Founding of Bolton – 1821

Founding of Bolton

  • On June 5th, 1821 George Bolton purchased the 200 acre mill site, Lot 9  Concession 7  Albion Township, from James Chewett, the Albion Township surveyor.  It is from this transaction that Bolton has evolved.  George was 22 years old 1
  • The site’s potential had been identified by James Chewett as he surveyed Albion Township in 1819 and was part of 2635 acres of land in the township that he received as payment for his services 2
  • When George arrived in Canada in 1821, he was joining his brother, James Bolton, 18 years his senior, and one of the first to settle in Albion Township 3.  James’ 100 acre farm lay close to the Caledon King Town Line and Castlederg Sideroad 4
  • One of George’s first tasks was to build a house, later described as a frame, roughcast-plaster building 5.  He also selected and started clearing a site for his grist mill (flour mill) on the south bank of the Humber
  • He was guided by James, a skilled millwright, who helped him erect his grist mill and construct a dam across the river.  The mill, with one run of stone, was a frame structure, at least two storeys high and likely protected by a gable roof and board cladding
  • By 1824, the mill was in operation grinding grain, powered by the Humber River
  • The economic value of the area surrounding George’s property had been recognized and the survey reserved the 200 ares to the south for the Clergy and the 200 acres to the west for the Crown.  In addition, 1000 acres on the tableland, immediately north, were given, as an extraordinary land grant, to a high-ranking military officer, Robert Loring, who lived in Kingston 6
  • The prevalence of absentee landowners created challenges for access to the grist mill since the surrounding road allowances were not cleared or maintained. It was well into the 1830s before this situation started to change.  Robert Loring only sold his land starting in 1838 7
  • The hamlet called Bolton’s Mill (or Bolton Hollow) evolved slowly around Mill Street 8


Timeline of the First 10 Years

  • 1823  Newlyweds Harriet Bolton and John Godbolt settled on the eastern edge of George Bolton`s property
  • 1830  George Bolton provided a log structure for a school. There were fewer than 10 people living in a one-kilometer radius of the mill
  • 1831  George Bolton built a log store
  • 1832  Government opened a Post Office named ‘Albion’; George Bolton is appointed Postmaster and the Post Office is housed in his log store
  • 1832  Ann and Samuel Sterne built a log house to the west of the mill clearing
  • 1833  Samuel took over George’s store and the operation of the Post Office
  • 1834  Thomas Rogers started operating an inn and a blacksmith shop close to the river

1819 Albion Township Survey Map. The lots are numbered vertically starting at the south end while the concession are numbered from west to east. Lot 9, Concession 7, is still shown in the name of James Chewett despite it having been sold to George Bolton on June 5th,1821.

  1. Abstract Index to deeds, Albion Township, reels A + B, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA
  2. Albion Township Survey Map.  James Chewett also received an additional 1400 acres in Caledon Township, east half, on completion of that survey
  3. Marjorie Bolton, A family Named Bolton, a family genealogy, March 1979.  While she was unable to find records of George’s birth in the Tannington, Suffolk, church records, others have subsequently found George’s birth registered in the Worlingworth church records
  4. Lot 14, Concession 9, 100 acres, Albion Township
  5. Esther Heyes, A Story of Albion, The Bolton Enterprise, second printing 1968, p.307
  6. Albion Township Survey Map, Archives of Ontario
  7. Abstract Index to Deeds, ibid., Con 6, Lots 10 and 11; Con 7, Lot 10; Con 8, Lots 10 and 11
  8. A Story of Albion, p.306