May 10, 2023
Looking North up Nogies Creek Across Highway 36
By Guy Scott
The community of Nogies Creek lies just east of Bobcaygeon at the point where Nogies Creek enters Pigeon Lake. Nogies Creek is named after Peter Nogie (Nogee) who hunted and fished there. Nogie was from Curve Lake, and lived at the time that the first European Settlers arrived in the area. Nogies Creek itself drains a large area north into Galway Township including Crystal Lake and Salmon Lake.
The earliest settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s, occupying cut-over land abandoned by the lumbermen, especially the Boyd operations. After the majestic white pine were harvested, land could be had for cheap in Harvey Township. Unfortunately, the land was rocky with shallow soils: not prime farmland. But the settlers persevered and soon the tillable sections of the area were dotted with pioneer farms. The first access was by boat, but soon a cadge road was extended from Bobcaygeon (a mere 3 miles!) and on to the next settlement at Flynn’s Turn (Rockcroft). Today this is County Road #36. At Flynn’s Turn, the road linked up with the Buckhorn Colonization Road, now County Road #507.
Just east of Nogies Creek, at a crossroads, a small hamlet grew up. On three of the four corners stood a community building: a store, a school, a church. An old-time resident of Nogies Creek, Art Parker, referred to the 3 corners as Temptation (candies in the store), Education (school SS #2 Harvey), Salvation (Zion Methodist Church). Earliest settlers claimed their mail in Bobcaygeon, but by 1905, a new post office, Nogies Creek was set up in the corner of the general store. This store (Temptation) had exited for many years previous to serve the local farmers. The Nogies Creek Post Office was operational until 1964.
SS#2 Harvey (Education) had been opened in 1865 and continued in use until 1965 when it was closed and the students were bussed into Bobcaygeon. Zion Methodist Church (Salvation) was built in 1885 and closed in 1938. It was part of the local teacher’s duties to teach Sunday School each week: with no additional pay! Lumbering remained a big part of the local economy for decades. Large log drives were floated down the Creek to mills in Bobcaygeon. The Mill Line pays tribute to a mill that provided employment for locals. Most local settlers earned extra income selling timber or working in the lumber camps or sawmills. With the decline of the lumber industry, tourism began to rise in the local economy. Nogies Creek did have excellent access points on Pigeon Lake and with the arrival of the railway to Bobcaygeon (1908), tourists began to frequent the area. In the heyday of the Kawartha Lakes Navigation Company, steamboat service was also very good. Several farms along the waterfront were converted into resorts.
One of the earliest settlers, William Ventress, started a burial ground on a gravel hill west of Nogies Creek. This soon became the Nogies Creek or Gypsy Point Cemetery. After decades of use, it was abandoned and soon faded into obscurity. One day a neighbour was digging gravel, when out tumbled several coffins! Interested parties came forward and under the supervision of the Greater Harvey Historical Society and the Township of Harvey, the cemetery was surveyed and rehabilitated. Over 90 graves were identified, many outside the old fence. A grave diviner was brought in to help find the missing graves. The Historical Society erected a stone memorial on the site and the township now maintains the old Ventress Burial Grounds.