EARLY HISTORY OF SCUGOG
Scugog - or Schoogoog, as Rev. Peter Jones, missionary to the Indians, spells it - is the Indian for submerged land. In the early surveys of this part of Ontario the lake is not shown, which easily accounts for the Indian name. Mr. Smith, who wrote a gazetteer in the forties, refers to the prosecution by some landowners against those who put up the milldam at Lindsay. They got judgment, showing that they had a grievance, and the Lindsay mill-men were ordered to lower their dams two feet, but this was never done.
The Indians, who roamed over Ontario at will not so many years ago, have left behind them some very euphonic names as their everlasting epitaphs. None is more pleasing to Ontarians today than the word Scugog - the name for both the pretty lake and river and the fertile island, midway up Ontario country’s eastern boundary line.
Scugog, some tell us, means muddy water. It is a corruption of the Indian names, just as many other names in Ontario. From the original one would hardly guess the connection. But aspiration and imitation follow no classic rules.
So that while the reader may be disposed to discount this lovely section of Ontario because of its connection with mud, a visit to the spot on a beautiful October day will build far rosier pictures.
The island consists of some twelve thousand acres of first-class clay soil “whereupon anything short of the tropics flourishes abundantly,” Says the Toronto World. The lake is a body of water half a mile to a mile and a half wide, surrounding the island. The approach, only by a county built bridge from the west, allowed the traveler to enter. But the island roads are good. There are six concessions; all laid out into regular lots, upon each of which lives a contented and prosperous farmer.
Originally the island formed part of two counties, Ontario and Victoria, but latterly it has been added to Ontario County and made into one municipality. It elects its own municipal council, which meets at Scugog, just about the centre of the island, in a spacious and neat town hall. In all about five hundred and fifty people find living a goodly thing here. At the north end is an Indian reservation where Chief Johnson exercises some of the prerogatives that the unwritten laws of his people have handed down to him.
In the summer time the wooded shores form choice camping grounds for city and American visitors. The waters until recently abounded in fish. The severe winter of three years ago froze up the fish and since then the Government has protected the waters. It is only a question of time when the big “lunge” and bass will afford the stories of old.
Agriculture is its sole industry. The farms are well laid out, have up-to-date buildings and are tilled in the most approved manner. Substantial residences adorn every concession. As one stands on the eminence and overlooks at the opposite coast line, gold and green the alternate fields of harvest and fall wheat, he wonders that some railway has not crossed the island and connected the shores. As a summer attraction it is not excelled, and for the purposes of exploitation a railway would render this part of rural Ontario an ideal farm community. Grain crop grow luxuriantly. Big yields are recorded everywhere. The climate tempered by the water is invigorating and moderate.
Live stock farming is especially favoured. The rearing of Clydesdale horses and Shorthorn cattle has been followed with success. Thos. Graham & Sons, Hope Bros., Wm. Graham, William Redman, Paul Hood & Sons, Robt. and John Jackson the Sweatmans, John Gerow, the Williamsons and others are all well known prosperous stock raisers. Dairying is followed to some extent also, for which the conditions for production of milk (unreadable word) question is not in the first rank are ideal, although the transportation for convenience.
Postmaster John Hewden of Whitby says Scugog has one of the cleverest women of Canada as its resident. Miss Adams richly deserves the compliment. She farms about two hundred and fifty acres of choice clay lands of the island and does it well. Some years ago her father died, leaving the place in somewhat encumbered circumstances. With a woman’s hopefulness and the enthusiasm of youth, Miss Adams not only placed the farm on a good financial basis, but also made it a producer of the first-class. It is only another instance of what push and enterprise can do in Old Ontario.
To day the one hundred-acre farm in Ontario offers more opportunities to the bright young man than almost any other occupation.
Strange then, that one records so many auction sales on the island. But change of properties from father to sons, from one tenant to another, can account for nearly all. Here as elsewhere in Ontario the farms are suffering from the western drain. The boys in many cases have heard the call of wheat and have followed the lure. But the return tide is coming some day, and then fortunate indeed will be the man who can call a farm in Ontario his.
Geo. Jackson, the well-known auctioneer, of Port Perry, and a native of the island, conducts the sales. Last week we had the pleasure of driving with him across to Stone’s sale on the east shore, from which the rising shores of Cartwright were admired. Near here Washburn Island forms another break in the lake’s upward stretch toward Lindsay. But all the prospect pleased. Rural Scugog is ideal and some day property will not be current at sixty, seventy and eighty dollars per acre, for to possess a farm here will be to be rich. - The Toronto World.
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