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Spring of 1816 Route

Section Summary

The 1816 route from Brockville to Stone Mills follows fairly close present day County Road 29 north from Brockville to its intersection with County Road 42 and then west along County Road 42 to Delta. There has been road straightening in this section and it is possible that the original intersection was near Glen Buell, not Forthton, but the present day route appears to be fairly close to that used in 1816.

Detailed Discussion

Brockville was a well established community at the time of the Perth settlement. Settlement there started in 1785 and the village became known as Elizabethtown. In 1812 it was renamed Brockville to honour General Isaac Brock (who died in battle later that same year).

The only inland community of any substance in this region in 1816 was Stone Mills (Delta) which had been established by Abel Stevens in 1796. On Walpole's 1828 map, it is the only inland community shown. Jebb's 1816 map shows 9 houses in the Stone Mills, while Walpole's 1828 map notes 30 houses in what was now known as Beverley. Most of today's small villages such as Athens, Toledo, Lombardy, Portland, and Elgin had yet to be established other than occupation in the area by a few settlers. Even Lyndhurst, which had been established earlier, was not a community since its initial reason for being, a furnace (smelter) had burned down in 1811.

In 1810-11, William Jones and Ira Schofield built an impressive 3 storey mill made of stone, a mill that still stands to this day. It was a grist (wheat) mill with 2 runs of stones and a separate wooden building adjacent to the mill housed a saw mill and a carding mill (wool). Farmers from all over the region went to Stone Mills to get their wheat ground and wool carded.

Lyndhurst has an attractive bit of water power (a waterfall), in fact it was Abel Stevens' first choice for a settlement location, but the mill seat (the government permit to use the water power in that location) had already been applied for (initially by Edward Jessop in 1784 then later by Justus Sherwood). The awarding of the seat was in dispute for several years but by 1801 a iron smelter had been built by Wallis Sunderland, a Vermont Founderer. The small community became known at that time as Furnace or Furnace Falls. By 1816, Lyndhurst wasn't much of a community. The smelter burned down in 1811 and the village was only revived later by the building of a grist mill in 1827.

To get to these communities, roads were needed. One of the earliest roads in the area was along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, connecting Kingston to various other communities such as Brockville. This front road crossed the Cataraqui River at today's Kingston Mills (originally the King's Mills, established in 1784). When Abel Stevens brought in the first families for settlement in the area in February 1794, he also built a road connecting it to Brockille (or to a northern road near to Brockville). After being granted land in 1796 he built a sawmill forming the nucleus of a small community known as Stevenstown. At some point between 1796 and 1798, he connected Stevenstown by road to Furnace Falls (Lyndhurst). In 1798 he, together with Matthew Howard, had a road built from Lyndhurst to the front road running along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River (sometimes known as the Montreal Road) near Kingston Mills. This inland road, from Brockville to Kingston Mills, became known as the Kingston Back Road (see map at bottom of page).

On the Dickson 1818 map, the Lyndhurst to Kingston Mill section of the Kingston Back Road is labelled as the "Back Turnpike Road" – a toll road as most early roads were. The southern section of this road would later become Highway 15. An 1818 map of Brockville also shows a section of this road running north (with a few jogs) to Tincap and labelled as "Back Road," the Brockville section of the Kingston Back Road.

Stone Mills was a going concern in 1816 with the large 3 storey stone mill and about 9 homes in the village. Trails and roads were now leading from all over to Stone Mills, including the Kingston Back Road from Brockville.

The first part of the 1816 route from Brockville is fairly straightforward. It follows close to present day County Road 29 north to the intersection with County Road 42, which today leads to Athens. There has been road straightening in this section, the original road, particularly at the Brockville end, had several jogs in it, but today's CR29 generally follows the original route the settlers would have taken in 1816.

Today's intersection of County road 29 and 42 is known as Forthton. It first shows up on an 1818 map (Dickson 1818) labelled as Stone's Inn. This later became known as Stone's Corner, then Unionville, then Forthton. Kilborn mentioned (in the 1870s) that he "commenced trade" in Unionville in 1815 and then built a house there in 1816. At the time there was no Unionville, it was just a few houses. On Walpole 1828, Marshal's Inn is shown at a location where the road branches to Athens. A John Marshall is stated as keeping a tavern at Unionville (Leavitt, p.178). Some maps, such as the Moody 1841 map, show Unionville a bit south (at the intersection of CR 28 - today's Glen Buell). Later the intersection of CR 29 with CR 42 (to Athens) became known as Forthton. But presumably in the early days, the general location was known as Unionville and then Forthton. Today no communities exist in this area.

Section from a March 1816 map (Sundries 1816)
(click on map for full size version)

There is a suggestion from the Sundries 1816 map that the original road may have cut the corner south of today's Forthton, heading diagonally from near Glen Buell to County Road 42 near today's Hall Road. But there is no evidence for this other than this 1816 map. If that was the original road, it was re-routed prior to 1841 (the Walpole 1828 map can be interpreted to support either route), since the Moody 1841 map which shows Unionville at Glen Buell, clearly shows the intersection to Athens at today's Forthton.

It is a little unclear whether County Road 29 north of Forthton existed in the spring of 1816. The Sundries 1816 map done in the spring of 1816 does not show a road going north of today's intersection. That road is also absent on Jebb's 1816 map done in early July.

The Sundries 1816 map does show Koyle's Bridge with a more northerly east-west road leading to it, road that appears to go through the area of Eloida, today's Mother Barnes Road. It also shows a diagonal forced road leading to a spot near today's Frankville, a road that doesn't exist today except for its eastern extension, today's Leacock Road.

Written descriptions indicate a good road in this location (between Forthton and Frankville) by the fall of 1816, so one conclusion is that this section of road was opened in the summer of 1816. This discussion will be re-visited in the Fall 1816 section.

From Forthton, the settlers travelled west along what is today County Road 42. That road is clearly shown on the Sundries 1816 map and the Walpole 1828 map. It is shown heading towards Delta, intersecting and then following the Bastard/Lansdowne township line. It is labelled on the map as a "Turnpike Road," a toll road. Country Road 42 runs just south of the township line, but it's a close representation on the 1816 map. Then we see the junction of the road from Lyndhurst and the road heading northwest to Delta, essentially as the junction of CR33 and CR 42 are today.

The Walpole 1828 map also shows a good road leading to an intersection where a branch of the road turns northwest to Stone Mills. Today that would be the intersection of County Road 42 (to Delta) and County Road 33 (to Lyndhurst). It's uncertain at this time if the section of County Road 42 from the intersection with County Road 29 (Forthton) to the intersection with County Road 33, exactly follows the road shown on Walpole's map, but it would be close.

The Moody 1841 map confuses the issue since it shows a series of roads between Forthon and Athens (labelled as Farmersville on this map, likely the first map appearance of that name), several with 90 degree turns. One interpretation is that the original forced road might have been re-aligned along lot lines in the area between Forthton and Athens prior to 1841. Then those 90 degree turns were later smoothed out in road re-alignments. The earlier maps, Sundries 1816 and Walpole 1828 maps seem to show alignments closer to present day County Road 42. So it may be a case of a forced road, with more direct alignment, changed to a lot line alignment and then those jogs in the road straightened out later. In 1983 for instance, the length of Highway 42 (Brockville to Westport) was reduced from 69 km to only 53 km (Bevers). The exact details of the road changes in this area are beyond the scope of this project to look at in detail.

The Moody 1841 map does appear to show the route going through today's Washburn's Corners and Soperton, the route of today's CR42. Jebb's 1816 map shows the road "from Brockville" intersecting with an east-west road at today's Soperton. Today we see see the main road as CR42 (goes straight, no jog) but that's a result of road straightening. In 1816, today's Lake Street heading from Soperton to the Plum Hollow area was an important road, leading to mills in that region. So, while CR42 has had an appreciable amount of road straightening, it is the general route that the settlers would have followed and now they are in Delta.

Kingston Back Road 1816
The Kingston Back Road in 1816

An alternate route from Brockville to Kingston, the Kingston Back Road was often in better condition than the road route along the St. Lawrence. This road has its roots with the founder of Delta, Abel Stevens. Stevens first arrived in the area in 1793 to scout a settlement location. He originally wanted to obtain the water rights to the fall of water at Lyndhurst, but, unable to attain those, his next choice was the rapids at Delta. He returned to the area in 1794 with a group of settlers at built a sawmill at Delta (first known as Stevenstown).

To provide access to his fledgling settlement, he had a road built in 1794 from the Brockville area to Delta. At some point he also made a road connection to Lyndhurst and then in 1798, together with Matthew Howard, he organized a group of 16 men to built a road from Lyndhurst to Kingston Mills. When completed, it was reported that the road was 30 feet wide and had 13 bridges. This road formed an alternate route from Brockville to Kingston and became known as the Kingston Back Road.

The Sundries 1816 shows this road (highlighted in the image above), and it was the Brockville to Delta section of this road that those first settlers to Perth followed.

Stone Mills (Delta) to Old Landing (Portland)

The Bay/Old Landing Top Stone Mills to Old Landing
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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