Rocksprings – A Hamlet in Elizabethtown


Location of Rock Spring on map of 1861-62

This old community is reached by Leeds County Road 7 which runs north from Greenbush and runs directly into this hamlet.

Around 1855, Billy Wilmer heard of an everlasting sweet water spring near the Elizabethtown – Kitley border. He decided he would find it and settle there. He reached the spring and discovered that it flowed constantly, winter and summer. He built a log cabin beside the spring and settled down with his bride, the former Jane Empry, both were immigrants from Ireland. Later as his farm prospered, Wilmer built a fine stone residence at the north end of his homestead on the Kitley side of the border. The old spring still flows in the bush land south of the house, but the old log cabin has disappeared

The first store in Rocksrings was in the log home of a pioneer named Wiseman. Following Wiseman storekeepers were Richard Latimer, James Hicks, Jack O’Neill and Levi Howe. Sometime before the turn of the century the new corner store was established with Levi Howe as proprietor. The site of the Wiseman store was once occupied by the Holiness Movement Church (Hornerite).

The Rocksprings United Church was opened January 8, 1899 as Rocksprings Methodist Church, and became United on church union in 1925. The formal dedication service in 1899 was performed by the Rev. Dr. William Ryckman. An oyster supper concluded the ceremonies. The church seated 160 and was built at a cost of $910. The land was donated by Samuel Tackaberry.

The Rocksprings School boasted an enrolment in 1909 of 33 area children. It was closed during the school consolidations of the 1960’s.

In the days when cheese sold for less than 10¢ a pound, the Rocksprings Cheese factory used to turn out over 25,000 pounds of cheese a week. Books of the old factory tell details of transactions in the year 1902. Receipts for one week were listed at $2,409.67 for 25,199 pounds of cheese, selling a 9.562¢ a pound. The farmers whose milk went into the factory received $2,023.78 in cash and $18.27 in cheese for those who accepted cheese for cash. The factory is believed to have been built by D.M. Wilson sometime before 1900 and flourished until the 1940’s. It has been since torn down, the old cheese makers house stands across the road from where the factory once stood.

One of the most majestic figures of the late 1890’s in this area was a tall broad shouldered blacksmith named William Barber. Barber doubled as the caretaker of the old Rocksprings School and the Methodist Church. A devout church goer Barber was known to generations of Rockspring schoolchildren in the four decades he worked there 1890-1930. Barber ran a blacksmith shop on the main corner of Rocksprings. The building is gone, but people used to recall the huge figure of Barber standing over the glowing coals in his forge as he fashioned horseshoes.

(Recorder and Times, Darling Collection Book 3)

Map showing spelling as Rock Springs
Road sign leading into Hamlet- photo 2016









School House c1935
Temperance Hall photo 2016
Gorge Maud Homestead c1900
Wilmer Homestead c1985
William Barber, the blacksmith
General Store at Rocksprings c1985











Rocksprings Methodist Church photo 2016
Rocksprings Methodist Church c1985












News Story Jan 18, 1905


“A jolly driving party from Brockville was entertained Tuesday night at the home of Miss. M.Mott, Rockspring. Owing to the heavy roads the band sleigh upset twice on the trip but the occupants ecsaped injury. The outing was throughly enjoyed by all” (The Brockville Times January 18, 1905)


“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.

Rock Spring

The new Methodist Church at Rockspring was opened on January 8, 1899, It is a neat frame building with a spire and will seat 160. The land was donated free of charge by Sam Tackaerry. The total cost of the church was $910. of which $600. has been paid. At the opening services Rev. E.W.Crane preached in the morning and Rev. J.A.Bell in the evening. The church was filled and the choir from Easton’s Corners furnished music. On Monday night an oyster supper was held. Rev. Ryckman gave the financial statement and invited further donations and over $300. was given, clearing the church of all debt.

The home of Wesley Burridge of Rocksprings was burned on September 28, 1930. The only thing saved from the home was the piano. The members of the family had to escape in their night clothing.

July 31, 1933, During a very severe electrical storm Henry Barns at Jellby had eight cows killed and Harry Cooper, Rocksprings lost three horses. The lightning was the worst seen in some years.

Stanley Pearce of Rockspring, 62, was killed in Quebec August 19, 1969.


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

Nov 18, 1894 issue-

Addison, Saturday Nov.10-

Mr. William Peterson of Rocksprings has leased the residence on King st. from Mr. Frank Eiltse, of Silver Brook. We extend a hearty welcome.

Tuesday Feb. 26, 1895 issue

We wish to inform the Times correspondent of the little hamlet of Rocksprings that the “long haired hungry grits” are preparing a more expeditious vehicle than the velocipede to do duty at the next election

Tuesday July 9, 1895 issue

Mr. Hudson Kendrick of this place who is in the employment of Mr. Wilson of Rockspring as cheese maker, and his chum, Mr. George Steacy, were visiting friends here on Sunday last. Huds look hale and hearty.