Queen at Mill, NE corner


  • In 1834, an advertisement by Thomas Rogers for a Livestock Fair in Bolton offered ‘accommodation’ for attendees 1.  Rogers, a blacksmith who had settled north of Bolton, built a smithy and a log inn on land provided by George Bolton
  • The inn was one of the three or four log buildings in Bolton’s Mill in 1834 2
  • Inns required stabling for horses so it was not uncommon for blacksmiths to be innkeepers.  Rogers held many ‘hats’ and in 1836-37 was also the Constable for Albion Township 3
  • In 1840, Elijah Harsent, a blacksmith, purchased the half-acre inn property from George Bolton.  It was bounded by Mill Street, 7th Concession (Queen Street) and the river 4
  • A tavern license for 1844 exists for Elijah Harsent 5 and a young man named Joseph Dennis is described as managing the tavern throughout the 1840s, described as the tavern before the iron bridge 6
  • Elijah, wife Ann, daughters Mary Ann and Elizabeth and young son William lived on the property.  The girls were pupils in the 1842 school 7. By 1851 with the Albion Township census, Elijah had died and Ann is listed as involved in ‘Industry’ 8
  • The family is recorded in that census as living in a two-storey frame building along with a separate smithy and ‘shop’ suggesting that Elijah built the structure in the early 1840s 9
  • By 1853, James Wolfe, also a blacksmith, owned the property and was licensed as an innkeeper 10
  • The 1861 Albion Township census describes the building as a frame structure with roughcast exterior with a further note that it is a ‘temperance inn’ – meaning that alcohol is not served 11
  • Robert McAfee, brother-in-law of Thomas Curliss, was recorded as innkeeper in 1881 12
  • James Wolfe was involved in his community as Captain of the local militia unit, Deputy Reeve and then Reeve 1878-79 of Bolton’s Village Council

And the buildings?

  • The c.1834 log inn was moved or repurposed, perhaps as the ‘shop’ described on the 1851 census, thereby making way for the frame inn
  • The 1840s frame inn still stands at 63 Queen Street North.  It is one of Bolton’s oldest buildings.  It operated as an inn until the late 1880s. By the 1900s, it had become painter-paperhanger John Lake’s shop and residence.  In the 1920s, Lake and Wes Strong partnered in a butcher shop after which the building was used as a millinery shop, then candy shop and later an antiques store. By 1943, the building had been converted to Jack Bryan’s home and its roofline ‘clipped’ to its current profile 13
  1. The Advocate, Toronto March 27, 1834
  2. Samuel Walford autobiography, printed within The Story of Albion, published by The Bolton Enterprise, 1968 edition, p.307
  3. Abstract Index to deeds, Albion Township reels A&B, Lot 9, Con 7, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA
  4. Perkins Bull Hotel and Innkeeper Files, Boxes 32-34, Peel Archives
  5. ibid.
  6. Samuel Walford Autobiography, p.310
  7. ancestry.ca
  8. ibid.
  9. Perkins Bull files, ibid. 
  10. ancestry.ca
  11. ancestry.ca: Albion Township census
  12. Werden Leavens Scratch Pad Notes, Bolton Enterprise, November 12, 1975