masthead image

Hadlington

History

Town site photo

Former home

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Joseph Hadley, known affectionately as JJ, descended from a long line of pioneers. His grandfather, William Hadley Sr. arrived in Canada from the United States in the early 1800s and settled on Wolfe Island just south of the city of Kingston. Following the death of his first wife Hannah, William remarried and by the time Joseph's father, William Jr. was born, the family had moved north-west of Kingston around Lake Scugog area.

Joseph, the eldest son of William Jr. was born in 1869 in Victoria County. When he was about 10, the family moved to Monmouth Township in the newly formed county of Haliburton, where his father had received a land grant. Joseph remained in Monmouth Township for many years afterwards.

By the mid 1890s, Joseph had acquired 239 acres of land and became the first settler of what was to become the community of Hadlington. JJ was busy, energetic and became a man of considerable influence. He ran a sawmill, farmed and owned a general store. In 1899 he became Hadlington's first postmaster; the post office likely being operated from his store.

In the early 1900s, Hadlington was a busy, growing community and had plenty of offerings to attract new residents. Lumbering and farming were the major activities and there was more than enough work to go around. Besides JJ's sawmill, there were at least nine others as well as a metal, siding and shingle company.

By 1910, Hadlington's population had grown to around 30 families. A single-room schoolhouse became the hub the village's social activities. School attendance numbered as high as 25 children and there were periods when the school was practically overflowing.

Even though Hadlington was never large, by all accounts it was an active and highly social community. On weekends the school remained open functioning as a church, Sunday school, dance hall and for box socials. Dances in particular were extremely popular. The school was also home to the annual Christmas concert. Always the pioneer, JJ pulled up stakes and moved to Alberta around 1910, however the community he started and that bore his name continued to thrive for many years.

Hadlington's downfall occurred during the depression in the 1930s. During those hard times, the mills shut down and there was nothing else to replace them. Gradually people started to leave. The Woods family operated the post office from 1909 to 1948, until it was finally closed due to "limited usefulness."

Although a couple of families, including the Woods, continue to live in the area, there is virtually nothing left of Hadlington except for rubble and ruins. Luckily the schoolhouse, once the scene of so many parties, dances and social gatherings still stands and is privately owned by a hunt club.

Many thanks to David Nemirovsky for providing the photos and background information on Hadlington.Be sure to visit his site Blue Skies, which documents Ukrainian pioneers and historical churches in western Canada.