What's In A Name?
Many local communities in Lanark County have had a few names over the years. Often a community’s original name made reference to a first settler or someone who built a mill or other important community structure. Sometimes, the name was established when a post office was registered. It makes sense that when mail needed an address, its destination needed a name. Other communities had a change of name when the post office was registered because of a conflict with another community in the area already using that name. Whatever the circumstance, some names endured and others are a part of history.
Two local communities in the former Lanark Township that found their names when the post office was established are Lloyd and Galbraith. The Lloyd Post Office was opened at Lot 17, Conc 12 in 1894. The post office was built right into a part of the Tennant family kitchen. The Post Office and hence the community became known as Lloyd named at the request of Mrs. Tennant in memory of her son who had died at age 15. Edward Tennant was it’s first Postmaster and remained in that job until he sold his home to D. J. and Mary Ann Thompson in 1904. D.J. then assumed the role until it’s closure in 1913.
In the case of Galbraith, just across the Floating Bridge from Lloyd, the Post Office was established in 1885 and was in service in the Hogg family home until it closed in 1908. Both the actual Lloyd and Galbraith Post Offices are on display in the Middleville and District Museum. The Lloyd Post Office holds many old artifacts of postal history. The Galbraith Post Office still bears the names of its neighbours from long ago on remnants of worn out labels and pencil scribbles on the wood. The legible names are: Command, Foster, Gulliford, Manson, Middleton, Munroe, Price, Rintoul, Rodger, Scoular, and Thompson. One faded name is probably ‘Penman’.
The Middleville Post Office is the third old postal relic in the Museum’s Collection. It opened in 1847 and James Guthrie was its first Postmaster. It was in operation until it closed in 1970. Mail was transported from Middleville to Lanark by The Royal Mail Stage driven by John E Blackburn beginning in 1912. The Royal Mail Stage is also on display at the Museum.
As stated before, some communities had to change their names with the opening of a post office. Some of these communities were:
Mount Pleasant or Sumner’s Corners became Ashton when its post office was registered in 1840. It was reportedly named after John Sumner’s family estate back in England.
Apple Tree Falls also called Teskeyville became Appleton when the post office was opened.
Middleton became Middleville which is appropriate because of its geographically central location within Lanark County.
Norway Pine Falls was Snedden’s Mills and Rosebank. The post office was registered as Blakenay in 1847 when it opened. The name Rosebank lingered on with many residents.
Upper Pakenham became Cedar Hill with the registration of the post office in 1861.
Bellamy Mills was changed to Clifton with the arrival of the post office and then eventually became Clayton.
Ferguson’s Falls was the community’s name, but the area post office was registered as Millford.
Rosedale kept its community name despite a post office being registered as Montague in 1859.
Pakenham Mills adopted the name of Dickson’s Mills when the post office opened in 1832. Now the community is known as Pakenham.
A number of area communities had a rural post office established for a time period. These communities were: Bennies Corners 1851, Black’s Corners, Bolingbrooke (Bob’s Lake) by 1868, Brightside 1880’s, Elphin, Flower Station 1880’s, Halls Mills 1880’s, Halpenny 1895, Hopetown, Lavant, Lanark Village 1824, Maberley 1860’s, McGarry, McPhail, Poland, Prospect 1850’s, Tatlock 1864, Tennyson, Wilbur 1880’s.
You may be familiar with these community names. Some persist and others are found on an old map or in the pages of an historical atlas. The Middleville and District Museum has many old maps and atlases in its Collection. The Museum displays a wall map of rural post offices of Ontario. These resources are available for visitors to peruse simply for interest or often diligent research.
Names and dates of rural communities and post offices were taken from Jean S. McGill’s: A Pioneer History of the County of Lanark, 1968. Lloyd Post Office information comes from Rosetta WI Tweedsmuir History provided by the late L.W. (Bert) Thompson, 1982.
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.