The following information is taken from the book: Bowesville: A Place to Remember, by Grace Johnston, Gloucester Historical Society, Publication No. 3, 1988, ISBN 0-9691106-3-4.
Map: Part of the Township of Gloucester from Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of Carleton..., H. Belden & Co. Toronto 1879. Also see the map with new streets superimposed.
"Bowesville is indeed a "place" to be remembered today by all who live in Gloucester, for it was part of Gloucester's past. Its land was the site of the present Ottawa InternationalAirport, approached by way of Riverside Drive from Billings Bridge.
"The little farming "place" in Gloucester, east of Black Rapids, was born in 1821. Descendants of some of the pioneers were still on their ancestors' land in 1950.
"In that year, many received notice that their land was expropriated by the Department of Transport and consequently they would be required to leave in a matter of a few months. More notices came a short time later.
"An expansion of their neighbour, the airport, was imminent. Their "place" was part of the over 3,900-acre area expropriated for the extension.
"It is amazing that a thriving farming "place" could disappear from a landscape as quickly, as quietly, and with so little quarrelling with the instigators, as did "Bowesville: A Place to Remember".
"Very few residents of Gloucester remember its name today, much less its location, and yet Gioucester's first Town Meeting was held in Bowesville, and three Reeves of the municipality were residents of the "place".
"Bowesville's charm was its people, trusting and tolerant, with an overpowering understanding of others' problems. It would be hard to find another.
"In this book each story stands as an entity. Together, they tell of the "place" from the beginning to the end. In between the lines, the reader will see
"A glimpse into the early history of Gloucester sets the stage for the deuelopment of "Bowesuille: A Place to Remember"
"One must remember that the whole area in the beginning was covered by a dense forest. Only the sounds of soft padding Indian feet, bird songs, animal calls, splashing creeks, darting fish and dipping paddles, had broken the everlasting silence. Before the 1600s the waterways were arteries for many passersby, the coureurs des bois with their lilting folksongs, trappers, fur traders, explorers and missionaries. All had skimmed by, heading for parts unknown, past what was to be called Gloucester by 1793.
"A progression of events led to the coming of the first settler. In 1800 on the Quebec side of the Ottawa, American Philemon Wright arrived and set up a lumbering business at Wrightville (Hull). On acquiring timber rights on the banks of the Rideau, he travelled the waterway to Merrickville, a centre founded earlier by those coming from the St. Lawrence Front. One of the Rideau jobbers whom Philemon Wright hired, was Braddish Billings.
"Guiding logs through the beautiful Rideau passageway to the Ottawa, Braddish thought of his own future. His foresighted choice for a farm was a spot by the Rideau in Gloucester, later Billings Bridge. A cabin was erected and four acres cleared during the winter of 1812-13. These were the first of 1,400 acres he would own eventually in Gloucester.
"For seven years this first settler, his wife and family, were alone in the wilderness on the east side of the Rideau. There were others on the opposite side in Nepean. By 1819 neighbours, Doxey, Otterson and Wilson had arrived, although the township's survey was not completed until the next year.
"The Doxeys from Ireland, settled, according to the 1879 map, north of the Heron Road on Lot 19 Junction Gore.
"The Ottersons, James, his wife Mary, and three-year-old son, John, were natives of Scotland. They came down the Rideau on a scow, stopped just above Mooney's Bay and camped on a high knoll where they stayed, Lot I Concession 2. It was James who gave "Hog's Back" its name when experimenting with a raft of timber over a large slab of rock at the falls. Today, great-grandson George lives on part of James' original property.
"Retired naval officer, Captain Andrew Wilson, built a spacious home, "Ossian Hall" on Lot 2 Concession 2, north of the railway tracks near today's Fine's Flowers, Riverside Drive. He had received grants of 1,200 acres in Carleton County, and chose this piece of his land in Gloucester on which to live. For those coming off the Rideau, his wharf was a welcome sight. His directions on a map to help them find their lot, as indicated on a carefully carried location ticket, were a bonus too.
"Very shortly others arrived - the Smyths, Holdens, Carmans and Hollisters. Their land was near the Billings settlement. All had close access to the river for it was their first means of transportation and communication.
"Gradually little trails from the Billings to Doxeys to Ottersons to Wilsons, bit by bit, grew into a crude road. From Wilsons some pioneers headed in the opposite direction, to the south and east, thereby elongating the road, as they forced a way across lots following a high, sand-gravel ridge.
"On this ridge about a mile and a half directly south from the present Ottawa Hunt Club, Duncan McKenzie from Ross-shire, Scotland, in 1821, with broadaxe and compass, and watching for surveyors' blazes, found his land, Gore Lot 11, and stayed. The establishment of his homestead was the beginning of the "place".
"The road improved with the coming of more settlers. It was the beginning of what may have been the first road in Gloucester (the Bowesville Road), that is, the stretch from the Billings settlement to the "place", and through it to its neighbour community, "Hard Scrabble" (Johnston's Corners). With an extension of the forced road on the high ridge to South Gloucester, then into Osgoode, and to the St. Lawrence Front by way of the Old Prescott Road, this route became the main thoroughfare for the stage coach and other vehicles from Bytown, until what we know today as Bank Street, was opened.
"The "place" grew, but not to the size of a village. Its bounds were very clear to those who lived there, but to others they were elusive. It was, as Sister Helen Nolan has so aptly expressed it, a "place".
|1821||Records point, as stated previously, to Duncan McKenzie from Ross-shire, Scotland, as being the first pioneer. He found his way to Gore Lot 1 1, and prospered well enough to expand on the next lot also, Gore Lot 10.||1826||Rideau Canal construction began under the direction of Colonel John By.|
|1834-35||Bytown and Prescott stage coach passed through on its way to the St. Lawrence Front.|
|1845||"Hard Scrabble" Presbyterian Church was opened. It was built of logs.|
|1849||Municipal Act was passed allowing election of township officials.|
|1850||James McEvoy, according to the family story, came from County Tipperary, in the mid- 1800s to the north half of Lot 12 Concession 3. In time the McEvoys would own the four corners in the core of the "place".|
|1851||This date is the earliest that S.S. #5 Gloucester is mentioned. The log school could have been erected previously.|
|1852||William Nolan of Johnston's Corners, and formerly of County Wexford, Ireland, bought Gore Lot 12, which became the homestead.|
|1852-58||PETER TOMKINS SERVED AS REEVE.|
|1857||Ottawa was declared the capital of Canada by Queen Victoria.|
|1859||The Uptons arrived on Lot 5 Concession 2 by way of England and Russia. This site would become the Ottawa Hunt Club.|
|1860||A store, in part of a house, was operated by John McGuigan, followed before 1882 by other storekeepers, Rory O'Moore and William Lawson.|
|1864TD>||Roman Catholic chapel was erected on Part of Lot 10, Concession 2.|
|1867||PETER TOMKINS BECAME REEVE ONCE AGAIN.|
|1868||John Lennox Sr. from County Derry bought Lot 13 Concession 3. His son, John Jr., later having worked the farm for a few years, went to the goldfields of the Klondike.|
|1870||Great Fire swept through Carleton County.|
|1872||School Section #5's second school opened on land given by the Nolans.|
|1875||By holding an annual social at "Groveland" in June in aid of the Methodist Church, the Uptons started the widely-known Annual Strawberry Tea held, in years within living memory, at the home of the four Hardy sisters.|
|1880||Bogtown school opened its doors to pupils.|
|1890||Hugh Graham set up his blacksmith's shop on the east side of Lot 10 Concession 2. His was the last of such shops in Bowesville where iron was shaped on the anvil. There had been two others before him, George Cooper and Murdoch Shaw.|
|1893||William Redmond Sr. came to Bowesville after several other locations and operated a successful corn and potato farm on Lot 12 Concession 2.|
|1894||James Stewart farmed on Lot 16 Concession 3.|
|1897||McEvoys built a store and house on Richard Bowes'former land on the east side of the core. A little later they put up a community hall where school concerts and "balls" were held.|
|1898||Jean-Baptiste Potvin of French ancestry bought land in Bowesville - some was located on part of Lot 15 Concession 2.|
There were other families in Bowesville. Other happenings took place. It would be interesting for the readers who lived there, to add to the list.
The Bowesville Road -
ON THE SOUTH SIDE - NEAR "THE BRIDGE"