History of Millersmith Is
Dated Back to Year 1831
Millersmith. - In the year 1831, on the 2nd day of June, a ship set sail from Liverpool, England, under the Robinson Immigration Company. She had on board a number of immigrants, English, Irish and Scotch. It took them six weeks to cross the Atlantic, in a sailing vessel, to Canada.
When they landed in Quebec they were held in quarantine for smallpox, after which they sailed and portaged up the St. Lawrence River to Port Hope. Some remained there and others who were taking up land proceeded on inland by way of the "Trent Valley Canal" waters.
Some of these people were soldiers who had been given grants of land as a recompense for their services in the past wars. Among these were six families, namely, the Millers and the Smiths, hence the name of the community¾ "Millersmith." The Kennedys, the McMullens, the Bentleys, and Cullons, all of whom came up the chain of lakes, to Pigeon Lake. They landed at the east end of the 14th con. of Emily, now called the "Kings Wharf."
Here they built wigwams of cedar, spruce and balsam boughs for their families to live in, while the men folk came on through around by Downeyville to the lots which were assigned to them. During their stay at Kings Wharf, they suffered a great deal of sickness; fever and ague they called it. One of John Kennedy's children died while there and they buried it in Downeyville, but very shortly lifted it, and brought it to his own farm and buried it there, in the present cemetery.
On the 2nd day of November 1831 these folks moved to their log cabins on their own property. They had no matches so had to bank coals with ashes, in iron pots and carried them along to light their fires. John Miller's shanty was the last one built and it was not finished - no doors, no windows, they had to hang quilts in them. The roofs were made of troughs, the first row laid with the trough up and the second row laid with them turned down into the first row. There were only three troughs on the roof, and before morning it snowed quite heavily.
John Miller and Catherine McDonald were married on Jan. 17th, 1811 in Glasgow, Scotland. He and his wife and family of six, namely, Hugh, John, Catherine, Agnes, Jane and James settled on the McMullen and Murdoch farms. The Murdoch farm is now owned by Eddie Thurston. Later Jane Miller married John Murdoch and resided there while they lived.
Catherine Miller married William McMullen and lived where John McMullen resided all his life, and now his son, W. N. McMullen and family are on this property. John Miller died in 1852. His wife died shortly before that, and his two sons, Hugh and John died in 1840 or 41, with malaria fever, caused by the water being dammed at Bobcaygeon and it flooded the swamps along Emily creek. At one time while the fever raged there was only one man¾ John Cullon¾ able to go to all the homes and bring in a pail of water and wood to help make them as comfortable as possible. Later Agnes and James died with scarlet fever. Six of the Millers are buried on the Miller property.
William Smith married Jane Bell in Ireland. He and his wife and family, namely, Bessie, William, John and Joseph, settled on the farm where Joseph Smith, a grandson, now lives. This place is the only one still in the name in which it was taken. Mr. William Smith was killed by a falling tree in the corner field of Mr. W. J. Patrick's farm. Mr. John Miller, Sr., was with Mr. Smith at the time. He was buried in the cemetery here. As near as we can learn it was about 1837. Joseph, his youngest son, was born in December of the same year.
John Kennedy and his wife who was Nancy Dickson and their family, namely, John, Mary, Gracella and William settled on Milton Thurston's property. William did not come this far, but went on from Port Hope to work on the Rideau Canal for some time before coming here to settle on the farm where Lowry Kennedy lives. He married Rebekah Forsythe and their family names were Robert, William, Thomas, Mary, Jane, Gracella, David and James F. At this time the Welland Canal was being built and Mr. John Kennedy went there to work leaving his family here and while he was there he took sick with cholera and died.
Christopher Bentley and his wife, "Francis Cox," and their son John and grandson John Cullon who was 2 years old, came and settled on Walter I. Thurston's place. There they lived, and were buried on the farm. Their grandson, John Cullon lived there for years after they died. Their son, John Bentley, settled on D. W. Kennedy's farm.
John Cullon's father, Thomas Cullon and his wife, Miss Bentley, came from the old country a short time after. Their daughter, Mary Ann, was born on the banks of Newfoundland, on their way over. They settled on the place where Mr. Collins now resides. The rest of the family names were Thomas, Samuel, Francis, Jane and Arthur. Their father was a policeman in Longford, Ireland.
John McMullen, his wife, Margaret Ferrel, and their family, John, Catherine, William, Patrick, James and Eliza. Eliza was the first white child born in this community, on the 13th of March 1832. In later years she was married to James Patrick and they resided on the McMullen property, "Bee Hive Cottage," while they lived. The McMullens settled first on the Houlihan farm, but later bought the Mahar property mentioned before. John went to the United States immediately after they came from the old country. Catherine, later Mrs. Seymour, went to Lockport; U.S.A. Patrick married Mary Catherine Cassidy, and remained in this community for a time, but later moved to Tiny Township, near Midland. Mrs. I. W. Elliott is a daughter of his and also Mrs. E. Wood, both of Dunsford. The only doctors within possible reach were Dr. Fiddler of Lindsay, and Dr. Irons, of Omemee. At the time of the fever epidemic almost every family suffered the loss of loved ones.
Some Later Settlers
Donald Ross was the first settler on W. J. Patrick's place. He sold to Mr. Bird and he again sold to Padgets then bought Crowley's, Padgets then brought Crowley's, which is J. A. Elliott's and Ezra Thurston's property now.
Miller's property was a soldier's grant and also Peter Gannon's . He left it to Peter and Jim Waters, and it is now the property of Mr. Mr. E. Germyn.
John Mortimore owned Orville Zealand's; the Murdochs came to Verulam in 1845 and John came to this community to live a short time after.
Community Holds Its Centenary
Millersmith Pioneers Faced Great
Hardships on Arrival 100 Years Ago
The well-known farming district called Millersmith is celebrating its centenary this year, and an interesting history of the community and its early settlers has been prepared for this event.
In the year 1831 on the 2nd day of June a ship set sail from Liverpool, England. It had on board a number of emigrants, English, Irish and Scotch. It took six weeks for this sailing vessel to cross the Atlantic to Canada.
The emigrants landed in Quebec where they were held in quarantine for a time for smallpox, after which they sailed and portaged up the St. Lawrence River to Port Hope. Some remained there, and others who were taking up land proceeded on inland by way of the Trent Valley Canal waters. Some of these people were soldiers who had been given grants of land as a recompense for their services in the past war. Among these were six families of the Millers and Smiths, and from them was derived the name of the community in which they settled¾Millersmith. There were also the Kennedy, McMullens, Bentleys and Cullons, all of whom came up the chain of lakes to Pigeon Lake. They landed at the east end of this road, the 14th concession of Emily, at the spot now called the King's Wharf.
Here they built wigwams of cedar, spruce and balsam boughs for their families to live in while the men went on through around by Downeyville to the lots which were assigned to them. During their stay at the Wharf they suffered a great deal of sickness. Fever and ague they called it. One of John Kennedy's children died and was buried in Downeyville. Shortly after, however, the body was moved to where Millersmith's present cemetery is situated.
On the 2nd day of November these people moved to their log cabins on their own property. They had no matches so they banked coals with ashes in an iron pot and carried it with them. John Miller's shanty was the last to be built and 100 years ago about this time of year, it was not finished. As it lacked doors and window, quilts had to be hung in the openings. There were only three troughs on the roof, and it snowed heavily before morning.
Between 1840 and 1845 the Government built the dam at Bobcaygeon. This raised the water and it backed up in the swamps along Emily Creek. Malaria fever broke out and every person in the settlement was sick. One man, John Cullon, was the only person able to go about, and he went around to each house and brought in water and wood, and helped make the sick people as comfortable as possible. Dr. Fiddler was the only doctor in Lindsay and Dr. Irons of Omemee. Several of the families suffered the loss of loved ones at this time.
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