Our name is taken from the historical hamlet of Siloam where we are located, just west of Uxbridge in south central Ontario. The original name was acquired from the biblical Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem which is a tourist and historical site today. The Pool of Siloam is referred to in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This area was settled in the early 1800’s by the Pennsylvania Quakers. Uxbridge was founded in 1806.
The first deed to our property was granted from the Crown on May 6 1807 to James W. Sharrard for the standard 200 acre package, likely receiving the grant because he was the son of a United Empire Loyalist. (Oddly enough, exactly 150 years prior to my birthday.) It is unlikely James Sharrard ever lived here. He may also not have done any clearing on it.
In 1815 William H Walbridge purchased the property for 50 pounds, in 1875 inflation was in full gear as the sale price was 175 pounds. Mr Walbridge lost the property (unpaid taxes?) and Sheriff Jarvis sold it in 1831 to Charles Thompson. The land went to the Metcalfe family in 1850 who may have been the first to settle here. The east half of the property (now Siloam Orchards) was sold to noted local resident Joseph Gould who ran an extensive lumber business in Uxbridge, and would have purchased the land for the logging rights. Stumps of the huge White Pine logged in those days are still visible here.
We purchased the land in 1980 and planted the first apple tree in 1984. Our location is near the north edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Our two creeks, headwaters of the Pefferlaw Brook flow north into Lake Simcoe. Only a short distance south, all the rivers flow into Lake Ontario.
THE HAMLET OF SILOAM
The area around us was a thriving sawmill community in the 1800’s. Early settlers would travel from York (Toronto) up Yonge St. to Newmarket , a days travel by horse and buggy on a muddy rutted road. From there they would traverse the Newmarket Road which led to Uxbridge. Sections of the original Newmarket Road are visible on the property south of ours ( the current Matthews property) and elsewhere along the route. Two sawmill communities were present in the mid 1800's; Dikeville on the properties southwest of the modern day Durham Rd#8 and the 3rd Concesion (now Mill Run Golf Course), and the community known as Slabtown, Randallville, and/or the Widdifield Settlement directly across the road from us (north of Durham Rd #8 on the east side of the 3rd Concession.) Slabtown was one of those sawmill communities that grew up with the need for lumber, and then disappeared along with the supply of logs. William Randall purchased property here in 1856, and by 1860 had a sawmill on the creek.
The historical Uxbridge settlement trail known as the Newmarket Rd passed over his dam. In the early 1860's, William sold to Samuel and Mercy (Kester) Widdifield who were also Quakers. Soon the mill was running 6 days a week day and night, with 13 houses surrounding the site. In the early 1900's the supply of logs became depleted. Some of the cottages were moved, others collapsed. By the early 1920's all that remained was the dam with its old bridge. In February of 1932 a flood removed most of the dam and the remains of the mill, and made a new channel for the creek out to the 3rd Concession.
A school was built in 1853 that stood on the south east corner of the current Matthews property, directly to the south of us. The settlement of Dikeville (now Mill Run Golf Course) was active as well. In the 1870's Dikeville had it's grist mill, sawmill, bucket mill and store, while just a short distance north the Widdifields had there sawmill and school nearby. Soon a need arose for a post office for the two communities, however the names of Dike, Widdifield and Randall were passed by in favor of the name Siloam, after the "Pool of Siloam" in the Bible. Samuel Widdifield was the first postmaster in 1872, and the office was his farmhouse just north of the school (perhaps the current Matthews home?) The folks from Dikeville had to trudge all the way Widdifields for their mail. So when Mr. Widdifield resigned in 1880, and John Dike became postmaster, the post office and the name Siloam moved from what is now Siloam Orchards to its present day site on Durham Rd #8. A church was erected in 1874.
Matthew Frankish ,a Civil War veteran, is buried in the Siloam cemetery. He enlisted with K Company, 24th Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry- The Black Brigade. He fought at Cold Harbor, Chancellorsville, Germania Ford, Battle of the Wilderness, Appomatox Court House, Gettysburg, and Hatch's Run. He was wounded twice. He was present at General Lee's surrender, and was called to Springfield to attend Lincoln's funeral. He was discharged at the age of 19 on an $8.00 pension. (Thanks to Allan McGillvary of the Uxbridge Historical Society)