Forthton – A Hamlet in Elizabethtown

Forthton (Unionville)

Map of 1861-62

John Kilborn and his wife Elizabeth Baldwin established a store at Unionville about 1816. He was also given a government post assisting settlement of immigrants. Many of the early residents of the Perth area passed through his hands. The settlers travelled overland by wagon and in some cases had to cut their own roads through the forests. John Kilborn was a 17 year old store clerk in Brockville when the War of 1812 broke out. He immediately enlisted in a regiment being formed in Brockville. In September 1812 he took part in the raid by British and Canadian forces on Ogdensburg. He remained in the militia and in 1845 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. (Recorder and Times, Darling Scrapbook No.5)


By the 1840’s Unionville was a thriving entrepot at the junction of the Macadamized Road to Smith’s Falls and the Plank Road to Farmersville. A private company, the Farmersville Plank Road Company, was chartered with a capital of £1600 divided into 320 shares at £5 each, “to make a plank road from Unionville to Farmersville, build toll gates and bridges, secure the necessary stones and make all the grading required for the road”.


Victoria Macadamized Road- May 17, 1849

An advertisement appears calling for tenders for the completion of the several sections of the Victoria macadamized road leading from the residence of John Taylor, in the fourth concession of Elizabethtown, to Unionville. The tenders were to state the lowest terms for which the whole or any part of the road would be planked or macadamized. Tenders were referred for particulars to Thomas Hume, district surveyor.


When the post office opened in 1831, postmaster E. H. Whitmarsh changed the community’s name from Stone’s Corner to Unionville. Two years later the post office was suspended, but the place kept the name, last appearing on a map in 1861.



Unionville Fairunion-fairgrounds-forthton-pab-7-f10-10

As the village of Unionville grew, the Elizabethtown Agricultural Society held its annual fair in a vacant field opposite the Forth Hotel. Permanent buildings were constructed, including barns, exhibit halls and bleachers. The Unionville Racetrack was located along Highway No. 42 north of Forthton.





Brockville Fair Feb 22, 1905

Directors Meet to Organize- a Four Day’s Exhibition This Year.

At a meeting of the new Board of |Directors of the Brockville Fair, held yesterday afternoon, R.H. Field was re-elected secretary and Ed. Davis treasurer. The following committees were appointed:

Sports- W.H.Comstock, F.I Rtchie, N.H.Beecher, D.Forth.

Printing and advertising- R.H.Field, R.J.Jelly, G.A.Wright

Messrs Beecher and Field were delegated to represent the association at the meeting of representatives of fairs of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa on March 8th.

The four-day exhibition proved such a great success last year that it was decided to repeat the performance in 1905, beginning with either Monday Sept. 11th or Tuesday Sept. 12th which will be definitely settled later.

The Board will meet again on March 10th for the purpose of revising the prize list.

Forthton is located north of Brockville on Highway 29 at the intersection of Hwy 42

(selected excerpts from Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships, by Alvyn Austin pub 2009)



Old B&W Railroad station at Forthton
Old Forth Residence c1978
Former Inn and Hotel at Forthton
Forthton 4-H Homemaking Club c1954
Road sign on 29 Highway
1998 Map of Forthton


“Edna’s Scrapbook”

is a paperback book written by Edna B. Chant and was published in 1998. Edna Chant was a reported with the “Athens Reporter” for 23 years and she is the author of four books.

Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we have taken excerpts, gives us a glimpse into life in our area for over a hundred year period ending with stories from 1975.

While her book covers many areas of Leeds and Grenville we have only focused on the area within Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.


The first post office at Unionville was opened on April 16th, 1841

At the Unionville Fair in August 1898, a special attraction was a race horse “Geraldine”, the Guideless Wonder”. The horse will race any horse, running without a rider and has never been beaten.

An amusing incident occurred at the Unionville Fair in 190. A woman borrowed a loaf of homemade bread fro a neighbour as she was expecting visitors. It looked so nice she entered in the fair and she got first prize.

Mowat Jackson 33 of Plum Hollow was killed on Oct 23, 1940 at Forthton.

Two men lost their lives in a motor accident at Forthton on No.29 Highway. Harry Countryman died instantly on October 30, 1941. His passenger William J. Hewitt died of injuries the next day.

A young resident of Forthton, Ronald Chant,21, was drowned in Lyn quarry on August 7, 1967. He had been swimming with other friends across the quarry when he seemed to tire suddenly and called for help. When friends reached him he disappeared. It took firemen and police almost an hour to recover the body. He was the only son of Mrs. Hazel Chant and the late Cecil Chant. He was employed at the Johnston Shoe Company in Brockville.

Fire destroyed a large dairy barn on the farm of Earl Seabrooke at Forthton on April 9, 1969. Mr. Seabrooke had just let his cows out to water, but the young cattle were in the barn. He was able to get 13 calves and a horse out safely but one calf, milking equipment and all other contents were lost. It is believed a short circuit in the wiring caused the fire.

The Athens Reporter and County of Leeds Advertiser

Excerpts have been taken from this paper referencing the following hamlet for the years 1889, 1894 and 1895

Tuesday Dec. 4, 1894 issue-

Forthton– Friday Nov 30-

Mrs. Giles of Montreal was the guest of Mrs. D.J.Forth last week.

Miss. Ella Hall and Mr. John M. Percival spent last week in Brockville.

Mr. John Forth is recovering from a severe attack of pleurisy.

The trustees of our school have engaged Miss. Anna Scot as a teacher for the coming year.

The social given by Epworth League on Friday evening was a grand success. The programme consisted of readings by Misses Hall and Clow which showed great vocal talent, solos by Misses Towris and Orton were exceptionally well rendered, and recitations by Hamilton, Lyn, and Chas. Howe, show that in the near future Glen Buell may produce some great orators. The chair was ably filed by Rev. J. Perley who gave a very appropriate address. Rev. W. Coates closed by a very interesting address on League work. The refreshments were such as “Delmonico’s”. By the way the cake vanished into a vacancy in a high corner of the house, one could conclude that they had a heart for the missing link of the chain band. Bob, did you get any !

Tuesday Aug 20, 1895 issue


Dies at his residence near Unionville, on Sunday evening last, Charles Knapp, aged 61 years. Mr. Knapp was born in Plum Hollow and has always resided in this locality. He was a brother of Ithamer Knapp, postmaster, Plum Hollow