ORIGINS OF NAMES OF TOWNSHIPS IN VICTORIA COUNTY - 1901

Paper read by Inspector J.H. Knight at the Annual Meeting of Victoria Historical Society.

I have been asked to prepare a paper on the names of the Townships in the County, and in doing so I propose to avail myself of information container in a valuable work by Herbert Fairbairn Gardiner, M.A., of Hamilton, Ont. entitled "Nothing but Names"

County of Victoria.

You are aware of the fact that this county was named after our late most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria who was born May 24, 1819. Her parents were married about a year earlier her father, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, died about a year later.

The line of road between the western and the middle tier of townships was originally called Victoria Road and when what was at first-called the Nipissing Railway was built, the station at the crossing of these roads was called Victoria Road. The village, which has, since grown up is called by that name.

Lindsay.

Of the two widest streets in Lindsay, that running north and south is called Victoria Avenue,

While that running east and west is called Kent Street, after her late Majesty's father, the Duke of Kent. Five other streets in town are named after brothers of Edward, Duke of Kent, viz.;

George, the eldest son of King George III, who reigned as George IV, from 1820 to 1830; York, after Frederick, Duke of York, the second son; William the third son; who reigned as William IV from 1830 to 1837; Sussex, from Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex. 6th son; and Cambridge, from Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, the seventh son. Albert was named after the Prince Consort, husband of Victoria and father of our King, Edward VII.

Adelaide was the name of the queen of William IV.

Emily Township

The Township of Emily was named after Emily Charlotte, daughter of Lord George Lennox and sister of the Duke of Richmond, who was Governor-General to Canada. She married in 1784 the Hon. Sir George Cranfield Berkeley, who became Admiral of the White and Lord High Admiral of Portugal.

Verulam Township was named in honour of James Walter Grimston, Earl of Verulam, born 1775, died 1845; he married in 1807 Lady Charlotte Jenkinson, daughter of Charles, first Earl of Liverpool. He was therefore a brother-in-law of the Lord of Liverpool, who was premier of England from 1812 to 1827. One of the Earl's daughters, Lady Katherine Grimston; married in 1839 George W.F. Villiers, fourth Earl of Clarendon. She died in 1874. The title of Earl of Verulam is taken from Verulamium or Verulam, the ancient capital of Britain, and afterwards a Roman station, in Hertfordshire in England. Francis Bacon was an Earl of Verulam.

As the town of St. Albans, England occupies the site of the ancient Verulam and was the scene of the death of Saint Alban, the British protomartyr, abut 285 A.D., it is appropriate that one of the churches in Verulam should be called St. Alban's.

The name Somerville is a doubtful origin. It may have been given in honour of Sir Wm. Somerville who was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1846, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Athlumney, of Somerville and Dollarstown, County Meath. Or (2) at the suggestion of Sir Francis Bond Head, who became Governor of Upper Canadian 1835.

His Grandmother was Annie Somerville, daughter of James, 10th Lord Valenza Somerville, sister of Mar, 16th Lord Somerville.

Rev. Walter Bagot's daughter Charlotte was married in 1830 to Rev. Wm. Somerville, a brother of Lady Head. The maiden name of Lady Head's mother was Mary Digby, and Lady Head's sister Mary was married to Charles Digby. Of this we shall speak later on. Or (3) the township may have been named after Robert B. Somerville who represented Huntingdon County, Lower Canada, in the Canadian Assembly before Confederation, and sat in that house from 1854 to 1867. Or (4th and lastly) it may have been given in compliment to Mrs. Mary Somerville, author of " Physical Geography," born 1780 died 1872; a daughter of Vice-Admiral Sir William Fairfax.

Ops Township.

Ops is a Latin word meaning wealth or riches. Ops is personified as the goddess of plenty, riches and power, the wife of Saturn and the patroness of husbandry; identical with Terra, the earth.

Fenelon Township.

There were two half-brothers named Fenelon. Francois de Salignacade la Mothe was born in old province Perijord, 1651, and died in 1715. He was appointed Archbishop of Cambray in 1694. He wrote a book "The Maxims of the Saints." which was condemned at Rome by Pope Innocent VIII, in 1699. He also wrote for the Duke of Burgundy, Telemague, which was published in Holland, and offended Louis XIV. In his private life he was a man of unbounded charity and Christian virtue. The village of Cambray was probably named after the seat of his Archbishopric and the name shall not be confounded with Cambria, the ancient name of Wales.

In the autumn of 1668 two Sulpicians, Messieurs of Fenelon and Trouve, established a mission at a village of Cayugas, on the Bay of Quinte, Abbe Fenelon spent parts of 1669-70 at the Pickering Harbor, which for two centuries bore the name of Frenchman's Bay. The missionary-explorer of our lake shore was the elder brother of the archbishop.

Bexley Township was named in honour of Right Hon. Nicholas Vansittart, Baron Bexley, son of Henry Vansittart, Governor, of Bengal, born in 1766, died 1851. He was educated at Oxford and studied law. In 1796 was elected to parliament for Hastings, and distinguished himself on questions of commerce, revenue and general business. In 1801 he was one of the Secretaries of the Treasury, in 1805 Chief Secretary for Ireland, and when Lord Liverpool became Premier Mr. Vansittart was made Chancellor of the Exchequer. He married in 1806 Catherine Isabella, daughter of Lord Auckland. She died without issue in 1810.

Mr.Vansittart held the seal of exchequer from 1812 to 1828, and was raised to the peerage on his retirement from that office, after which he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster till the formation of the Duke of Wellington's government in 1828, finally retiring on a pension of 3,000 a year, which he enjoyed 23 years. Lord Bexley was ever the pious advocate and zealous friend of the interests of religion, and rendered great assistance to the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Church Missionary Society, etc.

Admiral Vanstittart, a cousin of Lord Bexley, came to Canada in 1831, and settled on a fine block of land near Woodstock, in the county of Oxford. He had also a place in Bexley Township on the shore of Balsam Lake, not far from the Trent Valley Canal, and he owned many acres in Eldon, Mariposa and Fenelon townships, which were granted him for naval duties. As Lord Eldon was a colleague of Lord Bexley in the British Government, the Vansittart influence can be traced in the names of Bexley and Eldon townships. Bexley is in the county of Kent, England.

Laxton Township may have been named after (1) a village in Northamptonshire, England; (2) a village in Nottinghamshire; or (3) a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Digby Township was named in honour of Captain Digby, who helped embark the British army after the battle of Corunna, in which Sir John Moore was killed. Jan. 16th, 1809. Admiral Digby and Sir Guy Carleton, as a commissioners of peace, wrote joint letters to General Washington from New York, August 25th, 1782. The family of Baron Digby has been well represented in the naval service throughout the 19th century.

When Simon Montfort was hanged at Tyburn for sending a sum of money to Perkin Warbeck, who he believed to be the son of Edward IV. the Coleshill estates were granted to Simon Digby, whose descendants, created Earls of Bristol in the reign of James I., attained eminence in the various passages of English history.

Robert Digby, the first Baron of Digby (1620) was a great-great-great -grandson of Sir Simon Digby, of Coleshill. The seat of Earl Digby is at Sherborne, where the Ridouts came from.

Sir Everand Digby was hanged in 1606 for complicity in the gunpowder plot. His eldest son, Sir Kencline Digby, wrote several scientific works, and died in 1665. John Digby was sent to Spain in 1622 to negotiate a marriage between Prince Charles and the Infanta. On his return he was created Earl of Bristol. He died in Paris, 1653. Lord George Digby was a member of the Long Parliament.

Longford Township is named after one of the central counties of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, having the River Shannon for its western boundary for about 50 miles. Its country town is Longford, on the Camlin River, about 75 miles north west of Dublin. The Earldom of Longford belongs to the family of Pakenham, which has furnished several distinguished representatives to the church and the naval service. The first Duke of Wellington married a daughter of Earl Longford, Lady Catherine Pakenham, in 1806.

Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly. It is also the name of a county in California.

Eldon Township was named after John Scott, Earl of Eldon, who was born at New castle-on-Tyne, 1751, and died at London, 1838. He was educated at Oxford, but in 1772 he eloped with and married Bessy Surteesm and for a long time the young couple was very poor. He studied law in 1773 and was made barrister in 1776. He entered parliament in 1783, and became a favourite of Lord Thurlow, who made him Attorney General in 1793. In 1799, as Baron Eldon, he was made chief Justice of the common Pleas. In 1801 he became Lord Chancellor, and with the exception of one year (April 7, 1806, to April 1, 1807,) he held the seals from 1801 to 1826.

He opposed Catholic Emancipation, Parliamentary Reform, and the Abolition of Slavery, Free Trade, Popular Education, and toleration of all kinds. When King George IV. Befriended Queen Caroline, Eldon was her friend- her confidential adviser, and the warm defender of her innocence. But when the king became her enemy, the same man was not only accessory to her prosecution, but showed not one spark of regret that his position was so cruelly changed.

Carden Township is named after Captain Carden, who, with Captain Digby and others was complimented by General Hope, who took command when Sir John Moore was killed at the battle of Corunna, for the unremitting exertions in embarking the army with an expedition that had seldom been equalled. Major, afterward Sir John Colborne (Lord Seaton) was at Corunna, and he was afterwards, 1838-39. Governor-General of Canada. A street in Lindsay is named after him.

Captain John Surman Carden commanded H.M.S. Macedonian when it was captured by the American ship, United States, under Commodore Decatur, October 25th, 1812. Sir John Craven Carden, of Templemore, Tipperary, married the grandmother of Lord Monck, who was Governor-General of Canada. His son served at Waterloo.

Dalton Township is called after Dr. John Dalton, the famous English chemist, who was born at Eaglefield, near Cockermouth, Cumberland, 1766, and died Manchester, 1844. He invented the atomic theory of chemistry. In his papers on subjects connected with meteorology, Dr.Dalton left valuable remarks on evaporation, rain, the aurora borealis, winds and dew. In the reign of William IV, the government voted him a pension.

Dr.Dalton was never married. He was always a member of the Society of Friends.


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