History of the county of Perth from 1825 to 1902, Ontario, Canada

It is now seventy years since the story of pioneer life was begun in Perth County by Sebastian Fryfogle in South Easthope. During that period such marvelous changes have taken place as the most sanguine backwoodsman could have had no conception of. To follow the foot-prints of progress during that three score and ten years, distinguishing those events which have culminated in our present conditions, is surely a theme worthy our highest aspirations. In my efforts at gathering up and describing scenes and circumstances, which lie along our ever-changing prospect, I feel impressed with a sense of unworthiness to discharge my self-imposed duty. The responsibility of dealing with events and characters of men who have laid as on a sure foundation the destiny of this county has overwhelmed me with fear that I might fail in doing justice to all.

A mass of material had to be sought out, scrutinized, and such evidences (as to historical value) selected and arranged as far as possible in chronological order, so as to give effect to the whole, which seemed an almost impossible task. I may be permitted to say, however, that whatever my shortcomings may be, and they are many; whatever my inability as a writer may be, and it is great; no one, I trust, will ever charge me with insincerity or unfaithfulness in prosecuting this important work. In that great realm of history, where men's motives must be judged largely by their actions, it is a solemn responsibility resting on the single mind of the historian that no unjust reflections be made on those whose lips are forever closed in everlasting silence.

In preparing and compiling this work every precaution has been taken to secure accuracy in its details, as being essential to confidence in its reliability. Without this quality it could not be valuable. Wherever dates are given they have been taken from records. Where oral information only has been obtainable regarding events, statements are made in general terms without conveying the idea of positive certainty.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
General Remarks on Pioneer Life 11

CHAPTER II.
The Canada Company 18

CHAPTER III.
Early Events 33

CHAPTER IV.
Political Notes 46

CHAPTER V.
Education Public Schools 75

CHAPTER VI.
Roads 97

CHAPTER VII.
Judiciary 112

CHAPTER VIII.
Militia 125

CHAPTER IX.
Origin and Names of Post Offices 130

CHAPTER X.
Literature and Art 143

CHAPTER XI.
Agricultural Evolution 151

CHAPTER XII.
Downie 176

CHAPTER XIII.
Fullarton 196

CHAPTER XIV.
Blanshard 219

CHAPTER XV.
Hibbert 239

CHAPTER XVI.
South Easthope 257

CHAPTER XVII.
Ellice 276

CHAPTER XVIII.
North Easthope 298

CHAPTER XIX.
Logan 323

CHAPTER XX.
Elma 342

CHAPTER XXI.
Mornington 365

CHAPTER XXII.
Wallace 389

CHAPTER XXIII.
St. Marys 406

CHAPTER XXIV.
Listowel 432

CHAPTER XXV.
Mitchell 450

CHAPTER XXVI.
Stratford 464

CHAPTER XXVII.
Sketches 499

 

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I propose to write a history of the County of Perth, in order that those whom futurity will bring may know the story of pioneer life in this portion of Canada. The passing years glide silently onwards, now laden with memories of those old settlers who transformed the dreary wilderness of the Huron Tract into smiling fields and happy homes. The love of an aged pioneer for his old farm was a sacred feeling, and in his bosom ranked next to that of his family, or even to life itself. Here he came in his youth, with high aspirations and a determination to make a home for himself, in spite of adverse circumstances and almost insurmountable difficulties. Here his children grew up around him, here he fought life's battle, endured the struggle with penury, often with the stern spectre of want at his door, and here also was the scene of his ultimate triumph. The names of many are now lost, but their work remains. The fertile acres they hewed* from the forest have, we regret to say, in too many instances passed into other hands. The old homestead, with all its hallowed associations, is now held by the stranger. There are still a few remaining, however, of this old band, now worn and grey, bending low beneath the weight of years, and from these must be gathered the story of the early settlement of this County.