Search Through Past

Burlington Gazette – History by Helen Langford

Search Through Past
Tues., December 13, 1977

Many records of our early days are gone, but much is still around and needs the work of detectives to ferret it out and piece it together. It is our good fortune that Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor General 1935-40, had the vision to realize that someday we might appreciate Canada’s past. 

Lady Tweedsmuir asked the Women’s Institutes to record the history of their villages and regions. Many of these were completed but some are still in process. Usually there is only one copy which is in private hands. The Provincial Archives is willing to put these valuable records on microfilm so that they are available to anyone. 

The Tweedsmuir papers (as they are called) for Aldershot village and area are in safe keeping at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Where are the others for present day Burlington? – The ones of Nelson Village, Freeman, Lowville, Kilbride, Tansley, Zimmerman and likely more.

Many of our families also need more research. Some are very well documented but most we have only a few clues to their lives. David Fonger is one of the latter – We know that he squatted but finally purchased his land from Lt. Alex MacDonel. His farm we know as Lot 5 Conc. 1 East Flamborough – from the registry office (Milton). But these records only began in the mid 1800’s and had to be caught up for 50-60 years all at once.

Actually there are numerous entries for the Fongers. We also know that their original log home stood just east of Longo’s Fruit Market and was recently demolished for the White Oak’s Plaza. The Fonger’s gave the land for East Plains United Church and there are Fonger gravestones behind the present church. This really is not much information for several generations.

We can assume a great deal by generalizing . Every settler prior to 1786 receive tools and clothing for 3 years as well as food and seed as was available. Fonger likely benefited from this government support while be hunted, traded and cleared some land. Fish and game were plentiful but the winter of 1789 was severe. The crops had been poor and every settler in Niagara area starved almost to the point of death.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 13 Dec. 1977. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. Reel 50.

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