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Victoria County Patentees

Investigation thus shows that over one-third of the patentee pioneers of Victoria are still represented in the county by their descendants in the male line. The additional instances where their blood persists through their female descendants intermarriage with other families still found locally would doubtless, if it could be traced, raise the proportion of pioneers surviving to over one-half. Further, many of the patentees un-represented were land speculators and beneficiaries of grants to U. E. L. descendants, who did not settle on their lands but sold out later to others who did occupy permanently and may therefore be regarded as the real pioneers on such lots. A checked list of such pioneers by private purchase would raise our figures still higher, but its preparation is, unfortunately, impracticable.

The bona fide statistics for patentee survivals through the male line, as shown above, are, however, in themselves sufficiently remarkable. A record of 981 patentee families in a single county persisting for the better part of a century is most unusual in Ontario.

Close inspection of the individual townships brings out illuminating differences in their records.
Emily was the first municipality thrown open for settlement, yet it has the highest number of surviving families. There are 63 actually on the same farms and 208, or nearly one-half of the original total, still in the township. The solid nucleus of this survival is the band of 142 families of Irish Roman Catholics who came in with the Robinson Immigration of 1825 and settled in the northern concessions of Emily. Most of these families still persist. It might also be noted that Humphrey Finley, the first settler in Emily and therefore in the whole county, is still represented on Lot 15, Concession I, the original holding.

The original settlers of Ops were largely of the same Roman. Catholic Irish stock (though only partially of the same immigration) and have shown the same phenomenal stability.

In Eldon the patentees were chiefly Scotch and chiefly from Argyleshire. The degree of persistence here exceeds that in Ops and almost equals that in Emily. Practically every surviving patentee family is Scotch.

Mariposa, Fenelon and Verulam were taken up piecemeal by English and Irish Protestants. The record in these townships has been somewhat spoiled by land speculators but even so it seems as if their pioneer stock had lacked the coherence of the more homogeneous settlements in North Emily, Ops, and Eldon.

Bexley and Somerville were opened up much later than the six southern townships and the rest of North Victoria much later still. Some patents in North Victoria are even dated in the present century. Comparison with South Victorian townships is therefore very unequal. If such a comparison be undertaken, it will throw into even bolder relief the remarkable stability of South Victoria and at the same time betray the essential non-agricultural character of the northern townships. In Bexley, the first northern area to be opened, not one farm, remains with its original owners. In the other townships the proportion ranges from one-eleventh to one-fifth. No figures are given for Longford as that township was not patented to settlers.

Pioneer Families

Victoria County


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