Excerpts from “Guide Book & Atlas of Muskoka and Parry Sound Districts” (1879)
This agency contains three townships:–Chapman, Croft, and Spence. Mr. S.G. Best, of Maganetawan Village, in the Township of Chapman, is Crown Land Agent.
Chapman contains 45,486 acres of land and 3,120 of water, and is generally broken and hilly. Excellent crops of hay, oats, and cereals are raised, and command high figures from the lumbermen. At the foot of SeSebe Lake are Miller’s Falls, offering abundant and constant water power for manufacturing needs.
The progress of Maganetawan Village has been simply marvelous. The first necessity was some mode of crossing the river, and the first bridge across the Maganetawan was built on floating logs. A team crossing would sink the logs during the progress of transit, and the bridge recovered its level after the load had passed. This free and easy style of bridge has been replaced now by a permanent structure. To give some idea of the rapid progress of the settlement we may mention that a gentleman who visited Maganetawan Village in September 1876, reported the existence at that time of one store and no hotels, in fact no stopping place except a sort of uncomfortable shanty, which gave free ingress to the winds of heaven. He also noticed Mr. Best’s Crown Land Office, and Mr. Irwin’s house. It had no appearance of a village. Now, there are two licensed hotels, four general stores, tin shop, baker’s shop, watchmaker’s, flour and feed store, school-house, and three churches, either built or in process of construction, whereof one (Presbyterian)
Is to cost $1,500. There are also private residences and grist and saw mill, Crown Land office, post office, and a temperance hotel. A steamboat (Messrs, Best & Walton, proprietors) runs daily during the season between Maganetawan and Burke’s Falls, a distance of 23 miles, traveling through a well-settles country, on both sides of the river, including the best part of Ryerson and some beautiful scenery near Se Sebe Lake. A second steam boat from the foot of Ah-Mic Lake to the Maganetawan is almost certain to be in operation in time for the opening of navigation in 1879.
Croft contains 44,866 acres of land, and 4,942 of water, has generally a soil loam interspersed with rocky ridges. There are several good mill privileges on the Maganetawan River, and on the north side of Ah-Mic Lake a splendid mill site with fall of 18 feet.
There are here 48,358 acres of land, and 1,206 (an unusually small proportion) of water. There are several most excellent tracts of hard-wood land in this township, but the best lots, so far as accessibility is concerned, has been taken up. Farmers get very high prices from lumbermen for their produce. There are not any very good mill sites.
The embryo village of Dufferin has s saw mill, store, and hotel, and at the junction of the Ryerson and Nipissing Roads is Spence Post Office, good store, boarding house, and public school.