Growth of communities usually followed the development of mills. Generally a community consisted of some of the following: a mill(s), church, school, general store, hotel and post office. There were approximately twenty communities in Esquesing Township but some now exist only as the name of a road (Lawson Road), a sign post (Whaley’s Corners) or a pioneer cemetery (Mansewood). The following are community photos taken from the EHS archives.
The founder of Acton, Rev. Ezra Adams, arrived in town in 1823. One of his family members, Maria Adams started a school in 1826 where Knox Church is now located. Phineas Adams died in 1830 and was the first burial in the area behind the school house in the cemetery in this photo.
This blacksmith shop was built in 1871 by William Tost on Prince Street, Glen Williams.
The earliest settlers in Norval were Alexander McNab and his family in 1820. His brother James built a grist and saw mill on the Credit R.
Ashgrove Methodist Church on Trafalgar Rd. was built in 1860 and was
closed in 1969. The building was moved to Limehouse and used as a house. The horse sheds can be seen behind the church.
By 1857 there were three hotels in Ballinafad.
In 1866 the post office opened with name Salmonville but was renamed Terra Cotta in 1891. According to early settlers ”At spawning time one could fairly walk across the backs of the salmon” on the Credit River.
The log school stood at the corner of Nathaniel Rossell’s lot in the village of Ballinafad where Trafalgar Rd. intersects 32 Sideroad.
During the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway a long “cut” had to be blasted through Limehouse, earning it the affectionate name of “The Rock.” During the construction of the line, a temporary settlement of two hundred workers and their families was located in the village.
The Alliance Paper Mill Company (Domtar) was created in 1928. This was the first all-concrete building in Georgetown, built by J. B. Mackenzie.
A bustling economy resulted in the Acton Town Hall being built by the town fathers in 1882.
Milton Heights School, located south of Hwy 401, was part of Esquesing Township until the last few decades.
The Esquesing Council Chamber at the corner of John St. and Main St., Stewarttown was used between 1879-1924. Stewarttown was known as the “capital of Esquesing Township” for more than 140 years and claims to be the oldest village in the township. The booming village of Stewarttown quickly lost its importance after 1856 when the railway opened through Acton and Georgetown.