Thurston Album of Dunsford History
History of Dunsford and area
Verulam Township was surveyed in 1825-1826 by John Houston. The first settlers in the township were John Hunter and William Bell. "The area to the west of Emily Creek was taken up by four families of Thurstons, three families of Bells, and the Kennedys, McCollums, Iretons, Flynns, and Sherriffs."

-from County of Victoria Centennial History by Watson Kirkconnell, 1967.

Originally known as "Sherriff's Corners" and also as "Willock's Settlement", the hamlet was later renamed in honour of the Dunsford family. Rev. J.H. Dunsford was an early settler in Verulam Township. In 1944 he moved to Peterborough where he edited the "Peterborough Gazette" for several years. "His sons, James W. and Hartley Dunsford, established a shingle mill on the north shore of Sturgeon Lake near Red Rock. The former was many times Reeve of Verulam; while the latter was appointed Registrar of Victoria County in 1856 and died in Lindsay in 1891."

-from County of Victoria Centennial History by Watson Kirkconnell, 1967.

page 3 - Dunsford 1917
page 3 - Dunsford 1917 Details
The Farmer's Bank of Canada

"No doubt the worst day Dunsford experienced was in 1911 with the failure of the Farmers' Bank, which had a branch there, many residents lost their total life savings, with no assistance from anyone."
- Pioneer Gleanings from Verulam 1867-1967 by T.H. Martin
page 7 - The Farmers Bank of Canada
page 7 - The Farmers Bank of Canada Details
Max Kennedy's Feed Mill

Fire destroyed Max Kennedy's Feed Mill on January 5, 1955 during the middle of an ice storm. The fire was thought to have started from "artificial combustion in the elevator of the mill". As soon as it was discovered an alarm was sounded to Lindsay for assistance in fighting the blaze.

"On receiving the alarm in Lindsay, Chief Alex Wylie consulted Chairman William McCrae, of the Fire Department Committee, since the mill is not on the approved list of out-of-town calls. The Chief said he had been told the entire village was threatened by fire, and Mr. McCrae gave his permission for the pumper to be taken... The trip from Lindsay to Dunsford, a distance of some 12 miles, took 45 minutes to negotiate over the treacherous roads. On arrival, the men could find no water supply, and after using the reservoir in the truck to dampen the roof of the CPR station, they had to watch the buildings burn to the ground. After some three hours, they returned to the Lindsay station." (Watchman-Warder, January 12, 1955)

Estimated at $60,000, loss included the elevator and office of the mill, plus a storage shed, several loads of mixed grain and seed.

In 1979, Dunsford citizens raised money to buy a fire truck as the first step in establishing the village's own fire department. The money was raised through euchre parties, dances, skate-a-thons and other activities arranged by the committee. This quest came as a response after a two-year-old child died in a Dunsford fire in July 1978. Forty men offered their services as volunteer firefighters.

page 36 - Max Kennedy's Feed Mill
page 36 - Max Kennedy's Feed Mill Details
Dunsford Telephone Light & Power

At right, Mabel Patrick, October 1973, telephone operator for the Dunsford Telephone Light & Power Commission.

The Dunsford Telephone Light & Power Co-operative Association Ltd. was incorporated January 16, 1907 with the following directors: Charles Hore, President; John D. Hunter, Vice President; William J. Thurston, Manager; Isaac Lewis, Secretary Treasurer; and Samuel M. Thurston. The first switchboard was installed in F.E. Gordon's store with Lily Gordon as operator. The central office was moved to the residence of James A. Thurston in April 1909. In December 1918 central office was transferred to T.V. Thurston's and was located there to 1945 with chief operator, Zelma McCallum. In 1945 the directors were: William J. Patrick, President; Alex Elliott, Vice President; William M. Thurston, Manager; W. Wallace Thurston and Alex Kennedy. In 1945 the company operated around 100 miles of telephone line, served 173 subscribers and had 4 pay stations.

The company was sold to Bell Canada in 1972.

-- With information from the Kawartha Valley Women's Institute Tweedsmuir History.

page 22 - Mabel Patrick - Telephone Operator
page 22 - Mabel Patrick - Telephone Operator Details
Gannon's Narrows Floating Bridge

The Gannon's Narrows floating bridge was removed in approximately 1953. It was the oldest floating bridge and the last one in Ontario. The wooden floating structure spanned a 1500 foot gap between Harvey and Ennismore townships, across the Narrows that linked Buckhorn and Pigeon Lakes. It was replaced with a rock-filled causeway and a high-level steel span bridge to permit passage of boats cruising the Trent Canal.

In 1901, another and larger floating bridge over Lake Chemong was being widened, so a portion of that structure was towed by steamship to Gannon's Narrows where it was placed into position. That bridge had been in place since 1869.

The long floating raft of a bridge was about 16 feet wide, and if by chance two cars met on the bridge, one would have to back up. The railing was built of two-by-four scantling, merely a guide more than a guardrail.

A portion of the bridge could be swung open by windlass to permit passage of boats.

-- With information from Kawartha Valley Women's Institute Tweedsmuir History.
Addendum page 3 - Gannon Narrows Bridge, Buckhorn Lake
Addendum page 3 - Gannon Narrows Bridge, Buckhorn Lake Details
The Loyal Orange Hall was located next to the Anglican Church (1948 Sturgeon Road). Building is now gone.

page 37 - Orange Hall and Spring Flood
page 37 - Orange Hall and Spring Flood Details
Saw Mill - East side of Emily Creek
page 33 - Saw Mill
page 33 - Saw Mill Details
Barn Raising at Jack McMullen's farm.
More photos of barns being built:
- photo family members at the barn raising
- the barn raising team at Arnott's farm
page 39 - Barn Raising
page 39 - Barn Raising Details
Threshing is the act of separating the grain from the rest of the plant.
More photos of early threshing machines:
- Harry Sherriff's threshing machine
- threshing at Murdock farm
page 32 - Field Threshing
page 32 - Field Threshing Details
Bill Thurston's Garage.
More photos of early stores and garages in Dunsford:
- Ned Gordon's Garage
- Store at Dunsford
- General Store at Dunsford
page 11 - Bill Thurston's Garage
page 11 - Bill Thurston's Garage Details
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