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|Townsend: Settlement | Waterford|
|This beautiful and
prosperous village lies upon the banks of the Nanticoke River, where it is
crossed by the Simcoe and Brantford Road. It is eight miles from Simcoe
and seventeen from Brantford. The Canadian Southern Railway runs through
it, connecting it with Buffalo at a distance of 77 miles, and with St.
Thomas at a distance of 47 miles. The village is surrounded by a farming
country which cannot be excelled in the Province.
The earliest settler in the locality was Job Slaght, who took up the land now farmed by his grandson, Rev. Aaron Slaght. Soon after this Moses Sovereen and Henry Beemer settled here. ___ Avery erected a mill, Mr. Job Slaght furnishing the capital. This mill was burned in the war of 1812 by the forces of General McArthur. It is related that they were about to hang three of the men for extinguishing the fire in the church yard at the south end of the village, when the masonic sign was given and their lives were spared.
Waterford is now celebrated for the enterprise of its people, and the beauty of its buildings. A new Baptist church is being erected, to cost about $15,000, of which the Rev. A. Slaght is pastor. This church will probably be the finest in the county. The chief factory in this village is the Waterford Agricultural Implements Works. These works were established in 1844, by Jas. L. Green. As is customary with foundries and machine shops in new counties, it embraced in its manufactures a large variety of goods, ploughs, harrows, rollers, cutting boxes, &c., as well as engines, single machines, and drag saws. But of late years the Waterford shop has been gradually decreasing the variety of its manufactures until, at the present time, it is making a speciality [sic] of the "Royce Reaper," although orders for other kinds of manufactures are received and refused. The present proprietors, Messrs. Green Bros. & Co., introduced the Royce Reaper into Canada, making some 25 Reapers for the first year, 1875, and 300 for the season of 1876. At present the capacity of the Waterford shops is from 1,400 to 2,000 Reapers and Mowers, which can easily be increased to two or three times this capacity.
The north eastern part of the township was not settled until about 1830, when the Van Loons, James Wyner, Philip Slaght, Aaron Rogers, and Samuel Merrill took up land in the neighborhood of what is now the village of Waterford. This village received its name at the instance of a Mr. Kellogg, a schoolmaster. The first school was built in 1858. The Baptist church , of which Elder Cunningham was the first pastor, was also built about the same time.
Robt. Joseph Merrill, the son of Samuel, came with his father to Townsend. He still lives on the old homestead, is wealthy, and takes a prominent part in educational and religious matters.
It is impossible to give the details of the settlement of the newer portion of the township, so rapid and extensive has been its progress. Any one who will visit the country about Tyrrel [sic] -- the Porter Settlement -- and north by Rockford and Villa Nova, will be astonished at the rapid increase in wealth indictated by the large barns, beautiful houses, and well ordered farms which are visible in every direction. There are also some remarkably find houses and farms north of Waterford. In fact the whole township is pre-eminently marked by the prosperity that flows from an excellent soil tilled by an industrious people.
The chief villages of Townsend are
Waterford, Boston, Wilsonville, Bealton, Hartford, Villa Nova, Rockford,
Five Bridges, Tyrell [sic], Bloomsburg, Round Plains, and Colborne.
Green, Jas. L.
Merrill, Robt. Joseph
Van Loon family
From page 60 of the Mika re-print of
1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Norfolk County