of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
By Norman Robertson (1906)
As the numbers became
reduced of those who had entered the county of Bruce as its first
settlers, a desire prevailed that, ere it was too late, an attempt be made
to gather from their lips the story of the pioneer days; as this, with an
accurate narrative of the early evolution of Bruce, must be obtained, if
ever, before those who had been the active participants had passed away.
In the preface to the Atlas of the County, published by H. Belden & Co.,
in 1880, is to be found the first effort made in this direction. This
Atlas, however, was an expensive volume, and is in the possession of but
few, and the historical sketch contained therein is but little known. In
1896 the County Council offered a prize of $50 for the best paper on the
history of the county. In response to this, two papers were submitted, one
written by John McNabb, the other by the author of this volume. Both of
these papers were considered to possess such merit that the Council
offered to give to each of the writers the prize offered, provided that
two additional chapters be written — one on the Schools of Bruce, and the
other on the Militia and Volunteers of the County. These two chapters were
supplied by the writer. After paying the promised reward, the County
Council let matters rest, taking no steps to publish the manuscripts
submitted. From the foregoing it may be seen that a knowledge of any
historical facts relating to the county has been largely confined to the
recollections of the oldest inhabitants, and to them only.
The two historical sketches
above referred to were prepared along different lines. Mr. McNabb wrote
largely of the history of the several minor municipalities. The other
sketch was a continuous historical narrative of the county as a whole.
Perceiving that each form possessed merits the other had not, and thinking
that a larger work combining these two forms would cover every historical
feature necessary to be recorded, the writer suggested to Mr. McNabb a
compilation of the two narratives. Nothing, however, was done to carry out
the suggestion. After thinking it over for two or three years, the author
resolved to start do novo and write a History of the County of Bruce along
the line spoken of above. Putting both of the above papers aside, work in
the way of gathering necessary material was commenced. It was not long
before the author became aware that he had not commenced a day too soon.
Death was very busy among the old pioneers, and in a short time he would
have been too late. During the past eight years scores of old settlers
have been personally interviewed; those who are no longer residents of the
county have been corresponded with; the records of the county offices at
Walkerton and Goderich have been searched, and also those of many of the
minor municipalities. Various Government Departments at Ottawa and Toronto
have, on application, supplied documents full of interesting historical
facts. The libraries of Parliament have also furnished a quota of
information. Piles of old newspapers have been closely scanned, and no
stone has been left unturned to secure material for a full and accurate
history of the county and of the minor municipalities therein.
The first eleven chapters
of this work refer to the county at large. Then follow twenty-seven
chapters, each of which deals with a separate minor municipality. This
method may have resulted in some repetition, but only where for the sake
of the narrative it has been unavoidable, which, under the circumstances,
the reader is asked to excuse.
The author has met with the
greatest kindness and willingness to oblige from every one from whom
information has been sought. He desires to tender his most hearty thanks
to all those who have so aided him. Especially would he mention the late
Thomas Adair; W. R. Brown and Henry Smith, of the Crown Lands Department;
W. S. Gould, County Clerk of Bruce; W. M. Dack, Registrar, and George A.
McKay, Deputy Registrar of the County; the late Fred Lamorandiere, Indian
interpreter, and the several county newspapers, from the columns of which
many items have been culled. His thanks are also markedly due to James
Warren, C.E., who generously permitted his large map of the county to be
used for the purpose of obtaining the plates from which the sixteen maps
of the townships contained herein are printed.
The expense of publishing a
volume such as this is greater than is generally imagined. To help over
this obstacle the County Council of Bruce, in a broad-minded, liberal
spirit, granted one thousand dollars to the Bruce County Historical
Society — under whose auspices this volume is issued — to assist in
publishing it, on the understanding that the sum granted be refunded out
of the first sales of the book. In connection with this grant a committee,
consisting of A. W. Robb, William McDonald and W. J. Henry, was appointed
by the County Council for consulting purposes.
In writing this History the
author has done so with a conscientious desire to avoid writing simply for
effect. His effort has been to give a truthful historical narrative,
lightened up with such local coloring as was available from the individual
incidents and experiences of the pioneers. These personal experiences are
fittingly narrated in a history of the county, for when the early settlers
pass away there will be no one left to tell at first-hand the tales of the
backwoods life of the pioneers of Bruce. While conscious of many defects
in literary style, the author sends this volume forth with hopeful
anticipation of a kindly reception from all those whose home is in, or
whose home memories are associated with, the county of Bruce.
Scotland has emailed people at the County of Bruce Tourism and Economic
Development offices and other contacts in the area asking for old and new
pictures of the area and any other information they care to send. In the
event we get any information over the weeks ahead we'll add this in here
to complement the information in this book.]
1967 at the Canada Centennial year the County of Bruce applied to
have its own Tartan and permission was granted.
The design is
attributed to Lord Bruce, the son of the Earl of Elgin, and
chief of the Clan Bruce. It was adapted from the Clan Bruce
tartan. Two blue stripes were added to represent the coastline
of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
The Story Of Lake Huron's Great Peninsula by William Sherwood
Tripping The Bruce
Set sail along the rugged northern coast of Ontario's
magnificent Bruce Peninsula in TRIPPING The Bruce. Above the
pristine turquoise waters are the towering cliffs of the Niagara
Escarpment, and beneath the waters are dozens of sunken ships
that Lake Huron has claimed. It is a stunning, primordial
landscape filled with fascinating stories of rich bounty, human
survival, and natural wonders.
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