Re: Playterson Lake Simcoe Portage Location
- My new best guess is the same as Ron's best guess! :) I hadn't heard of the Pleyter family and hadn't seen his answer when I dashed off his! He is much more likely to be right too, given his credentials and experience than am I , a mere dabbler in early Ontario history.
- Thanks for the replies everyone, I'll do some research on the Playter family. Like many things from the past we get more questions then answers sometimes. The route to Lake Huron via York, Lake Simcoe, Nottawasaga for military use had been established for sometime and of course by the 1st nations for who knows how many years.
Most of the place names mentioned in the letter are still used today, Kempenfelt Bay, Holland Landing, Nottawasaga. Another suggestion/local lore is that just south of the south eastern boundry of todays Town of Innisfil was the last stopping point before pushing on to Kempenfelt( mouth of the Holland River?). Looking at a map it would seem reasonable to have a depot at the mouth of the Holland were it runs into Cooks Bay/Lake Simcoe before carrying on to Kempenfelt bay. That being said, its pretty hard to ignore the name of a family who had been established in the area although Playters'ville' would seem more reasonable then Playterson,, but who knows.
We'll keep looking,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- North Gwillimbury grew up around four centres: Roche's Point, Keswick, Jersey, Belhaven. Historically, Lake Simcoe and the Holland River formed the principle communication route from the north to the south of Upper Canada, and North Gwillimbury held a beneficial position along this route. "Upper Canoe Landing," in early days, was a site much used by Natives engaged in bartering with the fur traders. A mile and a half further down from the Upper was the "Lower Landing." Here, where the Holland River is about 25 feet wide, was "Pine Fort" also known as "Gwillimbury Fort."
In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe discovered what would be the future site of Holland Landing, originally known as St. Albans, and believed this area would make an ideal shipping and defense point between York (now Toronto) and Georgian Bay. In 1797, Yonge Street was completed to Holland Landing, providing an overland route from York. During the war of 1812, a pine fort is said to have been built by Simcoe near Soldier's Bay to protect against a possible American attack from the north.
To skirt American naval supremacy on Lake Erie, the British took advantage of an overland route from York (Toronto) to Lake Huron, used for centuries by Natives and fur traders. The route lay overland from Fort York up to the Humber River, which was followed north to Fort Gwillimbury (modern day Holland Landing). From there, supplies and personnel would transfer into boats to traverse the Holland River to Lake Simcoe, and then across to Kempenfelt Bay (Barrie). There, the Nine Mile Portage led through the wilderness to Willow Creek, which fed into the Nottawasaga River and hence into Lake Huron at Wasaga.
- The Playters were early settlers near Castle Frank in the Don Valley of Toronto. George Playter Jr was the QM for 1st Regiment of Lincoln Militia, part of which regiment served at Mackinac.
- The Playter Family is still one of the oldest established families in Newmarket, just down the road from Holland Landing. They might have additional information.
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, Art Neilands <doucanu2@...> wrote:
> Thanks for the replies everyone, I'll do some research on the Playter family. Like many things from the past we get more questions then answers sometimes. The route to Lake Huron via York, Lake Simcoe, Nottawasaga for military use had been established for sometime and of course by the 1st nations for who knows how many years.
> Most of the place names mentioned in the letter are still used today, Kempenfelt Bay, Holland Landing, Nottawasaga. Another suggestion/local lore is that just south of the south eastern boundry of todays Town of Innisfil was the last stopping point before pushing on to Kempenfelt( mouth of the Holland River?). Looking at a map it would seem reasonable to have a depot at the mouth of the Holland were it runs into Cooks Bay/Lake Simcoe before carrying on to Kempenfelt bay. That being said, its pretty hard to ignore the name of a family who had been established in the area although Playters'ville' would seem more reasonable then Playterson,, but who knows.
> We'll keep looking,
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Eli Playter's house is still present just north of the Danforth in Toronto. The area has been known as Playter's estates
Sent from my iPhone
On 2012-12-12, at 9:42, Ron <ronaldjdale@...> wrote:
> The Playters were early settlers near Castle Frank in the Don Valley of Toronto. George Playter Jr was the QM for 1st Regiment of Lincoln Militia, part of which regiment served at Mackinac.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Did a little research and also got some good info from a good friend. The Playter family are a very interesting read.George sen. being a British rev. war vet leaving the States for Canada first to Nova Scotia, then Kingston and finally York where he was grantd 2000 acres(1200 for him plus 100 for each of his 8 children) by the humber river the area known now as Playter estates. It seems there was a family connection to Sir Jihn Graves Simcoe.
The Playter sons all took an active roll during the war(1812, York Militia)and it seems according to Eli Playters diary the boys were entrusted with many government papers etc. during the Battle of York and hid them at their fathers home which the Americans ransacked looking for them( see article below). The name as has been mentioned is still very common in the Toronto area.
Other information tells us that "George Playter and Sons" had the first stagecoach line in the county running from Hollands Landing, New Market to York.
But I'm still left wondering were Playterson was or is? Was it maybe a waystation on the coach line along Young st.? Was it a name the locals used to refer to the 2000 acre farm?
Would it be reasonable to think that if Playter was moving people and goods along Young st. to Holland Landing for transport further north and having what looks like a good relationship with the military/government at the time, may have had facilities to store government goods? (lots of questions lol)
One would think a family so well known having left such a big mark on the area that "Playterson would be well known and fairly easy to find but nothing seems to show up,,,,, yet.
" Generation No. 1
1. George Henry1 Playter was born Abt. 1736 in Surrey, England, and died
Bet. 1820 - 1822 in East York, Toronto, Ontario. He married Elizabeth
Welding Abt. 1765 in Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Notes for George Henry Playter:
During the American Revolutionary War, George, classed as a cabinet
maker, was sent to New Jersey to fix a bridge that crossed the Croswick
River that was destroyed the day before by the enemy. From Nottingham
Township in Burlington County, George infiltrated the enemy lines and seized
important information and documents for the British. His life was in
jeopardy, so he was given the command to return to PA to his family and head
for Nova Scotia. This order was given in 1785 but George ended up with an
inflamed lung and couldn't leave until the spring of 1786. Elizabeth Welding
(his wife) had annuities from her grandmother's Will, Hannah Bitterhike.
Both her and her sister Ann Welding.
Source - U.E.L. encyclopedia 1760 - 1800
"Stated in a letter from Frances Le Maistre M.S. to Lord Simcoe, copied by
Thomas Talbot to Captain Porter, states that Lord John Greaves Simcoe is a
RELATIVE of Mr. George Playter.
source - Upper Canada Land Book "P", Petition #32, Bdle. Misc., Film
From a Petition of George Playter dated July 9, 1793 in Newark, New Jersey
and in Council dated July 13, 1793. "To his Excellency John Greaves Simcoe
Esq. Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, the petition of George Playter
Esq., late of the County of Burlington, in the Province of West New Jersey,
but now in Kingston in Upper Canada, humbley sheweth, that your petitioner
is on half pay list as a reduced Captain - his services to the Crown in the
late Rebellion, is fully known to his Excellency and many distinguished
characters in the Province, he implores his Excellency therefore to grant
him the quanitity of land allowed to a reduced Captain and he will as in
duly ever pray."
source - Upper Canada Land Book 'P', Petition # 17, Bundle # 1, Film
Reply to the aforementioned Petition that was in Council September 5, 1793.
To his Excellency John Greaves Simcoe, Esq. Lieutenant Governor of Upper
Canada and Colonel commanding his Majesty's Forces . . . . .
The petition of George Playter humbley sheweth, that as his Excellency
the Governor in Council has given to your petitioner and his eight children
TWO THOUSAND acres of land. Your petitioner humbley prays that the lots
marked for himself and sons, in the second concession in the Township of
York or those nearest adjoining with a Town lot may be granted and your
petitioner as in Duty Bound will ever pray. Signed George Playter.
source - Upper Canada Land Book 'P', Petition # 13, Bundle # 1, Film
" " From the book "An Early History of the Todmorden Mills" by Eleanor Darke,
she quotes a section from John Ross Robertson's "Landmarks of Toronto"
Volume VI, page 357.--------- The Don Valley was raided by the American
troops during the War of 1812. Although within the framework of the whole
war these forays were insignificant, they were no doubt occasions of great
concern and excitement to the area's inhabitants. The first visit was to the
Playter properties in 1813. The Playter sons were all officers in the
militia and the Americans hoped to capture them in their raid. They failed
in this, although they did succeed in capturing their elderly father, George
Playter. He gave his 'parole' not to fight in the war and was released.
According to Robertson, the Playter property was also targeted because
"many of the archives of the Province of Ontario were conveyed to their
residences for safety, but that precaution was in vain for the invaders
found out where they had been placed and carried away all they could lay
their hands on". According to ELI PLAYTER, they didn't just take the
government records. They also stole his sword, razor, jewellery and some
clothing. - source Eli's diary
His diary goes on to delight in the fact that the American soldiers
hadn't succeeded in getting all they were looking for in the valley. The
Playter sons, with the help of some of their neighbours, including Samuel
Sinclair, had undertaken to remove two boatloads of ammunition from the
Garrison in York before it was abandoned. These boats were brought across
the Bay and up the Don to the north end of the Playter property where the
ammunitions were buried and the boats scuttled. The first boat made it up
without trouble, but the second became stuck at the "Big Bend" and had to be
partially unloaded before it could be refloated. The Americans were
reportedly in hot pursuit of these boats, having been informed of them by
traitors in York. Fortunately, the pursuing Americans were unfamiliar with
the river and gave up the chase when they also got stuck at the "Bend".
It was lucky for the Don Mills that the American troops failed to advance
any farther up the river. Mills were prime industrial targets and, with
their owner an active combatant, it is likely that they would have been
destroyed. There was also considerable excitment at the mouth of the Don. A
large frigate was under construction there. The retreating Brittish and
Canadian troops burned it and all it stores to prevent them from falling
into American hands."
> The Playter sons all took an active roll during the war(1812, York Militia)and it seems according to Eli Playters diary the boys were entrusted with many government papers etc. during the Battle of York...Years ago I spent quite a few hours going through what the Public Archives of Ontario had on the War of 1812. Eli Playter's (Lieut. III York) was a particularly interesting read. It gives a good idea of what the duties of local militia officer would have been. Even the parts (the majority) telling what he did off-duty (running a farm) helps understand something of the time. As I usually portray an officer of the militia it was useful in getting some grasp of what it might have been like.
- Check out this link http://www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques_VWZ/Plaque_York32.html
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "doucanu2" <doucanu2@...> wrote:
So I'm wondering what is the modern day location of "Playterson" on the Lake Simcoe portage referred to in the letter?
Thanks for any help,
- Hi Bruce!
I was wondering if there are any plans to commemorate this site and its
purpose during the war as part of the 1812 Bicentennial, and if not, would
you consider leading a committee to do so? As the leader of the Lake Simcoe
Squadron (a re-enactment group operating historic boats in this area) I
would certainly be interested in participating re-enacting an element of
this vital supply route, likely in 2014. It could be included as part of the
existing Nine Mile Portage/Willow Creek event usually held in September (I
could hope for a warmer month to be on the water), or the annual event held
at Innisfil in August, also celebrating Lake Simcoe's heritage.
From: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Sent: January 2, 2013 3:16 PM
Subject: 1812 Re: Playterson Lake Simcoe Portage Location
Check out this link
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- --- 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."
The local historical society are/were working on a War of 1812 event to be held at Anchor Park, Holland Landing in 2013.
I met a woman from that historical society at the Georgina Pioneer Village while I was there for another purpose. She said they wanted a naval component and were working on logistics. She took my name and contact information and said she would be in touch. When I hear more I will be sure to let you know.
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Hurlbut" wrote:
I was wondering if there are any plans to commemorate this site and its
purpose during the war as part of the 1812 Bicentennial,
- In talking with friends over the weekend the subject of Playterson came up which of course sparked me do a little more digging. In going over the replies I checked to see if I had missed anything and took another look at Peters reply below,
> Local legend, but apparently no written sources, locate 'Playter's' or perhaps 'Playter's tavern' near or at the site of Fort Willow, which is of course located at mile 8 of the Nine Mile Portage, the last high and dry land before the portage descends into Minesing Swamp. An archaelogical dig on a settled area/hole in the parking lot of the Fort Willow Conservation Area, seem to have be a small house belonging to an Irish settler who built there in the 1840s-'50s.With that in mind I came across a letter written a month later then the letter mentioning the name "Playterson".
> In short, the name is associated with the western end of the Nine Mile portage but, as far as I can tell, no exact location has ever been confirmed.
> Peter Monahan
> Friends of Historic Fort Willow
It reads in part,
" Aug.4th 1816 Capt. Owen to Capt. Baumgardt at the Hydrographic Office, Kingston U.C."
" I am however of opinoin that persuaded the Establishment of the Commissariat at Holland landing at Kempenfelt and on the Nottawasaga, be not suffered to go to decay, the transport required for Drummond Island and our establishment would hardly require more than a single porter at Nottawasaga or Christian Island since no intermediate depot would be necessary for such small demands and if the Establishment at the head of the Nottawasaga Creek now called Platers , and that below at its mouth be placed in the Possession of the Naval Establishment on Lake Huron(and indeed the others at Kempenfelt and Holland River might also be both turned over to you for their care and protection)."
So perhaps not " PLayters" but "Platers". As it reads in the letter, " now known as" . Was it the same place we know as Willow Depot prior to 1816?
Doing a quick genealogy search there were people by the name Plater in the area very close to the time of the war and still are in the Barrie/ Collingwood areas,,, not to say that they are some how connected but, who knows, I'd have to do a genealogical search to be sure.
Thanks Peter for your lead, sorry I didn't dig a little deeper in that direction but thats research I guess and thanks all for the suggestions and help.
On passing this info. on to Trevor Carter, our archaeologist at Ft Willow [& the history teacher who does a dig each year with his class.] He's the real expert on the locale around the Fort, having researched in the local archives to find fruitful sites for future digs. It's a very interesting letter indeed! Thansk for passong it on.
Friends of Fort Willow
705-435-0953 home / 705-890-9953 cell
> To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
> From: doucanu2@...
> Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2013 23:11:16 +0000
> Subject: 1812 Re: Playterson Lake Simcoe Portage Location
> In talking with friends over the weekend the subject of Playterson came up which of course sparked me do a little more digging.[snip]