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Settlement of Wellesley Township

Wellesley Township was an area of land contained within Clergy Reserves known as the Queen’s Bush. It was the last township to be settled in Waterloo County. In 1837, there were only 63 residents in the area; and by 1841 - 254.

When the first settlers arrived, they helped themselves to the land and took up clearing the land and farming. Called squatters, they came from a variety of racial and religious backgrounds. The first squatters included a large number of freed or escaped black slaves from the United States. Other squatters who settled in the township were of German heritage.

When Wellesley Township was surveyed in 1843, it was divided into two blocks to accomodate what little development the squatters had already undertaken. Squatters who could afford to buy the land outright and make substantial improvements to it, did so immediately when approved by the government. Other settlers who could not afford to buy the land outright but who were willing to improve it, were allowed to make a series of payments for the land instead.

Many Black and white squatters of the Queen’s Bush were denied grants. Some Black squatters moved from township lands to relocate elsewhere. By 1850, the population of the township reached 3,396, but one year later it included only 46 Black settlers. The majority of settlers in the township were German, English, Irish, and Scottish.

Waterloo maps. Includes Kitchener and Waterlo - 1941 (pdf and html formats); Bird's eye view of Waterloo - 1891; and Village of Waterloo and part of the Town of Berlin - 1855
Waterloo County – Township Maps
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