||26 Nov 1843
||Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario [1, 2]
- ALLAN, ABSALOM SHADE, (Sheriff). The subject of this sketch is a son of the late Alexander Allan, b. Aberdeen, Scot., 1797; d. Preston, Oat., 1855. He m. Ann Davidson in 1824, who d. in 1878. He was educated at Marischal Col.; called to the bar, and practised law in Aberdeen. In 1843 he came to Canada and set. near Preston, Ont. He was the first Supt. of Schools for the Wellington District, and held the position until 1853. He was also the first Village Clerk of Preston. Absalom Shade Allan, b, Preston, Ont., 1843, was named for his uncle, Absalom Shade, the founder of Galt. He was educated at the High School, Elora, and Normal School, Toronto, In 1868 he became a general merchant at Clifford, and carried on business there for many years. He was the first Reeve of Clifford, in 1874, and at intervals held the office of Reeve for nine years. He was a Warden of Wellington Co. in 1884-5; was appointed a Magistrate in 1876, and also held the office of Notary Public and Commissioner. He was elected M.P.P. in 1886 for Wellington Co., re-elected in 1890, and defeated in 1894. He was appointed Sheriff of Wellington Co., in 1901. Mr. Allan had been educated as an accountant and had had several years practical experience in this line. He introduced the bill in the Ontario Legislature that led up to the appointment of a Provincial Auditor. In 1893 he moved the address in reply to the speech from the Throne in the new Parliament buildings, which had just been opened. He m. Kate, second dau. of Capt. Bullock of Minto. Mr. Allan is a Liberal in politics, and in religious matters is a Presbyterian, having been Elder of the Church and Superintendent of the Sabbath School for years. 1
1 Historical Atlas of the County of Wellington, Ontario. Toronto: Historical Atlas Publishing Co., 1906
||A. S. Sheriff |
|Eby ID Number
||1 Feb 1928
||Guelph City, Wellington Co., Ontario
||14 Mar 2017 |
||Alexander Allan, b. 11 Jul 1788, , Aberdeen, Scotland , d. 15 Jul 1855, Preston (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario |
||Ann Davidson, b. 1798, , Scotland , d. 1878, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario |
||7 Oct 1824
||Aberdeen, , Aberdeen, Scotland
||Catherine Bullock, b. Abt 1845, Of, Clifford, , Ontario , d. Yes, date unknown |
||9 Jun 1871
||Clifford, Wellington Co., Ontario 
- ABSALOM SHADE ALLAN, (Sheriff). The subject of this sketch is a son of the late Alexander Allan, b. Aberdeen, Scot., 1797; d. Preston, ONt., 1855. He m. Ann Davidson in 1824, who d. in 1878. He was educated at Marischal Col.; called to the bar, and practised law in Aberdeen. In 1843 he came to Canada and set. near Preston, Ont. He was the first Supt. of Schools for the Wellington District, and held the position until 1853. He was also the first Village Clerk of Preston. Absalom Shade Allan, b, Preston, Ont., 1843, was named for his uncle, Absalom Shade, the founder of Galt. He was educated at the High School, Elora, and Normal School, Toronto, In 1868 he became a general merchant at Clifford, and carried on business there for many years. He was the first Reeve of Clifford, in 1874, and at intervals held the office of Reeve for nine years. He was a Warden of Wellington Co. in 1884-5; was appointed a Magistrate in 1876, and also held the office of Notary Public and Commissioner. He was elected M.P.P. in 1886 for Wellington Co., re-elected in 1890, and defeated in 1894. He was appointed Sheriff of Wellington Co., in 1901. Mr. Allan had been educated as an accountant and had had several years practical experience in this line. He introduced the bill in the Ontario Legislature that led up to the appointment of a Provincial Auditor. In 1893 he moved the address in reply to the speech from the Throne in the new Parliament buildings, which had just been opened. He m. Kate, second dau. of Capt. Bullock of Minto. Mr. Allan is a Liberal in politics, and in religious matters is a Presbyterian, having been Elder of the Church and Superintendent of the Sabbath School for years. 1a
1a Historical Atlas of the County of Wellington, Ontario. Toronto: Historical Atlas Publishing Co., 1906
Absalom Shade Allan, one of the leading merchants and citizens of Clifford, and reeve of this village, is a native of Waterloo county, Ontario, and was born near Preston, November 26, 1843. His father, Alexander Allan, was an advocate in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland; married Ann Davidson, sister of the late John Davidson, of Galt; came to Canada in the spring of the year our subject was born; was for several years superintendent of schools for Wellington district, and died in 1855.
Our subject attended the common school at Preston for several years, and afterwards gave four years to study in the grammar school at Elora; finished his education at the normal school, Toronto, where he obtained a first-class certificate, teaching meanwhile one year during this period, at the village of Alma. He then entered as bookkeeper the establishment of J. M. Fraser, of Elora, where he remained four years.
In 1868, Mr. Allan came to Clifford; went into trade as a partner in the firm of Geo.
McDonald and Co., in 1869, afterwards in the firm of Allan and Biggar, and for the last four years has been alone in general merchandise, being a straightforward, popular man.
He was appointed a commissioner for taking affidavits in 1874, and a justice of the peace in 1877; was the first reeve of the village, when it was incorporated in 1874; served two consecutive years, and after being out three years, is again (1879), holding the same office. As the head of the municipality of the village, he looks well to its interests, no other man in the place having its welfare more at heart.
He is a member of Knox Presbyterian church, an elder and the treasurer of the same, and an earnest christian worker. At one period he superintended the Sunday school of his church in the village, and now holds the same position in a mission school in the country. He is a strong temperance man, and an untiring advocate of total abstinence principles. Mr. Allan is a Reformer; very liberal. in his political views, but a strong advocate of the claims of his political confreres when they are up for office, and is treasurer of the West Riding Reform Association.
He is Past Master of the Clifford Lodge of Free Masons, and an Odd Fellow.
The wife of Mr. Allan was Kate, second daughter of Noah Bullock, deceased, of Clifford, their marriage being dated June 9, 1871 2a
2a The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Ontario Volume, 1880
REMINISCENCES OF EARLY WATERLOO.
By A. S. Allan, of Wellington County.)
The County of Waterloo, in 1842, was a part of the District of Wellington, which was composed of the Counties of Waterloo, Wellington and Grey, and the first meeting of the District Councillors was held in the Court House in Guelph on the 8th day of February, 1842. At that meeting Waterloo Township was represented by Jonathan B. Bowman, who lived near Blair, and by James Cowan, who lived near Galt. During the years 1850 and 1851 the united Council was called the Waterloo County Council, and the latter was the last year in which Waterloo, to which had been added Galt and North Dumfries, met in Guelph. At that meeting Dumfries was represented by Dr. McGeorge as Reeve and Duncan Fergusson as Deputy Reeve. Galt was represented by its Reeve, Absalom Shade. Jacob Hespeler was Reeve of Preston.
My father came to Canada from Scotland in the year 1843 and settled about a mile above Preston on the Berlin Road. It was there that I was born, on the 26th day of November, 1843. We were about a mile from Preston, Blair, Doon, Freeport and the first settlements on the Grand River, to which I am about to refer. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Waterloo was a dense forest. The finding of so many flint arrow heads on the plowed land along the Grand River was evidence of former occupants who not only occupied, but actually owned the land.
The first settlers from Pennsylvania arrived in Waterloo and settled on the banks of the Grand River in 1800, opposite from where the village of Doon now is. One of those early settlers was Joseph Sherk whom, and whose farm, I remember well. He had a cider mill on his farm and it was a great holiday to take the apples and get cider. I have fished up the river as far as the rear of his farm opposite Doon. On the adjoining farm farther up the river lived John Betzner, third son of Samuel Betzner. On his farm high above the river is a small cemetery in which Joseph Sherk, who died in 1855, and others are buried, and there a piece of land has been purchased on which is being built the monument to the early settlers. It is a commanding position. I was privileged to be present there last year when the first sod was turned. I understand that the monument will not be completed this year.
The road past these farms crosses the river toward German Mills. Across the river there is a steep bank, and at one time I remember there was a bridge, but it was carried away and was never rebuilt.
Another of the early settlers that I knew very well was George Clemens who settled, in 1801, about a mile from Preston on the road leading from Preston to Breslau. Adjoining his farm there is a large Mennonite Meeting House, and near it was a cemetery, in which was a school house which Dr. Hodgins, in his History of Education, mentions as being opened in 1809, and as being the first public school built in the county and as being one and a half miles northeast of Preston. It was the first school that I attended, and that is how I knew George Clemens so well.
Between Doon and Blair the river sweeps around to near the road where we lived. On the top of the high bank of the river is an old cemetery in which George Clemens is buried. Near there was a distillery which I saw burn down about seventy- five years ago. On the opposite side of the river there was a large flat and the farm houses were on the Blair road. One spring I saw that flat covered with a raging torrent of ice and water. Just above Blair there was built a new bridge on the railway leading from Preston to Berlin. The torrent undermined one of the abutments, so that route was abandoned, and years later the present route was used from Galt to Berlin on the west side of the river.
On the Grand River about four miles from Kitchener is the village of Freeport, where there was a toll bridge and we knew the place by the name "Toll Bridge." Situated there, was the second school that I attended. At one time our teacher was Isaac Bowman, who, I believe, was head of the Academy that was established there later. The Brickers and Hilkers and others at that time left that neighborhood and went to Port Elgin, on Lake Huron. I remember a minister of the United Brethren, Rev. George Plowman. He was very much respected. The Waterloo Sanitarium is on the bank of the river opposite Freeport. I refrain from saying anything more about Freeport, as you have printed in your last Annual Report such a splendid account of Freeport and its neighborhood by Mr. M. G. Sherk. Many of the people that he mentions I knew fifteen years before his time.
About the year 1833, a number of families came from Aberdeen and settled in the Township of Woolwich, where now is the Village of Winterbourne. One of the families was James Davidson, my grandfather, who afterward went to Galt. Another family, also named Davidson, who lived on an adjoining farm, afterward went to Berlin. George became the first Sheriff of Waterloo, and his brother William became County Treasurer. I remember seeing both of them. Another family nearby was that of Andrew Geddes, who later was Crown Land Agent at Elora. His son John married my aunt, Mary Davidson, and Mrs. Geddes lived for many years in Galt. Another person that I knew long ago, and who was Presbyterian minister at Winterbourne for forty years, was Mr. Hamilton, who is now living in Guelph. Farther down the river was Conestoga. Charles Hendry lived there. His brother, William, became Manager of the Life Insurance Company in the Town of Waterloo, and I learn that Charles managed a fire insurance company. Farther down the river was the Eagle Tannery, owned by John and Sam Wissler. Sam founded the village of Salem, near Elora. I remember Peter N. Tagge, who was a prominent merchant at Bridgeport.
I attended school for some time in Preston. The first schoolhouse was a stone building in the rear of Klotz's Hotel, afterward in the new brick building. In the brick schoolhouse James Baikie was teacher, and he later went to Galt. Jacob Hespeler had a store and the Post Office opposite Klotz's Hotel. Some years afterward, he removed to New Hope and changed the name of that village to Hespeler. I remember the Erbs, Guggisbergs, Jacob Beck (the father of Sir Adam) and his partners, Clare and Wahn, and Dr. Folsom. Cornell's Hotel was where the Kress House now is. The mineral water was not then used as now, and we drank of it as we went to school. There is a brick schoolhouse about a mile south of Freeport, on the hill. It had replaced the old schoolhouse, which was the last one that I attended in Waterloo.
In 1845, Dr. Ryerson reorganized the school system. Upper Canada was composed of twenty-two districts and he appointed a superintendent for each district. My father was appointed for the Wellington District. He was I believe the only one who held the position for the whole district. There were local superintendents or inspectors for some municipalities. At that time there were no schools in the northern part of Wellington or in the County of Grey, but later my father went to Newash, near Owen Sound, where there was then an Indian Village. My father was born in Aberdeen in 1787. He was an M.A. of Marshall College, Aberdeen, studied law for five years and practised for thirty-three years in the City of Aberdeen. In 1852 he was Inspector for Galt, Preston, and the townships of Waterloo and Woolwich. The following year the first meeting of the Board of Public Instruction was held in Berlin. I copy from Dr. Hodgins' Report of the schools in Waterloo:-Members were: the Reverend James Sims, Chairman; Alexander Allan, Secretary; Martin Rudolf, Otto Klotz and James Cavers. In 1852 Otto Klotz was for a time Clerk of Preston, but afterward my father was appointed Clerk and Treasurer. My father died in 1855 and was buried in the cemetery at the old Presbyterian Church on the hill, in which church he was an elder. The church has been taken down, and there is a pergola in which the tombstones of my father and brother are placed. When we drove to Galt we sometimes crossed the river at Blair. We called Blair the covered bridge; the bridge was from end to end covered with a roof like a barn. Some distance from Blair on the river side of the road, the first white inhabitant, named Dodge, had a shack. It is said that Mr. Dickson and Mr. Shade, when exploring Mr. Dickson's purchase in 1816, spent their first night in that shack. I knew well the person who afterward owned the farm, Mr. John Thompson, and they called their farm Cruickston Park. They sold to a Mr. Ashton, and after living for a short time near Roseville, they lived at Rosehill on the Blair Road. Ashton sold the farm to Mr. Wilks, who added more land and built the beautiful residence now owned by Miss Wilks. Ashton lived for a time in Preston, near where the Preston Springs Hotel is now, but before leaving the farm he built an immense barn on the hill and a brewery on the Blair Road.
We drove to Galt on Sundays to church and put up our pony at the Queen's Arms Hotel. Dr. Bayne had left the church on the hill the year I was born. I remember the Rev. Mr. Smith, and after him came the Rev. Hamilton Gibson. I always spent my holidays in Galt with my uncles and aunts, and went with them to Trinity Church. Dr. Boomer afterward married my aunt, Mrs. Shade. I remember some of the young men who assisted Dr. Boomer. There were: Mr. Dumoulin and Mr. Carmichael, both of whom afterward became Bishops; and there was Mr. McKenzie, who married Dr. Boomer's daughter, and lived in Brantford. Of Galt men, I remember Mr. Date, who had the axe factory; Mr. Esterbrook, who went to the U.S. and made the well-known Esterbrook steel pens; Adam Warnock and J. M. Fraser, who kept dry goods and James Warnock, who was in hardware; Mr. Howell, Mr. Spiers, Goldie and McCulloch. I knew Mr. Hugh McCulloch well after I left Waterloo. Dr. Richardson was our family doctor. There were also, Dr. Seagram and his two nephews, Joseph and Edward. The last of the old guard that I knew in Galt were the Hon. James Young and Mr. R. S. Strong.
In an article in one of your Annual Reports I read of the streets of Galt, and I notice that they have named streets after, at least, four of my uncles. Davidson, the article says, was called after John Davidson, who was Postmaster; McKenzie, after William, who built Rosehill on the Blair road; Tassie Street, after Dr. Tassie; and Shade Street, after Absalom Shade, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1793 and came to Galt in 1816. I was eighteen years old when he died.
I remember when Peter Cook was killed. And when the boat went over the dam and several were drowned, one of whom was a cousin and also when my cousin, Absalom Davidson, was drowned. Anyone who wants to know about Galt should read the Hon. James Young's Early History of Galt and Dumfries; and anyone who wishes to know of the early settlement of Waterloo should read "The Trail of the Conestoga," so well written by Miss Mabel Dunham.
I cannot close this article without telling of the high esteem in which my father held the early settlers of Waterloo, whom he knew so well, and for myself I wish to say it had an influence on my own life to be privileged to live, in my boyhood days, among the Mennonite people, who are exemplifying their quiet, consistent and Christian life by what they have done and are doing for their co-religionists from distracted Europe.
Thirteenth Annual Report of the Waterloo Historical Society, 1925
- [S131] Census - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Twp. - 1851, Div 1 pg 3.
- [S107] Book - The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Ontario Volume, 1880.
- [S107] Book - The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Ontario Volume, 1880, Biography of Absalom Shade Allan.