Talk:Charlotteville Township, Ontario

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Charlotteville Township History

Charlotteville’s earliest known inhabitants, from around the year 1000 for possibly 300-350 years later were the Algonquin nation. They were noted flint-workers and evidence of the skill in crafting arrowheads is still to be found in open worked field areas throughout the centre of the township. The next wave of inhabitants were the Attawandaron nation, the Neutrals, who occupied the region from about 1350 until their absorption by the Iroquois 300 years later. The last significant native nation to occupy the area was the Mississaugas.

The first Caucasian settlers in Charlotteville were the United Empire Loyalist settlers from the original Port Ryerse landing point just prior to the year 1800. The name Charlotteville was taken from the short-lived military post and would-be regional administration centre established at the brow of Turkey Point hill, 420 42' 02" N and 800 19' 36" W, overlooking Long Point Bay, in the late 1700s. The fort, in turn, was named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, the ruling monarch at the time.

Charlotteville, roughly 100 square miles or 64,000 acres, was surveyed by the Walsh/Welch family, with the work completed by 1805. The township was laid out, nine miles wide, back from the nominal shoreline of Lake Erie, bounded by the Township of Woodhouse on the east and the townships of South Walsingham and North Walsingham on the west. On a 2.25-mile spacing between the two Town Lines were the two Quarter Lines and the Centre Line, now known as the Turkey Point road, running northwards, from Turkey Point, through Charlotteville Centre and on to the north boundary with the townships of Middleton and Windham which is now Ontario Highway #3.

Perpendicular to the line roads was a series of twelve concession roads, spaced seven-eighths of a mile apart, from the Lake Erie shore, back to the north boundary. Because the rectangular grid system was based on the nominal bearing of the Lake Erie shoreline between Port Dover and Port Rowan, the system is actually rotated 30 degrees counterclockwise from the true compass bearing. For example, driving south from Walsh to Turkey Point, the true compass bearing is 150 degrees, not 180 degrees.

The Township of Charlotteville became an incorporated municipality within the County of Norfolk, in 1850. Because of its convenient central location, Charlotteville Centre, now known as Walsh, was designated the administrative centre. The Township Hall building, constructed at a cost of $700 in 1868 still stands. In later years, the township seat administrative function was relocated to the larger village of Vittoria, four miles to the southeast.

In addition to the rectangular road grid, the Township was also served by the South Norfolk Railway which crossed from Simcoe to Port Rowan with Charlotteville service provided through stations located in Vittoria 420 45' 57" N and 800 19' 24" W, Walsh Station 420 44' 05" N and 800 21' 50" W and Forestville 420 42' 10" N and 800 23' 26" W. The line was constructed and opened in 1888 and remained in full service, with the Grand Trunk Railway and later Canadian National Railways succeeding the SNR, until 1957 when passenger service was discontinued. Freight service ended in 1962 and the tracks were removed in 1965.

As the Township population grew during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, a system of public elementary schools was developed, with fourteen one- and two-room school buildings distributed around the township. The rationalization process, begun as the post-war baby boomers entered the school system in the late 1950s, led to centralization in four multi-room facilities: Vittoria 420 45' 50" N and 800 19' 15" W, Forestville 420 41' 44" N and 800 23' 09" W, Lynedoch and Walsh.

Although Charlotteville never had a secondary school within its boundaries, elementary school graduates were well-served by high schools within Norfolk County: first in Simcoe (1898) and Delhi (1910) and later in Port Dover, beginning in 1962 and later Valley Heights south of Langton in 1971.

The township encouraged students aspiring to post secondary education by providing the Charlotteville Bursary for many years. One was awarded each year, to the highest academically standing Charlotteville resident graduating from Grade 13, regardless of the county high school attended. The value of the bursary was equal to that of the much coveted provincial Ontario Scholarship.

After nearly 125 years as an incorporated municipality, the Township of Charlotteville ceased to exist when it was dissolved in Ontario’s transition to regional government in 1974. Norfolk Country was merged with Haldimand County to the east, to form the new Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk and Charlotteville was dissolved into the newly created Township of Delhi.