Bruce County Genealogical Society - Newsletter Article
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Bruce County Genealogical Society

Box 1083, Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada N0H 2C0

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Previously printed in the Bruce Bulletin, Volume 14, Issue 2, May 2003
From the Perth Courier, Friday, September 13, 1867


Paisley, Bruce Co., Ont., Sept. 2, 1867

Setting out from Perth a week ago for settlement in the new regions of Western Canada, your correspondent soon reached Goderich by the ordinary mode of conveyance, in a comfortable railway car. Here, however, the discomforts of travel began, for, the railroad going no farther, the little steamer Silver Spray had to be resorted to for a journey on Lake Huron, along the coast of Huron and Bruce Counties to Southampton, at the mouth of the Saugeen river. The Lake being in an angry mood, the passengers were soon oblivious of all passing events in the horrors of seasickness in all its varieties and phases of misery, from the slight headache of the seasoned veteran to the mortal agony which possessed the stomach of the greenhorn unused to the troubles of the stormy deep. The Purser advised your correspondent to remain in the middle of the boat, for, said he, with the faith of a philosopher who believed in his own theory, “The case is just like this: as the boat tosses up and down, the middle is about stationary, and if you stay there you won’t get sick.” – Putting trust in his word, I at once set out on an exploring voyage for the middle of the boat, being strongly admonished thereto by the angry rumblings of a disturbed dinner, but nature at length giving way I had to conclude that, either the miserable boat had no centre or the philosophy of the Purser wouldn’t hold water. I remember reading at school long ago that the centre of a revolving body was always at rest, but I think if the author of that doctrine was on the Silver Spray for a little while he’d change his opinion. Reaching Southampton at 4 o’clock in the morning, and passing through the various dangers of falling off the gangway on getting ashore and falling through the wharf on reaching the shore, the passengers had to grope their way in the dark, through hills and hollows, mudholes and stumps, to the solitary light shining in “the dim distance of the present future,” as a recent dime novelist has it, where a very respectable hotel gave them hospitable shelter for a couple of hours, until the stage for Paisley made its appearance at the door. This stage, by the way, was drawn by a pair of fiery steeds who seemed so possessed with the idea of running away, that every few minutes the driver had to call on all the able-bodied passengers in the coach to assist him in holding them! They made the journey of sixteen miles around by Port Elgin, over splendid gravel road, in the extremely short space of five hours, which, I think, is fully equal to the time of the Royal Mail from Perth to Franktown, and everybody admits that to be the fastest line in the country.

Paisley, as Tennyson, Jr. said about Perth, “like its Scottish namesake, stands,” – not upon the river Tay, but at the junction of four streams, named the Saugeen, the Teaswater, Willow Creek, and the North Branch. The three latter empty into the Saugeen, which in turn flows into Lake Huron at Southampton. They drain a large extent of country, and afford unexampled facilities for driving machinery. It is but twelve years since the first settler came to this neighborhood, and from the progress made in that time and the natural facilities of the place, it is fair to infer that it will soon outstrip many of the most prosperous localities of the East. The County is traversed along its length and breadth for a distance of over a hundred and fifty miles, with the finest gravel roads a person would wish to see. The gravel is put on a foot thick and eight feet wide, and the roadways graded throughout as level as can be. Singular to say, there is not a toll gate on them from one end to the other, so that the traveller may go which way he will without ever having to put his hand in his pocket at the demand of a gatekeeper. The highways are thus made free by the generous enterprise of this progressive people, who borrowed the sum of three hundred thousand dollars to build them, and issued debentures on the credit of the County, extending over a period of twenty years, to pay for them. There is already considerable agitation going on in favor of building a railroad, and the belief appears to prevail that such a road must soon be made through this section of country, to tap the front at Guelph or some other convenient place. The idea of building one of the light, cheap railways, of narrow guage, small engines, and slow rate of speed, so successfully adopted in India, gains considerable favor, and will no doubt be ultimately adopted in preference to the more expensive broad-guage heavy lines of the frontier. Nearly every part of the county is now as well settled as Lanark, each hundred acres, and sometimes less, supporting its family of hardy pioneers. Of course many of the comforts of an old settlement are still wanting, but as the land is far superior to that of the East, these will follow in due time. There are no stones to obstruct the plow, and no swamps to absorb the richness of the ground, but a fine heavy, rich, loamy soil everywhere gives promise of an immediate reward to the labor of the husbandman and future comfort to his family. There are many people here from Perth, Smith’s Falls, Bathurst, Drummond, Carleton Place, and other parts of Lanark County, several of whom I have come across, and all of whom are in the enjoyment of prosperity. Mr. Murdoch, a son of our venerable friend, the School Superintendent of Bathurst, carries on a thriving woolen factory; Mr. McLeod of Carleton Place has the best grist mill in the County; Mr. McDonald of Innisville, does a flourishing iron trade; Mr. Sinclair of Drummond conducts a Cooperage; Mr. Robert Dick of Lanark is a proprietor of an extensive general store; Mr. Malloch, a nephew of His Honor Judge Malloch, keeps a wholesome terror of the law before the eyes of the public, and Dr. McLaren of Drummond, a renowned disciple of Esculapius, ministers to the ills and ailments with which humanity is necessarily afflicted. There are several others from the same part of the country with whom I am not acquainted, but all of whom are prospering in the world. The Village contains sixteen stores, some of which do a business of fourteen or fifteen thousand dollars a year; two drug stores, three doctors; a bookstore; three lawyers; two land surveyors; seven blacksmiths’ shops; a cabinet shop; several carpenters; two grist mills; five hotels, one of which – the Anglo-American – is a first-rate house; two tailor shops; several millinery establishments; three tanneries; four shoe shops; two factories, and several other branches of business of more or less consequence to the public, including painters, “artists,” and a barber. Five clergymen minister to the spiritual wants of the community, of the respective denominations of Free Church, presided over by Rev. Mr. Bremner; Old Kirk, Rev. Mr. McLean; Wesleyan Methodist, Rev. Mr. Gold; Baptist, Rev. Mr. McNeil, and New Connexion Methodist, Rev. Mr. Preston. There is also an Episcopalian church erected, but at present it is without an Incumbent. An excellent newspaper, called the Paisley Advocate, of moderate principles, and sound, healthy views, is published weekly, and appears to be rapidly making its way to a good position in the country. Besides what I have mentioned, there are in course of erection around the village no less than seven new mills, and in a short time I have no doubt that many more will follow, when the splendid water privileges on all the streams flowing into the place become known to capitalists in other parts of the new Dominion. The settlers here are principally Scotch, and as might be expected from such people, the military spirit of their race finds vent in a Volunteer organization and a fine drill shed. This building is often used as a church on Sundays, and there are also four other regular churches in the village. It is not an unusual circumstance to see all these buildings filled at once with respectable looking well-dressed people, so that, I think, Paisley, though but twelve years old, can fairly claim to be one of the most prosperous and progressive places in the country.


Bruce County's Townships (before  1998 amalgamations)

Albemarle Township
Colpoy's Bay United Church, Colpoy's Bay, Albemarle Township, Bruce County

Amabel Township
Wiarton, Amabel Township, Bruce County

Arran Township
Christ Church Anglican Cemetery Record, Tara, Arran Township, Bruce County

Brant Township
Walkerton town clock, Walkerton, Brant Township, Bruce County

Bruce Township
Underwood United Church, Underwood, Bruce Township, Bruce County

Carrick Township
Mildmay church, Mildmay, Carrick Township, Bruce County

Culross Township
Salem United Church, Culross Township, Bruce County

Eastnor Township
Barrow Bay, Eastnor Township, Bruce County

Elderslie Township
Memorial plaque, hamlet of Williscroft, Elderslie Township, Bruce County

Greenock Township
Plaque, village of Pinkerton, Greenock Township, Bruce County

Huron Township
Huron Township Hall, Ripley, Huron Township, Bruce County

Kincardine Township
Mural, village of Tiverton, Kincardine Township, Bruce County

Kinloss Township

Lindsay Township
War Memorial, Lindsay Township, Bruce County

Saugeen Township
Dunblane Presbyterian Church, Saugeen Township, Bruce County

St. Edmunds Township

Lighthouse, Tobermory, St. Edmunds Township, Bruce County
Bruce County Genealogical Society
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