The township of Dysart was part of the nine township block of lands owned by the Canadian Land and Emigration Company. The township takes its name from the sea town of Dysart, on the Firth of Forth, Fife, Scotland. “The first shanty in what is now Haliburton village, was inhabited by Willett Casey Austin, a fur-trader and trapper, born in Picton, Ontario.” Willett (born 1825/07/25, died 1910/11/29) occupied a cabin at Stewart’s Narrows, between Head Lake and Grass Lake, with his wife, Esther Adelia (nee Holland). Esther was the sister of James Holland. Other 'squatters' in the township included David Sawyer, William and James Murray, James Holland, and William Gainforth.
By the early 1860's more settlers including the Parsonages, Charles R. Stewart, Steven Thompson, John Lucas, Charles Wastell, William Menzies, Alex Pogue, William Elstone, Richard Thompson, John Leper, Samuel hart, Thomas Gould, William Conner, H. Mitchell, George and John Harcourt, George Little, James Irwin, D. McFarlane, Willett C. Austin, Andrew and James Heard, A.H. Garratt, and Edward Pockett.
The 1871 Peterborough County Directory records the population of Dysart Township as about 500 persons. Settler's names included James, Franklin and Willett Austin, Thomas and William Beavis, William and Thomas Beamish, Peter Borden, William Brownrigg, Archibald Burke, William Cashmore, Robert Clerk, George Cole, John Croston, Fred Cullaren, Peter J. Cype, Thomas Dart, William Davis, James Dover, William Dugan, Richard and William Elston, James and John Erskine, Colin Everett, Peter Ferguson, James Fowlds, William Gainforth, A.H. Garrett, Thomas Gould, William Gugan, George and John Harcourt, James and William Holland, Andrew and William Heard, Samuel Hurt, James Huthason, James Huthings, Harold, Walter and William Illman, Henry and James Irwin, George Johnston, Thomas Lane, Daniel and Thomas Laughlin, Francis Leaper, James Letherby, George Little, John Lucas, Samuel McClugan, Charles McDonald, Daniel Mcfarlane, Jeremiah Maguire, John Main, William Menzies, Thomas Moon, Adam Moffatt, Hamilton Mitchell, William Murray, Alex Niven, Henry Pamplin, Walter Parish, Abraham Parsonage, Adam Paterson, Samuel Peaver, Edwin Pocket, J.C. Pritzeow, Andrew Quarry, John and R.A. Rutherford, William Ritchie, David Sawyer, William Shaw, William Smith, Charles Stewart, John and William Stothart, John Strain, John Sunderland, George, John, Richard and Stephen Thompson, Charles Wastel, J.W. Watson, William Woods, John Wolstolm, and John Young.
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