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There are approximately 11,000 people in Erin and is primarily a rural municipality. Farming is still an important economic activity, but most of our population works in the nearby cities of Brampton, Mississauga, Guelph, or even Toronto. The headwaters of two major rivers, the Credit and the Grand, rise in our municipality, and we are blessed with rolling hills, forested valleys, and a beautifully scenic countryside.
The Town is composed of the former Villages of Erin and Hillsburgh, and the hamlets of Ballinafad, Brisbane, Cedar Valley, Crewson's Corners, and Orton, as well as the former Township of Erin. Now that you are a resident of Erin, and you don't want to be marked as a foreigner, pronounce it "Earin" not "Airin".
Town of Erin Listings
Hamlets of Town of Erin [formerly Erin Township]
Was a hamlet at the southern corner of the Greenock School Section, built on the corner of four townships and in two counties: Erin and Eramosa in Wellington County and Esquesing and Nassagaweya in Halton County. The name was given in honour of a local family about 1845.
It was first called Ryckman's Corner, named after Samuel Ryckman, the surveyor of Eramosa and Nassagaweya Townships. In 1822, Morgan Crewson purchased W 1/2 lot 1, con. 1, Erin Township, and in 1845, the family purchased E 1/2 lot 1, con. 1. The stone house was built on the West half, in 1833, and the stone barn was completed in 1845, having taken ten years to build. These two buildings are still in use by recent owners, Mr. and Mrs. Abram. The Old York Trail was the main road from Guelph to Toronto.
The widow of Lachlan Currie, and her ten children, came from Islay, Scotland, in 1830, and settled in Caledon, when her youngest son, Alexander, was eight years of age. When he grew up, he chose lot 13, con. 4, Erin Twp. for his farm, and brought an older gentleman to see the property. It was virgin forest with stoney soil, and the older man said, "I pity the girl you bring here as your wife." He was thinking of the number of stones to be picked. However, two years later, in 1845, Alexander Currie married the gentleman's daughter, Ann McDougall. Miss Ada Currie, first President of Wellington County Historical Society, and her brother, Errett Currie, of this farm were grandchildren. Currie's Hill was named after the Currie family. Alexander's brother, Neil, took up E-1/2 lot 13. Another brother was Duncan Currie who opened a General Store in Belwood in 1856, and went to Saskatchewan with his son, Sandy, in early 1900's.
Originally called Dublin after the number of Irish settlers who came from that area about 1840. The closest Post Office was Fergus, and the community applied to the Government for a local Post Office. It was granted under the name, Mimosa. Henry Reed was the first Postmaster, with Post Office in his own home on E-1/2 lot 28, con. 2, Erin Twp., the farm later known as the Ernest Awery farm. Mail came once a week, brought from Fergus by Edward Mooney, who delivered mail to several Post Offices on his way to Orton.
At its peak, Mimosa Hamlet had two stores, two hotels, a shoe shop, blacksmith shop, chopping mill and several homes. The coming of the Credit Valley Railway in 1879, brought a station and Post Office to Orton, which was the downfall of Mimosa.
Brisbane is located on the Guelph Road, now No. 24 Highway, at the 7th line corner, two concessions west of Erin Village. Brisbane was surveyed as a village in 1854, and was at first named "Bristol". There were several streets: King, Queen, James, Nelson, St. Paul, and Concession Street. A Service Station now sits on the site of the old Post Office, where Joshua Ashley was Postmaster. For the convenience of those who called for their mail, he sold tobacco, gum, candy, school supplies, etc. At one time the population reached 27 persons. The Stage Coach driven by Wm. Nevills, brought Mail from Guelph, two or three times a week. Later, mail arrived every day except Sunday. The Stage supplied transportation for six or seven passengers.
On the Ephriam Barbour farm, on 7th line, stood a tall tower, said to have been built by the Germans. It was removed at the beginning of W.W. I, but the property is still known as the "Tower Farm". From the top of the Tower, one had a tremendous view of the beautiful countryside.
Hillsburgh with its many ponds, did not suffer for want of open air ice space, even in the early days. $1,000 was raised at the street dance in 1925, to be used for the erection of a Skating Rink. An efficient committee formed a stock company, selling shares at $10 each. "Then, as now, people of the Burg got behind their undertakings, and with everybody helping, the arena was started in late October, and finished by Christmas". "In 1952, hockey regulations called for a larger ice surface, and a 30-foot extension was added to the arena. This cost $3,000 and was handled by notes". "In 1966, an artificial ice plant was installed at a cost of $16,500. As usual, local men turned in to help, cutting costs, and by the end of the first season, it was paid for". Hillsburgh has always been a sports-minded town.
In late February, 1976, Hillsburgh was brought up with a jolt, along with a number of other local towns, when their arena was designated unsafe for use, according to modern Government safety standards, and the building was closed. Changes and rebuilding were promptly done to bring the building up to modern safety standards.
Cedar Valley is the little settlement at the eastern corner of May's School Section. Located at the corner of the 5th line, and 24 sideroad, better known as The Station Road, leading west from Hillsburgh Station.Cedar Valley was known as Slabtown for many years, because of the sawmill which was operated by water power.
First Sawmill was built in 1853, by George Tarswell who sold lumber at $7.00 per thousand. He was followed by his son, Robert Wilson Tarswell, and grandson, Kirby Tarswell. In 1900, a grain grinding mill was added. They also made shingles. In 1924, a new sawmill was erected, but it was destroyed by fire in 1941. It was rebuilt the following year, but Mr. Tarswell died in 1948, and R.E. Price took over. It was operated for a time by Renwicks, and in 1950, the Mill was closed. It was remodelled into a summer home.
A small Community grew up around the corner. Wm. Sheperdson and Sons owned a pump manufacturing business on lot 25. He also had a planing mill and blacksmith shop. For his planing mill, he needed water power. First telephone came in 1910. Rural Mail Delivery in 1912, Hydro came to this farm community in 1940's.
A Grocery Store was operated by James Tarswell from 1895-1902, in the house later owned by Alvin Cutting. In 1933, Mr. & Mrs. Ernie Hall started a Grocery Store in the front part of the same building. That year they erected a store at the top of the hill. It was moved on sleighs, drawn by a tractor, in April 1940, to the east corner of lot 24. In 1945, this store was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Burt Price, and they added the house. Succeeding owners were Harry Churcher, Wm. Reeves, and James Ritchie.
Street Lights were erected in Cedar Valley in 1962. The road to Hillsburgh was hardtopped in 1965. The Henry Wheeler farm buildings were set on the west corner of the intersection. The hamlet is surrounded by cedar swamps and hills that provide many springs. This community has many small lakes, sites for beautiful summer homes.
Located six miles from Erin, and fourteen miles from Guelph, on #24 Highway, at 2nd line of Erin Twp., it once did a thriving business. There were two blacksmith shops, one operated by John Hawkins until his death about 1908; the other by Dugald McNair. A woodworking shop was owned by Duncan McKenzie. Wm. Harris was a shoemaker and had his shop on 2nd line below the store, then operated by Wm. Symons, and more recently it has been Bullock's China & Gift Shop. In 1897, there was a population of 110.
Settlers around this corner in 1842, were the Webbs, Anderson, and Baldics. They came from a little village by the name of Ospringe, a suburb of Canterbury, in the County of Kent, England. Earliest settlers in the area came in 1831, The Munn family took up lot 18, con. 3, Erin Twp. The George Campbell family came with several sons, in October 1831, from Islay, Scotland, to lot 15, con. 3 and 4. It was too late in the fall to build a house, so they spent the winter in a "dugout" in the hillside. Dugald Ferguson and his family came from Argyleshire, Scotland, and settled on lot 10, con, 3, in 1831.
First called "Little Chicago", the name of "Orton" was given in honour of Dr. George T. Orton of Fergus, who so faithfully looked after his rural patients in those difficult horse-and-buggy, or horse-and-cutter days.
Orton was located on the Townline between Erin Twp., and East Garafraxa Twp., with this Townline forming the Main Street of the village. This Townline also formed the boundary between Wellington County and Dufferin County. The location was just east of the 2nd line of Erin Twp., and east of the 10th line of Garafraxa. The site was owned by John Leeson on the Erin side, and by John Glover on the Garafraxa side. Both sold lots to early settlers.
John Glover lived in a little log house that later became the small harness shop operated by John Watson. Henry Little was the first settler, and built several log houses in the early days. Benjamin Roszell was the first white child born in Erin Twp., (in Nov. 1821). He married Elizabeth Reilly of Erin Twp., in 1848. One of their daughters, Mary Elizabeth, married Wm. Mooney, a merchant at Orton. Mooney's General Store was at the centre of Orton's early life. Wm. Mooney was an enterprizing young man. He bought and shipped carloads of live stock, and in the fall of the year he shipped carloads of potatoes and turnips, fowl was also handled. He ran a grain elevator which had been built by an Orangeville Syndicate. With Mooney, Orton prospered.