People and Settlement
Opeongo Colonization Road
In 1854 the Canadian government announced that it would promote immigration for the Shield. Thomas P. French was appointed Crown Land Agent for the Ottawa and Opeongo Colonization Road.
T.P. French published a handbook “Information for Intending Settlers of the Ottawa and Opeongo Road and its Vicinity” which was distributed throughout Europe. The exhaustive pamphlet touted the virtues of the land, which he greatly exaggerated. It also gave intending settlers pertinent information on how to prepare for the long voyage across the Atlantic, how to reach the Opeongo and what to expect when they arrived.
The terms for gaining indisputable title to land grants were: “One Hundred Acres will be given Free to any settle, 18 years of age, who shall take possession of the e Lot within one month form the date of his application, erect on it a house, 18 by 20 feet, put in state of cultivation at least 12 acres in the course of four years, and live on the Lot during that period.”
Immigrants came from Scotland, Ireland, Britain, Germany (abot 1904) and Poland (about 1908). Many early settlers fled when they discovered the harshness of the land. If they had the means they settled elsewhere, others returned to the old country bitterly disappointed.
Early settlers made potash in large iron kettles and sold it to agents for export. It was made from ashes and was used for making soap, dye and fertilizer.
Fort McDonell/Killaloe Station/Killaloe
Born in Scotland in 1820, William McDonell arrived in this vicinity in 1857, with his wife Isabella (McLachlin) and infant son Angus. William worked for his uncle for a time before he branched out on his own. William and Iasabella’s second child Coll McDonell was the first baby born in Fort McDonell which would later become Killaloe Station. Coll St. in the village is named for Coll McDonell.
William McDonell had his land surveyed into lots and in 1868 the settlement was offically named Fort McDonell in his honour, the same year he built a water-powered saw mill on Brennan’s Creek.
In 1893, with the arrival the Ottawa Parry Sound Railway, the tiny settlement became an important supply depot for as many as eleven lumber camps and was renamed Killaloe Station. In 1988 the name Killaloe Station was officially changed to Killaloe, the “Station” was dropped.
Early settlers came to Killaloe from Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Poland during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Later in the 1970’s they came from urban centres across North America and Europe. They were business people, trades people, artisans, farmers and labourers, who conributed greatly to the richly textured fabric of this community.
In 1854 James Bonfield founded the settlement at what is today Old Killaloe or the original Killaloe. Bonfield named the settlement for his hometown in County Clare Ireland.