46418Re: Playterson Lake Simcoe Portage Location
- Jan 3, 2013--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "jbwhittaker" wrote:
> Check out this link http://www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques_VWZ/Plaque_York32.htmlThanks Bruce, I've seen that palque and it probably is/was Playterson, although perhaps known by that name locally. Funny anything I find mentions different names but not Playterson. I got this from the History of Simcoe County,
> Bruce Whittaker
In taking up the different sections of the county, as we now propose to do after having sketched its public affairs, and the origin and development of its institutions, it will be proper to begin with Holland Landing and proceed northward, following the order of settlement. Yonge Street, the northern terminus of which was the "Holland Landing," formed the original boundary of this county. It was not until 1852 that the lots on Yonge Street, at that place, and all that part of West Gwillimbury lying on the south-east side of the West Branch of the Holland River, were detached from that township and annexed to the County of York. One half of early Holland Landing, then, having been inside the limits of Simcoe, will properly come within the scope of our review, especially as it was the main gateway into the county before the railway. Also, because it was the commercial emporium for a long time, and to all intents and purposes, it was the capital of this county from the passing of the Act of 1821, defining its boundaries, till the Act of 1837 and proclamation, when Barrie became the county seat. The elections all took place there, the Register of Lands lived there, and offical business generally was transacted there.
Holland River took its name from a former surveyor-general of Canada - Major S. Holland - who, in 1791, made a trip by way of Toronto Bay, Lake Simcoe, and the Balsam Lake chain, for the purpose of exploring the country. In the same year he constructed a large manuscript map of the parts visited by him, which still exists in the Crown Land Office of Ontario. This large map is the earliest that we have of the south part of Lake Simcoe (or Lake LeClie," as it was called), and even this one is very crude and shapeless, for the west half of the lake is left entirely undefined.
THE LOWER, or STEAMBOAT LANDINNG
Leaving Cook's Bay, and following up stream the east branch of the Holland River, the first landmark of importance that one finds is the old Soldiers' Landing, also known as the Lower, or Steamboat Landing. This was used during the war of 1812-15; and for many years after the expiration of war a number of cannons were left here in charge of a soldier. They were afterwards removed by the Government. They had been brought here as the "Landing" was the point at which all heavy goods in transit over the Great Portage from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron were placed on board the batteaux for transportation across Lake Simcoe. Here, too, the well-known anchor of such enormous dimensions remained for many years as a memento of the war time. But, like the cannons, it has also been removed, though not to a great distance. A few years ago it was hauled, with much difficulty from the Lower Landing to the village park near the Upper Landing, where it now rests. This gigantic anchor came from His Majesty's dockyards in England, and was intended for a large frigate that was under construction at Drummond Island, in Lake Huron. On its way thither it had reached the Holland Landing by the assistance of sixteen yoke of oxen, when peace came and interrupted all further operations at the "Navy Yard" on Drummond Island. Being too large for transportation (its length is 15 1/2 feet, excluding the ring), except under most urgent circumstances, the anchor brought thus far on its way, was left at Holland Landing, where it now remains to form a curious monument of those early stirring times. A smaller anchor, had in its passage over the Great Portage, reached the Willow Creek, where it remained for a few years, and was then removed.
Afterwards, when regular navigation opened on Lake Simcoe, the Lower Landing was used for the larger vessels and steamers. At this place the Holland River was about twenty-five yards wide; its banks were low and marshy, and thickly wooded with tamarac. It was at this uninviting place that Yonge Street, the great colonization highway, terminated, and merged into the water course across Lake Simcoe. Dr. Scadding, one of our most entertaining Canadian historians, describes in his Toronto of Old the Lower Landing as it appeared before it fell into its present deserted condition.
Many early travellers of distinction visited the Lower Landing in the course of their journeys, and have left records of the scenes which they beheld.
One of the earliest travellers to arrive at Holland Landing was Mr. John Goldie, the writer of a journal which contained remarks relating to Simcoe County. He was by occupation a botanist and gardener, and first came to America on a tour to examine the plants of the country in 1817. His journal was written two years later, in 1819, while he was on a second trip.
Sir John Franklin embarked here in 1825, when on his first overland expedition to the Arctic Seas; and in 1827, John Galt, who was on his way to Goderich, via Penetanguishene, also embarked at this place.
The opened space referred to by Galt and other early writers was used as a camping-ground by the early Indians and fur-traders. Here could be seen encamped at all seasons of the year large numbers of Indians, often from very remote districts on the upper lakes. Many of these came several times a year for the purpose of bartering their furs at Holland Landing, which was a sort of emporium for a large part of the northern country. Whiskey was too frequently the article sought and obtained by them. On one occasion the writer's grandfather counted no less than thirty wigwams of the larger kind clustered on the common adjoining the Landing. Here, too, the annual distributions of presents to the Indians were made at first. The ceremony was witnessed by the distinguished traveller Capt. Basil Hall, on July 20th, 1827, who has described it in an interesting manner in his Travels in North America in 1827-28. The distribution for the year 1828 took place on August 14th, and a description of it has been left us by the native preacher, Rev. Peter Jones. (Life and Journals, p. 164). In Appendix A, of Dean Harris' Catholic Church in the Niagara Peninsula (Toronto, 1895), there is a narrative of the loss of a child in the Holland Marsh, and it shows the skill displayed by Indians in the recovery of the lost one.
THE UPPER, or CANOE LANDING
Continuing our journey up stream, the next landmark reached is the Upper, or Canoe Landing, which is about a mile and a half above the Steamboat Landing. This Upper Landing was the ancient Indian place of embarkation of the war-parties and hunting-parties; and after the white men came upon these scenes it was still used as a landing-place for canoes and lighter craft which could get higher up the stream than the Steamboat Landing. A small bytown, consisting of two or three business places, arose at the Upper Landing at an early date - sometime in the twenties. The cause of its origin was this. The fur trade of Newmarket, which was large in the early years of this century, was chiefly supplied "from the Great Lakes of the Northland"; and the Indians used to effect a landing on the Holland River at this place after travelling with their furs over lakes, rivers and portages for many miles. The business men of Newmarket saw that the nearer they were to the landing-place, the more easily they could catch the trade - "first there, first served." In those early days it was a common sight to see 30 or 40 large wigwams of Indians from distant hunting grounds on the commons adjoining the landing-place. "To get the first bid," was therefore the object of these men in locating as close as possible to the place of landing, for it usually happened that the first bidder became the buyer. In this way the small bytown arose. A day school was opened by the Methodists, amongst the Indians at this place, on Feb. 12th, 1828. It had an average of about twenty scholars, and was kept by Phoebe Edmonds, a young missionary, whose name is familiar in the records of early Canadian mission work.
The Upper Landing was more frequently called "Johnson's Landing," after its first settler, Joseph Johnson, sr. He was one of five brothers of U.E. Loyalist descent, and had orignally settled on Yonge Street, between Thornhill and Hogg's Hollow, about the time of the war of 1812-15. Shortly after this, however, he exchanged this Yonge Street Property with a Mr. Davis, (whose hotel, built upon it, has been a familiar landmark for later travellers), taking in exchange the property at the Upper Landing Place on the Holland River. He at once permanently settled upon the latter, and his name from that time onward was connected with the place.
Amongst other early settlers at Johnson's Landing was Capt. Wm. Laughton, who was more familiarly known as "Squire" Laughton. He came from Newmarket, of which he had been an early resident, and was associated with Borland & Roe, the Indian fur traders. Laughton was the youngest member of this firm. In 1838 he was owner of the steamer "Peter Robinson," and he subsequently became captain of the steamer "Beaver," and of which he became sole proprietor in 1850. He was one of the first magistrates at Holland Landing. In later years Captain Laughton became a resident of Bell Ewart.
Borland, who was also a member of this trading firm, had Indian blood in his veins, an during the Rebellion of '37 he commanded a company of two hundred Indians stationed at Holland Landing. Wm. Roe, the third member of the firm, died in 1879 at the advanced age of eighty-four. Dr. Scadding sketches the careers of these two early adventurers in his usual interesting manner. They were connected in some way with - probably they were agents for - the North-West Company, which had a large storehouse at Johnson's Landing. Alexander Sutherland was another of those connected with the same Company, and was a resident here until his death a few years ago. Philemon Squire, who was more commonly known as "Phil." Squire, may also be enumerated among those who located at an early date in this bytown at Johnson's Landing.
Communication was possible between this place and the Lower Landing either by boat or by the road, which was known as Dalhousie Street. The two places are separated by a distance of a mile and a half."
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