Camborne’s William Hore – James Ford Bridge

The bridge plaque reads “William Hore – James Ford Bridge, Commemorating Two Founders of Camborne. Constructed in 2016, Corporation of the Township of Hamilton”

On June 19, 2018 at 11:00 am the Camborne Pedestrian Bridge Dedication was held on what is now known as the William Hore – James Ford Bridge. The agenda included greetings from Hamilton Township Mayor Mark Lovshin, a history of the Hore Family from Don Emond, the owner of the former Emond General Store/William Hore’s home and was followed by a history of the Ford Family from Bruce Taylor. A light lunch and social was then enjoyed by all at the Old Camborne School. While no relatives of William Hore could be located, there was many proud descendants of James Ford present. Eight of George (great grandson) and Velma Ford’s eleven children enjoyed the day.

The following is a short history of these two founding fathers of Camborne.

In the 1830’s, thirty-two year old William Hore, his wife Elizabeth and son William Jr. left Camborne, Cornwall England and lived in Cobourg for a few years before settling in Spring Mills, later named Camborne. An 1852 census showed there were eight children in the family aged four to twenty-two. By this time the Hore family had built a one and a half story frame home, a saw mill and a pail and tub factory. The saw mill was powered by water from a huge pond, the dam is still visible leading up to the present day bridge. In 1855 Wm. Hore became the official owner of the land he had been developing, the Crown granted him 106 acres in the north part of lot 20, concession 4.

In 1869 after severing several lots, Mr. Hore sold the remaining sixty-five acres to James Ford. In 1870 James sold the property to Thomas William Ford. The eleven acre Mill Property with a recently constructed, steam powered Grist Mill was now owned by William Hore’s son Samuel. With the Mill Property and its pond came the “right at all times to the over-flow by the water of the said Pond, as much more land, surrounding the Pond as may be necessary for the full and efficient working of the said Mills.”

After several years of hard times and a series of owners, the Grist Mill was destroyed by fire around 1881. In 1883, Thomas Ford purchased the Mill property from the Union Loan and Savings Co. Upon the death of Thomas Ford in 1889 the properties were purchased by Frederick William Ford. Thirty four acres of lot 19, concession 4 were later purchased from Charles Yeaman (date unknown) by Frederick William Ford. In 1947 this property with the 65 acre farm and 11 acre Mill property (110 acres total) were purchased from Frederick Ford by George Francis Ford.

As George Ford aged, he sold many building lots. Two of these were across from the family home on Albert’s Alley, some of William Hore’s original apple orchard trees were still growing here. In 1961 a large lot was sold on the Branch Road (Kennedy Road) for the new multi-room school to replace the one room Old Camborne School. This was followed by the thirty-four acre Taylor property and most recently the eleven acre Mill (Doyle) property. After George passed in 1973 and Velma in 1996 the remaining property was undergoing a massive housing development. This ended the history of both William Hore and James Ford, the founders of Camborne.

The following is a brief history of the bridge. The old bridge over a branch of the Cobourg Creek running through Camborne is located on Mill Street (now Albert’s Alley) south of Northumberland County Road 18. The bridge was the second one at this location, the first was destroyed in a flood in 1934. The old bridge had a Historic Significance of (on a scale of 1-10) National 4 and Local 5. This bridge was an unusual short one- span example of a roadway deck plate girder built by the Bridge Company of Toronto. With a roadway length of 4.6 meters or 15.1 feet, it retained good historic integrity with no alterations. Attractive lattice railings with ornamental buttons on them remained intact on the bridge but were deemed to be too damaged to be salvaged for the new walkway bridge.   The original bronze plaque was saved to be placed on the new bridge railing.

Township council closed the bridge to vehicular traffic several years ago when it was determined to be unsafe, and after assessments were undertaken and public input sought, the decision was made to reconstruct it into a pedestrian bridge. According to Historic Bridges Bridge Browser “it does not appear to have deteriorated to the point that it could not be rehabilitated, if the owner cared about preserving an attractive bridge with heritage value on a quiet road. Unfortunately, there is no such desire, and this bridge is slated for demolition and replacement.”

At a Hamilton Township Council meeting in December 2016 on naming the Camborne Pedestrian Bridge: The Heritage Committee “noted that the current bridge plaque contained the names of the council members in office when the bridge was constructed. Chair Barbara Taylor proposed that the bridge be named after either the “Ford” or “Hore family.” The Hore family history was circulated to members. The Hore family ownership of the land began in 1855. James Ford purchased 65 acres of lands from William Hore in 1869. Moved by member Tom Cruikchank, seconded by member Ewart Timlin that the Heritage Advisory Committee recommend to council that the Camborne Bridge be named after William Hore and James Ford.”

On a sad note, our youngest sibling, Sharon (Ford) Heath missed seeing the Ford name honored on the bridge plaque by exactly three months! Sharon passed away very suddenly on September 18, 2017. That old bridge was her favorite place ever. How many times in the years that bridge was officially closed did she and her siblings spend time there and how many times did she contact the Township to enquire when work was to start on the new walkway! She did however, get to see the walkway installed. Even today, her brother Gary and sister Barbara expect that phone call. “Hey guys, grab the lawn chairs and lets hang out at the bridge and reminisce about the fun we had there as kids.” We all felt your presence at the bridge dedication. See Sharon’s sign below.

On a humorous note, on tiring of waiting for the bridge to have the Ford name on it, she made her own crude wooden sign and hung it on the bridge. It disappeared a week later. Undeterred, she created another and placed it on the ground near the bridge where most would not see it. This sign stayed there for a year until a grass mower last month knocked it down into a steep gully. Thanks for retrieving it Lynn.

Regards,

Ranger

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