Gossip can often titillate, but who knew Sutton’s actual history could be so interesting?
Your next opportunity to find out why takes place during a historic walk along downtown Sutton this Saturday.
The Georgina Historical Society will guide you through the history of the buildings and personalties that founded and pioneered the progress of the original settlement known as Bourchier’s Mills into what is now Sutton’s downtown core.
The free historic walk is part of a roster of events marking Sutton/Jackson’s Point 125 Celebration, which culminates with a grand showcase celebration Sept. 10 and 11.
The settlement of Sutton and Jackson’s Point began in 1818 when the land was granted to 27-year-old William Bourchier.
After an unsuccessful first attempt petitioning the Government of Upper Canada for land in the province due to “administrative technicalities”, Commander William Bourchier of the Royal Navy was granted permission to proceed to Canada as a settler and awarded 1,200 acres in 1818.
Only a portion (520 acres) of this 1,200 acres was immediately taken up at Georgina, which is the present-day area of Sutton and Jackson’s Point.
Some evidence suggests that William resided at the point, as an area diarist refers to visiting “C.B.” (Captain Bourchier) at Bourchier’s Point, or Captain’s Point, in 1821, according to Melissa Matt of Georgina Pioneer Village & Archives.
William’s younger brother, James O’Brien Bourchier, applied for land in 1819 and received 200 acres at present-day Sibbald’s Point.
He was only 21 years old at the time.
William, however, did not stay long in Upper Canada, according to the archives.
By 1822, he had acquired additional patents for land in Georgina Township, only to immediately sell them to his brother before leaving Upper Canada to return to England.
By the summer of 1830, James had cleared and cultivated 30 acres and had a wife and three children.
When James eventually got around to paying fees for his property, although at a reduced rate due to the money already expended in improving the community, James spent £1,000 in making improvements to the settlement that had sprung up at his land at present-day Sutton.
In those 11 years in Upper Canada, the construction of a grist mill, saw mill and dry goods store with a post office, the latter of which was in existence as early as 1831 (though some evidence suggests earlier) with James as Post Master, had taken place.
Within three decades, James had subdivided his property and sold village lots for residences and businesses, Matt explained, adding the village boasted churches, schools, taverns, a tannery, woolen mill, blacksmith, shoemakers and other merchants and tradesmen necessary to the Upper Canadian settler.
Want more salient details and tasty tidbits?
Meet at the Sutton dam parkette at 11 a.m. June 11 to take part in the historic walk and find out.