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Newboyne

History

Town site photo

The schoolhouse

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Following the war of 1812, the British were faced the serious dilemma of how to protect and secure their holdings in Canada. They desperately needed to colonize the land and increase the population, but were highly mistrustful of the American settlers, who they believed were entering the country in order to aid and abet the United States. By 1815 they had put a stop of the influx of Americans and began to look at a variety of alternate solutions. One solution was to encourage settlement in Canada by people who they believed would be loyal to British concerns.

Domestically the British had different issues to contend with. Overpopulation and high unemployment in Ireland had become serious problems. Encouraging Irish settlement in Canada offered a twofold solution in reducing the overpopulation and providing a ready-made source of loyal immigrants who could also serve as a labour force to help strengthen the waterways along the US Canada border. Between 1815 and 1820 over 26,000 people from 32 Irish Counties migrated to Canada, settling mainly in eastern Ontario from the Rideau River down to the shores of Lake Ontario.

Newboyne, originally spelled New Boyne, was named for the Battle of Boyne. It was a small farming hamlet first settled around 1832, primarily by Irish Protestants. Around 1845, the St. Peter's Mission arrived. By 1852 they had built a small, frame Anglican Church on Lot 6, Concession 3.

By the 1860s Newboyne had grown into well-established farming community. James Lytle opened a post office in his general store in 1860. There was a school on Lot 5, Concession 4, built on land owned by T. Gillespie and R. Parker. Besides the school, there was the requisite Orange Lodge, and a town hall on Lot 11, Concession 2. Directly across from James Lytle's store was a blacksmith shop. Other businesses included a shoe shop, owned by John Moss and a tailoring shop, opened by George Moss in 1869.

In 1872 the small frame church building was replaced with a stunning new structure. The new St. Peter's Anglican Church was built from locally quarried sandstone set in broken courses, with gothic style windows. The interior work was completed over an 11-year period from 1878 to 1889 and included wooden detailing, interior stencilling and striking stained glass windows. The church quickly grew to become the pride and joy of the community. A Methodist church also stood for an unknown period of time. It appears to have closed before church union in 1925.

Following James Lytle's death in 1875, William Fitzpatrick took over the post office and general store. During the mid 1880s Alexander Rogers opened a cheese factory. The Rogers factory, later known as Rogers, Robinson & Co. was followed by a second cheese factory in the 1890s, known as the Reliable Cheese Manufacturing Co. In 1885 Margery Black took over as postmaster, followed by Joseph Lyons, and later his widow, Fannie Lyons. William Fitzpatrick continued operating the general store, adding a wagon-shop and a shoemaking shop in the early 1890s.

Newboyne produced one politician, Dr. Robert Henry Preston, MD, who was born in Newboyne in 1840. Dr. Preston's family had emigrated from the county of Mayo, Ireland, arriving in Canada in 1823. He served as a provincial MPP from January 1875 to April 1879 and again from February 1883 to May 1894. Dr. Preston obtained his medical degree in 1864 and later settled in Newboro where he was married to the daughter of Benjamin Tett, owner of the Bedford Mills. As an opposition MPP, he served on numerous committees, primarily those involving medical and pharmacy-related bills.

Newboyne was never more than a small scattered farming hamlet with a population that averaged around 50. All its businesses were farm-based, focusing on livestock and farm implement sales. The Rogers cheese factory lasted well into the 20th century. The post office was replaced in 1918 with rural mail delivery.

With the advent of larger farms and improved transportation, little service and supply hamlets such as Newboyne gradually fell by the wayside. Luckily a couple of Newboyne's early vestiges continue to thrive. St. Peter's Anglican Church remains active and continues to hold regular services. It is considered to be one of the most striking and elegant churches in the township. The cemetery, located across the road from the church, is attractively landscaped and well maintained. The school still stands and is now used by the Anglican Church for offices. The remainder of Newboyne has reverted back to its roots in farming