This map illustrates the area around the former industrial community known as Crooks Hollow (present-day Greensville). There are two bordering roads shown: “Second Cons.” [Hwy 8] and “original road allowance” [now Brock Road]. There are also smaller roads drawn and not labeled: Old Brock Road and Crooks Hollow Road.
The scale is listed on the left-hand side of the map: “Scale 3c [chains] = one Inch”. There is a directional arrow to the right of the “original road allowance” pointing to right side of the map as north. At the top of the map, written in red ink, is the following: “No 7”, “Drawer No 1”, and “West Flamboro (5 & 6
in 2nd Con)”. On the back there appears to be a signature or simply written name “James Crooks”. Within this community drawn on the map are listed a number of dwellings, including a woolen factory, distillery, dam, mill pond, barn, and numerous houses. There is also a “Family Burial ground” indicated just north of what is now Crooks Hollow Road. This was the Crooks Family Cemetery. In 1902, the bodies were exhumed and re-interred at Grove Cemetery in Dundas. It is now residential property.
There are also several mills shown on the map along Crooks Hollow Road including: a paper mill, a grist mill, and a saw mill. These mills were all located along Spencer Creek (originally known as Morden’s Creek). The Morden’s were the first settlers in the Dundas Valley, and Jonathan Morden (1763-1803) was the first to build a sawmill on the creek in 1799. This mill remained in operation until 1905.
James Crooks (1778-1860), another early settler, purchased four hundred acres of land in the area in 1811 and built a grist mill, which he named the Darnley Mill, that same year. Crooks used the flour produced by the mill to supply rations to the British Army during the War of 1812. In return for his efforts and he was well paid and was able to expand his industrial area on Spencer Creek. He developed Crooks Hollow into one of the most prolific industrial operations in Upper Canada. By 1825 Crooks had numerous mills and factories built including the province’s first paper mill (shown on map). Although Crooks was extremely wealthy, powerful, and politically involved, his operations began to decline through the second half of the 19th century. In 1860 Crooks died and his remaining assets were sold. His paper mill was willed with Thomas Helliwell and later acquired by the MacDonald Brothers (as shown on the 1875 Wentworth County Atlas). There is no date on the map but we know that it was surveyed after the death of James Crooks (1860) and likely before the purchase of the Darnley Grist Mill by Robert Sanderson and James Stutt in 1869. Ruins from the Darnley Mill can still be seen today along Crooks Hollow Road.
Information sourced from:
Green, Patricia., Maurice H Green, and Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society. From West Flamborough's Storied Past: A Celebration of West Flamborough Township's Heritage. Waterdown, Ont.: Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society, 2003.
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