From the book HISTORY OF LEEDS AND GRENVILLE FROM 1749 TO 1879 WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES by Thad. Leavitt
Among the surviving pioneers of the Rideau, is Colonel Stephen Hurd, a resident of Burritt s Rapids. Colonel Hurd is the son of Asahel Hurd, who settled on Lot No. 21, 1st Concession of Marlborough, came to Canada in 1793. Asahel Hurd was a U. E. Loyalist and originally a resident of Arlington, Vermont. Phineas Hurd, grandfather of Colonel Stephen Hurd, was killed in the revolutionary war, while fighting for King and Crown.
In 1793, there was no sign of a village where Burritt’s Rapids now stands. Terrence Smith built the first mill at the Rapids. Among the first settlers were: John S. French, who settled on the island, Stephen Lane, Joel and Samuel Smades. The first church erected in Marlborough was built at the Rapids, about 1831 (Church of England.) The Methodists built the second church about twenty-three years since. The first schoolhouse was put up in 1822, on the farm of George L. Burritt.
When Mr. Hurd, the elder, settled in Marlborough, the nearest point at which wheat could be ground was Jones Mills, above Brockville. At one time Mr. Hurd was absent from home for fourteen days going to and fro from the mill.
Asahel Hurd had the following family: Truman, dead; Esther married Josiah Simons; Elias, dead; Jehiel married a daughter of David Kilborn, she being a sister of Colonel John Kilborn; Eli married Sarah Nichols, daughter of Jonathan Nichols; Stephen married Lucretia, daughter of Major Burritt.
Children by second wife: Lois married Charles Soles, of Matilda; Ashael married Laura Chapman; Isaac Nelson.
Stephen Hurd was born March 1802. His family of three children - all dead. Stephen participated in the Battle of the Windmill, and is a hale and hearty old gentleman of 77 years.
The first permanent settlers of Burritt’s Rapids were the Burritt brothers Colonel Stephen Burritt, Colonel Edmund, and Colonel Henry Burritt. The latter laid out Burritt’s Rapids, on Lot No. 5, in the first Concession of Oxford. Colonel Daniel located on the north side of the Rideau, Lot No. 25, in the first Concession of Marlborough. The Burritt’s were known as staunch defenders of the British flag. Jemimah Ward, great-grandmother of Hamlet Burritt, was upon one occasion during the Revolutionary War, set to watch for the approach of Mallory’s gang (a band of rebels who plundered Loyalist families in the vicinity of Arlington). As Mallory approached, Jemimah blew a horn: the result was that Dr. Adams shot Mallory dead. Her action in the matter becoming known to the Continental authorities, the heroine was compelled to flee for protection to Burgoyne’s camp. Dr. Adams was also the great-grandfather of Hamlet Burritt, who now resides at the Rapids.
The Hurds were originally from Arlington. Jehiel settled in Augusta, Grenville where he died; Asahel first settled in Augusta, but removed to the Rideau in 1793; Andrew settled in Augusta; Jabesh also settled in the same township.
A man by the name of Losse, a Methodist preacher, settled about half a mile below the Rapids, in Marlborough. The first resident clergyman of the Rapids was the Reverend William Patton, afterwards Arch-Deacon Patton.
Colonel Hurd gives the following account of the settlement of other sections:
The first settlers of Kemptville were Thomas McCarger, Asa Clothier, Truman Hurd, and David Beach. Beachburg, on the Ottawa, is named after the latter gentleman. Asa Clothier commenced the settlement at Oxford Mills, by building a grist and sawmill. Lyman Clothier and his son Asa built the first mill at Kemptville. Lyman Clothier had four sons, viz.: Asa, Lyman, Henry, and John. When Mr. Clothier commenced building the mill at Kemptville, the spot on which the village now stands was a wilderness. This was in the spring of 1814, and at that time there was not a house between Burritt’s Rapids and Kemptville.
The first settlers at Bishop's Mills were Chauncy and Ira Bishop, who built the mills about 1840.
William Soules taught the first school in Burritt’s Rapids, in a small log house. The second school was held in a stable, near the residence of Daniel H. Burritt.
Philoman Wright & Sons built the locks on the Canal, at the Rapids.
Two men constructed the locks at Merrickville by the name of Stephens. It is asserted that after they had paid all expenses, it required a yoke of oxen to draw the half dollars that they cleared on the contract.