Roads and Schools Before 1812

Burlington Gazette - History by Helen Langford

Roads and Schools Before 1812
Tues., May 9, 1978

By 1809, the combined population of Nelson and East Flamborough Townships (which included Brant's Block) had reached the grand total of 295 people; 80 men, 70 women and 145 children. Hardly a crowd but already there were worries over such things as roads and schools.

On January  2, 1806, seventy-six settlers near Dundas Street sent a petition to the Provincial Government at York requesting help with improvements to the roads along Dundas Street. Part of their settlement duties was to construct and maintain the concession and line roads adjacent to their property. In fact, old stories are that the government encouraged settlers along Dundas Street, prior to the actual Mississauga Purchase, in an attempt to get the street built. The settlers were to build their log homes far enough from Dundas Street as not to be seen from the road and arouse suspicion. 

The Indian Trail was still being used instead of the concession road later called Middle Rd. (now the Queen Elizabeth Highway.) The Indian Trail followed the ridge formed along the edge of ancient Lake Iroquois. This trail connected to a path across Brant's Block to the beach and another trail across Chisholm Land to Middle Rd. (now Lockhart, Greenwood and King Rd.) An old map turned up in the Charles King papers indicating proposed roads.

The map also indicated a school house about the intersection of our present Greenwood and Francis Rd. Most of our earliest settlers were educated people unlike later immigrants - many of them could not sign their names. There were only three of the forty who drew location tickets for Nelson Twp. in 1806 who signed with an X. It is logical that these settlers wished education for their children. There is evidence that the Brant children attended school at Niagara, but surely most of our children were educated at home when travel was so difficult. Some of our pioneer children did attend early schools in Waterdown and Palermo, but for the children of East Flamborough and Brant's Block area, a school at Greenwood and Francis Rd. is quite possible. It is likely that this was our first school.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 9 May 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library - Central Branch. Reel No Missing.