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Walsingham  | Villages | Settlement

The chief villages of Walsingham are Port Rowan, St. Williams, Port Royal, Walsingham Centre and Langton. There are also small villages named Silver Hill, Marston, Wilson and the Hazen Settlement.

Port Rowan

is picturesquely situated upon the bold bluffs which overlook the bay to the east of the mouth of Spring Creek. It has a good harbor, its only drawback being the shallowness, of the water, which does not permit vessels drawing over six feet of water to approach. Nevertheless a large amount of business has been done at this port. The village was laid out by James Ellis and Jeremiah and William Woolven in the year 1825. John Killmaster built the first dock, which was subsequently enlarged and improved by Benjamin Killmaster and James Little. Still later the dock became the property of Messrs. John Anderson, Hugh Mabee, and Benj. Killmaster. A large amount of barley is annually shipped from this port. In years past a vast amount of lumber and logs was sent out from Port Rowan and Port Royal -- the export duty on logs alone in 1872 being $20,000. One vessel, the "Erie Queen," is owned here by Messrs. Hudson and Peese.

Port Rowan contains 1 planing mill and sash and blind factory, 1 ashery, 3 carriage shops, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 drug stores, 4 general stores, 2 fancy goods stores, 1 harness shop, 2 boot shops, 3 tailor shops, 2 tin shops, 1 printing office -- Spirit of the Age newspaper, property of Major James Ryan -- 2 hotels, 1 Methodist church, 1 Baptist church, 1 English church, 1 public hall, 1 Masonic hall, 1 Temperance hall, 1 bakery, 1 barber shop, 1 billiard soloon. The professions are represented by 2 physicians and 2 lawyers.

Mr. John Anderson has an extensive grapery, and manufacturers native wines. H. W. Allan owns an excellent grist mill. Port Rowan offers a very good market of grain of all kinds, there being usually three or four buyers. Total shipments of grain 30,000 to 50,000 bushels annually.

The annual fur sale is held in May, when about 20,000 peltries (muskrat, mink, raccoon, fox, &c.) are disposed of -- the New York buyers and Hudson Bay Company being represented.

Port Rowan contains a population of about 1,000. It has a number of very elegant private residences, most of them commanding a fine view of the lake. The new school house is a very fine structure built of brick, two stories in height, with a tower. The site contains 2 acres of land, neatly fenced, and ornamented with shade trees. Total cost $6000. The school is a United High and Public School. Principal, A. Carlyle, B. A.; Chairman of the Board, Col. J. P. Mabee; Secretary W. H. Ross. There are three assistant teachers.

At present there is a prospect of a railway being built to Simcoe. The people of Port Rowan have agitated the subject, and a preliminary survey is now being made.

Officials -- Col. S. P. Mabee, Collector of Customs, Clerk of Division Count and Acting Magistrate; Chauncey Bennett, American Consul; Peter Mabee, Bailiff, &c.

St. Williams

This pleasant village is upon the town line between Walsingham and Charlotteville, about a mile from the bay. It is a very old place, its history dating back to the beginning of the century, when the Copes, Procuniers and Prices settled on the lots upon which it stands. It now contains 3 stores, 1 Primitive Methodist church, 1 hall, 1 Good Templars' hall, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 harness shop, 2 shoemakers' shops. The establishment of Messrs. McCall, McBurney & Co., including planning mill, shingle mill, carriage shop, etc., is a very extensive and important manufactory. There are several very beautiful private residences on the main street. The new school house is one of the best in the county. It is built of brick, two stories, and is most admirably furnished and equipped in every way. Total cost $2500.


has sprung into existence with the last four years at least. Before 1872 there were but a few houses in it, now it is a thriving village of about 150 inhabitants. It contains 1 hotel, 2 stores, 2 carriage shops, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 shoe shop, 1 tailor shop, 1 harness shop, 1 cabinet shop, 2 shingle factories, 1 saw mill, 1 Baptist church, 1 Methodist church, 1 Masonic hall.


is the name of what promises to be a thriving village. It is southwest of Langton, and has a church, store, a blacksmith's shop, post office, &c.


is situated at the spot where the Vension Creek crosses the line of the 14th concession. Mr. John Ostrander has a new grist mill here. There is a store, post office, &c.

Walsingham Centre

is the municipal centre of the township. It contains 2 churches, 1 hotel, 1 physician, 1 tannery, 1 carding mill, 2 stores occupied, 2 stores not now occupied, 2 blacksmiths' shops, 2 wagon makers' shops, 1 basket maker's shop, 3 shoe shops, &c. The township hall is situated here, is neatly enclosed, and is provided with buildings for township exhibitions.

A little south of the village is an establishment for the manufacture of red paint from the soil, which is of a bright red color in certain places.  This paint has been made in large quantities.

The Hazen Settlement is a very old village, founded by the Hazen family in 1797. The business formerly done here has been gradually drawn to other quarters.

Port Royal

This is a very old village, and stands at the mouth of Big Creek. In the days when lumbering was active this was an important place, but of late years business has declined to some extent. It still contains 1 store, 1 hotel, &c. It is three miles west of Port Rowan. The marshes in the neighborhood are well supplied with game, and sportsmen regard Port Royal as a desirable centre for their operations. A very good brick school house has been erected here at a cost of about $1,200.

Article Index
Allan, H.W.
Anderson, John
Bennett, Chauncey
Carlyle, A.
Cope family
Ellis, James
Hazen family
Hudson, Mr.
Killmaster, Benj.
Killmaster, John
Little, James
Mabee, Hugh
Mabee, J. P.
Mabee, Peter
Mabee, S. P.
McBurney, Mr.
McCall, Mr.
Ostrander, John
Peese, Mr.
Price family
Procunier family
Ross, W. H.
Ryan, James
Wollen, Jeremiah
Wollen, William

From page 58 of the Mika re-print of 1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Norfolk County
Copyright 1997-2012 John Cardiff and Norfolk Historical Society

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