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Irish immigrants founded Connor in the 1830s

January 15, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Driving along the Adjala 5 Sideroad past Concession Rd. 3, in Adjala, there is no real indication at all that there was once a settlement at that corner.

The few houses in the area are of a fairly modern design, however a drive along the sideroads reveals some older structures with the old field stone foundations.

The hamlet was named Connor, most likely named after a town in Ireland, and it was first settled in the 1830s. At the time that would have been quite an accomplishment.

There were no real roads in the area and the land had to be cleared with back-breaking labour and oxen.

The area used to be referred to as the “wilds of Adjala” due to the fact that were no settlements and the land was untouched.

A plaque at the site indicates the first settlers were named Leggett, McGibbon, Beatty, and Lee. However, a check of names in historical records of the area prior to 1837 only lists Leggett and Beatty as names in the area at the time. It could be the others were never properly listed, or the names on the plaque could have been included by descendants of those families who knew their family history.

After the first settlers moved in, there was a lull in activity due to the Rebellion of 1837, which made people nervous about venturing out to unknown territory when there was political upheaval.

After the Rebellions were over, and the subsequent hanging of many of the rebels, people again started moving west.

Most, if not all of the early immigrants to the area were Irish. That fact that an Orange Lodge was established in 1849 indicates a strong Irish protestant presence.

By the 1850s, the population had grown enough to require a school house. A school named simply, SS. No. 1 Connor School was built.

In 1860, there were enough inhabitants in the area to keep a general store in business. There was also a shoemaker and blacksmith shop.

The town must have looked promising as a post office was established in 1865.

A Town Hall was built in 1884 and was also used as the Orange Lodge meeting place. The Town Hall is still there and is now a private residence.

From there, Connor seems to have just faded away as a settlement.

Historical records of the area have little information on the village or what happened to its inhabitants.

Like many towns in the Ontario, Connor just slowly disappeared.

On the 5 Sideroad about half a mile from the corners, the Sloan’s Presbyterian Church Cemetery has the graves of many pioneers in the area. There seems to be no indication if the church was on the site or nearby.

While the village no longer remains, the farms and buildings in the area are a testament to the pioneering spirit that settled the area 190 years ago.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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