ORDER was the mantra governing the settlement of Upper Canada. Hence, land surveyors preceded the settlers. When Lieut. Gov. John Graves Simcoe arrived in 1792 to take up his duties, Augustus Jones was already in place as Provincial Surveyor for the District of Nassau that included everything from the River Trent through the Head of Lake Ontario to the Niagara frontier. In 1791 he surveyed the north shore of Lake Ontario from the Trent to Toronto, naming the townships in the process. Simcoe set aside Jones's choices for York (Dublin) and Scarborough (Glasgow), the former perhaps as early as 1792. In correspondence in November that year he hedged in using the name Toronto by including his alternate choice of York in brackets. It is well known the formal renaming did not occur until 27 August 1793.
Jones is one of those people in our early history who deserves to be better known. American-born and trained as a land surveyor in New York City, he came north to Niagara in 1787 and was hired to assist with various surveys. Physically robust, he often worked in winter when lines through the dense woods were more easily laid down. He shared with the native people a self-reliance and ability to live off the land, and went further by marrying a Mohawk woman by whom he had eight children. A liaison with another Mississauga woman produced at least two more sons, including the prominent missionary Peter Jones. He was a close friend of Joseph Brant and one of the few white people who were trusted by most natives.
Click the map to view a full size version of the detail (The entire map may be seen here).
Detail from: An accurate Plan of a Survey [words missing] of the River Trent (Head) [words missing - North shore?] of Lake Ontario to Toronto [words missing]
Augustus Jones, 1791.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Office of the Surveyor General. Plan Ref: SR5803 O6-4
© 2013 Queens Printer Ontario
Winearls, MUC no. 316
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