Cat No.: CA0199:Published in 1911, this book was written by William R. Wood, the one time Presbyterian Minister of Claremont, Ontario. The Pickering we think of today is a city which exists within the urban sprawl of Greater Toronto, astride the main road between Kingston and Toronto. But this book is actually about the Township of Pickering, an administration district within Durham County, comprising several communities and rural districts, just one of which originated as the village of Pickering proper.
The numerous changes in boundaries and administrative responsibility in the area make it difficult to name all the various locations which have been influenced by Pickering Township over the years, but the following list is our attempt at the task, taken mainly from places mentioned in the book: Balsam, Brock, Brougham, Cherrywood, Claremont, Dunbarton, Duffin’s Creek, Eldon, Frenchman’s Bay, Glensharred, Green River, Greenwood, Jackson, Kinsale, Liverpool, Mariposa, Mount Pleasant, Pickering, Rosebank, Rougemount, Rouge River, Salem, Whitevale.
In addition there are frequent references in the book to the adjacent centers of Whitby, Markham, Mississauga, Scarborough, & Stouffville.
The Rev. William has provided us with, as he puts it, a series of sketches, taking for their subjects various aspects of life and development of the Township. These sketches are filled with references to inhabitants and families who played a role in the settling and development although for a more in-depth examination of the inhabitants we turn to his last chapter which occupies fully one third of the book and provides the biographies of hundreds of local people and, frequently, their families.
In his Preface the Rev. William implies that the time at which he researched and wrote this book, just prior to the opening of the nineteenth century, was the latest opportunity during which the original, or the immediate children of the original, settlers of the area could be interviewed and for their stories to be recounted first hand.
The more “historical” chapters deal with some of the aspects of life important to the inhabitants such as religion, agriculture, politics and industry. There is even a chapter titled, “Pickering at Play.” Other themes which may be of particular interest are the establishment of the Quaker settlement and of Pickering college, use of the Rouge River mouth as a shipping centre, and the influence the busy Kingston - Toronto road had on the area.
We have placed a freely downloadable sampler of pages from this book on our Downloads page for your review, and the book's Table of Contents is included in it. The author did not however provide an index, so it is something of a task to find particular names within the 316 pages of text of the actual book. Our CD republication, however, is fully text searchable and the search feature is enhanced with our FastFind technology to make your searches almost instantaneous.
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