MF – 1866.11.27 – Johnville Prosperity – #154 – F12251


On Sunday the Bishop read returns which he had caused to be made up by the settlers at Johnville, in order to show the wonderful progress that Settlement has made within a few years, and so afford a stronger inducement to others to become settlers, and win for themselves and their families the honourable independence to which all men should aspire.

This Settlement was commenced in 1861 – only five years ago – when fifteen persons went into what was then an unbroken wilderness. – The Bishop described the hardships the first settlers had to encounter. They did not arrive at Woodstock until after the first snow had fallen, and this being followed by rain, they had much misery and discomfort to endure. – Indeed the spirit, energy and perseverance of Mr. and Mrs. McCann, who, after struggling through the woods in slush and rain, boldly set to work to put up their log cabin was really heroic. They persevered, and in a short time they were able to give most valuable assistance to those who followed them. Now they are worth at least $1,600 in cleared land and houses, stock and crops – perfectly independent and comfortable.

In 1862 a much larger number went in, and many were added to the Settlement in 1863 and the following years. If we take an average of 2 1-2 to 3 years work for all the settlers, we shall probably overstate the amount of work expended.

Now to the gross results.

The settlers have:

1406 acres of land cleared which,
allowing only for the labour of clearing, $12 per acre, is worth
464 acres of land chopped
Frame houses worth $7,000
Barns worth $6,000

They Have:

48 horses worth
134 cows worth
64 oxen worth
115 young cattle worth
247 sheep worth
262 pigs worth $2,620




208 tons of hay worth
2,526 bushels of wheat worth
11,315 bushels of oats worth
277 bushels of barley worth
3,874 bushels of buckwheat worth
110 bushels of rye worth
16,885 bushels of potatoes worth
4,905 bushels of turnips worth








TOTAL: $64,234

In this calculation the very lowest price is put down for each article. Oats are estimated worth only 35 cents per bushel, Potatoes 30 cents, Hay $8 a ton, and so of all the other produce. The price for cattle is even lower still, and for cleared land the only amount allowed is the ordinary cost of clearing, vis, $12 an acre. The exact cost of the Houses and Barns – less the value of the settlers’ own labour, is also given. The Bishop’s object was not to [exagerate], but to keep far within the truth, so as to leave no room whatever for doubt, and yet the results must surprise everyone. In one year this young settlement has raised crops to the value at least of $17,290, and this is but a part of the produce of the labour of the people, much of which of course, was expended in the work of chopping, burning, fencing, building, &c., &c. Yet this $17,290 alone is probably twice as much as the same number of people could earn in town.

Their stock also increases with surprising rapidity. It must be remembered that few of those settlers had any money when they went in. A few perhaps could buy a cow and a few sheep; but in nine cases out of ten, when the log cabin was up, the head of the family was compelled to seek employment for a time in order to provide food for his children. Their whole wealth was almost literally created out of nothing. Their capital at the start was industry, courage, and the spirit of independence. The stock will probably increase much faster in the future. The week the Bishop visited the settlement they had sold $800 worth of fat cattle to some American traders.

In estimating the value of the property they have acquired, we should take into account the labor expended on the roads they have made through the settlement. The Bishop thinks there must be more than twenty miles of road open and fit for travel. We should also make allowance for the value given to the land by the mere fact of its being settled. Putting this at a very low figure indeed, we must be satisfied that the settlers in Johnville, are to-day worth at least $100,000. Four or five years ago the wealthiest of them was dependent on his day’s wages for his day’s living.

We hope this exposition will have the desired affect, and that it will induce hundreds of those who now earn a precarious livelihood by working like slaves in mills and factories, or up to their knees in mud and water all day long in the city sewers, or drudging and toiling in any of the other occupations in which so many wear out their health and strength, to imitate the example, and share the prosperity, the comfort, and [independence] and respectability of those settlers. Money is not necessary. The man who has enough to get provisions for his family for the Winter has quite enough to make a good start in any of those settlements. The difficulties in his way are now comparatively trifling. Roads are made for him up to the very lot ready for him to settle on. He becomes at once the last of a populous neighborhood, and in a few weeks may expect to have others settled beyond and beside him. He will get assistance and encouragement on all sides, and if he wants to earn some money, he can get employment at good wages when the labourers of the city are all idle. The man who, with such an easy way of becoming independent within his reach, prefers still to be a day labourer, dependant on the change of times and the will of an employer for permission to earn mere food and shelter by hard work, deserves to be nothing better than a labourer all his life.