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East Gwillimbury


East Gwillimbury Shines
By Carolyn Deep, Owner and Author.


East Gwillimbury

The thing to know, historically about East Gwillimbury is that it is named for Lady Gwillim, wife of Simcoe.

The town is composed of Sharon, Mount Albert, Queensville and Holland Landing. Anchor Park boasts a giant anchor from war of 1812.

A Short Video on Anchor Park in Holland Landing & The War Of 1812

Holland Landing: Driving Through the Town in 2011

East Gwillimbury in the Nineteenth Century
A Centennial History of the Township of East Gwillimbury By Gladys M. Rolling.

Extract from the book...

Transportation, communication, commerce, three things which are so important to our modern economy, were equally important to the early inhabitants of this area. Thus the river which we call the Holland played a very important part in the development of East Gwillimbury. Indian tribes of Iroquois and Hurons recognized the value of the river and fought to gain control of it, and of the surrounding marsh lands with their abundance of game. The Iroquois had control when Champlain reached the lake later known as Simcoe in 1615 and Father Breboeuf reported the river to be dangerous and unfrequented in 1635.

Trade with the Indians was most important to the French and the Raffeix Map of 1688 shows the Holland River and surrounding area drawn on a very accurate scale. The names given the river are uncertain until shortly after 1700 when the Chippewa tribe gained control and named the river Escoyondy. Later the Mississaugas renamed it Miciaguean and different spellings of these names were found by Lord Simcoe when he became Governor of Upper Canada.

The French introduced sailing boats into Lake Ontario in 1687 and forts were established at Niagara in 1720 and Rouille (Toronto) in 1729, thus making the river an important link in the transportation of furs from the areas around Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. The fort at Niagara was captured by the British in 1759 and Fort Rouille was burned by the French to avoid capture.

Although the British talked about establishing a means of communication and transportation to the Georgian Bay, little was done until Governor Simcoe set up a fort at York in 1793. Simcoe was determined to find the best route north and he set out with his party on September 24 the same year and by 6:00 p.m. on September 27 he had travelled to the 6th Concession of King Township. There he found it necessary to cross the marsh land to reach the west branch of the Escoyondy. He was not happy with the route but proceeded northward to the lake where an Indian Chief "Great Sail" told him about an eastern route that was much better. Simcoe continued into the Georgian Bay and on the return trip, he found the eastern branch of the river and reached the area known as Soldiers Bay on October 11. Here the party camped overnight but awakened to find it raining heavily with the rain continuing for several days. It is reported that while waiting for dry weather, their rations became so low that consideration was given to eating Simcoes large dog "Jack Snap" but fair weather saved the dogís life and the party set out up the river. They found the east branch of the Humber, arrived at Fort York on October 14 and Simcoe proceeded to have the Escoyondy renamed Hollandís River after Major Samuel Holland Surveyor-General of Canada.

The new route suited Simcoe much better and he was eager to have a survey completed. Augustus Jones was hired to do the survey in February, 1794 and he completed the job to Lot 111, west in East Gwillimbury. His notes reveal that loaded boats could reach Lake Simcoe from Lot 111, a distance of 8 miles. The survey completed, Simcoe was impatient to build a road and the Queens York Rangers were called upon to start the road building project. A trail was completed to Thornhill when the Rangers were called to defend Niagara on August 15, 1794 and the following month William Berezy agreed to complete the road to Lot 111 in exchange for four lots. He reached Langstaff by November but illness hit his men and he couldn't complete the contract, so the Rangers were called in again and finally reached Lot 111 in 1796. Simcoe named the road Yonge Street after Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War.

The road brought settlers to the area and lots were given to settlers who in turn agreed to clear the land, build homes and maintain their portion of the road. However, little road work was done and finally after repeated warnings they were given until Christmas, 1799, to improve the road. Traffic was increasing steadily and the lot owners could not keep the road repaired to the satisfaction of the governing body. Thus it was declared a Public Highway in 1803 so that funds could be allocated from the Treasury to maintain it.

The first survey of the Township of East Gwillimbury took place in 1800 by Stegman. Hambley completed a later survey in 1803 and the Holland Landing Town Plot was surveyed by Wilmot in 1811. The Three Gwillimburys, East, North and West, were named by Governor Simcoe in honour of his wife whose maiden name was Gwillim. Her father, Major Gwillim, was an able soldier, the aide-de-camp for General Wolfe and he gave his life, as did his General during the battle of the Plains of Abraham. The task of completing a survey in 1800 was not easy since surveyors travelled on foot, carrying their equipment. Measuring was done in chains and wet marshy lands were undertaken during the winter months when water and soft ground were frozen. Since surveyors walked up one concession and down the next their measurements varied a few chains at times, thus sideroads jog one way or another between concessions when the lot measurements vary.

When the survey was completed patentees soon applied for land grants which in many cases were given free of charge by the Crown to persons friendly to the Family Compact

Taken from the Domesday Book early Patentees on Township lots were -

Concession 1, Yonge E.- 96 - Nehemiah Hide 1804; 97 - Thomas Young, 1803; 98 - Obadiah Griffin, 1805; 99 - Theodore Wine, 1804; 100 - H. Proctor, 1805; 101 - Nathan Farr, 1804; 102 -Bela Clark, 1805; 103 - Obadiah Huff, 1805; 104 Elisha Mitchell, 1805; 105 - Bernard Velie, 1805; 106 - Joseph Pearson, 1804; 107 - John Dunham, 1805; 108 - Samuel Dean 1809; 109 - Peter Robinson, 1816; 110 - Joseph Johnson, 1817; 112 - 130 remained Crown land during the early years, being patented between 1865 and 1874.

Concession 2 -1 and 2 - Timothy Rogers, 1804; 3 - Robert Culverwell, 1850; 3 - Texty Weller, 1842; Charles Kinsey, 1846; 4 - Obadiah Griffin, 1805; 5 - Hy. Proctor, 1805; 7 - Isaac Willson, 1805; 8 - Jos. Hill. 1802; 9 - Samuel Hughes, 1833; 10 - David Willson - 1801; 11 - Joseph Sutherland, 1805; 13 -Thos. Selby, 1812; 14 - John Weddel, 1801; 15 - Abijah Mack, 1803; 16 - William H. Wilson, 1843; 16 - Benj. Lyster, 1840; 17 - Ebenezer Weller, 1801; 18 - Joel Bigelow, 1802; 19 - Ruben Richardson, 1802; 20 Eligah Welsh, 1800; 22 - Elijah Robinson, 1801; 23 - Peter Anderson, 1807; 24 - William Pegg, 1847; 25 - Frederick Harrick, 1804; 27 - Jno. McKay, 1835; 28 Conrad Gostman, 1807; 35 - Sarah Grant, 1808.

Concession 3 - 1 - Timothy Rogers, 1804; 2 - Radselar McCarthy 1828; 2 - Moses Knight, 1829; 2 - Geo. McCarthy, 1828; 3 -Jacob Robinson, 1804; 4 - Adam Lepard, 1804; 6 - William Howard, 1804; 7 - Wm. Huff, 1804; 8 - John Doan Sr., 1831; 9 - Humphrey Finch, 1809; 10 ó Abijah Mack, 1803; 12 - Calvin Washburne, 1807; 13 - John Hodgson, 1805; 14 - Peter Vanderburgh, 1805; 15 - Ebenezer Doan, 1831; 15 - Wm. H. Wilson, 1847; 15 - John Bromer, 1845; 19 - John Fitus, 1B1J; - Esther Frisbee, 1803; 19 - A. Howard, 1802; 20 - Jeremiah Traviss, 1805; 22 - Levy Vaubleck, 1803; 23 - Wm. Pegg; 24 -Josiah Hemingway; 25 - David Ebbins; 25 - George Hobone; 26 -Catherine St. Clair; 27 - Eliza Arnold; 29 - Eliza Bell; 30 -Simeon Sherman; 31 - John Ebbins; 32 - Peter Anderson; 33 -Eve Wintermutte; 35 - Jacob Wintermutte;

Concession 4 1 and 2 ó Philip Phillips; 3 - Jno. Ebbins & Jas. Ebbins; 4'"and 5 - Wyant Williams; 7 - Isaac Rogers; 8 - Isaac Pegg; 9 - Wm. Purdy; 9 - Isaih Rogers; 10 - Benj. Perry; 11 -Matt Mill; 13 - Wm. Dunham; 14 - Robt. Briggs; 15 - Richard East Gwill. in the 19th Century Graham; 16 - Arthur Ebbins and Jno. T. Stokes; 17 - Thos. Dunham; 18- Daniel Ravis, 1802; 21 - Geo. Holinshead, 1803; 22 - Philip Chinger, 1805; 23 - Jno. Ernes, 1803; 25 - Job Cogsele, 1805; 26 - Jacob Lepard, 1804; 28 - Henry Lepard, 1867; 29 - Jessie Bennet, 1804; 31 - Jessie Ketchum, 1805; 32 - Zebulon Ketchum, 1804; 34 - Peter Emery, 1805; 35 - Daniel Cox, 1822;

Concession 5 1 - Richard Banks, 1805; 2 - Samuel Johnson, 1832;
2 - Jno. Weddel, 1833; 3 and 4 Jean Louis VI - Comte de Chaleu, 1809; 6 - Catherine Smith, 1806; 7 - Thomas Price, 1805; 8 -William Elmer, 1846; 9 - Christian Hershey Jr., 1805; 10 -Henry Huber, 1805; 12 - Frederick Ashbough, 1805; 13 - Mary Parry, 1806; 14 - Elizabeth Laughtan, 1806; 16 - Andrew Me Glash-an, 1806; 17 - J. B. Spragge, 1840; 18 - Joseph Dolinger, 1805; 20 - Avery Stiles, 1805; 22 - Thos. Leighton, 1843; 23 - Augustus House, 1805; 24 - Geo. Buck, 1805; 25 - Jno. Johnson, 1807;
26 - Philip Buck, 1805; 27 and 28 Daniel Cox, 1822; 29 - Mary Adams, 1806; 32 - Catherine Pallit, 1806; 33 and 34 - D. Cox, 1822.

Concession 6 1 - Anna Connor, 1805; 2 - Mary Kreen, 1806; 1 - Catherine Rood, 1806; 5 - Catherine Ronset, 1805; 7 - Elsy Sherrard, 1806; 8 - Nancy Barnum, 1806; 10 - Rebecca Chrysdale, 1806; 11 - Ann Hoiks, 1806; 13 - Elizabeth Harriss, 1806; 15 -Sarah Storer, 1806; 17 - Jane Huffman, 1806; 19 - Ann Tiffany, 1808; 21 - Elizabeth Beech, 1806; 22 and 23 - Rachael Woolcutal 1806; 25 - Nancy Black, 1806; 26 - Samuel Pickel, 1806; 28 -Daniel Cox, 1822; 29 - Catherine Elsworth, 1806; 31 - Phoebe Cornwall, 1806; 32 - D. Cox, 1822; 34 - Mary Robben, 1806; 35 - D. Cox, 1822;

Concession 7 1 - Jas. McCaul, 1806; 3 and 4 - Wm. Coldwell, 1807; 6 and 7 - Robert Nichol, 1806; 9 - Hermanas House, 1807; 10 - Lewis House, 1807; 12, 13 and 14 - Le Chevalier de Marcul 1805; 16 - John Secord Jr., 1808; 17 - Benj. Dunham, 1808; 18 - Henry Zufelt, 1808; 19 - Nathaniel Sherrard, 1812; 20 -Eunice Scorils, 1812;. 22 - J. Ozburn, 1808; 23 - Mary Brown, 1808; 24 - Rachael Brown, 1808; 26 and 27 - D. Cox 1822; 29 -J. Ozburn, 1808; 30, 32 and 33 - Geo. Bond, 1808;

Concession 8 1 - Jas. Pettibou, 1806; 2 - Jno. Hall, 1807; 3 - Jno. Weddel, 1833; 4 - Nathaniel Dennis, 1808; 5 - Chas. Hill, 1806; 7 - Benjamin Mosley, 1806; 8 - Elijah Howley, 1806; 9 - Wm. Hutall, 1819; 9 - Henry Shuttleworth, 1849; 10 - Jas. Kinsey, 1807; 11 to 14 - Edward Foreman, 1817; 15 - Wm. Coldwell 1807; 16 - Jno. Snarr, 1849; 16 - Catherine Bisenbery, 1808; 19 - Le Chevalier de Marseul, 1807; 21 - 23 - Jas. Ozburn, 1808; 25 and 26 - Wm. Anderson, 1802; 26 - Nathaniel Sherrard, 1812;

Concession 9 1 - Gideon Veron, 1812; 2 - George Heron, 1846; 3 - Peter Anderson, 1807; 4 - 12 - Gideon Veron, 1812.

Yonge Street West 96 - Obadiah Rogers, 1835; 97 - Nathaniel Goger, 1805; 98 - Bethnel Huntley, 1805; 99 - Wm. Phillips 1805; 100 - Ephraim Talbut, 1804; 101 - Daniel Wilson, 1805; 102 - Stephen Howard, 1805; 103 - Josiah Coolige, 1803; 104 -Geo. Cutter, 1803; 105 - Jeremiah Moore Jr., 1803; 106 - Jacob Reer Jr., 1803; 107 - Edward Taylor Collins, 1803; 108 - Jno. Eves, 1803; 109 - Jno. Benedick, 1808; 110 - Thos. Gibbs, and T. J. OíNeill, 1855; 111 - 114 - Wm. Hawkins, 1850; 117 - Wm. Laughton, 1846; 118 - 119 - Amos West, 1811.

These patentees were taken from an 1878 Atlas borrowed from William Burkholder, Queensville. It appears that many of these first land owners had little intention of developing the land they had patented, but were making use of their affiliation with the Family Compact for financial gain. Some names are familiar in the Township today and descendants of these early patentees are still residents of the Municipality. It is unfortunate that dates were not listed for some patentees on Concessions 3 and 4, no reason being given for the omission. On Concession 6 it is interesting to note that 18 out of 22 patentees were women. The lots on Yonge Street West were first part of the Township of West Gwillimbury but were transferred to East Gwillimbury in 1852.

No doubt Simcoes decision to build a road to Hollandís Landing, later known as Holland Landing, was a decisive factor in the early development of East Gwillimbury and the 1809 Censors shows East Gwillimbury with a population of 425 in comparison with 577 in York, 140 in Etobicoke, 175 in King and 73 in North Gwillimbury.

When the war of 1812 broke out, the need for supplies for troops necessitated the improvement of Yonge Street and the road was developed rapidly. A Naval reserve was used extensively for receiving and dispatching supplies and armaments at Soldiers Bay, on the east side of the river north of the Queensville sideroad. The Minnonites, Tunkers and Quakers were excused from military duty due to their religious beliefs but compelled to haul supplies from Soldiers Bay to York using oxen and wagons. They were also forced to feed and house the troops and the need for food saw more land developed and agriculture boomed. In 1813 York fell to the Americans and they also came north on Yonge Street for food. The peace treaty of 1815 ended the war and development dragged for a few years. A large anchor, forged in England for a shipyard on the Georgian Bay/was hauled up Yonge Street by 12 yoke of oxen on sleighs. It took 4 days to haul the Anchor from York to East Gwill. in the 19th Century

Soldiers Bay. When the peace treaty was announced the anchor was left on the sleighs for almost 56 years then taken to Holland Landing Park in 1870 where it remains as a monument of those early times.

The Park was renamed Anchor Park and is at present a part of the Holland Valley Conservation Authority.

List of voters of the township of East Gwillimbury for the year 1877


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