Saugeen Range West of Saugeen Road (RWSR), Lot 21 Saugeen (Fraser)

The first paper record of Lots 20 and 21 was a deposit of 19 pounds and 16 shillings made by Thomas Adair on November 8, 1853. There are no further documents on Lot 21 until March 5, 1879 when the Crown Patent was issued to Alexander and Henry Fraser.

Alex and Henry were sons of John and Barbara (Cameron) Fraser who came into Saugeen Township in 1851 and settled on Lot 21. John and Barbara left Scotland in 1826 and settled in Roseneath, Alnwick Township, Peterborough in 1840. It wasn’t until 1851 that the family came to Saugeen except the eldest William who married and followed in 1856 but never lived on Lot 21. The other children who made the voyage to Saugeen Township were Ann (married William McLauchlin and moved to B.C.), Mary (married Neil Campbell and travelled to Western Canada and eventually settled in the United States), John (married Jane Hanna and lived at Lot 34, Conc. A, Elderslie Township — about a ½ mile south of the parents’ farm), Cecilia (married Robert Scott and lived on Lot 20 RWSR — next to her parents), and Elizabeth “Lizzie” (twin to Cecilia). After arriving in Saugeen, five sons were born to them, Edwin (married Margaret Dudgeon) , James (married Mary Jane McGregor and lived for a time in Paisley before moving to Alberta), Donald (married Elizabeth Hamilton), Alexander and Henry (whom both remained unmarried). The Fraser men were known for being large men — in fact, the local newspaper (The Advocate, October 1, 1908) remarked on Edwin Fraser of Spokane visiting his large brothers, that Edwin was the largest, tipping the scale at 300 pounds or over.

A tragedy struck Donald and his wife Elizabeth when they were killed which left their daughter, Lucille, to be raised by her Aunt Lizzie on her grandparents” farm. Lucille became an artist who taught art at schools in Chesley and Mount Forest. She married Archibald Filshie and had three children.

John Fraser was appointed Postmaster on April 1st 1858 and resigned on June 30th 1872.  His son Donald took over the role on July 1st 1872 and resigned October 18th 1880. As well, John’s daughter, Lizzie (who never married), helped her father with the post office for many years. The Frasers transported supplies from Guelph for the local stores and delivered the mail from Walkerton and Paisley two or three times a week, and mail from Southampton several times a week.

John Fraser passed away in 1870 at the age of 50 and Barbara on August 22 1894 at the age of 83; both are buried in the Burgoyne Cemetery. (There are conflicting ages for Barbara; one record indicates she was born in 1820.)

Lot 21 was occupied by Henry Fraser until he sold his share of the farm to his brother Alexander on January 1st 1887. Alexander then sold the land to his nephew Clarence on April 28 1900, who then sold the lot 9 years later on July 12th to relative John Fraser. The farm remained in the family until 1918 when John Fraser sold the land to George Chappell who bought it for grass farming. The farm went through a few different family members ownerships – Mrs. Christine George Chappell, their son Lloyd, then relative Edward Chappell in 1948. In 1967 John Chappell bought it from his father’s estate but sold it the following year to John H. Armstrong to be used as a summer retreat. There had been no one living on this farm since Alexander Fraser moved off in 1900 and the old buildings had decayed so that all that remained were the timbers from the old barn and the apple tree still blossoming fruit. Armstrong built a ‘beehive’ shaped cottage and this served their needs until the farm was again sold in 1973. The land again changed ownership in 1976. The new owners built a 2 storey house and, later, a small barn. The bush offered fuel for their fireplace and maple syrup in the spring. There were hillsides and streams to pasture their sheep and horses, and they grew a beautiful garden down by the creek. The epitome of rural living had almost gone full circle but with modern conveniences.