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Fall of 1816 Route

Section Summary

The first section of this route, from Brockville to Toledo, follows today's County Road 29. Other than road straightening, today's road is close to the original 1816 alignment except in the area from the Elizabethtown/Kitley township line to Frankville, where the original Perth Road was located about 275 metres east of the present road. In the fall of 1816 it was described as being a good road and it ended just north of a bridge crossing (Koyle's Bridge) on Marshalls Creek (which flows into Irish Lake), close to present day Toledo. The road, from that point to Rideau Ferry, was cut in the fall of 1816.

There remains some uncertainly regarding when the section of road from Forthton north to a point about 2 km south of Koyles Bridge was built, since that section of road doesn't show on two 1816 maps. Those maps indicate a more circuitous route. This only affects the timing of that section of road which was likely in place by the fall of 1816.

Present day County Road 1 north of Toledo appears to follow the original alignment north to Line Road 3 (about 1 km south of Motts Mills) where the present day road diverges from original road. The original Perth Road headed east, skirting the southeast side of a marshy area on Hutton Creek. That road (now partly a trail), and its forced road allowance, still exist. A spot near where it crossed Hutton Creek was known as the Beaver Meadow. The road from the Beaver Meadow then continued north to the Kitley-Elmsley township line. Much of that portion is today's Street Road.

Present and past merge again at the Kitley-South Elmsley Townline Road, going north along today's County Road 1. The next divergence from the present day road is between Strickland Road and Lombardy. The original road was a forced road the bore east of today's CR 1 just north of Strickland Road and then swung west (crossing over today's CR 1). It crossed today's Highway 15 about 600 metres south of the Lombardy intersection. Blacksmith Road in Lombardy is part of this old road. The road then continued north from Lombardy to Rideau Ferry close to its present day alignment.

Detailed Discussion

The first section of road, from Brockville to the junction of County Road 42 (to Athens), near the location of Forthton (which didn't exist at that time) appears to follow a similar alignment, other than road straightening, to the present day road. Unionville, where John Kilborn built his house in 1816 and where William Bell spent the night of June 22, 1817, is in this area.

The first naming of this junction to Athens appears to be "Stones Inn" which shows on the Dickson 1818 map. Later that became Stone's Corner. The name Unionville first appears on Moody 1841 located at the junction of CR 29 and the Seventh Concession road, today's Glen Buell. On Walpole 1828, the junction of today's CR 29 and CR 42 is shown as Marshal's Inn and according to Leavitt "John Marshall kept a tavern at Unionville" (Leavitt p. 178) There has been some road straightening, but no major deviations are evident. In 1816 this was referred to as being a good road, the main use at the time would have been travel to Stone Mills (Delta).

The road continued north from the junction along its present day alignment to the Elizabethtown-Kitley township line. There it jogged east by about 275 metres to follow the lot line between lots 20 and 21 to today's Frankville.

"The Highway (now 29) from the townline to Frankville does not follow the Old Perth Road. In the early days a traveller going north turned to the east of the townline [Elizabethtown/Kitley] for about thirty rods and then turned north on a road that followed the line between Lots 20 and 21 through the tenth and ninth concessions. This road came into Frankville from the east near the present Anglican Church" (Hofferman, 1966).

The present day road alignment in this section appears to have been done between 1847 and 1852. An 1847 map of Kitley Township shows the road coming into Frankville along the old alignment. An 1852 map of Leeds & Grenville shows the present day alignment. The re-alignment was likely done as part of the creation of the Victoria Macadamized Road (today's County Road 29) which was completed to Smiths Falls in 1851.

Annotated Section from a March 1816 map (Sundries 1816)
This map does not show a road heading north from Glen Buell (to the Elizabethtown-Kitley Township Line). The diagonal road below Frankville does not exist today, except for its eastern extension, today's Leacock Road
(click on map for full size version).

When exactly this section of road was built remains a bit of a mystery. The two 1816 maps (Sundries and Jebb) do not show this section of road. However we have Colonel Myer's statement made in October 1816, in referring to the first section of the Perth Road, that "21 [miles] of which is an old fashioned and good road" The road from Brockville to Toledo today is about 19.5 miles, add in curves in the original road and Meyer's 21 miles is likely accurate. Going by the more circuitous route suggested by the Sundries 1816 map is closer to 25 miles.

We also have Bell's statement from June 1817 that north of Forthton/Glen Buell there was "not much danger of losing the road, for there was only one way." So a conclusion is either that the two early 1816 maps missed the road, or that it was built in the summer of 1816. Whatever the timing, the new section of road to Rideau Ferry, according to Kilborn, was built in the fall of 1816 starting from a location near present day Toledo.

Koyle's Bridge, identified on all the 1816 maps, crossed Marshalls Creek (which flows into Irish Lake). It was a toll bridge built by Ephraim Koyle (William Blight, per comm). The roads leading to it were likely established to access mills that were being developed in the area. Today's Bellamy's Lake is a mill pond, there was no original lake in this location. The first mill in this area was built as early as 1798 by John Livingston on Lot 26, Conc. VII. Later, in 1822, Abel Kilborn placed a dam and sawmill near the location of the present day Bellamy dam. The mill pond that developed was known as Kilborn's pond.

Jebb's July 1816 map shows the roads in that area. His "Direction of Communication Road" was part of his plan to take the Rideau Canal via Irish Creek and Lower Beverley Lake to Morton (then Whitefish Falls). He planned to install a five-mile long railway to span the gap, a height of land (the watershed divide) between Irish Lake and Upper Beverley Lake. As a side note, Jebb's idea for an Irish Creek Route for the Rideau Canal was discounted by a later surveyor, Samuel Clowes in 1823/24. It was never considered as possible route by Lt. Colonel John By when it came to building the Rideau Canal in 1826.

Jebb doesn't show any sign of the earlier Livingston Mill which would have been near his "Head of Irish Creek" notation. Today this is called Marshalls Creek (the outflow from Irish Lake is called Irish Creek). In the summer of 1816, this is where the road ended. The dashed line on Jebb's map north of that point indicates the "direction of the new road from Brockville to Perth" which was only in the planning stages at that time. The March 1816 map also has Koyle's Bridge marked on it, but no road north to Rideau Ferry at that point.

Section from Jebb's 1816 map showing Koyles Bridge crossing Marshalls Creek (shown as Irish Creek on map)
(click on map for full size version)

Jebb's map, similar to the Sundries 1816 map, shows an east-west road with the road to Koyles Bridge heading north from that, with no direct southern connection to Brockville. That might be confirming that the section of road from the Unionville/Forthton junction north to about Lehighs Corners didn't exist in the spring of 1816. But, as previously noted, indications are that it was likely in place by the fall of 1816 when the axe work began from the area of Toledo heading north to the First Narrows of Rideau Lake.

The road from the Toledo area continued north along its present line until Kitley Line 3, a little bit south of Motts Mills. The original road bore west at that point, heading towards the headwaters of Hutton Creek. There is no longer a road in this area although a possible trace of the road can be seen in a satellite view. That road has this original western alignment on the Walling 1862 map of Kitley, so it was changed sometime after that. Early 20th century maps show the current northern alignment via Motts Mills. The re-alignment may be simply because they didn't want to improve a road going through swampy ground, or that the Mott's Mill dam, located on Hutton Creek, was causing flooding of the area.

The area where the original road crossed Hutton Creek was known as the Beaver Meadow. It is shown on several period maps and is mentioned by William Bell in his 1817 diary. Just north of the Beaver Meadow is present day Street Road, a remnant of the original 1816 Brockville to Rideau Ferry road. Where Street Road intersects the Kitley-Rideau Lakes (South Elmsley) township line is where the old and new road re-join. The later western alignment through Motts Mills (today's CR 1) has to make a 1.6 km jog to the east on the township boundary line to re-join the route of the old road.

Some 700 m north of the Kitley-Rideau Lakes (South Elmsley) township line on Country Road 1 old and new diverge again, the old road continuing fairly straight, going east of the present day road. Then it cuts back in a westerly direction, crossing to the west of present day CR1 just a bit south of the Cataraqui Trail. Then it continues northeast, intersecting Highway 15 some 600 metres to the southwest of the present day intersection of County Road 1 and Highway 15. The old road after it crosses Highway 15, turns north towards Lombardy, following the present day Blacksmith Road.

There were petitions made by local residents going back to 1822 that requested that the road be moved to conform better with lot and concession lines. The 1862 Walling map still shows the near original routing of the road. However, it is likely most major re-alignments, other than done for Highway 15 in the 20th century, were done by 1872 when the old road in this area was closed up (Kennedy, pg. 103).

The route from Lombardy to Rideau Ferry along County Road 1 appears to generally follow the original route.

This section of road became busier in 1832 with the opening of the Rideau Canal and the transport of goods to and from the canal and Brockville. But the main destination of the lower part of the Brockville to Perth Road became Smiths Falls which grew much faster than Perth. So much so that by 1831 a project was started to macadamize the road from Brockville to Smiths Falls, today's County Road 29 (formerly Highway 29). That project was completed twenty-years later in 1851 and the road became known as the Victoria Macadamized Road.

With the completion of the Victoria Macadamized Road, residents north of Toledo lobbied to have their section of the road, from Toledo to Oliver's Ferry, brought up to the same standard as the road to Smiths Falls, but all they got was some limited funding for road improvements.

The newly cut road in the fall of 1816 came out on the south shore of Rideau Lake at a narrow part of the lake. Some 450 feet away, on the north shore the lake, a landing and recently cut road led travellers to Perth. This water gap would require a ferry.

Fall 1816 - Rideau Ferry

Fall 1816 - Background Top Fall 1816 - Rideau Ferry
Perth, the Capital of the District of Dalhousie; from the N-East bank of the River Tay - painting by Thomas Burrowes, 1828, Archives of Ontario, I0002141

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