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REMEMBER THIS: Many of King's early hamlets continue to thrive

In this week's column, History Hound Richard MacLeod continues his series exploring historic hamlets, including Lloydtown, which was the centre of conflict preceding the Rebellion of 1837

This is the fourth instalment in a series of articles on the historic hamlets of York County, completing our look at the hamlets of King Township. We will then move onto East Gwillimbury and, finally, West Gwillimbury/Simcoe in the coming weeks.

Linton was a hamlet at the corner of the Ninth Concession (Highway 27) and 17th Sideroad named in honour of its first postmaster, Joseph Lynn. On July 1, 1858, the Linton post office was officially opened in the house of Joseph Lynn Jr. In 1890, Charles Duke, who succeeded Major Stevenson as a stagecoach driver, regularly came with the mail, freight and passengers to Linton by way of Aurora, Kettleby, Pottageville, Schomberg and Lloydtown. The Linton post office was to remain open until the inauguration of rural mail delivery in 1916. In its prosperous days, Linton had a highlighted inn, simply called The Inn.

The hamlet of Lloydtown is in the northwestern part of King Township, about a mile west of Schomberg. This hamlet was named after Jesse Lloyd (who was born in Pennsylvania in 1786) and who settled in King Township in 1812. At first, it was called Lloyd's town, then later changed to its present name.

In 1826, Lloyd purchased 60 acres of land on Lot 31 for a grist mill, the first one in the area and the hamlet of Lloydtown grew around the mill. He sold the mill in 1832, and it stopped production in 1902. The first post office in King Township was opened in Lloydtown in 1831.

By the mid-1800s, the hamlet would boast a sawmill, tannery, foundry, distillery, several stores, three hotels, three blacksmith shops, a woollen mill, and two churches. At this time, Lloydtown was far more prosperous than its neighbour Brownsville, now called Schomberg.

Through the generosity of Capt. Armstrong, who donated lumber from trees on his farm, the hamlet would boast a sidewalk constructed in the mid-19th century. The sidewalk continued well past the farms located north of the village to the 10th Concession. 

Lloydtown is, of course, famous for being a centre of conflict preceding the Rebellion of Upper Canada in 1837. Jesse Lloyd assisted William Lyon Mackenzie in organizing an uprising of rebels to dislodge the Upper Canada government from power. In December 1837, the rebels were defeated, and Jesse Lloyd fled to the United States with a price of £500 on his head. Lloyd died of poor health a few years later and never returned home.

The hamlet of Temperanceville at the corner of the Second Concession and King Sideroad was originally known as Love’s Corner. In 1804, James and Mary Love, along with their three children, settled on Lot 67, the west half of Concession 1. Love was a farmer, shoemaker, charcoal burner and weaver. Most importantly, he was a complete abstainer. While alcoholic beverages were prominent all around the area, none ever existed in Love’s Corner.

I wrote an article previously about the temperance movement, detailing how it grew; from 1840 to 1890, there were at least five different Temperance Societies in this area. It is no wonder that, in time, it became known as Temperanceville.

The story of Kettleby begins in May 1801, when a land grant was issued to Dorothy Burger, a United Empire Loyalist, covering Lot 28 on the Fourth Concession of King Township. She would sell 200 acres of this land grant to John Bogart two years later. As the story goes, Bogart, an enterprising pioneer, had ridden on horseback all the way to Upper Canada from Muncy, Pennsylvania, to purchase these 200 acres for a price of $90.

Bogart held this land from 1803 to 1825, when he sold 100 acres of it to Jacob Tool, who would build the first sawmill. Then in September 1842, Tool sold 46 acres to Septimus Tyrwhitt for $1,600. 

The original settlement was called Tyrwhitt Mills. By 1851, the first post office was established, and it was renamed Kettleby Mills. In September 1859, the 'Mills' portion was dropped, and the name of the post office was henceforth known as Kettleby. If you have never visited Kettleby, I strongly suggest you do so; it is a wonderful community gem.

As we have discovered in this series of articles, many settlements owe their very existence to the establishment of local industry. Kleinburg, like many riverside villages, developed around the existence of numerous mills.

In 1848, John Nicholas Kline bought 83 acres of Lot 24 in Concession 8, west of Islington Avenue. On this land, John N. Kline built a sawmill and gristmill. Land plans from 1848 show Lot 24 in Concession 8 divided into smaller, individual, 1/4-acre lots, to encourage the establishment of a village core. The Kline mills not only served the local farming community but also provided momentum to a growing commercial centre. The mills built by John N. Kline were the largest between Toronto and Barrie.

Kleinburg has had several variations in the spelling of its name over the years. It is assumed that Kleinburg was named after John Kline; however, it has been pointed out that its present spelling is derived from a combination of two German words: Klein, translating as 'little or small' and 'berg,' meaning 'mountain.' The name 'small mountain' seems to perfectly describe the topography and environmental setting of Kleinburg today.

By 1860, the community grew to include a tanner, tailor, boot and shoemaker, carriage maker, doctor, saddler and harness maker, undertaker, two hotels, a church and school. By 1870, a chemist (druggist), cabinet maker, insurance agent, butcher, milliner, and tinsmith arrived in the community.

You will remember how I have spoken about the importance of ancient Indigenous highways in our area over the years. Kleinburg has long served as a resting stop for those on their way to or from Toronto. The original Humber (Indigenous) Trail used by the early traders remained the most efficient route to Toronto. The Humber Trail in Vaughan runs along what is today Islington Avenue and extends down to Dundas Street in Toronto.

The last hamlet in King Township that we shall examine is the community of Nobleton. Nobleton seems to have been established primarily for its location midway between King City and Bolton on an east-west axis route and Kleinburg and Schomberg on the north-south axis route. Taverns and hotels were built to serve the travellers, and general stores and a post office were built to serve the fledgling businesses. The board-and-batten blacksmith shop was originally built in Nobleton in the 1850s was subsequently moved to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

The village of Nobleton was named in honour of Joseph Noble, an early settler and tavern keeper who had a store on the northeast corner of Lot 5, Concession 9. Noble bought his property from John Robinson, who had got it directly from the Crown. According to property deeds, the settlement started about 1812. Some of the other notable early family names in Nobleton were Wellar, Snider, Pringle, Kaake, Hambly, Hawman, Robb and Robinson.

The post office in Nobleton opened May 6, 1851. The mail arrived in the village three times a week from Toronto by stagecoach via the Vaughan Plank Road. In 1856, William Munsie became the postmaster. Prior to 1969, the post office was on Highway 27, south of King Road. In 1969, the post office was moved to the King Sideroad, east of Highway 27.

The first school to serve Nobleton was built in 1820 on Lot 2, Concession 9, east half. It was a one-room structure built of logs. In 1870, a two-room frame building was erected on Lot 5, west half, Concession 8. It, in turn, was replaced by the new S.S. No. 19 schoolhouse. Later on, the school was bricked and additional classrooms added. The original Nobleton school closed its doors in 2012, and the children were moved to a new school on the highway to the north. 

Those who have passed through the village or have visited the area will have noticed the slow urbanization of Nobleton, which began in the 1950s and 1960s with the development of portions of the village's southwest quadrant. Housing developments began in the northern part of the village in the 1990s and 2000s and have accelerated in recent years.

We have now completed our look at the historic hamlets of King Township. I will be back with the historic hamlets of East Gwillimbury in the coming weeks.

Sources: Photo from Kettleby Tweedsmuir History; Photo from Temperanceville Tweedsmuir History; Photo from Schomberg Tweedsmuir History; Archives King City Public Library; Photo from Nobleton Tweedsmuir History; Photo from Early Settlements of King Township/ Elizabeth McClure Gillham; Photo from Album of Oldies/ Elizabeth McClure Gillham

Newmarket resident Richard MacLeod — the History Hound — has been a local historian for more than 40 years. He writes a weekly feature about our town's history in partnership with Newmarket Today, conducts heritage lectures and walking tours of local interest, and leads local oral history interviews