Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Move to the Western District

Archibald sought suitable land for farming in Warwick, Ontario in 1834. "I procured five hundred acres at soldier's rights for fifty cents per acre in Warwick, District of Canada, thirty miles east of Port Sarnia and thirty-five miles west of New London."(1) He worked that summer clearing the land, and then returned to Dalhousie for the winter. This would explain why the government surveyor recorded in December 1834 that Robert Gardner was still on his land, but was going to the Western District.(2)

During the summer of 1835, William and Archibald worked together to clear and plant the land in Warwick, and the remainder of the family joined them in the fall of 1835. For the next two years, Archibald worked at the family home, but by November 1836, he applied for land in Brooke Township in order to build grist and saw mills for the community. A land petition from the Crown Lands Department of Ontario includes Archibald's original request on 24 Nov 1836, his renewed request on 21 Feb 1837, and the order given to auction the land on condition that a grist and saw mill were in operation within three years, which was recorded 10 May 1837.

In describing the process of building the grist mill, Archibald stated, "Work was commenced but due to the Patriot War, all the men quit work and the dam being left at a critical time, flushed out. Nothing remained of a summer's work but the mill frame. Next spring there was a prospect of peace and I commenced anew. Work began on the 27th of March and on the 17th of July I ground my first grist."(3) According to what I have read, the Patriot War or the Rebellion of 1837 occurred at the end of 1837 and early 1838. Because of the dates in the land file and the timing of the local rebellion, it would seem that the summer of lost work was 1837, and the summer the grist mill was completed was 1838. At that time, Archibald was a 23 year old single, young man with a debt of $3300.00. He said, "I worked in and out of water, both day and night alone. All the sleep I got was while the wheat in the hopper held out. I did this for five months to pay off expenses and get clear of debt. I then built a saw mill which filled the other great community need and got along well having custom for thirty miles around."(4) It would appear that he completed the two mills well before the three year deadline.

Google map of Canadian locations associated with the Gardner family.

1. Delila Gardner Hughes, The Life of Archibald Gardner (West Jordan, Utah: Alpine Publishing Co., 1970), 12.

2. "Report Lanark Settlement, 1834," Military Settlement, Soldiers and Emigrants, p. 31 (FHL #1,319,967 item 10).

3. Hughes, The Life of Archibald Gardner, 17.

4. Hughes, The Life of Archibald Gardner, 17, 18.

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