Settler of township lots: Lot 10, Conc. 1, Stanhope
Location: Map point is the approximate location within this irregular, waterfront lot east of Gannon's Bridge between Boshkung and Little Boshkung Lakes.
Land Acquisition: 1857 squatter - no record of ownership.
Dates of residency: c1857
The first recorded settler in Stanhope was a squatter named Isaac Hunter who lived on the “tongue of land” between Little and Big Boshkung in 1857. Source: Stanhope Heritage Driving Tour brochure / Stanhope Museum collection
Isaac Hunter was a squatter with a secret - and a gruesome death. Sometime around 1840 Isaac Hunter settled in the backwoods of Somerville township along the burnt river but, in 1852, with the arrival of pioneers in the area, he and his family moved further north to Boshkung. It was rumoured that Hunter had been involved in the 1837 Rebellion, and came to the Ottawa-Huron Tract to "hide out." About 1860, with the arrival of settlers in Stanhope, Hunter relocated to the Dorset area. A neighbour, noticing Hunter's absence from town, went to check on the family. He found Isaac dead on his shanty floor, being eaten by hordes of mice while his half-crazed wife and daughter were eating the mice to avoid starvation. Source: Redisovering the Bobcaygeon Road by John MacDonald.
This flat stretch of land was first cleared by the Algonquians, members of the Ojibwa Nation. Isaac Hunter, one of the rebels of the aborted Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, settled here in 1852. Source: Edited excerpt from Explore Haliburton by Susan Wilson (Stoddard Books, 1997)
According to Nila Reynolds "When Isaac Hunter located on a low tongue of land between the 2 lakes, it was on a small clearing the Mississaugas had cultivated for grain and vegetables." By 1866, Hunter moved farther north to the end of Bobcaygeon Road at Cedar Narrows (now Dorset) due to the press of settlement and George Mason took over his 114 acres at the narrows, as a free grant from the Crown. In 1871 Mason sold it to Alfred S. and Phoebe Ann Moore. Source: In Quest of Yesterday by Nila Reynolds. Published by The Provisional County of Haliburton, Minden, Ontario 1973 p, 15.
In his 1966 Collection of Sketches, "Early Settlement", Clayton Rogers says "The first settler reported in the Township, one Thos. Hunter, squatted on the point of land - Pt. Lot 10, Con. 1, Township Stanhope. It is believed some small clearing was here and a bit of maize and some vegetables seem to have been grown by the Indians of the area. It seems possible that Hunter cashed in on this small beginning - his record shows he was a rambler. In 1859 he sold any rights he had to Geo. Masson. Hunter going farther north, near Cedar Narrows (now Dorset). As he did was some distance from supplies, and did not appear at the store for quite a long period, one of Sherbourne's early pioneers, Jack Cole, went on snow shoes to investigate. What he found was a grim sight. Hunter dead - apparently from starvation, frozen and partly devoured by mice. The wife and daughter were still alive, having survived by eating the mice or other small animals they were able to catch."
Surveyor Fitzgerald observed in March 1858: There is a squatter in the Township of Stanhope, on a peninsula, between Big and Little Bush-konk Lakes; he has lived there 6 years and has about 10 acres well cleared. Source: Early Days in Haliburton by H. R. Cummings, Dept of Lands & Forests, 1963
Preceding landowner: Crown
Succeeding landowner: see George A. Masson for the story of this property known as Moorefield Acres