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Ardoch / Coxvale / Fernleigh / Clarendon and Miller Townships

Toll Free Phone : (866) 607-6301
Your Host(s) : Ardoch Post Office

Ardoch, ON (Nearby: Plevna, Ompah, Mountain Grove, Arden, Snow Road Station)

5639 Ardoch Road
Ardoch, Ontario
K0H 1C0

Ontario Tourism Region : Ontario's Highlands

Description From Owner:
  • Pop. 36. In Clarendon T., Frontenac C. on Hwy. 506, 31 km NW of Sharbot Lake. Ardoch post office was established in1865. On a 1904 map the name was shown as Green Lake.
  • Ardoch was the home town of the Jacobi's in Germany and of the Stevensons in Scotland.
  • Which of these families brought the name to the area is not known. The name Jacobi was not recorded in the 1871 census although they were definitely there around 1865.
  • The Stevenson name was recorded in the 1871 census. (O.R. Jacobi and the Stevensons left the area during the 1870's and settled in North Dakota where they established another Ardoch.
  • This Ardoch is included in the current issue of the World Gazeteer. The E.R. Jacobi family joined the others during the 1880's. These families had intermarried.)
  • Ardoch was the first community in the area to receive permanent settlers. The Watkins family and John Henderson settled there in 1860 and spent their lives in the community.
  • This places Ardoch as the No. 1 Community, chronologically. It is located on a site which was eminently suitable for a pioneer community centre.
  • A major product of the area for many years was timber which was floated down the rivers and streams to market.
  • Ardoch was located where the Frontenac Road crossed the Mississippi River at a point a short distance upstream from the mouth of Buckshot Creek.
  • John Henderson chose Lot 26 NER for his homestead. This became a part of the site of the village. He operated a tannery, the ruins of which are still visible along the Mississippi River.
  • As time progressed, Ardoch got its quota of services.
  • This community, originally developed along the Frontenac road was expanded to include settlements along the Smith Road, East end of the Fernleigh Road, West end of the Struthadam Road and Mud Lake Road and other nearby sideroads.
  • The original name was Millburn, Milltown or Melbourne. No one knows the exact name but it may have been Melbourne, named after Lord Melbourne, one of Queen Victoria's prime ministers.
  • When the name was changed is not known but the post office, established on June 25, 1865, is recorded by the Post Office Department as Ardoch from the date of its opening,
  • notwithstanding the fact that a song written about the Deacon Murder around 1870 referred to the community by its original name.
  • An Orange Lodge was established during the early years and an Orange Hall was built. The trustees, including Bramwell Watkins, Chas. Smith, Sr., and Luke Ward, sold the building to Geo. Publow for a cheese factory in 1895.
  • Interest in an Orange Lodge had disappeared.
  • from: Away Back in Clarendon and Miller Charles A. Armstrong 1976

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    The first settlers arriving in the area stopped at Coxvale. At least thirty-two of the the first thirty-four lots between the Olden boundary and Pine Lake were located on in 1860 but not one of these settlers stayed to develop a homestead. Sir Henry Smith, a lumberman, received the first patents granted in the area covering two lots near Gull Creek.

    He purchased the lots which suggests he was a lumberman and wanted them as a headquarters for his lumbering operations.

    James Gowan senior and junior established homesteads here and received patents in 1876 but they moved on. George Cox and his brother James arrived around the end of the 1800's to settle down and give their name to a new community which included the settlement along the Gull Lake road which ran Westerly from the Frontenac Road and parallel to Gull Lake.
    The community got a school and a post office but no store and the residents had to travel to Ardoch or Clarendon for their supplies. Chronologically, Coxvale rates as the last community to be established in the area. Initially, it was a farming community but it is now popular with tourists because of its proximity to Gull Lake.

    Fernleigh – Gus Edgar traced a trail which was in use around 1840 from Napanee across country through by Myer Cave and somewhere near Fernleigh to Playfair Corner. There were squatter trails in this part of Clarendon in the 1840's. Squatter settlements were denied recognition, otherwise, Fernleigh and the settlement south to Kashwakamak Lake would qualify as the No. 1 settlement in the area.

    Peter Van Kougnet located west of Fernleigh near the Barrie boundary in 1863 where he was joined by S. Cooper in 1865. However, they did not stay and the first permanent settlers in the community arrived around 1872. Settlers moved in fairly rapidly and by 1880 the community was well established.

    The name Fernleigh is reputed to have originated when a Sunday School Class was organized in the old log school house. A group were discussing a name for the community when John Howell looked out the window and, noting the profusion of wild ferns, suggested the name Fernleigh.

    Over the years the community became self sufficient with school, store, post office and other facilities.

    from: Away Back in Clarendon and Miller Charles A. Armstrong 1976

    Kashwakamak Lake Roads — Settlers along these roads are members of the Fernleigh Community. This settlement boasts modern tourist accommodation at the lake and a landing strip for aircraft.

    Struthadam Road — The settlement here was dependent on Ardoch or Ompah for all services except a school at the east end during the early years. There was a church near the east end of the road around the 1880's.

    Mud Lake Road – Settlers at the east end of this road shared a school with neighbours in Palmerston and looked to Ompah for services. At the west end they were members of the Ardoch community.

    Green or Ardoch Lake Road — This settlement was an adjunct to the Ardoch community.

    Wilson — A joint community was established along the boundary between Miller and Matawatchan Townships which shared a school and a post office. Settlers at the northend of the Frontenac Road in Miller were members of this community.

    North Road — Settlers looked to Plevna or Fernleigh for services. One of the first settlers, Wm. Lemke, with the help of his brothers at Sand Lake, established and operated a Saw Mill on Swamp Creek near its outlet from Swamp Lake.

    Smith Road — This settlement got a start when Napoleon Lacouline, born in 1849, located his homestead west of the Frontenac Road and south of the Mississippi River. He was recorded in the 1871 census with his wife, Ellen, born in 1850 and a daughter, Sofia, born in 1870. Another early settler recorded in this locality was Jos. Hale, born in 1823, and his wife, Tabitha, born in 1819. This settlement expanded the Ardoch Community,

    Beech Corner - Along Buckshot Lake road north and east of point where road reaches the Barrie boundary. The community had its own school but was dependent on Plevna for services. It is now completely deserted and the fields are going back to nature.

    Sand Lake — The settlement here comprised the Lemkes, John Gowan and his family and Sam Barton. Initially this was a farming settlement, now it is a tourist oriented settlement. It was always an adjunct of the Plevna community.

    Mill Road — This was a part of the Plevna community. Its importance to the area was based on the saw mill and grist mill which are covered under appropriate headings elsewhere.

    Gorr Mountain — Gorr Mountain was the only isolated sub-community where the settlers had the fortitude to stay and develop a road to the outside world. It is about twelve hundred feet above sea level and between three and four hundred feet above the greater part of the land settled in the area. The problem of accessibility was compensated for by the fertility of the soil and a slightly longer growing season than most parts of the area. Frosty nights disappear earlier in the spring and arrive later in the fall. The first record of title being held to land on the Mountain was the issue of a Location Ticket to Lot 19 in the 10th Concession of Miller in 1863. This was obviously issued to Leopold Ohlman. Judd Tooley was told by Charlie Ohlman, Leopolds son, that his father was employed as a cook in a shanty in the area and took a walk over the Mountain. He liked the land so he quit the shanty and located there. John Gorr moved to the Mountain at some time between 1868 and 1870. His son, John, was born in a shanty at Shaw's field on Gorr Mountain in 1870. It has been said that John Gorr, Sr. carried a crowbar with him as he advanced from the southend of the Mountain. As he advanced he tested the depth of the soil over the rocks with his crowbar until he came to a place where he could sink the crowbar well down into the ground without striking rock. He stopped there and put in his claim on the lot. The settlers on the Mountain were hardy and very self-reliant. John Gorr carried a plough from Shaw's Store at Playfair Corner to his home on the Mountain. They had to be self-sufficient, they were several miles from a store and for many years there was no road except in the winter. They grew bumper crops of hay and grain for sale to the shanties. During the winter they brought their wheat to Plevna to be ground into flour. They built their own school but were dependent on the Plevna community for services which they could not provide for themselves. They did shoe their own horses, do their own blacksmithing, carpenter work and other crafts including making their own rope from hemp which they grew. (Hemp was grown by settlers in the area and the fibre used to make cordage and rope. They were not aware of its current use — marijuana.) The 1871 census showed two additional families living on Gorr Mountain. J. Stalker received the patent on two lots on the Mountain in 1874 and should have been recorded there in 1871 but he was not. However, the record did show John Thom born in 1835 and his wife, Annie, born in 1831 with children Frederick 1856, Angeline 1861, Mary 1863, Mena 1865, Augusta 1867, and John 1870, as a family obviously living on Gorr Mountain. It also indicated that another family was living on Gorr Mountain. Frederick Muller 1839, his wife, Bertha 1844, and three sons, Otto 1866, Robert 1868 and Emanuel 1871.

    Miscellaneous Settlements — During the 1870's and 1880's settlers moved in East of the Frontenac Road and South of Plevna. A side road was surveyed to provide an exit for George Hermer in 1896. Other settlers developed exit routes but their homesteads have been abandoned.

    Wm. Lillie left the Snow Road at the first right turn East of Playfair Corner and blazed a trail over the hills to Grindstone Lake where he located his homestead in 1863. He lived here until 1870 during which time he cleared over thirty acres of land and left behind the largest potash works in the area. He built his house on a side hill below a spring and piped water through his house. He had the first running water, albeit cold, in a house in the area. No neighbours arrived and he had to maintain his trail alone. The last straw was when his house burned down after he had been there seven years and he moved out. However, he continued to maintain his claim and paid his taxes and finally got the lot by purchase in 1897.

    In 1883, Jas. Stalker and O.R. Springer signed an affidavit that the lot had been deserted for thirteen years and the clearings were reverting to forest. They were supporting an application from a man named Lawrence to locate on the lot. The application was turned down but Lawrence apparently settled on it for there are still people in the area who insist that Lawrence lived there and that he had an odd shaped house — a square house with a square wing built on each of its four sides.

    Jas. Grant settled along the Frontenac/Snow Road at the narrowest point of land between Brule and Buckshot Lakes. He received a patent for his lot before moving on. This was the site of a hotel for several years. It was a logical site. It was on a well travelled road a few miles distant from the nearest neighbour and at a logical point for a portage from Brule to Buckshot Lake — from the Madawaska to the Mississippi River systems.

    A man named Johnston operated a hotel at the northern junction of the Frontenac and Snow Roads. No patent was ever granted and there is no record of his having had a neighbour. There were still signs of his buildings in the 1920's.

    Stephen Haws took up land at the northeast corner of Brule Lake and M. Belanger located on lots near him. Belanger's location was cancelled but Haws received patents for three lots. No community was established and the Haws families eventually moved away.

    James Proudfoot settled on Lot 28 or 29 in the 9th Concession of Miller near Proudfoot Bay on Fortune Lake. He had good buildings, large clearings and had planted a number of fruit trees when he walked away and left it. The land reverted to the crown. He had a road from the Frontenac Road past the northend of Brule Lake and around the southwest corner of Fortune to his homestead. His house was moved to Mackie Lake where it was used as a hunting camp for several years before being incorporated in Judd Tooley's Tourist Resort. A picture of it is incorporated in a later chapter of this book.

    Another loner was Wm. Holmes who settled at the southend of Long Schooner Lake. The stone walls of his root house are still in evidence at the end of the Department of Natural Resources tourist road. He did not stay to obtain a patent. His access was via a cross country trail, probably from J. Proudfoots road or via water.

    W. Debrois settled well away from any neighbours west of the northend of Fortune Lake in 1879 and received a patent free grant in 1887. This land is still privately owned and Debrois was living there in 1895.

    Another isolated lot for which a patent was issued is on Skead Creek between Fortune Lake and Mackie Creek. The Hon. James Skead, a lumberman purchased this lot in 1865, obviously as a headquarters for his lumbering operations. It was within the limits of his timber grant.

    from: Away Back in Clarendon and Miller Charles A. Armstrong 1976

Visitors to this page: 11,303     This record last updated: December 13, 2021

Off the beaten track:
  • Coxvale, 6km
  • Plevna, 7km
  • Fernleigh, 7km
  • Kirk Cove, 15km
  • Beech Corners, 12km
  • Henderson, 18km
  • Donaldson, 15km
  • Seouls Corners, 19km
  • Canonto, 18km
  • Beatty, 17km
  • Burke Settlement, 16km
  • Ardendale, 23km
  • Clarendon Station, 18km
  • Robertsville, 18km
  • Harlowe, 20km
  • Wilbur, 19km
  • Snow Road Station, 18km
  • Folger, 21km
  • Myers Cave, 19km
  • Lavant Station, 20km
  • Oso, 21km
  • Bordenwood, 26km
  • Wilson, Denbeigh area, 26km
  • Elm Tree, 28km
  • Sharbot Lake, 25km
  • Long Lake, 29km
  • McLean, 31km
  • Lavant, 25km
  • Elphin, 23km
  • Glastonbury, 27km
  • Bon Echo, 23km
  • Black Donald, 33km
  • Matawatchan, 29km
  • High Falls, Sharbot Lake area, 24km
  • Clyde Forks, 29km
  • Ungava, 26km
  • Bishop Corners, 27km
  • Dalhousie Lake, 24km
  • Wagarville, 33km
  • Zealand, 26km
  • Flower Station, 31km
  • Oconto, 30km
  • Camp Oconto, 31km
  • Vennachar, 29km
  • Glenfield, 30km
  • Camel Chute, 33km
  • Flinton Corner, 32km
  • Joes Lake, 32km
  • Tichborne, 35km
  • Gull Creek, 39km
Nearby Lakes:
  • Malcolm Lake, 2km
  • Mud Lake, 2km
  • James Lake, 3km
  • Dennies Lake, 4km
  • Schonauer Lake, 3km
  • Little Green Lake, 4km
  • Pine Lake, 4km
  • Deep Lake, 4km
  • Struthers Lake, 5km
  • Lukeward Lake, 5km
  • Ardoch Lake, 4km
  • Youngs Lake, 5km
  • Abs Lake, 6km
  • Cards Lake, 6km
  • Watsons Lake, 6km
  • Johnson Lake, 6km
  • Little Cards Lake, 6km
  • Swaugers Lake, 5km
  • Frog Lake, 5km
  • Crooked Lake, 7km
  • Round Lake, 7km
  • Fawn Lake, 6km
  • Larby Lake, 7km
  • Lyons Lake, 6km
  • Mosquito Lake, 8km
  • Rock Lake, 9km
  • Little Mosque Lake, 8km
  • Mosque Lake, 9km
  • Twin Island Lake, 6km
  • Little Rock Lake, 9km
  • Payes Lake, 7km
  • Spruce Lake, 9km
  • Heart Lake, 10km
  • Mannerheim Lake, 9km
  • Cucumber Lake, 10km
  • Grindstone Lake, 10km
  • Vanalstine Lake, 9km
  • Hicks Lake, 8km
  • Little Crag Lake, 11km
  • Little Mink Lake, 8km
  • Crotch Lake, 8km
  • Blind Lake, 8km
  • Black Lake, 11km
  • Deer Lake, 11km
  • Charles Lake, 10km
  • Upper Pondlilies Lake, 11km
  • Kring Lake, 10km
  • Lower Pondlilies Lake, 12km
  • Swamp Lake, 9km
  • Fawn Lake, 11km