Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst
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Media: DATA CD - 1 CD
Author: A. Haydon
Publisher: Archive CD Books Canada
The District of Bathurst was created in 1822 as an administrative area (then) in the county of Carleton. It has since been disbanded in favor of more localized administrations. Describing this former districts borders is a little difficult. The description given in the book is, Comprising nearly all the area of the present counties of Lanark and Renfrew as well as that part of the present [i.e., in 1822] County of Carleton lying north and west of the Rideau River. Perhaps a clearer picture of the area can be gained from a listing of the townships it encompassed: Goulbourn, Beckwith, Drummond, Bathurst, March, Huntley, Ramsay, Lanark, Dalhousie, and North and South Sherbrooke, or from the major towns and villages featured or mentioned in the sketches, these being: Almonte*, Fitzroy, Lanark, Ottawa (Bytown), Pakenham, Pembroke (was New Miramichi and Campbelltown), Perth, Renfrew, Richmond, and Smiths Falls (* Almonte has also been known as, Sheppards Falls, Shipmans Falls, Shipmans Mills, Waterford, Ramsayville, and Victoriaville, at various times in its history.)
Besides being one of Canadas better known Senators, the author, Andrew Haydon was also a lawyer and historian and this background comes through in his writing. Being born in Pakenham, Haydon was in an ideal position to pick up the local history through his upbringing. While this book inevitably provides some wonderfully detailed history of the development of the area it is actually written as a series of sketches of the early settlers and so teaches us how they worked and lived together as much as it teaches us how the area developed.
One of the interesting aspects of reading a history book authored by a lawyer and politician is that he tends to point out the localized results of larger scale and national events, and in several instances this provides invaluable insight into the background to the development of particular locations. As an example Haydon relates the emigration of British tradespersons to the County of Lanark to the ending of the Napoleonic wars in Europe. A fascinating but unexpected relationship.This is a wonderful book for anyone with family who lived in this area of Eastern Ontario, not only for the background but also for the chance that they may be named in one of Haydons sketches.
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