Last week I posted this from the Almonte Gazette
Story of How Clayton Village Got Its Name Is Copied Out Of Gazette Files Of 25 Years Ago
Place names in Lanark County usually are derived from original settlers in the localities or from points in the Old Country where the pioneers lived before embarking for the wilds of Canada.
Another example of this was I brought to light, recently, by Mr. Abraham Evans of Clayton. He noticed in an article written for The Gazette by Mr. W. H. Black of Toronto, that a question was raised as to how Clayton and Rosetta got their names. He claims that Clayton was called after Colonel Clayton, an original settler in that district, and that Rosetta got its name from a Miss Rosetta McFarlane or Rosetta Craig, who were among the first to live in that part of the County. The Bellamys went to Clayton after the Colonel had been there for some time. It was they who built the grist and saw mills. Up to the time of their coming, pioneer residents like Mr. Evans’ grandfathers, had carried their grist to Perth on their backs, to have it milled. Bellamys offered to build the mills provided the farmers around what is now known as Clayton Lake, agreed to let them dam the stream emptying out it thus raising the level of the water by 12 feet. Anxious for the facilities offered the people came to terms with the Bellamys and as a result of this agreement the lake was first known by the name of Harmony. It appeared that way on old maps but as time passed and the reasons for this rather fancy appellation faded into the distance, the body of water above the Village became known variously as Watchorns Lake, Evans’ Lake, Thompson’s Lake and Clayton Lake. Finally the last label stuck, and today, Clayton Lake is famous for its pike fishing. Mr. Evans, maternal grandfather, Donald Munro, came out from Scotland and settled in the Clayton district 140 years ago. His paternal grandfather, Richards Evans, was a native of Wales, and carved out a home for himself on the shores of the lake about the same time as the Munros.
Rose Mary Sarsfield OMG Linda This is so much crap!!! See below– ( I love Rosemary LOLOLOL)
The Name of the Village
From the very early days the settlement seems to have been known as “Bellamy’s Mills”. It was also called “Bellamyville”,1 or “Bellamy’s” by those outside the community. The river was named the Indian River on the map made by the surveyors in 1821.
The difficulty with the name Bellamy’s Mills was there was another community with the same name in Augusta Township, Leeds County. The village now known as North Augusta was settled by Edward Bellamy’s brothers. Imagine the confusion of trying to deliver letters to the correct persons with only the address of Bellamy’s Mills.
In October 1855 advertisements for businesses in Bellamy’s Mills began to appear as “Clifton”.2 This carried on until late 1858 when the name “Clayton” started to appear. But often the names were used interchangeably for a few years. The name Bellamy’s Mills was what people were used to using. It seems that it may have been the Post Office department that changed the names. While the name of “Almonte” was made official by a bylaw passed by the Bathurst District Council, nothing similar can be found for Clayton. The name “Clifton” was probably removed for the same reason as “Bellamy’s Mills” because there was another town called “Clifton” in the western part of the province.
Where did the name Clayton come from? There has been a story that has been repeated in the Almonte Gazette over the years, which now must be corrected. My mother, Mrs. Kate Richards, told the story of an old gentleman coming to visit my father, Harry Richards in 1938. The conversation got around to the subject of how Clayton got its name. My Mother, being young and brash, said, “Oh there was probably some old Colonel Clayton around that they named it after.” The next week, to her horror, the story appeared in the Almonte Gazette that this gentleman had reported that Clayton was named after a Colonel Clayton, a settler in the area.
My Mother, not wanting to cause embarrassment to the old man, said nothing. And so, the myth continued. It was even repeated at the opening of the Clayton dam in 1970. I have done a lot of research to see if there was any possibility of this having even a shred of truth, and there is none. There never was any Colonel Clayton anywhere in Lanark County. The truth is we don’t know where the name Clayton came from. It was most likely chosen by someone in charge of Post Offices at the time.