Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next

 

8   THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO

party moved forward and were soon carving out homes for themselves in the wilderness.

"Cut off from civilization by the rapids of the St. Lawrence they were very much isolated. Nor was their condition improved by their arrival in the middle of summer, too late to sow grain for that year or to make clearances for sowing fall wheat. Without money, for the Government refused to issue specie, without crops, and away from sources of supply their condition became desperate. To add to their troubles the year 1788 was one of complete crop failure. Of the following season when famine stalked in the land I have heard some pitiful tales. Many actually died of starvation while others were saved only by the game and wild pigeons which they were able to capture.

"These pioneers were grouped in five companies under the leadership of Captain Grass, Sir John Johnson, Colonel Rogers, Major Van Alstine, and Colonel Macdonell, and to each company was allotted a township. Four of these companies were composed mainly of soldiers and people who belonged to the mercantile classes in the Old Thirteen Colonies. Knowing nothing of bush life and little more of farming they were ill-prepared for the rugged life of agricultural pioneers.

"The Adolphustown settlers, under Major Van Alstine, on the other hand were mostly farmers and were able to turn their past training to good account. The first landing took place at a little cove about a stone's throw from where D. W. Allison, at one time member for the Commons, afterwards built a fine residence, and on


Previous Pioneers of Ontario (1923) Next