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Habitation and Settlement at Sandbanks

The first hunter-gatherers arrived in the Sandbanks area after the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago.


While early explorer Samuel de Champlain passed through the area in 16**, it wasn't until the events of the American War of Independence that the stage was set for the permanent European settlers.


Among the first permanent settlers were the Peter Van Alstine party, who were granted lands at Adolphustown.

Arriving in flat-bottomed "batteaux" from the St. Lawrence River and Kingston, by 1790 those Loyalists from New York State had assumed new land claims in Prince Edward County.

Not all the granted lands were suitable for farming, as many early settlers discovered. Heavily forested, but on shallow soils above limestone bedrock, growing sustainable crops was often difficult.

While there were some fertile loams around the shores of East and West Lake, many of those initial land grants were forfeited to speculators between 1800 - 1830.

Many of the early Loyalists were Quakers, whose pacifist beliefs prohibited them from taking up arms in the Revolutionary War, for the benefit of either side. Many lost substantial properties, farms and livestock in New York state, but brought with them a wealth of agricultural and construction skills from their former homes that ensured their success in the new land of Upper Canada.


A few short decades after the original farmers had established themselves in the County, another wave of settlers made their way from New York state by way of the overland route to Oswego, and from there across Lake Ontario.


By the 1830's, much of the County had been settled, and the following decades brought another wave of new European immigrants, brought by the steamship, and later by the railroads that connected Lower Canada to the burgeoning promise of Canada's western farmlands.

And by the beginning of the 20th century, the ethnic mix of early Loyalists and later Europeans in Prince Edward County had made their mark ensuring that this area would always prosper!

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