Modern day Barrie is comprised of a large number of old villages, one of those was the Village of Holly. The following is a history of the written by members of the Holly Research Committee and undated. From dates detailed within it is guesstimated that it was written circa 1930/50 as it was typed. References within the document are to a wide variety of settlers and one of Barrie’s famous forefathers William Caruthers Little [W.C. Little] who was MP in the Dominion Parliament of Canada from 1867 to 1878. Little Ave. in Barrie is named after him, as well as W.C. Elementary School.
Of particular interest are the references to the wide expanse of forests and the railway line that went through the Holly area which was then in the Township of Innisfil. Note the 1881 Atlas section of Innsifil details many of settlers the land holdings as well as geographic locations described in the Holly Research Committee’s history. It is fascinating when one finds pieces of the puzzle that interlock.
A History of the early settlement of Holly,
written by the Historical Research Committee, Mrs. Lougheed, Mrsl Litte and Mrs. Wiley.
Less than a hundred years ago the territory extending from Allandale to the Ninth Line was a dense forest where Indians roamed and will animals penetrated its solitudes, commonly known then as the “Seven Mile Bush”. gradually this spell was broken when courageous setters came to make their new homes. Their hardships to us would seem almost unbearable, yet they bore them patiently.
Perhaps the first to settle in this vicinity was Thomas Lougheed who was born in Ireland in 1799 and came to Canada in 1842. Later, in 1844, he located where now stand the present Lougheed homestead.
Wm. Campbell , also born in Ireland, was another early setter, coming to Canada in 1839 and later moved to Lot 2, Cons. 12, where is grandson, Charles Campbell, is at present living
James Brown, an Englishman, settled in 1858 and took up farming. He later kept the first Post Office and General Store in Holly. Part of the farm on which he first settled is now occupied by his grandson, Fred Brown.
W.J. Andrews, the first blacksmith, came in 1871 and continued in business for a great many years, retiring to live with his his daughter Mrs. M. Wiley, of Stroud, where he is at at the present time.
Chas. Dyer was amonth the first setters coming in 1856 and settling on the farm which is now occupied by his son George Dyer.
Mahlon Srigley, born at New Market in 1909, came with his family in 1851 and located across from the present school house. His sons Lemual and John spent the remainder of their lives in the community.
James Leslie a native of Scotland took up land on the 12th Line in 1857, and Wm. Miller, a native of Ireland, who first settled in Toronto came in 1859 and also settle on the 12th Line. Chal. Palling, who was born in England in 1843, first came to Simcoe County in 1851, and later moved to the present Palling homestead. He was a former school teacher and held the position of Township Clerk for five years.
Among the earliest settlers was Wm. C. Little, a native of England, and as a surveyor served in Australia and India before coming to Canada. He settled on the 14th Concession in 1847, and much of his life was spent in public service. In 1853 he became a member of Innisfil Council and from 1856 to 1879 he served on the County Council. From 1867 to his death on Dec. 31st, 1881 he was a Member of the Dominion Parliament.
The Old Essa Road was a winding trail extending from Allandale to the Ninth Conn. of Innisfil. Late in the Autumn of 1849 the new Essa Rd. was surveyed by government grant. An early settler named Harris was killed when working on what is now known as “Little’s Hill”, when an embankment caved in. His family continued to reside on the homestead where Richard Pearson now lives. In 1860 a school was built at the foot of “Little’s Hill”, Allandale being included in the school section. Wm. C. Little and Mahlon Srigley were trustees of this school for many years and among the early teachers were a Mr. Gilpin and Mr. Zimmerman. In 1880 the new school was built on its present location.
The earliest church services were held around 1857 at Thos. Lougheed’s and later at the Gilpin home where Canon Morgan officiated.
A Methodist church was built in 1859 on what is now Mr. John’s property. Ministers were supplied from Barrie among them being Rev. Mr. Davis and Rev. Mr. Feather. The cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1900 and Mr. W.B. Taylor of Allandale was the builder.
Holly was given its name by W.C. Little, who called it after a little village in England. Ivy and Vine were also named by him. The first tea-meeting was held at Wm. Capbell’s and was for the purpose of raising funds for the new church building.
Mail was carried from Allandale to Ivy by a man named Dick Simpson and distributed along the way in passing [words missing].
Around the year 1864 quite a village grew [words missing guessing "around"] the 14th Concession when a saw-mill, known as Steer’s Mill was operated by an American lumber man on the site of the old Wharram homestead. A tramway ran to Allandale tracks but after the land was striped of its pines the buildings disappeared.
An incident that caused great excitement and anxiety at the time and which was greatly talked of for years afterwards was the strange disappearance of a four year old boy named Sproule. His parents were working in the sugar bush, when the child left home to find them, but no trace of him was ever found afterward. It was thought that he was either kidnapped by Indians or carried off by a bear for although a search was carried on for a long time, no clue to his disappearance could be found.
Many changes have taken place in our community since those far off days and it is pride and gratification that we look back on the work of the pioneers, who planted for us this peaceful countryside.