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Melancthon Township

Pioneer Families

History of the township:

1821 - old survey made of township
1830 - Concessions 1 to 4 were surveyed by Charles Rankin; first settlement at Horning's Mill by Lewis Horning
1848 - new survey is laid out for the Toronto line
1849 - lots parallel to the "Toronto line" are surveyed
1850 - other concessions of the new survey were done by Donald Gibson
1851 - population was 450
1853 - Melancthon township becomes incorporated
1871 - population was 2043
1881 - population was 3099
1901 - population was 3831

Villages of the township:

Place information has been taken from: Carter, Floreen Ellen. Place Names of Ontario. London: Phelps Publishing Company, 1984. 2 volumes

Auguston - a hamlet located on the 4th line corner, old survey. The post office was established in 1885 and the first postmaster was William August. The post office closed on Feb. 6th, 1905.

Corbetton/Chedworth - a rural community located at the point where the CPR and the no. 60 sideroad intersect. The post office was established in 1882 and closed in 1984.

Horning's Mill- a police village located on the Pine River 17 miles northwest of Orangeville. The post office was established on Aug. 6th, 1851 and the first postmaster was J. McGee. The town was incorporated as a Police Village on November 26th, 1908.

Jessopville - originally called the "jog"; a rural community located 22 miles northwest of Orangeville. The post office was established in 1882 and the first postmaster was William Gray. The office closed on July 19, 1956. "This place was named Jessopville for Mr. Edward Jessop of the village of Shelburne who was a real estate agent. Apparently, Mr. Jessop sent the papers in the to post office and put his own name on them although he lived in Shelburne. (p.582)

Melancthon village - rural community located 30 miles northwest of Orangeville. The post office was established in 1851 and the first postmaster was James Beachall. The office closed in 1971.

Redickville - rural community located in the intersection of the 2nd line and the no. 25 sideroad in the old survey. The post office was established in 1880 and the first postmaster was F. Walworth. The office closed on Feb. 1, 1914.

Riverview - rural community located 24 miles northwest of Orangeville. The post office was established in 1882 and the first postmaster was J.C. Williams. The office closed in 1970.

Shrigley - rural community located 35 miles northwest of Orangeville. The post office was established in 1864 and the first postmaster was William August. The office closed on March 31, 1915. "Named for one of its first settlers Elisha B. Shrigley, which gentleman died in 1905 being between 95 and 100 years of age. (p.1088)


Please note: all/most cemetery transcriptions are held at the North Public Library in the Canadian Room (6th floor)

Hornings Mills Cemetery
Melancthon United Cemetery
Shelburne Cemetery
Shelburne Cenotaph Cemetery
Spring Valley Cemetery
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery
St. Paul's Anglican Cemetery

Pioneer Families/Family Inquiries:

under construction

The families listed below were among the first settlers in the township. If you would like submit a family query, please fill in a message on the Dufferin County Message Board. If you are interested in posting a link to your family tree homepage, please email me the URL.

Anderson, Breen, Campbell, Corbett, Doney, Donkin, Higgins, Hilliard, *Horning, Hulbert, Logie, Lyons, Martin, McCloud, Pettigrew, Redick, and Stephenson

Biographies listed in the Illustrated Atlas for Grey County (1880)[when Melancthon Township was still considered part of Grey County]

Airth, William - [summary: J.P., general merchant. Horning's Mills. Has been Postmaster of that place; as also Deputy Reeve and Reeve of Melancthon Township. Was born in Scotland in 1815. Came to this county in 1854.] Sketch from atlas: William Airth, deceased, late Reeve of the Township of Melancthon, owes his nativity to the land o'heather. Born in Aberdeenshire, in 1815, he emigrated to Canada in 1835, and after residing nine years in other parts of the Province, removed in 1854 to the County of Grey, and settled in the "Old Survey" of Melancthon, at Horning's Mills. He soon after purchased the mills property from Mr. Horning, and thereafter followed milling.

Engaging in public municipal affairs very soon after his first settlement, he was elected to the Council when quite an early resident of the place. He occupied a seat at the Council board for a great many years as Councillor, Deputy Reeve, and Reeve; and held the latter position at the time of his death, which occurred to the great sorrow of all who knew him, in January, 1880.

Mr. Airth was an officer of Reserve Militia for many years, a Magistrate for more than twenty, and during the course of his life, a man in whom the public placed the highest confidence, and for whom a very large circle of friends possessed the most affectionate regard.

Allen, John S., farmer and contractor. Owns 50 acres of land, valued at $2,000, and located in Lot 30, Con.2. Of Canadian nativity; born 1852. Settled in Grey Co, 1869. P.O. Maple Valley.

Allen, John, hotel keeper, at Horning's Mills. Owns 203 acres of land, of $8,000 value in Lot 14, Con. 2. Is an Englishman, born 1848, and settled in this county, 1873.

Allin, N.B., farmer. Shrigley P.O. Was born in England, 1829. Came to Grey in 1847. Now owns 100 acres of land in Lot 19, Con. 1, of $6,000 value.

August, William, has been Post master and Deputy Reeve. Is owner of 50 acres of Lot 10, Con. 3, worth $2,500. Born in England, 1818; has lived here since 1850. P.O. Horning's Mills.

Baxter, James, farmer. P.O. address Honeywood. Born in England, 1830. Came to Grey Co, 1868. Owns 50 acres of Lot 27, con. 1, valued at $2,000.

Bailey, George, Postmaster of Shrigley, is a native of England, where he was born 1831. Came to this county in 1859, and is now owner of 100 acres of Lot 26, Con. 10, worth $3,000, which he himself farms. He has been a Township Councillor for Melancthon.

Bates, Henry,[summary- farmer. Horning's Mills P.O. Owns 145 acres in Lot 17 Con. 1. born in Ontario, 1811. Settled here, 1836. Is a Justice of the Peace, and has been Reeve of the township.] Sketch from atlas: Henry Bates, of the Township of Melancthon, is of U.E. Loyalist descent, his grandfather having served in the royal cause during the Revolution War, and being obliged to flee to Canada when the father of the subject of this sketch was yet of tender age, settled on the Niagara frontier.
Subsequently Mr. Bates' father removed to the Township of Nelson, Halton County, and here Henry was born in the year 1811. After residing here til 1846, he came during that year to the County of Grey, and settled in Melancthon, a mile north of Horning's Mills, one of the first to locate in the township.
Mr. Bates has held a variety of important official positions during his residence in Melancthon. He belonged to the old District Council for three years, during part of which time their meetings were held at the house of Mr. Donaldson, in Garafraxa. He has also occupied a seat of the Municipal Act, and has been a Magistrate for nearly twenty years. He is one of those who have transformed the wilderness of his native Province into the fairest of heritage for the succeeding race; and now at the allotted three score and ten, he is awaiting his Master's bidding, with the consciousness of a life well spent.

Beachell, James,deceased, late of Melancthon, was a native of Yorkshire, England, where he was born in 1810, being the son of James and Rebecca Beachell, of that place. He studied engineering, and spent many years in France engaged in railway engineering and contracting in which business he was unusually successful.
Having married Ellen, daughter of James Watson, from his own native shire, he moved to Canada, and settled in Melancthon when almost the entire township was a wilderness. Locating on the Toronto and Syndenham road, he built and kept the first tavern in the township, and also erected a saw mill in Artemesia, where Flesherton now is.
Mr. Beachell was a man of large means and great popularity. He was the first Reeve of the Township of Melancthon (to which Proton was also then united), and the first Warden of Grey county.
Removing subsequently to the township of Scarboro, near Don Bridge, Mr. Beachell died there in 1867, in the 58th year of his age. Having left no family, and dying without a will, his fine property was nearly all squandered in litigation. He took a great interest in all public matters, and will ever be remembered in Grey County as one of its best and most popular representative men.

Bell, Jonadab. Shrigley P.O. Owns 253 acres located in Lots 21 and 30, Cons. 8 and 9, the whole being valued at $5,000. Native of England; born 1839. Settled in Grey Co, 1952.

Brown, James, is Township Clerk of Melancthon, and Postmaster of Melancthon Post Office. Is also a commissioner and conveyancer. Owns 180 acres of Lot 290 Con. 1 N.E.S.R. Born in 1839. Came to this county in 1852.

Corbett, James, farmer. Owns Lot 259 , Con. 1 N.E., and the same Lot S.W.S.R. The value of the whole $4,000. Born in Ireland, 1830. Settled here 855. Is a member of the Council. P.O., Dundalk.

Caswell, Joseph, proprietor Mayburn Hotel. Dundalk P.O. Is a native Canadian born 1846. Father settled in Grey Co, 1850.

Fead, Andrew, farmer. Owns 100 acres of Lot 30, Con. 2, of $2,000 value. Was born in Canada in 1851; has lived in this county since 1868. Deals in grain in Shelburne Village, but his P.O. address is Redickville.

Fewster, William, farmer. Lot 20, Con.2. Owns 300 acres of land, worth $15,000. Of English birth, which occurred 1820; has resided in Grey Co. since 1840; has been Township Councillor. P.O. Horning's Mills.

Fraser Donald, farmer. Lot 31, con. 1. Owns 200 acres of land, worth $5,00. Was born in Scotland, 1820. Settled in Grey 1858. P.O. Maple Valley.

Hall, Wm. Sr, of Melancthon, settled near the Amaranth line, where there were very few families living in either adjacent township, and not a half dozen human habitations within a dozen miles in all directions. He came in 1836 from Nelson Township, where he had been living on a leased farm since his arrival in Canada in 1830, his birthplace being near Thirsk, Yorkshire, England. When he first came to Canada he was very poor, but by the time of his removal to this sectoin of country he had saved £50, with which he bought a "U.E. right" to 200 acres, which he subsequently increased to nearly 3,000, paying yearly, for a long period of time, more municipal taxes than his whole original farm had cost; and this status was arrived at by sheer energy, combined with the greatest and most untiring industry, without the aid of friends, and in the face of difficulties and discouragements which confront all pioneers of such a country as was this.
Mr. Hall has taken a commendable interest in the judicious management of local affairs, has sat in the Melancthon Township Counci, and has been many years a Magistrate. Many interesting and characteristic incidents of the early settlements are connected with his name. Born in 1803, he has th satisfaction of seeing a numberous family of children all grown to mature years comfortably settled in life, and possessing an influence and standing second to none in the country.

Hatton, Thomas, Jr, farmer. Lots 203,204, and 205, con. 3. Is a native of this township, where he was born 1853. Owns 107 acres in the location names. P.O. address, Shelburne.

Hodgins, David, of Melancthon, is the fifth of a family of nine children of thomas and Frances Hodgins, of Yorkshire, england, where he was born in 1817, and whence he came, in 1857, to Canada, and settled on the toronto and syndenham road, in Melancthon. He has ever since resided here, and being a man of means, is not of late years engaged in any active business. though not holding public office or aspiring to public postion. Mr. Hodgins takes a deep interest in all matters tending to the well being of the country at large, and particularly to that of the community in which he resides, ano f which he is one of the most respected members.

Hodgson, David. Horning's Mills P.O. Owns and occupies 50 acres in Lot 13, Con. 3 Born in Yorkshire, England, 1817. Settled in this county, 1860.

Hodgson, T.P., farmer and miller. Lot 15, Con. 1. Owns a farm of 80 acres, worth $9,000. Of English birth; born 1818. Has resided in Grey Co, since 1868. P.O. address Horning's Mills.

Jelly, Simon, of Lot 2 Con.3. Has been a member of the Municipal council. Was born in Canada, 1839. Came to Grey Co, 1862. Owns 350 acres of land, of $15,000 valuation. P.O., Shelburne.

Marshall, Robert, of Lot22, Con. 1. Was born in Hamilton in 1830; and in 1866 removed to Grey Co. He has sat in the Township Council. Owns 100 acres of land, worth $4,000. P.O. Honeywood.

Mills, John, farmer. P.O. address Melancthon. Is Township Treasurer at the presnet time. Owns 100 acres of land, Lot 10, Con. 3, valued at $3,500. Was born in Scotland, 1821. Has lived in Grey Co, since 1853.

McGhee, Robert, farmer, of Lot 15 Con. 3. Has been many years Reeve of Melancthon. First settled in this county, 1848, having been bornin Canada, 1834. Owns 330 acres of land, worth $10,000. P.O. address, Horning's Mills.

McGhee, John, farmer. Bornin Canada, 1829. Settled in Grey Co, 1847. Owns 100 acres of Lot 19, Con. 1, valued at $6,00. P.O. Horning's Mills.

O'Strander, James, farmer. Lot 25 Con. 3. Has a 150 acre farm of $5,000 value; of Canadian nativity; born 1828. Settle din Grey Co, 1868. P.O. address Redickville.

Redick, George A., hotel proprietor and carpenter, is also Postmaster of Redickville. Is a native Canadian; born 1838. Has resided in this county since 1862.

Rowbotham, Wm.S., farmer. P.O. address Shrigley, resides on Lot 30, Con. 8; born in 1853. Came to this county with his parents in 1856.

Silk, John, farmer, resides on Lot 28, Con. 2 where he owns 100 acres of land, of $4,000 value. Was born in this county, 1839. P.O. Maple Valley.

Silk, William, deceased, late of the township of Melancthon, a native of Wiltshire, England, being the second in a family of eight children of Willam and Sarah Silk, also natives of the shire.
Born in 1799, he emigrated to America in 1832, and after spending between two and three years at Hamilton, Ont., removed in 1838 to the "Old Survey" of Melancthon, among the very earliest settlers in this township. Mr. Horning, the first settler in the township, sent his team to Hamilton to bring in Mr. Silk's family, and the journey from Hamilton occupied five days. When he came h ere he had but $2 money, a scanty supply of household goods, and a family of four children. He took up a lot near Horning's Mills, and wrought for years for Mr. Horning, spending his spare time night and morning in improving his place, and by the exercise of diligence and energy suceeded, drom the most unpromising beginning, amid the most unpropitious surroundings, in overcoming the adversities of fickle fortune, and placing himself in such a position that he was afterwards enabled to present each one of his children with a good farm.
Many are the amusing incidents related of the early experiences of the Silk family. The first waggon ever built in the township was made by Mr. Silk. As soon as made; he loaded 400 lbs. of maple sugar upon it, which he had just mnufactured, and taking it all the way to Hamilton, sold it for $40. With this money he bought leather and a barrel of salt. His oxen being unshod, and the hills being-icy (it was early spring), he was obliged to u nload the salt at the ottom of every hill, roll it to the top with his wife's assistance, and then reload it. In this way it was estimated they had rolled the barrel several miles in the aggregate; but at last they reached their destination, and all the family soon h ad new shoes from the leather he bought - the first they had had since coming into the settlement.
Mr. Silk, who was highly esteemed in life, was as deeply lamented in death, when on the 16th August 1878, he resigned his spirit to God who gave it, and left over sixty childrem, grandchildren , and greatgrandchildren to mourn his loss

Stewart,James, farmer and cabinet-maker. Lot 31, Con.2. Owns a 100 acres farm of $3,000 value; born in 1820. Settled in Grey, 1852. Native of Scotland. P.O., Maple Valley.

Snell,William, farmer, Lot 31 Con. 2, W. Owns 200 acres of land of $3,500 value. Of English nativity; born 1820. Has resided in this county since 1866. P.O. address, Honeywood or Redickville.

Watson,Thomas J., deceased, late of the township of Melancthon, was the second child and only son of James and Jane Watson, of Hull, Yorkshire, England, where he was born in 1823. He was educated for a civil engineer, and followed that profession for some years in his native country, but emigrating to Canada in 1849, he took up a temporary residence in the above township. He only remained here two years, however, after which he lived in Quebec, New Hamburg (Ont.), and Shakespeare (Ont.). While at the latter place he built that section of the Grand Trunk Railway between Baden and Stratford, and a portion of the Perth County gravel roads. In 1869 he returned to Melancthon, where he remained till his death, in 1875, leaving a widow, six sons, and two daughters to mourn his loss.
Mr. Watson's life was almost wholly spent in engineering and contracting. He was engaged from time to time in a great many very important public workds contracts, and had the reputation everwhere of being a first-class man in his profession, as well as an upright and honorable gentleman in all his business relations.

Bibliographies on the township:

These items (*) are available through interlibrary loans from the National Library of Canada:

*Bagley, Gary and Lynne Web. Spring Valley Cemetery, Horning's Mill, lot 12, concession 1, Melancthon Township, Dufferin County. Barrie, Ont.: Ontario Genealogical Society, Simcoe County, Branch, 1978.

*Black, Lois. Gravestone inscriptions of Melancthon Township, Dufferin County, Ontario, to September 1992. Toronto: L. Black, 1993.

*Dean, David E. Melancthon settlement period. Orangevile, Ont.: Jacques Studios, 1990. Index and purchase information

*Munroe, W. F. Backwood's life. Rosemont, Ont.: Dufferin County Museum & Archives, 1997.

Voters list of the Municipality of the Township of Melancthon for the year 1927. Shelburne: Economist Print, 1927.

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Last updated: May 2, 2008
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