The way of recognizing the contributions a family makes to a community is to name a road after them. The following are a few of my favorite roads located in Hamilton Township and some of the significant historical or interesting reasons for their names. Cavan Road runs westward from the village of Plainville on County Road 18 to Rice Lake Drive and Bewdley. This village was named for the Rice Lake Plains. Forests here were at one time sparse on the east end on the Oak Ridges Moraine which grew instead with tallgrass prairie and black oak savanna. This dry land was prone to lightning fires and the original natives burned the vegetation each year to promote grass for attracting elk and deer.
The very interesting Plainville United Church and cemetery on Cavan Road is the resting place of many of the descendants of Mina Benson Hubbard, designated as a National Historic Person in 2018. See post: A Local Legacy, Mina Benson Hubbard. Mina Benson completed the ill-fated 1903 Labrador expedition of her late husband Leonidas Hubbard Jr. and was the author of a book “A Women’s Way Through Unknown Labrador”.
Her historic plaque can be found further west on Cavan Road. At the north corner of Canning and Cavan Road can be found the former Bible Christian Church (1851-1885). This attractive and interesting cemetery is still active today with many early and recent settlers laid to rest here.
Just south of here near Donaldson and West Road, a six year old girl became lost while berry picking in the wilderness area in 1837. Hundreds of locals joined the search, and five days later she was found, inspiring Catherine Parr Traill and others to write stories of lost children and survival in the Canadian wilderness. The Rice Lake Conservation Area with a beautiful trail leading down to the lake is also located on this quaint road. One of my favorite landmarks on Cavan Road is the historic Sackville bridge located over Cold Creek.
This beautiful bridge is located at the north end of the Sackville Bridge Road at the former James Sackville (1845-1917) saw mill. This is where Joseph Scriven drowned. See Post: What a Friend We Have – Joseph Scriven.
Kennedy Road (formerly known as the Branch Road) runs north-west from County Road 18 in the village of Camborne to the Hamilton Township 6th Line, now called Vimy Ridge Road. This road recognizes the many contributions William Kennedy made to the township from 1918-1965. A direct descendent of the Kennedy Family (Kennedy Road) of Toronto, he served as an auditor, treasurer and a clerk for Hamilton Township while also serving as an auditor for the Hamilton Township Farmer’s Mutual Fire Insurance Company and for the Coldsprings Rural Telephone Company. This road starts with history at the original Yeoman home on the east side of the road donated to him by Camborne village founder William Hore, later the Evan Walden home and more recently the Stuart and Ella Houston residence. A few hundred feet north is the large historic red brick Samuel Redpath home, a well known carpenter who built the Camborne United Church, the home today is still in the family. A short distance away, on the west side of the road is the Don Sandercock home and farm and the Clark Kennedy farm and beautiful stone house is on the east side. A half mile north is the R.D.P. Davidson home, farm and large barn foundations. R.D.P. as he was commonly known, once recalled the history of the home, a log cabin that was later clad in siding. His grand daughter, Heather still owns the home and explained that some of the original log cabin can still be seen inside the house. It turns out Heather and the Ranger are actually ‘long lost’ cousins!
Again, a half mile north on Kennedy Road is another historic house on the original Gabriel Orr property. According to local historians, R.D.P. Davidson and Rob Lean, Gabriel Orr was a “Paul Bunyan” of a man who could size up a fallen tree, mount the butt of the log and chop through the two foot log, always finishing first in a ‘logging bee’ contest! See Post: Camborne Characters. Competitors would jump on the log at four foot intervals and start cutting. Gabriel would finish his first cut and move on to a second before his nearest competitor had finished his first. His axe was specially honed and used only by him. That axe could ‘bit’ into a hardwood tree and take out a ‘chip’ in a blow or two that would make several fair sized stove wood ‘sticks’! Melinda, hope you enjoy your ‘new’ home. Across the road from the former Orr home is the Glourourim schoolhouse which several of the Ranger’s siblings attended at one time in the mid 1950’s. This building is now a private residence.
Williamson Road running north from the Dale Road to Jibb Road honors the family who had farmed on that road since 1844. The original family raised eight boys who were sailors but only one son, Alexander became a farmer, followed by his son Donald. In 1944 Clifford (Donald’s son) carried on farming here until selling the property in 1975. One of the sons, a sailor crafted a replica sailing vessel framed in a large case with a glass front. This replica was donated by the family to the Barnham House Museum in Grafton in the 1960’s. If looking for this historical home, watch for a long driveway running south from Williamson Road (near Jibb Road) down into a deep valley where only the roof of the house can be seen from the road.
There are many other quaint and historical roads and designated homes in Hamilton township and we may write about some of them in future posts.