Story of the Early Settlers in Mono Centre District

Taken from the Orangeville Banner (February 11, 1909), page 3:

"The following interesting narrative of the settlement of the Mono Centre district has been handed The Banner by a Mono subscriber, who is himself one of the township's early residents: -
Settlement in the neighborhood of Mono Centre commenced in the year 1834. Mr. Robert Large who arrived in that year took up his residence on the farm now occupied by Mr. Robert McCutcheon His closest neighbors were in the vicinity of Mono Mills, eight or ten miles away.
Nearly the whole of the township was at that time a howling wilderness. There was scarcely any clearing, nor were there any trees cut except those along the lines of the government survey. The only road form Mono Mills north to 20 sideroad and it was a mere trace cut through the forest, just wide enough for a yoke of oxen and a jumper to ravel along. The jumper was the vehicle must used in those times. Although a wagon was used occasionally for the purpose of cadging provision and other necessaries to the settlers. Shortly after his arrival Mr. Large wrote to Messrs. Currry, Laidlaw and Turnbull telling them the best place to select their land. This they did at the Government Land Office at Ottawa on their way to Western Ontario. Mr. Curry settled on the e1/2 of lot 18, con. 3 E.H.S., Mr. Large being on the west half of the same lot. Mr. Laidlaw took up his residence on lot 19, cons. 3, E.H.S. and Mr. Turnbull on lot 19, con.2, E.H.S. The Curry, Laidlaw and Turnbull families came in during 1935. In the following year the little settlement was augmented by the Andrew Henry, John Still, Peter Stewart, Joseph Lundy, Partridge, Buchanan and Laverty families. Mr. Still and family - there were eight sons- settled on lot 22, con. 4, east. Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Still were sisters and Mr. Still and family made their home at Stewart's until they got their house built. Before the summer was over the little community was east into gloom by the death of Mrs. Still, which occurred before her home was completed and ready for occupation. She left a baby child, which was reared by Mrs. Stewart. Mr. Stewart, who was a blacksmith by trade, had brought a set of tools with him and erected a small shop on Mr. Laidlaw's farm, where he worked at his trade until he was able to build a more commodious smithy on his own farm, lot 20, con. 4, east. Mr. Laidlaw had the misfortune to meet with a very serious ---- they were unable to save anything. Everything they owned, including some money, was consumed, except the clothes they were wearing and their yoke of oxen and jumper. This I think was the first serious fire in Mono.
The first school house was built on the parcel of land now occupied by the Mono Centre burying ground. Mr. John Phoenix was the first teacher. He lived in the school during the week and boarded himself. By some accident the school was destroyed by fire and it was necessary to erect another seat of learning. The southeast corner of lot 18, con. 2, east was selected as the site. The next teacher came from Toronto and who had a wooden leg. He in turn was succeeded by Mr. Daniel McNaughton. Mr. James Still and family joined the little community in 1840, settling on lot 22, con.4, east. The family consisted of two sons and two daughters. The first meeting for the purpose of nominating and electing a township council was held in Mr. Thomas Buchannan's house. It was given the name of town m meeting. Nominations and election took place at one time and generally lasted two days. There were no ballots in those days, the electors making their decision by a show of hands, for each of the candidates. Mr. Michael Island was the first reeve of the newly organized township. The first funeral was that of Mrs. John Still in 1836. She was buried ion the west half of lot 13, con. 5 east, which was at that time clergy reserve land. The remains were afterwards removed to Mono Centre burying ground.
It is interesting to note that in the year 1836 three veterans of the Battle of Waterloo took up their homes in the new settlement. They were Messrs. Glover, Milvogue and Richard Wardrope.

[Dufferin County GenWeb]

©2001 Amy Menary
Last updated:July 5, 2001