North Easthope

Early Settlers

North Easthope was named after Sir John Easthope, a Canada Company director, who also owned a British newspaper called The Chronicle .

The area was settled by, and still is made up of two ethnic groups - the Highland Scots and the Hessen Darmstadt Deutsch.

The cairn by the highway at Shakespeare commemorates North Easthope Highland settlers such as Stewart, McTavish, Crerar, Scott, Fraser, and Fisher among others. They were crofters in Perthshire whose laird said in 1832, "Get out. I need my land back to raise sheep and you do nothing but distil illegal whiskey and marry your first cousins." When they arrived in North Easthope, some of them had their distilling equipment with them all ready to start again, but there was more money in growing wheat with no landlord to skim off the profits. Descendants have returned to Glenquaich (glen of the drinking cup) and come back with snapshots of ruined cots and empty heaths.

The Highland Scots influence includes the formation of a North Easthope Pipe Band in the 1950's and the Easthope Historical Group in the 1960's, and the transition of the Brocksden School into a Museum..

In 1835, Reverend Proudfoot of the London District, sleighed past the new settlement of North Easthope and wrote: "Fifty Scotch families, most of them Highlanders"; he also describes the Dutch settlers around Helmer's Tavern, on the east border of North Easthope and South Easthope as having "noble farms" and as holding "no man a preacher who is not inspired by the Holy Spirit and if he get his preaching talent so easily he needs no pay." By "Dutch", Proudfoot means the Pennsylvania Germans of Wilmot Township, Mennonites, some of whom were settling in North Easthope. However, what his statement also reminds us that the Canada Company not only advertised local land for sale in Glenquaich, Scotland, but also in Bremen, Germany. In 1842, the company's agent in Stratford issued 60 tickets for North Easthope, most of them to settlers with names such as:- Eidt, Erb, Faulhafer, Henkell, Herman, Hoffmeyer, Wettlaufer, Nafziger, Neeb, Paff, et al.

Historical Events

1835 - Only five men owned enough land to vote in Goderich against the Family Compact.

1850 - James Trow began to build a power base from buying cheap land at tax sales, which sent him to Parliament, and led to a manufacturing career in Stratford.

1855 - The Crimean War produced wheat boom and stone houses and big barns went up in the community.

1870's - Cheese factories were brought in and took pressure off grain production.

1880 - A depression and 1,000 people left for Michigan and Southwest Manitoba.

1905 - Hydroelectric towers marched across to Stratford, but there was no power for farms until 1938.

1915 - World War I produced North Easthope names on Stratford Cenotaph; and Veterans sallied out in the early 1930's to prevent a returned soldier's farm from being taken over for the mortgage.

1939 - The Tweedsmuir books initiated historical research in the Women's Institutes, a local, kitchen history movement that was instigated by a local woman. World War II marked the end of the hunting clubs going up north for deer in the Fall. The invention of margarine ended creamery cheques. More tractors appeared after gas-rationing ended as horses disappeared and bigger farm machinery for larger fields with more main crops appeared.

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