Saugeen Township

‘Saugeen’ is a corrupted form of an Ojibway word for the mouth of a river.

Saugeen Township Places

  • Aberdour – An early post office at Lot 26 of the 4th Concession. Later replaced by the Turners post office, on Lot 27.
  • Burnt Corners – An early name for Sparks’ Corners
  • Burgoyne – A post office and village on the Saugeen and Arran townline. It is the crossroads of the Elora and Saugeen  Road (County Road 3) and the Saugeen and Owen Sound Road (County Road 17).
  • Chantry Island – In Lake Huron, at Southampton
  • Denny’s Dam – on the Saugeen River, near Southampton. Named after  John Denny, who operated a grist mill, sawmill and woollen mill at the location.
  • Dunblane – A post office and hamlet on the Elora and Saugeen Road. As the post office cancellation stamp had been misspelled ‘Dumblane‘, it was also known by that name.
  • Goble’s Grove – On Lake Huron at the 6th Concession, south of Port Elgin
  • MacGregor Point – On Lake Huron, south of Port Elgin
  • McNab Point – On Lake Huron, between Port Elgin and Southampton
  • Normanton – A post office, opened in 1854. Was renamed Port Elgin in 1874
  • North Bruce – A post office and hamlet located at the 1st Concession and the Goderich Road (Highway 21). The post office opened in 1864. 
  • Pipe Clay – a name once given to the hamlet of Turners, on the 4th Concession
  • Port Elgin –  a town on Lake Huron. Named for the Earl of Elgin, Governor General.
  • Queen Hill – The post office opened in 1877 on Lot 15 of the 14th Concession of Bruce Township. In 1907 the post office moved to Lot 19 of the 1st Concession of Saugeen Township.
  • Saugeen – This post office was opened in 1851. It was renamed Southampton in 1889.
  • Southampton – The village, located where the Saugeen River flowed into Lake Huron, was incorporated in 1858. 
  • Sparks’ Corners – Where the Elora and Saugeen Road meets the Goderich Road
  • Turners – A hamlet on the 4th Concession. The store was located on Lot 27. A post office opened in 1931.
  • West Arran – A post office north of Burgoyne, opened in 1853. Originally, it was on the east side of the Elora and Saugeen Road, in Arran Township, but later it was moved to the west side of the Elora and Saugeen Road, in Saugeen Township.

Saugeen Township Notable People

John Bell, born on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, was Hudson Bay Company chief trader and explorer. After retiring from the HBC in 1860, he settled in Saugeen Township, where he farmed until his death in 1868. His biography appears in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

Thomas Bryce emigrated from Scotland in 1852 and settled on Lot 17 of the Elora Road. He was a talented woodworker, and made clocks, miniature soldiers and horses, and over 100 violins.

Thomas Bryce

Gordon Cummings, born in Saugeen Township, was a private with Kitchener’s Horse Guards, and died in South Africa in 1900. He was the only Bruce County person to die in the Boer War.

Robert Douglass, A.B. M.D., Port Elgin, “the oldest physician and surgeon in Port Elgin, is a native of this Province, dating his birth in the Township of Nelson, County of Halton, June 8, 1833. His father, Robert Douglass, senior, was from the State of New York; his grandfather from Scotland. His mother was Jane McGill, from Belfast, Ireland. … [He] settled in Port Elgin in the spring of 1861.
“Dr. Douglass is an earnest Reformer, and in 1867 was the candidate of his party for the House of Commons, for the North Riding of Bruce, and came within seven or eight votes of being elected. He is President of the Reform Association of Port Elgin, and a man of much influence among his political confreres, and of prominence as a citizen.
“September 30, 1857, Miss Eleanor Sproat, of Milton, county town of Halton, was joined in wedlock with Dr. Douglass, and died July 18, 1877, leaving four daughters, all yet living. Their names are Jennie, Marion E., Eleanor, and Helen Sproat.” 
From The Canadian biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self-made men: Ontario volume. (Chicago ; Toronto : American Biographical Pub. Co., 1880.) 

Robert Leith ‘Dinny’ Hanbidge, barrister and politician, and eventually Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, had roots in both Southampton and Arran Township. For more information about him, see the Arran Township page.

William Kennedy was one of the founders of Southampton, where he and John Spence purchased a fishing company in 1848. The business was not successful, and he left Southampton to lead an 1851 expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. His biography appears in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

David Brown Milne, artist, was born on Lot 19 of the 10th Concession of Saugeen. He was the youngest child of William Milne and Mary Doverty, who had emigrated from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. When he was 8 years old, the family moved to the village of Paisley, in Elderslie Township. He obtained teacher training, and taught school at United School Section No. 7 & 8, Elderslie and Saugeen, on the Elora Road from 1900 to 1903, before leaving to study art in New York. He died in 1953. A memorial plaque was erected in Paisley in 1962 in his honour. Many of his paintings are in the National Gallery of Canada’s collection.

David Brown Milne plaque in Paisley

W. Mitchell, a lieutenant in the 32nd Bruce Battalion of Infantry, was a member of the Canadian rifle shooting team, and was winner of the Prince of Wales Prize at Wimbleton in 1882. The Globe newspaper,under the headline “Port Elgin Welcomes its Wimbleton Hero” reported on a banquet held in his honour. A Globe article of the previous year noted that the 1881 Canadian team included four brothers: Sergeant D. Mitchell, 13th Battalion; Sergeant T. Mitchell, 10th Royals; Private C. N. Mitchell, 10th Royals; and Lieut. W. Mitchell 32nd Battalion.

James Rowand was Member of Parliament for West Bruce in the 1890s. He farmed at Dunblane, on Lot 18 of the Range West of Saugeen Road. He died in 1897 at age 67 and is buried in Port Elgin.
“Family came from Paisley, Scot., and settled in Can. 1832. B. in Paisley, 1830, and ed. in Toronto. M. 1854, Elizabeth Gowanlock, of Saugeen. A Farmer. Was a Municipal Councillor and Reeve of his Tp. for ten years. Is now mem. of the Agricultural and arts Assoc. of Ontario. First returned to Parliament by acclamation at bye election held 19 Oct., 1867; re-elected at last g.e.. A Liberal. – Dumblane, Ont.” From The Canadian parliamentary companion, 1891 Gemmill, John Alexander, 1847-1905. (Ottawa : J. Durie, 1891.)

Alexander Smith, “political organizer, is the s. of the late Peter Smith, a pioneer settler in Saugeen, Co. Bruce, Ont. B. in Saugeen, 1866, he was ed. in Walkerton, at the Collingwood Coll. Inst., and at the Univ. of Toronto, where he graduated B.A., 1889, with honours in several depts. Joining the reportorial staff of the Toronto Mail, 1889, he at the same time followed the course of lectures at the Law Sch., Osgoode Hall, and was called to the bar, 1893. In Nov., same year, he was apptd. Secy. of the Ont. Lib. Assn., and organizer for the Lib. party in Ont., both for Provl. and Dom. purposes, which positions he still retains. In religious faith he is a Presb. -34 Victoria St., Toronto. “Has a cool head, a great deal of resource, and a judgment that is rarely at fault. During the great campaign of 1896 he showed first-class generalship.”Globe”From The Canadian men and women of the time: a handbook of Canadian biography Morgan, Henry J. (Henry James), 1842-1913. (Toronto : W. Briggs, 1898.)

Saugeen Township – Some Early Names

Statement of Sales of Crown Land in Bruce County Previous to 1853 on which arrears are due – Saugeen Township

Date of Sale or LeaseName of Purchaser or LesseeLotConAcresSale Number
1852James Hendry Jr12.1342001655
1852Alex Wallace32.33W Saugeen R12001656
1852Robert Bell18.1972001659
1852John Burgess4River Range A811660
1852Peter Nicholson24.2571571661
1852Wm Gowanlock Sr21.2272421662
1852Wm  Gowanlock2323781971663
1852Wm Gowanlock Jr2471521664
1852James Gowanlock27W Saug Rd11001665
1852Thos Turner1141001668
1852James Turner1041001669
1852David Martindale13111001743
1852Saml Robinson34.35W Saug Rd12001744
1852John Thompson1271001745
1852Geo Graham12.1382001746
1852James Turner1151001747
1852Thomas Turner1251001748
1852Louis I. Louis43.43Lake Range1971749
1852Coll Lamont273100 school1750
1852Gilbert Lamont28.2932001751
1852Don Lamont25.2632001752
1852John Currie24.2512001753
1852Alex Currie24.2522001754
1852John Goble32Lake Range701755
1852Geo Ferrin BurnsJames Craig [crossed out]17.18 61991758
1852John McGillivray14.1522001759
1852Robert Coulson4Lake Range1071762
1852Don Wilkie Jr1431001766
1852Thos Burgess5A1061767
1852Peter Mcarthur34.3512001770
1852John Cameron2041001771
1852James Stewart29Lake Range791772
1852Wm Stirton17.1892001773
1852James Stirton Jr19101101776
1852John Cameron1441001778
1852Hector Mcarthur31.3212001780
1852D  McGillivray16.1722001781
1852John Smith13.146200school1784
1852Wm Kennedy15.1615.16892391838
1852Wm McKellar1221001843
1852Christopher McRae1951001853
1852Peter Smith1413.14891771861
1852John Goble31Lake Range741862
1852Allan McLellan1131001863
1852John Wallace Sr2571101966
1852John Wallace Jr261971st W Saugeen R87901967
1852John Rowand181 West Saugeen Rd1111968
1852Martin Cook1451001976

Transcribed from: Province of Ontario Archives RG 1-21-1-41


Building in faith : one hundred and thirty-five years of Presbyterianism in Port Elgin 1861-1996 : Knox Presbyterian Church 1861-1925, Tolmie Memorial Presbyterian Church 1926-1996 by Tolmie Memorial Historical Committee, 1996. 

Dunblane Dunblane’s history.

Down Petticoat Lane by Mary I. MacKay, 2004.

Forgotten Lives, Early History of a Coastal Village by John Weichel, 2001 Southampton’s first public burying ground.

History of the County of Bruce by Norman Robertson, 1906. 

Light through the years : 125 years with Knox Presbyterian Church, Burgoyne, 1862-1987 and Dunblane Presbyterian Church by the Burgoyne Historical Society, 1987. 

The History of Port Elgin by Heather Robertson, 1975. 

Roots and Branches of Saugeen by Saugeen History Hunters, 1984. 

St. Andrew’s Saugeen 1870 – 1962

Skeely Skipper: Southampton’s Master Mariner, Captain John Spence by John Weichel, 1998.