A description of the township of Flamboro’ East and the settlements that were part of it, just before Confederation came to Canada – a hundred and fourteen years ago. Much of the material for these articles was taken from Mitchell & Co’s. “County of Wentworth and Hamilton City Directory for 1865-66”.
Part 1: Introduction and Waterdown
The township of Flamboro’ East is bounded on the north-east by the Townships of Nasagaweya and Nelson, County of Halton, on the south by Burlington Bay, on the south-west by the township of Flamboro’ West and on the north-west by the township of Puslinch, County Wellington. The township was first settled about the year 1799 by George Chisholm, David Henry, John Fonger, and William and John Applegarth. From Hamilton to Waterdown, the chief town of the township, there are three or four roads which vary in distance from seven to nine miles. The usual or most travelled road to Waterdown is to keep to the gravel road on the right hand or Burlington side and cross the marsh, over which there is a good bridge, then follow the Wellington Square road till about five miles from Hamilton, when a good road turns off to the left at Aldershott or Waterdown Station, which runs nearly straight to the village. The south-eastern portion of the township is hilly, but the rear is level or rolling. The soil is generally good, and the timber a mixture of hardwood and pine. It is well settled and contains excellent farms. There are several small villages, the chief one being Waterdown.
Waterdown, which is situated on the mountain and on Dundas Street, is a pleasant looking village, containing about 768 inhabitants, and is situated by a bustling little millstream called Grindstone Creek. The village was first settled in 1822 by Ebenezer and Absalom Griffin, who purchased the property on which the village is laid out from one Alexander Brown, progenitor to the family of the same name at Port Flamboro’. The village is two miles from Aldershott post office or Waterdown Station on the Great Western Railway, and three and a half miles from Port Flamboro’ on Burlington Bay. There are excellent free stone quarries near the banks of Grindstone Creek. The Creek takes its name from grindstones having been made at these quarries by a Mr. Allan, about 1814. The creek affords very good water power which is made available by propelling the machinery for three flouring and grist mills, a rake, snaith and cradle factory, wood turning factory, chair factory, and two saw mills. The Waterdown flouring mills are owned by the Hon. W.P. Howland, and were erected in 1860 of stone, four stories high, with a large stone grain warehouse convenient; the whole costing about thirteen thousand dollars. The mills contain four run of stone, and have the capacity of manufacturing one hundred and fifty barrels per diem. There is a stave factory, in connection, where about half a million staves are cut per annum, twelve hands are kept employed; and in addition to the water power, a steam engine of forty horse is also used. John Creen’s flouring mill was erected in 1851. It contains three run of stone, and turns out about fifty barrels of flour a day. The Ceres Mill, J.W. Lottridge and Co. of Hamilton, proprietors, manufactures about one hundred and twenty barrels per week. In rakes, snaiths and cradles, Read Baker employs a large number of hands; his works were established in 1843, and the last year, nine thousand, three hundred and twenty-four dollars of wares were turned out.
The village contains six churches, a school, a large and commodious town hall erected in 1857 of stone two stories high, at a cost of three thousand four hundred dollars. The third division courts are held here. Andrew Hall, Esq., J.P., clerk. Mails daily. The village is about becoming incorporated. The Free Church, Presbyterian, was erected in 1853, of stone, at a cost of $1,200., capable of seating 350 persons, no settled pastor. St. Andrew’s (Church of Scotland) erected in 1860, of frame, at a cost of $800., will accommodate 350 persons, no settled parson. The Church of England was built in 1860 of stone, cost about $1,000., and capable of accommodating 250 persons, Rev. G. Higginson minister. New Connection Methodist, built of stone in 1859, and cost $1,000, capable of seating 250, Rev. Mr. Scott minister. Roman Catholic Church was erected in 1850 of stone, and cost about $1,200, capable of seating 500 persons, no settled priest, services every two weeks by missionary from Hamilton.
The township council meets in Town Hall, Waterdown: Thomas Stock, Reeve; Alexander Brown, Dep. Reeve; John Creen, Andrew Davidson and Page Mount, Councillors; Andrew Hall, clerk; James McMonies, treasurer; John Stock and Wm Edgar, Assessors; Walter Evans, collector; John Graham, Bailiff and Constable.
Flamboro’ East Township Agricultural Society: Fairs are held in Waterdown once a year, about $400 was distributed as prizes for 1865. Thomas Smith, President; Thomas Stock, Secretary and Treasurer; Directors: Thomas Douglas, Thomas Little, James Carson, Peter Creen, Richard Carey, H.N. Morden, James Campbell and Peter McNiven.
“County of Wentworth and Hamilton City Directory for 1865-66” — Mitchell & Co. Publishers, 4 King St. E., Lovell & Gibson, Printers, Yonge Street.
“Illustrated Atlas of Wentworth County” — Page & Smith, Toronto.
Originally published in Heritage Happenings, May 1981.
© The Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society 1981, 2020