Gloucester Township, Concession 2, Ottawa Front
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
March 7, 2005:
Thanks to Allen Craig who is researching the families and geography of
Concession 2, O.F., Gloucester Township:
I found the Allen papers I had. The following is pulled together from various sources.
... Al Craig
Early Deveopment of Concession II, Ottawa Front, Gloucester Township
Conc. II lies between Ogilvie and Innes roads and stretches from St Laurent
to the Cumberland line.
There were 7 Families in Conc. II in 1834 according to the assessment rolls
for that year. Three of these are accounted for. The Phair family was on lot 26,
Craig on Lot 24, and Allen on the west half of Lot 23. The best information I
have now is that the Moxley family were sharing Lot 24. This is not confirmed.
Neither have I found firm locations for these families: Coombes, Armstrong or Johnston.
These earliest settlers were probably all confined to the lots lying to the west
of Greens Creek, or to the Blackburn area. The creek must have formed a significant
natural barrier at the time with very steep unstable banks and the land to the east
of it for several miles was the worst sort for road building or much else muck and
clay. My information is that it was not until 1878 that a serious attempt was made
to link the east half of Conc II, (i.e. Blackburn), with the west by way of what
is now Innes Rd. Until then everything east of the creek accessed Ottawa via
Bearbrook and Montreal roads.
It seems cetain that the first road into Conc.II was a forced road running from
Cummings Bridge along the high ground to Innes. Present day remnants are
Montgomery in Vanier and the Cyrville Rd. The general line of this between MacArthur
and St Laurent shows up as abandonned on Beldens 1879 map. This route makes sense
as being both the shortest and the one with the easiest grades and the fewest swampy
areas or creeks to cross. Once you got off the flood plain at Cummings it would
have been all high ground until you got to about what is now Donald St. and then
it would have started up again at Ogilvie. No other route would have be as easy.
I do not know if this was purposefully cut as a settllement road or if it developed
'naturally' for the above reasons or if it was cut for some other reason
(timber or aggregate for the canal perhaps); I do know that those three early
settlers built along Cyrville Rd not on the front or back concessions
The documents I have show that Richard Allen purchased the west half of Lot 23 for
40 pounds in 1833 from the county sherrif who had seized it in 1832, the original
grantee was Anne Dawe (or Dow or Howe the ms. I have is badly blotted) According
to the 1881 census Richard Allen was born in England and about 21 years old in 1833.
He routinely mortgaged the farm every few years only to pay it off and then repeat
the cycle. After his death his wife Elizabeth continued this practise and also
sold off small pieces especially in the north half after the railroad line cut off
a section in the 1890s.
William Phair was born in Ireland in 1799 according to the 1881 census. By that
time, he had sold off most of the farm, the west half to William Ogilvie about
1842 and the south 50 acres to his son Robert Phair in 1863. Another son Thomas
inherited the north 50 on William Phairs death in 1883.
It is very difficult to get a real sense of the land today, so much of it has been
changed by the constuction of Highway 417, for instance when I was a boy the stetch
from the split to Cyrville Rd. was actually the highest part of the Conc west of Blair;
now look at it.
I hope this is of interest
... Al Craig
E-mail Al Craig and Al Lewis
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