Once Upon a Time: Lockerby founded in 1851

On June 21, 1979, the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority unveiled a commemorative cairn at Lockerby Conservation Area near Paisley. Mrs. Alice Weeden was invited to speak at this formal occasion. Here are some of her remarks.

Look around you! Now let your thoughts go back to 1851. I have been asked to give a little history of the early settlement of Lockerby. In that year, word was out that Crown Land had been surveyed at the Bruce Peninsula and was open for settlement. Simon Orchard and Samuel Rowe with their families landed their rafts at the junction of the Saugeen and Teeswater Rivers and erected shacks where the Paisley Town Hall and Hotel now stand. In the Spring of 1852, the Lyon and Hembroff families built a raft at Hanover. They loaded everyone aboard with all their belongings and sailed down to the mouth of the North Saugeen (Lockerby Creek) where the two men had built a shack on Concession Six the previous year.

By 1853, more settlers arrived, mostly of Scottish descent; hence the names Lockerby and Paisley. Pioneer life was not easy. When Miss McIntyre and Thomas Pearce planned to wed, they walked to Southampton in order to be married by a Presbyterian minister. Most supplies for the Lockerby settlers were brought in from Southampton by boat or carried on their backs. During the next few years, the settlement grew, sparked by rumours the proposed Elora Road was to go by Lockerby. Unfortunately, other voices persuaded surveyors to direct the road west, where Paisley now sits. After that, Lockerby ceased to grow beyond its 13 houses.

Meanwhile, Edward Pearce recognized the need for a sawmill. Then a grist mill and dam were built by Mr. Hembroff. After several subsequent owners, by 1874, it was in the hands of William Brown, my grandfather. He enlarged the building to produce flour and cracked wheat, not just animal feed. The need for long journeys to Southampton ended. Men came from as far away as Kincardine and Desboro to get their flour. Grandpa and his five sons operated the mill with at least two hired men. With the coming of hydro, farmers could purchase hammer mills and grinders of their own. The mill was no longer the hub of the community. More next month.


The original article from the 1980 yearbook of the Bruce County Historical Society was abridged by Bob Johnston