Pioneers of Hastings County

Exerpts from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the

Counties of Hastings and Prince Edward


Prepared by Linda Herman

Sidney Township

The townships on the Bay of Quinte, with the exception of the Indian township Tyendenaga, were first settled by United Empire Loyalists and were numbered in the order of their settlement, Kingston being first town, Earnestown, second town, and so on to the township of Sidney, which was called eighth town. Ameliasburgh was seventh town. The loyalty of the settlers caused these to be changed to Kingstown and to the names of the sons and daughters of King George III., those on the Peninsula of Prince Edward Co being named after the females of that line. Those names being exhausted, Sidney was named after Lord Sidney who in the time of the revolutionary war was Secretary for the Colonial Department.

Sidney was surveyed and laid out about the year 1787 by Louis Kotte assisted by one McDonald. The northern section of the township , the Oak Hills range was surveyed and settled later, one of the first portions occupied there being that of Sine Settlement on lots 23 and 24 of the 6th concession. Sidney is bounded on the north by the township of Rawdon, on the east by Thurlow and the city of Belleville, on the south by the Bay of Quinte, and on the west by the river Trent and the township of Murray in the County of Northumberland.The settlement of Sidney was effected by three classes of settlers, 1st United Empire Loyalists; 2nd Sons and daughters from the Loyalists of older townships on the Bay who had drawn land there and also by persons of Loyalist origin who came from Nova Scotia; 3rd by Americans who subsequently settled there after the war of 1812.

The first concession of Sidney, from the proximity of the waters of the Bay of Quinte, became of necessity the earliest settlement. Capt. John Walter Myers (noted in Stoke’s "American Border Wars" and Dr. Caniff’s "History of the Settlement of Canada") together with his family appears to have been the actual pioneer settler. Capt. Myers was of Dutch descent and came from Albany, N.Y. about the close of the war. He drew a grant of 800 acres a short distance east of the present village of Trenton. He cleared land for cultivation, erected a grist-mill and became a pioneer in mill building as well as trading and sailing batteaux and other crafts on the Bay. He later erected another mill on the river Moira and also a log saw-mill on the east bank where Belleville now stands. Capt Myers had four sons, George, Tobias, Leonard, and Jacob. And at least two daughters, one of whom married J. J. Bleeker, the first settler at Trenton and the other to John Row an early settler of Sidney. Tobias W. Myers and John G. Myers, sons of his eldest son George, a Major, became patriarchs of the settlement. Capt. Myers died in 1816 and was buried in the original cemetery in the front of Sidney.

The origianl U.E.Loyalists settled on the front of the first concession of Sidney in the floowing order, commerncing at Trenton:-Capt. Marsh, Capt. Myers and his fours sons, John Scott, George Smith, Abel Gilbert, Chrysdale and Ostrom. George Smith was the first person interred in the old front of Sidney burial ground. To these were added offshoots of U.E. Loyalists from elsewhere and followed by Americans, who emigrated after the war. At this period we find the names of Zwick, Vandervoort, White, Bonesteel, Simmons, Kelly, Finkle, Graham, Jones, Laurence, and Elijah Ketcheson all in the first concession. In the second concession we have the names of Hogle, John Row, from Nova Scotia, Simmons, Gilbert, Ostrom, Vandewater, and James Farley, who is said to have come in 1799. In the third concession there occur the names of John Smith, John Lott, John Stickle – three Johns- hence the name Johnstown. To the west end of the concession- Ira Billings, Bonesteel, Perrey, Aikens, Crouter, McMullen, Vandervoort, Goldsmith, Ruliff, Purdey, Hagerman, Roblin, Caleb, Gillbert, and Fralick. In the fourth concession came William Ketcheson with his sons, in 1800, a U.E. Loyalist from Nova Scotia. The settlement of this concession began towards the eastern boundary where we find the names of Longwell, Sherard, Hazelton, William Ketcheson Sr., William Ketcheson Jr., Youmans, John Ketcheson, Graham, Huffman, Henry Grass, Ackers and Thomas Ketcheson.

Timothy Soper, son of Leonard Soper, was the first white child born in the township of Sidney.

Excerpt from the Record of the township which date back to 1790:

"Names of person who subscribed seven pence halfpenny to purchase this book for a Township Record,

1. Caleb Gillbert 15 Gilbert Harris

2. George Smith 16 Alex Chisholm, Jr.

3. Peter Lott 17 John Hennesy

4. Nicholas J. Stickles 18. Cornelius White

5. Aaron Rose 19. William Kelly Sr.,

6. Cornelius Lawrence 20. William Kelly Jr.,

7. Henry Ketcheson 21. Leonard W. Myers

8. Ruliff Ostrom 22 John Row

9. Solomon Hazleton 23. Samuel Tompkins

10. Hugh McMullen 24. David Marshall

11. James Sharrard 25. Charles Simmons

12. John Barnum 26. Alex Gilbard

13. George Finkle 27. Moses Simmons

14. Samuel B. Gillberd

The first annual meeting of the inhabitants of the Township of Sidney was held at the dwelling house of Aaron Rose on May 15th 1790, and from thence adjourned to the dwelling house of Stephen Gilbert, Esq. The following were nominated and appointed for town officers:

Moderator – John W. Myers; Town Clerk-Leonard Soper; Constable-David Simmons; Pathmasters To Lay Out Road-George Myers, Caleb, Gilbert; Fence Viewers-Nathaniel Marsh, William Lounsbury.

By-Law—it was ordered the town clerk be entitled to a fee of seven pence half-penny for entering the ear marks of the inhabitants of Sidney in the town book.

In 1794 the townships of Sidney and Thurlow were united for municipal purposes. It was ordered by a majority of votes that fences be 4 feet 6 inches high in the Township of Sidney and not to exceed 5 inches between the rails, Thurlow Township not to exceed 6 inches. At this meeting Archibald Chisholm and George Myers were appointed assessors, the first in these townships.

In 1798 "rams were ordered confined from 1st of Sept to 10th of Dec under penalty of 20 shillings; hogs to be free common "until they done damage".

May 1798 the townships of Sidney and Thurlow separated. Sidney elected its own officers as follows: William Lounsburry, Town Clerk; Paul Gruber and Joseph Rosebush, Town Wardens;. In 1799 Henry Smith was elected Town Clerk and in 1800 John Hagerman, followed by James Farley, James W. Sharrard, Reuben White, Abel Gilvert, Elijah Ketcheson, Jacob W. Myers, Joseph M. Lockwood, Gideon Turner, and John S. Huffman . The town meeting were held respectively in the Inn of Ketcheson, Ketcheson’s storen and Ketcheson’s school-house. In 1848-9 John Ketcheson was District Councillor and Gillbert Bleeker, Township Clerk.

In 1850 Sidney was converted to an independent municipality and the following persons were elected by a popular vote of its inhabitants to the several positions required by the Act of Parliament, the returns being made at the dwelling house of Gilbert Bleeker: Gideon Turner, Reeve; Caleb Gilbert, Deputy Reeve; Robert Bird and Gilbert Bleeker, Councillors; Thos D. Farley was appointed Clerk of the first Council. The chief executive officers of the Council since the above date have been filled respectively by the following named gentlemen: Thomas D. Farley. George Zuick, Ballis Rose-13 years Reeve-Caleb Gilbert, Ketchem Graham, Gideon Turner – many years Clerk- and James A. Chisholm. C. Armstrong is the present Reeve, Frank B. Prior, Clerk. (1878)

In 1878 Sidney has about 1,295 ratepayers with a population of 6, 475. There ia a large cheese manufacturer with several large cheese factories scattered throughout the municipality.

Frankford once a post village is situated on the river Trent in the township of Sidney. It is thought that Abel Scott was the original settler and founder of this village. About 1837 he built a mill and the place was known for many years as Scott’s Mill, sometimes called Cole Creek. During Sir Francis Bond Head’s administration he visited Scott’s Mill and named the place Frankford. The gravel road between Frankford and Trenton was completed about 1852. The village has flouring and saw-mills, a woollen factory, tannery, pump factory, and several stores, and taverns. It has a good stone Public School building and three churches – Canada Methodist, Episcopal Methodist and Roman Catholic. Sill’s paper mill is also located at this point. In 1871 Roblins erected at considerable expense a dam across the Trent river making it one of the finest mill sites in the county. Population about 500

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