St. John's Anglican Cemetery©Copyright: Susan Foster
Dufferin Bridge was one of the many casualties of the failed colonization road scheme, begun by the province in the mid 19th century. The settlers had originally been recruited to farm, however the land was poor and only allowed for subsistence farming. Many settlers eventually turned to commercial ventures or lumbering as a means of survival.
The opening of the Nipissing Road attracted numerous settlers to the rugged bush of Parry Sound District. The area was ripe for stopping places where travellers could pack it in for a night or so as they made their way through the rocky terrain.
By the late 1870s, Dufferin Bridge included two grocery stores, two general stores, Methodist and Anglican churches, a blacksmith shop, a busy hotel and a sawmill. A post office opened in 1882. At its height, Dufferin Bridge supported about 150 residents.
When the railway finally pushed through, it bypassed many of the small communities along the Nipissing Road, including Dufferin Bridge. As business slowly began to trickle away, many settlers left. By the early part of the 20th century, Dufferin Bridge was pretty much finished.
Today all that remains of Dufferin Bridge are the Anglican and Methodist cemeteries. The tombstones tell heartbreaking tales of high childhood mortality rates and a tragic diphtheria outbreak that claimed the lives of 10 children over a two week period.