Historic Factoid #3 -5

Did you ever wonder how the land in Richmond got parceled out or how the Jock got its name?

Factoid #3. Col. George T. Burke, the Superintendent of the Richmond Settlement, acted as land agent. He oversaw the distribution of land to the soldier-settlers who were mostly former members of the disbanded 100th Regiment. Burke’s influence had a lasting impact on many settler families. Even though each private received 100 acres (and higher ranks more) one of the determining factors for success was the quality of the land one received. How much was marshy or rocky? How much was arable? Some soldiers used the Richmond Settlement as a starting point and quickly moved on to other more appealing townships or towns with greater opportunities. Even in its infancy Richmond was not only a place to come to, but also a place to come from.

Factoid #4. In Goulbourn Township settlers usually received 100-acre parcels of land, but in the village one might be given one or more “town” or “park” lots. Inside the area bounded by Perth, Queen (Charlotte), Ottawa, and King Streets were the blocks containing the town lots. Each block had six 1-acre lots. It was felt that one acre was enough land for the house, barn, sheds, garden and orchard required for successful village life. (The blocks facing Ottawa St. had 8 acres rather than 6.) Outside the perimeter stretched the 10-acre park lots. These were intended to provide estates for the affluent settlers but in the early decades the lots had few buildings and if cleared were used for farming.

Factoid #5. Old maps of the area show that Richmond’s river was originally called “Jacques” supposedly after a French Canadian of that name who drowned in its waters. After the village was named Richmond in honor of the Duke of Richmond (who had just been appointed Governor-General and died close to the banks of the river), the name was changed to “Goodwood” as that was the name of his English estate. Locals continued to use the original name and over time the spelling was anglicized to “Jock”.  Flooding was always a problem as the village was low lying, swampy, and crossed by at least 3 creeks. The first photo, below, taken near the corner of (Royal) York and McBean Streets shows the extent of the problem in 1925. The second photo with St. John’s Anglican Church the background shows what we now call the Arbuckle Creek in full flood.   Photos are from the files of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society.

2 responses

  1. Tom Louks says:

    I have found these little “factoids” to be a must-read. A very nice idea and good work.

    Thank you

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