The following description of Crowland Township and its villages is quoted from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln and Welland, Ont. Toronto: H.R. Page & Co., 1876.
The Township of Crowland which belongs to the County of Welland, is bounded on the north by the Townships of Thorold and Stamford; on the east by the Township of Willoughby; on the south by the Township of Humberstone and on the west by the Township of Thorold.
This township—not bordering immediately on the Niagara River or the lakes, like some of the other interior townships—did not commence quite so early as many. The earliest settlers commenced to come into this township about 1788, and land—at that time uncleared—could be purchased for eighteen pence per acre. Crowland was first admissible to a town meeting in the year 1803, when the following officers were elected;—Joseph Current, Clerk; William Cook and John Gainer, Assessors; Aaron Stringer. Collector; Christopher Buchner, William Current, Sen’r, Jacob Brookfield, Samuel Cook and John Farr, Road Masters; Gideon Dudley, Pound-keeper; Captain Henry Buchner and Wilson Doan, Town Wardens.
The census taken the same year, gave 216 people—120 males and 96 females. In November, 1801, a road was surveyed by Charles Fell from Zavitt’s mills, in the Township of Bertie, through the Township of Crowland to the Welland River. The population in 1817 had increased to about six hundred inhabitants; there was one saw mill and one grist mill, and land had risen in value to twenty shillings per acre, in 1818 land wasworth about four pounds for cleared, and about thirty shillings for uncleared, per acre.
The land is generally rolling, and the soil consists of all kinds. The Welland River is the dividing line between the Township of Crowland and Thorold and Stamford. The Welland Railway passes through the western side of the township, and the Welland Canal through the south-western part. This township is in a flourishing condition, and fine cultivated farms may be seen on every side—indicating a thrifty and progressive people.
Hamlet of Cook’s Mills
Crowland, or Cook’s Mills, in the central part of the Township of Crowland is a small place, having a general store or two and other buildings usually found in a small hamlet. During 1814 a battle took place here between the Americans and Canadians. During the war the Americans took possession of some of the houses in this vicinity, and after using them until they were obliged to leave them, they applied the torch to them an unnecessary deed on their part.
The Village of Welland on the western side of the Township of Crowland, and partially in the adjoining Township of Thorold, has a population of about nineteen hundred people, and is the County Town of the County of Welland, in which is situated the court house, jail, registry office and registrar surrogate office, and is one of the most flourishing places in the County of Welland. Like most of the villages situated on the Welland ship canal, it owes a great deal of its growth to that work; and, with the Welland Railway, which has a station here, and the Canada Southern Railway, which has a station about a mile from the village, it has ample facilities for travellers and shippers.
The village has a grammar and two common schools, and the County Agricultural Society hold their annual meetings here, where they have a large fair ground with ample buildings upon it. A swing bridge across the canal connects the village, which is situated upon either side of the canal. The place has several churches belonging to different denominations, and a number of fine brick stores and some large mills and manufactories of various kinds. Welland is well situated to become a much larger and more of a commercial place, and its present rapid growth will, without doubt, result in an increase of many thousand inhabitants within the next few years.
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