Newcastle and Colborne Districts 1850

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Newcastle District consists of the counties of Northumberland and Durham. This district formerly comprised the townships to the north in Peterborough and Victoria Counties, which have since been separated from it, and formed into the Colborne district, which bounds it on the north; on the east it is bounded by the Victoria District; on the west by the Home District; and on the south by Lake Ontario, Rice Lake commences in the north-west of the township of Hamilton, and with its continuation, the River Trent, separates the district from that of Colborne, as far as the township of Seymour, through which it runs from north to south: it then follows a west course through the north of Murray, into the township of Sydney, makes a bend and runs south and a little west till it re-enters Murray; in which township it emerges into the Bay of Quinté. The Scugog Lake is situated in the north and centre of the township of Cartwright; and the district is watered besides by numerous excellent mill streams; one of the best of which is, that which enters Lake Ontario at Port Hope.

The land in this district varies in quality, most of it, however, is sufficiently good for agricultural purposes. A range of Oak plains, called “Rice Lake Plans,” extends through the township of Murray, the north of Cramahe, and Haldimand, the centre of Hamilton and Hope, and a small portion of Clarke. The plains were formerly difficult of sale, and would not command more than 4s. currency per acre, till they were discovered by some settlers from the neighbourhood of Brantford, who had been accustomed to farming the oak plains, and knew their value, and who made some purchases of part of them. These soon astonished their neighbours by the facility with which they cleared the land, and the excellence of their wheat crops; the latter having supposed, from the light and sandy nature of the soil, that it was valueless. The consequence was that the oak plains became in demand; and instead of four shillings per acre, they now fetch four dollars! The land in the Newcastle District is generally rolling.

The townships in front of the district are all very well settled, the farms are well cleared and in a good state of cultivation and most of the houses have orchards attached to them. The district is peopled principally by emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, most of whom are in good circumstances. Large quantities of wheat and other grain all of excellent quality, are raised in the district. A new gravelled road has lately been made from Port Hope to Rice Lake and from Cobourg to Rice Lake. Cobourg, the district town, is well laid out, and is a place of considerable business. Port Hope, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Colborne, Grafton, Brighton, and Trent, are also thriving villages.

Four thousand five hundred and fifty acres of Crown lands are open for sale in the district at 8s. currency per acre, to purchase any of which application must be made to the Crown lands’ agent at Port Hope. During the past year, two excellent roads have been built one from Cobourg to Port Hope - Gravel, the other from Cobourg to Grafton - Plank.


The District Town of the Newcastle District, in the township of Hamilton; is pleasantly situated on a gently rising ground, on the bank of Lake Ontario, 103 miles from Kingston, and 72 miles from Toronto. The town is incorporated, and the corporation limits extend for nearly two miles from the centre of the town. Cobourg is situated on a gravely soil, and it is consequently dry, clean and healthy. The town is well laid out, possesses good streets, and many excellent buildings, and has a very flourishing appearance. A harbour has been constructed at an expense of £10,381 6s. 3d., and a lighthouse erected at the end of the pier. Excellent planked sidewalks extend in every direction for a distance of from one to two miles.

During the season; steamboats call daily on their passages to and from Kingston, Toronto, and Rochester (U. States); and a stage leaves daily for Rice Lake, where it is met by the steamboat Forester, which conveys passengers to Peterborough; and the Toronto and Kingston stages pass through the town every day. During the winter, a stage leaves daily for Peterborough. A fair is held here on the second Tuesdays in April and October. There is a Mechanics’ Institute, Masonic Lodge, and two Odd Fellows’ Lodges. The “Cobourg Star,” the official organ of the District, is circulated in all parts of the Province. Churches and Chapels six, viz., Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic, congregational, Methodist, and Christian. In the Episcopal Church is a very good organ. The Jail and Court House is a handsome stone building, situated about a mile and a half from the town on the Toronto Road.

Victoria College was founded by the Wesleyan Conference; the institution was chartered in 1835, as an Academy, and by Act of Parliament, in 1812, was constituted a College, with power to confer degrees in the several arts and sciences - (the only degree yet conferred has been one in literature): it is supported partly by a legislative grant of £500 per annum, and partly by tuition fees. The building is handsome, and well situated, and cost nearly £10,000; it contains Library, Reading Room, Chapel, Laboratory, Lecture Rooms, &c. &c. Although the institution was founded by the Methodists, there is nothing sectarian in its character.

A large cloth factory has been lately erected, for the manufacture of coarse cloth, tweeds, basinet, blankets, flannels, &c.; is in full operation, and employs nearly 200 hands, and is capable of turning out 850 yards of cloth per day. The building is brick, and are five stories high, including basement.

The following government and district offices are kept in Cobourg: Judge of the District Court, Sheriff, Treasurer, Inspector of Licences, Collector of Customs, Registrar of County of Northumberland, District Clerk, Clerk of District Court. The office of the Clerk of the Peace is




A Town in the southeast corner of the township of Hope beautifully situated on Lake Ontario. The principal part of the town is built on the sides of a hill, having a fine view of the lake, and the surrounding country. The road from Toronto to Kingston passes through the town. - A fine, rapid mill-stream runs through the town to the lake, at the mouth of which is a large basin, forming a natural harbour of considerable size, and well sheltered on the west and north. At present the greater portion of it is a mere marsh, having a branch of the stream passing on each side of it; but it might with ease be cleared out, when it would form a harbour capable of admitting and protecting any vessel on the lake. The town is incorporated, and is improving rapidly, and some very handsome buildings are in course of erection. The Toronto and Kingston stages pass through the town, and during the season of navigation, steamboats call daily on their passages to and from Toronto, Kingston and Rochester. A weekly newspaper the “Commercial Advertiser” is published here. Churches and chapels four, viz. Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic and Methodist.

Population about 1,200.

The following Government and District Offices are kept in Port Hope: -- Registrar of County of Durham, Judge of Surrogate Court, Registrar of do., Crown Lands Agent.

Professions and Trades. - Four physicians and surgeons, three lawyers, two grist mills, one foundry, one brewery, four tanneries, five distilleries, one ashery, eighteen stores, six taverns, one surveyor, one druggist, one bookseller, four bakers, one livery stable, one printer, four wagon makers, two cabinet makers, one watchmaker, seven blacksmiths, three tinsmiths, eleven tailors, ten shoemakers, four saddlers, one school for boys, two ladies’ seminaries, two bank agencies - “Upper Canada” and “B.N.A..”

Principal Taverns. - “Ontario House,” “North American Hotel,” “Thompson’s Hotel,” &c.


Consists of the United Counties of Peterborough and Victoria, Which returns a member to the House of Assembly, and comprises the following townships: Asphodel, Belmont, Burleigh, Bexley, Dummer, Douro, Ennismore, Emily, Eldon, Fenelon, Harvey, Methuen, Mariposa, Otanabee, Ops, Smith, Somerville, Verulam, and North Monaghan. This District is situated to the north of the Newcastle District; and has a chain of lakes running through the north and east of it, called Balsam Lake, Sturgeon Lake, Pigeon Lake, Chemong Lake, and Trout Lake; and the townships of Otanabee and Asphodel a bounded on the south by Rice Lake and River Trent. It is besides, watered by the Otanabee River, the Scugog River, and numerous small streams scattered over it; most of which discharge themselves into the lakes. Much of the timber on the lake and rivers in pine, and a great trade is carried on in lumber; immense quantities of which are carried down the River Trent. The district is getting well settled, and land in the neighbourhood of Peterborough’, the district town, is becoming valuable. Two hundred and sixty-four thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight acres of Crown lands are open for sale in the Colborne District, at 8s. currency per acre: to purchase any of which, application must be made to the Crown lands’ agent, at Peterboro’.

Population in 1842, 13,706: since when it has probably increased one-fifth.



The District Town of the Colborne District, beautifully situated in the northwest of the township of North Monaghan, on the Otanabee River, thirty miles north from Port Hope, and about thirty-four from Cobourg. The towns laid out by government in the year 1826; and property has greatly increased in value within the last few years so much so, that the few town lots now remaining in the hands of the Crown are valued at from £12 10s. to £300 and £350 was lately paid for a portion of a lot, containing not more than a tenth of an acre. The town is well laid out, and has a handsome appearance, and is a present very flourishing. A portion of the town, on the east side of the river is called Peterborough East. There is some fine scenery in the neighbourhood of the town; the land being a succession of hill and dale. During the season, the steamboat “Forester” leaves the town every day for Rice Lake, where it is met by the stage for Port Hope and Cobourg; and during the winter, a stage runs every day from Peterborough to the same place. A gravelled road is in course of construction from Rice Lake to Port Hope.

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