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Camp Sites in
Victoria County, Ontario Canada
The diligent research work of Colonel George E.
Laidlaw of Victoria Road has made it possible to set forth a list of
fifty-five of these Huron villages. The outstanding difference
between these sites and some fifteen others of more recent times
lies in the relative scarcity of flints (thus indicating an
agricultural life), in the complete absence of iron weapons and
other signs of contact with Europeans, and in the great age of the
trees which overlay them when first cleared by modern pioneers. Many
of these sites are now almost obliterated through long years of
cultivation and are only distinguishable by the blackness of the
soil in which their ashes are mingled.
The townships of Emily, Ops and Mariposa show no trace of Huron
occupation. Whether this absence was actual or whether the present
occupants of the soil have failed to report any camp sites to
Colonel Laidlaw is uncertain.
For the rest of the county the record stands as follows:
(1). Lot 6, Con. 5, R. Mitchell, owner. This is a large site and
overlaps upon adjacent lots.
(2) East one-half Lot 26, con. 5, S. Pogue, owner.
(1). Lot 1, Con. 3, on low ground about 150 yards south of McLaren's
Creek and half a mile west of the Fenelon Road, Messrs. D. Brown and
(2). Lot 6, Con. 2, on a level bank on the north side of a spring.
This is at Cambray village, about three miles from Site No. 1.
Owner, Wm. Sinclair.
(3). North one-half Lot 9, Con. 1. A small village site on a point
of land jutting west into Goose Lake. Owner, G. R. B. Coates.
(4). Lot 10, Con. 1, east of Goose Lake. Owner, Thos. Douglass.
(5). Lot 12, Con. 1, on the top of a high bank nearly a mile
northeast of Goose Lake. This was a large village and has furnished
many relics. Owner, Neil Clarke.
(6). East part Lot 21, Con. 1, Alex. McKenzie, owner.
(7). East part southwest one-half Lot 22, Con. 1, D. P. McKenzie,
(8). Lot 23, Con. 1. D. Brown, owner.
(9). West one-half Lot 23, Con. 2, Alex. Jamieson, owner. On this
site occurs a strange semicircular embankment, twelve feet wide and
two hundred and twenty feet long. The camp lay between this
embankment and a small stream about eighty yards to the east.
Pioneer legends state this earthwork was thrown up by French traders
who came in from Beaverton and were wiped out here by Indian
enemies. However, immense pine stumps are found on top of the
embankment and definitely put its age back four centuries to a
period 'antedating the discovery of America by Europeans. Its
position, dominated by high sandy knolls to the west, even makes
defense a dubious explanation for its construction. Another
suggestion hints at its use in connection with game drives; but for
this its creation would be unnecessarily laborious. Perhaps it was
built as a totem mound by descendants of the fugitive Mound builders
or by an Iroquoian tribe which had absorbed some of their customs.
(10). Birch Point, Balsam Lake, being broken front 26, Con. 3,
Dugald Sinclair, owner.
(11). Perrington's, Long Point, Balsam Lake, on a hill between West
Bay and South Bay.
(12). West part Lot 26, Con. 4, Archibald McArthur, owner.
(13). Lots 14 and 15, Con. 6.
(14). Strowd's, Lot 18, Con. 6.
(15). Lot 23, Con. 6. Small camp on knoll. Owner, W. F. Smitheram.
(16). Lot 10, Con. 10. Sturgeon Point, on rising ground a few yards
west of the township line.
(1). Lot 12, Con. 10, W. Thornbury, owner. Five miles north of Goose
(2). East half Lot 20, Con. 8, D. McArthur, owner.
(3). Lot 22, Con. 8. Large site on high north bank of Grass River.
Owner, Mr. Truman.
(4). Lot 23, Con. 3, W. J. Stanley, owner. A very compact site at
the north foot of Logan's Hill and just south of Butternut Creek.
(5). Lot 41, South Portage Road. Owner, Mr. Brace.
(6). Lots 44 and 45, South Portage Road. Semicircular site on high
ground on the south side of the range of hills that lies to the
south and east of Kirkfield. Owner, Mr. Macdonald.
(7). South end, Lot 59, South Portage Road. A mile south of Grass
River, on the north side of a hill. Owner, Win. Fry.
(8). Lot 54, North Portage Road, Moses Mitchell, owner. Site on a
point on the south shore of Mitchell's Lake.
(9). North end, Lot 56, North Portage Road. Small fishing camp near
former exit of Grass River from Mitchell's Lake.
(1). Lot 1, North Portage Road, Rummerfield Hill.
(2). Heaslip's Point, Lot 2, Northwest Bay, Balsam Lake.
(3). Head of Portage, Balsam Lake, Block E.
(4). Barrack's, Block E, Balsam Lake.
(5). West side of Indian Point, Balsam Lake, about three-quarters of
a mile from the end. Owner, J. H. Carnegie.
(6). West one-half Lots 5 and 6, Con. 2. Mr. Benson, owner.
(7). Lot 11, Con. 2, H. Southern, owner. Site on crest of small
tongue of land running into a swamp.
(8). Lot 9, Con. 3, McKague, owner. Site on bend of Perch Creek.
(9). Lot 5, Con. 5, Corbett's Hill. Large village strategically
placed commanding the divide between Raven Lake and Balsam Lake.
(10). Smith's, Lot 18, Gull River Range.
(1). Lots 56 and 57, Front Range, G. Rumney, owner. Site on rising
ground half a mile east of Big Mud Turtle Lake.
(2). Lot 60, Front Range, a quarter of a mile from the previous
site but on the opposite side of a valley. Owner, Mr. Wallace.
(3). Lots 69, 70 and 71, Front Range, Edward Lee, owner. On
a flat 200-yard ledge, fifty feet above the east shore of Big Mud
(1). East half Lots 8 and 9 ,Con. 9, on the south side of Beech
(2). Lots 11 and 12, Con. 8. Mrs. Staples and G. Winterbourn,
owners. This village is about 400 yards from the northern edge of
the limestone territory, which ends here in an abrupt escarpment.
(3). Lot 12, Con. 7, David Hilton, owner. This site is about 240
rods northwest of the previous one, and 50 rods east of Head Lake.
The same locality was occupied for a second time at a comparatively
recent date. All three of the Laxton sites are on the portage trail
from Gull River to Head Lake.
(1) Lot 25, Con. 3, F. Reid, owner. This is on the Head River two
miles below Head Lake and is on the same canoe route as the Laxton
(1). Lot 6, Con. 10, Patrick Duggan, owner. On high gravelly hill.
(2). Lot 6, Con. 5, F. Whalen, owner.
(3). Lot 18, Con. 4, John Chrysler, owner. This village covered five
or six acres in a valley on the east side of Lower Mud Lake.
(4.) Lot 21, Con. 4, close to Lower Mud Lake. Owner, Mr. Boyle,
Thorough search by Col. Laidlaw has failed to reveal any village
sites in the granitic regions of Digby, Dalton and Longford.
Villages on Lot 2, Con. 11, and Lot 1, Con. 13, Mara Township, are
within a mile or two of Lower Mud Lake and were probably closely
related to sites Nos. 3 and 4 in Carden.
In addition to the numerous settlements just detailed, there have
been listed some forty-eight different localities throughout
Victoria County in which Indian relics have been found but in which
no ash beds, the only sure roof of a camp site, have been located.
It is instructive to note that nearly all these villages were built
at some distance from the main lakes and watercourses. The Huron
civilization was based on agriculture and was drawn inland by the
more favorable soil found there. The menace of roving enemies always
overshadowed them, and to rear a conspicuous or unsheltered camp was
to court destruction. For this reason, too, their homes were hidden
up some wooded glen, and fenced about with a natural barrier of
marsh or hill. Only an occasional fishing hamlet ventured out upon
the shore. It was an age of chronic insecurity. Eternal vigilance
was the price of existence. Any hour of the day or night might bring
the onslaught of a legion of screaming devils.
Annals of the Red Man