Thorold Township Abstracts
The following description of Thorold 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 Thorold
This township is bounded on the north by the Township of Grantham, of the County of Lincoln; on the east by the Township of Stamford; on the south by the Township of Crowland; and on the west by the Township of Pelham.The Township of Thorold is one of the most flourishing townships in the Counties of Lincoln and Welland, has twenty-five thousand seven hundred and sixty-five acres, and the soil is well adapted for raising wheat, oats, barley, rye and other crops. The township commenced to receive settlers in the year seventeen hundred and eighty-six or seven, and at that time wild land could be bought for seven pence per acre. This was a small sum indeed for land, but large tracts were at times traded off by those who received them from the Government for services performed and hardly anything received for them.
Many of Butler’s Rangers settled in the different townships of the two counties, but having led a life of excitement incident to a soldier’s life for several years, they did not, in a majority of cases, keep the land which they received; but the Loyalists who emigrated from the American colonies commenced at once to clear up the wild land which they bought, and some of the citizens in the townships at the present time are the descendants of those pioneer Loyalists.
The emigration to the different townships from seventeen eighty-four until after the war of 1812-15 was very small, and it has been estimated that in 1812 all the settlers in the whole of Upper Canada who were able to bear arms in the defence of their homes numbered only ten thousand. The land is rolling, and the fine farms have as a general thing been successful. The Welland Canal passes through this township near the centre, from north to south.
Town of Thorold
Thorold is one of the most enterprising places in the County of Welland, and as it has unlimited water power and other facilities for manufacturing establishments of which it contains a number at the present time, it bids fair to soon take the lead of many other places in the county. At the present time the place has several good grist and saw-mills, and near by are very extensive stone quaries which furnish excellent stone for building purposes.
Being situated upon the summit of a hill Thorold commands and exceedingly fine view of the surrounding country. The place has many fine private residences and some substantial business blocks. Thorold has grown rapidly within a few years, the work on the canal helping it considerably at the present time. Thorold has a population of about three thousand. It is a station on the Welland Railway, and the Great Western has a station at Merriton.
Being situated on the Welland Canal as stated; it enjoys an unlimited water power. It has several fine churches, some fine public schools, and a fine High School, of which we give the following description:
Thorold High School
Certainly the people of Thorold and vicinity have good cause to congratulate themselves on having one of the finest and best arranged buildings devoted to educational purposes to be found either in the County of Lincoln or Welland, and it is a credit to those who worked for it, and speaks well for the progressiveness and liberality of the people, and of their earnestness in educational matters. The grounds upon which the High School building is erected was sold by Dr. Rolls, of Thorold, for the purpose of erecting this school building upon them for about half its actual value—a practical proof from him of the interest he takes in educational matters.
The grounds consist of two acres and thirty-six and a half rods, and cost $1,856.77. They are bounded on the west by Ormond st., the north by St. David st., and on the east by Carleton street. The building stands on elevated ground, and it would seem that nature especially designed the spot as a site for an institute which should be devoted to teaching the youth of the country.
In the spring of 1875 the Trustees of the High School asked for $5.000 for the erection of the building, and the first council of the Town of Thorold liberally appropriated and placed that sum in a single year to the credit of the Trustees. The building is made of brick, the window and doors, edgings and water –table of white brick, and the building itself, which is two storeys in height, surmounted by a high roof, is quadrilateral in form, with a porch on the east and west side, the west porch having a projection for a tower and belfry; the lower storey contains a hall, library, recitation room and two class rooms, the two class rooms each having a closet opening into them which is used for keeping maps, apparatus, etc., etc.; the second storey is divided into a hall, recitation room, and one class-room extending the whole length of the building; the class rooms and recitation rooms are abundantly supplied with black-boards, and contain registers and ventilating apparatus.
The whole building is admirably lighted, the windows are frosted and can be easily raised or lowered, the ceilings are lofty. The cellar provides sufficient space for heating apparatus, storage of coal, etc., and the entire cost of the building was about $5,400.
The grounds surrounding the school-building when finished, will be beautiful terraces, partially surrounding the building, the crests of which are adorned with a large number of fine wide spreading elms of many years growth. Below the terraces a fine lawn intervenes when approaching the building from Ormond street, and the situation is such that a fountain erected will add greatly to beautifying the grounds, which will be set out with ornamental trees and shrubs. The whole appearance of the building and grounds is very fine.
There are four public schools and one separate school in Thorold, and the number of pupils is so large that the trustees intend to enlarge one school house to double its present capacity. All the schools are in a very satisfactory condition.
Village of St. Johns
In the western and northern part of the township is St. Johns;—a village of about two hundred people, and being situated upon the Twelve Mile Creek, which here gives good milling facilities, it has several mills which do an extensive business of flouring, carding wool, etc., etc. The place has one common school, three churches of different denominations, and two or three stores. St. Johns, being surrounded by hills, is most picturesquely situated, and was first settled about seventeen hundred and eighty-seven by those who took advantage of its excellent water power, and erected saw and other mills.
Village of Allanburg
Allanburg, in the Township of Thorold, is a small place of about two hundered inhabitants. It is situated upon the Welland Canal which gives it good milling facilities; it is also a station on the Welland Railway. Allanburg was first settled in eighteen hundred and thirty-two, and at the present time it has two or three general stores, a common school, a church or two, two or three taverns, and other shops usually found in a small place.
Village Port Robinson
Port Robinson, in the Township of Thorold, and situated upon the Welland Canal, has a population of between eight and nine hundred people, and bids fair to become much larger. The place has schools and churches, two or three taverns, several general stores, some fine mills, two dry docks, and is a station on the Welland Railway.
Osbourn House—Thorold, Ontario
This fine hotel was erected in 1875 by the present owner, Mr. W. M. Hendershot. It is built of brick, is three stories in height, and is 53 by 80 feet in size. The house is furnished with everything needed for the convenience and comfort of the travelling public. Mr. C. M. Vandusen is the proprietor, an old hotel keeper, who thoroughly understands how to keep a first-class house with reasonable charges. Connected with the house is a billiard room, W. F. Ellison, proprietor.
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