History of Millersmith Is Dated Back to Year 1831

Millersmith. - In the year 1831, on the 2nd day of June, a ship set sail from Liverpool, England, under the Robinson Immigration Company. She had on board a number of immigrants, English, Irish and Scotch. It took them six weeks to cross the Atlantic, in a sailing vessel, to Canada.

When they landed in Quebec they were held in quarantine for smallpox, after which they sailed and portaged up the St. Lawrence River to Port Hope. Some remained there and others who were taking up land proceeded on inland by way of the "Trent Valley Canal" waters.

Some of these people were soldiers who had been given grants of land as a recompense for their services in the past wars. Among these were six families, namely, the Millers and the Smiths, hence the name of the community "Millersmith." The Kennedys, the McMullens, the Bentleys, and Cullons, all of whom came up the chain of lakes, to Pigeon Lake. They landed at the east end of the 14th con. of Emily, now called the "Kings Wharf."

Here they built wigwams of cedar, spruce and balsam boughs for their families to live in, while the men folk came on through around by Downeyville to the lots which were assigned to them. During their stay at Kings Wharf, they suffered a great deal of sickness; fever and ague they called it. One of John Kennedy's children died while there and they buried it in Downeyville, but very shortly lifted it, and brought it to his own farm and buried it there, in the present cemetery.

On the 2nd day of November 1831 these folks moved to their log cabins on their own property. They had no matches so had to bank coals with ashes, in iron pots and carried them along to light their fires. John Miller's shanty was the last one built and it was not finished - no doors, no windows, they had to hang quilts in them. The roofs were made of troughs, the first row laid with the trough up and the second row laid with them turned down into the first row. There were only three troughs on the roof, and before morning it snowed quite heavily.

The Families

John Miller and Catherine McDonald were married on Jan. 17th, 1811 in Glasgow, Scotland. He and his wife and family of six, namely, Hugh, John, Catherine, Agnes, Jane and James settled on the McMullen and Murdoch farms. The Murdoch farm is now owned by Eddie Thurston. Later Jane Miller married John Murdoch and resided there while they lived.

Catherine Miller married William McMullen and lived where John McMullen resided all his life, and now his son, W. N. McMullen and family are on this property. John Miller died in 1852. His wife died shortly before that, and his two sons, Hugh and John died in 1840 or 41, with malaria fever, caused by the water being dammed at Bobcaygeon and it flooded the swamps along Emily creek. At one time while the fever raged there was only one man John Cullon able to go to all the homes and bring in a pail of water and wood to help make them as comfortable as possible. Later Agnes and James died with scarlet fever. Six of the Millers are buried on the Miller property.

William Smith married Jane Bell in Ireland. He and his wife and family, namely, Bessie, William, John and Joseph, settled on the farm where Joseph Smith, a grandson, now lives. This place is the only one still in the name in which it was taken. Mr. William Smith was killed by a falling tree in the corner field of Mr. W. J. Patrick's farm. Mr. John Miller, Sr., was with Mr. Smith at the time. He was buried in the cemetery here. As near as we can learn it was about 1837. Joseph, his youngest son, was born in December of the same year.

John Kennedy and his wife who was Nancy Dickson and their family, namely, John, Mary, Gracella and William settled on Milton Thurston's property. William did not come this far, but went on from Port Hope to work on the Rideau Canal for some time before coming here to settle on the farm where Lowry Kennedy lives. He married Rebekah Forsythe and their family names were Robert, William, Thomas, Mary, Jane, Gracella, David and James F. At this time the Welland Canal was being built and Mr. John Kennedy went there to work leaving his family here and while he was there he took sick with cholera and died.

Christopher Bentley and his wife, "Francis Cox," and their son John and grandson John Cullon who was 2 years old, came and settled on Walter I. Thurston's place. There they lived, and were buried on the farm. Their grandson, John Cullon lived there for years after they died. Their son, John Bentley, settled on D. W. Kennedy's farm.

John Cullon's father, Thomas Cullon and his wife, Miss Bentley, came from the old country a short time after. Their daughter, Mary Ann, was born on the banks of Newfoundland, on their way over. They settled on the place where Mr. Collins now resides. The rest of the family names were Thomas, Samuel, Francis, Jane and Arthur. Their father was a policeman in Longford, Ireland.

John McMullen, his wife, Margaret Ferrel, and their family, John, Catherine, William, Patrick, James and Eliza. Eliza was the first white child born in this community, on the 13th of March 1832. In later years she was married to James Patrick and they resided on the McMullen property, "Bee Hive Cottage," while they lived. The McMullens settled first on the Houlihan farm, but later bought the Mahar property mentioned before. John went to the United States immediately after they came from the old country. Catherine, later Mrs. Seymour, went to Lockport; U.S.A. Patrick married Mary Catherine Cassidy, and remained in this community for a time, but later moved to Tiny Township, near Midland. Mrs. I. W. Elliott is a daughter of his and also Mrs. E. Wood, both of Dunsford. The only doctors within possible reach were Dr. Fiddler of Lindsay, and Dr. Irons, of Omemee. At the time of the fever epidemic almost every family suffered the loss of loved ones.

Some Later Settlers

Donald Ross was the first settler on W. J. Patrick's place. He sold to Mr. Bird and he again sold to Padgets then bought Crowley's, Padgets then brought Crowley's, which is J. A. Elliott's and Ezra Thurston's property now.

Miller's property was a soldier's grant and also Peter Gannon's . He left it to Peter and Jim Waters, and it is now the property of Mr. Mr. E. Germyn.

John Mortimore owned Orville Zealand's; the Murdochs came to Verulam in 1845 and John came to this community to live a short time after.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Community Holds Its Centenary 1831-1931

Millersmith Pioneers Faced Great Hardships on Arrival 100 Years Ago Many Died

The well-known farming district called Millersmith is celebrating its centenary this year, and an interesting history of the community and its early settlers has been prepared for this event.

In the year 1831 on the 2nd day of June a ship set sail from Liverpool, England. It had on board a number of emigrants, English, Irish and Scotch. It took six weeks for this sailing vessel to cross the Atlantic to Canada.

The emigrants landed in Quebec where they were held in quarantine for a time for smallpox, after which they sailed and portaged up the St. Lawrence River to Port Hope. Some remained there, and others who were taking up land proceeded on inland by way of the Trent Valley Canal waters. Some of these people were soldiers who had been given grants of land as a recompense for their services in the past war. Among these were six families of the Millers and Smiths, and from them was derived the name of the community in which they settled Millersmith. There were also the Kennedy, McMullens, Bentleys and Cullons, all of whom came up the chain of lakes to Pigeon Lake. They landed at the east end of this road, the 14th concession of Emily, at the spot now called the King's Wharf.

Here they built wigwams of cedar, spruce and balsam boughs for their families to live in while the men went on through around by Downeyville to the lots which were assigned to them. During their stay at the Wharf they suffered a great deal of sickness. Fever and ague they called it. One of John Kennedy's children died and was buried in Downeyville. Shortly after, however, the body was moved to where Millersmith's present cemetery is situated.

On the 2nd day of November these people moved to their log cabins on their own property. They had no matches so they banked coals with ashes in an iron pot and carried it with them. John Miller's shanty was the last to be built and 100 years ago about this time of year, it was not finished. As it lacked doors and window, quilts had to be hung in the openings. There were only three troughs on the roof, and it snowed heavily before morning.

Between 1840 and 1845 the Government built the dam at Bobcaygeon. This raised the water and it backed up in the swamps along Emily Creek. Malaria fever broke out and every person in the settlement was sick. One man, John Cullon, was the only person able to go about, and he went around to each house and brought in water and wood, and helped make the sick people as comfortable as possible. Dr. Fiddler was the only doctor in Lindsay and Dr. Irons of Omemee. Several of the families suffered the loss of loved ones at this time.


Search the Ontario Genealogy Website


Historical Visits to Ontario Villages and Towns  Take a trip back in time to the late 19th century and explore the towns and villages where your ancestors lived, loved, laboured, laughed and played.

Ontario Images of the Past   Thousands of Images of City, Town, Village and Country Life

Ontario Land Registry Records Research Thousands of your ancestors and where they lived in Ontario


Upper Canada (Ontario) Newspaper Notices Database 


Ontario (Upper Canada) History and Pioneer Family Research 

Queen's Own Rifles - Old Photos of Members 

Upper Canada District Maps (Circa 1800) 

Upper Canada (Ontario) History Books On-Line Index

Ontario County Directories Victoria, Haliburton, Hastings, Peterborough, Durham, Northumberland, Muskoka, and Old Ontario County


  Central Upper Canada (Ontario) Marriage Database 22650 Marriage Records Indexed 

  Central Upper Canada Baptism Database 25000 Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland Marriages indexed

Upper Canada (Central Ontario) Burial Database 4500 Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Church of Scotland Burials indexed


  Eastern Upper Canada Marriage Database 1200 Anglican, Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland Marriages indexed

  Eastern Upper Canada Baptism Database 3000 Anglican, Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland Baptisms indexed

  Eastern Upper Canada Burial Database


Upper Canada Land Petitions 51000 Records Indexed

  Upper Canada Land Leases and Miscellaneous Petitions 10000 Records Indexed 

Upper Canada (Ontario) Sundries Database 


  Upper Canada (Ontario) Toronto Insane Asylum Database

  Upper Canada (Ontario) Kingston Insane Asylum Database

  Upper Canada (Ontario) London Insane Asylum Database 

  Upper Canada (Ontario) Malden Insane Asylum Database

  Upper Canada (Ontario) Hamilton Insane Asylum Database


  Ontario Genealogy Historical Newspaper Collection  Historical Newspaper Files from various regions of Ontario 

NEWSPAPER Genealogical and Historical Records - Thousands of entries


  Ontario (Upper Canada) Map Collection  Great site for locating your ancestors in Ontario

Ontario Genealogy Postcard Site - Great old-time landscape views


  Upper Canada and Ontario CRIMINAL Database 


Ontario Genealogy Database Index Site 400 000 Genealogy Records Indexed


 Join the Ontario Genealogy mail list now. Discussion group for genealogy and history of the Province of Ontario post 1867, or join the Upper Canada (Ontario) mail list now, discussion group for genealogy and history of Upper Canada prior to 1867.

Subscribe: Type subscribe in message subject and body.

Ontario Genealogy Mail List

Upper Canada Genealogy Mail List


Need HELP With Your Family Research?...


Northumberland County Genealogy and History

Victoria County Genealogy and History

Durham County Genealogy and History

Haliburton County Genealogy and History

Peterborough County History and Genealogy

Newcastle District (Upper Canada) History and Genealogy

Ontario County History and Genealogy

Upper Canada History and Genealogy

Echoes of the Past - Ontario Genealogy Home


Search the Ontario Genealogy Website


Email: