Port Bruce Harbour Company and Aylmer Plank or Gravell Rd. Company

1853

PORT BRUCE AND AYLMER PLANK OR

GRAVELLED  ROAD COMPANY

1854

by Robert G. Moore

2002

HISTORY AND COMMENT

            In the early 1850’s, the merchants and farmers of Malahide and South Dorchester in Elgin County were all very interested in a better way than by wagon and stage from Hamilton in exporting their produce and timber and importing manufactured goods from Great Britain and the eastern United States. Water transport was the only economical method of moving goods and Port Bruce on Lake Erie was the only port in the area.

            A toll road in Bayham Township (Elgin County) from Ingersoll though Tillsonburg and Vienna to Port Burwell had been built by 1853 and already the economic benefits were apparent in that area.

            The residents of Malahide and Aylmer also hoped to take advantage of the economic boom in Ontario that was occurring during the Crimean War. Great Britain required large quantities of timber and wheat as their previous sources in Eastern Europe were no longer available.

            The proposed road from Port Bruce northerly through Aylmer would be built and operated by a group of citizens who formed themselves into a stock company. Tolls would be charged for the use of the road and would pay for the upkeep of the road, tool gate keepers etc and provide a return to the investors.

            For the toll road to be success, the harbour at Port Bruce would require dredging and new wharfs built. In 1851 Lindley Moore and Amasa Lewis had started to develop the harbour.

Business increased in the 2 next years. A stock company for further harbour work was organized in December 1853 in anticipation that the harbour work would be well underway when the toll road was completed.   Wharfage fees on goods and produce passing through the harbour would pay for the construction work and continued maintenance. 

            The harbour stock company unable to raise sufficient capital was forced by 1855 to borrow 2000 pounds from the Council of the Township of Malahide.  Exports began to decrease after 1856 as the country fell into the depression which followed the Crimean war. The harbour company failed to pay its debts to the Township and by 1860 the Township assumed control of the harbour.

            Malahide Township Council was also heavily involved in the toll road investing 1000 pounds in the stock company to begin road construction. The Council loaned an additional 3000 pounds in an attempt to complete the road.

             By 1860 the company defaulted on their loan and Township was forced to assume the entire toll road. They auctioned the three toll gates on the road to the highest bidder to try to recoup some of their  investment.

            Railroads construction boomed in the 1870’s though out Elgin County . The Canada  Southern Railway passed just north of Aylmer and the Great Western Railway’s Air Line Route passed through Aylmer were the two main railroads of the 1870’s.

            These railroads provided farmers a more economic method to get their produce to markets and  to obtain manufactured goods. Trade with the United States had replaced much of the trade with

Great Britain. As the pine forests of the area were nearly depleted, lumbering ceased to be the major industry.

            By the mid 1870’s the general depression in Canada that followed the American Civil War had hit rural Elgin County. However the toll road had served its purpose, although the stock holders had been not rewarded ,the Village of Aylmer did grow to a major centre in East Elgin while Port Bruce became a quiet fishing and summer resort hamlet.

            For a detailed summary of economic developments in Elgin County please refer to

“Economic Development in the County of Elgin 1850-1880″ by David J Hall published in 1972.

            As the 1851 census has been lost for the southern part of both Malahide and Bayham Townships including the hamlets of Vienna and Port Burwell and all of Yarmouth Township other than the village of St Thomas, Stock Book lists such as this one help us track the very transient population of Elgin County during the period between 1842 and 1861.

            The assistance of Fred Prong and Bruce Johnson of the Elgin Genealogical Society is much appreciated.


PORT BRUCE HARBOR COMPANY

1853

THE STOCK BOOK

            Be it remembered that in this eight day of September in the year of Our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and fifty three, We the undersigned stockholders met at Port Bruce in the Township of Malahide in the County of Elgin in the province of Canada and resolved to form ourselves into a company called the Port Bruce Harbor Company according to the provisions of a certain act of the Parliament of this Province entitled “An act to provide for the formation of Joint Stock companies for the Construction of Piers, Wharfs and Harbours” for the  purpose of constructing Piers, Wharves and making and dredging a harbor at the mouth of Catfish Creek  And we here do declare that the capital stock of said company shall be five thousand pounds to be divided into one thousand shares at the price or sum of five pounds each and we the undersigned do hereby agree to take an accept the number of shares set by us opposite our respective signatures and we do hereby agree to pay the calls thereon accordingly to the provisions of said in part recited Act and of the Rules, Regulations, Resolutions

and By Laws of the said Company to be made or passed in that behalf  and we do hereby nominate Lindley Moore, Amasa Lewis,  C G A Tozer, Jacob Cline & E S Ganson to be the first directors of the said company.

            (The stock book was signed by the various individuals purchasing stock, some of whose signatures are very difficult to read) (An other reference to the person and their occupation is given when it could be located)


THE STOCKHOLDERS

Name                  Address        Stock Shares     Other References to Person by RGM

Bens, Elijah C.     Vienna           100       

Brown, James        Aylmer            25    51 Mal miller

Brown, Walter       Aylmer            24    61 Mal farmer

Campbell, William   Aylmer             5    51 Mal court clerk

Clarke, Lewis J.    Malahide          10    42 Mal

Cline, Leonard      Malahide          20    Tre Lot 5 Con 9 Mal

Cline , Jacob       South Dorchester 100    Tre Lot 18 Con 11 S Dorch

Finch,  Henry       Aylmer            20    51 Mal innkeeper

Ganson, E S         Temperanceville   25    61 Mal (Orwell)

                                   Provisional Warden of Elgin 1852

Hagan , John S.     Port Bruce        50    61 Mal farmer (Haggan)

Hill, Charles       Malahide          16    61 Mal age 73

Hodgkinson, Philip  Aylmer            25    51 Mal merchant

Jones, William      Jamestown         50    51 Mal farmer

Kirkland, Ward T.   Aylmer            25   

Lewis, Amasa ,      Port Bruce       200    61 Mal forwarding merchant

Martin, Henry       Aylmer            20    51 Mal speculator

Moore, Lindley ,    Yarmouth         200    Tre Lot 6 Con 1 Mal

Mott, Roswell       Aylmer            10    51 Mal innkeeper

Orr,  Joseph L,.    Port Bruce        25    61 Mal farmer

Partlow, Wm T.      Aylmer            20    51 Mal pedlar

Rogers, A. &. J     Malahide          25    51 Mal millers

                                             (Arthur and James)

Tozer, Charles G.A. Aylmer            50    42 Mal

Tuttle, John        South Dorchester  20

Williams, Adolphus  Malahide          10    61 Mal doctor

Schedule #1  Joint Stock Co Port Bruce Harbor Co

Recorded the 7th day of December A. D 1853 at 50 minutes past 10 .0’clock AM in Liber A

Register for Joint Stock Companies Folio 1                         J McKay        D Registrar Elgin

These references are

42 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1842

51 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1851

61 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1861

Tre          Tremaines map of Elgin 1864 Malahide Twp unless noted


PORT BRUCE AND AYLMER PLANK OR

GRAVELLED ROAD COMPANY

1854

THE STOCK BOOK

BE IT REMEMBERED that on this twenty first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty four, we , the undersigned Stockholders met at the village of Aylmer in the township of Malahide in the county of Elgin in the Province of Canada and resolved to form ourselves into a company to be called the Port Bruce and Aylmer Plank of Gravelled Road Company, according to the provisions of a certain Act of the Parliament of this province entitled “An Act to amend and consolidate the several Acts for the formation of Joint Stock Companies “for the construction of Roads and other works in Upper Canada, for the purpose of constructing a road from Port Bruce in the said Township of Malahide to the southern limit of the Township of South Dorchester to intersect the side road between Lots number Ten and Eleven in the said Township of Malahide..- to commence on Hales street in Port Bruce aforesaid and to follow the line of the said side road northward to South Dorchester aforesaid and we do hereby declare that the Capital Stock of the said Company shall be five thousand pounds to be divided into one thousand shares at the price or sum Five Pounds each and we the undersigned stockholders do hereby agree to take and accept the number of shares set by us opposite our respective signatures and we do hereby agree to pay the calls thereon according to the provisions of the said in part recited Act and of the Rules, Regulations, Bylaws of the said Company to be made or passed in that behalf and we nominate James Little, Charles G. A Tozer (Jacob Cline scratched out and replaced by William W Davis), Elijah C Bens Esquire and Thomas Locker Esquire, Reeve of the said Township of Malahide to be the First directors of the said Company.

(The stock book was signed by the various individuals purchasing stock some of whose signatures are very difficult to read) (An other reference to the person and their occupation is shown when it could be located)


THE STOCKHOLDERS

Name                                 Stock Shares       Other Reference to Person

Adams, James           5 51 Mal tailor

Backhouse, James J.    5 mill owner on Silver Creek at Lake Erie

Belle? Joseph          5

Beemer, Abram         10 42 Mal farmer

Beemer, Bradford       5 51 Mal farmer

Bencroft Henry?        5 51 Mal Cooper Lot 11 Con 5 (Bancroft?)

Bens, Elijah C.       20 Res Vienna

Brooks, Daniel        20 mark X witness J Kirkland 51 Mal farmer

Brown Nicholas        10 61 Mal farmer

Brown James            5 51 Mal miller

Brown, Walter         10 42 Mal farmer 61 Mal farmer

Brown, William B      10 61 Mal farmer

Brown    ? J           5 61 Mal farmer

Brush Hiram D          5 51 Mal farmer

Buck? Willson          5 a William Buck in 42 Mal census

Campbell, William      5 51 Mal Clerk of the Court

Caswell Ambrose        6 51 Mal waggon maker Lot 10 Con 7

Chase, John            5 51 S.Dor

Clarke William         5 51 Mal shoemaker

Clendenning, Jarret S. 5 61 Mal Wagon maker (Jared)

Clendenning, Alexander 5

Cline, Jacob          10 Tre S Dorchester Twp Lot 18 Con 11

Cline, Leonard         6 42 mal farmer Lot 5 Con 9

Clutton & Feanian     15 61 Mal Joseph Clutton

                            Woollen maufacturer

Colk   Thomas C        5 51 Mal farmer

Cottingham George     10 42 Mal

Crandell, Ruben       10 51 Mal merchant

Cronk Ephraim          5 51 Mal shoemaker (Crank in census index)

Cutler, Nathan         5 51 Mal blacksmith

Davis, Warren F.      10 51 Mal farmer

Davis, Loder           5 51 Mal Farmer

Davis, Wm H           15 51 Mal farmer

Doolittle, Ira         5 42 Mal farmer Lot 13 Con 4

Doty, Lewis            5 51 Mal occ.grafter               

Feuthers, Thomas      10

Finch H               20 51 Mal innkeeper (Henry)

Foot, Ezra            10 61 Mal doctor

Given William         10

Graves Daniel         10 51 Mal pedlar

Hagen, John A          5 61 Mal farmer

Haney, Isaac Sr        5 51 Mal farmer (Hainey)

Haney, George I.       5

Harvey William         5 61 Mal farmer Walkam age 32 in 61 census

Harvey Joseph          3 42 Mal farmer Lot 17 Con 4

Hegler Adam            5 51 Mal farmer (Hagler)

Herrington Edward J    5 61 Mal Harness maker

Hill, E.&.A.          10 42 Mal Elias Hill farmer Lot 16 Con 4 

Hill, Charles          5 61 Mal age 73

Jagur, Edward          8 (Yager)

Johnson, James         5 51 Mal farmer

Kennedy John          10 51 Mal innkeeper

Kinsey. Jesse          5 61 Mal farmer (recorded as Kinney) 

Kirkland, Wood        10

Laur, William         10 51 Mal farmer   

Lewis Joel            10 Tre Yarmouth Twp Lot 26 Con 7

Lewis, Amasa           5 61 Mal forwarding merchant

                         Tre produce dealer Port Bruce 

Little, James         10 51 Mal merchant

Malahide Township    200 Signed by Thos Locker Reeve for the                                    municipality

McArthur, John        10 Dorchester

McCausland, John A.    5 51 Mal blacksmith

McCausland, John      10 61 Mal one farmer, one a wagon maker

McIntosh, William      5 51 Mal farmer

McIntosh, Daniel       5 Tre S Dorchester Twp Lot 5 Con 12

McIntyr J.C            5 61 Mal farmer (James MacIntyre)

McKinney John          5 51 Mal farmer

McKinney Hamilton W.   2 mark X witness J Kirkland 51 Mal farmer

McKinney, John         5 name scratched out     

McLachlan James        5 51 Mal farmer

McLachlan, A.J.        5 51 Mal farmer (Archibald?)

McMaster, Lewis        5 61 Mal tavern keeper (Lucius)

Merrill, Jarvis        5 married Mary McKenney

                          related to James Merrill?    

Millard, Matthais      5 61 Mal farmer

Miller John C          5 signed by X 51 Mal farmer

Miller, Frederic      10 51 Mal merchant

Miller Johnson        10 51 Mal cabinet maker

Moore George C        10 61 Mal farmer

Moore Lindley C.      20 61 Mal farmer signed (of)Malahide

Mott, Roswell         10 51 Mal innkeeper

Murray A.&W.E.         5 61 Mal Merchant (Andrew) E. age 80 in 61

Neff, Jacob           10 Tre S Dorchester Lot 1 Con 12

Nickerson Alfred      10 1871 Malahide census

Orr, Joseph           10 61 Mal farmer 42 Mal Lot 11 Con 1

Page, Benjamin         5 42 Mal

Pepper Robert         10 signed by X witness 61 Mal farmer       

Plant Charles          5 51 Mal labourer

Price, Aaron          10 61 Mal printer

Rogers, A.&.J         10 51 Mal Millers (Arthur and James)

Smith John H.          5 died age 37 in 1863

                         son of Zenophen Smith

Smith, Enoch           5 51 Mal farmer

Smith & Morgan         5

Summers John R.        5 51 Mal farmer

Summers J.?            5 51 Mal farmer (James)

Teeple, George H       5 51 Mal farmer

Thayer, Israel         5 42 Mal Sawmill Lot 13 Con 3

Tibbets Abrah          5 42 Mal

Tisdale & Co,         20 51 Mal (Henry farmer

                                Walker D , Merchant)

Tozer, Charles G.A    15 61 Mal farmer

Vanpatten Daniel       5 51 Mal indexed as Vanplatter

Vanpatter, Warren      5 61 Mal farmer    

Vanwagner Samuel       5 51 Mal farmer (Vanwagoner)

Walton , John          5 51 Mal labourer census index Walt

Westover, Samuel       5 61 Mal farmer         

Westover James        10 61 Mal labourer

Williams, Adolphus     5 51 Mal doctor

Woolley, Peter        10 51 Mal farmer

York Samuel D.         5 51 Mal currier

Young Robert           5 51 Mal labourer

Young Jacob H          5 51 Mal labourer

Young Samuel           5 51 Mal labourer

(John Kirkland the treasurer did not subscribe and was listed as a merchant in the 1861 Malahide census)

                                 Aylmer 3 March 1854

This is to certify that I have received of stockholders in the Port Bruce and Aylmer Plank or Gravelled Road Company Three hundred pounds being amount of instalment of Ten per cent on the capital stock of said company

                                  John Kirkland

                                    Treasurer

Registry office certification

Port Bruce and Aylmer Plank or Gravelled Road Company

Recorded the 29th day of April A D 1854 at 11 am in Liber 1 for Joint stock companies

Folio 3                        J McKay, D Registrar, Elgin

References are

42 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1842

51 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1851

61 Mal     Malahide Twp census 1861

Tre          Tremaines map of Elgin 1864 Malahide Twp unless noted