any qualifications of military leaders except personal courage. Nor, among Dr. Duncombe's friends in Burford, was the movement organized with any definite shape. It was generally understood among those of the Reformers who favoured Mackenzie's bolder policy, that there would be a rising in Burford and the adjacent townships to support, if successful, Mackenzie's movement on Toronto. The more moderate Reformers held aloof; Mr. Muir for instance, then as now a staunch adherent of the Reform cause, exerted all his influence to prevent his neighbours from taking part in the insurrection. But though there was no conspiracy, and scarcely any settled plan, there was much furbishing up of old rifles and muskets, much melting of bullets; and a movement was contemplated by all the township led by men who had seen service in 1812, and with a force composed of no ordinary plebeian insurgents, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, but by many of the most substantial of the Burford farmers, men who risked in the cause for which they were prepared to die not only their lives, but in each case a considerable landed property, reclaimed from the wilderness by the labour of years, and the sole hope of support for wife and children. Such men were Stephen Landon, a veteran of 1812; such were Jacob and Adam Yeigh, who were distinguished officers in the same war, and whose well-merited military decoration was only cancelled by their patriotism in 1837. These and many others, though armed only with rifles with which they were accustomed the wild bird on the wing, would have formed the materials of no contemptible insurrectionary force.
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Bur as a matter of fact, no insurrection took place. Among other military measures which had been neglected was the necessity for constant communication between the force under Mackenzie and Lount, and that which was ready to rise under Duncombe. As A consequence, when Mackenzie's ill-fated raid was repulsed in the skirmish at Montgomery's farm, no one knew the result in Burford for two weeks after all had been decided! Rumours came, conveyed principally by a man who had taken part in the fight but who afterwards deserted his cause, one Lount, no relative or connection of the noble bearer of the same name, who died at Toronto; it was said that Mackenzie had risen, that Toronto was taken. the greatest excitement prevailed; the "Patriots" gathered around Duncombe, and besought him to aid a movement which might support their Toronto friends who had risen for Canadian independence. Duncombe does not seem to have approved of Mackenzie's hasty action; at first he did not wish to head a rising; but willing to show that he had the courage of his opinions in a cause which he believed to be just, he consented to become their leader, appointing a rendezvous at the Village of Scotland, with the purpose of marching by Oakland Plains and Hamilton. Meetings of his followers were held at a house on the township line between Blenheim and South Dumfries, as also at McBain's Mills, a mile beyond the Village of Ayr, and through Burford at several points; it was resolved to collect arms, and this duty was assigned among others to Mr. Tufford, of Bishopsgate, Burford, husband of Dr. Duncombe's daughter. He did not, as alleged by a witness at his trial make any forcible seizure, but got together what firearms could be obtained from sympathizers. A gathering of about three hundred men actually took place under Dr. Duncombe at Oakland Plains. They were well armed, resolute men, and would no doubt have been largely reinforced for the attempt on Hamilton had not Duncombe resolved to abandon that attempt and disperse the insurgent force on learning not only of Mackenzie's failure at Toronto, but the approach of Sir Allan McNab with an overwhelming force to attack his lines at Scotland. The insurgents scattered in every direction. Jacob Yeigh escaped to the United States; Duncombe was enabled, after many adventures, to reach the same asylum by the fidelity and courage of Charles Tilden; Stephen Landon and others returned home, keeping more or less in concealment.
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Meanwhile Colonel NacNab and his militia regiments arrived at the Village of Bishopsgate in Burford, where they were billeted on the reluctant farmers and storekeepers of that "Rebel Hold," as the village was styled in the "loyal" parlance of the day. A warmer welcome was extended to the Royalist officers and men at the mansion, always a hospitable one, of the late Colonel Charles Perley, a vehement partisan of the Family Compact Government, one who carried his loyalty so far as to consent to sit as a juror on a case where a cousin of his own was being tried for his life. Great were the preparations for baking bread and slaughtering sheep and oxen; fervent and deep toasts quaffed to the confusion of the rebels who had not rebelled. In unopposed triumph Colonel MacNab and his warriors marched south through Burford to Scotland, which village they occupied. The history of the reign of terror that followed, until it was promptly checked by the English Liberal Government, and the beneficent measures of reform which followed on England's attention being called to the grievances which had caused the insurrection, are detailed in our chapter on Canadian History. Dr. Duncombe recovered his property, which had been confiscated, except a farm of two hundred acres which, with characteristic generosity, he had deeded in the name of the infant child of the friend who had secured his escape, on which farm that child, now grown to manhood, resides. Duncombe lived through an honourable and successful career of some years in the States.
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The Burford Villages.-Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate is the first village entered- by the traveller as he comes into Burford by the road heading from brantford to London, and known as the old London Road. It is situated a mile from the Village of Mount Vernon, and the same distance from the larger and more important Village of Burford Street. With the latter it is almost continuous, there being a line of handsome villa residences and farm-houses all along the road that connects them. This hamlet dates from the beginning of this settlement, and at one time promised to become more thriving than any other in the Township. A foundry was started and seemed to be doing a good business, but the chief partner in the management got into difficulties and left for parts unknown in the States some years ago. Others would gladly have utilized the plant and carried on the business, but unfortunately everything had been mortgaged, and the mortgage was so arranged that no foreclosure could be effected unless a summons could be served on the fugitive partner. This being impossible, nothing remained but to let the property go to ruin. Part of the old machinery has been very lately removed. With the machinery went a grist-mill owned by one of the firm. This village was surveyed in 1846 by Lewis Burwell, Provincial Land Surveyor; it was laid out by Colonel Whitehead and Mr. Russel Smith. It has neither post office nor school, those of the neighbouring Village of Burford being used by the inhabitants. The village itself has by no means progressed of late years; it is picturesquely situated, and has several unusually handsome gentlemen's residences, surrounded by parks and groves of beautiful maple, walnut and oak trees, tastefully disposed. The village contains two small stores and a blacksmith's shop, that of Mr. Gibson, a most respectable and well-informed resident, who has officiated as blacksmith at Bishopsgate for the last thirty years. There is an excellent hotel kept by Mr. Smith. The only church is that built in 1874 by the Presbyterians; there is a congregation of eighty, to a seating capacity of two hundred. The clergyman, Rev. Thomas Alexander, has served this church for the last ten years, residing in Mount Pleasant Village, in Brantford Township, where also he holds services. He had previously been stationed in Cobourg. Service is held every Sunday, followed by Sunday school.
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The chief ornament of this village is the mansion erected here four years ago by Mr. Thomas Lloyd-Jones. This is a tastefully designed building of white brick, surrounded by handsome and well kept ornamental grounds. On the north-west side of these grounds a grove of oak trees represents the original "oak openings" of this part of Burford. A large water-wheel has been put up close to the house. Mr. Lloyd-Jones built this residence on the site of Colonel Perley's old house, destroyed by fire a year before he purchased the Colonel's property of two hundred acres. Mr. Lloyd-Jones has a field of twelve acres, which for seventeen years he has planted with one crop of peas, all the others with wheat or barley, the average yield for the whole series of years being thirty-five bushels an acre. Mr. Lloyd-Jones is a son of one of the early settlers who came to this country from Denbigh, in North Wales. In a neat house in this village also resides Mrs. Perley, widow of the late excellent and kindhearted Colonel Perley; Mr. Coker, an American of Dutch descent, from Pennsylvania; and Mr. Marsh Philips, a young English gentleman who purchased property several years ago, which he takes enthusiastic pleasure in farming. He has induced quite a colony of young Englishmen of his own class to come over to Burford in order to learn farming. Northward along the township line, about a mile from Bishopsgate, is the farm and homestead of the Landon family, of whose founder, Stephen Landon, mention has already been made. The estate, which is a valuable one, is now held by his son, Mr. Stacey Landon. Here too the land is of the best wheatgrowing quality. A new Agricultural product has been introduced of late years into this part of Burford- the culture of the Canadian or soft-stemmed sugar-cane. This differs from the sugar-cane of the tropics only in not being perennial, but being raised from seed grown afresh each spring. A good crop of this is produced in the eastern part of Burford for the purpose of boiling into syrup. In the spring and summer the peculiarly fresh green of its long leaf blades has a pleasing effect; in autumn its stalk is overtopped by a rich spike of purple blossom.
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Village of Burford
This village, which has been called Burford, Burford Street, or Claremount, is by far the largest, most picturesque, and most thriving business centre in the township. It is situated on the main road from Brantford to London, about a mile from the eastern township line, nine miles from Brantford, nine from Paris, the same distance from Princeton, and seventeen miles from Woodstock. It has derived great advantages from being a station on the Brantford, Norfolk and Port Burwell Railway. The present prosperity of the town is mainly due to the railway, which gives it easy access to Brantford and other business centres. There is no water privilege, and no manufacturing industries have as yet appeared except a small carriage factory. There are four grocery and dry goods stores, all apparently doing good business; in the largest is the post office, in charge of Mr. Cox; two bakers; one carriage factory giving employment to fifteen men, and well patronized in the neighbourhood; its proprietor, Mr. James Lloyd, turns out from six to eight thousand dollars worth of work per annum. It has been in operation for thirty-one years. There are also two blacksmith shops; two tailors; two undertakers; two tinsmiths; a harnessmaker; a cooper; two butchers' stores; two shoemakers; and a dentist. There is a grain store; two grist-mills on the creek, within a mile of the village, three saw-mills and two shingle factories. There are two main streets which intersect each other at right angles; King Street runs east and west of the other street, which extends south towards the railway station. There is one hotel, situated in a handsome white brick block of buildings at the centre of the village, where the two streets cross each other. The stores are well supplied with wares of all kinds. Shade trees ornament the streets, gay with vehicles and well-dressed pedestrians. Around the village there are many prosperous farms, among the best of them that of robert Muir, Esq., for many years in the Commission of the Peace for the township. This land has fine sandy soil, mixed with clay loam, and yields wheat crops of from thirty-five to forty bushels an acre. In the centre of the farm is a pond with outlet by a small creek, which keeps the water fresh. There are many other handsome residences; in fact, the village has been built up to a great degree by farmers who have realized enough to retire from business and take up their abode there. In summer time Burford Village is as pleasant a holiday resort as can be found in the Province, and the hotel provides most comfortable accommodation. There are no saloons or liquor stores; the village enjoys an Arcadian freedom from drunkenness and other offences against law and order. There are three medical men, all in good practice; they state that the village is healthy, but that there is a considerable amount of malarial fever, especially among the occupants of farms towards the central part of the township, west of Burford Village. The more malignant blood-poison fevers, such as typhoid and diphtheria , have been hitherto unknown. Some American army buttons and several bullets have been found on a farm about a mile west of this village, the relics of some skirmish of general MacArthur's force with the Burford Militia, when, after the fight at Brantford and Malcolm's Mills, he resolved to abandon his march on Fort Erie and return home.
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The Burford Churches There are four places of worship in Burford Village, those of the Church of England, the Canada Methodist, the Congregational and the Baptist. The Church of England people number twenty-five families. The church dedicated to the Trinity is a plain, red brick building with lancet windows; it wa erected in 1850, mainly by the aid of the late Colonel Perley, at a cost of $1,800. It has seating capacity for 300. The burial place for English Church people is kept in good order, and contains several handsome monuments. Services are held in Trinity Church each Sunday. The clergyman, Rev. Mr. Hind, also holds services every Sunday at the Villages of Cathcart and Mount Pleasant.
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The Baptists have a handsome frame church, built in 1866, with a seating capacity of two hundred. Services are held every Sunday, and a prayer meeting on Wednesday. The cost of the church was $800. The pastor is the Rev. Mr. Hyde. There are about a hundred members. The Canada Methodist denomination has a neat frame church in the usual modification of Gothic common to our country churches. It cost about $1200, and is the largest church in Burford, having a seating capacity of 400. Service is held every Sunday evening in winter and summer. There is a prayer meeting and Bible class on Thursday. The average attendance is 300. The pastor is the Rev. Mr. Hayhurst. The church was built in 1858. A society of the Congregational Church was organized in 1835 by the rev. James Hall, who was sent out to Canada as a missionary by the Congregational Missionary Society in England. The church, a handsome Gothic building of frame with a tin-covered spire, was built in 1839 at a cost of three thousand dollars. It has a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty. It is neatly furnished and is well lit up. This was the first church built in the Township of Burford. Service is held every Sunday. There is Sunday school in the morning, and a prayer meeting every Thursday. The average attendance at this church us a hundred and twenty-five. the amount raised by contribution for all purposes last year was $708. In 1844 the Rev. W. F. Clarke, succeeded Mr. Hall as pastor, which office he continued to exercise till 1846, when the vacant pulpit was filled by the Rev. W. H. Allworth for about nine months. The Rev. James Vincent next occupied the Pastorate, and held it for eight years. He then left. The present minister, the Rev. William Hay, was elected by the church members in 1856. Mr. Hay resides at Scotland.
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The Medical Profession in Burford
There are three medical men resident in Burford Village, Doctors Chrysler, Harbottle and Bradly, and one at the Village of Cathcart, Dr. Aikman. Dr. Harbottle united literature to his professional studies, being the author of several pleasing poems in the newspapers which circulate most in Burford. In this connection it may be mentioned that another Burford literateur is Mr. John A. Smith, who lives a mile north of Burford Village. Dr. Chrysler has been some years in practice, and is of opinion that although as a rule Burford is a very healthy location, still there is ample room for practitioners of the healing art. The most marked kind of disease is that of febrile malarial type, which, however, generally assumes a mild form, and has never yet been attended with fatal results. As an illustration of the healthy climate of Burford, it may be mentioned that in the village, opposite the Congregational Church, reside an aged couple named Frazee, the husband having reached the venerable age of ninety-eight, while his wife is ninety-four. The old gentleman retains all his faculties, except that, like Isaac in scripture, his sight is waxing dim; he can converse cheerfully as to long past events in the history of Burford, and takes pleasure in relating his early experience to his visitors. Years have told with more effect on his wife, who is a little deaf, but can still converse intelligently. It is a touching sight to see her stand beside the old man's chair holding his hand in her own. Truly, if earthly love can last so long, there is a joy that will endure forever.
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The Burford Agricultural Society
One of these most useful associations for the improvement of practical agriculture has been lately established in this township, and its exhibitions, which are held in the fall, have been attended with much success. The President of the Burford Agricultural Society is Mr. David H. Smith, of Harley Village. Mr. W. F. Mills is Vice-President; Mr. Thomas Lloyd-Jones is Secretary-Treasurer. Other leading members are; Messrs. W. Johnson, of Cathcart Village; David Beamer, of Princeton; J. R. McWilliams, of Mount Vernon; J. C. Brethour, of Burford; Philip Kelly, of New Durham; D. Farrell, Paul Huffman, William Rutherford, of Burford; Captain Marshall, of Harley Village; and John Maclellan, of New Durham. This society was organised in 1863. It has erected a handsome building at Harley Village, at a cost of $1,000. The entries at the annual exhibition are from two thousand to two thousand five hundred.
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The Volunteers of Burford Township
The Township of Burford has ever been forward in furnishing volunteers when men were needed for the defence of Canada. In 1812, when Canada's position as a dependency of Britain exposed our country to an invasion of American armies which would otherwise never have taken place, the British armies were engaged in a great European war, and Canada had for the most part to be defended by Canadians. A force of volunteers was raised in Burford to aid General Brock's attack on Detroit, but that city had surrendered before the Burford men could reach Brock's headquarters. Thomas Horner, badly treated although he had been by the Government at the time, gathered around him seventy-five Iroquois warriors for the same purpose. Thomas Horner received a commission as Captain of Militia. In 1828 we find a regular volunteer company fully organized, under command of Col. G. W. Whitehead. Their muster-roll includes many names familiar in the history of Burford. Such are those of Joseph Dutcher, Henry Dutcher, Reuben Dutcher, Adam Lampman, Abisha Rand, Jonathan Ryder, Enoch Ryder, Platt and Pierce Crank, and the Higsons. The next volunteer organization in this township was effected by the exertions of Edmund Yeigh, the present representative of the Yeigh family, during the apprehension of Fenian invasion in 1866. The company then raised was known as "No. 6 Brant Battalion," and was commanded by Mr. Yeigh for three years.
At present Burford Township furnishes two companies to our Canadian Volunteer Militia, infantry and cavalry. the infantry company belongs to the "Dufferin Rifles" of Brant County, and is officered by J. T. Whitmore of Burford Village as Captain, and R. A. Johnson as Lieutenant. Their present strength is thirty-five. The cavalry company rank as N0. 5 of the Second Regiment of Cavalry, which has its headquarters at St. Catharines. The Captain is W. Marshall, and the Lieutenant is Thomas Lloyd-Jones of Bishopsgate Village. Their present strength is thirty-five troopers. This company has deservedly earn the reputation of being one of the best cavalry companies in Canada, and has repeatedly received the praise of the inspecting General at camp in Niagara and elsewhere, for their excellent discipline, the soldierly appearance of the men, and their well-trained horses. This is owing in no slight degree to the care bestowed on the company by Captain Marshall, who received his military training from the Colonel of the Thirteenth Hussars, one of the finest cavalry corps in the English army, when quartered in Canada. Under his judicious command the company consists of picked men, the sons of respectable farmers, who take pride in being well mounted and equipped. From Captain Marshall's long service as an officer of this company, it is confidently expected that he will soon be promoted to the Majority of the Second Cavalry. The company wears the same uniform as the Thirteenth Hussars, and is armed with the sword and short rifle. A fine drill shed and two armories have been built at Burford. A veteran volunteer officer, Colonel Taylor, resides at Cathcart Village.
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Of these in Burford it may almost be said, as in the famous Chapter on Snakes in Ireland, that "there are none." There is indeed a carriage factory at Burford, which was established thirty-one years ago by its present proprietor, Mr. James Lloyd. he employs from ten to twelve men, and turns out $8,000 worth of work yearly. It bears a well established reputation throughout the township. The other manufacturing industries are such as are peculiar to an agricultural country. There are four cheese factories, all doing prosperous business, at the Villages of Harley, New Durham, Cathcart and Burford. Mr. Russel Smith has an extensive vineyard at Fairfield Plain, where he has met with marked success in the culture of grapes and the manufacture of a pure fruity wine, quite free from alcohol. Mr. Russel Smith came originally from Ancaster. At his vineyard near Fairfield, from nine to twenty thousand gallons of wine are manufactured annually. It is to be hoped that the increased success of producers of pure Canadian wine may do something to check the consumption of more deleterious beverages.
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Societies, Secret and Other
In Burford As far back as 1858, the Masonic Order had organized a lodge in Burford. It was known as No. 106, and numbered eighty members. The Master was Forbes D. Wilson; Aaron B. McWilliams, Secretary. The present officers are: Forbes D. Wilson, Master; James McWilliams, Warden; A. E. Kennedy, Secretary; F. G. Miles, Treasurer; Rev. Mr. Hay, Chaplain; Stephen Wetmore, Inside Guardian; W. Howard, Tyler. The lodge meets on Wednesday of or before the new moon. The Loyal Orange Body has been organized into a lodge in Burford for thirty-seven years. In 1879 they erected a neat hall in Burford Village, where their meetings are held on the first Monday in every month. The present Master is Stephen Wetmore, Bailiff of the Division Court; the Deputy Master is Albert Hall; the Chaplain James McAffray; the Treasurer is J. A. Williams; the Secretary, William Ford; and the Director of Ceremonies Franklin Metcalf. The Ancient Order of United Workmen, a benevolent society also holds monthly meetings in Burford Village. Of this the Master is Mr. W. G. Nelles; the Foreman is Mr. Cox, the present Postmaster of Burford Village and a leading merchant of the place; the Treasurer is Mr. Alfred Ledger; and the recorder, Mr. Kennedy, Principal of the Public School. There is also a Women's temperance Society, of which Mrs. Hayhurst, wife of the pastor of the Canada Methodist Church, is President. Burford Village possesses an excellent brass band, of which the leader is A. Messam; A. Muir, E flat cornet, H. Rice and W. Davidson, B flat cornets; R. C. Muir, C. Whittaker and W. Smith, altos; W. Gibson, tenor; C. Day, W. Messam and W. Landon, bass: J. Day and E. McAffray, drummers.
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Village of Cathcart
This village, which was formerly Sydenham, is situated on the same road with Burford Village, of which, although six miles to the west of it, Cathcart may be regarded as a continuation. It has no water privilege, and has grown little during the past decade. The village is prettily situated, and presents a neat, well-to-do appearance, surrounded by gardens and trees, and a pleasant farm country. It possesses three churches, two of which belong to the Methodists, one to the Episcopalians; one physician, Dr. Aiken; a cheese factory, one hotel, two grocery and general stores, a waggon factory, two blacksmiths' shops, and about two hundred inhabitants. The Primitive Methodist Church is a neat edifice of white brick, built in 1874, with a seating capacity of three hundred. Services and a Sunday school are held every Sunday. There is a prayer meeting on Thursdays. Services are well attended, the farmers' families of the surrounding district driving thither and to the other churches from a radius of several miles. The other Methodist Church was built in 1878, and is also a handsome structure of white brick, with a seating capacity of three hundred, and an average congregation of one hundred and fifty. The service is held every Sunday in the afternoon and evening alternately. There is Sunday school in the afternoon, and a prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings.
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Is called after the name of one of the leading land-owners of this section of the township. this small but picturesque village is situated almost in the centre of the township. It has one church belonging to the Methodists, a plain frame building. A Church of England service is also held on alternate Sundays, and there is a Sunday school in the afternoon. Harley is a post village, and has the advantage of being a station on the B. N. and P. B. Railway. It contains a cheese factory, established for eleven years, which consumes the milk of six hundred cows, and turns out fifteen cheese per day. There is one store, a carriage shop, a tailor's and shoe store, the Agricultural Fair Grounds and Exhibition Building, and the Granger's Hall. New Durham New Durham is a small village on the western line of this township, and contains two small churches, a Congregationalist and a Baptist, one hotel, one store, and a cheese factory. There are about one hundred inhabitants. The village is situated on Big Creek, between the ninth and tenth concessions of Burford.
This is a post village at the centre of the town line between it and Wyndham. It is sixteen miles distant from Brantford, and eight from Norwich. It was laid out in 1856 by C. H. Foreman, and surveyed by E. Malcolm. It contains three churches, an ashery, a carriage factory, a saw and shingle mill, a drug store, three blacksmiths' shops, two general stores, a grocery, and a hotel. The Congregational Church is a neat frame building, erected in 1868 at a cost of $1,000; it will seat two hundred. Service is held on alternate Sundays by Rev. Mr. Hay, the Burford Congregational Pastor. The church of the Messiah was built by the Adventists in 1868, and has a seating capacity of two hundred. It cost $800, and in it services are held on alternate Sundays.
This a post village for miles directly south of Burford, and at the same distance from the eat town line of Burford. There is a blacksmith's shop, and near the village the extensive vine-growing estate and handsome white brick mansion of Mr. Russel Smith. There is also an exceedingly well designed Methodist Church, by far the most ambitious ecclesiastical structure in the township. It was built, the material being white brick, in 1868, and cost $4,000. It has a seating capacity of three hundred. Service is held every Sunday by the Rev. Mr. Hayhurst, of Burford. A Sunday school is also conducted in connection with the church.
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Personal Histories of Burford
In this township where fifty years ago political passions were so heated, it is pleasant to look back on the honourable career of some of the leading men who, though keen partisans, have closed their course amid applause of both sides in the political arena. Such a man, on the Loyalist side, was Charles S. Perley, the well-known Colonel Perley of the last forty years of Burford's history, His burly figure, genial face, and brusque manner, the boisterous frankness of Squire Western masking the kindly nature of an Allworthy, will long be remembered by the people of Bishopsgate and Burford Villages, among whom his life was spent. He was born in New Brunswick, of a U. E. L. family, and came to Upper Canadian 1801. At the outbreak of the War of 1812 he went to reside in Norfolk, and though not a member of the Norfolk Battalion of Militia, he rendered it considerable service. He was present at the famous "Races of Malcolm's Mills," and was wont to recount with much humour the incidents of that hasty retreat. In 1837 Mr. Perley took an active part in raising a company, which he commanded with the rank of Captain, confirmed to him in 1838. He received and most hospitably entertained Colonel McNab and those "Men of Gore," the Wentworth Militia, in their march against Duncombe's force at Scotland, Captain Perley accompanied the Loyalists when they occupied Scotland, where Duncombe's force being disbanded, they found no enemy on whom to exercise their valour. Then followed the " Tory Terror," which lasted till peremptory orders from England and the recall in disgrace of Sir Francis Bond Head gave it a sudden check. But in those days Captain Perley was quite ready and willing to hang a good many of those neighbours to whom for many years of his after life he showed such unfailing kindness. For the Roman poet said truly, Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. "The times are changed, and we are changed with them." For his many services he was soon promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. But his life was thenceforward to be that of a man of peace, erecting mills, clearing farms, introducing new agricultural improvements, and by action and counsel aiding in the development of the township in which he lived. He was elected a member of the first Township Counsel that was formed in 1850, a position which he held for eight years, and resigned from a conscientious scruple which did him honour, because his constituents were opposed to a measure which he was resolved if in office to support. He lived in a goodly frame mansion at Bishopsgate Village, on the site of the house built several years by Mr. T. Lloyd-Jones. In 1877 Colonel Perley's house was burned down, soon after which he sold the site, with two hundred acres, to Mr. T. Lloyd-Jones the present owner. It is now several years since Colonel Perley died and was buried in the english churchyard at Burford. To that church he had been a liberal benefactor. His widow resides among her old friends in a comfortable house, close to the site of her old home. A son of Colonel Perley's was recently killed by a kick from his horse which he was tending in the stable. Others of the Colonel's offspring live; one daughter is the wife of Mr. MacDonald, and one of a Mr. Smith, of Toronto.
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This gentleman, for many years a Justice of the Peace for the township, and one of the first members of the Municipal Council, is owner of a fine property in Burford Village. He is of English descent, his grandfather on the mother's side having been Major Winette of the 13th Regiment of Foot, who served with distinction in the European wars of the beginning of the present century. Mr. Muir came to Burford thirty years ago, and found Burford Village a group of shanties, with one store and a tavern. Having joined the militia, he was promoted to the rank of captain. His example has been followed by several of his sons, stalwart and soldier-like young gentlemen, who are leading members of the Burford cavalry troop already described. Another son is a third year student at the Provincial University, and still another resides in Toronto, where he is a member of the Civil Service.
Thomas Lloyd-Jones The father of this gentleman emigrated to Canada from Denbigh, in North Wales, and having settled in Burford, died, his son being only six years old. Being well educated, and gifted with much practical sagacity, the latter son became very successful both as a farmer and otherwise. In 1879 he purchased the estate of Colonel Perley, and in 1880 built thereon the handsome and spacious mansion which is his present residence. This is beautifully situated at the eastern town line of Burford, near the Village of Bishopsgate. It is surrounded by a park-like garden, with a grove of oak trees. Mr. Lloyd-Jones os at present Reeve of the Township of Burford, and has been for some time Lieutenant of the Burford Troop of Volunteer Cavalry, which owes not a little to his force of character and genial manners. He was also Secretary-Treasurer of the Burford Agricultural Society. Mr. Lloyd-Jones is married and has several children, all young. His estate is land of the best quality, valued at $100 per acre. He is a staunch Conservative, but is none the less a most popular man in this stronghold of Liberalism, the Township of Burford.
The Landon family
The late Stephen Landon was the first white child born in Burford. His birth took place in 1797 at his father's residence near Burford. Though but fifteen when the War of 1812 broke out, young Stephen shouldered a musket in the Burford Company of Militia commanded by Captain White and Lieutenant Jacob Yeigh. When thus engaged, he took part in the affair at Malcolm's Mill, elsewhere described. Mr. Landon was always a staunch Reformer, a personal friend of Duncombe, and when the crisis came in 1837, like many another who had fought in the Canadian Militia against an American invasion of Canada, he boldly threw in his lot with those who gathered at Scotland to support Mackenzie. He lived to a good old age, and died at his home a mile north of Bishopsgate Village, Burford. His farm is now held by his son, Mr. Stacey Landon.
The Late Henry Lester
Mr. Henry Lester was one of the very earliest settlers, having come to Burford in 1800. He was the brother-in-law of Mr. Wooden, another old settler, whose sons and daughters are now living in Burford. Mr. Lester served as Quartermaster all through the War of 1812. He died in 1878, leaving one son.
The Yeigh Family
John Yeigh, the founder of this family, came to burford in 1800, being thus one of the very first settlers. His first location was at the intersection of the Norwich Road with the old London Road, which passes through the centre of Burford. Mr. Yeigh came originally from Pennsylvania, and with true American perseverance felled the woods and tilled the soil, till in a few years abundant grain harvests and a flourishing farm rewarded his efforts. There were at that time numerous hordes of the uncivilized Mohawk Indians, lately settled on the Grand River Reserve, who roamed the forest as far as Burford in their hunting expeditions. With these John Yeigh was on the most friendly terms- a very desirable state of things for a pioneer settler in those parts; for although this tribe of Indians was supposed to be friendly, their presence was looked on with dread by the few and isolated white settlers, who imagined that the Indian braves had a lax sense of the rights of property in the matter of pigs, geese and dogs; and that these stolen dainties were often cooked at a fire made from the owner's fence rails. The Indians were always hospitably received at the Yeigh homestead, and many a time might a party of these naked and painted savages be seen cradling the wheat in the harvest fields, or at night after such a supper as their wigwams could never provide, smoking the pipe of peace, or coiled up in the blankets asleep before the logs that blazed in the old-fashioned fireplace. In 1811 Jacob Yeigh, Mr. John Yeigh's eldest son, having married, took up his residence on the farm in Burford, where he lived and died. A year after came the War of 1812. During this year Jacob and his brother Adam took up arms in defence of Canada, then attacked by America on the unjustifiable principle of striking a weak neighbour in order to spite a powerful enemy out of reach beyond the sea. In that duel Canada, in spite of more than one reverse, held her own. Jacob Yeigh held the rank of lieutenant. So distinguished were their services that a handsome silver medal was awarded them in England by the authorities, but it was withheld for a time in consequence of their active participation in the rising of 1837. When, on a false report of Mackenzie's success, the Nationalists of Brant and Oxford met in arms in Oakland, the two brothers rode, well armed to join their ranks. One who saw the scene has stated to the present writer that the then village blacksmith of Bishopsgate, the predecessor of Mr. Gibson, seeing with professional acuteness that the horses were gone, and guessing they were gone where they might not return, and that the other property of a "rebel" leader would certainly be confiscated, was much exercised concerning the payment of a few dollars due to him for blacksmithing. He went at once to demand payment from young Mrs. Yeigh, who had no ready money, but fortunately enough spare barley to satisfy this inharmonious blacksmith.
After the disbandment of Duncombe's force Jacob Yeigh escaped to the United States. His brother was captured, imprisoned at Hamilton, where he suffered the most inhuman treatment, was sentenced to die, as Lount had already died, on the scaffold, and lay for weeks expecting his doom. But when the Liberal Government in England sternly rebuked the faction of which Sir Francis Bond Head was the tool, and general amnesty was forced on the Family Compact clique, Yeigh was set at liberty. He returned to his home, where he lived for some time. His son, Mr. Edmund Yeigh, inherited his estate, which he managed personally, residing at the old homestead in Burford. He now lives in Toronto, being attached to the Globe newspaper in a position of trust. His sister, Miss Yeigh, resides in her father's house.
Mr. Edmund Yeigh organized the Burford Infantry Company of Volunteers, of which he was the first captain at the time of the Fenian raid on our country.
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The Horner Family
As being the first settler of Burford, the leading events of thomas Horner's career have been already narrated in our sketch of the township history. It will have beeb seen that he suffered much injustice, in the first place, from the successor of general Simcoe, who refused to confirm the grant made by that gentleman of the Township of Blenheim; in the next place, from the unjust suspicions of the then Government of Upper Canada, who deprived Mr. Horner of his official position of the eve of the War of 1812. In both cases Thomas Horner showed a magnanimity of which inferior minds would have been incapable. he carried out the conditions of settlement, the building of a mill at his own expense, on which land had been granted; and so far from showing a petulant disposition to turn against the Government which had in so summary a manner dismissed him from his official position as Deputy-Lieutenant of the County of Oxford, he came to their aid in the critical time of Brock's march against Detroit. At last, though late in the day, Mr. Horner's services were recognized. He was chosen to represent Oxford, of which at that time Burford was a part, from 1820 until his death in 1834. He held the Commission of the Peace for many years; and all who have explored the records of Burford, as Mr. Trimble has truly said, his signature to all official documents for a space extending over many years of the early period of the settlement is familiar.
In those days, magistrates often undertook one of the most pleasant duties of ministers of religion, in solemnizing marriage. Many stories are told of Mr. Horner's genial good humour when called in to act as High Priest of Hymen. The first marriage solemnized by him was that of james Smiley and Eunice Martin, in 1801. Mrs. Smiley lived to the venerable age of ninety-two, having died at her home in Brantford, in August 1875. This township seems exceptionally favourable to longevity.
more to follow.
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