Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2012

Notes from the 1851 Charlottenburgh Census Files By Kathy Coffey – January 10, 2012

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Glengarry County


I had to do a bit of historical research to find out why the village was named Williamstown. It was named after Sir John Johnson’s father Sir William Johnson. (I probably knew that at one time !)

Sir John was granted 2400 acres in Canada after the estate he inherited from his father in the Mohawk valley in New York state was confiscated by the American’s  – Apparently they didn’t take too kindly to Sir John being loyal to the British crown during the 1776 – 1783 revolution.

So Sir John took his 2400 acres in Charlottenburgh Township and built his house, grist and saw mills, starting a town and named it after his father.

Some 60 years later there were 311 residents in Williamstown … hmmm … as I recall he called the population of Martintown “inmates”.

Williamstown bragged of “a stone grist mill owned and built by James Cummings Esq. – 3 run of stones, engine (?) 10 horsepower, a frame building cost about £800. Capable of manufacturing annually 50,000 bushels, might yield annually if kept in constant operation after deducting expenses £250 – A carding machine and oat kiln attached, about quarter mile distant from the village of Williamstown – requiring 4 persons.”

And within the village – I am guessing these were the mills originally built by Sir John?

“A stone grist mill of 3 runs of stones with bolls & wraught by water average produce about £200 per annum – A wooden saw mill and one saw Wraught by water produce £35 annually. The original cost of the grist mill £1000 –“The original cost “of the saw mill £150.  The flour manufactured by this mill during last winter and this spring cornered a better price in the Montreal market than any sent from this district”

Notable list of professionals and building claimed by Williamstown in 1851.


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  1. smee says:

    “Mohawk valley in New York state was confiscated by the American’s ”

    I like that comment and wonder why they still believe Canada is home……

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