Published in the Peterborough Examiner 01/12/2016
Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915) had many accomplishments in his lifetime, but his first career as a surveyor led to his producing several superb maps including of Peterborough in 1846, and of the local districts and Toronto by 1848.
Fleming had been working for Scobie & Balfour printing firm during 1847, but his diary for that year has not survived. However, he was back with Scobie & Balfour beginning on Monday, January 10, 1848. The following Monday he commented, “Engaged at Scobies just now making a title to the Newcastle & Colborne map. There is a great deal of work at it, but shall try to make a good job.” (p. 109) Then on Saturday, the 22nd, he noted, “Getting pretty well on with the work at Scobies, but it will be some time before we finish.”
In early February, on Monday, February 7, he was still “As usual at work at the Newcastle & Colborne map, will soon get a proof of it now, got one of the first stone in the afternoon.” The next day, February 8, “Got a proof of the second stone today. They look pretty well together. Got 24 copies home with me in the afternoon and commenced coloring and putting them on the board in the evening.”
On Wednesday, he began engraving the Statistical Tables. “I thought it as well to get a few thrown off to get on with the mounting and we can paste on the Tables afterwards.” (p. 111)
On Thursday, he “Got one of the maps put on rollers today and taken down, everyone is well pleased with it. At work getting some additions put on the stone. Mr. Balfour being from home for the last three weeks came home, is well pleased.” On Friday, “Today (he was) finishing the second stone of the District map which was begun to print in the afternoon. Got home with me 26 copies. The map indeed looks pretty well now.” On Saturday, Mr. Balfour ordered Fleming to get a machine for ruling wavy and straight lines, which would got 50 or 60 dollars.
During these days he had also been working on a plan for a new town hall in Cobourg. His map of Peterborough which had been completed June 1846, and he was selling copies of it. A digital version of that map is in the Electric City Collection at Trent Valley Archives, and has proved excellent for researchers who wish to zoom in on parts of the map. The 1846 Peterborough map was included in the 1975 Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Town and County of Peterborough, but the 1848 Districts map was not published there.
On Wednesday, February 23, Fleming was selling the Newcastle & Colborne District map in Toronto, and went to Cobourg on Thursday, by stage. He commented, “left with Scobie & Balfours 14 maps coloured & mounted with a few quarter dollars in my pocket.” Over the next few days he left maps in Cobourg, Port Hope, at Graham’s Tavern (halfway to Peterborough) and at Peterborough.
Travel arrangements were difficult. On the way to Cobourg, a wheel came off the stage and they had to wait for a second stage. “Rolling away on the rough road, arrived at Cobourg a little before 4 in the morning, got to bed & slept till a little after nine.” The trips to Port Hope and Peterborough were by sleigh: “The sleighing is good but bitter cold”¦”
At Peterborough, where he was staying at the Hutchisons, he untied the maps and was pleased that the travel had not caused problems. On Friday, he took the District map to the Despatch and the Gazette and to Walter Sheridan at the district court house. On Monday he was taking orders for the Districts map at the Court House, and on Tuesday he was at the Fair Day in Peterborough. He commented, “The fair passed away without a fight, but there was not much business done. These fairs do but little good.” While in Peterborough he was working on the accounts for the late Dr John Hutchison who had died of typhus in August 1847 while attending immigrants at the isolation hospital on Little Lake. On Thursday he was unsuccessful in selling maps in the Scotch Village (Ashburnham) but later sold a map to R. D. Rogers.
He sold maps in Keene, and then most of the week was taking orders at the various stores in Peterborough, and at Benson’s mill. He also was “trading maps for harness, axes, etc.” For most of the month he was selling maps in Port Hope and elsewhere, but had poor luck which he attributed to the shortage of money at this time. He described Port Hope as duller than Peterborough as far as trade was concerned.
I was excited by the map. The original was 36 x 34 inches and the scale was 2 miles to an inch ; the facsimile map is about 15 x 14 inches on a sheet that is 24 x 18 inches. This map, 500 copies, was produced using the original map from the National Map Collection of the Public Archives of Canada (now the Library and Archives of Canada) and was supplemented with other originals because of the wear and tear on the map. There are still some spots around the edges that are blank. The reprint was done in sepia ink on a light orange cover stock paper. This map is Facsimile No. 1 in a series produced by the Canadian Heritage Publications, Ottawa.
The Statistical Tables that Fleming noted in his diary are on this map. They do not intrude on the townships and do not interfere with the information on the map. The title is at the very top, slightly right of centre. In artistic lettering, it reads “MAP OF THE NEWCASTLE & COLBORNE DISTRICTS. Compiled from Maps of the original Surveys and the best Authorities. By Sandford Fleming Surveyor. Published by Scobie & Balfour Lith. Toronto 1848” The first table gives the population figures for the townships in Newcastle District; the similar table for the Colborne District is at the bottom, left of centre.
One table gives the population of towns and villages in the two districts based on the 1847 “census,” which was really an assessment. The largest towns were Cobourg, 3,000; Peterborough, 2,000; and Port Hope, 1,800. The smallest listed was Warsaw at 70. Millbrook had 250 inhabitants; Lindsay, 200. The total population of the Colborne District was 20,011.
At the bottom left there is a table of distances which has the interesting feature of suggesting the route. The distances, for example, from Bewdley and Gore’s Landing were shown as by river. From each of those places to Cobourg was by plank road. Some distances were by the “present road”. From Peterborough to Port Hope was 36 miles by river and graveled road; in a straight line it was 24 miles.
A box in the upper right describes survey descriptions in the several townships and comments on the number of townships in each county: Durham 6; Northumberland 7 1/2 ; and Peterborough 18 1/2 . The divided township was Monaghan.
In a box at the centre bottom, labeled “Explanations”, Fleming had the numbers for lot and concession and the boundaries of townships and districts. Four types of roads were distinguished : “principal traveled road”, plank, graveled and proposed. The major plank roads were also labeled along their lengths. One plank road went from Cobourg to Gore’s Landing. There was also a plank road that went along the concession road from the Keene Road to Smith Road (Parkhill Road). A graveled road extended from Port Hope to Bewdley.
A “contemplated railway line from Peterboro to Lake Huron of nearly 76 miles” is clearly marked running through Lindsay. There are also proposed railway lines from Toronto to Kingston, and from Port Hope to Peterboro only shown to Bewdley, which had links to Millbrook and Cobourg. The first railways were built in the early 1850s. The Cobourg and Peterborough Railway is not contemplated on this map.
Some of the lakes are named differently; although a few locks and timber slides had been built, 1848 is still half a century before the building of the Trent Canal. Chemong Lake was called “Chemong or Mud Lake.” The lake between Lakefield and Boshink was called Salmon Trout Lake; further east Upper Stoney Lake was called Stoney Lake.
An interesting feature of this map is that it marks in the countryside grist mills, oat mills, saw mills and schools. In the vicinity of Peterborough, Fleming has indicated Benson’s Mills, on the Otonabee River, just north of the town (just north of the junction of Water and George). There are two saw mills and a grist mill in North Monaghan; a grist and saw mill near Young’s Point; saw mills at Nassau Mills and a saw mill at what is now Lakefield. As well, there are four saw mills and two grist mills along the Indian River between Keene and Warsaw and four saw mills and two grist mills in Asphodel near Crook’s Rapids (Hastings), Norwood and Westwood. There is a distillery shown north of Benson’s Mills. These are good indications of the coming of the industrial revolution.
This rare map captures exceptional features of local history at an early date, 1848. Fleming should not have had such difficulty selling this treasure.