Early Arrivals in Otonabee
George Kent was the first settler to take up land in Otonabee Township. He came as a member of a party of immigrants arriving to the area under the leadership of Captain Spilsbury in the year 1819. George was established on his land before the township was thrown open to settlement.
Shortly after it was surveyed in 1819, settlement began of Otonabee Township, in the county of Peterborough. In the first years, the only way into the township was across Rice Lake. Newcomers arrived by traveling from the south, shore over the waters, to the lake’s northern shoreline. Crossing the lake, which was subject to unexpected squalls causing rough waters, was no simple task. It took someone with experience to manage a safe crossing of the lake. Many new settlers would learn only after being tipped into heaving waves that they were wiser to pay for safe passage across the lake.
The usual point of entry was upon a point of land just below present day Hiawatha Village. Here a trader by the name of Herkimer had built a rough home and trading post at the water’s edge. Knowledgeable of the local weather patterns, he was able to guide families safely from one side to the other of the lake.
Arrival of the First Settlers
In May 1820, Captain Charles N. Rubidge, R. N. brought his family into the township to establish a homestead. Rubidge was the first to complete his settlement duties, thereby acquiring title to his land.