Peterson Corner was founded supposedly at the junction of the Peterson and Bobcaygeon Colonization Roads in Haliburton (in the 1800s this was part of Peterborough County). Parts of these roads in the vicinity of the modern 118 Highway (built in the 1960s) have been reclaimed by the forest.
This pioneer community began with the lumber industry and soon sported a store, post office (opened in 1863), hotel, an Orange Lodge (#1278, a photo exists at the local museum showcasing the 20 members from the 1800s) and log shanties. History notes claim that Mr. Wright and Mr. Jervis were the first to settle the junction in the 1860s. Nothing of it remains today. Located at the SW side of Kushog Lake, some modern road maps have it wrongfully titled as "Patterson Corners" where Kushog Lake Rd. and Buckslide Rd. meet. I believe there were 2 actual possible locations for it. One was south of Hwy 118 where the former alignment of the Peterson Rd. met the Bobcaygeon Rd. The other was just west of the modern marked location at the bend in the road by the huge open field. A road used to go through this field and attached to a lost section of the Peterson Rd.
Alex Lindsay and William Walker from Ireland were the earliest settlers. Thomas Walker was born here in 1866 and lived here all his life. Other settlers to the village included family names like: Toy, Stevens, Rivers and Guinn.
Baseball was very popular in these parts in the late 1800's and each village within Haliburton had their own team.
Its post office history varies but one source claims that it existed from 1878 until 1931. It burnt down and wasn't rebuilt- its last postmaster being Don Ross.
Peterson Corner's Orange Lodge was still running proud by 1934 when it had 24 still on its roll.
For more info. on these 2l colonization roads and others in the Haliburton area check this: http://www.pinecone.on.ca/MAPS/HaliburtonHighlands.html
To see a map from the 1950's showing its newer location just NE of the aforementioned junction check this: http://maps.library.utoronto.ca/datapub/digital/Self/Scan5342.JPG
According to this 1948 map it was located where the bridge crosses over Boskung Lake, which is even more easterly than the other 2 locations.. http://maps.library.utoronto.ca/datapub/digital/G3522_A4_506_1946.htm
Postal Records (courtesy Carol Moffat):
Name of postmaster Date of appointment Date of vacancy Cause of vacancy
James Joy 1878-07-01 1886 *
John Dawson 1886-06-01 1890-04-03 Resignation
Stephen Dawson 1891-01-01 1908-04-04 Resignation
Donald A. Ross 1908-07-23 1912-04-03 Resignation
Mrs. Maud Walker 1912-05-18 1914-04-21 Resignation
Mrs. Mary Rivers 1914-06-01 1928-01-18 Resignation
James Stanley Rivers 1928-03-01 1931-03 Resignation
Mrs. M.A. Walker 1931-04-30 1931-11-07 Closed - Limited Usefulness
* An old map shows Peterson Corner's post office being located at Conc. A/B Lot 3, which later became Hindon Hill's postal area.
Lot and Concession Owners from 1908/1911:
It was still a post office community but only 3 family names show up in the records..Hmm? These are from Stanhope Township.
Lot A, Conc. 1
Lot 2, Conc. 2 (which is located in the field where the airfield once existed)
Lot unknown, Conc. 1
Orange Lodge Info
Year (1901) Peterson Corner Orange Lodge (L.O.L. # 1278) was run by George Armstrong. Later it was taken over by WJ Coulter and WG Hewitt.
Year (1917) it was run by AJ Hewitt of Minden and James A. Taylor of Elsie and had 47 members.
Later it was run by John A. Walker of Peterson Corner, Angus Coulter of Boskung and Cliff Harrison of Carnarvon. By 1926 it was down to 22 members, but by 1934 was back up to 24 members.
Surveying the old Township Concession and Lot Lines in Pioneer Colonization Times (my Questions to Gary Long):
I was up at Hindon Hill and Peterson Corner today. I found lots of stuff and have some questions..
question 1- how did the make the concession/lots lines so perfect back in the 1800s? I mean, these guys were deep in the woods, goin over rocks and swamp and lakes and they still managed to keep a perfect line..Add to this the bugs and the need to carry so much food and tools way off the colonizations roads and I am amazed..did 2 guys do all the work for one whole township? good god its unfathomable and yet thats how all of the north was done..... A survey crew normally had several members--surveyor, assistance, axemen, chain men, cook. It is amazing they managed to run such straight lines when all they had was a compass and 66-foot Gunter chain. They were simply very dedicated and concientious. They didn't always manage straight lines, though: there are many places, especially with township boundaries, where they got off at a bit of an angle to what they intended. Still, it was an amazing feat considering the terrain and the crude equipment.
2- do u know the Bobcaygeon Rd went all the way up from HIndon Hill to Dorset and that 90% of it is not used today? part of it went right over Raven Lake..was there some kind of primitive bridge over raven Lake? Its quite a gap..if u go to Hindon Hill on OAP u can see the old map..... The Bobcaygeon Road went even farther than Dorset--all the way up to the Oxtongue River. When it was originally surveyed, Raven Lake was much lower and it was dry land where the line crosses it now. But the road as built never went that way anyway--from the spot it approaches Raven Lake there, it veer west and more or less followed the present route of Highway 35 into Dorset because the terrain was too rugged for a road on the orginal survey line between Raven Lake and Dorset. The township boundary still follows the original line.
3- Peterson Corner right where the old Peterson Rd (now gone) met the Bobcaygeon Rd. This is impossible as I was there today and there is no way they could have had shanties and a hotel there. I also can not accept that the Peterson Rd went in a straight line..... I'm sure the road twisted and turned back and forth, so in any given point wasn't likely on the line one would get by drawing a straight line along the route.
* From what I can tell, the Peterson Road ran generally along the east-west line formed by the southern boundaries of Bruton, Harburn, Guilford, Stanhope, and Hindon townships, though straying off here and there due to terrain. Parts are still in use. Apparently some sections of the road had been abandoned almost before other sections were even finished. West of the Bobcaygeon Road, the Peterson Road had to swing more to the north, as its western terminus was Muskoka Falls (that's how it ended up going through Vankoughnet and Uffington, which are well to the north of the initial line). Some years before the Peterson Road was built, a surveyor named Robert Bell ran an east-west line one tier of townships to the north (i.e. along the northern boundary of the townships mentioned above), but it was considered unsuitable for a road because of rough terrain.
1) Are u trying to tell me that when they originally surveyed the Bobcaygeon Rd thru raven lake that that part of the lake was dry land or was it a swamp? how and when did it become so deep there by the 2 islands? was a clearance thru the forest (and thru the supposed dry land) ever built here by the 1st survey party up to Dorset?..... You need to read my book Gilmour Tramway, which explains all about the water levels at Raven Lake. But to put it simply, yes, when the Bobcaygeon Road was surveyed, it was dry land, except for a small creek, where the line crosses at what are now two small islands. In 1893 the Gilmour lumber company built a dam on Raven Lake, raising the water level about 12 feet and flooding that area across the road line and into what is now Five Mile Bay (originally there was a separate, smaller lake there, called Eagle Lake). Additionally, the Gilmours blasted out a channel on one side of the islands so they could tow booms of logs through. The Gilmours were using Raven Lake as part of a route to get logs from Lake of Bays to St. Nora Lake. The tramway was the part that got the logs from Lake of Bays up to the level of Raven Lake. The first Bobcaygeon Road survey party would have cut out a line for surveying purposes--i.e. a narrow swath so they could sight their compass along it.
2) was a gunter chain what they used to plot the lines? did they nail a spike into the ground every 66 feet? how would a compass help? i am under assumption that the north-south lines headed a wee bit west of due north which is why the lines go in that funny direction in southern ontario..the township lines go in a straight line north of sudbury..... In southern Ontario the township boundaries run at an angle a few degrees west of true north, reflecting the original orientation of lines surveyed north of Lake Ontario. The compass was used to make sure they were running a line in the correct direction and the Gunter chain was used of course to measure off the distances. They might have put a spike temporarily in the ground to mark the location the end of the chain, espeically if they were breaking for lunch or the end of the day; ordinarily, there would be two chainmen. One would hold the end of the chain at the first point while the other pulled it ahead to the next point, 66 feet ahead. Then that guy would stay there while the first guy brought the chain foreword and leapfrogged ahead to the next point. Since the chain was 66 feet, that was the default width of road allowances, and the standard 100-acre lot measured exactly 20 chains wide and 50 chains high.
3) why are the townships in Northern Ontario half the size of southern ontario?..... A decision was made when it came time to survey northern Ontario to make the township boundaries run true north, and also it was decided that townships in northern Ontario would be six miles square. I don't know the reason for the size. You might look in books like Renewing Nature's Wealth or Men and Meridiens.
4) how long would one township take to survey? did they do it in spring or fall when less mosquitoes? did they have repellant? did they have enough food for the whole job or did they have to make trips in and out?.....It normally took an entire season for a crew to survey one township. Seasoned surveyors would start at late as possible to avoid the black flies. They'd usually finish in late autumn; sometimes they'd be still surveying in winter. I suppose if they were close to settled areas, they'd do some surveying in the spring, then wait until after blackfly season. Often, though, the townships were remote, and they'd have to go in and do it all in one go. For bug repellent, they used smudge pots at camp, and whatever greasy concoctions people smeared on themselves in those days. There are accounts of survey crews threatening to mutiny because of bugs and not enough food. They of course had guns and would shoot some game when they encountered any, but by and large they packed their food with them--salt pork, hardtack, real yummy stuff. Sometimes part of the crew would be sent back down the line to civlization to get more.
5) north of Brady lake up the Bobcaygeon Rd at about lot 14 there are two small poles with the markings of Stanhope and Hindon Hill on both of them. I wonder how old those babies are..nice to see no one has taken them after all these years..... Are the marking carved into them?
More Post Office History (courtesy Haliburton Highlands)
"The Peterson office was situated at what is known as the "Junction", - corners formed by a junction of the Peterson with the Bobcaygeon Roads, some seven miles north of Minden, but on the 21st March last the building in which the Post office was kept was totally destroyed by fire, and there being then no one living at the Corners to take care of it, the office was, in accordance with my instructions, closed. The Carnarvon office is about three miles east of the Corners, on the Peterson Road. The two offices were supplied with a weekly mail from Minden at a cost of $90 a year.
The people who made use of the Peterson office were some thirty or more families who reside north of the Junction, and scattered about some lakes in the vicinity called Bushconk Lake, Halls Lake who in going up and down the road to and from Minden had to pass via the Junction. These people are now actually without a convenient Post office, and have to do their postal business at Minden, where they trade. The difficulty, however, in re-opening the office is to find any person to take charge of it. No person resides at the Corners, as the land in the vicinity is too barren to be of any use, and the nearest competent person living there is a Mr. James Toy referred to in the papers, but he lives nearly a mile north of the Junction, and an office at his place would only accommodate about ten families who live north of the Junction, as those living about the lakes would not be likely to go to an office there as they would have to travel nearly one mile in and out when visiting it; they would be more likely to go on to Minden, where they do their trading. An office south of the Junction would be of very little service, as very few persons live between that point and Minden. Mr. Jarvis, the Postmaster at Peterson, informed me that he intended to build again on the old site, and until he, or someone else, does so, I do not see that the Peterson office can very well be re-opened.
The Carnarvon office is intended to accommodate the settlers in the vicinity and those living in the Maple Lake settlement.""
**I found the Rivers' property foundations right beside the highway on the south side just a ways east of the Bobcaygeon Road...photos included