John Wallace Sr. was born Jan 22, 1797 in High Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland to John Wallace and Janet Craig. On June 16, 1823 he married Janet Thomson, also of High Paisley. The 1851 census of Scotland lists this family as John Wallace 52, Janet Wallace 49, William 18, James 16, David 14 and Jane R. 8. By 1852, according to family legend, this family was on their way to Canada, Peel County and Chinguacousy Township, where many others from the same area of Scotland had already settled.
Perhaps their eldest son John Wallace Jr. had already come to Canada, as some neighbour family stories say that John Wallace was the one that came with the Gowanlocks and Rowands to obtain a farm in the township of Saugeen, County of Bruce.
Also the 1851 census of Paisley, Renfrewshire does not list John Jr. with the rest of the family at that time.
The first paper record, for Saugeen, # 994, shows that John Wallace Jr. desired to purchase Lot 26 Concession 7 and Lot 19 Range West Saugeen Road (RWSR) on Dec 6, 1852. On the same day application # 1466 declares that John Wallace Jr. has put a down payment on the two above lots and that John Wallace Sr. has put a down payment for Lot 25 Concession 7.
Marriage records from Peel County, Chinguacousy Township show that John Wallace Jr. married Lydia Craig Feb. 16, 1853 by banns by Rev David Coutts. The witnesses were James Rowand and James Westervelt(?). It does not give the names of the parents, but in a census record of 1851 for the Craig family, Lydia is in the same household as her brother Stephen and his wife Margret, also their mother Lydia aged 60 as well as other family members.
The first house that is known on this lot was built northerly from the present house on the edge of the hill overlooking the river. Even up to the 1930s, pieces of pottery and other relicts could still be found in the area. It would have been here that their first child, a son, James Thomson Wallace was born Dec 18, 1853. A family legend tells about Lydia coming to Saugeen by herself and climbing over the walls of their unfinished cabin, but in fact that legend belongs to another Wallace family who first settled further down the river closer to Port Elgin at about the same time. No doubt though, James T. was the first settler male child born in the Township. In 1877 James T. moved to Saugeen Concession 6, Lot 23.
In 1882, John sold a one half acre lot to the trustees of the Union School Section No. 1, Saugeen Arran & Elderslie for $47.00. In 1898, Lydia Wallace sold another half acre of land to enlarge the school grounds.
The second of ten children was Lydia E. Wallace, born Oct 9, 1855, who fell out of a tree when about 18 and never quite recovered. She died in 1922 in the Home near London. Next was Jessie Thomson Wallace, born March 29, 1858, who married John Bryce of Elderslie Township. John Wallace, known as Jack, born in 1860, went to Michigan, then Hurley, Wisconsin. He married there and named their first child, a daughter, Hurley. Jeannie H. Wallace, born 1862, died as a child. Robert Wallace was born about 1865 and moved to the States. Margaret Dunsmore Wallace, born 1866, married Daniel McMorran and went to Lucknow, Ontario. Hugh C. Wallace, born about 1867, died as a child. Jennie R. Wallace, born March 16, 1870, married James T. Wilson and lived in Hastings County near Kingston, Ontario. David Wallace, born March 11, 1872, went to Washington state.
The farm was called “Poplar Row”, getting its name from the row of poplars
that lined the laneway from the road to the barn – a landmark long since gone.
John Wallace Jr. died September 10, 1894, age 69. John was very active in the community, on the school Board, local politics, in the Dunblane church and of course a good neighbour. Before Lydia died she made a very articulate and engaging will that had to be followed through, which took the family many, many years to fulfill. She died December 15, 1913. Both John and Lydia are buried in Port Elgin Cemetery.
Although James T. Wallace was actually left the farm by his mother, it was his son John, known as Jack, who took over this farm. Florence Ethel Hammond of Bruce Township became his bride on December 22, 1915 and they made their home at Lot 19 for the next thirty eight years.
His granddaughter wrote about him in a paper she presented at the Dunblane church on the occasion of an historical society meeting about the early settlers around Dunblane. She said, “He was a quiet man and an avid reader. He also followed the family tradition of being active on the school board and in the church.” They had one daughter Annetta Beatrice Wallace, born Mar 28, 1917. She became a teacher and principal, and married David Stroud in a wedding on the farm.
In the 1950s a tornado destroyed one of the barns, and damaged the other barn.
In 1956 Jack and Florence sold the farm to Howard & Reta Webster, who were on Lot 20 next door. Jack and Florence moved to retirement in Paisley where they later celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Jack died September 15, 1974, age 85, and Florence moved to Port Elgin to be near her daughter. She passed away August 13, 1980. They are buried in Port Elgin cemetery.