Arrival of Pioneers
Early settlers who arrived in Upper Canada and, the region known today as Ontario, took up properties along the shores of Lake Ontario. They needed both land upon which to build a home and roads upon which to travel from one place to another. From Kingston to Niagara, the land became dotted with farm holdings and small towns. The nearby lake water provided a means of travel from one location to another. There were soon a large number of small schooners sailing from places such as Kingston to York (Toronto) or Niagara to Cobourg. These small vessels moved not only food supplies and goods from one community to another, but people as well.
Many of the first settlers were Loyalist families who chose to stay in colonial Canada. Originally they had been among the first families who took up land in what became the United States. Wanting to remain within a British governed settlement, they did not support the goal of independence. After the war for American independence, these families moved onto lands along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
Additionally, other settlers came from England, Ireland and Scotland. Settlers also came from countries in Europe, like Holland and Germany.
Home & Hearth
The first home built by a pioneer family was a simple log shelter known as a shanty. Another new and more substantial house was built after some years of living on their land holding. The second house built was either constructed again with logs, or was built as wood frame dwelling or even built with stone.
Some families chose to build homes from stone, gathered up as the land was cleared or quarried from nearby ridges. Field-stone buildings had stones of rounded shape, just as they looked in the field. Quarried stone was “dressed” or prepared by a stone mason, to have a flat and squared shape for building.
Building Roads and Villages
At first, road clearing and building was the job of each land holder. The government decided where the roadways would be built. Through each township, surveyors measured and marked out sections of land that were to become roadways. Each year, settlers had to work for a number of days, clearing the common area of land along the edge of his property.
Trees in the road allowance were cut down. Usable wood from these trees went into building homes and furnishings. Underbrush and bushes were moved into piles to be burned.
Still, the new road ways were left with tree stumps standing a couple of feet high. These were very much a problem to any kind of travel. It would be several years before the stumps rotted enough to be removed.
Material for these pages comes from old photographs, newspaper clippings and any other source that we may have come upon during our genealogical searching. We delight in discovering these small bites of family data that are now shared with you.