"This township was named in
honor of John Somers Cocks, Earl of Somers, Viscount Eastnor of Eastnor
Castle, county of Hereford, 'who was closely related to the wife of Sir
Edward W. Head, the Governor-General in 1855, who chose the name of '
Eastnor ' for the township in compliment to his wife's
relations.""Nothing but Names."
Extract from the Report of
County Valuators, 1901.
"There is a great deal of
good land in Eastnor, which shows decided improvement since the last
valuation, and in the near future will compare favorably with any portion
of the county, but a railroad is much needed, especially in regard to the
shipment of stock and postal facilities. We think we are within the mark
in saying that fully one-third of Eastnor will be first-class land when
the present drainage contracts are completed, and the balance of what is
known as the Eastnor swamp is cleared up. The balance of the township,
however, is very inferior, rock everywhere and timber gone, which leaves
the lots (we cannot say land) valueless. This statement applies largely to
the four northern townships. Fire and lumbermen have devastated these
townships and have left behind a barren waste."
Eastnor possesses physical
features peculiar to itself among the municipalities of the county. In it
are to be seen as fine farms, buildings included, as are to be found in
the highly favored southern townships of Bruce. At the same time in it are
to be found large areas of rock, as bare of soil as can be seen in any
part of the Peninsula. Its bays, deeply indenting the coast line, result
in the narrowest part of the county, excepting near the point of the
Peninsula, being found within its boundaries (the township is less than
five miles wide at the 35 side road), while in another part its extending
peninsulas give to it a breadth excelled by only one other township.
Although far north, yet it is less liable to summer frosts than townships
further south; this is because of the large bodies of water on each side
of it. Its large swamps, thought at one time to be a detriment to the
township, are now in a large measure drained, and the finest land is that
which was only lately a swamp.
The first purchases of land
in Eastnor were made in 1862, but settlers do not seem to have taken up
their lands until 1869 or 1870. The first assessment roll of the township,
that for 1871, is so interesting that extracts from it are here given. The
roll contains eighteen names, [As it may interest some to know who these
eighteen were, their names are here given, viz., Joseph Andrew, John Cale,
Allen Erwin, David Harris, Thomas and Francis Hart, Francis and Michael
Hagin, Thomas Harkness, Robert McCarter, George Moore, Jacob Schermahorn,
Samuel Slack, L. Sherlock, Richard Tackaberry, Wm. Tunan, Joseph Waugh and
Francis Waugh. As to which of the amove mentioned was Eastnor's first
settler it is not known. George Moore and Richard Tackaberry each claimed
it.] three of which seem to have been non-residents. Six of these
ratepayers seem to have been alone on their clearings, while nine had
families. The total number of inhabitants, as given in the roll, is
fifty-one. Three ratepayers are entered as having clearings of five acres
each. One, that of ten acres; the rest had no clearings. Each one hundred
acres was assessed at the same amount, namely $100; as there were
twenty-three lots taken up, the assessment roll shows a total of $2,300.
This assessment was much increased in the roll of 1872, the amount there
being $10,395, showing a marked advance. The development of the township
is noticeable in the next record we shall quote, that of the county
valuators, who in 1879 valued the real estate in Eastnor at $133,448.
They who may be named as
the first settlers in Eastnor, when selecting their lands for settlement,
seem to have favored the vicinity of Lion's Head; the wave of settlement
moved thence south as far as the 20 side-line and adjacent lands, and
thence westward to where Spry is now. Francis Waugh, near Hope Bay, and
Joseph Eveleigh and Patrick Judge, at Barrow Bay, being exceptions.
Owing to the difficulty of
access into the township by land, the roads being in a deplorable
condition for many years, most of the traffic in the early days to points
outside the township was by water. The following are the names of some of
the steamboats that in the seventies or eighties visited Lion's Head and
Barrow Bay. The Okonra, Captain Dunn, was one of the earliest vessels to
be engaged on the route between Owen Sound, Wiarton and the Peninsula. She
was succeeded about 1879 by the Wiarton Belle, and the latter boat by the
Comet, and that by the Annie Watt and the ill-fated Jane Miller. For the
accommodation of these and other vessels it was necessary that a wharf
should be constructed at Lion's Head. Realiz-ing this the township, in the
summer of 1883, offered to pay what sum was necessary to place material on
the ground sufficient to construct a dock 200 feet long, on condition that
the government have the work performed. The government in that year sent a
dredge to clear a channel, some 13 feet deep and 80 feet long, through a
bar that extended across the entrance to the harbor. This improvement to
navigation was supplemented by the construction of the pier.
On 18th June, 1869, the
township of Eastnor was by by-law of the County Council united for
municipal purposes to the township of Albemarle. To this union of
municipalities there was a further addition made June 21st, 1872, when the
County Council added thereto the townships of Lindsay and St. Edmunds.
This large municipality of united townships began to dissolve when on June
8th, 1877, the three northern townships were by by-law separated from
Albemarle, to become a separate municipality on the 1st January following,
with Eastnor as the senior township. [The first municipal election was
held at the schoolhouse for S. S. No. 1, C. W. W. Dalton being returning
officer.] These three townships remained united as one municipality until
Lindsay and St. Edmunds, having developed and attained to the required
qualifications within their own bounds, were set apart as a separate
municipality, and since that date, January 1st, 1883, Eastnor has known
nothing of a municipal partnership. The first township council consisted
of Francis Waters, William Freeman, Jos. Waugh and James Elder, with David
Scott, jun., as reeve, [The following are the names of those who have been
reeves of Eastnor from 1878 onwards: David Scott, 1878, '79, 1880; William
Hale, 1881; Robert Watt, 1882, '84; Thomas Boyle, 1883; Alex. Chisholm,
1885, '86 1892, '93 and '94; F. W. Stewart, 1887; R. E. Moore, 1888, '89
1890 '91; John H. Cook, 1895, '96, '98, '99, 1900, '01 and '05; Robert
Bain, 1897: Thomas J. Bridge, 1902, '03 and '04; W. B. Moshier, 1906.] C.
W. W. Dalton [C. W. W. Dalton filled the office of township clerk until
March, 1905, when he removed from Eastnor to the Niagara District.] as
township clerk, and Richard Tackaberry as township treasurer.
The earliest attempt to
establish a manufacturing industry in the township was in 1874, when a
saw-mill, built and run by Patrick Judge, was put in operation at Barrow
Bay. Some three years later the same man had a grist-mill of one run of
stones; this mill was more used for "chopping" than for flour. In 1879 a
bonus of $1,600 was given by the townships to Robert Watt [Robert Watt
subsequently became reeve of Eastnor, and later, while residing at Wiarton,
he was elected a county councillor, and in 1903 warden of the county of
Bruce. In 1905 he retired from business, that of a saw-miller and
lumberman, left Wiarton, and moved to Toronto.] to erect a grist and
saw-mill at Lion's Head. This mill was completed and running in the month
of July in the following year, and for years the hum of its machinery
might be heard until in an unfortunate fire it was burned down in 1889.
This mill has been replaced by an excellent roller-process mill built by a
joint stock company. In 1883 Messrs. Judge and Inksetter built a steam
saw-mill at Barrow Bay, and there, in 1892, the Barrow Bay Lumber Company
built a large, roller-process grist-mill. A number of saw-mills have at
various times been put in operation throughout the township, some of which
have had to close down because of the growing scarcity of logs.
Before the village of
Lion's Head had taken form, what was known as Tackaberry's Corners (lot 20
and 21, concessions 4 and 5, E.B.R.) was looked upon as the "hub" of the
township. Lion's Head in 1875 consisted only of the post-office (opened in
August of that year, with F. W. Stewart as postmaster) and one store, the
only store in the township. An old settler furnished the author with a
list of prices he had there paid for necessaries of life. As these
backwoods prices contrast markedly with those of the present day, they are
here given as received: Axes, $2.50 each; coal-oil, 50c. a gallon; salt,
5c. lb.; tobacco, $1.25 lb.; tea, lowest price, 75c. per lb.; pork, 19c.
lb.; scythe stones, 37 1/2c. each.
The village of Lion's Head
takes its name from the resemblance to a lion's head to be discerned on a
rocky cliff lying about a mile east of the harbor. At one time the
resemblance was quite marked, but the action of the elements is causing
the likeness to fade away. As noted in a previous paragraph, in 1875 the
village consisted only of a store and post-office. A visitor in the fall
of 1879 states that there was then in course of erection a number of
dwelling-houses, two hotels, a store, a grist-mill and a planing-mill,
while there was in operation a saw-mill, a pump factory, two stores and a
blacksmith shop, the stores being run by F. W. Stewart and George P.
Webster, while the population was estimated to be about 100. Another
visitor in 1882 estimates the population as 200, with two hotels, one a
brick building, and five stores. The spiritual needs of the residents at
Lion's Head and vicinity seemed to have been first attended to by a Rev.
Mr. Leggett, a Methodist minister. The Presbyterians seemed to have been a
little later in entering upon this field, but met with strong support, and
erected the first church edifice in the township. The first minister of
this denomination to labor in this field was the Rev. W. M. Rogers; this
was in 1879. He was followed by a Mr. McKibbon, a student from one of the
Presbyterian colleges, in the summer of 1880, the services being held in
the summer months in the old Webster mill, and when the weather became
unsuitable for services there they were held in the house of Mr. Robert
Watt, where also was held the first tea-meeting in the settlement. A Mr.
Marr, another student, filled this field in the summer of 1881, and in the
following year the Rev. Mr. McLennan was inducted as pastor of the
congregation, which already had erected a church building 22 x 40 feet.
This building was dedicated May 22nd, 1881. This congregation was advanced
to the status of a self-sustaining congregation when the Rev. T. A. Nelson
was inducted as its pastor January 10th, 1905. The Church of England had a
representative stationed at Lion's Head in the person of the Rev. Mr.
Hutchison in the fall of 1882. He was successful in stirring up his flock
to proceed to the erection of a church edifice, the foundation stone of
which was laid May 3rd, 1883. The building is 50 x 26 feet, built of frame
on a stone foundation, and exhibits good taste in its architecture. Not
far from this church edifice is to be seen the Eastnor township hall, a
very neat structure, erected in 1897, and admirably fitted for public
gatherings. It is claimed to be the best township hall in the county.
When the County Council in
1879 made a refund to the four northern townships of part of their arrears
of county rates, on account of previous over-assessment during the five
years preceding, the united townships of Eastnor, Lindsay and St. Edmunds
received a rebate of $438.76, which was a very welcome relief to an
Eastnor, although not a
wealthy township, has from the first exhibited a broad-mindedness in the
matter of public improvements that is commendable. The first step in this
direction was the giving of a bonus of $1,600 towards the erecting of a
grist-mill at Lion's Head. This was followed by an issue of debentures
amounting to $6,000 to improve the roads. The three extensive drainage
schemes within the township have also cost a large sum. In all, Eastnor
has issued debentures to the amount of $34,000, all for public
improvements, as shown in a footnote .
When the townships of
Lindsay and St. Edmunds separated from Eastnor they were, with the latter
township, liable for the two first issues of debentures above-mentioned,
amounting to $7,600. The arrangement arrived at at the time of separation
was somewhat as follows, namely: Eastnor, as the senior township, was to
assume this indebtedness, and Lindsay and St. Edmunds agreed to pay
three-eighths of the required annual rate to Eastnor during the seventeen
years the debentures had to run.
Of the several drainage
schemes of the township, that known as the Judge Creek Scheme drains the
land back of Barrow Bay, the Fern Creek Scheme the lands lying west of
Lion's Head, and the Swan Lake Scheme lands lying north-west of Lion's
Head. The lands to be benefited are expected to become in time the garden
of the township. The engineering difficulties met with in the Judge Creek
drain consisted in the enlarging of the bed of the creek by blasting the
rock, an undertaking of some magnitude. This was done by a contractor from
Toronto. The almost dead level of the land in the Fern Creek district
presented an engineering difficulty of another sort, it being difficult to
obtain the necessary fall for a rapid flow of water.
Besides Lion's Head there
are but three villages in Eastnor, Barrow Bay, Spry and Stokes Bay, the
last-mentioned being the most flourishing of the three. John Shute has had
part of lots 38 and 39, concession 3, W.B.R., surveyed and subdivided into
the lots which comprise the village of Stokes Bay. Sanguine expectations
are held as to the ultimate development of the village, as it has the
trade of a good part of Lindsay and St. Edmunds, and also a good wharf, so
that shipments can readily be made from there. The lighthouse on Lyal
Island, at the entrance to Stokes Bay, has been a guide to mariners since