A Mono Pioneer!
Orangeville Sun, October 27, 1898
A few days ago, the editor of the Shelburne Economist had the pleasure of an hour's conversation with Mrs. Alex Laidlaw, one of the first settlers of the Township of Mono. The interview took place at the home of her son John, with whom the aged lady now resides, two lots south of Primrose on the Prince of Wales Road.
Mrs. Laidlaw, whose maiden name was Margaret Frame, was born in Scotland on February 2nd, 1803, and when nineteen years of age she came to America, landing at New York, where she lived until 1825, when she married Alex Laidlaw. After two years' residence at Le Roy, New York State, they moved to Rochester, where they conducted a market garden very successfully. William Large, a brother-in-law, who had been to Toronto (or York, as it was then called), had secured 500 acres of land at what is now known as Mono Centre. Of this, 200 acres was made over to Alex Laidlaw and 100 acres to John Turnbull. It was about Christmas of the year 1832 that David Currie, having been unfortunate in the purchase of some property in the States, arrived at the Laidlaw home in Rochester with his wife and two children, on their way to Canada, and persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw to sell their market garden property and go with them.
Mrs. Laidlaw says she was loath to do this but finally yielded. At that time she knew nothing of the wilderness of the forest, to which she was about to be removed the following spring. Between Christmas and New Year's, Mr. Laidlaw and Mr. Currie started with horses and wagon loaded with some of their best furniture, and drove around the head of Lake Ontario. It is needless to say that a change of conveyance was found necessary ere the journey was completed, and horses and wagon were sold and oxen and sleigh procured, however, in due time they arrived safely at Mono Centre and started on the task of making homes for themselves. In the spring of the following year they returned to Rochester for their wives and families, arriving back at Mono Centre on May 1st, 1833, and receiving a warm welcome from the families of the Messrs. Henry, Turnbull, Rogers, Lundy, Patterson and a few others who had arrived previously. From Mono Mills the women and children were compelled to walk and drive a cow, and Mrs. Laidlaw told of her first experience in "The Devil's Glen" - as even at that early date it was so designated by the letters carved on the bark of a tree. Before arriving at Mr. Henry's, they came to a tavern kept by one O'Shea, which had the usual primitive outfit of whiskey and a tin cup.
At Mr. Henry's, the children were given their first treat of Canadian maple sugar and syrup, and they enjoyed it greatly. Mr. Laidlaw's family at that time consisted of three children and an adopted child, now Mrs. McNaughton of Orangeville. Soon they were in their new home and engaged in the arduous tasks of the early settlers. One day, while Mr. Laidlaw was absent on an errand, their log house took fire and was burned to the ground, together with the contents and a considerable sum of money. This was a great misfortune which the kindness of neighbors only partially alleviated, but soon another humble dwelling was reared on the Laidlaw homestead. Indians were occasionally seen in the neighborhood and the loss of the Horning and Van Meer children from the Horning's Mills settlement was the cause of great consternation.
The Horning's Mills settlers passed Mono Centre on their journeying's to and from the front, and Mr. Laidlaw's was frequently made a stopping place by these people. Mrs. Wm. Silk, sr., the 98 year old lady who resides with her daughter, Mrs. Rich Slack, of Melancthon, and to whom references was made in last year's Christmas Number of the Economist, is well known to Mrs. Laidlaw, the former having frequently stopped with her. The first Sunday school at Mono Centre was held in Mr. Turnbull's kitchen, and the first Presbyterian preacher to hold service was a Rev. Mr. McIntosh, who was stationed at Niagara, but who came into the settlement on foot to Mr. Henry's house, where the first preaching service was held. Some years after, when it was proposed to erect a Presbyterian church, Mr. Laidlaw gave an acre of land for that purpose.
Mrs. Laidlaw is in good health in mind and body and moves quite smartly. As we sat in her presence while she recalled the celebration in her native village of Kilbride over Wellington's victory at the battle of Waterloo and the capture of Napoleon Bonaparte, we were impressed with the marvelous powers of mind and body possessed by her. These were matters of yesterday, but events that transpired so long ago that few who lived at that time are living now to relate them. She remembers the ringing of the church bells, the illuminations, the gathering of the crowds, and the fact that this night, contrary to all rules of the Frame home, she and her brother remained out until a late hour, without reproof of any kind.
Mrs. Laidlaw has been living in Mono nearly 66 years, and never lived off the farm until about three years ago. Her grandson, Mr. Herbert Laidlaw, is now the occupant of the old homestead, which is known as "Craiglea." There are three surviving sons, Alexander of Toronto; William, at Fort Francis; John, at Primrose; and one daughter, Mrs. Wilson, at Fort Francis. She has 43 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.
Originally published by the Orangeville Sun, October 27, 1898
Courtesy of Dufferin Museum & Archives
Properties owners receive a letter when their property is added to the Heritage Properties of Interest list. Owners can object in writing to the Clerk stating their reasons. Council then makes the determination on whether to remove the property.
List of Designated Heritage Properties in Mono
- Relessey Church
- Mitchell Church
- Cobean House
- Elder Post Office
- Maguire House
- Hall House
- Currie House
- McManus House
- McBride House
- Woodland House
- St. Peter’s House
- The Globe
Address: 874615 5th Line (Southeast corner of Mono Centre Road and 5th Line)
Registered Date: May 18, 1995
Details: A red brick church built in 1870. The original steeple was blown off during a wind storm in 1909 and was replaced by a square ornamental tower.
Address: 873202 5th Line
Registered Date: April 26, 1995
Details: The original church was built in 1868 on land donated by the Mitchell family in the 1840’s. It is a gabled brick structure, with yellow brick pilasters and tall gothic windows in each bay. The original foundations are of rubble stone. The Mitchell family owned the Mitchell Farm from 1824 to 1888. John Wendell Mitchell, the great grandson of the pioneer Peter Mitchell, was the author of the popular Mono Irish settlement story “The Yellow Briar”, written about the early pioneer life in Mono and Mono Mills.
Address: 953283 7th Line
Registered Date: April 26, 1995
Details: A historically and architecturally significant gothic style wood frame house in excellent condition. Constructed in 1872 on a 70 acre lot.
Elder Post Office
Address: 428005 25 Sideroad
Registered Date: May 18, 1995
Details: A sturdy one and a half storey log house built circa 1855. The house has two additions, one log and one frame. It is an usually tall one and a half storey structure with lovely dovetailed corners. It served as the Elder Post Office from 1864–1914.
Address: 955140 7th Line
Registered Date: April 27, 2009
Details: Built in 1870, this house is a fine example of a gothic Ontario homestead. Its banded brick work & Palladian fan are of note.
Address: 506014 Highway 89
Registered Date: Feb 14, 2014
Details: This fine example of a red brick, gothic Ontario farm house is located on an original, un-severed, one hundred acre parcel of land at the extreme northwest corner of the Town of Mono and was likely built in the 1870's. Originally known as Hall’s Corners because of its position at the junction of four municipalities: Mono, Amaranth, Mulmur and Melancthon. The Hall family owned this property for approximately 100 years (from 1863 to 1961). The Goodman family has since owned it for over 50 years and has done an excellent restoration.
Address: 794530 3rd Line
Registered Date: May 18, 1995
Details: The 1870 main house is a one and a half storey rectangular split fieldstone structure with a centre gable. A frame "sun room" and cold kitchen were subsequent additions prior to 1935. Exact date of construction is unknown although assessment records suggest approximately 1870. The interior of the house has been well restored with much of the original wood work intact and a unique wood stove in the living area.
Address: 939064 Mono-AdjalaTownline
Registered Date: April 26, 1995
Details: Built in 1900 on the site of the original homestead of George McManus Esq. who served as warden of the County, reeve of the Township, and as a member of federal and provincial parliament. A log courthouse on this property was torn down in 1969.
Address: 21 Goulding Lane
Registered Date: June 10, 1998
Details: This solid one and a half storey stone structure was built in 1845, as the homestead of Robert McBride, one of the first permanent pioneer settlers in the Township. It is located in part of the Township traversed by early settler routes and Indian trails. Set upon escarpment, valley lands, and wilderness, the property may contain archaeological artifacts.
Address: 753174 2nd Line
Registered Date: June 6, 2008
Details: The building and property are of interest both historically and architecturally. James Woodland, one of Mono's most respected citizens (and the treasurer of the township at the time of his death), was born on this farm and died in the house in 1911. The home itself, built between 1892 and 1895 is beautifully appointed with arched windows and elaborate brickwork throughout.
St. Peter's House
Address: 953376 7th Line EHS
Registered Date: July 15, 2016
Details: St. Peter’s House is a good example of an Ontario gothic revival farmhouse typical to the area, dating from the 1890’s. It is representative of farmhouses of this area and era in its design, scale, material, and construction method, but the decorative and distinctive dichromatic brickwork of alternating red and buff bricks is a pattern uncommon in Mono. Some names and designs dated 1917 can be found inscribed into the exterior brickwork. The cultural heritage value of St. Peter's House also lies in its more recent use as a monastery in direct association with the following organizations: Cistercian Monastery of Notre Dame from 1981–1999, Ukrainian Catholic Episcopal Corp. of Eastern Canada 1999–2014 Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, The Church of The Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius, 2014–present.
Address: 995722 Mono-Adjala Townline
Registered Date: October 8, 2019
Details: Built circa 1870, The Globe is a two storey wood frame Georgian style building. It has a long history of serving travellers and locals. The exterior has been well maintained and is mostly original.
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