NUNNVILLE - One Man's Dream
THE JOURNEY TO ALBION
Settlers making their way to Albion Township from the Town of York (Toronto) after 1820, started their journey at Yonge Street, a muddy military trail built in 1796.
They pushed north to King Township before turning west on King Road, which was no more than a narrow, muddy path through the forest. At the York-Peel County boundary (see the aerial photograph below), they detoured south then west, passing through Henry Nunn's property on Old King Road. Although this added another river crossing to the journey, avoiding the struggle up the steep hill on the north side of the Humber River was more important to early travelers. It was not until 1950, over 100 years later that King Street East was completed into Bolton from York County.
The legal description for Henry Nunn's 100 acres is described as Lot 7, Concession 7, NE ½, and is labelled Nunnville on the 1859 Tremaine map. His property was bounded on the east by the 8th Concession Line, now Nunnville and Sneath Roads, and on the west by Bond Street. It extended south to what is now Allan Drive. The northern boundary straddled the Humber River meanders, just south of present day King Street East. Henry purchased it from the owner of the original Crown Grant in 1825, for 25 pounds sterling. River property with a reasonable amount of arable land was much sought after, and Henry`s lot, with potential for a mill site, would have been highly valued.
Nunnville, still undeveloped, stands out clearly as a large block of open land on the east side of this 1974 Bolton Street Map.
REAL ESTATE BOOM AND BUST
Between 1841 and 1851 the population of Albion more than doubled and a local land surveyor was contracted to draw up street plans for the villages of Nunnville, Bolton and Glasgow. He subdivided Nunnville into building lots, and between 1852 and 1855 a flurry of buying and selling occurred , fueled by prosperity from booming wheat sales to Europe due to the Crimean War. To quote James H. Bolton in Bolton: Some History and Events, "Speculators got a kick out of buying and selling the lots in the Village of Nunnville, a suburb east of the Village of Bolton. Fences were erected a house or two was built." This was not to last. Albion Township began a rapid decline in population when the Dominion Land Act of 1872 was enacted, offering 160 acres of land free to anyone willing to settle in Western Canada. The boom burst and the land reverted to its original state.
This map showing Bolton and Nunnville is based on the Thomas Prosser survey of 1854. Nunnville's rectangular lots, situated in the river valley and serviced by Nunn Street and King Road, were designated "Park Lots". Narrower lots were located on the south hill above the valley slopes. The smallest lots were between Henry and Bond Streets.
THE HENRY NUNN FAMILY
Both Henry and Maria were born in England but married after they met in Upper Canada. Maria was the daughter of James Charles Bolton, related to George Bolton the founder of Bolton Mills. They were among the earliest settlers who made the long perilous journey, struggling over the primitive roads to claim their land in Albion Township. In 1833 Henry and his two neighbours James and George Bolton, signed a petition supporting William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion. They had 5 children, Phyllis, Josef, Catherine, William and George.
Henry is buried in the Godbolt Primitive Methodist Cemetery on the Caledon King Town Line 4.5 km north of Bolton
WHAT'S IN A NAME
THE 8TH CONCESSION would have been an active route for farmers taking grain to Bolton 's mill and for political activists meeting in Bolton and Lloydtown during the lead up to the Rebellion of Upper Canada. Evidence of pioneer road work can be seen north of where the Humber Valley Heritage Trail enters the former Bolton Camp Property. This right of way was eventually abandoned. The short section between Old King Rd. and Albion Vaughan Rd. became Nunnville Road.
SNEATH ROAD was that short portion of the 8th Concession Line between Old King Road and King Street East, that took its name from James Sneath. He was a local land surveyor who worked in the Bolton area from the 1950's to the mid 1970's. He lived at the top end of Sneath Road. William Shields was a notable early resident, arriving in 1859. He was an Irish immigrant and the first owner of the Park Lot that backs onto the Humber River on the north east side of the bridge. The Shields family had a very successful store at the "four corners" in Bolton. When the last of his three children died in 1898, the estate endowed the Toronto General Hospital with sufficient money to support the Emergency Wing of the hospital. Their house was recently designated as an Heritage Property.
The Sneath Bridge
In 2014 the Sneath Bridge location became the Trail Head to the new 2 km loop trail through the former Bolton Camp property
SOME RECENT HISTORY
- In his 1931 publication, James H. Bolton remarked "Old Jack Wilson, something of a character, was the last resident of the district. He lived in a small house where the Bolton village dump now is, ( the south west end of Bond Street ) and was known for years as the Mayor of Nunnville."
- The Humber River was finally bridged at the west end of Old King Road and King Street East was extended to King Township in 1950.
- Sunkist Valley was an appealing name created to promote real estate in the area shortly after the extension of King Street East. The present subdivision on Deer Hollow Road and Sunkist Drive was built in 1995.
- Sneath Bridge is thought to have been the site of a skirmish in 1837 between rebel Bolton and Lloydtown reformists, and supporters of the Colonial Government of Upper Canada. The current bridge, which was built in 1914, is a designated Heritage Bridge.
- Nunnville became part of the original Humber Valley Heritage Trail in 1996 and in 2014 the Sneath Bridge location became the Trail Head to the new 2 km. loop trail through the former Bolton Camp property.
THE NUNNVILLE TRAIL HEAD
Access to the Bolton Camp Loop Trail