Author’s Note–HARPER, was a post settlement in Lanark County, Ontario, 7 miles from Perth, on the C.P.R. It contains 1 Methodist church, school, telephone office, blacksmith shop, cheese factory, 2 stores and 1 private bank. Pop. 60 ...from Lovell’s 1906 Canada Gazetteer. The village was named after Joseph Harper w ho settled in the area.
Men waiting for their mail at the Harper Post Office–Photo from–Tay Valley Township–The Harper General Store c.1910. The building was bought by John Butler in 1877 for $340 and the store served the community until about 1970. From left in the photo are Gerald Cunningham, James Cavers, Bob Anderson, G.E. “Ned” Wilson, John Butler, Jack are and George Brownlee. Photo: The Perth Courier
Perth Courier, October 14, 1837
The Early Settlers of Harper by Everett Bowes, SS10, Bathurst
We will now take you back to the time of 1850. About this time where the village is now situated it was covered with forest. The emigrants from Ireland, Scotland and England came out and started a small settlement which they thought was well situated. These early settlers were mostly tradesmen. There were two blacksmith shops. One was owned by Miles Leighton. Kenneth Cameron is the present owner. William McVeighconducted another blacksmith shop. He was also noted as a “vet”. His place of business was located on the present Ferguson farm.We pupils of SS10, Bathurst thought we would find out more about the early settlers of the village of Harper. I wish to thank Patrick Tovey of Bathurst for the following information.
There were two hotels. One was run by Miles Leighton and the other was next to our present school grounds. It was operated by a Mr.Cole.
There were two cabinet makers by the name of Marguerite. Henry Margurite lived at the present home of Mrs. Robert Ferguson. James Marguerite lived where James Warrington is at present. The Marguerites were of Swiss origin.
Tom Churchill had a small farm. He also made barrels which were used as potash containers. Mr. Kerne now lives on the farm. Joseph Warren a former school teacher, conducted a general store and post office. William Keays now owns this property. On the same land was a house where lived Mr. Harper, commonly known as “Daddy Harper”. He was a former school master. On the north corner of our school grounds was a log house owned by Mr. Wiste. He was a shoe maker. Across the road where Mr. Alden Watt now lives, Richard Darou conducted a butcher business. Later a general store now owned by John Spaulding was built byJohn Butler. The farm now owned by Gerald Cunningham was first cleared and settled by Mr. Fisher. Two other men, both named Fisher also got Crown deeds for farms on the 7th Concessionlilne. The home of Mr. Perkin was first settled by Mr. McNee.
A “grange” stood where our school is now. This was operated by local residents who distributed grain and other things to those who desired it. A library on a small scale was also here.
About the year 1885 a church was built by the Methodist congregation of the district.
Our present school was formerly located on land north of the village. However, the location was not considered suitable for school grounds. In 1920 it was moved to the present site. The land was purchased from Eli Blackburn.
THE STORY OF
THE VILLAGE OF HARPER
This is a manuscript in the Perth Museum research files.
Transcribed by Charles Dobie.