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BRANT COUNTY, ONTARIO TOWNSHIP HISTORIES

Oakland Township

 

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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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP

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Organization

This township, which is in shape almost a right-angled triangle, was originally known as the "Townsend Gore," but was afterwards attached to Burford, and then called "Burford Gore." It was surveyed, in 1796, by Deputy-Surveyor Thomas Walsh, as an appendage to the township of Townsend. By act 38 George III., chap. 5, section 34, 1798, which came in force January 1, 1800, it is enacted "that the triangular tract of land called Townsend Gore be added to and become part of the Township of Burford." Again, by Act 2 George IV., chap. 3, section 11, 1821, it is further enacted "that the gore of land attached to the Township of Burford be formed into a separate and distinct township by the name of the township of Oakland." The name "Oakland" was suggested by a ridge of oak trees running through the township, and which has almost entirely vanished beneath the inexorable axe of the woodman. W. C. Trimble, in "Brant County History," 1875, says the name "Oakland" was given on the township becoming a municipality of the County of Brant. Now, as by Act 38 (1798), above quoted this "triangular tract of land" became a component part of the Township of Burford, and as, again by the same Act, the Townships of Burford, Norwich, Dereham, Oxford on the Thames, Blandford and Blenheim, constituted the County of Oxford, and as by the same Act it was further provided " that the Counties of Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex, with as much of this Province as lies to the westward of the Home District and the district of Niagara, to the southward of Lake Huron, and between them and a line drawn due north from a fixed boundary (where the easternmost limit of Oxford intersects the River Thames) till it arrives at Lake Huron do constitute and form the London District," so Oakland formed part of the County of Oxford, in the London District, and remained so until the reconstruction of that county in 1851.

Organization

In accordance with 55 Geo. III., chap. 9, 1815, the Courts were removed from Turkey Point to the Village of Vittoria, where they were held first at the residence of Thomas Finch, and then at that of Matthias Steel, until the brick Court House was completed at Vittoria, about the year 1822. This structure was accidentally burnt down in November, 1825, necessitating a resort again to private houses in Vittoria, and subsequently at St. Thomas, until a temporary Court House was erected in London. They were then held in such temporary building until the present permanent one in that city was completed in 1826. In 1837, by Act 7 William IV., chap. 30, it is enacted "that so soon as it shall be ascertained that a good and sufficient Gaol and Court House shall have been erected in the Town of Woodstock for the security of the prisoners and the accommodation of the courts, it shall be lawful for the Governor-General to declare, by proclamation, the Townships of Zorra, Nissouri, Blandford, Blenheim, the Oxfords, Burford, Oakland, Norwich and Dereham, and the Town of Woodstock, a separate and distinct district by the name of the District of Brock." The proclamation promulgating this Act was issued November 30th, 1839, and the first court for the district was held at the Town of Woodstock in April, 1840. In 1845 the County of Oxford was by enactment composed of the Townships of Blandford, Blenheim, Burford, Dereham, Nissouri, Norwich, Oakland, East Oxford, North Oxford, West Oxford, East Zorra and West Zorra, and all of these townships were attached to the London District. In 1849, by Act 12 Vic., chap. 78, districts were abolished and counties substituted, coming into force on 1st January, 1850. At this date, by virtue of the Act, the Township of Oakland was set apart for municipal purposes, and its first Council met on the 21st January, same year, at Isaac B. Malcolm's inn, at what is now known as the Village of Oakland. The names of the first Township Councillors were: Eliakim Malcolm, Reeve; James Malcolm, John Eddy, Charles Chapin, and Wellington McAllister, only two of whom are now living, namely John Eddy and Wellington McAllister. The late John Toyne acted as Township Clerk.

Organization

By an Act passed on the 2nd August, 1851 (14 & 15 Vic., chap. 5) to make certain alterations in the territorial divisions of Upper Canada for judicial, municipal and other purposes, it was provided that from and after the 1st January, 1852, Upper Canada should be divided into certain counties, and that the County of Brant should consist of the Townships of Brantford, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Oakland, South Dumfries and Burford, and the Village of Paris. Oakland has now been traced to its present position on the map of the County of Brant, where it is discovered as the smallest of the townships, and occupying the centre of the south part, being bounded on the north and east by the township of Brantford, on the west by the Township of Burford, and on the south by the township of Townsend, County of Norfolk. Taxes were payable in London, about sixty-five miles distant, at one time; and, about the year 1821, the voting for general elections necessitated two days' travel over terribly bad roads. As the voters had to camp out, they carried their provisions with them. For a long time there was no money in circulation in the township, and the only way of getting it readily was by taking farm produce to the distilleries, trading it off for whiskey, and then taking the whiskey to Niagara, Hamilton or toronto, &c., and selling it for cash. There was not a great deal of grain raised even in 1837, and the first money paid for wheat, nearer than Hamilton, appears to have been one Jackson, in Brantford, who allowed fifty cents per bushel, the same price paid in Hamilton. Old-fashioned wooden ploughs were the only agricultural implements in use till a cast-iron plough was introduced into the township in 1823. About sixty years ago, and for some time afterwards, there were three distilleries, two in the township and one on the borders of Oakland and Burford Townships, and until about the year 1836 there were no store of any kind in the township, the nearest being at Mount Pleasant. In 1817 a cow was worth twenty-five dollars, a sheep or an acre of land two dollars and a half. Thus, in those days a sheep could purchase an acre of land. In 1815 land was sold at about fifty cents an acre, and in 1817 it was only increased to two dollars and a half, while in 1851 it may be stated as having been sold at from six to ten dollars per acre.

The area of Oakland Township is 10,235 acres of excellent land, studded with fine, prosperous and well-fenced farms, on which are erected substantial and comfortable dwelling-houses, barns &c. The undulating character of the profile of this township is a distinguishing trait in its topography, while the nature of its well cultivated soil asserts its claims to unbounded fertility in the production of wheat and other cereals, as well as stock-raising. A gravelled road, leading from Brantford by way of Mount Pleasant Village provides an excellent highway to the chief centre of the county. It traverses the township through the Village of Oakland, and strikes the Burford town line at Scotland. Another gravelled thoroughfare runs across the east end, known as Cockshutt's Road. These highways are the only arteries for travel, as no line of railway touches the township at any point. The only stream is that known as Malcolm's Creek, and its tributaries, the main stream of which has its source in the swamps that lie to the northward. This creek runs south till it purveys to the milling industries of Scotland, when it assumes a slight deflection eastward, and after extending its privileges to the Village of Oakland, leaves the township a few miles west of the "Indian line."

The tributaries are insignificant, although in their aggregate they add no inconsiderable quota to the main stream. There are mill-dams or ponds at necessary points, most notable among which is the "Malcolm's Mill-pond" at the Village of Oakland. Here early on a Sunday morning in the year 1814, the American General, McArthur, with over a thousand mounted riflemen, caused some hundred of brave local militiamen to beat a hasty retreat. History records how the commanding officers of the Canadian forces, perhaps with commendable zeal in their efforts to execute a masterly flank movement, plunged with their war horses into the pond itself, and were with difficulty rescued through the energetic exertions of their subalterns; and history further hands down to posterity the casualties in this contest in killed, wounded and missing as- one man! The Americans on this occasion burned down Malcolm's Mill before leaving, and having fired the mills at Waterford, magnanimously left the Province by way of Long Point, without gobbling up the whole country. Although differences of opinion exist as to who were the first pioneers in this township, still it is generally conceded that the antecedents of some of the Malcolm families, who form in themselves a little colony in the southern portion of the township, were at least among the very earliest of the hardy adventurers to undertake the task of clearing the forest and subduing the soil. Among those of the early pioneers and settlers still surviving may be mentioned Malcolm Brown, Squire William Thomson, John Eddy, M. H. Baldwin, Geo. Cunningham, Richard Cowles, Angus Campbell, Samuel Thomson, Hiram Westbrook, Jonathan Plowman, Wellington McAllister, Francis Fairchild and Matthew Messecar. The first physician in the township appears to have been Dr. Pomeroy, followed by Dr. david Duncombe. The first post office must have been in the neighbourhood of 1840. Since the erection of the county thirty-one Reeves have been elected to represent the township at the County Council. A list of these will be found under the heading of "County."

The Township hall, which is of white brick, was built in the year 1855 at a cost of $2,400, and is placed on probably the highest piece of ground in the township, and can be seen for many miles round. The Township Clerks of the past were as follows: John Toyne, appointed at date of organization of the township, 1850, resigned 1st January, 1864; Wm. Vivian, appointed 1st January, 1864, resigned 29th August, 1873; O. H. Lawrence, appointed 29th August, 1873, died October, 1880; Wm. Thompson, Senr., appointed 18th October, 1880, to fill vacancy during balance of the year. Henry Key, the present incumbent, was appointed 17th January 1881.

Oakland having now become a component part of the County of Oxford, it may not be irrelevant to the intrinsicality of this history to give a short sketch of the vicissitudes attending the execution of Municipal and judicial government in the early days, as far as relates to that county. From the year 1800 till 1803, the courts were held in the house of James Munro, in the Township of Charlotteville. In 1804 they were removed to the house of Job Lodor, innkeeper at Turkey Point, an original Government reservation, selected by Governor Simcoe for a town and garrison, and where a town had been laid out by order of the Government. The courts were continued to be held at Lodor's inn, until a log gaol and a two-story framed Court House were erected near the same place, at the expense of the district, by Job Lodor, contractor. the first story of this building was used as a court room, while the second was divided off with rough boards for jury rooms. Here Justice held her scales until it became necessary to appropriate the building to the use of troops during the War of 1812 and two following years. The names of the Judges who attended these courts were Powell and Allcock. They always came by water, and were often detained en route by stormy weather. James Bostwick was Sheriff, and Job Lodor Gaoler. The first poor wretch condemned to the gallows was a negro, for burning down a store at Culver's Place, Woodhouse, about two miles south of the present Town of Simcoe.

Census

The census of this township for the past three decades, as given below, shows an apparent discrepancy not explainable here, or else affords evidence of a decrease in the population. the figures of the census for the years 1852 and 1861 are taken from indirect official sources, those for 1871 and 1881 from direct official returns. For 1852 the population was 840; 1861, 1087; 1871, 1104; 1881, 939. The population in 1881 is divided into the following religious denominations: Baptists, 210; Catholics, 37; Church of England, 52; Congregationalists, 162; Methodists (all Kinds), 443; Presbyterians, 30; Quakers, 5. Total, 939.

The latest official returns relating to the soil, climate, topographical features, cultivable area, and products of, and the progress and condition of husbandry in this township, will be found under the head of "County." There are only two villages in this township, the largest of which is

Scotland

Situated on the town line of Burford and Oakland, on a gravelly elevation commanding a tolerably extensive view, and resting partly in each of those townships. It is eleven miles from Brantford, fourteen from Paris; and two west of the Oakland Village, and has a thriving population numbering about four hundred. The village was laid out by Eliakim Malcolm, who also surveyed it. The post office, with Henry Lyman as first Postmaster, was established in 1855. Charles Eddy opened the first store in 1836, and Horace Foster the first hotel in 1830. George Malcolm built the first grist-mill in 1861, and Eliakim Malcolm erected the first saw-mill in 1848. Malcolm's Creek runs through a portion of the village, and affords excellent water-power where required to the several industries, which consist of a woollen mill, grist-mill, tannery, cooperage, stave factory, foundry, waggon and carriage works, carriage and buggy works, three general stores, and town or twelve other occupations. There are also two medical men, J. R. Malcolm, M.D., F.R.C.S., and E. W. Tegart, M.D., and one attorney, Y. H. Malcolm. Not to be behind in literary attainments the "clachan" boasts of a semi-weekly amateur paper published by A.E. Eddy, under the title of The Scotland Amateur Journal. Mayhap the modest but aspiring little sheet may yet prove itself a nucleus of some future day bulwark of "people's rights," and assert its position among the linguistic heroes that have proven for ages past, and will yet herald forth, for ages to come, the legend "The pen is mightier than the sword."

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The Woollen Mill of Marcus Malcolm & Son was established by the senior member of the firm in 1865, with a capital of $5000.00. It was run as a custom mill until 1880, when the business was changed into the manufacturing of flannels and blankets for the wholesale trade exclusively. It is a one set mill, has eleven looms, five narrow and six broad, and gives employment to twenty-five hands. Both steam and water-power are used, and an average of three hundred pairs of "shanty" blankets for the North-West, and eight hundred yards of flannel are weekly turned out.

The Tannery owned by Robert Gillespie, and established twenty years ago, is said to be the best west of Toronto. From nine hundred to one thousand dollars' worth of hides are converted into leather annually.

The Malcolm cooperage and Starch factory, with Mr. Eddy as proprietor, the foundry and Telephone Plough Works, owned by H. F. Malcolm & W. E. Hooker, the Waggon and Carriage Works of George Phillips, and the Carriage and Buggy Factory of Albert hooker, are all in a most thriving and healthy condition, each affording employment to a large number of industrious and economical artisans. The general storekeepers are: John A. Eddy, Postmaster; E. G. Malcolm, Telegraph Office; Charles Van Dusen. The village "smithy" is well represented in the persons of Charles Stewart and Samuel Hunter & James Hagerman, the two latter being in partnership.

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In fancy wood-turning and designing John Taylor may be said to excel, while Foster Brothers are engaged in an extensive cabinet-making business. The two hotels in the village, both on the Oakland side of the town line, are Commercial, kept by George Hall, and the Jackson House, of which Eliakim Malcolm is landlord. A grist-mill, for many years carried on by Dr. Malcolm, was converted some two years ago into a foundry for the manufacture of ploughs mainly, and before referred to in this sketch. On the 25th July, 1868, a boiler explosion in this mill created much havoc and no little excitement. Masses of iron, weighing in some instances 150 pounds, were hurled to immense distances, and the engine itself was lifted away for some thirty feet. No lives were lost, although Dr. Malcolm and the engineer had very narrow, in fact, almost miraculous escapes. the first store in the village was opened by Henry Toyne. It was frame built, and stood on the Oakland side of the town line. A fire destroyed it about the year 1880, after having been used as a private residence for some years by Henry Lyman, but was immediately rebuilt. Some sixty years ago there was a carding mill in Scotland, carried on by the father of Finlay Malcolm. The first village school house, one of a very primitive style of architecture, had been for some time back occupied as a blacksmith's shop by one Thomas Whelan, a transition not unsuggestive of the moulding the young minds into channels of learning to forging the crude metal into implements of industry- from the dominie, with spectacles on nose, looking for

"The whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school,"

"The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands."

This old school house was recently torn down, and it now mingles with the dust of ages. The earliest tavern is said to have been kept by Finlay Malcolm, father of the present Eliakim Malcolm, and was from sixty to seventy years ago the only one in Oakland Township.

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Churches

There are two churches in this village, Congregational and Baptist, the former being situated on the Burford and the latter on the Oakland side of the line. The Congregational Church was organised in the year 1835 by the rev. James Hall, a minister sent out to Canada by the Colonial Missionary Society, in connection with the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Among the original members were Justus Smith, James Oswald, Quartus Smith, Levi Steinoff, Mrs. J. Smith, Mrs. Finlay Malcolm, Robt. Elliott, Joseph Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Slumand Bingham, Mrs. Samantha Malcolm, John Kelly, Mrs. S. D. Malcolm, Augustus Malcolm, Mrs. A. Malcolm, Mrs. Geo. W. Bungay and J. Marlatt. Rev. James Hall, the first pastor, resigned his charge in 1843. He is said to be the first clergyman of any denomination in Oakland Township. He held divine service for some time in the old school in Scotland, already referred to. The Rev. W. F. Clark was installed in his place on Oct. 14th, 1844. He removed in the spring of 1846, and the Rev. W. H. Allworth officiated as a temporary supply, during the following winter. The Rev. Wm. Hay, a student from the Congregational College at Toronto, was then called to the pastorate, on 13th of October, 1847; was ordained and entered upon his ministerial duties on the 19th January, 1848. His pastorate still continues over this and the Burford congregation, the largest of this denomination in Ontario. The first Deacons of the church are dead, viz.: James Oswald, Levi Steinoff, John M. Marlatt, Justus Smith, Chas. Chapin and Robert Eadie. The acting Deacon are Augustus Malcolm and Alonzo Foster. At the date of Rev. Mr. Hay's call to the pastorate there was no church building, but the members, who numbered some thirty, were in the habit of assembling in a school house. The present church building, which is situated on the Burford side of the line, on the top of a rising piece of ground, was erected or rather finished in 1850. Its seating capacity, with gallery, is 250. In the tower is a good bell, and in the choir a pipe organ. In 1856, a number of members turned off and formed a church at Kelvin, Burford Township, which is now in charge of Rev. C. S. Pedley. The present membership numbers 142. The Sunday school has ten teachers and about one hundred scholars. This was the third or fourth building for worship in the county. The minister in charge has resided thirty-two years in the house adjoining the church, and during that period has married 317 couples. The Baptist Church, a frame building erected in 1849, on the Oakland side of the line, has a seating capacity of 350, with a membership numbering some 120. The Rev. T. L. Hyde is the present pastor, and is supported by six Deacons. The Sunday school, under the superintendence of J. B. Merritt, has seven teachers with seventy scholars, and holds fifty-two sessions.

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Secret and Other Societies

As far back as 1835, a temperance organization seems to have existed in Scotland, and has been progressing ever since.

Masonic.- Scotland Lodge No. 193, Grand Lodge of Canada, was organized July 11th, 1867, and originated from a number of members of a burford lodge, among whom were Fred. Mudge, T. O. Prowse, Marcus Malcolm, Chas. Whitney, Rev. Wm. Hay, Dr. McLinn and W. S. Walker. Mr. Fred. Mudge was the first W. M. The lodge meets in a hall over the school room. The present officers are: Rev. Wm. Hay, T.P.M.; Lewis Winegarden, W.M.; Albert Foster, S.W.; James Hagerman, J.W.; Marcus Malcolm, Secretary; Joseph D. Eddy, Treas.; James A. Smith, Nathan Gordon, Deacons; R. Durham, Tyler. The rev. Wm. Hay was Grand Chaplain in 1880. A Masonic lodge existed in Scotland in 1839, but does not appear to have existed long.

Canadian Order of Foresters No. 44, Village of Scotland, meets last Saturday of each month in Foster's Hall. this court was organized 13th March, 1880, and was instituted by D.D.H.C.R. Bro. Whale, of Waterford, assisted by other brothers from Waterford. There are fifteen charter members, viz.: Joshua Goodwin, Eliakim Malcolm, Marcus Malcolm, William M. Boughner, William Foster, William I. Winegarden, William McCoombs, Thomas Smith, Abdul E. Eddy, James W. Renwick, William R. Hall, Isaac Stenebaugh, Morgan Silverthorn, James Lindsay and Walter E. Hooker. The present principal officers are: Walter E. Hooker, Chief Ranger; Eliakim Malcolm, Secretary; William M. Boughner, Financial Secretary; William Foster, Treasurer.

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Scotland Lodge, No. 64, A.O.U. Workmen, was organized on April 15th, 1880, under charter. It was instituted by G. R. Pennington, D.G.M.W., and the original or charter members, were: Abram Horning, P.M.W.; Wm. foster, M.W.; James Bawtinhimer, Foreman; John W. Vivian, Overseer; Horace F. Malcolm, Recorder; J. R. Malcolm, M.D., Financier; Truman Messecar, Receiver; Thomas Waugh, Guide; Robert Nobbs, I.W.; George Bater, O.W.; Thomas Waugh, John Waugh and Abram Horning, Trustees. Above named held office until January 1st, 1882, when the following were elected: Abram Horning, W.M.; Wm. Devlin, Foreman; George Robinson, Overseer; H. F. Malcolm, Financier; George Burtch, Guide; Thomas Waugh, Watchman.

The Scotland Amateur Brass Band, consisting of fourteen members of good standing, was organized on the 14th of June, 1875, and was instituted by J. B. Martin. the original members were A. T. Pollard, J. Martin, Charles Stewart, J. Stewart, R. B. Stewart, - Anderson, - Messecar, Wesley Taylor, J. Hamilton Malcolm, Walt E. Malcolm, with J. B. Malcolm as leader. At this time it was called the Good Templars' Band, and was reorganized on the 16th October, 1876, by Professor Alexander Johnson, late of H.M. 78th Regiment of Highlanders, who is the present conductor. It has some thirteen members who are handsomely uniformed. The present officers are: Marcus Malcolm, President; W. M. Boughner, Secretary; and Charles Stewart, Treasurer.

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Oakland Post Office was established in 1840, with John Toyne as first Postmaster, who also opened the first store in company with the late William Muirhead and Henry Lyman, in the year 1836. On the death of Mr. Toyne, his widow succeeded as Postmistress, which office she held until a year or two ago, when she was succeeded by the present Postmaster, Geo. Taylor. The first grist-mill was built in 1806 by F. & J. Malcolm, who also erected a saw-mill in 1807. The villages contains the following mills, factories, stores, etc.: Grist-mill, owned by Charles Vivian, has four stone run with a capacity of 200 bushels per day. Cheese factory, established in 1874 by William Martin, produces on an average 72 cheeses per week, each weighing sixty-five pounds. Saw-mill owned by T. W. Shavelear & John Franklin. Milford Mill, about two miles east, owned by Horace Wright, has a cider mill in connection, and both do an extensive business. There are also three general stores, one shoemaker, one harness-maker, one tailor, one painter, one carpenter, two blacksmiths, two millwrights, and one hotel. Squire Thomson, who came into the township in 1821, carried on the first blacksmith shop in the village some sixty years ago. At that time there existed a grist-mill, Finlay & John Malcolm proprietors, a saw-mill, also by F. & J. Malcolm, and at Milford were a grist-mill and saw-mill, both carried on by J. Lodor, as well as a carding mill, run by Henry Gates.

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Oakland Village

The two churches in Oakland Village are the Methodist Episcopal, which was first organized about the year 1834, the building itself having been erected in 1849. It is of framework, and capable of seating three hundred and fifty. Among the earliest pastors of this church were the Revs. Francis Bird, William Bird, Zachariah Taylor, D. Griffin, and -- Salsbury. Moses Baldwin, was the first class-leader and among the earliest members were Moses Baldwin, Mr. and Mrs. Mordecai Westbrook, Mr. and Mrs. John Malcolm, Mr. and Mrs. James Baily, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Barnes. The present officers are: The Rev. Thomas Athloe, preacher in charge; Byron Laing, assistant; George Bradshaw, M. H. Baldwin, Thomas Mills, Mordecai Westbrook, William Waugh, William McEwan and Hamilton Burtch, Trustees.

The Canadian Methodist is also a frame building, erected in 1857, at a cost of about $1,200. It has a seating capacity of 350, with a membership of nearly 100. The pastorate is filled by supply. A little school house was built in the village, shortly after the year 1823, in which was placed a sort of pulpit, from which a Mr. Brining, Presbyterian clergyman, held forth to his flock on the Sabbath. This reverend gentleman died some few years after above date, in Mount Pleasant, Brantford Township. The first school teacher is said to have been a Mr. Gough, and this school id by some supposed to have been the first in this township, although one may have existed in Scotland Village at about the same period. In 1835 the first Baptist Church was organized in Oakland Village, with the Rev. Mr. Harris as pastor. The congregation met in a school house a little east of the village. This denomination, about the year 1847, again formed themselves into a body for public worship, with the Rev. Mr. Babcock as pastor, but they finally merged into the organization formed at Scotland Village.

The old cemetery in the village has been in use since the first settlement of this township, and is the only one, save perhaps "Fairchild's burying-ground," now closed, which is a little further north. Full many a weather-worn tablet in this city of the dead marks the spot where

"The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."

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Rebellion of 1837

Complaints, as early as the beginning of this century, regarding the working of the Constitutional Act of 1791, had been from time to time, and like the low threatening murmurings of a pent-up volcano, giving voice to a spirit of unqualified dissatisfaction, which ultimately culminated in the so-called "Rebellion of 1837." This same Act of 1791 sought to provide for the maintenance of a Protestant clergy of both Upper and Lower Canada, by setting apart a large extent of wild lands, consisting of two million five hundred thousand acres. This was known as the "Clergy Reserves," and against such act of legislature three objections were raised, principal of which were, that the Executive Council interpreted the spirit of the Act to mean that these lands should be for the support of the Church of England only, and that the manner in which the reserves were selected- they being surveyed from every seventh lot- prevented the formation of connected settlements, necessary for making and keeping roads in repair. Another source of complaint was the government retaining what was called "Crown Lands;" and yet another, the "Family Compact," a monopolizing institution that gave all the chief offices of Government to the members of a few families in each Province. These then, and other abuses of the people's rights, precipitated the Rebellion, in which William Lyon Mackenzie may be said to have been the prime motor in Upper Canada and Louis Papineau and Dr. Wolfred Nelson in Lower Canada. This spirit of discontent permeated almost every corner of the Province, and in no place did it take deeper root than in the Township of Oakland, particularly the southern portion of it. Previous to 1837 several public meetings were called at Oakland Village, for the purpose of entering a protest, and expressing a determination to pay no taxes until such time as existing grievances should be redressed. Squire Thomson, it is related, was the only one to oppose the measures brought before the first meeting, which was, at his request , adjourned for one week. At the second meeting John Malcolm and Asa Secord were enlisted over to the side of Squire Thomson, and still a further adjournment was obtained. Shortly afterwards, however, a gathering was held in Scotland Village, of from two to three hundred raw recruits, fully officered and equipped for a campaign, and an advance on, and if possible capture of, the Town of Brantford. On learning of the disastrous termination of Mackenzie's action at Montgomery's Farm near toronto, and being made acquainted with the fact that militia was approaching, the Scotland patriots quietly dispersed. This insurrection may have been a disloyal and illegal act, but it had the virtue of proving to the Government that the rights of people were not to be trampled on with impunity, and that the end justified the means, for the causes of all this contention were ultimately removed.

to be continued...


 

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