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Glamorgan Township

April 28, 2024

Maxwell's Flag Station on the IB&O Railway (CNR)

By Guy Scott

Once the Monck Road leaves Snowdon Township, it enters Glamorgan Township. Surveyed in 1858, Glamorgan is the second of the four “Welsh” Townships of southern Haliburton County (Snowdon, Glamorgan, Monmouth, Cardiff). Glamorgan only contains one hamlet, the village of Gooderham located in the south central portion of the township. Gooderham and most of Glamorgan is closely tied by geography and history to Kinmount. The Burnt River, the Monck Road and IB&O Railway all run from Gooderham to Kinmount.

The earliest settlers trickled up the Monck Road from Kinmount to Irondale and then beyond to Glamorgan Township. The township was almost inaccessible to settlers before the Monck Road (now County Road #503) was completed in 1872. The Irondale branch of the Burnt River could be used by canoe, but the Monck Road really started the history of this area. The first settlers seemed to cling to the valley of the Irondale River, most of the rest of Glamorgan being largely unfit for settlement. A few stragglers occupied the northeast corner of the township, but they came via Haliburton. The Buckhorn Road eventually opened between Buckhorn and Haliburton Village via Gooderham, but it passed through some rough and unsettled country and attracted virtually no traffic. In fact, the Buckhorn Road (now CR #507) was untraveled along several stretches for several decades. Only a handful of vehicles arrived at Gooderham via the Buckhorn Road and for long stretches of time the road was impassable due to flooded sections and even long grass in the middle of the road. Almost all Gooderham traffic funnelled through Kinmount.

The Monck Road proved to be a boon to lumbermen and they were the first to use it extensively. While they floated their logs down the Irondale River, they cadged their supplies up the Monck Road. Mossom Boyd, the Lumber King of the Kawarthas, operated a number of shanties in Glamorgan and his Bark Lake Depot was the largest in the area. The first business in the township was Charles Way’s hotel at Gooderham (1872), which catered almost exclusively to the lumbermen along the Monck Road. A number of pioneer farmers spread up the road past the Snowdon boundary and hugged the banks of the Irondale River between Irondale and Gooderham. These earliest settlers sold surplus produce to the earliest lumbermen and worked in the camps. Along this stretch, the Monck Road hugged the Irondale River because it was the most level terrain for the road builders. Both the river and the road entered Glamorgan at the 6th Concession of Glamorgan. It was 25 lots (about 6 miles) from the Snowdon boundary to Gooderham and the earliest pioneers settled in the 6th and 7th concessions along the road. The Monck Road ran south of the Irondale River for several miles and only crossed the River at lot 5 and continued along the north bank into Gooderham. The Monck Road cut through the middle of most of these lots, following the easiest route before the settlers arrived. The following settlers were found in these two concessions:
6th Concession:

Lot 1: Edward Flood

Lot 2: W.R. Curry

Lot 3: George White

Lot 4: Sampson Wright

Lot 5: William Maxwell

Lot 6: Thomas White

Lot 7 & 8: William Hartin

After this lot, the road dipped to the north into the 7th Concession for the following farmsteads:

Lots 9 & 10: John Williams

Lot 11: Bill Williams

Lot 12: Edwin Williams

Lot 13 & 14: Samuel Wiley

Lot 15: Joshua Pickens

Lot 16: William McKerron

Lot 17 & 18: Joseph Morrison

Lot 19: Charles Munroe

By this section, the Monck Road had dipped south back into the 6th Concession again:

Lot 20: Robert Tindal

Lot 23: Robert Armstrong

Lot 24: Richard Davey

Lot 25: Charles Way

Gooderham Village occupies lots 25 & 26. A second side road south of the Monck Road and following the road allowance between the 5th and 6th concessions of Glamorgan was called the Concession Road. While the Monck Road skirted the north bank of the Irondale River, the Concession Road ran along the south side of the river. Today this road is called the Contau Lake Road. The Concession Road left the Monck Road at lot 5 in the 5th concession and ran along the north side of Contau Lake, ending up south of the Irondale River where the Buckhorn Road crossed the river at Gooderham. On lot 5 there was a flag stop for the Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa Railway called Maxwell’s after the family on whose lot it was located. In the earliest years of the Bark Lake Leadership Camp, Maxwell’s was the destination for campers bound for Bark Lake.

The following settlers located along this side road in the 5th and 6th concessions:

Lot 5: William Maxwell

Lot 6: Robert Maxwell

Lot 8: Abraham Lake

Lot 9: James Mintz

Lot 8 & 9: William Simmons

Lot 10: George Bonham

Lots 11 & 12: Robert Pallet

Lots 13 & 14: William Henry Garbutt

Lots 15 & 16: Christopher Vanatter

Lots 17: John Johnston

Lot 18: Isaac Johnston

Lot 19: Nelson Tripp

Lot 20: Benjamin Haines.

By this lot, the Buckhorn Road was reached. Many of the settlers in western Glamorgan came in the mining rush of the 1880s. Many left when the mines failed and the prospects of the Irondale area collapsed. The lumber industry did linger in the area for many decades and Hunter’s Mill in Gooderham did bring a measure of employment. The IB&O Railway also provided an outlet for farm and forest products and a number of families remained for several generations. The farm community lingered in the Gooderham area until World War II. But today farming is almost extinct in the township. A drive along old Highway #503 will reveal the fast disappearing fields so laboriously cleared by these gallant settlers. They came to the banks of the Irondale River full of hope they could wrest a living from the rocky soils. Many families stayed a generation or two. Some families still reside in the area. But Glamorgan was not to be a farming township.

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