History of Reach Township

The Township of Reach was named after Colonel Reach and was surveyed by one S. S. Wilmot, a land surveyor at the time in 1809.

The first settler came from New York State by way of Prince Edward County and East Whitby. Robert Crandell settled on the south side of the road running from Prince Albert to Manchester. Joseph Widdifield lived at Oshawa creek, Joseph Wiley north of Goodman's Mill, northeast of Columbus. Crandell's daughter was the first white child born in the township. His son, Benjamin was the second. They were born on the farm later occupied by the late Peter Christie. The forest at the time was so dense that it took two days to clear a road for an ox-team from Crandell's to Wiley's.

John Roy came in the 2nd concession in 1823, followed by Hugh and Marvin Jones, who later moved away. One year later Abner Hurd and Reuben Dayton settled on the site of Prince Albert and William Boyton built the first tavern in this section. The first burial was that of John Roy in the first grave at Prince Albert, which is now recognized as one of the neatest cemeteries in Ontario. From 1828 to 1834, Smith, of Manchester. Henry Walker, John Ensign Hosea Shaw, William Ashton, Hinkson. Samuel Barber, Hiram Buck and Thomas Graham settled. Ashton left England on June 14, 1827, and landed at New York July 26th. Wm. Pexton grandfather of the late Sheriff Pexton, was eleven weeks making the same trip. R. Orsen settled between Port Perry and he Nonquon. He was followed by Jerry Orser. John Mark, James more and Charles Black.

In 1833-4 the Craggs, Bands, Patersons, Wells, Adams, Houcks and Wards settled around Greenbank. The first saw mill was built by Squire Hurd at Brooklin in 1831. Same was blown down in a storm in 1932.

The first store in the township was opened by an Englishman named George Leach. He was first postmaster in 1840, and the first grain buyer. In 1836 the Coates settlement was commenced when a Truax had abandoned the location at Shirley. In 1838 Robert Crandell built several frame houses in Prince Albert. In 1846 James Bennett and Ed. Asling settled on Concession 9-10. Asling build the first steam gristmill and A. Farewell the first steam saw mill. His was not complete at thee appointed time as Mr. Farewell refused to allow intoxicants and it was after raised by Sons of Temperance members from Raglan. Oshawa and Port Perry finding that the north part of the Township was being settled ahead of the southern part, a policy of building roads through the Township was adopted. Reach road, Oshawa through Columbus, north to Nonquon; Plank Road through Brooklin, Myrtle. Manchester to Borelia and Port Perry, planked throughout; Broad Road from North Whitby through Ashburn. Utica and Epson. It was surveyed in 1831. The part between Manchester and Utica was commenced by Peter and Donald Christie, uncles of Peter Christie. In 1851, Port Perry to Oshawa by a company with Dr. Mc Gill, A. Farewell, T.N. Gibbs. Col, Grierson and C.I. Fairbanks promoters. From 1829 to 1848 there were 13 public schools built and one Indian school established by Elder Elcott in 1828 where Port Perry now stands.

Abner Hurd, son of Squire Hurd was first Public School teacher. Abner Hurd died while quite young. At the time of his death he was taking a further course of study in the U.S.A.

The first preaching of the Gospel commenced in 1827 by Baptist Elder Israel Marsh.

The first church was built by the Methodists on the Brock Road, 11th concession. In 1848 and in the same year the Presbyterians built on the 12th concession. The third by Presbyterians, at Utica, through the endeavours of John Christie. Reach had only one post office until 1851. In 1852 Port Perry, Manchester, Epsom and Prince Albert were added. The "Woodman" was built in 1851 and made tri-weekly trips to Lindsay. The first division court was held at Manchester. Judge Burnham, presiding.

In 1856 Mr. Bowers of Port Perry built Scugog bridge, parts of which were floating down the lake shortly after. The dam on Scugog River at Lindsay was built in 1845. The "Ontario Observer" was first published in Prince Albert by James Holden and continued for many years.

The Prince Albert Infantry Company was raised by Mayor T. C. Foreman with John Billings as Lieutenants in 1862. Sometime at Toronto goal in charge of Fenian prisoners captured in 1886 at Ridgeway and Fort Erie. Before the construction of railway Prince Albert was one of the largest, if not the largest grain markets in Upper Canada.

Reach is now one of the most thriving townships in the County of Ontario with its High and Public schools, numerous churches and beautiful parks. It has some three summer resorts, and a good business is carried on in all centres.


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