Our First Settlers – Part Six

Burlington Gazette - History by Helen Langford

Our First Settlers - Part Six
Tues., November 22, 1977

How fortunate we are that Mrs. Jones named her son Augustus - it makes it so easy to remember! As a surveyor for the province, he was likely the first settler to see and walk the interior of our city - Nelson Township. Can’t you imagine a bearded man in buckskins, an axe and chains as his tools, a few Indians as his helpers, pushing through the virgin forest on your piece of land!

Augustus was born on the Hudson River in New York State in 1763, a third generation of a Welsh family to live in America. Following training as a surveyor, he arrived in Upper Canada with letters of recommendations to Lord Dorchester, the Governor General. He was hired! Augustus assisted Philip R. Frey in the Niagara area and when Frey returned to the United States, Augustus was appointed Deputy Provincial Land Surveyor.

He surveyed most of the land from Burlington Heights to Niagara and Brant’s Block. By 1806 Samuel S. Wilmot had become the Deputy Provincial Surveyor. Wilmot surveyed Nelson Township (1806).

Augustus was so impressed with the Niagara Belt that he acquired 1,200 acres in Saltfleet Township on Lake Ontario, south of the beach. His surveyor’s letters are on record at the Maps and Survey section of the Ontario Department of Natural Resources. These record such things as his survey of a road through Indian lands to York from Burlington Heights, the completion in 1797 of a bridge over the outlet on our beach strip, and the Indian names of creeks along the lake shore.

The Indian language became his second tongue - in fact he loved their way of life. His son Peter, later a zealous Methodist missionary, wrote that his father became so much interested in the Indian character that he resolved on taking a wife from among them! He married a daughter of a Mississauga chief and settled on his acreage - mentioned by Mrs. Simcoe as Jones’ Point.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 22 Nov. 1977. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library - Central Branch. Reel 50.