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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Township of Brant


Named after the celebrated Indian chief, Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea.

Extract from the Report of County Valuators, 1901.

This is the largest township in the county, being nearly 70,000 acres in extent. A large portion is very good land, but there is considerable poor and rough land. The Saugeen River enters the township at Hanover, running westerly to Walkerton, then in a northerly direction till it passes into Elderslie. The land on each side of the river for some distance is rough and generally light. There is some rather stiff clay around Malcolm. Land, however, is selling well in this township. The fact of the county town being within its limits no doubt enhances value of property in that district. Brant is well watered, has good roads, good buildings, and sufficient fuel and timber for years to come. The rate per acre is $36.94; of this sum the village property amounts to $2.58 per acre."

Brant certainly is justified in claiming to be the premier township in the county of Bruce, possessing as it does the largest area, combined with the highest assessment, and, if Walkerton is included, it also has within its limits the greatest population of any township in the county. Its share of county rates is almost one-tenth of the annual levy of the whole county. The farms within its boundaries as a whole are not excelled by others in any part of the province. Indeed, one of its farms (that of the late Andrew Waechter) carried off the gold medal in 1891 as the best farm within the four counties of Huron, Perth, Wellington and Bruce.

The first lands in Brant opened for settlement were the "free grants," consisting of the first and second concessions north and south of the Durham Road. These were offered on the conditions to be found in Appendix E, in June, 1819. All the lots on these four concessions were taken up before the rest of the township, which consisted of "school lands," which were offered for sale on August 5th, 1851. [See Appendix H. The first purchaser under this sale was Wm. Mills, for lots 34 and 35, concession 3, S.D.R., on August 6th, 1851. The first patent was issued to John Eckford, on March 5th, 1852, for lot 1, concession 6.] The price asked by the Government for school lands was twelve shillings and sixpence ($2.50) per acre, a figure subsequently reduced to ten shillings. The reader is referred back to Chapter II. for information relating to the survey of the township and to Chapters III. and XXI. for information as to the very earliest of the pioneers who took up free grants lots. They certainly endured hardships unknown to those who went into the bush in 1853 and 1854, little as the author would minimize what the latter had to endure. In 1849 and 1850, of roads or bridges there were none; of saw and grist mills, as well as post-offices, none were nearer than Durham. These disadvantages were much reduced in 1853, when the last large inflow of settlers to lands in Brant occurred. Of the early pioneers, not elsewhere named, was William Smith (now residing in Manitoba), who entered the township of Brant in 1849, the first year of its settlement. Lot 21, concession 1, S.D.R., was the farm lot on which he settled. When having this lot allotted to him he at the same time secured the adjoining lot for his father, David Smith. [It was on May 23rd, 1850 (which was the day previous to the arrival of Joseph Walker at the place afterward to bear his name), that David Smith and family settled on the farm lot adjoining Walkerton. There he resided for several years. David Smith was one of the first elders in the Presbyterian congregation organized in 1851. When the north part of the township was opened for settlement he took up a farm lot on the thirteenth concession, where he died, December, 1880, aged 78.] His neighbors were Alexander and Archibald Stewart, who had taken up lots on the north side of the Durham Road opposite. In the helpful spirit so characteristic of the backwoods, assistance was freely reciprocated by these men in the building of their log shanties. The land-seeker of 1850, after passing the Stewarts, in his westward march, in a short time came to the shanty and clearing of Joseph Bacon, [Joseph Bacon was a native of Essex, England, where he was born, February 3rd, 1795. In March, 1835, he emigrated to Canada and resided in the vicinity of Hamilton. On the opening of the Garafraxa Road he settled in the township of Arthur. When the free grants of the Durham Road were opened for settlement, he was one of the earliest to settle in Brant, taking up lot 14, on concession 1, N.D.R. He had the contract for cutting out the Elora Road through the township of Carrick. Mr. Bacon was a man of marked religious principles. His death occurred December 22nd, 1882.] who had been accompanied into the bush by his brave wife, the first woman to become a permanent settler in the township. Their little shanty was one whose door was ever open to offer the open-handed hospitality of the backwoods to the tired traveller.

Among the early pioneers to be mentioned is Patrick Godfrey, who in the fall of 1849, settled on lots 13 and 14, concession 2, N.D.R. By hard work he cleared these lots, and in time had one of the finest farms in the vicinity, retiring when age crept upon him to reside in Walkerton, where he died in 1903. Another pioneer of 1849 was Thomas Todd, who took up several lots just east of Walkerton. After clearing these and residing there for nearly thirty years, he moved to the Parry Sound District. His son, Archibald, now a retired farmer, is a resident of Walkerton.

The narrative of a tragic incident of the early days will not be out of place while writing of the first pioneers of the township. One James Wallace, who had settled on a lot on the south line near where the Walkerton Railway station is, was, in the winter of 1850, returning from Durham where he had gone to obtain supplies. After crossing the Saugeen at the jam, referred to in Chapter III., he walked along the north line to Mr. McWhinney's and rested. As night drew on he started to cross to the Durham line, expecting to get as far as Mrs. Jasper's that night. There was no broken path through the snow, and he seemed to have missed the blaze on the trees. After night fell, his shouts were heard at the Jaspers' shanty. Some strangers, guests there that night, and the boys lighted cedar torches and went out in the darkness into the forest to find out the reason of the shouting. Starting in a wrong direction, as they found by the feebler sound, they returned and started again, when some foolish one suggested that the cries were not those of a human being, but those of a panther—in the woods at night, a very plausible theory, and one that was accepted by all but Mrs. Jasper. As soon as it was day she sent her boys out to try and find in the snow a trail or other evidence of who or what had uttered the cries. Charles Jasper found a trail, which he followed up, and before long found the body of poor James Wallace, frozen stiff, a victim to the dangers of life in the backwoods. One of Mrs. Jasper's sons walked all the way to Owen Sound for a coroner, a Dr. Gordon. The verdict, of course, was in accordance with facts as here related. The body was buried in the bush not far from where it was found.

In Chapter V. are to be found the facts relating to the opening up through the forest of the Durham Road in 1850, and in the following year of the road then called the Durham and Southampton Road, which road commenced between lots 15 and 1G of the Durham Road, and ran north to the fifth concession, thence west to the present Elora Road, which from that point was also opened that year to Paisley. [In the original draft of Colonization Roads in the county of Bruce, the Elora Road was laid out to run along the boundary line between Brant and Greenock. The order making the change, causing the road to follow the line east of concession "B," the author has been unable to discover. The "jog" (as the detour was called), as above described, opening up the road a block still further to the east, is said to have been the result of influence brought to bear by a land speculator, who had purchased a block known as ''Proudfoot 's Block,'' consisting of lots 1 to 5, concessions 4 and 5.] The opening of these roads enabled settlers to take up lands back of the free grants. Among the most prominent of those who did so was John Eckford [John Eckford was by birth a Scotchman. Educated for the ministry at Edinburgh University, he was for twenty-five years a clergyman of the United Presbyterian Church in Scotland. When in middle life he, with his family, emigrated, in the summer of 1851, to Canada. His objective point was some desirable spot in the backwoods. This he found in the woods of Brant, where he took up lots 1 and 2, concession 6, and lot 1, concession 7. His family remained for three months at Durham, while a log shanty was being built. Mr. Eckford was ever ready to give his services in the conducting of public worship; there are but few Presbyterian congregations in this part of the county in which he has not preached. His services were much appreciated and were in great demand to fill any temporary vacancy: many a congregation would have been glad to have had him as its settled minister. In 1857 he was elected reeve, but resigned to accept the position of Local Superintendent of Schools, which office he held until it was abolished, in 1871. Mr. Eckford also held the office of township treasurer from 1872 until his death, which occurred October 22nd 1881 when he was in his eighty-second year.] and William Chisholm. For some months these two families were the most northerly settlers in the township, being separated from their nearest neighbors by one or two miles of unbroken forest. The names of some of the other early settlers not elsewhere mentioned are as follows: William Mills, Richard Everett, Philip Geeson, Thomas Traynor, Sebastian, John and Andrew Kirstine, Leonard and William Dickison and John McNeil, on the south line; James and Samuel McWhinney, Robert Gowanlock, John Little, Joseph and John Harkley, John and Joseph Lamb, Abram, James, Andrew and William Rowand, John and Robert Bruce, James Bell, Anthony, James and Charles Myles, on the north line; Robert Horne, Robert Frame, William Morden, Adam Clement, George B. Lamont, James, Thomas and Andrew Wilson, William and Richard Guinn and those mentioned in Chapter III. and elsewhere, who took up farm lots on the Durham line. Besides these early settlers here mentioned, there were many others, some of whom have moved away and left but the recollection of a name. The first boy baby which came to brighten the home of a pioneer of Brant came to the log shanty of William ("King") Johnston in June, 1850. This addition to the settlement was christened Nathaniel. To Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Adair, four months later, came the first girl baby born in the township, who, on attaining womanhood, was married to Donald Sinclair, M.P.P., and survives the death of her esteemed husband. The first medical man to render professional assistance to the pioneers was Dr. William Bird, who resided near Hanover, on lot 67, concession 1, S.D.R.

In December, 1852, the settlers of Brant were the victims of a false alarm, which at the time created quite a sensation. A rumor in some manner spread from shanty to shanty through the woods that there was likely to be a rising of the Indians, with the object of driving out the Whites. So alarmed was one of the settlers, J. G. Breckenridge, a local preacher, that he packed up his effects and cleared out, never to return. That Christmas Eve a large party of friends were gathered in one of the homes toward Hanover, celebrating the season in a convivial manner. Hearing some unusual shouting, the doors were opened to hear more distinctly, when the cry came upon their ears, "The Indians have come, the Indians have come!" In an instant all was confusion and consternation. The women folk hastily gathered together a few things preparatory to a hurried flight, while the men went out to investigate, which resulted in their finding that the noise was but the loud shouting of a band of drunken men, who, carrying a pail of whiskey, were going from door to door wishing every one "A Merry Christmas." The falsity of the rumor about the Indians was soon established, and the settlers quieted down after a bad scare.

After the "free grant" lands were taken up, settlers coming into the county seeking lands were largely influenced in their decision where to settle by the consideration of accessibility. Brant at the early period of its settlement was accessible only by way of the Durham Road. This fact, to a certain extent, deflected the tide of settlers to other localities. After the Elora as well as the Durham Road was opened, Brant offered to the settler as desirable lands and as equally accessible as any other of the inland townships in the county; but even then Brant failed to receive a fair share of settlers, because in some manner a report spread that the lands in Carrick were more desirable than those in Brant. So just as soon as the surveyors had completed the survey of Carrick, which was in 1852, a rush set in to obtain a squatter's claim [These lands in Carrick did not come into the market until the time of the " Big Land Sale" in 1854. See Appendix K.] to a farm lot in that township, and for a short time the lands in Brant were comparatively neglected. In 1853 the settlement of Brant from concession 4 north commenced in earnest, and by the end of 1854 it was completed. Prominent among those who entered Brant at this time were Richard and James Brocklebank. [James Brocklebank was born in September, 1828, at Malton, county of Peel. He was engaged in farming in his native county until in 1853 he moved to Brant, where ho took up several farm lots on the fifth concession, which he farmed successfully. He also, a number of years later engaged in milling, having purchased a large interest in the "Maple Hill Mills, but in this venture he lost money. Mr. Brocklebank early took an interest in municipal politics. He held the position of deputy reeve of Brant for the years 1859, '60, '61, and of reeve of the township from 1862 to 1868, and from 1876 to 1879, and from 1897 to 1900 inclusive making a total of fifteen years. Mr. Brocklebank was also warden of the county for the five years, 1864 to 1868, inclusive. In politics Mr Brocklebank was a Conservative. He unsuccessfully, in 1867 contested the riding of South Bruce with the Hon. Edward Blake for the House of Assembly. In 1872 he again entered the field of politics, running for a seat in the House of Commons, but was defeated by R M Wells Mr Brocklebank was a consistent member of the Methodist Church and was largely instrumental in the building of a frame church for that denomination, erected in the year 1869, on a corner of his farm. After an active life he entered into his rest, July 3rd, 1901, much regretted.] The following narrative, related by Henry McNally, of his settling in Brant about this time, throws a light upon the conditions which existed at those years: Henry McNally, accompanied by his brother George, entered Brant, prospecting for farm lands, March 28th, 1853. They found that beyond the north line lay an unbroken forest that had been explored by few. Realizing the advantage it would be to them in making a selection of desirable land, to have some one who had at least tramped through that part of the township, they struck a bargain with "Stonemason" Horne, whom they met at his farm a little west of Hanover, to take them back into the bush. After a day or so spent in going along the blazed lines as left by the surveyors, they decided on lands situated on the sixth and seventh concessions. After making the necessary slashing to establish a squatter's claim, they proceeded to Saugeen to register the same, and make their first payment of ten per cent., which was equal to $20 per lot. These lots were the first to be taken up on this concession line, but when they moved in twelve months later, there was only one lot left which had not been taken up. This they also secured. Mr. McNally says that Malcolm McLean, the postmaster at Walkerton, acted as a local deputy for the Crown Land Agent. He had a map of the township, on which he would write in pencil the name of any person wishing to secure a lot, then when word came from Mr. McNabb that the necessary application and payment had been made, the name would be written in ink. It is claimed that one-third of the inhabitants of Brant are of German birth or descent. It was about the time of which we are writing that they commenced to come into the township, taking up land pretty much in one locality, the easterly part of Brant. These Germans were large from Mecklenburg and the north of Germany; in religion, they were mostly Protestants. Excellent, thrifty settlers they proved to bo. The following are the names of some of the earliest of these German settlers: —John Dierstein, Charles and Frederic Stade, John Wilkin, Martin Stadtlander, Michael and Gottlieb Schroeder, Henry Ruhl, John and Frederick Montag.

When the municipal union of all of the townships in the county was broken up, [See Appendix F.] the two townships of Brant and Carrick were formed into one municipality. This union lasted for the years 1854 and 1855, on the 1st January, 1856, each township became a separate municipal corporation. The first Council of the united municipality consisted of Joseph Walker, John Eckford, Nathaniel Lines, William Walker and James Benson. Joseph Walker was chosen reeve, [The following are the names, with the years of office, of those who have held the reeveship of Brant down to 1906 : Joseph Walker, 1854, '55, '56; John Eckford, part of 1857; William Hall, part of 1857, '58; John Bruce, 1859, '60, '61; James Brocklebank, 1862, '63, '64, '65, '66, '67, '68, '76, '77, '78, and part of 1879, '97, '98, '99, 1900; J. C. Eckford, 1869, '70; Johnston Smith, 1871; William Collins, 1872, '73, '74, '75; B. Cannon, part of 1879; James Tolton, 1880, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86, '87, '88, '89; Andrew Waechter, 1890, '91; Robert Long, 1892; William Little, 1893, '94, '96; George Sirrs, 1895; R, Richardson, 1901; W. H. Brocklebank, 1902; Alex. Anderson, 1903, '04; Fred Frooke, 1905, '06.] and Archibald McVicar township clerk. The names of his successors in office are given in a footnote. [The following are the names of the succeeding township clerks to the year 1906 : Peter McVicar, William J. Scott, A. S. Mackintosh, J. Jamie-son, J. G. Cooper, D. Sullivan, J. C. Eckford, Thos. R. Todd, James S. Laurie, and J. H. Cannon.] He was township treasurer as well, [There was a shortage of a large amount in his accounts, the particulars of which is needless to record.] but this latter position passed in 1857 to W. Willoughby, who held it for twelve years. He was succeeded by J. G. Cooper and he by John Eckford, who died in office; his son James C. Eckford then received the appointment and held the office of township treasurer from 1881 until the end of 1905. During his administration the finances of Brant have been in a most satisfactory state; the judicious management of its "Reserve Fund" [This fund, amounting to about $4,500, originated in grants received from the Government on account of the "Land Improvement Fund." The Township Council of each year have abstained from encroaching on this reserve, using it simply for the purpose of tiding the municipality over times of heavy expenditure, spreading such over several years and this without resorting to the borrowing of money.] has permitted the erection of several expensive steel bridges, which have been built without any excessive increase in taxes, or in the issue of debentures to pay for their construction. The only debentures which Brant has issued for construction of public works were for a scheme of drainage, affecting some thirty-six farm lots near Johnston's Corners. The work was commenced in 1879, and completed two years later. To pay for this work, debentures for $3,600 were issued in 1880, followed in the next year by an issue amounting to $1,500. Besides these debentures, Brant has issued others in aid of railways. In 1878, the year that bonuses were sought for the construction of the railway to Wiarton, Brant gave a bonus towards it of $15,000. The railway company being financially stranded, it came back for a further bonus the following year. As there was no hope of the township as a whole undertaking this additional financial burden, the ratepayers in the eastern part of the township were asked to do so, and in response voted a sectional bonus, amounting to $5,000. The necessary by-law for this carried, and the debentures were issued in 1879.

Of the families which settled on the free grant lands in Brant there were many who came from settlements where they had possessed and prized the privilege of attending church services. It was to be expected, then, that steps would be early taken by such to provide that which, here in the bush, they missed so greatly. The result of the efforts they put forth to meet this want was the building of the first church edifice in the county. It was but a plain log house 20 feet by 26 feet in size, but as it was the first of many churches afterwards to be erected in the county, it will be but proper to give in detail the particulars of its inception, even if the author may err in being somewhat prolix. Many of the facts here given are as related by Mr. Thomas Adair, one of its founders. A meeting of the settlers was held July 5th, 1851, at the house of Robert Frame (lot 45, concession 1, S.D.R.) to take steps toward erecting a building for public worship. Among those present were members of the Church of England, Methodists, Presbyterian and one Congregationalist (Mr. Frame). The first intention of the meeting was to arrange for a building to be used as a union meeting house for all denominations. Mr. Adair said: "As far as I remember, the names of those in favor of a union meeting-house were the Messrs. Todd, two of the Wilsons and two of the Mordens. At first I favored the same; so did Robert Frame and Adam Clement. After a friendly discussion, George B. Lamont, who appeared well versed in church law, took the ground that this plan would not work, as the building and land would have to belong to some one denomination there represented. Mr. Lamont's resolution to this effect was agreed to by a majority. On a show of hands being taken, a large majority was found to be in favor of the building being built by the Presbyterians. Those belonging to other denominations then left the meeting. The next step was the appointing of a committee to collect subscriptions. The committee consisted of George B. Lamont, John Bruce and myself. After a canvass of the settlement from the county line to Johnston's Corners we were able to report 6 18s 6d subscribed, two bunches of shingle, and the land on which the building was to stand, given by Robert Frame. The logs were got out, and two weeks after the meeting a bee was held for the raising. The corner men were Joseph Lamont, James Rowand, John and Thomas Adair." The Rev. Dr. Torrance, in a letter, thus describes this place of worship: "On Sabbath preached in the new church of Brant, the first place of worship that has been raised in the township. The building is of logs, the spaces between which had not been chinked; there was no door, neither were there any windows; the boards were just laid down for the floor, and the seats were temporary. Not having been aware that the church was to be occupied on this occasion I was altogether unprepared with an opening sermon, but I prefaced Psalm cxxii. at considerable length, and gave my remarks as direct a bearing as I could upon the circumstances of the congregation." It is to be noted that the building was not completed or fitted for worship directly after the walls were raised, and the Rev. Dr. Torrance's description is of the building in 1852. During the intervening period services were held in the house of George B. Lamont, close at hand. It was there that the Rev. J. W. Barrie organized (September 14th, 1851) the congregation which was known as the "United Presbyterian Church, Durham Line, Brant." It was six years after this before this congregation had a settled minister— the late Rev. R. C. Moffatt, D.D. During these six years Brant was but a mission station, supplied by members of the Presbytery, students and whatever other supply was available, the Rev. John Eckford frequently filling the pulpit. The congregation here described built a frame church in 1860 in Walkerton. Its further history is recorded in the chapter on Walkerton. The Rev; Mr. Moffatt, when he accepted the pastorate in 1857, stipulated that the congregation build him a small house as a dwelling. This was put at the west end of the church building, and was as modest in its dimensions as was the church, being only twenty feet by twenty-two feet. Rev. Mr. Moffatt had a large field in which to labor, and laid the foundation for the Presbyterian churches at West Brant, Hanover, Malcolm and West Bentinck. His stipend from all the various charges during several years was but $400 per annum. The first church at Malcolm was a building of logs erected late in the fifties. In 1873 this simple structure was replaced by a good-sized brick building, which was opened free of debt. Rev. Daniel Duff was the first pastor, and continued in charge until his death in the fall of 1899. His successor is the Rev. A. Leslie. The West Brant congregation above referred to worship in a substantial stone building erected in the summer of 1869, and opened for worship on the last Sabbath of that year. This Congregation has for years been united to the one at Pinkerton, forming a joint charge. The author regrets not having the data to enable him to mention when the other congregations in the township were formed and churches erected.

The number of tavern licenses in Brant were more numerous in 1857 than forty years later. The license fee at the earlier date was only 3. It may interest some reader, whose memory goes back as far, to recall the names of the license-holders in that year. They were: James Waterson, William Ruminge, John Sherridan, Henry Halm, John Hopper, Peter McVicar, Thomas Bilkie, Hugh Bell, John Smith, Peter Grabbin, James Jones and James Gaffaney. This latter's tavern gave a name to the locality, which was known as "Gaffaney's Corners" (lot 4, concession A), where, besides the hotel, there was also a store which was kept by one William McDonald. Here a peculiar accident occurred in 1858. The proprietor of the store, after striking a match to light a candle, carelessly threw the yet blazing match behind him, where, even more carelessly, lay a powder keg with the lid off, and a small quantity of powder therein. As soon as the match lit on the powder there was an explosion that blew the front out of the store, and McDonald with it. Unfortunately, the damage and loss was not confined to the building and its contents, Mr. McDonald suffering total loss of sight as the result of the explosion.

Walkerton, for four years after it became the county town, continued to remain a part of the township of Brant. It was 1871 before the Act of incorporation was passed and the separation of the town from the township took place. The apportionment of financial obligations and assets was arranged by a Board of Arbitrators, consisting of Judge Kingsmill, James Brocklebank and W. H. Ruby. The basis in most cases for division was in the proportion of $2 to $23. Over the Land Improvement Fund, payable by the Government, some difficulty arose. What was the final settlement of this point the author is unable to state.

The fact of a railway skirting along both the east and west boundary of the township has led to the growth of villages adjacent to the railways, while the rest of the township at a distance from the railways has a village population only at Malcolm. Maple Hill, when the mills were erected, gave promise of developing into a village, but being so near both Walkerton and Hanover, it has given up the struggle. Dunkeld and Ellengowan, in the days before the railway was opened, when the Elora Road was one of the main arteries of communication within the county, also promised to be centres of trade for the inhabitants in the immediate vicinity. There again the railway blighted the bud before the flower blossomed, and trade strayed to Cargill and Eden Grove.

Cargill is on the boundary line of Brant and Greenock, and will be specially referred to in the chapter on the latter township. Its three handsome brick churches lie in Brant, as does also its railway station, which is connected by a long stretch of granolithic pavement with the village proper.

Eden Grove, or "Pinkerton Station," as styled in the railway timetables, commenced its existence with the opening of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway. Munn & Webster about that time built a saw and shingle mill, which gave employment to about ten hands. The post-office was established in 1875. Alex. Shaw was first postmaster. Thomas Pinkerton was the next postmaster. He also kept a general store, and as a competitor in seeking the trade of that locality he had Thomas McKay. The Methodists here built a neat frame church at an early date, in which has worshipped an active congregation to this day. Eden Grove is the point on the railway used for shipment by Pinkerton, Glammis and all that section of country. Its nearness to Pinkerton and Cargill precludes the hope of much further expansion.
Elmwood received its name from a gigantic elm tree that once stood at the intersection of Main and Queen Streets. The post-office there was established in 1864; the duties of postmaster were undertaken by John Dirstein, to whom as much as to anyone belongs the credit of the founding of the village. By 1875 there were two stores there, one kept by John Reinhardt, the other by Schroeder & Watson. In the same year the place boasted of two saw-mills owned by Johnson. Smith and John Dirstein respectively. Shortly after the year last mentioned churches were built by the Methodists, the Mennonites and German Evangelical congregations. It was on August 27th, 1881, that the first locomotive reached Elmwood. This was the advent of assured prosperity to the village, which, situated, as it is, half way between Hanover and Chesley, is the shipping point for a large section of country.

Hanover, until 1903, lay partly in the township of Brant. On action being taken to extend the boundaries of the village, but lately incorporated, so as to include in the corporation all on the Brant side of the village, the Brant people interested objected to this nolens volens course of action. In this the County Council supported them, but it was unavailing. The village prevailed upon the Legislature to pass an Act [III. Edw. VII. Chap. 56.] extending its boundaries so as to embrace 175 acres of land in Brant, on which resided 325 inhabitants, and a large number of buildings, among which were two furniture factories, a grist mill, a woollen mill, besides shops, stores and dwellings, which altogether had an assessed value of $95,650. It was to be expected that some of the ratepayers would feel sore over what was thought to be a proceeding somewhat arbitrary in its nature; but cooler thoughts have prevailed, and reflection shows that if advantages are derived from proximity to a town, it is only fair and proper to pay to the town a rightful tax.

In 1893 the Brant Board of Health took vigorous action in opposition to the proposed system of sewerage of the town of Walkerton being permitted to flow into the Saugeen River. Mr. James Nesbitt, the secretary of the board, was very persistent and succeeded in having the Provincial Board of Health visit Walkerton and hear the evidence in support of the claim of the township, that the river would be dangerously polluted by the flow of sewage into it. The Elderslie Board of Health united with that of Brant in the action taken, but were unsuccessful in obtaining the injunction asked for.

It would hardly be fair to Brant Township to close this chapter devoted to its history without referring to a remarkable natural curiosity it has to show to the visitor. What is known as "The Blue Spring" is situated not far from Maple Hill, a little up stream on the south side of the river, about a quarter of a mile back from and some sixty feet above it. The water of this spring possesses a slight mineral taste, yet is so highly saturated with mineral matter that the moss through which the overflow of the spring percolates becomes petrified, and large objects of wood sunk in the spring are encrusted as with stone the color of iron rust. The spring may be found by following up the rivulet flowing from it from the place where it empties into the Saugeen; The spring is situated in a clump of dense woods which hate hardly been touched by man. The water rises in a large basin some fifty feet or more in diameter and of considerable depth. The water is as clear as possible, but in bulk, as seen in the basin it fills, it exhibits a markedly rich blue tint, hence its name. In many places in the basin are to be seen, sunk at various depths and at all angles to one another, trunks of trees covered with the stony deposit. When the sun's rays pierce through the tops of the surrounding trees and illumine the depths of the basin it glows as with the fire of a sapphire, in strong contrast to the dark shade of the surrounding forest, impressing the beholder with a never-to-be-forgotten sense of beauty. This spot has frequently been suggested as a site for a sanitarium. Some day, possibly, this suggestion may become an accomplished fact.


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