Southwestern Ontario: The First 12,000 Years, Historic

Historic Period - Europeans and First Nations in Southern Ontario




Model of First Nations Historic Village The Historic period commences with the first direct contacts between Ontario’s First Nations and Europeans, some of whom (Champlain, Sagard, the Jesuits) wrote documents about their contacts with First Nations.


The story of the Historic period in southwestern Ontario can perhaps best be told as a series of significant chronological events, not all of which were mutually exclusive, and not all of which necessarily happened in southwestern Ontario. These are outlined below.


A number of broad themes cross-cut and influenced events in southwestern Ontario. These include: first European contacts; traders and explorers; the Fur Trade; large, fortified historic Iroquoian village sites (to 1650 A.D.); missionaries and mission sites; the Iroquois Wars; defeat and dispersal of the Ontario Iroquoian Huron and Neutral; abandonment of large portions of southern Ontario; re-settlement of southwestern Ontario by non-indigenous First Nations; settlement of the lower Grand River by Six Nation Iroquois from New York State; settlement of parts of southwestern Ontario by Algonkian-speaking First Nations, especially the Ojibwa and Mississauga; continued exploration, mapping and settlement by Europeans; the first European settlements (villages and towns); the development of roads and railways; continued interactions between Europeans and First Nations including treaties and land acquisitions.


Chronology of  Significant Events


pre-1000    Norse Vikings explore northern coast of eastern North America


ca. 1000    Norse Vikings establish the first European settlement in North America, on the northern tip of Newfoundland; this archaeologically-excavated location is now known as the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site


1497-1498       Englishman John Cabot’s voyages to North America; he claims Newfoundland in the name of England, and visits coasts of Labrador and Nova Scotia


1500-1501       Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real visits Newfoundland


1501-1534       European fishermen, traders and explorers (English, Breton, Norman, Basque, Portuguese) interact with First Nations in the Canadian Martimes while fishing on the Newfoundland Banks


1534>            Europeans in St. Lawrence River valley, Quebec, initiated by the first voyage of Jacques Cartier starting in July 1534, and second voyage in 1535 when he sailed as far inland as the St. Lawrence Iroquoian village of Hochelaga on Montreal Island


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Sopher Iron Celt
Protohistoric Sopher Site
Iron Trade Celt

1580s-1610     Theprotohistoric’ period in Ontario commences, with a few European-made artifacts entering the area of what would become present-day Ontario through trade among First Nations groups (Iroquoian and Algonkian) westward from St. Lawrence River valley and Maritimes, before any documented visit by a European. One example of this is the " "Sopher Celt", a European-made iron celt recovered through archaeological excavation of a bark-lined Huron Iroquoian burial pit near Bass Lake, Ontario dated circa 1580-1600. The tip of a European copper knife was also discovered at Sopher. Other so-called ‘protohistoric’ Huron or Petun sites which have yielded European-made artifacts and which date prior to the time of arrival of the first European (in 1610) include Sidey-MacKay (piece of sheet brass), Benson (iron awl and copper beads), McKenzie (trade copper and brass) and Aurora (rolled brass bead). Several European-made glass beads have also been recovered from a number of ‘protohistoric’ Huron and Neutral Iroquoian sites in southern Ontario


1585                First English colony in North America, on Roanoke Island off coast of North Carolina, established by Sir Walter Raleigh (but abandoned in 1587)


ca. 1600           The Huron Iroquoians in Huronia (the Midland area of southern Ontario) are trading for European-made goods in the St. Lawrence River valley through intermediaries; these goods were entering the valley through a trading post established by Pierre Chauvin [French trader] at Tadoussac northeast of Quebec City; earlier, circa 1550, Basque whaling ships had been sailing up the St. Lawrence as far as Tadoussac as well


1609                First recorded contact between Ontario Huron Iroquoians and the French, when a party of Huron met Samuel de Champlain [diplomat, trader and explorer, France] on the St. Lawrence River in western Quebec


1609                Henry Hudson, an English born explorer and trader employed by the Dutch East India Company and a Dutch crew sail up the Hudson River in present-day New York State, and initiate trade which brought Dutch-made commodities to the New York State Iroquois and thence through trade and interaction into southern Ontario


1610-1615       Etienne Brule [emissary and translator for Samuel de Champlain, France] is first European to travel among the Huron Iroquoians in Huronia (Midland area), starting in 1610. En route to the area of present-day New York State to meet the First Nations there [Five Nations Iroquois], Brule is thought to have traveled through the territory of the Historic Neutral Iroquoians in Niagara Peninsula area and was perhaps the first European to view Niagara Falls


1610                A Huron Iroquoian man, Savignon, was taken to France by some French traders, and he learned to speak some French; this also occurred in 1627 when another Huron man, Soranhes, went to France, returning to Huronia in 1629 to act as an important intermediary between the Huron and French


1615                First European missionary, Father Joseph LeCaron [Recollet missionary, France] travels among the Huron and Petun Iroquoians in the Midland area


1615 Aug. 12  LeCaron celebrates first recorded Holy Mass on what would become Ontario soil, near present-day Lafontaine, Simcoe County


1615-1616       Samuel de Champlain among the Huron and Petun Iroquoians in the Midland area, along with at least 15 other Frenchmen. The number of French men in Huronia continually fluctuated, and between 1615 and 1623 some of the French men who were traders journeyed south to interact with the Neutral Iroquoians in the Hamilton-Brantford-Niagara area 


1623-1624       Gabriel Sagard [Recollet missionary, France] travels among the Huron and Petun Iroquoians; he did not visit or travel among the Neutral Iroquoians of the Hamilton-Brantford-Niagara area but his writings include information about the Neutral told to him by Brule and by the Huron


1625-1626       Brule again visits the Neutral Iroquoians again, and spends the winter among them


1626-1627       Recollet missionary Joseph de la Roche Daillon [France], and two French traders named Grenole and La Vallee travel among the historic Neutral Iroquoians in the Hamilton-Brantford area


1639-1633       France concedes control of “New France” to the British, and British traders set up posts at Quebec City; thus, British-made, rather than French-made, commodities were traded in the St. Lawrence River valley and perhaps further inland


1640-1641       Jesuits Jean de Brebeuf [France] and Joseph-Marie Chaumonot [France] spend winter among the Historic Neutral Iroquoians in the Hamilton-Brantford area


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Bothwell Historic Iron Trade Axe
Historic Trade Axe
from Bothwell Area, Kent County

1630-1650       Historic Neutral Iroquoians living east of the Grand River, but occasionally travel west into/through southwestern Ontario to hunt or to wage war with the “Fire Nation” (Mascouten) living in southeastern Michigan and northern Ohio. Presence of Historic Neutral in southwestern Ontario is indicated by small hunting camps (i.e. Horner Creek site near Princeton in Brant County) and by occasional discoveries of European-made iron trade axes (i.e. one found in 1985 near Bothwell, Kent County) 


1650                Mohawk, Onondaga and Seneca defeat and disperse the Neutral living in Hamilton-Brantford-Niagara  area; many refugee Neutral adopted by Seneca in western New York State


1654                Medard Chouart des Groseilliers (1618-1696, French explorer and fur trader, who was a donné for the Jesuits at Ste. Marie Among the Huron in 1640s) and his brother-in-law Pierre Esprit Radisson (1636-1710, French explorer and cartographer) explore the Upper Great Lakes, as far as Green Bay, Wisconsin; at times they were accompanied by Adrien Jolliet (brother of Louis Jolliet)


1669-1671       Louis Jolliet (1645-1700), French-Canadian born explorer and trader, in Great Lakes area


1669                Entourage of 22 Europeans and some First Nations interpreters/aides leaves Montreal, travels in nine canoes along south shore of Lake Ontario, interacts with Mohawk and other Iroquois, then canoe around the mouth of the Niagara River (hearing the “roar” of Niagara Falls) in to Burlington Bay at the head of Lake Ontario. They stopped at a Seneca Iroquois hamlet known as Tinaouataoua near present-day Westover, Hamilton-Wentworth. The party included Rene Francois Brehant de Galinee (1645-1678, Sulpician missionary and explorer, France),  Francois Dollier de Casson (1636-1701, Sulpician missionary and explorer, France) and Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687, explorer, France). At Tinaouataoua they met Adrien Jolliet, brother of Louis, who had earlier been on Lake Erie. [A provincial historical plaque in La Salle Park, Burlington commemorates this entourage.] La Salle parted the group at this time and his subsequent journeys over the next few years are not well documented. In late 1669 Dollier and Galinee reformed a group of five other men with three canoes and traveled to the north shore of Lake Erie, where they camped for the winter (perhaps at or near the mouth of the Grand River). Then in March 1670 they traveled along the north shore of Lake Erie to the Detroit River. There they abandoned their original purpose of establishing a mission among the Potawatomi in Michigan, and returned to Montreal via an adventurous route that took them up through Lake Huron to Michilimackinac, then across Georgian Bay, French River, Lake Nipissing, Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River                                         


1660s-1670s    Seneca Iroquois from New York State establish village sites on the north shore of Lake Ontario, specifically Teiaiagon at the mouth of the Humber River (now Baby Point), and Ganatswekwyagon on the Rouge River (now also known as the Bead Hill site)


1669-1671       Sulpician Fathers under Francois d’Urfe establish a mission within the Seneca village of Ganatswekwyagon


1672-1673       Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette (1637-1675, French missionary and explorer) travel in Great Lakes area then part way down the Mississippi River


1678                Father Jean Louis Hennepin [Recollet friar, France] spends three weeks at the Seneca village of  Teiaiagon


1679                La Salle arranges construction of a sailing vessel (Le Griffon, 45-ton barque) on Niagara River, sails with Father Jean Louis Hennepin [Recollet friar, France] and crew from Niagara through Lakes Erie, St. Clair, Huron and Michigan to Michilimackinac and Green Bay, Wisconsin; ship sank in storm on return voyage


Henri de Tonti [France] travels as a scout for La Salle overland from Niagara to Detroit River, and joins La Salle on ship there


1680-1681       La Salle camped at Teiaiagon


1690                Ojibwa living in/passing though area of present-day London, utilize the term Askunessippi (meaning ‘antlered river’) for the Thames River


1690s               Algonkian-speaking Ojibwa from northern Ontario settle along north shore of Lake Ontario, including one settlement near the former Seneca village of Teiaiagon; this group later became known as the Mississauga


1701-1703       Sieur de la Cadillac [France] founded French settlement at Detroit; Fort Pontchartrain built at Detroit


Odawa [Ottawa], Pottawatomi, Wyandot settlements along Detroit River and Lake St. Clair; Ojibwa settlement on Walpole Island


1720                French establish fortified trading posts in Toronto (near mouth of the Humber River) and Niagara (along Niagara River)


1726                British influences in southern Ontario from their westernmost post at Oswego on south shore of Lake Ontario


1740s               Some First Nations in southern Ontario, most notably the Mississauga in the Toronto area, are conducting trade and interacting simultaneously with both the French (through trading posts at Toronto and Niagara) and British (based in post at Oswego, south shore of Lake Ontario in New York State), even as the French and British are battling each other on other fronts (i.e. War of Austrian Succession, or King George’s War, 1744-1748) 


1745                French refer to what we now know as the Thames River as La Tranche, or La Riviere La Tranchee.


1747                Baron de La Hontan [Lahontan, army officer, France] passed through Windsor area


1759-1763       Control of territory passes from French to British (formally through the Treaty of Paris signed February 10, 1763). Subsequently the British constructed a number of important and strategically-placed forts throughout the province, including Fort Erie (as early as 1764). Some of these forts, and later ones, were greatly enhanced in advance of, or during, the War of 1812, including Forts George, Niagara, York and Amherstburg (which later became Fort Malden)


1760s>>          French, British and First Nations (Odawa, Pottawatomi, Wyandot) settlements along both sides of Detroit River and Lake St. Clair area (i.e. Anderdon, Amherstburg)


1763                Ojibwa chief Sekahos and members of Ojibwa communities along Thames river participate in the Pontiac Revolt and siege of Detroit


1780s>>          Delaware Iroquoian settlements along Thames River (at Muncey and village of Delaware), and also in Niagara Peninsula and along Grand River


1784-1785       Grand River Tract granted to the Six Nations Iroquois from New York State, who had been loyal to the British during the American Revolution. In the first year nearly 2000 Iroquois (mainly Mohawk, Cayuga and Onondaga) settled on the Grand River Tract. Initial settlers primarily congregated in small villages established along tribal lines; when British surveyor Augustus Jones surveyed the Grand in 1791-1792 he mapped the locations of Seneca, Onondaga, Delaware, Cayuga, Oneida and Mohawk villages. Of these, Mohawk Village became the most prominent and grew to include an Anglican Chapel.

                        Concurrently grants of land were given to British-born loyalists, many of whom settled in different parts of southern Ontario as “United Empire Loyalists” (including, for example, the Nelles and Young families in Haldimand County, and other families in the Long Point area of Norfolk County)


1788                By proclamation of Guy Lord Dorchester, all lands in present day Ontario west of a line from Port Dover north to Penetanguishene become the District of Hesse, with its ‘capital’ at Detroit (then under British control)


1790>>          Moravian Mission among Delaware at Fairfield


                        Odawa settlement on Walpole Island.


Miscellaneous European trappers, traders and settlers in area, including settlers in Middlesex County and along the Sydenham River and lower Thames River


1790>>          Bands of Ojibwa (sometimes variously referred to as the Mississauga, Saulteaux and Chippewa) from central northern Ontario establish settlements in southern Ontario. One group settled in present-day Windsor. Prior to 1796 an Ojibwa settlement was established by chief Kitchimaqua (“Big Bear”) on the Sydenham River, and other groups of Ojibwa were on the Thames River as far east as present-day London. The Ojibwa resided in larger settlements as aggregate groups for part of the year but dispersed into smaller groups in spring-summer to plant crops and exploit resources in localized areas; archaeologists have excavated one such dispersed camp (Bellamy site, adjacent to Sydenham River in Gore of Camden Township, Kent County)


1791                The Constitutional Act divides what once was Province of Quebec (including Ontario) in to the Provinces of Lower Canada (Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario)


1792-1813       Fairfield Village on the Thames established at Fairfield [Moraviantown] on the Thames River by a group of Christian Delaware from Pennsylvania, led by Moravian missionary David Zeisberger. The residents at Fairfield were primarily Delaware-speaking Munsee, Unami and Unalachtigo, but many other groups had a minor presence there including Shawnee, western Iroquois, Metis, Nanticoke, Mahican, Muncey Delaware, Mingo, Ojibwa, Miami, a First Nations woman and her freed slave husband and some Europeans who had been previously captured and raised with First Nation communities. Diaries kept by some of the Moravians specified as many as 174 First Nations individuals were at Fairfield (in 1794 and 1803). The diaries also record a number of visits by various Europeans and First Nations individuals traveling through the area .


1790-1827       British government negotiates land surrenders with First Nations communities, including lands along north shore of Lake Erie and east of Detroit River, excluding Walpole Island and tracts of land set aside as ‘reserves’ for First Nations (including Muncey and Moraviantown)


1793                Lt. Gov. Simcoe travels with entourage from Niagara to Detroit and back, stopping at Forks of the Thames (present day London), Fairfield and other locations. The entourage included Colonel Thomas Talbot and Major Edward B. Littlehales who wrote a journal of the trip which recorded important historical data. On the trip to Detroit they saw: a “Delaware Castle” along the Thames where they were given a feast of eggs and venison; the encampment of “a Canadian trader”; “a spring of an oily nature” (petroleum at Oil Springs); and “another wigwam of Chippewas making maple sugar”. After visiting with the missionaries and First Nations at Fairfield they continued down the Thames and “came to a new log house belonging to a sailor named Carpenter”. At Chatham there was “Dolson’s house” and “a considerable settlement on both sides of the river”. On the return trip they observed: “an old Mississauga hut”; and “a Chippewa hunting camp”. Also, “various figures were delineated on trees at the forks of the River Thames , done with charcoal and vermilion, the most remarkable of which were the imitations of men with deer’s heads”..


Simcoe officially changes name of the Askunessippi/La Tranche to Thames River, and also divides Upper Canada into 19 Counties (one of which was Middlesex)


1793                It is generally agreed by researchers that the first White settlers within present-day Middlesex County were American-born Ebenezer Allen and his family, who were granted lands where Dingman Creek flows into the Thames River (present day Delaware Township), and where they settled in 1793; the family later (1797-1807) built a mill and church there


1796                Fort Malden established in Amherstburg


ca. 1797           Arnold’s Mill established along the lower Thames River


1800                Population of southwestern Ontario estimated to be 10,000


1801                Christian Frederick Dencke (Moravian missionary and naturalist) traveled among the Ojibwa settlements on the Sydenham River and wrote accounts and diaries of his activities.


1803                Col. Thomas Talbot receives grant of large tract of land in Elgin County, settles there, arranges surveys to lay out townships (most of which were done by Col. Mahlon Burwell), and begins granting lands to settlers


1804                A group of Scots Highlanders founded and settled village of Baldoon at the mouth of the Sydenham River . This settlement was visited in 1804 by Lord Selkirk, who en route there stopped at the “Forks of the Thames” in London


1804-1806       Dencke built and operated a mission house beside the Sydenham River (near present-day Florence in Lambton County), which was 4 miles upriver from an Ojibwa village named Kitigan


1808                Researchers believe Joshua Applegarth was the first White settler in the present-day City of London; he built a log house and cultivated hemp under contract with the British navy (exported to make hemp rope for the Napoleonic Wars)


1812                Col. Burwell surveys lands in area including present-day London Township


Mahlon Burwell elected as first representative for Middlesex County in Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada


1812-1814       War of 1812.


1813 (Oct. 5)   Battle of Longwoods and death of Tecumseh; Fairfield village and the Moravian mission there destroyed by fire; mission and village were soon re-established on opposite (south) side of Thames River as ‘New Fairfield’


1816                Political and government affairs for large part of southwestern Ontario administered from District Seat in Vittoria (Norfolk County)


1816                Start of construction of the Longwoods Road from Forks of the Thames (London) westward to McGregor’s Creek (Chatham)


1816                Brickyards such as Griffiths’ Brickyard established in area (Commissioners Road, London)


1820s               Groups of Ojibwa continue to occupy lands along the Sydenham and Thames Rivers; one group of Ojibwa were recorded by missionary Peter Jones (living at the time at New Fairfield) along the Sydenham River near Dencke’s mission house


1820s               European settlers (primarily English, Scottish and Irish) in parts of Middlesex County including London, Lobo and Westminster Townships; establishment of local churches, cemeteries, schools, grist mills, saw mills and blacksmith shops; local business men establish their domains, such as George Jervis Goodhue in the Byron area of London with his store, distillery and potash factory


1821                Captain John Matthews receives land grant of 1000 acres along Thames River in Lobo Township, builds house and settles on Lot 8, Concession 1, Lobo; he was later (1824) elected as representative for Middlesex County in Legislative




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Lobo House Floor Plan
Lobo House Floor Plan

1825                William Lyon Mackenzie travels through Middlesex County, visits and stays with Captain John Matthews in his “Log Castle” in Lobo Township


1825-1827       Bridges across Thames River including Halls Mills Bridge in Byron; founding of London; first “European” house built in London by Peter McGregor (1826); construction of London Court House (1827); formation of local militia (i.e. 4th Battalion Middlesex Militia)


1828                Population of London was 133; founding of John Balkwill’s London Brewery; stagecoaches run from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Sandwich (Windsor) via London 


1830s >          Oneida (from New York State) settlement along Thames River


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Lobo House Excavations
Lobo House Excavations

1833-1834       Captain John Matthews sells his house and property in Lobo Township to Stephen Moore, Third Earl of Mount Cashell, who expands and converts Matthews’ former ‘log castle’ into a large stone estate known as “Lobo House”. At the same time, “Eldon House” was built in London by the Harris family


1837-1838       Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-1838


1838-1840       London was designated as a “garrison town” and 800 British troops were stationed there; Framed Infantry Barracks and other structures built in area that is now Victoria Park in downtown London


1840-1845       Oneida Iroquois from New York State purchase lands along Thames River in Middlesex County and establish the Oneida Settlement


1840                London formally designated as a “Town”


1840s               Large wooden estate homes built in London and area, including “Waverley Hall” and “Thornwood”. Concurrently, large wooden and stone or brick estates and manors were being constructed elsewhere (i.e. “Ruthven” near Cayuga)


1841                First formal Census of area taken


1842                Mechanic’s Institute and Museum established in London


1846                First brick houses built in London; Covent Garden Market established in London


1853-1854       Great Western Railway extends line from Toronto to London; first train arrives in London Dec. 15, 1853; rail line then extended to Windsor


1854                London incorporated as a “City”


1854-1856       Cholera epidemic hits southwestern Ontario


1850s/1860s    Detailed maps of southwestern Ontario compiled and published by George R. Tremaine


1861                Population of southwestern Ontario estimated to be 150,000


1867                Confederation


1868                First “Western Fair” held in London


1878                Publication of “Illustrated Historical Atlas of Middlesex County”              



Representative Archaeological Sites


Walker:            a large, fortified historic Neutral Iroquoian village near Brantford, occupied circa 1630s-1640s. Was one of the Neutral villages visited in 1640-1641 by Jesuits Brebeuf and Chaumonot. Site contains numerous European-made tools and objects including “Jesuit” rings, glass beads, and tools fashioned from scraps of European copper and brass kettles


Grimsby Cemetery: an atypical, large historic Neutral Iroquoian cemetery located in Grimsby, in use between 1615 and 1640 and salvage excavated in 1976-1977. A total of 55 graves were discovered at the site, containing the interred remains of 367 individuals, ranging from the interment of single individuals in single graves to a mass ossuary grave with 104 individuals; some of the interments were in wrapped bundles. The items deposited in the graves represent the single largest assemblage of material culture from one site in Ontario for the 1615-1640 period. Native-made objects included ceramic vessels and pipes, stone pipes, beads, chipped lithic projectile points and scrapers, turtle shell rattles, bone sucking tubes, shell beads and pendants, conch shell gorgets and an antler spoon. European-made items included glass beads, copper and brass kettles, metal beads, bangles, bracelets, coils and medallions, iron axes and knives, and finger rings. The graves contained many preserved organic items such as hide, beaver fur, cedar bark, a birch bark tray and wooden bowls and spoons


Horner Creek: although the historic Neutral Iroquoians lived exclusively east of the Grand River in the early seventeenth century, they made occasional trips westward through southwestern Ontario to hunt and to wage war against the “Fire Nation”. The Horner Creek site near Princeton is interpreted as an historic Neutral hunting camp. As one would expect from a site of this type, artifacts were meager but included chert tools and debitage, a siltstone abrader,  a ceramic pipe stem and a piece of European metal (iron). There were abundant faunal remains, mostly from large to medium size mammals, but also including some fish


Mohawk Village: location of a multicomponent site along the Grand River including a brief occupation during the Transitional Woodland Princess Point Complex circa 500-800 A.D., but primarily important as a First Nations village within the Grand River settlement associated with the Mohawk who settled there in 1784 with Joseph Brant. The British erected a church for them there in 1785, it being the first protestant (Church of England, Anglican) church in Upper Canada, and it survives today as the oldest church in Ontario. Archaeological excavations around the church and elsewhere within the village yielded evidence for some of the first houses (1800-1840s), later houses (1840-1860), and other cultural features. Some of the abundant artifact assemblage can be pinpointed to specific eras and events at the site and thus permit an examination of how European-made items influenced the development of the localized Mohawk culture in that area for over a period of more than 150 years (1784 to early 1900s). There is a particularly good assemblage of artifacts from the “early” period from 1784 to 1840s, including silver brooches, pendants and ear-bobs, gun parts, metal tools and utensils such as scissors, fish hooks and awls mounted in bone handles, white clay pipes, and a veritable cross-section of all of the major types of European [English] ceramic cups, saucers and plates that came to Upper Canada at that time


Bellamy:          a spring-summer inland camp along the Sydenham River in Kent County, occupied circa 1790 by an Ojibwa group.  Site yielded an artifact assemblage demonstrative of both traditional Ojibwa First Nation culture (bone awl, bone needle, antler tube, shell “wampum” beads and deer phalanges modified for use in the “cup-and-pin” game) and European (British) influence (gun parts, gun flints, scraps from brass kettles, lead bars, white clay pipes, silver jewelry, glass beads, metal buttons, iron nails, scissors)


Fairfield:         Moravian Mission site along the Thames River, established in 1792, home to a group of Moravian missionaries , their families, and a mixed group of First Nations but especially Delaware-speaking Munsee, Unami and Unalachtigo. Site was burned down during War of 1812, on Oct. 5-7, 1813. Archaeological excavations in 1940s revealed evidence for both Native and European houses and a unique assemblage of artifacts which typifies the short 1792-1813 time period. The site is also significant as it demonstrates an early example of a planned community, with a main street lined with houses/cabins surrounding a centrally-located church and school; there was also a cemetery nearby


Lobo House:   structural and depositional remains of  a large wooden house built and occupied first by Captain John Matthews (English born military man) between 1821 and 1833, then greatly expanded into a larger stone “castle” by Stephen Moore, Third Earl of Mount Cashell (Irish-born land baron) between 1833 and 1860s. Located along the Thames River at Kilworth, the thousands of artifacts from this site typify an assemblage of household goods in use by prominent European-born settlers in southwestern Ontario


Dunk’s Bay:    this site in Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula at the northern range of southwestern Ontario, and related sites nearby, provide evidence for occupation of this region by the Algonkian-speaking Odawa in the late sixteenth-early seventeenth century. The Dunk’s Bay site has earlier components dating back to the Archaic period, but it has one component clearly indicative of an Odawa band base camp. Artifacts and data from this and nearby sites provide knowledge of Odawa lifeways of this period including ceramic vessels and pipes, some shell tempered ceramics, glass trade beads, bone netting needles, antler harpoon, items made from Native copper, chipped lithic tools, and the deliberate interment of a dog accompanied by a ceramic pipe. Some European-made objects have also been found in this Odawa area, including a European metal arm band incised with a First Nations motif


Discovery Harbour: modern reconstruction of the original Naval and Military Establishments in Penetanguishene based on preserved structural remains and archaeological excavations. Although selection of the site as a naval and military base took place in 1793, construction of the naval base began before the end of the War of 1812-1814 in 1814 and the military component was added in 1828. It functioned as an important naval and military base through to 1856 with heightened activity during the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-1838


Southdale:       remains of a mid- to late nineteenth century pioneer settler’s farmstead (house and associated outbuildings) in London, typical of that period of European settlement across southern Ontario. In this case, it was possible to confirm from historical records that the farmstead was occupied by John Nichols and his family between 1840 and 1890. The site included a house foundation with fieldstone walls and brick floor, a privy pit, a well, a lime kiln and other structures. Artifacts typify what an English-born pioneer settler would have used in his second house (a substantial wood frame structure with fieldstone foundation, which replaced his earlier first house, a small log cabin) in the mid to late nineteenth century: refined white earthenware china (plates, cups, saucers and other dinnerware), metal kitchen utensils, a variety of glassware, white clay pipes, buttons, coinage (i.e. Bank of Upper Canada Token dated 1850), window glass and iron nails. The faunal remains reflect the historical documentation that the Nichols family raised cattle, sheep, hogs and chickens


Crinan Creek Cluster: cluster of five mid-nineteenth century historic sites in the Glencoe-Newbury area of  southeastern Middlesex County and adjacent Aldborough Township, Elgin County. The cluster of sites is significant as a representation and cross-section of  adjacent homesteads in rural southwestern Ontario that were occupied by pioneers with diverse backgrounds and life histories: Scottish, Irish, English and first generation Canadian-born


Eldon House:  a “living history” site, being a well-maintained and fully furnished manor house built in London in 1834 for John and Amelia Harris family and occupied by them and their descendants through to the mid twentieth century. It is London’s oldest surviving house and it was donated to the City in 1960. It has a complete range of mid- to late nineteenth century furnishings including furniture, dishes and clothing


Fort Malden:   located on the east side of the Detroit River at Amherstburg, Essex County, construction of the present fort started by the British in 1837 and ended in 1840; it replaced the earlier Fort Amherstburg built at that location by the British in 1796 and destroyed in the War of 1812. Fort Malden was home base for the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot during the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-1838. It was de-militarized in 1858 and converted to an asylum. The fort was acquired by the federal government in 1937 and later restored, to now operate as Fort Malden National Historic Site. The interpretive staff wear uniforms of the 34th Regiment to commemorate the Upper Canada Rebellion, although homage is also paid to the earlier Fort Amherstburg era and War of 1812 events in that area 



Rockwood Academy: preserved two-storey limestone building which operated between 1853 and 1882 as a private school, located near Rockwood, Eramosa Township, Wellington County. It replaced an earlier wooden structure which housed the school when it was founded in 1850. It is significant as an example of a mid- to late nineteenth private educational facility. Archaeological excavations were conducted there in 1990 by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, to whom the property was donated


Uncle Tom’s Cabin: historic site and museum complex in Dresden, commemorating the Black settlement founded there in 1841 by Rev. Josiah Henson and the “underground railroad” of the abolition period. The complex includes Henson’s house restored to the 1850s period, smokehouse, sawmill, circa 1850s church and cemetery. Archaeological investigations have helped document this important chapter of Ontario’s history


Duff-Baby House: a large two-storey wooden frame structure in Windsor initially built in 1798 by Alexander Duff, who used it as the base for his fur trade operations between 1798 and 1807. The house and property were then purchased and occupied in 1807 by James Baby, an influential politician, military officer and businessman. Archaeological investigations have helped document the evolution of the house and property, confirmed the locations of cisterns, a former kitchen wing and a barn and recovered artifacts typical of the entire span of occupation from 1798 through to the late twentieth century


Ruthven:         This site along the Grand River in Seneca Township, Haldimand County north of Cayuga is the restored country estate and farm built and occupied by the Thompson family from the 1840s onward. The two-storey sandstone house is complete with period furnishings and artifacts of the mid- to late nineteenth century. Archaeological investigations within the basement of the house have helped document its history and evolution, and archaeological investigations of the surrounding grounds have documented a lengthy sequence of use and occupation of the property back to the Archaic period and Woodland periods. There is also one important late eighteenth to early nineteenth century habitation site associated with the Cayuga Iroquois longhouse settlement, which yielded a mixture of First Nations and European-made artifacts

The Ruthven Estate sits adjacent to the former industrial village of Indiana founded in the 1830s, where archaeological fieldwork has documented several important industrial buildings including a grist mill and mill race and locks associated with the former Grand River Navigation Company (involving a diversion of the Grand River into a canal). The village also once had a saw mill, hotel, distillery and stores.

Ruthven chronicles three generations of the Thompson family: David Thompson I (1793-1851) who served as an officer in the War of 1812, built Ruthven, founded Indiana, helped found the Grand River Navigation Company and served as MPP 1841-1851; David Thompson II (1836-1886) who lived at Ruthven, had many local business interests and served as MPP 1863-1886; and David Thompson III (1859-1905) who was a medical doctor, sat on the Hamilton City Council and used Ruthven as a summer retreat