A River Runs Through It

The Flemings ,on arriving in Canada West from Perthshire in June 1843, settled first in Vaughan Township, about twenty miles north of Toronto.  Alexander arranged to lease land from William Richard Grahame who had bought 1200 Acres  in 1833 from the Canada Company along the east branch of the Humber between Pinegrove and Kleinburg.  Under the agreement, Alexander was  to clear fifty acres in Concession 7 in an area straddling lots 17 and 18, pay Grahame $ 5 an acre, and retain rest of proceeds from their produce. Over the next six years they built a shelter, erected a barn, raised livestock, cleared the acres, and grew crops. Through hard work and determination, they were able to buy their own 200 acres in the newly surveyed Derby Township and move there in 1850.

Section of Vaughan Township – adapted from 1878 York County  Atlas

The story of their years in Vaughan  is part of family legend.  Roy, Alexander’s grandson, made more than one trip to the area in the 1930s to try to locate the exact area of the farm.  His aunt Jennie recalled some landmarks but finding the farm eluded them.  In October 2016 three descendants and I tried: Ruth Larmour, Roy’s granddaughter, Janet McNally, descendant of James Fleming, and Carol Danard, descendent of Isabella Fleming Finch.

We knew that Lots 17 and 18 would be roughly half way north from Rutherford Road to Major Mackenzie Drive, and that the farm should be east of the East Humber River and just west of Islington Avenue.   The William Granger Greenway passes through this area of the flood plain of the East Humber.

Our clues were: Continue reading