Yonge Street From Hogg's Hollow To Bond's Lake

Beyond the hollow, Mr. Humberstone's was passed on the west side,

another manufacturer of useful pottery ware. A curious incident used to

be narrated as having occurred in this house. The barrel of an old

Indian fowling-piece turned up by the plough in one of the fields, and

made to do duty in the management of unwieldy back logs in the great

fire-place, suddenly proved itself to have been charged all the while,

by exp
oding one day in the hands of Mr. Humberstone's daughter while

being put to its customary use, and killing her on the spot. Somewhat

similarly, at Fort Erie, we have been told, in the fire which destroyed

the wharf at the landing, a condemned cannon which had long been planted

in the pier as a post, went off, happily straight upwards, without doing

any damage.

Mr. Humberstone saw active service as a lieutenant in the incorporated

militia in 1812. He was put in charge of some of the prisoners captured

by Colonel Fitzgibbon, at the Beaver Dams, and when now nearing his

destination, Kingston, with his prisoners in a large batteau, he, like

the famous Dragoon who caught the Tartar, was made a prisoner of himself

by the men whom he had in custody, and was adroitly rowed over by them

to the United States shore, where being landed he was swiftly locked up

in jail, and thence only delivered when peace was restored.

The next memorable object, also on the left, was Shephard's inn, a noted

resting-place for wayfarers and their animals, flanked on the north by

large driving sheds, on the south by stables and barns: over the porch,

at an early period, was the effigy of a lion gardant, attempted in wood

on the premises. Constructiveness was one of the predominant faculties

in the first landlord of the Golden Lion. He was noted also for skilful

execution on several instruments of music: on the bassoon for one. In

the rear of the hotel, a little to the south, on a fine eminence, he put

up for himself after the lapse of some years, a private residence,

remarkable for the originality of its design, the outline of its many

projecting roofs presenting a multitude of concave curves in the Chinese

pagoda style.

In several buildings in this neighbourhood an effort was at one time

made, chiefly, we believe, through the influence of Mr. Shephard, to

reproduce what in the west of England are called cob-walls; but either

from an error in compounding the material, or from the peculiar

character of the local climate, they proved unsatisfactory.--The

Sheppards, early proprietors of land a little farther on, were a

different family, and spelt their name differently. It was some members

of this family that were momentarily concerned in the movement of 1837.

In Willowdale, a hamlet just beyond Shephard's, was the residence of Mr.

David Gibson, destroyed in 1837 by the Government forces. We observe in

the Gazette of January 6th, 1826, the announcement, "Government House,

York, 29th December, 1825. His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor has

been pleased to appoint David Gibson, gentleman, to be a surveyor of

land in the Province." In the practice of the profession indicated he

was prosperous, and also as a practical farmer. He likewise represented

North York in the Provincial Parliament. When the calm came after the

tumult of 1837, he was appointed one of the Superintendents of

Colonization Roads. He died at Quebec in 1864.

A road turning off at right angles to the eastward out of Willowdale led

to a celebrated camp-meeting ground, on the property of Mr. Jacob

Cummer, one of the early German settlers. It was in a grand maple

forest--a fine specimen of such trysting places. It was here that we

were for the first time present at one of the peculiar assemblies

referred to, which, over the whole of this northern continent, in a

primitive condition of society at its several points, have fulfilled,

and still fulfil, an important, and we doubt not, beneficent function.

This, as we suppose, was the scene of the camp-meeting described in

Peter Jones' Autobiography. "About noon," he writes on Tuesday, the

10th of June, 1828, "started for the camp ground. When we arrived we

found about three hundred Indians collected from Lake Simcoe and Scugog

Lake. Most of those from Lake Simcoe have just come in from the back

lakes to join with their converted brethren in the service of the

Almighty God. They came in company with brother Law, and all seemed very

glad to see us, giving us a hearty shake of the hand. The camp ground

enclosed about two acres, which was surrounded with board tents, having

one large gate for teams to go in and out, and three smaller ones.

"The Indians occupied one large tent, which was 220 feet long and 15

feet broad. It was covered overhead with boards, and the sides were made

tight with laths to make it secure from any encroachments. It had four

doors fronting the camp ground. In this long house the Indians arranged

themselves in families, as is their custom in their wigwams. Divine

service commenced towards evening. Elder Case first gave directions as

to the order to be observed on the camp ground during the meetings.

Brother James Richardson then preached from Acts ii. 21; after which I

gave the substance in Indian, when the brethren appeared much affected

and interested. Prayer-meeting in the evening. The watch kept the place

illuminated during the night." The meeting continued for four days.

Where the dividing line occurs between York and Markham, at the angle on

the right was the first site of the sign of the Green Bush, removed

afterwards, as we have noted, to the immediate outskirts of York; and to

the left, somewhere near by, was a sign that used to interest from its

peculiarity, the Durweston Gate: a small white five-barred gate, hung by

its topmost bar to a projection from a lofty post, and having painted on

its lower bars "Durweston Gate," and the landlord's name. It was

probably a reproduction by a Dorsetshire immigrant of a familiar object

in his native village.

Not excluding from our notes, as will be observed, those places where

Shenstone sighed to think a man often "found the warmest welcome" we

must not forget Finch's--a great hostelry on the right, which we soon

reached as we advanced northward, of high repute about 1836, and

subsequently among excursion parties from town, and among the half-pay

settlers of the Lake Simcoe region, for the contents of its larder and

the quality of its cooking. Another place of similar renown was Crew's,

six or eight miles further on.

When for long years, men, especially Englishmen, called by their

occasions away from their homes, had been almost everywhere doomed to

partake of fare too literally hard, and perilous to the health, it is

not to be wondered at, when, here and there, at last a house for the

accommodation of the public did spring up where, with cleanly quarters,

digestible viands were to be had, that its fame should speedily spread;

for is it not Dr. Samuel Johnson himself who has, perhaps rather

sweepingly said, "there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man

by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."

Where a long slope towards the north begins soon after Finch's a village

entitled Dundurn was once projected by Mr. Allan McNab, afterwards the

famous Sir Allan, acting, we believe at the time as agent for Mr. H. J.

Boulton; but Dundurn never advanced beyond incipience. The name was

afterwards familiar as that of Sir Allan's chateau close by Hamilton.

A well-travelled road now soon turned off to the right leading to

certain, almost historic mills in Markham, known as the German Mills. In

the Gazetteer of 1799 these mills are referred to. "Markham township

in the east riding of the County of York fronts Yonge Street," it is

stated in that early work, "and lies to the northward of York and

Scarborough. Here" it then adds "are good mills and a thriving

settlement of Germans."

The German Mills are situated on Lot No. 4 in the third concession, on a

portion of the Rouge or Nen--a river which the same Gazetteer informs

its readers was "the back communication from the German settlement in

Markham to Lake Ontario. The expectation in 1799 was, as the Gazetteer

further shows, that this river, and not either the Humber or the Don,

would one day be connected with the Holland river by a canal." It was not

certainly known in 1794, where the river which passed the German Mills

had its outlet. In Iredell's plan of Markham of that date, the stream is

marked "Kitcheseepe or Great River," with a memorandum attached--"waters

supposed to empty into Lake Ontario to the eastward of the Highlands of

York." Information, doubtless, noted down, by Iredell, from the lips of

some stray native. Kitche-seepe, "Big River" is of course simply a

descriptive expression, taken as in so many instances, by the early

people, to be a proper name. (It does not appear that among the

aborigines there were any proper local names, in our sense of the


The German Mills were founded by Mr. Berczy, either on his own account

or acting as agent for an association at New York for the promotion of

German emigration to Canada. When, after failing to induce the

Government to reconsider its decision in regard to the patents demanded

by him for his settlers, that gentleman retired to Montreal, the German

Mills with various parcels of land were advertised for sale in the

Gazette of April 27, 1805, in the following strain: "Mills and land in

Markham. To be sold by the subscriber for payment of debts due to the

creditors of William Berczy, Esq., the mills called the German Mills,

being a grist mill and a saw mill. The grist mill has a pair of French

burs, and complete machinery for making and bolting superfine flour.

These mills are situated on lot No. 4 in the third concession of

Markham; with them will be given in, lots No. 3 and 4 in the third

concession, at the option of the purchaser. Also, 300 acres being the

west half of lot No. 31, and the whole of lot 32 in the second

concession of Markham. Half the purchase money to be paid in hand, and

half in one year with legal interest. W. Allan. N.B.--Francis Smith, who

lives on lot No. 14 in the third concession, will show the premises.

York, 11th March, 1805."

It appears from the same Gazette that Mr. Berczy's vacant house in

York had been entered by burglars after his departure. A reward of

twenty dollars is offered for their discovery. "Whereas," the

advertisement runs, "the house of William Berczy, Esq., was broken open

sometime during the night of the 14th instant, and the same ransacked

from one end to the other; this is to give notice that whoever shall

lodge an information, so that the offender or offenders may be brought

to justice, shall upon conviction thereof receive Twenty Dollars. W.

Chewett. York, 18th April, 1805."

We have before referred to Mr. Berczy's embarrassments, from which he

never became disentangled; and to his death in New York, in 1813. His

decease was thus noticed in a Boston paper, quoted by Dr. Canniff, p.

364, "Died--In the early part of the year 1813, William Berczy, Esq.,

aged 68; a distinguished inhabitant of Upper Canada, and highly

respected for his literary acquirements. In the decease of this

gentleman society must sustain an irreparable loss, and the republic of

letters will have cause to mourn the death of a man eminent for genius

and talent."

The German Mills were purchased and kept in operation by Capt. Nolan, of

the 70th Regiment, at the time on duty in Canada; but the speculation

was not a success. We have heard it stated that this Captain Nolan was

the father of the officer of the same name and rank who fell in the

charge of the Light Brigade at the very first outset, when, at


"Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred."

The Gazette of March 19, 1818, contains the following curt

announcement: "Notice. The German Mills and Distillery are now in

operation. For the proprietors, Alexander Patterson, Clerk, 11th March,

1818." Ten years later they are offered for sale or to lease in the U.

C. Loyalist of April 5, 1828. (It will be observed that they once bore

the designation of Nolanville.) "For sale or to be leased," thus runs

the advertisement, "all or any part of the property known and described

as Nolanville or German Mills, in the third concession of the township

of Markham, consisting of four hundred acres of land, upwards of fifty

under good fences and improvements, with a good dwelling-house, barn,

stable, saw-mill, grist-mill, distillery, brew-house, malt-house, and

several other out-buildings. The above premises will be disposed of,

either the whole or in part, by application to the subscriber, William

Allan, York, January 26, 1828. The premises can be viewed at any time by

applying to Mr. John Duggan, residing there."

In the absence of striking architectural objects in the country at the

time, we remember, about the year 1828, thinking the extensive cluster

of buildings constituting the German Mills a rather impressive sight,

coming upon them suddenly, in the midst of the woods, in a deserted

condition, with all their windows boarded up.

One of our own associations with the German Mills is the memory of Mr.

Charles Stewart Murray, afterwards well-known in York as connected with

the Bank of Upper Canada. He had been thrown out of employment by Capt.

Nolan's relinquishment of the mills. He was then patronized by Mr.

Thorne of Thornhill.

In our boyish fancy, a romantic interest attached to Mr. Murray from his

being a personal friend of Sir Walter Scott's, and from his being

intimately associated with him in the excursion to the Orkneys, while

the Pirate and the Lord of the Isles were simmering in the Novelist's

brain. "Not a bad Re-past," playfully said Sir Walter after partaking

one day of homely meat-pie at the little inn of one Rae. Lo! from Mr.

Murray's talk, a minute grain to be added to Sir Walter's already huge

cairn of ana. Mr. M., too, was imagined by us, quite absurdly

doubtless, to be an hereditary devotee of the Pretender, if not closely

allied to him by blood. (His grandfather, or other near relative, had,

we believe, really been for a time secretary to Prince Charles Edward


A mile or two beyond where the track to the German Mills turned off,

Yonge Street once more encountered a branch of the Don, flowing, as

usual, through a wide and difficult ravine. At the point where the

stream was crossed, mills and manufactories made their appearance at an

early date. The ascent of the bank towards the north was accomplished,

in this instance, in no round-about way. The road went straight up.

Horse-power and the strength of leather were here often severely tested.

On the rise above, began the village of Thornhill, an attractive and

noticeable place from the first moment of its existence. Hereabout

several English families had settled, giving a special tone to the

neighbourhood. In the very heart of the village was the home,

unfailingly genial and hospitable, of Mr. Parsons, one of the chief

founders of the settlement; emigrating hither from Sherborne in

Dorsetshire in 1820. Nearer the brow of the hill overlooking the Don,

was the house of Mr. Thorne, from whom the place took its name: an

English gentleman also from Dorsetshire, and associated with Mr. Parsons

in the numerous business enterprises which made Thornhill for a long

period a centre of great activity and prosperity. Beyond, a little

further northward, lived the Gappers, another family initiating here the

amenities and ways of good old west-of-England households. Dr. Paget was

likewise an element of happy influence in the little world of this

region, a man of high culture; formerly a medical practitioner of great

repute in Torquay.

Another character of mark associated with Thornhill in its palmy days

was the Rev. George Mortimer, for a series of years the pastor of the

English congregation there. Had his lot been cast in the scenes of an

Oberlin's labours or a Lavater's, or a Felix Neff's, his name would

probably have been conspicuously classed with theirs in religious

annals. He was eminently of their type. Constitutionally of a spiritual

temperament, he still did not take theology to be a bar to a scientific

and accurate examination of things visible. He deemed it "sad, if not

actually censurable, to pass blind-folded through the works of God, to

live in a world of flowers, and stars, and sunsets, and a thousand

glorious objects of Nature, and never to have a passing interest

awakened by any one of them." Before his emigration to Canada he had

been curate of Madeley in Shropshire, the parish of the celebrated

Fletcher of Madeley, whose singularly beautiful character that of Mr.

Mortimer resembled. Though of feeble frame his ministerial labours were

without intermission; and his lot, as Fletcher's also, was to die almost

in the act of officiating in his profession.

An earlier incumbent of the English Church at Thornhill was the Rev.

Isaac Fidler. This gentleman rendered famous the scene of his Canadian

ministry, as well as his experiences in the United States, by a book

which in its day was a good deal read. It was entitled "Observations on

Professions, Literature, Manners, and Emigration in the United States

and Canada." Although he indulged in some sharp strictures on the

citizens of the United States, in relation to the matters indicated, and

followed speedily after by the never-to-be-forgotten Mrs. Trollope, his

work was reprinted by the Harpers. Mr. Fidler was a remarkable

person,--of a tall Westmoreland mould, resembling the common pictures of

Wordsworth. He was somewhat peculiar in his dress, wearing always an

extremely high shirt-collar, very conspicuous round the whole of his

neck, forming a kind of spreading white socket in which rested and

revolved a head, bald, egg-shaped and spectacled. Besides being

scholarly in the modern sense, Mr. Fidler possessed the more uncommon

accomplishment of a familiarity with the oriental languages.

The notices in his book, of early colonial life have now to us an

archaic sound. We give his narrative of the overturn of a family party

on their way home from church. "The difficulty of descending a steep

hill in wet weather may be imagined," he says, "The heavy rains had made

it (the descent south of Thornhill) a complete puddle which afforded no

sure footing to man or beast. In returning from church, the ladies and

gentlemen I speak of," he continues, "had this steep hill to descend.

The jaunting car being filled with people was too heavy to be kept back,

and pressed heavy upon the horses. The intended youthful bridegroom (of

one of the ladies) was, I was told, the charioteer. His utmost skill was

ineffectually tried to prevent a general overturn. The horses became

less manageable every moment. But yet the ladies and gentlemen in the

vehicle were inapprehensive of danger, and their mirth and jocularity

betrayed the inward pleasure they derived from his increasing straggles.

At last the horses, impatient of control, and finding themselves their

own masters, jerked the carriage against the parapet of the road and

disengaged themselves from it. The carriage instantly turned over on its

side; and as instantly all the ladies and gentlemen trundled out of it

like rolling pins. Nobody was hurt in the least, for the mire was so

deep that they fell very soft and were quite imbedded in it. What

apologies the gentleman made I am unable to tell, but the mirth was

perfectly suspended. I overtook the party at the bottom of the hill, the

ladies walking homewards from the church and making no very elegant


As an example of the previously undreamt of incidents that may happen to

a missionary in a backwoods settlement, we mention what occurred to

ourselves when taking the duty one fine bright summer morn, many years

ago, in the Thornhill Church, yet in its primitive unenlarged state. A

farmer's horse that had been mooning leisurely about an adjoining field,

suddenly took a fancy to the shady interior disclosed by the wide-open

doors of the sacred building. Before the churchwardens or any one else

could make out what the clatter meant, the creature was well up the

central passage of the nave. There becoming affrighted, its ejection was

an awkward affair, calling for tact and manoeuvring.

The English Church at Thornhill has had another incumbent not

undistinguished in literature, the Rev. E. H. Dewar, author of a work

published at Oxford in 1844, on the Theology of Modern Germany. It is in

the form of letters to a friend, written from the standpoint of the

Jeremy Taylor school. It is entitled "German Protestantism and the Right

of Private Judgment in the Interpretation of Holy Scripture." The

author's former position as chaplain to the British residents at Hamburg

gave him facilities for becoming acquainted with the state of German

theology. Mr. Dewar, to superior natural talents, added a refined

scholarship and a wide range of accurate knowledge. He died at Thornhill

in 1862.

The incumbent who preceded Mr. Dewar was the Rev. Dominic E. Blake,

brother of Mr. Chancellor Blake; a clergyman also of superior talents.

Previous to his emigration to Canada in 1832, he had been a curate in

the county of Mayo. He died suddenly in 1859. It is remarked of him in a

contemporary obituary that "his productions indicated that while

intellect was in exercise his heart felt the importance of the subjects

before him." These productions were numerous, in the form of valuable

papers and reports, read or presented to the local Diocesan Society.

It is curious to observe that in 1798, salmon ascended the waters of the

Don to this point on Yonge Street. Among the recommendations of a farm

about to be offered for sale, the existence thereon of "an excellent

salmon fishery" is named. Thus runs the advertisement (Gazette, May

16, 1798): "To be sold by public auction, on Monday, the 2nd of July

next, at John McDougall's hotel, in the town of York, a valuable Farm,

situated on Yonge Street, about twelve miles from York, on which are a

good log-house, and seven or eight acres well improved. The advantages

of the above farm, from the richness of its soil and its being well

watered, are not equalled by many farms in the Province; and above all,

it affords an excellent salmon fishery, large enough to support a number

of families, which must be conceived a great advantage in this infant

country. The terms will be made known on the day of sale."

As we move on from Thornhill with Vaughan on the left and Markham on the

right, the name of another rather memorable early missionary recurs,

whose memory is associated with both these townships--Vincent Philip


Notwithstanding its drawbacks, early Canadian life, like early American

life generally, became, in a little while, invested with a curious

interest and charm; by means, for one thing, of the variety of character

encountered. A man might vegetate long in an obscure village or country

town of the old mother country before he rubbed against a person of V.

P. Mayerhoffer's singular experience, and having his wits set in motion

by a sympathetic realization of such a career as his.

He was a Hungarian; born at Raab in 1784; and had been ordained a

presbyter in the National Church of Austria. On emigrating to the United

States, he, being himself a Franciscan, fell into some disputes with the

Jesuits at Philadelphia, and withdrew from the Latin communion and

attached himself, in company with a fellow presbyter named Huber, to the

Lutheran Reformed. As a recognized minister of that body he came on to

Buffalo, where he officiated for four years to three congregations,

visiting at the same time, occasionally, a congregation on the Canada

side of the river, at Limeridge. He here, for the first time, began the

study of the English language. Coming now into contact with the clergy

of the Anglican communion, he finally resolved to conform to the

Anglican Church, and was sent by Bishop Stewart, of Quebec, to the

German settlement in Markham and Vaughan. Here he officiated for twenty

years, building in that interval St. Stephen's Church in Vaughan, St.

Philip's in the 3rd concession of Markham, and the Church in Markham

village, and establishing a permanent congregation at each.

He was a vigorous, stirring preacher in his acquired English tongue, as

well as in his vernacular German. He possessed also a colloquial

knowledge of Latin, which is still a spoken language in part of Hungary.

He was a man of energy to the last: ever cheerful in spirit, and

abounding in anecdotes, personal or otherwise. It was from him, as we

remember, we first heard the afterwards more familiarized names of

Magyar and Sclave.

His brother clergy of the region where his duty lay were indebted to him

for many curious glimpses at men and things in the great outer world of

the continent of Europe. During the Napoleonic wars he was "Field

Chaplain of the Imperial Infantry Regiment, No. 60 of the Line," and

accompanied the Austrian contingent of 40,000 men furnished to Napoleon

by the Emperor of Austria.--He was afterwards, when the Austrian Emperor

broke away from Napoleon, taken prisoner with five regiments of the

line, and sent to Dresden and Mayence. He was at the latter place when

the battle of Leipsic was fought (Oct. 16, 17, 18, 19, 1813.) He now

left Mayence without leave, the plague breaking out there, and got to

Oppenheim, where a German presbyter named Muller concealed him, till the

departure of the French out of the town. After several adventures he

found his way back to the quarters of his regiment now acting in the

anti-French interest at Manheim, where he duly reported himself, and was

well received. After the war, from the year 1816, he had for three years

the pastoral charge of Klingenmunster in the diocese of Strasbourg. He

died in Whitby, in 1859.

A memoir of Mr. Meyerhoffer has been printed, and it bears the following

title: "Twelve years a Roman Catholic Priest; or, the Autobiography of

the Rev. V. P. Meyerhoffer, M.A., late Military Chaplain to the Austrian

Army and Grand Chaplain of the Orders of Free Masons and Orangemen of

Canada, B.N.A., containing an account of his career as Military

Chaplain, Monk of the Order of St. Francis, and Clergyman of the Church

of England in Vaughan, Markham and Whitby, C.W."

He had a musical voice which had been properly cultivated--This, he used

to say, was a source of revenue to him in the early part of his public

career, those clergy being in request and receiving a higher

remuneration, who were able to sing the service in a superior manner.

His features were strongly marked and peculiar, perhaps Mongolian in

type; they were not German, English, or Italian. Were the concavity of

the nose and the projection of the mouth a little more pronounced in

"Elias Howe," the medallions of that personage would give a general idea

of Mr. Mayerhoffer's profile and head.

In his younger days he had acquired some medical knowledge, which stood

him in good stead for a time at Philadelphia, when he and Huber first

renounced the Latin dogmas. His taste for the healing art was slightly

indulged even after the removal to Canada, as will be seen from an

advertisement which appears in the Courier of February 29, 1832. (From

its wording it will be observed that Mayerhoffer had not yet become

familiarized with the English language.) It is headed thus: "The use and

direction of the new-invented and never-failing Wonder Salve, by D. V.

P. Mayerhoffer, of Markham, U.C., H.D., 5th concession."

It then proceeds: "Amongst all in the medicine-invented unguents his

salve takes the first place for remedy, whereby it not in vain obtains

the name of Wonder Salve for experience taught in many cases to deserve

this name; and being urged to communicate it to the public, I endeavour

to satisfy to the common good of the public. It is acknowledged by all

who know the virtue of it, and experienced its worth, it ought to be

kept in every house, first for its inestimable goodness, and, second,

because the medicine the older it gets the better it is: money spent for

such will shew its effect from its beginning for twenty years, if kept

in a dry place, well covered. In all instances of burns, old wounds,

called running sores, for the tetter-worm or ring, &c., as the

discussions and use will declare, wrapped round the box or the medicine.

"It is unnecessary to recommend by words this inestimable medicine, as

its value has received the approbation of many inhabitants of this

country already, who sign their names below for the surety of its virtue

and the reality of its worth, declaring that they never wish to be

without it in their houses by their lifetimes. In Markham, Mr. Philip

Eckhardt, jun., do. do., sen., Godlieb Eckhardt, Abraham Eckhardt, John

Pingel, jun., Mr. Lang, Mr. Large, John Perkins, John Schall, Charles

Peterson, Luke Stantenkough, Peter March. In Vaughan, Jacob Fritcher,

Daniel Stang. Recommended by Dr. Baldwin, of York. The medicine is to be

had in the eighth concession of Markham, called Riarstown, by Sinclair

Holden; in the fifth concession by Christopher Hevelin and T. Amos; in

the town of York, in J. Baldwin's and S. Barnham's stores; on Yonge

Street, by Parsons and Thorne. Price of a box, two shillings and

sixpence, currency. January 11, 1832."

Military associations hang about the lands to the right and left of

Richmond Hill. The original possessor of Lot No. 22 on the west side,

was Captain Daniel Cozens, a gentleman who took a very active part in

opposition to the revolutionary movement which resulted in the

independence of the United States. He raised, at his own expense, a

company of native soldiers in the royalist interest, and suffered the

confiscation of a considerable estate in New Jersey. Three thousand

acres in Upper Canada were subsequently granted him by the British

Crown. His sons, Daniel and Shivers, also received grants. The name of

Shivers Cozens is to be seen in the early plans of Markham on lots 2, 4

and 5 in the 6th concession.

Samuel died of a fit at York in 1808; but Shivers returned to New Jersey

and died there, where family connexions of Captain Cozens still survive.

There runs amongst them a tradition that Captain Cozens built the first

house in our Canadian York. Of this we are informed by Mr. T. Cottrill

Clarke, of Philadelphia. We observe in an early plan of York the name of

Shivers Cozens on No. 23 in Block E, on the south side of King Street:

the name of Benjamin Cozens on No. 5 on Market Street: and the name of

Captain Daniel Cozens on No. 4 King Street, (new town), north side, with

the date of the grant, July 20, 1799. It is thus quite likely that

Captain Cozens, or a member of his family, put up buildings in York at a

very early period.

We read in the Niagara Herald, of October 31, 1801, the following:

"Died on the 6th ult., near Philadelphia, Captain Daniel Cozens." In the

Gazette & Oracle, of January 27, 1808, we have a memorandum of the

decease of Samuel Cozens: "Departed this life, on the 29th ult., Mr.

Samuel D. Cozens, one of the first inhabitants of this town [York]. His

remains were interred with Masonic honours on the 31st."

Another officer of the Revolutionary era was the first owner, and for

several years the actual occupant, of the lot immediately opposite

Captain Cozens'. This was Captain Richard Lippincott, a native of New

Jersey. A bold deed of his has found a record in all the histories of

the period. The narrative gives us a glimpse of some of the painful

scenes attendant on wars wherein near relatives and old friends come to

be set in array one against the other.

On the 12th of April, 1782, Captain Lippincott, acting under the

authority of the "Board of Associated Loyalists of New York," executed

by hanging, on the heights near Middleton, Joshua Huddy, an officer in

the revolutionary army, as an act of retaliation,--Huddy having

summarily treated, in the same way, a relative of Captain Lippincott's,

Philip White, surprised within the lines of the revolutionary force,

while on a stolen visit of natural affection to his mother on Christmas


On Huddy's breast was fastened a paper containing the following written

notice, to be read by his co-revolutionists and friends when they should

discover the body suspended in the air.--"We, the Refugees, having long

with grief beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding nothing

but such measures carrying into execution, therefore determined not to

suffer without taking vengeance for the numerous cruelties; and thus

begin, having made use of Captain Huddy as the first object to present

to your view; and further determine to hang man for man while there is a

Refugee existing. Up goes Huddy for Philip White."

When the surrender of Capt. Lippincott was refused by the Royalist

authorities, Washington ordered the execution of one officer of equal

rank to be selected by lot out of the prisoners in his hands. The lot

fell on Capt. Charles Asgill of the Guards, aged only nineteen. He was

respited however until the issue of a court-martial, promised to be held

on Capt. Lippincott, should be known. The court acquitted; and Capt.

Asgill only narrowly escaped the fate of Andre, through prompt

intervention on the part of the French Government. The French minister

of State, the Count de Vergennes, to whom there had been time for Lady

Asgill, the Captain's mother, to appeal--received directions to ask his

release in the conjoint names of the King and Queen as "a tribute to

humanity." Washington thought proper to accede to this request; but it

was not until the following year, when the revolutionary struggle ended,

that Asgill and Lippincott were set at liberty.

The former lived to succeed to his father's baronetcy and to become a

General officer. Colonel O'Hara, of Toronto, remembered dining at a

table where a General Sir Charles Asgill was pointed out to him as

having been, during the American revolutionary war, for a year under

sentence of death, condemned by General Washington to be hanged in the

place of another person.

Capt. Lippincott received from the Crown three thousand acres in Upper

Canada. He survived until the year 1826, when, aged 81, and after

enjoying half-pay for a period of forty-three years, he expired at the

house of his son-in-law in York, Colonel George Taylor Denison, who gave

to his own eldest son, Richard Lippincott Denison, Captain Lippincott's

name. (A few miles further on, namely, in North and East Gwillimbury,

General Benedict Arnold, known among United States citizens as "the

traitor," received a grant of five thousand acres.)

In connexion with Richmond Hill, which now partially covers the fronts

of Captain Cozens' and Captain Lippincott's lots, we subjoin what

Captain Bonnycastle said of the condition of Yonge Street hereabout in

1846, in his "Canada and the Canadians."

"Behold us at Richmond Hill," he exclaims, "having safely passed the

Slough of Despond which the vaunted Yonge Street mud road presents

between the celebrated hamlet of St. Albans and the aforesaid hill."

And again: "We reached Richmond Hill, seventeen miles from the Landing,

at about 8 o'clock (he was moving southward) having made a better day's

journey than is usually accomplished on a road which will be macadamized

some fine day;--for the Board of Works," he proceeds to inform the

reader, "have a Polish engineer hard at work surveying it; of course, no

Canadian was to be found equal to this intricate piece of engineering;

and I saw a variety of sticks stuck up; but what they meant I cannot

guess at. I suppose they were going to grade it, which is the favourite

American term."

The prejudices of the Englishman and Royal Engineer routinier here crop

out. The Polish engineer, who was commencing operations on this

subdivision of Yonge Street, was Mr. Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski, whose

subsequent Canadian career renders it probable that in setting up "the

variety of sticks," the meaning of which Capt. Bonnycastle does after

all guess at, he understood his business. We are assured that this

portion of Yonge Street was in fact conspicuous for the superior

excellence of its finish.

Captain Bonnycastle indulges in a further little fling at civilians who

presume to undertake engineering duties, in a story which serves to fill

a page or two of his book, immediately after the above remarks on Yonge

Street, about Richmond Hill. He narrates an incident of his voyage


"A Character," he says, "set out from England to try his fortune in

Canada. He was conversing about prospects in that country, on board the

vessel, with a person who knew him, but whom he knew not. 'I have not

quite made up my mind,' said the character, 'as to what pursuit I shall

follow in Canada; but that which brings most grist to the mill will

answer best; and I hear a man may turn his hand to anything there,

without the folly of an apprenticeship being necessary; for if he have

only brains, bread will come; now what do you think would be the best

business for my market?' 'Why,' said the gentleman, after pondering a

little, 'I should advise you to try civil engineering; for they are

getting up a Board of Works there, and want that branch of industry very

much, for they won't take natives: nothing but foreigners and strangers

will go down.' 'What is a civil engineer?' said the Character. 'A man

always measuring and calculating,' responded his adviser, 'and that will

just suit you.' 'So it will,' rejoined Character, and a civil engineer

he became accordingly, and a very good one into the bargain, for he had

brains, and had used a yard measure all his lifetime."--Who "the

Character" was, we do not for certain know.

A short distance beyond Richmond Hill was the abode of Colonel Moodie,

on the right,--distinguished by a flag-staff in front of it, after the

custom of Lower Canada, where an officer's house used to be known in

this way. (In the neighbourhood of Sorel, as we remember, in the winter

of 1837, it was one of the symptoms of disaffection come to a head, when

in front of a substantial habitan's home a flag-staff was suddenly seen

bearing the inscription "----, Capitaine, elu par le peuple.")

Colonel Moodie's title came from his rank in the regular army. He had

been Lieut.-Colonel of the 104th regiment. Sad, that a distinguished

officer, after escaping the perils of the Peninsular war, and of the war

with the United States here in 1812-13, should have yet, nevertheless,

met with a violent death in a petty local civil tumult. He was shot, as

all remember, in the troubles of 1837, while attempting to ride past

Montgomery's, regardless of the insurgent challenge to stop.

"Thou might'st have dreamed of brighter hours to close thy chequered life

Beneath thy country's victor-flag, sure beacon in the strife;

Or in the shadow of thy home with those who mourn thee now,

To whisper comfort in thine ear, to calm thine aged brow.

Well! peaceful be thy changeless rest,--thine is a soldier's grave;

Hearts like thine own shall mourn thy doom--meet requiem for the brave--

And ne'er 'till Freedom's ray is pale and Valour's pulse grown cold

Shall be thy bright career forgot, thy gloomy fate untold."

So sang one in the columns of a local contemporary paper, in "Lines

suggested by the Lamented Death of the late Colonel Moodie."

At a certain period in the history of Yonge Street, as indeed of all the

leading thoroughfares of Upper Canada, about 1830-33, a frequent sign

that property had changed hands, and that a second wave of population

was rolling in, was the springing up, at intervals, of houses of an

improved style, with surroundings, lawns, sheltering plantations,

winding drives, well-constructed entrance-gates, and so on, indicating

an appreciation of the elegant and the comfortable.

We recall two instances of this, which we used to contemplate with

particular interest, a little way beyond Richmond Hill, on the left: the

cosy, English-looking residences, not far apart, with a cluster of

appurtenances round each--of Mr. Larratt Smith, and Mr. Francis Boyd.

Both gentlemen settled here with their families in 1836.

Mr. Smith had been previously in Canada in a military capacity during

the war of 1812-13, and for many years subsequently he had been Chief

Commissary of the Field Train Department and Paymaster of the Artillery.

He died at Southampton in 1860.

Mr. Boyd, who emigrated hither from the county of Kent, was one of the

first, in these parts, to import from England improved breeds of cattle.

In his house was to be seen a collection of really fine paintings,

amongst them a Holbein, a Teniers, a Dominichino, a Smirke, a Wilkie,

and two Horace Vernets. The families of Mr. Boyd and Mr. Smith were

related by marriage. Mr. Boyd died in Toronto in 1861.

Beyond Mr. Boyd's, a solitary house, on the same side of Yonge Street,

lying back near the woods, used to be eyed askance in passing:--its

occupant and proprietor, Mr. Kinnear, had in 1843 been murdered therein

by his man-servant, assisted by a female domestic. It was imagined by

them that a considerable sum of money had just been brought to the house

by Mr. Kinnear. Both criminals would probably have escaped justice had

not Mr. F. C. Capreol, of Toronto, on the spur of the moment, and purely

from a sense of duty to the public, undertaken their capture, which he

cleverly effected at Lewiston in the United States.

The land now began to be somewhat broken as we ascended the rough and

long-uncultivated region known as the Oak Ridges. The predominant tree

in the primitive forest here was the pine, which attained a gigantic

size; but specimens of the black oak were intermingled.

Down in one of the numerous clefts and chasms which were to be seen in

this locality, in a woody dell on the right, was Bond's Lake, a pretty

crescent-shaped sheet of water. We have the surrounding property offered

for sale in a Gazette of 1805, in the following terms; "For Sale, Lots

No. 62 and 63, in the first concession of the township of Whitchurch, on

the east side of Yonge Street, containing 380 acres of land: a deed in

fee simple will be given by the subscriber to any person inclined to

purchase. Johnson Butler. N.B. The above lots include the whole of the

Pond commonly called Bond's Lake, the house and clearing round the same.

For particulars enquire of Mr. R. Ferguson and Mr. T. B. Gough at York,

and the subscriber at Niagara. March 23, 1805."

Bond's farm and lake had their name from Mr. William Bond, who so early

as 1800 had established in York a Nursery Garden, and introduced there

most of the useful fruits. In 1801 Mr. Bond was devising to sell his

York property, as appears from a quaint advertisement in a Gazette of

that year. He therein professes to offer his lot in York as a free gift;

the recipient however being at the same time required to do certain


"To be given away," he says, "that beautifully situated lot No. one,

fronting on Ontario and Duchess Streets: the buildings thereon are--a

small two-and-a-half storey house, with a gallery in front, which

commands a view of the lake and the bay: in the cellar a never failing

spring of fine water; and a stream of fine water running through one

corner of the lot; there is a good kitchen in the rear of the house, and

a stable sufficient for two cows and two horses, and the lot is in good


"The conditions are, with the person or persons who accept of the above

present, that he, she or they purchase not less than two thousand

apple-trees at three shillings, New York currency, each; after which

will be added, as a further present, about one hundred apple, thirty

peach, and fourteen cherry trees, besides wild plums, wild cherries,

English gooseberries, white and red currants, &c. There are forty of the

above apple trees, as also the peach and cherry trees, planted regular,

as an orchard, much of which appeared in blossom last spring, and must

be considered very valuable: also as a kitchen garden, will sufficiently

recommend itself to those who may please to view it.--The above are well

calculated for a professional or independent gentleman; being somewhat

retired--about half-way from the Lake to the late Attorney General's and

opposite the town-farm of the Hon. D. W. Smith [afterwards Mr. Allan's

property.] Payment will be made easy; a good deed; and possession given

at any time from the first of November to the first of May next. For

further particulars enquire of the subscriber on the premises. William

Bond. York, Sep. 4, 1801."--The price expected was, as will be made out,

750 dollars. The property was evidently the northern portion of what

became afterwards the homestead-plot of Mr. Surveyor General Ridout.

It would appear that Mr. Bond's property did not find a purchaser on

this occasion. In 1804 he is advertising it again, but now to be sold by

auction, with his right and title to the lot on Yonge Street. In the

Gazette of August 4, 1804, we read as follows:--"To be sold by

auction, at Cooper's tavern, in York, on Monday, the twentieth day of

August next, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon (if not previously

disposed of by private contract), that highly cultivated lot opposite

the Printing Office [Bennett's] containing one acre, together with a

nursery thereon of about ten thousand apple, three hundred peach, and

twenty pear trees, and an orchard containing forty-one apple trees fit

for bearing, twenty-seven of which are full of fruit; thirty peach and

nine cherry trees full of fruit; besides black and red plums, red and

white currants, English gooseberries, lilacs, rose bushes, &c., &c.,

also a very rich kitchen garden.

"The buildings are a two-and-a-half storey house, a good cellar, stable

and smokehouse. On the lot is a never-failing spring of excellent water,

and fine creek running through one corner most part of the year. The

above premises might be made very commodious for a gentleman at a small

expense; or for a tanner, brewer, or distiller, must be allowed the most

convenient place in York. A view of the premises (by any person or

persons desirous of purchasing the same) will be sufficient

recommendation. The nursery is in such a state of forwardness that if

sold in from two to three years (at which time the apple trees will be

fit to transplant) at the moderate price of one shilling each, would

repay a sum double of that asked for the whole, and leave a further gain

to the purchasers of the lot, buildings, and flourishing orchard

thereon. A good title to the above, and possession given at any time

after the first of October next.

"Also at the same time and place the right as per Register, to one

hundred acres in front of lot 62, east side Yonge Street, for which a

deed can be procured at pleasure, and the remainder of the lot procured

for a small sum. It is an excellent soil for orchard, grain and pasture

land. There is a field of ten acres in fence besides other clearing. It

is a beautiful situation, having part of the Lake commonly called Bond's

Lake, within the said lot, which affords a great supply of Fish and

Fowl. Terms of payment will be made known on the day of sale. For

further particulars enquire of the subscriber on the former premises, or

the printer hereof. William Bond. York, 27th June, 1804."

Thirty years later we meet with an advertisement in which the price is

named at which Lot No. 63 could have been secured. Improvements expected

speedily to be made on Yonge Street are therein referred to. In a

Gazette of 1834 we have: "A delightful situation on Yonge Street,

commonly called Bond's Farm, containing 190 acres, beautifully situated

on Bond's Lake upon Yonge Street, distant about 16 miles from the city

of Toronto: price L350. The picturesque beauty of this lot," the

advertisement says, "and its proximity to the flourishing capital of

Upper Canada, make it a most desirable situation for a gentleman of

taste. The stage-coaches between Toronto and Holland Landing and

Newmarket pass the place daily; and there appears every prospect of

Yonge Street either having a railroad or being macadamized very

shortly. Apply (if by letter, free of postage) to Robert Ferrie, at

Hamilton, the proprietor."

In the advertisement of 1805, given above, Bond's Lake is styled a pond.

The small lakes in these hills seemed, of course, to those who had

become familiarized with the great lakes, simply ponds. The term "lake"

applied to Ontario, Huron, and the rest, has given a very inadequate

idea of the magnitude and appearance of those vast expanses, to externs

who imagine them to be picturesque sheets of water somewhat exceeding in

size, but resembling, Windermere, Loch Lomond, or possibly Lake Leman.

"Sea" would have conveyed a juster notion: not however to the German,

who styles the lakes of Switzerland and the Tyrol, "seas."

Bond's Lake inn, the way-side stopping place in the vale where Yonge

Street skirts the lake, used to be, in an especial degree, of the old

country cast, in its appliances, its fare, its parlours and other