Humberstone Township Abstracts
The following description of Humberstone 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
Township of Humberstone
The Township of Humberstone is about 7-½ miles long and six miles wide, and contains about 32,000 acres.
It was first settled in the year 1785, when land in the township was selling at ten cents per acre. In 1817 it contained 75 inhabited houses, one grist and one saw mill; and land had risen in value to 2-½ dollars per acre. In 1850, it contained 279 inhabited houses, 1 grist mill, 3 saw mills, 1 foundry, 2 churches, and 8 public schools, and the population amounted to 2,377. The population now (1875) amounts to 3,200, exclusive of Port Colborne which became an incorporated village in 1870 and contains about 1,200 inhabitants.
Cultivated farm land in the Township is now worth from 40 to 60 dollars per acre. The greater portion of the soil is loam.
The Welland Canal at Port Colborne
The Welland Canal, projected in the year 1818, by the late Hon. William H. Merritt, and commenced in 1824, is cut through the western portion of the township; and the villages of Petersburg and Port Colborne are situated on it.
The Loop Line of the Great Western Railway extends through the northern portion of the township. The principal station of this railway in the township is Welland Hunction, which is about 5 miles north of Port Colborne.
The Canada Southern Railway extends through the northeast portion of the township.
The north-western portion of the township is considerably lower than the remaining portion, and contains extensive marsh lands which yield large quantities of huckleberries and cranberries.
The township contains from 3,000 to 4,000 acres of marsh lands, of which 600 or 800 acres are valuable for peat. Considerable quantities of peat are now manufactured by the Ontario Peat Company. When the work of enlarging the canal is accomplished, as it will then be fed from Lake Erie, it will be easy to drain the marsh lands, and they will then, no doubt become very valuable.
The greater portion of the township is very level. In the southern portion of the township, along the lake shore, is a row of hills, the principal of which is “Sugar Loaf Hill,” a singular conical-shaped hill, about 150 feet high, situated on the township-line between Humberstone and Wainfleet. It was formerly and still is a favorite resort for picnic and pleasure parties.
Village of Port Colborne
Port Colborne contains 4 churches, 1 public school, 1 R. C. separate school, a village hall, 1 grist mill, 1 saw mill, 3 planing mills and sash door factories, a branch of the Imperial Bank, Montreal and Dominion telegraph office, and an extensive grain elevator, belonging to the Welland Railway Company, capable of transferring 45,000 bushels of grain per hour from vessels to cars.
Port Colborne is the southern terminus of the Welland Railway, and it is an important station on the Buffalo and Goderich Division of the Grand Trunk Railway.
Village of Petersburg
Petersburg or Humberstone, sometimes called Stone Bridge, (the Post Office is called Humberstone) is about one mile north of Port Colborne. It contains 3 churches, 1 public school, 1 Lutheran school, a township hall, a temperance hall, 1 machine shop, and desk and seat factory, 1 foundry, 1 saw mill, 1 planing mill and sash and door factory, 2 cabinet shops, 3 wagon and carriage factories, 1 shingle factory and planning mill, etc. It is a station on the Welland Railway, and is about 7 miles distant from Welland, the County Town, and about 22 miles from St. Catharines. The population is about 700.
About ½ mile west of the village is a Mennonite church, and about 4 miles east of the village is a Lutheran church and school. In the eastern part of the township there is also a grist and saw mill.