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    Where is Birch Island    

Question: where is Birch Island?

Like the one about the Indian buried here and then moved. 

From: Roy Hardie

I would like to collaborate on Manitouwabing Lake things as best I can from my family's perspective.

Birch Island lies between our old Hurdville farm and Tait's Island. I'm not sure anymore of the location of the small island "just off Birch Island" where 'John' Manitouwaba was first buried. John Moffat may have a good idea.

The Hardie farm at Hurdville was constituted of what is today known as the Smith Pine and Maplewood subdivisions - the main buildings being on the north side of the river. Two other 'Hardie'-related farms were the Jessie Hardie (Jones) [Jones' Road] and the William Hardie (west off the Hurdville Rd. to the rapids a mile downstream of the dam.

The lake was first called Manitouwaba's Lake, then Lake Manitouwaba. In the 1970's I spent much time at Queen's Park researching maps and grants. The maps were hand-drawn and labeled in fancy script. Subsequent maps looked like Lake Manitouwabin and then finally Lake Manitouwabing.

Certainly 'Old Man Manitouwaba' had a big influence on my family. He brought my grandfather, Alexander Hardie, to the Hardie Creek property (Centre Road) so that he could harvest the beaver hay from the creek bed area to over-winter his ox. He taught and showed my father (the oldest of 15 children) many things, and coached and monitored him as he and the oldest of his sisters looked after the 'babies' and the homestead, and first farm buildings and operations, while the parents and those children able to drag brush to the burning piles were otherwise occupied. As Manitouwaba became more 'frail-elderly' he lived closer in and took his meals, etc., with the family.

My cousin John Hardie is the son of William, the 2nd Hardie son. He is now in his late 80's and he and I have found that the information we were given varied somewhat with what the younger family members shared what they thought was the case with those two valuable historians of the Hurdville Mill and the area: John McFee and Irene Morel.
Roy Hardie 

Irene died a few years ago -- she wrote the story of the Hurdville Mill (which was built by my Dad) in a book entitled 'Half a Loaf'. It was a very sad thing that the Hamilton and District Conservation Association "lost" the mill that they had paid so much to have dismantled (and tagged --every piece) and trucked to their location --they stored it in a barn because they didn't at the time have the funds to erect it on the site of their 'pioneer' site. The barn and the mill disappeared!

-- Roy

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