Bullock’s Corners, south of Highway #5, is the junction of several small settlements which include Greensville, Crook’s Hollow as well as Bullock’s Corners. The first settler to come to the area was an American, Jacob Cochenour, who arrived in 1785. He was granted 200 acres of Crown Land along the Spencer Creek and secured his living as a trader with the neighbouring Indians. Cochenour died in 1819 but left as a reminder the bridge he constructed across Spencer Creek in 1797, and a long line of descendants. Another early settler was William Bullock (1804-1866), a native of Straffordshire, England who came to Upper Canada with his family in 1833. He established a hotel and several mills and served as Deputy Reeve of the township in 1854-55.
In 1808, John Green (d. 1835), a United Empire Loyalist from New Jersey arrived in West Flamborough and erected several mills. It is from this family that the name “Greensville” is derived. Crook’s Hollow received its name from an ambitious Scotsman, James Crooks, the man who was largely responsible for the early industrial development of West Flamborough.
The pioneering families and founders of these three settlements all form the history of Bullock’s Corners.
1. West Flamborough Township Hall, #283 Brock Road
The Hall was built in 1875 for the Township of West Flamborough. The buildingl was originally constructed for municipal affairs but over the years has been used for a variety of different functions. When built it helped to establish a town centre and to define the boundaries of the original Bullock’s Corner’s. Although there have been alterations to the building, it is a fine example of municipal architecture. On 6 May 1875, letters were sent from the Reeve, Dr. Miller, regarding a site for a Township Hall. Jacob Cochenour Jr. offered a piece of property for $250 and the council, pleased with his offer, accepted and requested George Soper to prepare a tender for the cost of construction. The price was estimated at $2330 with an additional $100 for a verandah, but according to the Treasurer’s Report in 1876, the actual cost amounted $3849.50.
The walls of the building are cut stone which has a rough, quarry-faced facade unlike the smooth stone finish of some of the other stone buildings in the community. The round- headed windows with wooden frames are the original ones that were installed in the Hall.
In 1925 the verandah was demolished (by order from the Reeve, John Tew). The bank in front of the building was removed and in its place the parking lot was made. The basement was enlarged and refitted in 1938. A banquet hall, Clerk’s office and Council Chambers, a kitchen, ladies and gents dressing rooms, a water system, toilets, drainage and ventiliation were then added to the basement at the cost of $6155.94. In 1944 a kitchen was also added on the north side. But in 1976, all municipal and government activity was transferred to the new Township of Flamborough Municipal Building in Waterdown. Now, the Hall is used for public meetings and the basement is used for the Library.
2. Christ Anglican Church, #90 Hwy. #8
The present Church was built in 1865, but since 1805, the property has been used for worship services. The original 200 acres was granted by the Crown to Angus McDonell in 1796. It was sold to William Dickson, another government official who owned the land for almost a decade before he sold it to John Green. During his ownership, religious meetings were held in a small wooden structure and services conducted by visiting clergy. During the 1850s the congregation met in a building across from the Township Hall that had been built by William Bullock, but in 1865 Christ Church was built at the cost of $2,500.
The move to a church was largely due to the work of Canon F. L. Osler who instituted regular services every Sunday. He brought with him an ancient Tau font from Cornwall, England, which is believed to be the oldest piece of Church furniture in Canada. The Church is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture with its beautiful gables and Gothic windows. The building is constructed of squared, rock-faced, cut stone laid in a regular course. In each gable on the front facade is a paired lancet window containing stained glass.
3. The Three Gables Antiques and Things, #78 Hwy. #8
The site of this shop was a Crown Grant to the first Constable in the township, Isaac Smith, a United Empire Loyalist. He sold the land to Jacob Cochenour Sr., the first settler in the village who built the original wooden bridge across Spencer Creek linking Bullock’s Corners to Greensville In 1843, he sold a small piece of property to Mary Fraser and her husband Hugh for $750. Six years later, Hugh Fraser constructed this building as a residence, small hotel and store.
The building is made of cut stone and rubble. There are 3 symmetrical gables on the left side of the building. The one large gable on the right balances the building. The interior has changed very little, if at all and still resembles an old, very simple, country store.
When Hugh Fraser died in 1892, the store and property passed to Annie Fraser who leased it to Marshall Moxley, a local resident. He operated it until his death in 1913, when three tenants, Yates, Robertson and Arthur Lawrance continued the business until in 1921 Annie Fraser sold the store to William Taylor.
In 1945, a new owner, Claude J.E. Foster used the store briefly for Foster’s Soaps. For almost twenty years the store was leased to many people who operated a variety of businesses but in 1971, Robert and Budia Eastman purchased the building. They leased for a short time and in 1975 they changed the store to an Antique Shop with a name to reflect the building’s heritage. Today the store is still an Antique Shop and its prominent location at the junction of the Brock Road and Highway #8 helps to establish the centre of the community.
4. Spencer Creek and Bridge
Spencer Creek enters Greensville from its source in Beverly Township. It flows through West Flamborough to Dundas as it passes on its way to Lake Ontario. This large creek used to flow freely but over the years, forests and swamps have interferred and have slowed the flow somewhat.
The creek attracted many pioneers to the area. These settlers built saw, paper, flour and grist mills along its banks to help provide their basic needs. The first mill was built in 1798 by James Morden. The Morden family constructed several mills along the creek such as the flour mill which operated until destroyed by fire in 1905. In 1807 John Green built a grist mill and George Morden a distillery in the neighbourhood.
The bridge above the creek is not the original structure, that has long since disappeared but the site is original. The old abutments of an ancient bridge are still visible. A former bridge was used for cars at one time, but now the bridge is strictly for pedestrians.
5. The William Bullock House, #1 Falls Road
This land beside Spencer Creek was origially granted by the Crown to Captain William Hamilton in 1798. He received land for his service to the British Crown during and after the American Revolution. He never lived on his land, so in 1828 he sold the 200 acres to James Crooks. Crooks had first visited the township in 1817, following his service as a Captain in the War of 1812. He bought land on Spencer Creek seeing it as a valuable industrial site. Among his many successes was the construction of a paper mill which manufactured the first paper produced in Upper Canada in 1826.
In 1841 William Bullock purchased part of the property upon which he built a saw and grist mill. He was heavily involved with the lumber business and purchased land and timber rights. He served on the Municipal Council and was deputy Reeve of West Flamborough. In 1850 William built this house, modelling it after his favorite house in England. Today it is one of the most distinguished buildings in the community. Its most striking features are the gables and the variety of windows on the front facade. The large projecting “T-shape” section contains a steeply pitched gable, while the main roof contains two gables on the front and three at the rear. Each gable has a triangular window under it, all with wooden shutters.
When Bullock retired in 1857, the property was turned over to his sons William Jr. and Joseph who were also involved with the lumber business. In 1866 William Sr. died at the age of 62. Joseph left Ontario in 1870 and William was left to take care of the lumber business alone. His activities extended as far north as Gravenhurst where he was, according to company records, purchasing beautiful pine trees for as little as 25cents each.
6. Clark’s Blanket Factory, #18 Short Road
This building was built in 1850 by William Bullock Sr. He used it as a warehouse for the first steam mill in the area. It was left to Joseph and William Jr. when he died in 1866. Following his death, the steam engines were moved and the building was leased to James and William Clark and Matthew Langley. They installed woollen machines and they also made and sold blankets and cloth. Fire destroyed the original mill in 1867 and a new building was constructed by Joseph and William Bullock. In 1871 the Clarks bought back the mill but in 1938, a severe flood destroyed most of the building, causing a death, James Clark’s son John and the demise of the factory.
In 1947 Isaac Ashman, a successful industrialist bought the mill and established Ashman Electronics in the building. He also added the rear concrete addition. In 1969 he sold the building to Thomas and Marie Kilner who made the mill into a crafts shop. It is still used as an arts and crafts shop today.
The one-and-a-half storey building is constructed of coursed rubble and a unique sand and iron mortar. The original pine floors still exist upstairs and downstairs, and the excellent quality of the masonry work can be seen where the interior walls are exposed. Wooden beams and rafters are also visible in places and the stairs show tongue and groove construction with square, handmade nails at the stair stringers.
Map of the walking tour:
The Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society
Research and design by Lori Dodman
Photographs by Maurice Green
Layout by Robert Wray