NOTE: This web page is a supplement to the Huron Natural Area hiking web page.
A personal thanks to Harold Russel, rych mills and staff at the University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections and Archives who provided me with information about the village of New Aberdeen.
According to the Waterloo Region Museum, "the village of New Aberdeen in Waterloo Township was in a pocket of predominantly Scottish and German settlement in the south west corner of the township. It was named by George Davidson, a Sheriff of Waterloo County, for his birthplace in Scotland. Its first industry, a sawmill on Aberdeen Creek, was established in 1836, and a post office existed from 1847 to 1877. Due to its location on the Huron Road, the village flourished in the pre-railway era but had virtually disappeared by the turn of the twentieth century."
From this information one might assume that the village of New Aberdeen never fully developed due to the encroachment of railways in the area.
Who was George Davidson, Esquire?
George Davidson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, May 15, 1814 to John and Margaret Davidson. George was educated in Aberdeen including about four years of law before emigrating to Canada in 1835. He took up residence in the Township of Waterloo in the County of Waterloo. Apparently he acquired about 200 acres of land close to Berlin and then moved to Berlin about 1841. In Berlin he partnered with his brother, William Davidson, in a mercantile business.
On the outskirts of Berlin, small hamlets were being established such as Williamsburg, Strasburg and New Aberdeen. George started a 500 acre farm about 10 km from Berlin along with a saw mill and a grist mill making use of the water power provided by what is today (2016) known as Strasburg Creek. That creek had been known previously by other names like Abderdeen Creek. He moved back to Berlin in 1852 at the age of 38 and left his businesses in New Aberdeen.
In January 1853 he became sheriff of the county and held the office for twenty-seven years. Sheriff Davidson became the first postmaster in Berlin and New Aberdeen. He was also involved with
the offices of township and county councilman and school trustee. He joined the military service as a Lieutenant, on the breaking out of the rebellion near the close of 1837. He became Lieutenant Colonel,
the commanding officer of the second battalion of the Waterloo militia, for nearly a quarter of a century.
Davidson was a Royal Arch Mason, a member and elder of the Presbyterian church. In 1836 he married Margaret Garden, of Aberdeen, Scotland. They had six children. For greater details, please refer to the Biogrpahy of Goerge Davidson at https://www.accessgenealogy.com/canada/biography-of-george-davidson.htm which is part of The Canadian Biographical Dictionary.
The New Aberdeen Plan/Map 1856
In 1856 George Davidson had a plan drawn up for the continued expansion and development of the village of New Aberdeen. It is obvious that the village never fully developed following his plan.
Other Online Resources [links operational as of 2017DEC07 Thursday]
- Ontario Abandoned Places
- Waterloo Region Generations, Sheriff George Davidson, Esq.
- Flash from the Past: Kitchener corner property held home of Dr. J.F. Honsberger [& George Davidson]
- Waterloo Region Museum Hall of Fame
- A Walk Through Time: A historical walking tour of Kitchener’s Mount Hope Cemetery (page 19), Stop 18
- Canadian Deaths 1878-1886 (see Davidson, George)
- Woodside and the Victorian Family of John King (a 120-page pdf) - see page 12 [Excerpt: "Through this arrangement, Davidson, Grange, McDougall, Colquhoun and, later, John King all had interests in the same geographic area. In addition, George Davidson owned the California block in Berlin and, by purchasing and selling various properties, became a wealthy man."]
- Gazetteer and directory of county of Waterloo, 1867 (PDF) - see New Aberdeen page 5 of PDF
New Aberdeen Plan Map, University of Waterloo Library - Special
Collections Archives, Schantz Russell Family
Numerous maps, etc plus: Map of the village of New Aberdeen and part of the township, lots 10, 11,12 and 13 of Biehn's Tract in the Township and County of Waterloo C.W., as laid out for the proprietor George Davidson Esq. by Schofield & Hobson P.L.S., Berlin, June 1856. - 1856. 1 map ; 85 x 72 cm. Non-existent village. "Maclear & Co. Lith. Toronto." Scale: 1 inch = 3 chains (stated). Printed on rag paper (fabric backed) with water colour added. Winearls, 1646.
- Founding of New Hamburg.doc - See last paragraph, page 3 for mention of George Davidson & the influence of railways. In this case New Hamburg grew and New Aberdeen did not.
1917 Shantz Autotrip - including New Aberdeen
A memento made from a piece of fungus material that was originally adhered to the bark of a tree. This was cracked off, and its smooth surface etched with this hand printing:
Sunday P.M. / Sept. 23-1917 / 31 mile auto trip Roy Shantz / Mrs. Roy Shantz / Ethel May Schantz / Frank A. Schantz / Orpheus M. Schantz / Dorothy E. White. The trip included visits to Sararas Woods / German Mills / Strasburg / Aberdeen (New Aberdeen) / New Dundee / Williamsburg and Mannheim. Around the lettering are etched designs: a branch, plants, mushrooms.