Where the heck is Queen Hill?

A few years ago, I purchased the records of my grandfather, George Streeter, from the Barnardo Foundation in London England. My Grandfather was a ward of the Barnardos in 1888 when he was shipped to Canada as a Home Child.

I recently completed a biography of his life and, as part of this, the Barnardo records were quite helpful. Most of his life in Canada was spent between Walkerton, Cargill and Chesley. BUT there was one record that had him living in Saugeen Township on Concession 2 Lot 17 for a brief time around 1901. What shook me up a little was that the community mentioned was QUEEN HILL which I had never seen or heard of in relationship to our community.

Well, this sent me off to do some digging to see what I could find and low and behold I did find out something “new” that I had never been aware of until now.

Queen Hill is at the bottom of the map – For larger view, click on image

The first place I always look when it comes to something like this is Norman Robertsons writings from 1905, the History of the County of Bruce. And there it was; on his 1905 map of Saugeen Township the two words QUEEN HILL on the south side of the Saugeen/Bruce Township Line opposite Lots 20 and 21.

The next step was to go online into the Bruce County Museum Online records and see if there was anything there. Yes, there was one item in their files Titled” Cairn dedication Service 1960 – North Bruce Presbyterian Church – Queen Hill Ontario”. Question then is “Was North Bruce at one time known as QUEEN HILL?”

So, it was now time to move on to the book “Roots and Branches of Saugeen”. This book was printed in 1984 and was the result of the diligence of many residents of Saugeen Township. The researchers were known as “The Saugeen History Hunters” and they did a marvelous job. The book is filled with hundreds of great stories of life in the Township. It is available in our Libraries.

And now we get to know the story, well at least some of it.

The following are excerpts from Page 149 of Roots and Branches of Saugeen under the item title “St. Andrew’s Saugeen”.

“As early as 1851, the first settlers were arriving in the St. Andrew’s Church area, and after the Saugeen Land sale in 1852 there was a rapid inflow of pioneers. Gatherings for worship began in homes and then moved to schools. One of the first ministers to preach in Cassidy’s school on the S. E. Corner of Concession 4 on Lot 18 was the Reverend Kenneth McLennan who preached at the school from 1856 to the early 1860’s.

He was followed in 1864 by Rev. M. W. McLean who held fortnightly services on the 2nd and 4th concessions of Saugeen. He frequently travelled by foot from Paisley, the ten miles to get to Saugeen. The congregation grew to 86 families and, in the spring of 1869, St. Andrew’s Church was erected on Concession 3 Lot 18. The need was now felt for a settled minister who would minister in the native tongue – Gaelic – as well as in English. Rev. Donald McDonald late of the Parish of Sleat, Isle of Skye, became the pastor.

The congregations of North Bruce and St. Andrew’s had one board of managers and one pastor who lived in the manse at QUEEN HILL beside the North Bruce church.

The two churches remained that way until 1925 when a vote was taken on wether to join the United Church movement or not. The vote was very close with 59 against union and 55 in favour. Because the vote was so close St. Andrew’s became the United Church and North Bruce remained Presbyterian.”

Today, what remains of Queen Hill is the Queen Hill Cemetery on the Bruce Township side of the Saugeen/Bruce Township line. This was on the east side of where the North Bruce Presbyterian church had stood. And the cemetery is now within the Municipality of Kincardine.

For larger view, Click on Image

So, here is what we do know. The North Bruce Presbyterian Church was located two miles east of what we know as North Bruce, at a place that was known as QUEEN HILL for a long period of time starting in the 1850’s.

My walk through the cemetery showed about 100 stones and most were Scottish names dating back to the 1800’s.

Another time and a different world.

Researched and written by: G. William Streeter