Victoria County Centennial History

This history has been appearing serially through the Lindsay "Watchman-Warder" for the past eleven months and is now issued in book form for the first time. The occasion for its preparation is, of course, the one hundredth anniversary of the opening up of Victoria county.

Its chief purposes are four in number: (1) to place on record the local details of pioneer life that are fast passing into oblivion; (2) to instruct the present generation of school-children in the origins and development of the social system in which they live; (3) to show that the form which our county's development has taken has been largely determined by physiographical, racial, social, and economic forces; and (4) to demonstrate how we may, after a scientific study of these forces, plan for the evolution of a higher economic and social order. The difficulties of the work have been prodigious. A Victoria County Historical Society, formed twenty years ago for a similar purpose, found the field so sterile that it disbanded, leaving no records behind. Under such circumstances, I have had to dig deep. The Dominion Archives at Ottawa and the Crown Lands Department at Toronto have been systematically ransacked; libraries at Kingston, Peterborough, Lindsay, and Toronto have been consulted; the municipal records of the county have been thumbed over; scores of interviews have been secured with old and prominent citizens; and complete local press files for 47 years have been read through in their entirety. To provide a proper background of general history, over one hundred standard works on history, economics, and sociology have been studied. Every page of the book represents the results of laborious and incessant research.

General readers may perhaps be interested in the following "background" sketches, which, to the best of my knowledge, are not to be found anywhere else in printed form: (1). The review of Trent Canal construction, in Chapter IX. (2). The sketch, in Chapter XII, of the development of the Ontario school system. (3). The history of the early Canadian militia, in Chapter XIII. (4). The condensed outlines of Canadian military campaigns, in Chapter XIII.


Table of Contents

I Introductory Outline 9
II The Southern Townships 24
III An Agricultural Transformation 60
IV The Northern Townships 74
V Economics of North Victoria 85
VI The Town of Lindsay 91
VII The Record of the Rocks 116
VIII Annals of the Red Man 122
IX Kawartha Navigation 136
X Spinning the Railway Web 145
XI A Century of Politics 154
XII A Schoolhouse Revolution 164
XIII Military Annals of Victoria 181
XIV Pages of Parish History 202
XV Research into Pioneer Survival 218
XVI Biographies from Past and Present 228
XVII Problems in Development 244
Index 258

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We have thus sketched in outline the history of Victoria County over a period of one hundred years. We have followed the development of three distinct eras: the pioneer era which closed with the full development of municipal institutions; the railway era, in which the county attained municipal maturity and its maximum population and prosperity; and the modern era, in which certain radical changes have become manifest.