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Township of Ops, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

The township of Ops is named after the Roman goddess of plenty and fertility. Ops was the wife of Saturn and the patroness of plenty.

The choice of such a name was not inept. The township is made up of a blanket of rich clay loam spread over a bed of comparatively level limestone. In outline It is a rectangle, ten and a half concessions, or about nine miles, from west, to east, and twenty-eight and a half lots, or some eleven miles, from south to north. Its area is divided into approximate east and west halves by the Scugog River, which flows from Scugog Lake in the southwest corner of the township into Sturgeon Lake, near the center of northern boundary. The town of Lindsay built beside the river on Lots 19, 20, 21 and 22, Concessions V and VI, or almost in the center of the north half 'of Ops. The Scugog has several tributaries. East Cross Creek, which joins it on Lot 9, Concession IV, divides into two main branches on Lot 5, Concession V, one arm, East River, pushing southward far into Cartwright Township, Durham County, and the other, Stony Creek, stretching east to the 9th of Ops and thence in a general northerly direction past Reaborointo a long swamp that extends even beyond Byrnell Station, near the northeast corner of the township. Just opposite the mouth of East Cross Creek, Mariposa Brook, or West Cross Creek, debouches into the Scugog. This stream drains most of Mariposa Township, to the west. Smaller auxiliaries to the main river are Sucker Creek, which enters from the east just south of the Lindsay Protestant cemetery, and the Old Distillery Creek (formerly known as Logie's Creek or Hopkins' Creek) which drains a swampy area to the northwest of Lindsay. In the early days, nearly all the streams of Ops were associated with wide tracts of marsh and bog that long proved a stubborn obstacle to farm development.

Pioneers in Southwest Ops

The first grants of land in Ops that can be traced in the provincial archives at Toronto are to Patrick and John Connel, brothers and Irishmen, and were made in December, 1825. John Connel settled on Lot 3, Concession I, and Patrick on Lot 7, Concession II. The latter, who was known for the rest of his life as "King Connel," was ultimately buried on his farm, where his grave may still be seen. The Order-in-Council by which the land was given him reads as follows: "In Council, 23rd December, 1825. Ordered that Patrick Connel, a native of Ireland, now of the town of York, yeoman, who has a wife and six children, shall receive a grant of two hundred acres of land. Regulations, 31st January, 1824, as explained in Council 29th April following. (Sgd.) John Berkie, Comptroller." The document bears the following endorsements; Warrant No. 4957. Patrick Connel. O'C., Dec. 1825. Regl. 31 January 1824. Certified to be located by the Hon. P. Robinson, 27th March, 1826. Lot 7, 2nd Con. Ops., 200 acres."

The next recorded grant was on March 30, 1826, when a clear patent for 2833 acres for given to one Duncan McDonell, of the village of Greenfield, Glengarry County. McDonell had conducted the government survey of Ops, and was thus paid in land instead of cash. The allotments which made up his estate were as follows: Lot 1, Con. I; Lots 14, 16, and 19, Con. III; Lot 13, Con. IV; Lots 13, 19, and 24, Con. V; Lots 8, 17, and 19, Con. VI; Lots 17 and west half 27, Con. VII; Lot 26, Con. VIII; Lot 5, Con. X. These lots, which were doubtless singled out by him as the choicest morsels in the township, have the following owners at the present day:

I. Goodhand
Allen Irvine
W. Waldon
Leo. Gunn
John Johnston
Thomas Hickson
Dennis Fitzpatrick
Walter Corneil
William Corneil
P. J. Murphy
Senator George McHugh
E. W. Jennings
W. E. Curtis
Wm. Reeds
James Carlin
D. Twohey
Daniel Murphy
John Brown
Robert Brown
T. Giltenan
W. Wilson
Allen Currins
R. B. Agnew
D. V. Pogue
Eliza Pogue
Fred Dawson
J. Shaw
L. Shaw

The Duncan McDonell grant also included all that portion of Lindsay which lies south of Durham Street, a full one-quarter of the entire town.

McDonell himself never settled in Ops, but two of his assistants, Pat Lee and Dan Shanahan, took up small grants and remained to work them. Lee settled on Lot 5, Concession II, which lies on both sides of the Scugog. The eastern portion, totaling 107 acres, and now owned by Robert Jordan, he left in bush; while the western fragment, amounting to only 22 acres, he occupied and cleared because neighbors were closer at hand. This latter portion is now part of James O'Reilly's farm. Shanahan, the other of McDonell's men, located on Lot 3, Concession III.

Patrick Dunn was a very early settler, who is supposed to have squatted on the north half of Lot 12, Concession V, long before the township was opened. John Ferris, an immigrant from Antrim, Ireland, bought this property from him in 1830. John Brady visited the township in 1822, but left again and did not return to settle permanently until 1827. In the following year, three brothers, Philip, Patrick, and James Murray, settled side by side on Lots 9 and north one-half 8, Concession V. About the same time a number of families from a single neighborhood in South Ulster entered in a body. Amongst these were Michael Brady, Terence Brady, Edward Murphy, Patrick Hoey, and Bryan Hoey. About 1829 John Maloney, Dennis Twohey and John Jones settled on Lots 17, 18, and 19, Concession IV. Other early pioneers in the southwestern part of the township were Michael Lenchan, Oliver Bourke, John Pyne, Thomas Pyne, Michael O'Brien, Patrick Hannavan, the Hazeltons, Hydes, Millers, and others. Roger McHugh, grandfather of Senator George McHugh, settled on Lot 14, Concession V, in July 1832. He was a discharged Irish sergeant from the 3rd Garrison Battalion and this 200 acres was a free pensionary grant, even stationery being charged to the Crown, as stated in the Order-in-Council, Warrant No. T 57.

Southern Townships

Victoria County

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