Exploring Great Destinations in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Home | All About Niagara | The History of Niagara | Niagara Townships

Caistor Township

Caistor Township was the counties most densely forested and least populated of all the townships. The township was named after a village in the rolling hills of Lincolnshire, England, according to Governor Simcoe's naming conventions.

Bordered by Gainsborough Township on the east and Grimsby Township to the north the township the township was considered an "inland township". It did however have several significant waterways.

To the extreme south of the township was the Chippawa or Welland River. To the north flowed the Twenty. Into these two rivers were many smaller tributaries. Wolf Creek, most likely named after the wolf packs that inhabited the area at the time, flowed into the Welland River.

Before the arrival of white settlers into the area the township was used extensively by the indigenous people as a portage route between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. When the first settlers arrived in Caistor Township there were no roads or any means of transportation other then by canoe or small boats along the Welland River.

There were however many trails that the settlers could use. One of these earliest of Indian trails led from the Forty, south west across Grimsby Township to the Twenty, entering into Caistor Township and connecting to the Chippawa or Welland River and onward to the Grand River.

Eventually many of these early Indian Trails would become the roads that are still in use today. Although the township was difficult to travel to, making the transportation of goods to and from markets extremely difficult, the area did see colonization in those early years.

In fact, as early as 1778 the very first settler, an escaped slave who had managed to canoe up the Welland River and build a crude log cabin along the river bank was the townships first inhabitant. Left undisturbed by the outside world he managed to survive by fishing and growing maize in his small clearing along the Welland River.

In 1782 Henry Dochstater, a United Empire Loyalist from New York State, travelled inland with his family and purchased the cabin and clearing from the escaped slave and was subsequently granted 800 acres by the Crown. He would settle on Lots 2, 3 and 4, Concession I along the Chippawa River.

In 1794-1796 four brothers, John, Matthew, James and Alexander Lymburner settled close to Dochstater along the Chippawa River. Other families to settle in the township were Nathan Raymond, David Merritt, Peter Morse, John and James Clendenning, Joseph Gallineau, John Killins, Philip Tice, John T. Dean, DeGrow, Rev. Issac B. Smith, Rev. Henry Ryan and Caleb Travis and his family of twenty-four children.

In 1817 the township had twenty-four families that had taken up homesteads forming communities such as Abingdon and Caistor Centre as well as Caistorville.

Caistorville would develop into a thriving community and at one time had a Anglican and Methodist Church, a wheelright, a harness maker, two general store, a carpenter shop, a blacksmith shop, a weaver, two taverns as well as a coffin maker and an undertaker. Eventually the village would get a post office and a public school, SS No. 7.