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Once Upon a Time
'The Mapping of Bruce County'

by Bob Johnston

April 22, 2016
www.saugeentimes.com
www.kincardinetimes.com

Heritage

Once Upon a Time

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James Warren was born near Acton, the youngest of six sons.

As his parents had come from Inverness-shire, Scotland, Gaelic was the tongue of his early home. Even after moving to Walkerton, he and Mr. George Ross, also a Scot, took services for the Gaelic speaking people in the House of Refuge on alternating Sundays.

Father was always interested in surveyors and their work. By hard study and perseverance he earned his Provincial Land Surveyor’s Certificate in 1864.

 By 1875, father had followed the increasing stream of pioneers north to Kincardine. It was here he married Charlotte E. Johnstone, before moving to Walkerton.

By private study and careful practice he became the skilled surveyor known and remembered throughout the County of Bruce from end to end. Later, as a Dominion Land Surveyor, he was entrusted by the Government with the work of making original surveys of wide areas of Western Canada.

Toward the end of the century, father devised the plan of using his time at home, when not out surveying, to prepare a map of Bruce County for use in schools, offices and libraries. The map, being copyrighted, is placed in the records in the British Museum in London.

 One of the most interesting surveys within Bruce County was that of the Townsite of Tobermory in the summer of 1901. Father must have had something of a vision of the holiday possibilities of the beautiful spot, for he planned that mother and I should spend the month of June with him there.

Little did he think, as we enjoyed it, how that spot would grow to be the holiday attraction it is today. We stayed at the boarding house across the harbour from the sawmill. What a sight to watch the men jump across the logs from the mill at meal time! Mother and I had many walks over the rocks and wooden trails while father worked.

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 Saturday afternoon was free time, and we had many interesting side trips: Cove Island Lighthouse and the Flowerpot Island, which still attract many visitors, were among them.

To get to Tobermory, we drove with horse and buggy to Hanover, travelled by Grand Trunk Railway to Wiarton, and then by boat, The Dixon, to Tobermory.

In Walkerton, father was active in several societies. When the present Carnegie Library was opened in 1914, he was Chairman of the Board. After a busy and useful life, father died at his home in June, 1917.

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Condensed from an article written by his daughter, Ruth, Mrs. W.H. McBurney, and published in the 1970 Yearbook of the Bruce County Historical Society


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Friday, April 22, 2016