Hope Township History -- Part 2


 Continuation of Historical Facts:


The Town Hall and Market House, a massive red brick building, surmounted by a bell tower and clock, is situated at the intersection of Dorset and Queen Streets. The town also contains a large battalion drill shed, built in 1867 at a cost of $2,200. On Mill Street a few yards east of Walton Street is the Registry Office of East Durham. Gull Island is a small island in the lake about three miles distant from the town, upon which is erected a conspicuous lighthouse and is situated midway between Port Hope and Cobourg. The harbour has capacity for holding nearly the entire fleet of the lake. The viaduct of the Grand Trunk Railway, which, exclusive of Victoria Bridge in Montreal, is probably the most costly enterprise of the kind along the entire route. On what is called English Town some handsome residence are built.

On Protestant HilL, embosomed among a cluster of trees, may be seen the little tower of St. Mark's [Episcopal] church, the oldest ecclesiastical edifice in the town. It is a plain wooden structure and was erected in 1818.

Trinity College School already briefly referred to, deserves more than a passing allusion. It is a branch of Trinity College, Toronto. It was first established in 1865 in the village of Weston where it remained for about three years. In consequence of liberal inducements held out by the people of Port Hope, the school was removed thither in 1868 and was established in buildings provided free of rent by the townspeople. The school subsequently purchased the property, which then consisted of ten acres of land, together with the buildings thereon. Larger buildings were erected which were occupied for the first time in January 1872. The school was shortly afterwards incorporated by Act of Parliament. Several additions, both to the buildings and to the land connected therewith, have since been made and the whole premises now include more than twenty acres. The total cost of the buildings has been about $60,000. The school is largely attended - the present attendance being about 85 and adds considerably to the importance of the town. In addition to this institution, Port Hope contains a Central and several good Common schools.

In the east is a public park containing about 37 acres. The present population is about 5,700. The town is lighted with gas and whether seen by day or by night, presents an appearance very dissimilar to that of the little Indian village which Mr. Myndert HARRIS found when he settled on the site 85 years ago. The scenery around is very beautiful and the adjoining heights, more especially those on the western side, are dotted with beautiful and costly private residences, commanding a fine prospect of the town and the lake beyond. The settlement of the township and the surrounding locality followed slowly upon the first location of Smith's Creek.

 Early Settlers


After the original pioneers, came the ASHFORD, JOHNSON, TRULL and STEVENS families. ASHFORD died in 1795 - being the first death in the new settlement. Simeon, son on James STEVENSs the first child born and the first marriage was that of Margaret, daughter of Mr. HARRIS, to Elias JONES. The ceremony being performed by Squire BLUCHER, who stopped on his way to Little York for this purpose, in compliance with the request of the parties concerned in the interesting event.

Many descendants of the old family settlers still reside in the locality. Notably of the family of the SMITHs, who intermarried with the HARRIS and HAWKINS families and occupied conspicuous public positions. Hon. Sidney SMITH, now residing in Cobourg, was Inspector of Registry Offices and was Postmaster General in the MacDonald Cartier Cabinet from 1858 to 1862. His father, John D., son of Elias, represented Durham in the Provincial Parliament in 1826. James SMITH was elected for Durham in 1848 and sat for that constituency until 1854 when he was elected for Victoria. He was afterwards appointed County Judge by the Sandfield MacDonald Ministry in 1863. John Shuter SMITH sat for several years in parliament having defeated Mr. Francis BURTON in East Durham in 1857 and again in 1861 and 1864. He was offered the portfolio of Commissioner of Crown Lands in the Sandfield MacDonald Administration, but declined. However, afterwards he became clerk of the Executive Council and retained the position until his death. Elias was also a candidate for parliamentary honors and was defeated in 1864. His eldest son J.D. of Fenelon Falls was turned out on a scrutiny and his second son Seth was defeated by Mr. John ROSEVEAR at the last election for East Durham. David SMITH, late Postmaster of Oshawa, was also a son of John David SMITH. Charles SMITH is now the other only surviving son of John D. and brother of Hon. Sidney SMITH.

William SISSON, J.P., who claims to be [with one exception] the oldest male settler residing in Port Hope, came to the place in June 1823. In his time he has seen three or four generations pass away. He came from Duchess County, New York and is the youngest of a large family of sons and daughters. He commenced the manufacture of leather in Port Hope and carried on the business successfully up to 1852, when he retired, his industry having secured him a competency. He took a very active part in the management of the Durham Agricultural Society, having been its treasurer for forty years. He was also an active promoter of the first Mechanics' Institute. He was active in putting down the rebellion of 1837\38, having command of a troop of cavalry [attached to the Durham regiment] which he was instrumental in raising. He married a niece of Jonathan WALTON [one of the first settlers already noticed]. Mr. SISSON is somewhat remarkable in his locality for the very heterodox opinions entertained by him upon religious subjects.

During the war of 1812, a number of Americans with their families arrived and settled in the township. In 1817 the population amounted to 750. Charles FOTHERGILL, who afterwards figured in Canadian history as a journalist and member of the Legislature, was the first regularly appointed postmaster. The names, which appear in the earliest extant township records, are the following: "At a town meeting held in Wellington Inn, Port Hope, the first Monday in January 1822, the following persons were chosen for town officers, namely:

James W. FOX - Town Clerk
Thomas HARRIS and Jas.W. FOX - Assessors,
William MARSH - Collector, Pathmasters:
Stephen SHAW and Paul HAYWARD - East Division
George SAXTON - 3rd Division
George BROWN - East Division
Samuel GIFFORD - 1st Division, Danford Road
John POTTER - 2nd Division
William MARSH - 3rd Division
John J. TAYLOR - 4th Division
Samuel MARVIN - 1st Division, 4th Con.
Calvin HAMLIN - 3rd Division, 4th Con.
Timothy JOHNSON - 3rd Division, 4th Con.
Samuel CALDWELL - 5th Con.
David STEVENS and Thomas HARTWELL - Poundkeepers
Jacob COATE and John FARLEY; Churchwardens

 Before 1835:


In subsequent years and up to 1835, the names of the following persons appear in connection with township and village affairs: Thomas WARD, M.F. WHITEHEAD, John Tucker WILLIAMS, Samuel GILCHRIST, Wm. SISSIN, David SMART,Thomas BENSON, Godfrey STEVENSON, David STEVENS, Joshua GIFFORD, John WALKER, James HAWKINS, Abraham BOWEN, John PERRY, James HAWKS, John ASHFORD, Wm. PRESTON, W.D. HASKELL, Samuel CALDWELL, Jonathan BROWN, Luke and David BEDFORD, Job and Erasmus FOUKE, Caleb RAYMOND, James LANG, Lee MILLS, Thomas QUAY, Wilson GARDINER, Thomas JACKSON, Leonard SOPER, Mark HEWSON, John BROWN, John AULEY, Philip RIELY, Whitney GRANT, John LYALL, James ROBERTSON, Henry THOMPSON, John RIDDLE, Barnabas BLETCHER, Cornelius LOW, Samuel ANDERSON, James RUTLEDGE, James CORBETT, Carelton GIFFORD, Elias P. SMITH, Wm. BATESON, George MANNING, Joel DRAPER, Reuben P. GRANT, Richard BULLOCK, Peter THUMB, Thomas SAYERS, John QUAY, Edmond MELSON, Alex MORROW, Wm. LOTT, Daniel BRAND, Samuel CORBETT, Charles TROTTER, James HOLDAWAY, R. WILLEY, W. LATHAM, Jonathan WALTON, Luther MCNAUL, Benjamin SEAMANS, Joseph CALLENDER, Jeremiah BRITON, Justin JOHNSON, John HATTON, Samuel DICKINSON, James ELLIOTT.

 1835 - 1850


From 1835 to 1850 the following appear as taking a prominent part in municipal affairs: Ebenezer BEEBE, John HENRY, Wm. S. MARSH, Edward MELSON, Wm. HENDERSON, Denis RIORDAN, Hugh OKE T. AND J. MCBURNEY, Zach POLLARD, Barth MITCHELL, John CAMPBELL, W.H. ALLEN, Wm. HILL, Wm. KINGSMILL, Robert SCANY, Edward GARDINER, Wm. PETERS, John AGER, Nathan EDWARDS, George TISDALL, Wm. KILPATRICK, James DUNBAR, Samuel MARTIN, James SULTHORP, Sylvester DEAN, Israel BOWEN, James SOMERS, John BARKWELL, Jacob WALTON, Geo. A. BURNS, Wm. BARRETT, James ALLEN, Leonard CURTIS, Myndert HARRIS Sr. James CROTHERS, Samuel S. POWERS, Wm. HATCH, John ROSEVEAR, Aaron BEEBE, W. MOON, James GRAY, John COLEMAN, John and Alex MCELROY, John MCMURTRY, Wm. BLETCHER, Charles RUTTAN, James MCMURTY, Roderick MITCHELL, Thomas DUNN, Thos. CAMPBELL, Arthur PARSONS, Jas. H. HAGERMAN, Peter SALTER, S. CHARLESWORTH, Henry ADAMS, R.B. MARSH, Charles MEADOWS, Nichol DODDS,Thos GRAY, Alex BROADFOOT, Duncan CLEGHORN, James ASHFORD and others. James Harvey HAGERMAN filled the office of clerk from 1846 to 1852. After the passing of the Municipal Act, the township was divided into wards, subsequently abolished. The first elections under the provisions of the Act resulted in the return of S.S.POWERS as reeve. Alex MORROW as deputy reeve and Sam DICHINSON, Thomas CAMPBELL and John MCMURTRY as councilors. In 1852 the township took 15,00 pounds stock in the Port Hope and Peterborough Railway. The corporation subsequently transferred the stock to the Port Hope, Peterborough and Lindsay Company - since merged in the Midland and Millbrook branch.

 More Interesting Facts:


Speaking of the Midland Railway, it may be briefly noticed here that the Extension was completed in Lakefield in 1870 - striking the water navigation of Stoney and Clear Lakes and their tributaries and bringing the sawmills in that vicinity within easy shipping distance on the line. In 1871 the line was completed to Beaverton. The extension to Georgian Bay was commenced in 1872 and the line to Orillia being completed in 1873. The work was steadily continued in the face of many opposing difficulties, not the least of which was the dullness of the lumber trade. Waubashene, on the Geogian Bay was reached in 1875. Regular trains commenced running the entire length of the line in 1876. The future extension of Midland and Midland Bay, the terminus of the line on Lake Huron, is now [January 1878] under construction and it is expected the whole line will be finished and open for traffic by June 1878. The Midland Railway will then comprise a main line of 120 miles from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. Also a branch of 23 miles from Millbrook to Lakefield, making together a total working line of 143 miles, besides about 20 miles of sidings. The Midland Railway connects at Port Hope with the Grand Trunk, at Lindsay with the Victoria and the Whitby, Port Perry and Lindsay lines, at Woodville with the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, at Orillia with the Northern Railway and at Waubashene with steamers for all points on the Georgian Bay. The Peterborough branch joins the main line at Millbrook, the terminus being Lakefield, where during the season of navigation communication is made with steamers. Mr. HUGEL, the energetic president of the road, has recently succeeded in making an arrangement with the bondholders in Europe, by which a large sum of money has been advanced for the improvement of the road-bed and equipment. The track has been laid with steel rails throughout and with the completion of the road to the terminus at Midland [which is the largest and best harbour on Georgian Bay], a promising and more hopeful future may be predicted for the Midland Railway. The head offices are at Port Hope. The following are the officers: Adolph HUGE, president and manager, F. WHITEHEAD, secretary, H.G.TAYLOR, superintendent, A. WHITE, general freight and passenger agent.

Port Hope Harbour Company was incorporated in 1829. Mr. John D. SMITH generously donated ten acres of land for harbour purposes. The shareholders got to quarrelling immediately afterwards and for a long time the scenes enacted between the two rival factions were anything but edifying. The Corporation of Port Hope largely borrowed from the Municipal Loan Fund. It, like other municipalities which borrowed from the fund to an amount beyond their ability to repay, enjoys the benefit of the expenditure without paying even the interest [except a small modicum] upon the debt. The harbour is now in excellent condition and brings in a large revenue.



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