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The Stories of the Counties of Ontario
By Emily P Weaver (1913)


PREFATORY NOTE

THE story of the counties of Ontario is a story of conquest—not of men against men—but of men, with little resource save their own strong arms, iron wills and alert intelligence, pitted against wild, beautiful, prolific Nature, and prevailing to subdue the earth. Carving their little farms from “the forest primeval,’’ planting their own towns and cities at the meeting-places of mighty waters, making highways of every lake and river and streamlet deep enough to bear up a birch-bark canoe, our Loyalist “Pilgrim Fathers,” many of whom lad been cast out as unworthy by the land of their birth, were privileged, as has often happened with outcasts, to found a new order of things and a new nation.

This Province had not, of course, a monopoly of all the Loyalist settlers who came northwards after the revolution, but it had enough to bring it into being with a instinctive character of its own, enough, exclusive of other brave and useful pioneers, to furnish it with heroes —and heroines—for the early days of stress and strain and struggle—those days over which for us hangs the fairy glamour of romance, though few of us would have discovered it had we had to live through them. 1 suppose this charm of the past and—in some measure— of the distant, is akin to the misty blues and purples of, the far-away horizon. It comes from a certain point of view, far enough from the things seen to enable us to lose sight of details and realise the relative proportions of objects. So, though in literature we often associate romance with the quaint trappings and customs of bygone days, its real concern is with the heroes and with the big things of life—love and hate, good and evil, contest and victory: and great dramas may be played out on a narrow stage.

This story, with its chapters of adventure, of patriotic warfare, of political struggle, and of effort to make the best of marvellous opportunities, is still in the making. The age of explorers and pioneers and (let us hope) of patriots is not past, while that of “merchant princes,” “captains of industry,” and organised armies of labourers has begun; but time’s changes only add to its interest.

Gleaning in the fields of Ontario’s local history has proved a fascinating task; but for the handfuls gathered, whole sheaves are left untouched. In other words, this book makes no profession of being a formal history. It is but hoped for it that it may do a little to stimulate interest in the history of the Province, especially amongst Ontario’s own sons and daughters, and may incline them to make greater efforts to preserve the records and memorials of their past.

Already the history of some counties and townships has been written with loving care, and it was an easy and a pleasant thing to follow in paths so well marked. In other cases, the material had to be gathered with arduous labour, here and there, far afield; but in all difficulties I was fortunate enough to have the able and untiring assistance of the ladies in charge of the Reference Library at Toronto—Miss Staten and Miss Moir—and I cannot let this book go to press without a very grateful acknowledgment of the debt that I owe to them.

The illustrations are reproductions of old prints and pictures in the Archives at Ottawa; and I have to thank Dr. Doughty for permission to use them, and his assistant, Miss Casey, for her kind help in finding suitable subjects.

The map at the end of the volume shows the extent of the Province of Ontario as it is to-day.

E. P. W.

CONTENTS

CENTRAL COUNTIES

FRONTENAC
LENNOX AND ADDINGTON
PRINCE EDWARD
HASTINGS
NORTHUMBERLAND
PETERBORO' COUNTY
HALIBURTON
DURHAM
VICTORIA
ONTARIO
YORK
PEEL
HALTON
SIMCOE
DUFFERIN
LINCOLN
WELLAND

EASTERN COUNTIES

GLENGARRY
STORMONT
DUNDAS
PRESCOTT
RUSSELL
GRENVILLE
LEEDS
CARLETON
LANARK
RENFREW

WESTERN COUNTIES

WENTWORTH
BRANT
HALDIMAND
WATERLOO
WELLINGTON
NORFOLK
ELGIN
OXFORD
MIDDLESEX
KENT
ESSEX
LAMBTON
PERTH
HURON
BRUCE
GREY

DISTRICTS

MUSKOKA
PARRY SOUND
NIPISSING
SUDBURY
TIMISKAMING
ALGOMA
MANITOULIN
THUNDER BAY
RAINY RIVER
KENORA
PATRICIA


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