Hungerford Township Pioneers

Pioneers of Hastings County

Exerpts from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the

Counties of Hastings and Prince Edward


Prepared by Linda Herman

Hungerford Township

Hungerford is the largest township in the county, the greater part of which is adapted to agricultural purposes. The township is situated in the north riding of the county of Hastings and is bounded as follows; on the north by Elziver and a portion of Madoc; on the east by Sheffield, in the county of Lennox; on the south by Tyendinaga; and on the west by the township of Huntingdon. The Moira River enters the township at its north-west extremity and flows in a south-easterly direction until it reaches Stoco Lake, leaving the lake by two branches which unite after running parallel to each other for about two miles. The characteristics of the Moira in Hungerford are identical with other localities through which it flows, except that the current is not quite so rapid, affording less facilities for mill privileges than in Thurlow. The Scoutamatta Creek, a stream of considerable size, with its tributaries, flows through the north-east portion of the township. A tributary of Parks Creek takes its rise in the 6th concession and flows in a southerly direction towards the Tyendinaga boundary. Black Creek takes its rise on the north-eastern boundary of the township and empties in the midst of a large cranberry marsh, into Stoco Lake, at its northern extremity. Clare River also takes its rise in divisions upon the eastern boundary, upon which is situated Bogart’s mills and empties itself into Stoco Lake at its eastern extremity.

Clare River derived its name from the late Thomas Clare, then quite a youth, who it appears was chain-bearer to the surveying party engaged in laying out the township and who one night encamped upon the banks of an unnamed stream. Young Clare accidentally fell into the creek and disappeared underneath the ice; it being frozen, all thought him lost, when he was discovered, in an exhausted condition, by one of the party some distance down the stream, having come to the surface through an air hole. The surveyor, Samuel Benson, named the stream Clare River in commemoration of the event.

The earliest recorded settlement in the township is that of Sugar Island, about 2000 acres, on the south side of Stoco Lake, which derived its name from the famous Mississauga chief, Stougcong. The Mississaugas were accustomed to make every spring large quantities of maple sugar, which they paddled down the Moira to Myers’ Creek Village and the settlements on the front to be traded for different articles. It is stated that Owen Dirkin and Martin Donohue located upon the island in 1826 and were shortly followed by Philip Huffman and Nichol Conlin. In 1828 the Woodcock family came in and settled near the present village of Tweed. Robt. McCammon, J.P., Felix Gabourie, J.P., George Host, John R. Way, J.P., Thomas Close, J.P., James Martin, William Caton, J.D. Roblin, J.P., Henry Manes, and Mattaniah Kerr were also pioneer settlers.

It is impossible to fully realize the hardships, privations and sufferings of these first settlers of Hungerford. In the midst of an immense forest, without society, far removed from villages where anything could be purchased, and oftentimes destitute of the means to purchase; with twenty miles of almost impassable roads to travel before a grist mill or a store could be reached, a journey, with ox teams, occupying six or seven days. In a sickly country, where fever and ague was the common lot of nearly everyone, and no physicians near, the wolf without and sometimes the wolf of hunger within, all conspired to try the stoutest heart. The little produce raised could find no market, as there were no transportation facilities, and each settler supplied his own wants. As a result, little money was in circulation, all groceries were paid for in produce at extremely low rates, as the store keeper must find a market over nearly impassable roads. Such were among the trials and experiences of the early settlers of this township and for years the permanent hindrance to its increase in population, values and property. But happily these difficulties have all passed away.

The records of the first town meetings, as in other municipalities, are lost or destroyed but we are informed that the first meeting in Hungerford was held at the dwelling house of John R. Way, Robert McCammon and Philip Huffman. The first, Court of Requests was held in a little log shanty near Manes’ Bridge, John R. Way, J..P., Robert McCammon, J.P., Owen Dirkin, J.P., and James Morton, J.P., were the commissioners. The town meetings were subsequently held in Canton’s school house at Chapman Corners. Robert McCammon and Owen Dirken were the first appointed magistrates in the township.

In 1848 a meeting was held on the 3rd day of January-the first recorded-when George Hart was elected District Councillor; Benjamin Read, Town Clerk; and James Willson, Assessor and Collector.

When the Municipal Act came into force in 1850 the township was divided into five wards and the following named gentlemen were elected councillors: George Benjamin, John Johnston, George Hart, James Allen and Hugh McDonald. George Benjamin was chosen Reeve. At a meeting held at Hungerford Mills in 1850, a by-law was passed to build a town hall at Georgetown, Felix Gavourie, J.P., generously presenting the municipality with a sufficient quantity of land whereon to build the same.

Previous to 1850 the following names occur as having been identified with the affairs of the township:

John Wilson, James Barber, Isaiah Clarke, Joseph W. Wittaker, J.P., Charles McGuire, Archibald Bennedict, William Burley, J.P., James Raney, Charles Lee, Daniel Varley, J.D. Roblin, Sidney Way, John Wilson, John Hewett, James Corbett, Thomas Close, Henry Coyle, George Canniff, Jeremiah Premo, William McFall, William Potts, Peter Woodcock, Alexander Benner, Patrick Varley, James Rogers, Robert Kincaid, Isaac Dean, John Brown, Henry Free, John West, Uriah West, James Corkey, Samuel Darius, Peter Casey, William Rath, Gillespie Sayers, Phelix Collins, Henry Manes, William Caton, Cyrenous Parks, William Alexander, William Barshaw, Hugh O’Donnell, Patrick Kincaid, John Gibson, James Kenney, Nathaniel Dunn, Andrew Huyke, William Lancing, James Alexander, Allen Canniff, Joseph Gartland, John Adams, Phelix Gabourie, J.P., James Carlton, Alex Rutter, Joseph Hinch, Mattaniah Kerr, Akin Morrow, and Arthur Youmans.

In 1850 and subsequently we find the following as occupying the principal township offices:

Felix Gabourie, Robert Sanderson, Robert McCameron, Abram L. Bogart, Windsor W. Janes, John Graham, Isaiah Clarke, James Godkin. Robt. Morton, Paul Durkin, Joseph Elliott, Samuel Durkin, George Stooks, Robert Gordon, John McGill, ___ Detlor, Thomas Close, George Howell, John Johnson, J. G. Osborne, John Castleton, John Newton, Thomas Mullrooney, John Allen, John Graham, Wm. Rath and Richard Gabourie.

The Municipal Council for 1878 is constituted as follows:

Robert Gordon, Reeve; Patrick Murphy, Deputy-Reeve; S. C. Johnston, Deputy-Reeve; Francis Murphy, W. H. White, Councillors; William Wray, Township Clerk; Joseph Elliott, Treasurer; John Thompson, James Finlay, Assessors; and George Martin and Thomas Graham, Collectors.

The old Town Hall at Georgetown having been destroyed by fire, a handsome brick structure was recently erected at a cost of $2,500 and is by far the finest town-hall in the county (contractors Messers. John Foley and W.H. Gabourie).

The township of Hungerford was settled principally by Irish together with the descendants of United Empire Loyalists. It’s progress since the occupation of Sugar Island by Dirkin and Donohue in 1826, has been rapid.

John R. Way, father of Sidney Way, owned the first team of horses ever used in Hungerford.

There are a large number of well equipped cheese factories located in the vicinity of the many living springs in different parts of the township. The product of these establishments finds a ready market at Belleville, which has of late become one of the principal cheese centres in the province.

Gold as well as other minerals has been discovered in considerable quantities in the eastern part of the township. A crusher was erected but beyond the extraction of small quantities of the precious metal, the result was not satisfactory.

The village of Tweed is situated on the Moira adjacent to Stoco Lake and in the north-west part of the township and is connected with the City of Belleville, 25 miles distant, by a good macadamized road. The early settlement of the village was in all probability first effected with a view to utilizing the fine water privileges of the Moira at this point. At first the growth was slow owing chiefly to the close proximity of Georgetown. At present it affords ample facilities for a flourishing local trade. The village contains four churches: Church of England, Canada Methodist, Episcopal Methodist and Bible Christian. There is also a Roman Catholic Church on Sugar Island, adjacent to Tweed.; an excellent common school, built of stone and with a daily attendance of about 200 pupils; a Masonic Lodge, Worshipful Master, A. H. Gilbert; Secretary, H.H. Warren. There is also an Orange Hall and a Lodge of Good Templars, who hold their meetings in Dr. T. E. Pomeroy’s Public Hall over his drug store. The manufacturing interests of Tweed is represented by the extensive flouring mills of Mr. Eastbrook, on the Moira, containing three run of stone; the saw-mill of J.H. Jordan, containing large circular, edging, cutting and lath saws, cheese box machinery and planer; Gossett’s Iron foundry and stove works; two carriage manufactories; and a woollen factory. There are also a number of first-class general and other stores, three good hotels, and a telegraph office. The population is about 1,000.

Georgetown, a small village about one mile south of Tweed, is situated upon the banks of Stoco Lake. This was formerly the seat of municipal government, the first town-hall having been erected at this point, which was at that time the principal village in the township. Felix Gabourie , who owned the land settled there at an early date, and was the original founder of the place. There is a good common school. The population from 75-100.

Stoco is a small post village opposite Tweed, on the east branch of the Moira River and Lake, distance from Belleville 25 miles. It contains Messers. Murphy’s general store and other places of business, the carriage-works of Thos. Mulroney, blacksmith’ shops and a couple of hotels. Population about 100.

Bogart’s Mills and post-office are situated upon Clare River, in the eastern part of the township. This is a comparatively new place and was founded by Abram L. Bogart Esq. who owns considerable land in this part of the township.

Thomasburgh, a pleasant post village, is situated in the 9th concession of Hungerford, on the macadamized road leading from Belleville to Tweed and was founded by Thomas Clare, Esq. at an early date. It derived its name from three Thomas’s viz., Thomas Clare, Thomas Graham, and Thomas Nichols, all pioneer settlers. A post-office was established in 1853, Thomas Clare being the first P.M. there are two general stores, carriage and blacksmith’s shops, a tannery, large cheese factory, and potash works. There are four churches – Church of England, Bible Christian, Canada Methodist, and Episcopal Methodist, an Orange Hall and a good common school. Population 200.

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