NORTH GWILLIMBURY is
the smallest township in the county, both in area and population. It
comprises 29,011 acres, and according to the last census has 2,151
inhabitants. It is bounded by Lake Simcoe to the north, East Gwillimbury
to the south, Cooke's Bay to the west, and Georgina to the east. The
concessions, of which there are eight, are numbered eastward from Yonge
Street, though the first conccssion only comprises a few lots in a
little strip of land south of Cooke's Bay, and the second has a broken
front, the water encroaching in some places upon the third concession.
The eighth concession is also deficient, as the rear line does not run
parallel with Yonge Street, but due north and south. North Gwillimbury
was first settled early in the present century. The earliest patent is
one dated in 1800. The following is a lift of some of the patentees:—
1803—James Roche, Isaac
Willcox, Garrett Vanzante, Antoine Lapalme, Ann Woodcock.
Bertrand, Hon. James Baby, William Smalley, John Mardoff.
William Garner, Frederick Sprague.
Calvin Ennes, Joseph Quarry, Ira Gardiner, Quetton de St. George, Samuel
Lawrence, Beniamin Reynolds, Alice Cook, Mary Rogers, Cornelius Ryckman,
Joseph Willson, Catharine Wesbour, Magdalene Allair, Frederick Augustus
Goring, Elizabeth Veeiner, Eliza Forfar, Benjamin Cozens, Simon Montross,
James Gromer, Rev. Patrick.
1807—John Small, Peter
Anderson, Alexander Wood, David Bishop Warren, Ann Sherrard, Lieut-Col.
Augustin Beiton, Le Chevalier de Mariscal, John Conrad Miller, James
Vicomte de Chalus, Samuel Moody Kmsal, Una Curlett, Catherine Osborne,
Levi Sherwood, George Bond, Margaret Munday, Andrew Bigham, Sarah Fodcr.
William Powell, Henry E. Nichols.
1840 —Ephraim Holland
Payson, Rev. John Boaf, J. B. Sprague.
About one-third of the
total area of North Gwilliambury, m the northern and western parts, is
flat, low-lying land, a large portion of which is swampy. Three thousand
acres are stony, and the remainder is undulating cultivable land. Heavy
clay and sandy loam are the predominant characteristics of the soil, but
there are considerable areas of clay loam and sand, and smaller tracts
of gravel and black loam. The proportions of first, second, and
third-class land are about equal. The values range from $50 to $80 for
first-class land, $25 to $50 for second-class, and §10 to S25 for
third-class farms. About two-thirds of the farms are under first-class
fences, and the dwellings are half of the first-class and the remainder
inferior. A very small proportion of the land has been improved by
under-drainage. The proportion of land devoted to the principal items of
agricultural produce is as follows :—Fall wheat, one-tenth; spring
wheat, one-third; barley, one-tenth; oats, one-tenth; peas,
one-twentieth; potatoes one one-hundred-and-fiftieth; turnips, one -
hundredth; hay, one-tenth-, pasturage, one-fifth. The yield per acre as
nearly as can be calculated is as follows:—Fall wheat, 20 bushels ;
spring wheat, 15 bushels ; barley, 25 bushels; oats, 35 bushels; peas,
20 bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 500 bushels; hay, one ton.
About one-twenty-fifth of the whole area is still wooded. There is but
little improved live stock :n the township. The returns for 1881 show
1,754 head of cattle, 1,306 horses, 1,594 sheep, and 784 hogs.
The early records of
the township show that in 1821 the number of the inhabitants of North
Gwillimbury and Georgina were 272. In 1822 the population of the two
townships had increased to 314—in 1823 it was 339. North Gwillimbury, 'n
1842, contained 697 inhabitants—in 1850 the num ber was 1,172. The
census of 1871 showed a population of 2,304, which, as in most of the
townships, has fallen off somewhat during the last decade, the census of
1881 giving the number as 2,151. Of this number 1,869 are of Canadian
products of 1849 included 26.000 bushels of wheat, 13,000 bushels of
oats, 5,000 bushels of peas, 13,000 bushels of potatoes, and 10,000
bushels of turnips. In 1881 the yield amounted to 53,168 bushels of
wheat, 22,921 bushels of barley, 76,720 bushels of oats, 20,843 bushels
of peas and beans, 24,367 bushels of potatoes, 26,833 bushels of
turnips, and 2,692 tons of hay.
"he occupiers of land
number 335, of whom 224 own the soil, the total area in occupation being
28,783 acres, of which 19,106 acres are improved land. The area devoted
to field crops is 14,763 acres, 3,826 acres being pasture, and 517
gardens and orchards.
The townships of North
Gwillimbury and Georgina were united for some time. The Officials for
the united townships fo; 1822 were as follows: —Arad Smalley, town
clerk; Holland A. Payson and Alexander Lawson, assessors; Joshua Utier,
collector; Erastus Smalley, Asa Crittenden, George Williams, Daniel
Mann, Zenas Ilentley, Fountain D. Hunter, and William Carter,
path-masters; Silas Ernes and L. Hale, pound-keepers; William Crittenden
and Joseph Lo e, town wardens. In 1823 Arad Smalley was town
clerk ; Asa Smalley and Betuamin Jefferson, assessors; H. H. Payson,
collector, and Joel Draper and Simeon Martin, town wardens. The town
wardens for 1824 were Jacob Draper and J. Donald— for 1825, John Comer
and Squire Martm. In 1826 the Township of Georgina was separated from
North Gwillimbury, and the record of municipal proceedings thenceforward
relates to the latter township only.
In 1827 Joel Draper and
David Mann were town wardens; Silas Ernes, assessor; John Prossor,
collector, and Arad Smalley, town clerk. In 1828 David Sprague became
township clerk, an office which he retained until 1842. James Ciittenden
and Ephraim W. Payson were town wardens for the former year. The town
wardens for some years following were as follows: 1829—David Sprague and
Noah Gager; 1830—Joseph Rose and Martin Warmer; 1831—J. Rose and Squire
Martin; 1832—Abraham Sedore and Austin Huntley; 1833—N. Gager and Joel
Draper; 1834— Silas Emes and Israel Bennett; 1835—J. Ross and E.
In 1836 the municipal
system underwent some changes. D. Sprague, B. W. Smith, John Prossor and
Justin Hatfield were chosen commissioners. In 1837 the commissioners
were Justin Hatfield, Isaac Bennett and Peter Bilder. A memorandum dated
1st of January, 1838, is as follows: "In consequence of the Rebellion
which broke out on the 4th of last December no township meeting took
place this day. The township officers of last year therefore remain in
their var ous offices during the year. David Sprague, town clerk." The
records contain a minute of a special session of the magistrates for the
division of North Gwillimbury and Georgina, held at North Gwillimbury on
the 16th April, 1838, bearing the signatures of Arad Smalley, J.P., and
Thomas Mossington, J.P. In 1839 Oliver Barton, N. Gager, and D. Sprague,
sen'r, were town wardens. There was another special session of
magistrates of the two townships this year at which Arad Smalley, James
D. Boucher, of Georgina, Thomas Mossington, and Simon Lee were present.
In 1840 the town wardens were Silas Ernes, J. Bennett, and G. D. Earl;
in 1841, D. Sprague, sen'r, and George D. Earl; 1842, J. Carbett, Silas
Emes, and George W. Chipperfield. In this year David Dawson was
appointed town clerk in place of Mr. Sprague, and retained the position
until his death, in 1846, when Mr. Sprague was again chosen to the
office. The town wardens for 1843 were G. D. Earl, G. V . Chipperfield,
and J. Bennett. In 1844. trie Home District Councd was organized, Isaac
Bennett being chosen councilman for the township. The town wardens for
this year were, G. W. Chipperfield, N. Gager, and 1). Sprague, sen'r.
The town wardens for
the remaining years during which this office existed were as follows:
1845—II. Iluntly, Austm Iluntly, Simeon Iluntly; 1846--T. Mossington,
Israel Shepherd, J. Chipperfield; 1847—Cornelius Silver, William L. T.
Corbett, G. D. Earl; 1848—John Prossor, Hugh II. Wiison, Silas Emes;
1849—Nicholas Bennett, Robert Anderson, S. Sprague, sen'r.
In 1850 it is recorded
that the first meeting of the municipal council of the township took
place 011 the 22nd of January, at Dughili school house, Isaac Bennett
being reeve, and Messrs. J. Prossor, Arad Shepherd, J. Morton, and D.
Sprague, councillors, and Richard Sheppard, township clerk. Thomas
Mossington became reeve the following year. In 1852
John Prosser was
elected to the reeveship. He was succeeded in 1853 by David Sprague, who
held the office for two years. He subsequently held the same position in
1856, 185S, and 1864. In 1855 and 1862 the reeveship fell to John
Morton, and in 1857 to I). B. Wilson. Thomas Evans filled the chair in
1859 and again in 1861, William Henry in i860 and 1865, Henry Draper in
1863 and subsequently for the period 1866-69. In 1870 he was succeeded
by John Marritt who had a five years' term, and filled the position
again in 1876. Elijah Prossor and Willard Bennett are also among those
who have held the office of late years. The present reeve is R. M. Van
Norman of Keswick, the deputy-reeve being D. H. Sprague of the same
place. The other councillors are Stephen Winch and J. D. Davidson, both
of Belhaven, and John Boag, of Ravenshoe. Henry Sennett, Belhaven, is
township clerk; E. Nosser, of Keswick, treasurer, and Ellis Sheppard, of
The township meetings,
for some fifteen years past, have been held at Belhaven, a village
containing about a hundred inhabitants, occupying a central position in
the township. Keswick, originally called Medina, ,s picturesquely
located on the summit of the uplands, overlooking Cooke's Bay to the
west. The population is about one hundred and sixty/ Three miles to the
north is the village of Roach's Point, on the headland which forms the
northern limit of Cooke's Bay, the romantic situation and surroundings
of which have not availed to induce its growth. It was formerly known as
" Keswick," but lost its official designation when the post-office was
removed to the lower village. A mile and a half south of Keswick is
Jersey. The three villages are connected by a road following the course
of the elevated land along the coast. Another road strikes across the
township in a north-easterly direction from Ravenshoe in East
Gwillimbury. This was the outlet of travel to Yonge Street in the early
days of settlement. The Lake Simcoe Junction Railway traverses the
township from south to north within a very short distance of its eastern
contains seven school sections, and seven teachers.
No. 1 is half a mile
east of Queen Street, and on the first side-road north from the
town-line south. It is a plank or frame building of considerable age,
and not so comfortable as recent improvements have made pretty general.
The average attendance under the present teacher, Miss Sarah Earl, s 35.
No. 2 is also 011 Queen
Street, five miles north of the town-line, and half a mile north of
Keswick, or Dug Hill. The house is a rough-cast frame of good size and
comfort. The average attendance is 33. Teacher, J. E. Pollock.
No. 3 is situated on
the base-line, two miles directly west of Sutton, and one and a half
from Lake Simcoe. The house is an old plank or frame, with some recent
improvements and good furniture. The average attendance is 32. The
teacher, Miss T. Price.
No. 4 is nearly in the
centre of the township, on the farm of John Morton, Esq., lot 18, 5th
concession, and is an old frame house fairly furnished and kept. Average
attendance, 41. Teacher, Miss Sarah Fisher.
No. 5 is on the
south-east corner of lot 6 in the 5th concession in the English
Settlement. It is an old frame building, with a recent addition to make
legal space for the school population, but not comfortable or attractive
inside. Miss Thusnelda Borugasser is the teacher. Her average attendance
No. 6, or Roach's Point
School, is an old frame house on the base-line, about six miles west
from Sutton, on lot 23, 3rd concession. The average attendance under the
present teacher, Miss Jennie Rogers, is 20.
No. 7, known as Gum
Swamp School, is situated on lot 15, 7th concession. The building is a
neat and comfortable frame building erected in 1882. Miss Mossie
Sheppard is the teacher. The average attendance is 18.