Side Roads South of Kinmount
October 23, 2023
By Guy Scott
The earliest settlers to the Kinmount area clustered along the Bobcaygeon Road in Concession A Galway Township and in the Lots 1 (various concessions) on the Somerville (west) side. Somerville Township was surveyed in the 1830s and Galway not until the 1850s. The lots in Somerville were 200 acres and the concessions faced north-south. Galway lots were 100 acres and Concession A faced east-west. The Galway lots were acquired by actual settlers after 1858. Some of the Somerville lots were acquired (by grant or sale) before this date. Abraham Farewell, a land speculator from Whitby, bought Lots 1 in the 11th and 12th Concession or roughly 11th Line corner to the corner of Flintrock Lane. Farewell sold timber rights to these lots and then let them go to the township for back taxes. These lots were then purchased by true settlers when the Bobcaygeon Road made access practical.
Lot 1 in the 11th concession was split into 3 parcels. William Dawson (farmer) bought the south third (1860), George Laidlaw, a lumberman the centre third (1869) and T. Ledyard (miner) the north third (1863). Why the parcel was divided in three has been lost in the mists of time. Eventually Robert Henderson acquired the south 1/3, John Dudman the centre piece (and built a barn) and Arthur Newman the north chunk. The north parcel is the site of Dudman’s Repair Shop. Lot 1 in the 12th concession was equally mixed up. It was owned by various individuals, the most well-known being the Doherty brothers, Cornelius and Michael. They farmed the lot and ran a piggery where whey by-products from the Kinmount Creamery were fed to hogs. Harry Austin built a garage on the lot; that has more recently served as a wood shop. This lot was rather unsuited for farming.
Lot 1 in the 13th concession runs north to the Kinmount Bridge. It was purchased in the 1850s by John Hunter who planned to use the waterfalls on the lot as a mill site. The south half of the lot was farmed by John Pearson. Between concessions 12 and 13 lies a short sideroad called Flintrock Road that leads down to the Burnt River. This road accessed only one farm on Lot 2, concession 12. The original settler was William Clark, who was the first Presbyterian minister in the area (1859) and lived here with his family. This was the era before the Presbyterian (now United) Church on Cluxton Street was built so services were often held in various homes or shanties. Since itinerant or ‘saddle bag’ preachers were not paid very well, Clark also doubled as a school teacher in the first Kinmount school. He had two sons who were determined to be farmers, and his lot being very poor land, the Clark family packed up and moved to Kansas around 1872, where members still reside to this very day. The next farmer on the lot was Henry Ogglestone. On the east (Galway) side of the Bobcaygeon Road in concession A there were numerous farmers. On Lot 34 lived John Doherty. This lot starts across the road from the 11th line. Next door lived a bachelor from Scotland named Alexander Hamilton. He was a poor farmer who preferred working in Hunter’s Mill in town. Hamilton moved to Michigan in the 1870s with his neighbor William Dawson and sold out to Doherty who in turn sold out to John Dudman. The Dudmans had a fairly big farming operation stretching along both sides of the road. The first lot (36) north of the Dutch Line was settled by James O’Connor. Lot 37 was claimed by James Gilmour, who is listed as a cooper on the census. By 1911, the lot is held by William, Joseph and John Magann.
The next lot north (38) was first settled by Francis Crowe. The Crowe family had come from Harvey Township for free land and eventually moved back to the Bobcaygeon area where they later founded Kawartha Dairy. The Crowe Family was well educated. Silas Crowe was foreman on the Monck Road construction and left detailed records of the work in the Ontario Archives. Francis Crowe became a school teacher. Their lot and those of their neighbours was very sandy and unsuited to farming. They sold out to James Gilmour who sold out to the Maganns.
Lot 39 was settled by James McKinley. The McKinley family remained for three generations in the area, but the farm was not suitable to make a living so they worked in town. In the 1930s, this lot was the site of the Kinmount Potato Farm. Potatoes had always been a popular cash crop at Kinmount and Sylvester Allen had a substantial acreage of the tubers along the Bobcaygeon Road. He built several root houses on this lot to store the potatoes. But the sandy soil was exhausted and the market during the depression was bad, so the potato fields were abandoned and the lots planted in pine trees!
Lot 40 was the original home of Fred Dettman Sr. The Dettmans had come from Germany, but were not related to the Dettman-Dudmans of the Dutch Line. Once again Fred had an extremely rocky farm lot and eventually moved to the village. His son Fred Jr. bought the Kinmount House Hotel from the widow of Bill Dunbar and became a businessman. Fred Jr. had a huge family and his descendants are still in the area today. The Dettman lot is the last lot that is not part of the village of Kinmount. Lot 41 was the farm of James Mansfield and Lot 42 of Cornelius Doherty. But both lots were quickly subdivided for homes, at least along Bobcaygeon Street. The last 3 lots in concession A Galway were so rugged that they were never cleared or settled. The Kinmount Fairgrounds occupies most of Lot 43 and some of Lot 44.