The King’s Head Inn

Burlington Gazette - History by Helen Langford

The King's Head Inn
Tues., February 21, 1978

Only a year after, King and Chisholm settled in East Flamborough, Governor Simcoe constructed The King’s Head Inn (1794) at the Stoney Creek end of the beach. This was part of a chain of fortifications important to the development may Upper Canada. The construction of the Dundas Highway was another of Simcoe’s defence plans and one that influenced the settlement of Nelson Township.

Simcoe needed an innkeeper for Kings Head Inn - a person on whom he could rely. For as well as being an inn, this building was known as Government House and was used to house officers and supplies. In fact there was a garrison of 50 men there under Major Hatt in May of 1813.

As innkeeper, Simcoe chose William Bates, a capable man who had served under Simcoe for eight years in the Queen’s Rangers. William Bates, like Chisholm, had first gone to the Maritimes. When he finally leased King’s Head Inn in 1798, he wrote his brother Augustus in Harpersfield asking him to join them in Upper Canada. The original letter is still on file with the Public Archives of Canada. It gives a very good idea of life in this area before 1800. A few excerpts follow.

It is my opinion you can’t do better than to come here and see for your own satisfaction. If you should come and like to move by sleighing, I have room enough, and will provide you with provisions for a year ... Tell your wife I am sure she would be pleased with this situation …
I think I may expect to see you here soon, and will lay in salmon for your family, as now is the season.
I am going to the Credit to get my winter store, never was finer at ten for a dollar, that weigh fifteen pounds each. It you come this fall I shall be able to treat you to roast duck till you are tired ... I want you to get my mill irons and still to Schenectady, and I can get them from there any time ... The mill irons will fetch 80 pounds a set. The still can be put to immediate use.
They would clear 100 pounds this season …

The Chisholms were mentioned in the letter. The Bates were old acquaintances in New York State.

Source: Langford, Helen. Burlington Gazette [Ontario], 21 Feb 1978. Microfilm. Burlington Public Library - Central Branch. Reel 50.