By: Elva Bates

"Place Names of Ontario" by Alan Rayburn is a well-researched book containing the names of 2,285 places in Ontario (thanks to Marilyn Billings, Library Supervisor, for bringing this book to my attention). Of our community is says:

"Gooderham" Located in Haliburton County 18 km southeast of Haliburton, this place was first called Pine Lake. The name was changed to Gooderham in 1873, after George Gooderham, of the Gooderham and Worts milling and distillery interests, gave generously to a subscription to build a Methodist church here. The Gooderhams had a significant interest in the *Toronto and Nipissing Railway, and William Gooderham (1824 – 89) was appointed its president that year. The distillery used the railway to transport cordwood from the north country to Toronto. The story that they provided several cases of whiskey to three local hotels and that the residents had a monstrous bash on free booze before naming the place is likely apocryphal."

Murray Gooderham, a descendant, owned Lot 3, Con. VI in Glamorgan for many years. When a niece was settling his estate in the early to mid 80’s, she asked me how the town got its name. Of course I told her the only story that I had heard – she was dismayed! She told me that it was the family’s belief that Gooderham was so named because the family had made a large donation to a local church. She also mentioned the family’s involvement with the railroad. I hope that since then she has found the information that Mr. Rayburn found.

"*The Toronto and Nipissing Railway, which eventually became part of the Midland Railway system was originally projected to extend northeast from Toronto to the Ottawa Valley. When it became clear that this would not take place (ending in Haliburton) the Toronto and Nipissing Extension Railway Company was incorporated in March 1880 by Americans H. S. Howland and C. J. Pusey to complete the originally envisioned project. Their intention was to construct a 50 mile (80 km) line from a point in or near Kinmount east to the **Canada Central Railway through land that was perceived to contain great potential for iron ore reserves. After remaining dormant for several years, the promoters renamed the project in 1884 the Irondale Bancroft & Ottawa Railway. In that money was not forthcoming from both the private and public sector, however, things remained at a standstill."


Mr. Rayburn states that William Gooderham was President of the *Toronto Nipissing Railway in 1883 but the Toronto and Nipissing Railway Company was incorporated in 1880. So was William Gooderham actually President of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway Company? **Canada Central Railway passed through York River, i.e. Bancroft.

The portion of Pelham Mulvaney’s 1884 book "History of the County of Peterborough" dealing with The County of Haliburton may be viewed at the Gooderham Library or may be accessed on-line at Haliburton Genweb Page. 

Dealing with the settlement of the United Townships of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Monmouth, it says:

"The settlement of Glamorgan commenced about the year 1869 or 1870, on the opening of the Monk Road as a colonization road by the Provincial Government. Among the first settlers were Mr. W.F. Ritchie, Samuel Wiley of the famed Wiley’s Hill on the Bobcaygeon Road, Thomas White, Charles Way and Samuel Whittaker. Mr. Way took up his location at a point now known as Gooderham, where he is now postmaster and proprietor of the hotel. … It is a free grant township. … Between 1876 and 1880, Mr. J.J. Hunter built a saw and grist mill at Gooderham, and Mr. Charles Orser and Mr. Anthony Hall have between them a portable saw and shingle mill. … In addition to the post-office at Gooderham, there is a second post-office at Ursa, Mr. Stephen Kettle being postmaster; Mr. Kettle is also township clerk, having taken the place of Mr. J.B. Palmer, who returned to England in 1882. There are two mails each week to Gooderham, and once a week there is a through mail to Cheddar in Cardiff. ...

In the Township of Monmouth settlement commenced about the same date as in Glamorgan, and foremost among the early settlers must be mentioned the Ritchie family – Samuel, Robert and Mitchell … Mr. Samuel Ritchie, in the course of time, opened a store…. Mitchell Ritchie built a saw-mill at the foot of Providence Lake. …. Mr. William Hadley … built a saw-mill on Lot 4, Concession 8 in 1882, and cut lumber for local purposes. There are two post-offices, Hotspur, of which Mr. Thomas Clark is postmaster, and Wilberforce, of which Mr. Riley is postmaster. …

So early as 1862 several settlers found their way into the Township of Cardiff. Among them were Mr. Armstrong, Mr. George Patterson and Mr. Joseph Dunlop. … It was not until 1870 that settlers commenced to arrive in any considerable numbers … At Cheddar Mr. Wood keeps a very comfortable house of entertainment, and a post office has been opened…"


"The following is a return of the number of ratepayers … for the year 1874 (the year of the formation of the county), for 1881 (the year previous to the North-west boom), and for 1883 (the year the North-West boom burst):

1874 1881 1883

Glamorgan 44 124 133

Cardiff 55 139 137

Monmouth 18 115 104"

It would appear that the North-West boom did not have an impact on the settlement of the United Townships.