Visiting the Neighbours — Middleville Ontario and Down the 511

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Most of the first North Lanark farm settlers came from overpopulated towns and countryside of Lanark County in
the South of Scotland, including Glasgow, and Lanark, the county of Lanarkshire. Smaller communities later
formed in Lanark Township include Middleville, Hopetown, Brightside, Herron‟s Mills (formerly Gillies Mills),
Halpenny, Rosetta and Boyd Settlement (Brown 1984:14)

Somerville

This is the family of Robert Charles (Bob) Somervile and Sarah Anne Headrick;

Robert Charles Somerville born 18 Dec 1852, died 1931, buried Greenwood cemetery, Middleville, Ontario.

Sarah Anne Headrick born 7 June 1860, died 1925, buried Greenwood cemetery, Middleville, Ontario.

This area of Ontario was at the centre of the Canadian textile industry in the 1800’s. Settled
almost exclusively by weavers from the area south of Glasgow, Scotland, who organized themselves
into “Emigration Societies”, the terrain of low hills, rocky outcrops and fast-running rivers and
streams was ideal for raising sheep and establishing textile mills. Not to mention the early timber industry.

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The village of Middleville was a frontier village, located in a rocky and rugged landscape. The
photo is taken from the north side of the village which located in a valley. If you follow the road over
the hill to the south, Lanark is the nearest village. Almonte is the closest town towards the east.

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One of the first settlers in the town of Middleville was James Campbell from Paisley Scotland, who emigrated independent of government assistance (Bennett, 1980; 70; MicGill 1963: 65). In 1820, Campbell occupied the west half of Lot 15, Concession 6, where the present town of Middleville is found today and later sold part of his land as town lots. His wife Jean Whyte, whom he had left in Scotland, came out in the spring of 1822 with their three children.

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Campbell had been a manufacturer in the old country and was not trained for farming. Other early settlers were Matthew Laurie, John Anderson, Kennedy Baxter, John Mather, James and William Borrowman. They were soon followed by the next influx of settlers whose descendants still live at Middleville today: Gillies, McKay, Creighton and Rankin. At the time James Campbell settled, the community was originally called Middleton until the 1850s when a post office was established (Bennett, 1980: 70-71). There was already a community receiving mail under that name and so Middleville came into being. Middleton boasted a post office, two churches, a cheese factory a general store and three schools in the nineteenth century, almost all of which are still standing today.

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More information- Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment Jackson
Subdivision, Middleville Lot 15, Concession
6, Geographic Township of Lanark, Lanark
County, Ontario 

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This is the Thomas Watt & Son stove display at the Middleville Fair.

Middleville 1885

Middleville school still stands today.

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After a stop at the Museum –Next stop- take a right onto the 511 known as Herron’s Mills Roads.
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A gentleman was erecting stone pillars for a driveway where the once ghost house stood and I stood there rattling off the history of Herron’s Mills–because that is what I do now. For God’s sakes don’t ask me anything if you see me– you might never see your family again. This man got off lightly.:)

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Photos Bytown or Bust Photo and they appears in Lanark Legacy, by Howard Morton Brown

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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