Early descriptions of East Flamborough Township are rare. In 1822, a book, “Statistical Account of Upper Canada” by Robert Gourlay was published in England. Produced following time spent in Upper and Lower Canada by the author, it was an attempt to encourage large-scale emigration. Written in 1817, it is a series of articles on every aspect of the new colony, and sketches are in the form of letters to Mr. Gourlay. They contain answers to the long list of queries that had been previously circulated. Unfortunately many of the most important questions, such as date of settlement in the township were not answered.
This Heritage Paper is the Report received from the East Flamborough residents, together with the questions that had been previously circulated. Next paper will be the combined report that was submitted by residents from Beverly and West Flamborough Townships.
1st. Name, Situation, and Extent of your Township?2d. DATE OF THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF YOUR TOWNSHIP, NUMBER OF PEOPLE AND INHABITED HOUSES?3d. NUMBER OF CHURCHES OR MEETING HOUSES; NUMBER OF PROFESSIONAL PREACHERS, AND OF WHAT SECTS?4th. NUMBER OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS?5th. NUMBER OF SCHOOLS, AND THE FEES PER QUARTER?6th. NUMBER OF STORES?7th. NUMBER OF TAVERNS?8th. NUMBER OF MILLS, AND OF WHAT DESCRIPTION, WITH THE RATE OF grinding, SAWING AND CARDING WOOL?9th. THE GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE SOIL AND SURFACE?10th. THE KINDS OF TIMBER PRODUCED, NAMING THEM IN ORDER, AS THEY MOST ABOUND?11th. WHAT MINERALS, IF ANY, HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED OR INDICATED; COAL, LIMESTONE, IRON, STONE, PLAISTER OF PARIS, SALT ROCK, SALT OR OTHER REMARKABLE SPRINGS?12th. BUILDING STONES, IF ANY, OF WHAT QUALITY, AND HOW MUCH PER TOISE THEY CAN BE OBTAINED FOR AT THE QUARRY?13th. IF BRICKS HAVE BEEN MADE, AND THEIR COST PER THOUSAND?14th. IF LIME IS BURNED, AND THE PRICE PER BUSHEL, AT THE KILN?15th. WAGES OF BLACKSMITHS, MASONS, AND CARPENTERS; AND THE RATE OF THEIR PIECE-WORK RESPECTIVELY?16th. WAGES OF COMMON LABOURERS PER ANNUM, PER WINTER MONTH, PER SUMMER MONTH, PER DAY IN HARVEST; ALSO, WAGES OF WOMEN SERVANTS PER WEEK, FOR HOUSEWORK, AND FOR SPINNING?17th. PRICE OF MOWING GRASS FOR HAY; PRICE OF REAPING AND CRADLING WHEAT; saying in each case if board and lodging is included?18th. COST OF CLEARING AND FENCING A GIVEN QUANTITY OF WOOD LAND; SAY FIVE ACRES, BY CONTRACT?19th. PRESENT PRICE OF A GOOD WORK HORSE FOUR YEARS OLD; ALSO, A GOOD COW, OX, SHEEP, OF THE SAME AGE?20th. AVERAGE QUANTITY OF WOOL YIELDED BY SHEEP; AND WHAT PRICE THE WOOL NOW BRINGS BY POUND?21st. ORDINARY TIME OF TURNING OUT BEASTS TO PASTURE, AND OF TAKING THEM HOME INTO THE YARD OR STABLE?22d. ORDINARY ENDURANCE OF THE SLEIGHING SEASON, AND OF COMMENCING PLOUGHING IN SPRING?23d. ORDINARY SEASON OF SOWING AND REAPING WHEAT?24th. QUANTITY OF WHEAT REQUIRED TO SOW AND ACRE, AND HOW MANY BUSHELS PER ACRE ARE CONSIDERED AN AVERAGE CROP?25th. QUALITY OF PASTURE: 1st. AS IT RESPECTS FEEDING, AND WHAT WEIGHT AN OX OF FOUR YEARS WILL GAIN WITH A SUMMER’S RUN; 2d. AS IT RESPECTS MILK, AND THE QUALITY OF DAIRY PRODUCE, NOTING THE PRICE WHICH BUTTER AND CHEESE MADE IN THE TOWNSHIP WILL NOW FETCH?26th. ORDINARY COURSE OF CROPPING UPON NEW LANDS, AND AFTERWARDS WHEN BROKEN UP FROM GRASS; STATING ALSO WHEN AND FOR WHAT CROPS MANURE IS APPLIED?27th. IF ANY LAND IS LET ON SHARES; TO WHAT EXTENT THIS IS PRACTISED; AND WHAT THE ORDINARY TERMS?28th. THE PRICE OF WILD LAND AT THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF THE TOWNSHIP; ITS PROGRESSIVE RISE AND PRESENT PRICE; ALSO OF LAND SO FAR CLEARED; STATING CIRCUMSTANCES AS TO BUILDINGS, PROPORTION CLEARED, OR PECULIARITY, IF ANY, OF LOCAL SITUATION; REFERRING IN EVERY INSTANCE TO ACTUAL SALES?29th. QUALITY OF LAND NOW FOR SALE?30th. STATE OF PUBLIC ROADS, AND IF CAPABLE OF MUCH IMPROVEMENT AT A MODERATE EXPENCE; ALSO, IF ANY WATER CONVEYANCE; OR, IF THIS COULD BE OBTAINED, EXTENDED, OR IMPROVED, BY MEANS OF CANALS, LOCKS, &c. &c.31st. WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, RETARDS THE IMPROVEMENT OF YOUR TOWNSHIP IN PARTICULAR, OR THE PROVINCE IN GENERAL; AND WHAT WOULD MOST CONTRIBUTE TO THE SAME?
1st.The queries are exhibited on the left hand pages, that they may be more readily referred to from the replies.
2d.As there is a correct map of the Province attached to this volume, which shews at a glance the SITUATION AND EXTENT of each township, the replies to Query the 1st. have been omitted.
3d.The word STORE is synonymous with shop in Upper Canada, and invariably used for this.
4th.The RATE OF GRINDING, being fixed by statute at ONE-TWELFTH of the produce ground, replies to that query are omitted.
5th.BRICKS are smaller in Canada than in England. They are an inch shorter, and otherwise proportionally less.
6th.In all cases, labourers have their board and lodgings allowed to them, besides the money quoted in the replies: answers therefore, to the part of query 17, respecting this, have been omitted.
7th.The word CRADLING denotes mowing with a scythe, mounted with hoops, so as to lay the swath regularly down for sheaving.
8th.The SLEIGHING SEASON is when there is sufficient snow on the ground to admit of sleighs (sledges) being used on the roads instead of wheel carriages.
9th.The term SHARES will be understood where it occurs in the Replies.
10th.My 28th Query required a reference to ACTUAL SALES; which unfortunately has been too little attended to.
11th.In many of the Reports, prices were given in DOLLARS: in some, NEW YORK CURRENCY, or 8s. to the dollar, was spoken of. To prevent confusion, I have converted these into the provincial currency of 5s. to a dollar, and four dollars to the pound, of 18s. sterling.
12th.The word PLAIN, often used in the Reports, denotes a tract, where the timber is thin or free of under-brush, generally kept in this state by successive burnings.
At a Meeting of a few of the Inhabitants of the Township of East Flamboro’, held in pursuance of a public Notice at the House of Mr. Alexander Brown, 22d November, 1817, for the Purpose of taking the Address of Mr. Robert Gourlay into Consideration, and answering the Queries by him proposed, at which Meeting, George Chisholm, Jun. was chosen Chairman, and Alexander Brown, Secretary.
9th. The soil is generally good.10th. All kinds of timber, black walnut excepted.11th. None. 12th. Limestone in great plenty.14th. Lime is burnt only in small quantities.15th. Blacksmith’s wages, 7½ d. per lb. for iron.16th. Wages of common labourers, from 1l. 10s. to 4l. per month.17th. Mowing grass, and harvesting, from 3s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. per day.26th. On new land the first crop is wheat, and then grass. Fruit of all kinds common to this country grows here.27th. No land is rented on shares.28th. Cleared land sells from 2l. 10s. to 7l. 10s. per acre.29th. A great quantity of land now for sale.30th. Roads generally good: capable of improvement.31st. At the first settlement of this township, the land was chiefly granted to gentlemen for their military services. The situation being eligible, they hold it at a high price, and for want of capital, few persons are able to purchase it, which is the reason of its remaining uncultivated.
We are, Sir, with due respect,Your most obedient, humble Servants,
Originally published in Heritage Happenings, September 1988.
© The Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society 1988, 2021.
The Flamborough Archives will be closed on Monday, May 24. Happy Victoria Day, and see you soon!