The Early History and Pioneers of Manvers Township


The township of Manvers is bounded on the north by the township of Ops; on the west by Cartwright, on the south by Clarke, and on the east by Cavan. The land is of fair quality - the timber is a mixture of hardwood and pine. After the surveys in 1816 and 1817, lands were taken up by the following: Robert McNaughton, John P. McKee, Duncan McDonald, Ronald McDonald, George Gillinger, Josiah Hawley, Michael Gallinger, John McPherson, John Summers, Donald Grant, the McLarens, families of the McLaughlins, Miller, Fraser, Hay, Curry, Bethune, McPhie, McGillis, McIntosh, Matthew, Powly, Ward, McIntyre, Smith, Purdy, Williams, Daniel Cain, Wm. Falkner, John Dingwall, John McCarthur, Mary Rose, David Jacox, Philip Munroe, the Chisholms, Snetzingers, James Urquart, Wm. Campbell, McDougall, Cummings, Park, Christie, Burnhart, Millroy, Eastman, Stephenson, Casey, Clark, Graham, Carpenter, Hartle, McGuire, Bray, Forsyth, Scott, Fraser, Powell, Earhart, Blacklock, Manson, Waggoner, Barricher, Shaver, Cryderman, Van Sickle, Gordon. Large grants were also made to Bishop Mountain, Church of England Bishop of Quebec, of blocks of land in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th concessions, amounting to thousands of acres. The Argues, Armstrongs, and families of Beamish, Bensons, Byres, Cairns, Craig, Touchburn, Wilson, Gray, Johnston, Lyons, Little, Morris, McGuire, Magill, McAllister, Neal, Preston, Russell, Staples, Syer, Riley, Fallis, Graham, Kelly, Lee, Porter, Rehill, Sisson, Raper, Pritchard, were settlers of a more recent date.

Mr. John Grandy, came to Canada, from the County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1825. His son, Samuel, took up land in Cavan. Robert Grandy, the present reeve of the township, is largely engaged in business at Bethany, and owns some 600 acres on the 7th and 8th concessions. The grandmother, over 90 in 1880, has a vivid recollection of the early struggles of the family in the bush.

The McKies are another well-known Irish family, occupying comfortable farms on the 10th concession in 1880.

The Wards are another family of old settlers, English. William and John resided near Ballyduff, and had large holdings in 1880.There was also an Irish family of the same name further north in the township.

Col. Williams, of Port Hope, owns considerable property in Manvers

William Faulkner, also residing near Ballyduff, is a descendant of a north of Ireland family, of that name, who came into the township many years ago.

The Dingwalls are old settlers, residing in the northern part of the township.

There are several families of the Grahams. Capt. Graham of the Durham Artillery, is well known. He was treasurer of the township in 1880. The patriarch of the Graham family was approaching his 90th year in 1880, and was one of the very early settlers. He helped to cut the travelled road from Manvers to Port Hope.

Of the Maguires, there are two sons, John, residing on the farm near Lifford in 1878, and William in business and engaged in grain-buying at Franklin.

There is a large family of Argues in the southern part of the township. They were early settlers; some of them hold a portion of the lands originally granted to Bishop Mountain.

The Armstrongs are very numerous and own lands all over Manvers.

Thomas Benson, better known as "the King of Manvers," is a hale old Irish gentleman of upwards of 80 years in 1878; he is a very old settler, has held the position of deputy-reeve many years and taken an active part in municipal affairs.

There is a goodly number of the Byers family, early settlers, all engaged in agricultural pursuits.

On the 12th Concession there still resides on the old place settled in the late 1820's, Mr. and Mrs. Cairns, who have also their reminescences of the hardships of the early days of the first settlement.

Robert Touchbourne, Esq., reeve of the township for nearly twenty years past, and whom Mr. Grandy has succeeded in office recently, owns considerable property on the 9th Concession. Mr. Touchbourne is an active local magistrate and has done much for the locality. His mother, an old lady of nearly 100 years, still survives in 1878. Mr. Touchbourne has three sons, all engaged in profitable farming operations.

The Wilsons are another old family, and the descendants of the old settlers are quite numerous. Josias, residing on the 8th Concession, has been several years in the township council, and has been also a member of the United Counties Council, as deputy-reeve.

The Grays reside near Bunkerhill, west of Ballyduff. Dr. Gray is a well-known physician in good practice in 1878.

James and Alexander Johnston are sons of the early settler of that name who took up land in Cavan and subsequently moved into the 6th Concession of Manvers. James is a J.P., and the family had much local influence.

Abijah Morris, on the 7th Concession, a farmer and magistrate, was an old settler of respectable standing.

The Magill settlement, in the western part of the township, along what is known as the Broad Road, has numerous residents of the name. Robert Magill Sr. is the acknowledged chief. For a number of years, long after the early settlement, constables did not much care about venturing into the locality of the Broad Road without the friendly protection of the Magills. Many were the "tricks upon travellers," and tales of the capturing of constables are still related of those "good old days."

James Neale on the 7th Concession, another old and respected settler, has long enjoyed Her Majesty's commission of the peace.

The Preston family own considerable property on the 7th, 8th, and 10th Concessions. Members of the family have always occupied conspicuous positions and taken a leading part in township affairs. Isaac is a captain in the volunteers. Porter Preston is a prominent man, a magistrate, owner of saw and grist mills, and has done his share in aiding in the improvement and progress of the township.

The Staples Manvers are a branch of the highly respectable Cavan family of that name. They are connected with the Grandys and other families of note.

Thomas Syer, of the 12th Concession, is the only representative of his family in the township; he has served in the municipal council several years.

Alfred Riley has been the efficient township clerk of Manvers for many years, and has the reputation of being a most useful public officer, as well as being a good man of business.

The family of Fallis, of Cavan, have also branched out into Manvers as thriving farmers.

The father of Mr. James Kelly, (partner of Mr. Grandy) was one of the first settlers in Cavan, and afterwards in the village of Bethany.

The Porter family, like the Magillsare a large clan about Ballyduff, and have numerous family connections. Nearly all of those enumerated are of Irish origin or Irish descent.

There are several families of the Sissons on the 7th and 8th Concessions - good, thrifty English farmers and noted as the first in the township who introduced an improved breed of sheep.

George Shaw, another well to do respectable Irishman, has been councillor for a number of years.

The principal villages of Manvers are : Bethany, Franklin, Lifford, Ballyduff, Burton, Lotus, Yelverton, Genetsville, and Drum.

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