Carlisle and Progreston
In the early days most of the land surrounding Carlisle was bush, a
great deal of which was pine. The early settlers cleared a few acres and
built log houses and small barns to shelter their oxen and cows. Wood
was cut for fuel; tallow candles were used for lighting, and often a stone
oven was built outside for baking bread. At first there were only trails
cut through the bush, but as more settlers moved in they built corduroy
roads. The first settlers depended entirely on the rivers and streams
for water; thus the first sites chosen were close to streams. Among the
very early settlers in the Carlisle area were the Fords, Eaton's, Pattons,
Kievels, Hamiltons, McColls, Crookers, Gunbys, Mordens, Adamsons, Binkleys,
Hunts, Greens, Mills and Bennetts. John and Catherine Eaton moved from
Stoney Creek in 1826 and settled on 400 acres of crown land. As other
settlers came a small village grew up and was named Eaton. In 1853 the
name was changed to Carlisle. In 1870 there were 150 inhabitants.
The first regular church services were held in the Eaton home. The first
church was built in 1829 and was called the "Chapel on the Twelve".
In the early days there were many different denominations that do not
exist in these parts today. For instance, there were Methodists and Anglicans
in Carlisle, Disciples in Progreston, Methodists on the 10th concession
east, at Harper's Corners and Carmel (this church was later moved to Freelton),
and Bethel just across the town line in Halton. Now, in all that territory
there is only one church -- the Carlisle United Church which was first
built as a Methodist Church in 1852. In the early days the men sat on
one side of the church and the ladies on the other side. The hymns were
started by a precentor using a tuning fork. John Forstner was choir leader
in 1870 for one year when the first organ was installed, after which James
Adamson held that position for many years. Esther Binkley was the first
organist. In 1870 the Sunday School was organized with James Vance as
superintendent. The church was lit for many years with tallow candles.
These were replaced by coal oil lamps, and electricity was installed in
1920. The present brick church was built in 1891.
There was at one time on the 9th concession east of Carlisle an Anglican
Church with an adjoining cemetery on the hill. Only the cemetery remains
today. The first Methodist parsonage was built in Carlisle in 1875 and
is still a grand landmark. The new United Church parsonage was built in
For many years Carlisle United Church held a July 1st celebration which
included two special church services on Sunday with visiting ministers
in the pulpit and special music. On the following day a "Monster
Garden Party" was held in the Church Park with a band and baseball
games in the afternoon. A supper booth and refreshment booth were both
well patronized, and in the evening an open air program was given by a
group of entertainers. This was attended by people from all the surrounding
communities, and these garden parties were continued until a few years
ago and will be revived this Centennial Year.
There are two public schools in the locality: Victoria School on the
8th concession and Balaclava on the 10th concession. In 1865 Victoria
School was located on the extreme north corner of the school grounds,
and the teacher was John Calder. In 1868 a new school was built, and in
1872 a two storey brick school was built with Marshall Rymal first teacher
of the senior room and Georgina Sutton teacher of the juniors. In 1922
a two room modern school was built. The school today has six rooms.
Balaclava School was built in 1873 on the corner of the 10th concession
and Centre Road. On October 19, 1873, this school was burned, and a new
stone school was built and completed by December. In 1878 a well was drilled
and a pump installed. In 1952 one more room was built. In 1958 the stone
school was torn down and four modern rooms built. In 1966 five more rooms
were added making nine classrooms at present including a kindergarten.
Since 1964 the children are all conveyed to school by bus.
Among the early settlers who might be remembered for their works are:
Washington Campbell, a stump puller; Michael Covie, a well digger; and
Thomas LeMessurier, a fine house carpenter. Mark Crooker settled on a
crown land farm and built the house on the 8th concession where Henry
Gastle now lives. He was a local preacher and often walked to Hamilton
to preach on Sundays. Burdge Gunby was a local preacher and farmer who
at one time owned the largest barn in Ontario. John Crooker owned the
general store and post office which was burned in 1871. Mrs. Koella, a
native of Switzerland, kept a store and post office for many years. Talbert
Carey operated a general store in Carlisle and used to take the farmers'
produce in trade for dry goods and groceries. Hiram Wallace was a shoemaker.
Joseph Fuester had a thriving shoemaking business in the house now occupied
by Mrs. Clark Eaton. Mrs. Charles Newell remembers her brothers having
their work shoes made to order at that shop. Blacksmithing was once a
flourishing trade in Carlisle. There used to be two shops, one run by
James Holmes, and the other by Ransom Millard who also had a wagon shop.
On the south corner of the village square was a hotel run by Barney
Brown. It was a stopping place for travellers, and Mrs. Brown was noted
for serving splendid meals. This hotel was closed in 1911 when the Local
Option came into effect in East Flamborough, and William Hopkinson then
opened it as a Temperance House. There are four parks in Carlisle: the
Church Park, Hall Park, Halton Region Conservation Authority at the creek,
and one north of the village. The Methodist Church, formerly on the 10th
concession east, was moved to Carlisle and used as the Orange Hall until
1957 when a new Orange Hall was built.
In 1911 the C.P.R. was built from Hamilton to Guelph Junction. This
railway was a great convenience to the community as both passenger and
freight trains travelled the tracks each day. Around 1914 cars were introduced
in the community with Peter Green being the first owner. Then in 1915
Charles Eaton, Case Eaton, Ed Freed, A. E. Blagden, Charles Newell and
George Alderson bought their first cars.
In 1921 the Community Hall was built. In 1927 A. E. Blagden built a
garage which was sold in 1947 to William Henderson the present owner.
In 1946 the blacksmith shop was closed. In 1947 Carlisle really started
to grow, and since that time about 200 houses have been built in the vicinity.
In 1952 Bates and Green built their present garage. In 1952 Carlisle United
Church observed its Centennial Year. Carlisle has one of the most beautiful
rose gardens in the province which V. Kraus started in 1954. On March
8, 1962 the Toronto Dominion Bank in the centre of Carlisle burned, and
the bank was moved across the street. In 1965 the United Church Christian
Education Building was started, and it was dedicated on March 6, 1966.
Down Bronte Creek (sometimes called the Twelve Mile Creek) nearly one
mile from Carlisle was the one-time village of Progreston said to have
been named by James Kievel, a mill owner of long ago. There were once
180 people living there. Here in early days, taking advantage of the sixteen
foot fall of water, were several industries: three saw mills, two grist
mills, a peg factory and a blacksmith shop. Andrew Patton had a saw and
shingle mill and a building built for a grist mill but never used for
that purpose. It was this property that Freeman Green bought and equipped
for a woollen mill in 1869. Mr. Green also built the Green homestead in
1870 - the house which Mrs. Howard Green now occupies. This woollen mill
was known for the splendid quality of its product. After the death of
Freeman Green, his son Peter Green carried on this business for 36 years
until the mill was destroyed by fire in 1911. There was also a casket
factory in Progreston run by Ira and Charles Green.
Sam Campbell built a saw mill in 1869 which was changed to a grist mill;
this was still being run by Sam and William Campbell in 1882. This mill
was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Spencer Bennett and later operated
by his son Bert Bennett; it was closed in October 1964. Allison's mill
was built on the 10th concession east and Koella's saw mill on the corner
of the 9th concession and highway 6. Also on the 9th concession was a
brick kiln on the Bayfield farm. Brick from this kiln was used in building
Campbell's grist mill and house in Progreston and also the Van Norman
house now occupied by Orley Marshall. The blacksmith shop in Progreston
was run by William Ashbury.
At Progreston today is one of the few mills in Ontario still to be seen
in its original aspect. The huge round flume, constructed of horizontally
laid boards strapped round with iron hoops, carries the water from the
falls to the mill. This settlement of a few old houses and the mill, set
in a quiet valley, evokes the memory of early industrial settlements of
-From the Book "1867 1967 Waterdown and East Flamborough"
published in 1967 by the Waterdown and East Flamborough Centennial Committee,