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Carden Dalton History Notes

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Recorded for us by Carden Researcher Frances Laver

By Watson Kirkconnell

Revised and Updated by Frankie MacArthur

County of Victoria Centennial History

Dalton Township is named after Dr. John Dalton (1766-1844), a famous English scientist  who did much to establish the atomic theory of the constitution of matter.

Dalton’s municipal neighbours are Carden on the south, Digby on  the east, Ryde (in Muskoka District) on the north and Rama (in Ontario  County) on the west.

It is almost entirely made up of glaciated granite. Three streams,  the Black River in the north, Cranberry River in the centre and Head  River in the south flow across it from east to west. At least two thirds  of the township consists of huckleberry plains. Its scanty apportionment  of arable soil lies chiefly near the Head River and the southern boundary,  though small streaks of farming land may be found along the valleys  of the other rivers.. The Gardiners, Montgomerys and Thompsons were  among the earliest settlers.

Scotch and Irish Presbyterians dominate the present day population.   The latest census total is 204  (probably 1911)

Uphill is a village of half a hundred people near the south end of  the Digby boundary.  It was long made famous by its tavern keeper,  John Calhoun of the North Star Hotel. Dartmoor in the south, Sadowa  in the west and Ragged Rapids in the northeast,  have been rural post  offices. Sebright is a village of about fourscore inhabitants scattered  on both sides of the Rama-Dalton boundary where the Monck Road crosses  it between the first and second concessions of Dalton.

It has been estimated that Dalton has 25,000 acres of non agricultural  lands that are well adapted for reforestation.

One of the most picturesque figures in the municipal history of the  township is Joseph Thompson, who was reeve for a quarter century.   Thompson was a great hunter and many legends have been handed down concerning  his prowess in the wilderness.

Recorded for us by Carden Researcher Frances Laver

BY  Watson Kirkconnell

Revised by Frankie L. Mac Arthur

County of Victoria Centennial History

Carden and Digby Townships are named after two English captains whose  heroic exertions were largely responsible for the successful embarkation  of Sir. John Moore’s army at Coruna in the Peninsular War, Sir John  Colborne, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada From 1830 to 1836, had  been one of the other officers there and it is supposed that the two  townships were named at his suggestion.

Carden is a rectangular municipality, ten concessions from west to  east and twenty five lots from north to south. It touches Eldon on the  south, Bexley and Laxton on the east, Dalton on the north and Mara in  Ontario County on the west.  It lies near the edge of the granite  country and therefore has thin soil and frequent outcroppings of limestone.   A large area in the centre of the township consists of tamarack and  balsam plains, unbroken by any road or trail.  The assessor in  1911 classified 38,256 acres as swamp, marsh or waste land.  Two  shallow lakes, Upper Mud Lake and Lower Mud Lake lie in the northwest  corner of Carden.

The chief settlements have been in the northwest and southeast corners  of the township.  The Conors, Dexters, Gillespies, Murtaghs, Quigleys  and Richmonds were among the earliest pioneers.  Irish, Roman Catholics  are perhaps the dominant element in the population.  The 1911 census   gives the following racial classifications : Irish – 378, English  – 184, Scotch – 69,  German and Dutch – 90, all others –  19. The church adherents were as follows: Roman Catholic – 282, Methodist  – 254, Presbyterian – 121, Anglican – 20, all others – 7.

Rohallion in the south, Horncastle in the east, Carden in the north  and Dalrymple in the west have been rural post offices.

Letter to Walter D. Deverell, clerk of Carden from F.L. Weldon February  1937

The Township of Carden was organized as a separate Township by By-Law  #162 of the  United Counties of Peterborough and Victoria passed  in the year 1860. Previous to that time the Township of Carden was joined  to the Township of Eldon.


Submitted by Carden researcher Frances Laver

May 1, 1868

May 1, 1868
The general stoppage of colonization, improvements by the Government last year necessitated a suspension of work on the road for the time being. It is expected that the work will be resumed at an early date and we trust that it will be vigorously prosecuted during the present season.
The opening of the Monck Road is of great commercial importance to Orillia as will be seen from the following description of the line and the country through which it passes, written at a time that the time that the original survey was made. Since then the line has been slightly altered and instead of starting about 2 miles north of the village of Rama, it commences almost immediately opposite our picturesque ______on Lot No. 28, 13th Concession of Mara, almost a mile north of the Narrows Bridge, consequently it is within about 4 miles of this village. A distance of 8 miles is partly finished and affords a means of ingress and egress to quite a number of settlers from the back part of Mara and along apportion of the town line of Rama. A few miles from this point it passes into the township of Dalton, going through Young’s settlement.
The survey of this road line commences along the east shore of Lake Couchiching on the concession line between Lots 12 and 13 of the Indian lands, in the township of Rama and immediately opposite the beautiful and picturesque village of Orillia. The line passes along the south east shore of Lake St. John crossing at the __at its mouth, at appoint where Mud Lake enters in to it. A bridge will be required here; it will be a raised causeway, as there is very little current and only 2 or 3 feet of water. Continuing our course, we pass into the township of Dalton going through Young’s settlement in this township, about 11 miles from Lake Couchiching. At 12 miles and six chains, the road crosses the inlet of Young’s Lake, where it will be necessary to build a bridge of about 60 feet span. At 20 miles from Couchiching, we arrive at Victoria Road. At 21 miles we strike the Head River, a span of about 40 feet. Passing Head Lake, we go across the Head River 23 _ miles from the starting point, where a large bridge will be built. By making a detour to the south of this lake, a much preferable route can be found. At 21_ miles across the Gull River, in the township of Lutterworth, continuing on to Bobcageon road, about 40 miles from Orillia, the termination of our trip.
The Monck Road when completed will probably be one of the best colonization roads in the province. It will open up a country at present very thinly populate and will confer a great benefit to the counties of Victoria and Ontario, particularly the townships of Rama and Mara. The settler’s at Young’s, Johnson’s and Victoria Road settlements, instead of going into Lindsay, will find a cash market for their produce at Atherley and Orillia, those villages being about 20 miles nearer than Lindsay. The road will also connect the Muskoka Colonization Road. The road will pass through the township of Rama, County of Ontario, Dalton, Digby and Lutterworth in Victoria. The length from Lake Couchiching to Bobcageon Road is 40 miles. From the point where this road intersects with the Bobcageon Road to Bobcageon village is 23 miles and the county town, Lindsay is twenty__ miles from that village, so that from Lindsay to the termination of the Monck Road line, the distance is about 44 miles.


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Website Exec.

Submission Committee:
Frances Laver
Lisa Burke
Fred Lamb
Mike Crosby


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