Tyendinaga Township Pioneers

Pioneers of Hastings County

Exerpts from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the

Counties of Hastings and Prince Edward


Prepared by Linda Herman

Tyendinaga Township

Tyendinaga fronts the northern extremity of the so-called "Long Reach". It is bounded on the north by the Township of Hungerford; on the east by Richmond, in the County of Lennox; on the south by the Bay of Quinte; and on the west by Thurlow. Tyendinaga is of all the townships in the county, the best watered, seven parallel streams with their tributaries run through the whole width of the municipality in a south-westerly direction emptying themselves into the Bay and Moira Rivers. Sucker Creek takes its rise in the township of Richmond, in the county of Lennox . Mud Creek also takes its rise in Richmond and empties into Hungary Bay. The Salmon River taking its rise in Crow Lake township of Kennebec, in the County of Frontenac runs parallel with Mud Creek and has the villages of Shannonville, Milltown, Lonsdale and Kingsford upon the eastern boundary. It was known by the Indians as the Gossippa. There are flouring and saw mill and factories located upon this river and it affords water power for all the requirements of the vicinity. Fisher Creek is a tributary of the Salmon River near Read P.O. Another unnamed creek also takes its rise immediately south of Read P.O. Parker Creek, with its several tributaries waters the north-west and empties into the Moira at Plainfield, in Thurlow. The Moira River runs across the north west corner of Tyendinaga upon which is situated saw and grist mill. A portion of Mud Lake is also situated in the townshop and abounds with several species of fresh water fish.

There are ten Post –offices in the township, which are situated as follows: Shannonville, lot 9, Indian Reserve; Milltown, lot 11, 1st con; Blessington, lot 5, 4th con; Lonsdale, lot 32, 2nd con; Marysville, lot 32, 3rd con; Millpoint, lot 40, 1st con, Indian Reserve; Melrose, lot 15, 3rd con; Read, lot 21, 6th con; Albert lot 34, 6th con; with offices on the eastern boundary at Kingsford and Roslin, in the north-west corner of the township

Tyendinaga was named after and in honor of the celebrated chief of the Six Nation Indians, Thayendinagea , better known by his English appellation, Joseph Brant, who came to Canada with remnants of his tribes about 1793-4 from Lewiston, New York and located upon the northern shore of a portion of the Bay of Quinte. The deed of the tract to the Mohawks now, Tyendinaga township , bears the date 1804. The land being granted to the chiefs, warriors, people and women of the Six Nations, a portion of whom only settled there, the remainder proceeded westward with Brant and settled upon the Grand River Reservation. Brant, after he had settled the remainder of his people on the reservation, retired to a grant of land conferred upon him by the Government where Wellington Square is now located, there he lived until his death on the 24th November, 1807.

Immediately after the occupation of their reservation, the Mohawks erected a log church, the first in the bay region. A school was also established but shortly afterwards was discontinued on account of a general lack of attendance. The old church was replaced in 1843.

During the years 1818 or 1819 the Indians surrendered the first four concessions of the township which were at once surveyed and put upon the market. In 1840 the remaining north part of the township was surveyed, placed in the market and also sold. The first two and a half concessions including the broken front containing about 20,000 acres were reserved by the aboriginal owners and is at present all that remains of the original reservation of the Six Nation Indians.

Prominent among the first settlers in the township we find the names of the Portts, Sweeneys, Nealons, McKinneys, Hanleys, Englishs, and Killmurrays from Ireland; the McLarens, McFarlens, Andersons, Fulloughs and Fosters, from Scotland; the Roberts, Palmers, Emmons, and Jones from England; the Applebys, Laziers, Osbornes, Mordens, Ross, Trips and Demills - United Empire Loyalists.

The village of Shannonville is situated upon the Salmon River and in the Indian Reserve about 9 miles distant from Belleville and about 1 from the bay shore. The Grand Trunk Railway passes through the village, affording ample facilities for travel and the transportation of freight. The land upon which the village stands together with the mill privilege was leased from the Mohawks for 999 years by Warren Noble and Frederick Keeler, in 1818 or 1819, who built a mill, the first in the township. The contract was confirmed by the Department of the Interior, F. Wallbridge, the owner, agreeing to furnish to the Indians yearly 30 barrels of flour as a consideration. . The name was originally derived from the Ports, who came from the vicinity of the Shannon, Ireland.There are extensive saw mills of Mr. Wallbridge situated on the river at this point, capable of turning out several million feet of lumber yearly; further down stream is the mill of Rathburn & Sons of Mill Point; there is a large stone flouring-mill with a capacity of 200 barrels per day; two tanneries, some very fine stores, carriage and blacksmith shops, three churches – Church of England, Canada Methodist and Episcopal Methodist and a good Common school, having a daily average attendance of about 100 pupils. The Division Court sittings for this part of the County are held at Shannonville. It is also a port of entry, Richard L. Lazier, being Collector of Customs. The present population of the village is 650-700. (1878)

Mill Point is situated in the south-east corner of Tyendinaga, and is the second village in point of importance in the township. It is seven miles from Napanee, eight from Shannonville and seventeen from the city of Belleville. The village received its impetus by the erection in 1849 of the large saw mills by Messrs. Thomas Y. Howe, Lewis E. Carpenter, and H.B. Rathburn, Americans from Albany New York. Millions of feet of lumber are here sawed for the American market, and an equally extensive business is done in shingles and laths. The mill is said to be one of the best equipped in the Province, employing about 100 hands. The raw material is floated down the rivers Trent, Moira, Salmon, and Napanee, Messrs. Rathburn & Sons having large timber limits in North Hastings and other counties. Considerable attention has of later years been given to ship-building at this point and some of the finest schooners that float upon our waters were built at Rathburn’s yard. There is also an excellent pier affording every facility for the loading of vessels, with lumber, grain &c. The present population is about 1,000.

The village of Milltown is appropriately named and is situated on the Shannon about one mile up the river from Shannonville on the Belleville and Richmond macadamized road. This is the third largest village in the township and like the others is largely engaged in manufacturing. The Messrs. Lazier have a flouring and a saw mill, which do a large business. N.S. Appleby, M.P.P. and Mr Burdett, carry on the upper flouring mills. There is also the iron foundry and machine shop of R.F. Pegan and a cabinet and chair manufactory, two carriage and blacksmiths’ shops, and shoemakers’ shops. The present population is about 250.

Lonsdale is a small post village of recent date, also situated upon the Salmon River. It has a population of about 200. Considerable business is done at this point, drawn principally from the fine agricultural country by which it is surrounded.

Melrose P.O. and village is located in the 3rd concession and is the seat of municipal government. The Town Hall a most substantial brick building, is situated in the village. There is a blacksmith’s shop, tavern, two churches and a cheese factory. A school is situated a short distance west of the village. Population 100.

A portion of the village of Roslin is situated in the north-west corner of the township. A short distance east of Roslin, on the boundary line between Hungerford and Tyendinaga, and on the Moira River are the mills of J. Wilson and the cheese factory of John White, M.P.

Kingsford is another post village on the Salmon River and eastern boundary of the township, principally situated in the township of Richmond, in the county of Lennox. The council-house of the Mohawk Indians is located in the 2nd concession of the reservation. The reserved land of the Indians is far behind the rest of the township in point of cultivation. Some few clearances are to be met with, the majority of the tribe preferring to earn their living by light handicraft and other work than to clearing and cultivating the land. There are about 400 Indians upon the reservation.

The early township records of Tyendinaga, as in other municipalities in the county, have either been lost or destroyed. Mr. E. Hollingsworth, township clerk &c has nothing in his possession further back than 1830. In that year a town meeting was held in the house of Richard Lazier, Shannonville, but beyond the appointment of John Portt as Town Clerk nothing further is stated in the minutes. In 1831, John Portt was again appointed clerk, and held the office until 1832 , when Thomas D. Appleby was elected to fill the position, an office he held until 1836, when Michael Nealon was appointed for one year. In 1837-8 Thomas D. Appleby again held the office and in 1839 John H. Bleeker. From 1840 to 1850 Michael Nealon officiated.

John Portt and John Sweeney for many years represented the township in the old district Council. On the passage of the Municipal act in 1849, the following gentlemen were returned as Councilmen:

Town Reeve – Wellington Frizzell; Deputy Reeve-Alexander McLaren; Councillors-Michael Nealon, Hugh Keys, John Hanley; Township Clerk- Thomas McKinney;Treasurer-Francis English; Assessors-Rueben Gorseline, Henry Rutland, James Anderson; Collector-John Shaughnessey.

From 1850 up to the present date the following named gentlemen have been identified with municipal affairs, having held the principal offices in the township during that period: - Nathaniel S. Appleby, M.P.P. Reeve for twenty consecutive years; Thomas D. Appleby, Clerk, under the old and new Councils, for eleven years; Alexander McLaren, Reeve and Deputy-Reeve for ten years; Wellington Frizzell, Reeve and Deputy-Reeve for six years; Michael Nealon filled the position of Township Clerk, previous to 1850 and subsequently upwards of twenty-five years, dying on the 1st of February, 1870 in the 73rd year of his age. Michael Sweeney was Deputy –Reeve for many years; Frederick Warwick was clerk during 1854; Francis English was Treasurer for about twenty years; Alexander McLaren is the present treasurer. John R. Huffman, Donald Anderson, Thos. Deasey, Charles Hudson and John White, M.P. Roslin, William McLaren, Michael McCullough, Samuel Osborne, and Thos Casey, have all respectively filled officers of trust.

The principal Township officers for 1878 are John White, M.P.P., Reeve; Donald Anderson, and Thomas Casey, Deputy-Reeves; E. Hollingsworth is the present Township clerk. Number of ratepayers 1303; No. of inhabitants, white 4, 556; No. of cattle 2,835; No. of sheep 3,976; No. of hogs 1,251; No. of horses 1, 462

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