J. Smyth Carter.

The story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 online

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a gravel pit. Here, as Mr. Froom was excavating gravel he unearthed


a human skeleton, supposed to have been that of an Indian. The length of the
skeleton exceeded six feet; the teeth were all sound and every bone in its
place. It was found in a sitting posture. This memorable gravel pit was
evidently the site of an old Indian burying ground, as this is not the
first instance in which the remains of human bones have been discovered
in that district. Mr. Froom sometimes finds pipes, tomahawks, flints,
chisels and other articles used by the American aborigines. One peculiar
feature possessed by these implements and curios is that in composition they
are unlike any other relics found elsewhere in Canada, being formed from a
hard variety of blue stone. This would indicate the presence at some pre-
historic time of a race or tribe superior to the ordinary Indian in their mode
of living. Indeed, in this ancient cemetery there might be discovered much
unwritten history concerning the former inhabitants of the St. Lawrence

Another place in our border county has been making history. On the farm
of Charles Spencer, two and one-half miles east of Spencerville, an interesting
discovery was made during the summer of 1902. About eighteen inches below
the surface was discovered a collection of Indian relics. There were human
bones including pieces of skulls together with arrow-heads, pieces of pottery,
and fine bones, fashioned apparently for use as needles. Other relics were
also found and all were fairly preserved. The collection we believe was later
taken to Ottawa to be inspected at the Geological Survey Department.

The vicinity of Black Creek, in the township of Matilda, gives evidence of
having been an early camping-ground of the red man. Some years ago John
Johnston, now an ex-resident, discovered a tomahawk, and subsequent
thereto many Indian relics were found. Flint darts and chisel-shaped
instruments, used possibly for skinning animals or barking trees, have often
been met with. As the substance from which these are formed is very hard
one must look with wonder and question how the Indians accomplished so
perfectly their manufacture. Among other relics in possession of the resi-
dents in this vicinity is a product of a coarse limestone very peculiarly but
skillfully formed. It is about ten inches in length and its use is a puzzler.
Each end presents a broad thick blade with rounded point ; a defensive
weapon was all the guess we could make as to its use . These relics have been
found to be more numerous on the high lands near the borders of the creek.
No doubt that at other points in this section of central Matilda evidences
might be found to demonstrate the residence or presence of the Indian.

Among the few remaining marks of pre-historic days no doubt the old
mound in Williamsburg leads all others in this county. Situated on lots
30 and 31 in the fifth concession of Williamsburg, it must have been an inter-


esting discovery for the early settlers in that vicinity. Very few of these
tumuli are found in eastern Ontario, although they abound in other sections
of Canada. The memorable Williamsburg mound was semi-circular in form
and covered an area of four or five acres. The wall marking the spot, which
in all likelihood was the site of an Indian camp, was about eighteen inches in
height. How ideal was the choice for this early camp, situated on the bank
of a stream known in later days as the Fritz Markle or Smith Creek. The
best authority to hand tells us that when the mound was discovered trees
which must have been growing for two centuries .were found thereon. From
this we must conclude that the camp had long years before been deserted.
Hidden beneath the turf inside of the wall were found several skulls, some
pieces of coarse earthenware and a quantity of decayed parched maize. Judg-
ing from the shape of the skulls they were supposed to have been those of
Indians. Several skeletons were also discovered, some of which exceeded six
feet in length. We are told that this old aboriginal place of residence gained
the silent admiration of many of the early settlers, some of whom believed
that valuable treasures were concealed there. More than one search in this
direction was made, and often at night. If they received any reward for their
labors silence was surely maintained, as no pecuniary find was ever reported.
A number of years after the settlement the timber was cut from the place,
but up to 1830, or until the more regular cultivation of the land began, the
mound was yet visible. Since then, however, the site year after year has
continued to become less conspicuous.

Perhaps in keeping with the present day order of things, we might note
some of the surroundings of this historic spot. On the north side, and very
close thereto, is found the village of North Williamsburg. In fact so closely
do the localities coincide that it would not be amiss to say that the site of the
village is that of the former mound. The Williamsburg gravel road crosses
the spot, the greater portion of the mound area being on the east side of the
road, on the farm now owned by George E. Merkley. For many years the
present owner has resided there and the many interesting relics which he
has unearthed add much color to the fact of aboriginal occupation. So
common has become the discovery of human skulls and other bones, peculiarly
fashioned pipes and odd and interesting instruments, the use of which would
be hard to decide, that only to those more distant from the locality have the
conditions ceased to be a "nine days' wonder." As recently as two or three
years ago skeletons were unearthed, each of which bore evidence that the
bodies were when interred placed in a posture possibly in keeping with the
burial custom of those interesting people. The lower extremities of the bodies
were bent backward and upward, so that the feet touched at or near the
shoulders. The upper extremities were bent upward in circular form, the


fingers pointing toward the chest. Singular as it may seem the teeth were
all in place and sound, the enamel being apparently untarnished. These
skeletons we have learned were closely inspected by some local and provincial

While we can but refer to a few of the many interesting finds in the vicinity
of this ancient camp, there is one other curio of which we must speak. This
is a soft stone of irregular form somewhat flattened, and at its broadest part
would measure from three to four feet. Several dips or undulations appear
on the surface of this stone. These minor hollows are worn smooth and a
close examination leads us to the conclusion that the stone was used for
sharpening spears, knives, axes and other instruments.

Surely the old Williamsburg mound has yet in its possession much untold
history. Who is able to rise up and say what relics of interest may or may
not be still hidden beneath the surface? Centuries have passed since this
aboriginal neucleus teemed with activity, within the borders of the Dundas
which was yet to be . Minor relics at other points in Williamsburg, and
possibly in the rear townships of the county, might aid in touching up the
background of this interesting pre-historic picture.

War was one occupation in which the Indian apparently delighted. Some
of their instruments of war and the chase were bow and arrow, war-club,
tomahawk, stone-hatchet, scalping-knife and spear. If not in Dundas who
knows but that within the limits of the old Eastern District battles of
the red men may have to some extent been waged. At the termination of an
engagement the claims of the victor were embodied in a sort of treaty. The
characters used to express the agreement bore a close resemblance to the
hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians. What interest might be furnished
by a look at one of these ancient treaties. While we might prize the privilege
of viewing the autographs of royalty, no doubt such would be for the moment
dismissed from our desires if in exchange we could but secure a close exam-
ination of one of those ancient oddities of peace or commerce. Yes, one of
those time honored Indian documents would be a valued prize and its interest
would be heightened, if in its interpretation it was found to express the
transference of some stated right or area within the vicinity of Dundas
county. But the red man has taken his departure and left few records that
we can decipher, his history is, as it were, a sealed or partially opened letter
of great interest. His residence here has left to his successors many points of
interrogation which still remain unanswered.

In our reference to the Indian we have not gone into the terrors of war
which later so distressed the early colonists of America. It is a ray of satis-
faction to know that the awful experiences which we regret were the lot of


Some of the early white settlers in other parts of Canada,, did not form a part
of Dundas pioneer life. The coming of the IT. E. Loyalists to our county was
practically uninterrupted on that score. Indians, of course, then traversed
our woods and Indian trails were discovered. That the Indians occupied this
section is no longer a theory but their territorial limits were ever varying,
their camps were itinerant, and hence the " Fathers of Dundas" were per-
mitted to land in peace. The old trails familiar to the red men were, however,
for many years thereafter travelled. Some of these were more remote from
the St. Lawrence, and no doubt the various Indian routes which passed
through Dundas served to connect St. Regis with their camp at Point

Speaking of the Indians traversing the forests of our county, after its settle-
ment, an incident is related which will we presume be vividly remembered by
our oldest residents. The home of John Young, one of the poineers of
Matilda, was situated on lot 3, concession 4. One Sunday afternoon Mr. and
Mrs. Young left their home to make a friendly call at the residence of a forest
neighbor, expecting upon their return all would be w r ell. Shortly after
their departure little Michael (commonly called Mickie ) wishing to break the
monotony of the situation started out hoping to join his parents. Arriving
at the house, where he expected they had gone, he peeped through the cracks
of the shanty. Not seeing his parents he likely made up his mind to return
home again. Indians had often been seen passing through the forest settle-
ment and on this oscasion they chanced to meet with Mickie. The bright,
attractive countenance of the lad called forth their admiration, and they
kidnapped him. We can imagine their journey and their arrival in
camp with the intelligence that they had succeeded in bringing with them
'" a little white boy." Mr. and Mrs. Young returned home and soon dis-
covered that Mickie had followed after them, but where he then was they
knew not. A hurried search was in vain made and the alarm was quickly
sounded. People from the surrounding vicinity assembled at the Young
home and then set out in search of the lost boy. For days and weeks the
search continued, and as time wore on the mystery deepened. Every
probable theory was advanced as to his disappearance. Some thought he had
been devoured by wild animals which then held a premium on the forest.
To strengthen this belief a little bone was long afterwards found which was
thought to belong to the body of a child. The good mother is said to have
treasured this bone for long years thinking it was all that remained of her boy.

A year went by and closed with no tidings to cheer the parents. More than
a score of years elapsed and after so long a time one would scarcely look for a
revelation of the mystery. Along in the late 60's, about thirty years after the
occurrence of the event, some Indians were camping along the front in


the vicinity of Point Iroquois. Among the number was a man whose
general demeanor and features did not coincide with the attributes
of the Indian. At the home cf an elderly lady, not far distant from the encamp-
ment, the Indians used to procure milk and other necessaries. The gentleman
who did not appear to be the typical Indian often came on errands to this
home . The old lady used to eye him closely and at length told him that she
believed he was not an Indian but that he bore resemblance to a family named
Young, living in Matilda. Mr. Welsh, a storekeeper living on the front, had
also often told the lad a similar story, nevertheless he day after day con-
tinued to reside with his captors, not knowing who he was. The repetition
of the story to him, at length, made an impression, and Norman Lewis, the
son of the old ladv to whom we have referred, volunteered to accompany him
some day to the Young residence. A Saturday was selected and the journey

Our readers unfamiliar with the story will likely have already concluded
that this particular member of the Indian camp was none other than Mickie
Young. Such was the case. On the journey homeward the two travellers
met an elderly gentleman who had long lived near the Youngs , and who when
asked if he knew the stranger, quickly recognized in him the features
of the little boy who more than thirty years previously had disappeared.
Upon their arrival at Mr. Young's they were courteously received, but the
mother meanwhile was unaware of the identity of the stranger. "Well, Mrs.
Young," said the man who had served as guide, "this is your son Mickie. '
The startled mother, by some mark, soon identified her son. We need not
add that the meeting was a joyous one. Throughout the surrounding country
the news of Mickie's return quickly spread and the residents for miles about
came to congratulate the new guest, to talk with him, to learn of his years
spent in camp and wigwam.

Mr. Young, the hero of the story, could bring to mind many interesting
reminiscences. The incident of his capture had however vanished from his
recollection owing to his extreme youth at that time. He could recall the fact
of the little Indians being unkind to him and calling him an Irish "bugger."
A period of thirty years spent wholly with the Indians is an
episode which claims the brilliancy of a romance. The parallel of this is not
frequently recorded in local annals, but it nevertheless occurred in the town-
ship of Matilda during the nineteenth century. On that period of his life
Mr. Young no doubt often reflects. He later became a resident of Chicago
where he accumulated considerable property and still continues to reside.

While general evidences of Indian occupancy are not so plentiful in this
district as in some others, yet after all the unrevealed might furnish a more
complete record. As to the ages during which the Indians dominated this


continent, or the probable periods of time spent in various sections, historians
do not agree. Perhaps during their time great variations had passed
unrecorded, for, as Parkman remarks, "Tribe was giving place to tribe,
language to language; for the Indian hopelessly unchanging in respect to
individual and social development was, as regards tribal relations and local
haunts, unstable as the wind." The area embraced within this section of
eastern Ontario was, however, a likely spot for their location. The St.
Lawrence afforded many jutting points covered with clumps of pine
and maple. The St. Regis reservation, southeast of Cornwall, now their
neucleus of residence in this quarter, was close at hand, and in viewing the
whole arena of conditions we have felt justified in attaching some significance
to the days when the red men ruled amid the forests of Stormont, Dundas
and Glengarry. Be their regime long or short an exit at length came. The
Indian departed and time already reckoned by centuries has left unmarked
his tomb*


Slow night drew on,
And round the rude hut of the loyalist
The wrathful spirit of the rising storm
Spoke bitter things. His weary children slept,
And he, with head reclined, sat listening long
To the swol'n waters of the St. Lawrence
Dashing against their shores.

LIFE is "moving music." The coming of the first settlers to the County
Of Dundas was the implanting on our shores of a sturdy race of people, inured
to hardships and privations, and whose pioneer life here should form an
interesting link in this narrative. That bitter struggle between the
Freiich and English for the mastery of North America, the subsequent pro-
gress of the land, the phenomenal growth of the American Colonies, and
the unpopular War of American Independence, were conditions leading
up to the time our county began making history. The story of the settlement
of the U. E. Loyalists in this district, their transition from that "Garden of
the South," the Mohawk valley, to their new Canadian homes, form a most
fascinating story, but even then we are not satisfied. The circumstances
which promoted their voyage from Europe to the State of New York deepens
our interest as we view the heritage left us by the "Fathers of Dundas."

For information on these very important questions we are indebted to
Alexander C. Casselman in an able and excellent paper, entitled "The
German United Empire Loyalists of the County of Dundas," The preparation
of this article required much research and careful sifting, but Mr. Casselman's
high ability and admiration for historical pursuits were equal to the task.'
The paper was read before the U. E. Loyalist Association of Toronto, and
through the kindness of the author we are permitted to publish a portion of
it, as follows :

'On both banks of the Rhine where it is joined by the Neckar is a large"


district about 3,600 miles in extent, that from the middle ages to the begin-
ning of this century was known as the Palatinate and whose people were
called Palatines. Its capital was Heidelberg, and within its borders were the
cities of Mayence, Spires, Mannheim and Worms, all names famous in history.
"Situated as this garden of Europe was, near to Wurtemburg and Geneva,
its inhabitants soon embraced the Reformed faith. Some became followers of
Calvin, and some of Luther. The Electors or rulers of the Palatinate for
many years were Protestants, but in 1690, the Elector, John William, a de-
voted adherent of the Roman church, tried to bring his people back to the
old faith.

"Prom its position the Palatinate became both the cause and the theatre of
that long war between Louis XlVof France and nearly the rest of Europe.
Louis wished to fulfil the desire and dream of every French ruler, to make
the Rhine the eastern boundary of France. Turrene, Louis' general, laid
waste the Palatinate to the west bank of the Rhine. Two Electors, unable
to bear such oppression, died of broken hearts. Louis claimed the Palatinate
for his brother Philip. The League of Augsburg was formed against him, the
soul of the combination being William, Prince of Orange. In this war Louis'
generals again overran the Palatinate to chastise its people for receiving
kindly the French Protestants who left France after the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes. General Montclas, accordingly, gave the people three days
to leave their homes. The villages and towns were burned, the castles and
churches destroyed, the ashes of the Emperors in the tombs at ' Spires were
scattered to the winds. Many of the people perished of hunger, but as
Macaulay says : 'Enough survived to fill the towns of Europe with beggars
who had once been prosperous shopkeepers and farmers.' The ruins softened
by time, still remain as reminders of Louis' wrath, and as a warning to
France that United Germany shall never permit the like to occur again.

"This blow, although hard for the Palatines to bear, was really the means
of their deliverance; for, while Louis was thus seeking a personal
vengeance, William had become firmly seated on the throne of England ;
' and thus he brought in opposition to France the power that was to emanci-
pate Europe, destroy the fleets of France, and drive her armies from every
continent. Once more, during the war of the Spanish succession, the Pala-
tinate was despoiled. But, in this instance, the greatest general the world
ever saw taught not only the French but the people of Europe that France
was not invincible. To Marlborough belongs the credit of making Britain
feared by the sovereigns of the continent, and showing the oppressed that
there they might find an asylum. During the time when he was all-powerful
in England, was passed the Naturalization Act under which refugees from
France and other countries found a home in England or its colonies.


"In the spring of 1708 fifty-two Palatines, led by their Lutheran minister,
Joshua Kockerthal, landed in England and petitioned to be sent to America.
The Board of Trade recommended 'that they be settled on the Hudson River,
in the Province of New York, where they may be useful, particularly in the
production of naval stores, and as a frontier against the French and Indians.'
It was further recommended 'that they be given agricultural tools and be
sent out with Lord Lovelace, the recently appointed Governor of New York.'
They arrived there in due time and were located at Quassaick Creek, just
where the city of Newburg now stands, a name which is probably a perpetua-
tion of the name of the then reigning house of Newburg of the Palatinate.

"About May, 1709, large numbers of people came down the Rhine to Rotter-
dam on their way to London. They came in such numbers and so penniless
that the people of Rotterdam were put to straits to supply them with the
necessaries of life. The British Ministry consented to receive 5,000 of them,
and to privide means for their transportation. Others followed rapidly, and
by June the number in London reached 7,000. There was apparently no ces-
sation to the stream of people. The English became alarmed. Queen Anne
and the Government tried to stop them. Men were sent to Holland and up
the Rhine to turn them back. The Elector Palatine, John William, tried to
keep his subjeccs. All these efforts were in a measure unavailing, and not
until October, when the number in England had reached about 15,000, did
this strange emigration cease.

"The question that now confronted the Queen, the Ministry, and in fact
the best men of the Kingdom, was what to do with this large addition to the
population. It was a new problem. It was fortunate for these poor people
that their general demeanor and their devotion to the Protestant religion had
enlisted the active personal sympathy of not only "good Queen Anne" and
the mighty Marlborough, but also of the cultured Sunderland, of the cautious
Godolphin, and of the fearless and broad-minded Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of
Salisbury. For their present subsistence the Queen allowed them nine pence
a day, and she ordered army tents to be supplied to them from the Tower.
Warehouses not in use were given over by their owners as shelters. By com-
mand of the Queen collections were taken up for their benefit in the churches
throughout the land. After some days' deliberations the Board of Trade re-
solved to settle some of the Palatines within the Kingdom. Accordingly a
bounty of 5 a head was offered to parishes that would receive and settle the
foreigners. While many were accepted on these terms because they were
clever artisans, and doubtless became in a generation or two absorbed in the
English population, a large number of those thus accepted merely because of
the bounty were soon virtually compelled to return to Blackheath. An at-
tempt to settle 600 on Scilly Island resulted in failure, costing nearly 1,500.

1 and 2, Copy of Discharge from Regiment, given by Sir John Johnson.
3 View of Johnson Hall, the residence of Sir Wm. Johnson. 4 Sir William John-
son. 5 Sir John Johnson. 6 Copy of old receipt given by Sir Wm. Johnson.


A contract to place 500 on Barbadoes, in the West Indies, was apparently not
carried out. Ireland absorbed 3,800 of them who formed prosperous settle-
ments in Munster. The Carolinas received 100 families. Death claimed 1,000
on Blackheath ; about 800 were returned to their homes, and many enlisted
in the English army. While they thus appeared as clay in the potter's hand,
there is no doubt that the unanimous desire of these exiled people was to
reach America, and strangely enough a complete solution to the problem was
not to be given by the concensus of the intelligence and Christian devotion of

Online LibraryJ. Smyth CarterThe story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 → online text (page 2 of 40)