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Who Was Mr. Parkes?

Kingston Chronicle Gazette, July 19, 1834

Parks was listed in a record of Bensons Store in Napanee 1833-34 as being from Sheffield Township.

Cora Reid and Jane Scott


s an experienced genealogist, Cora Reid reviewed an 1834 Kingston Chronicle Gazette article (reproduced on this page) recently and was taken by the description of an early Beaver Lake settler named Parkes, colloquially known as the “King of Sheffield [Township].” It piqued her interest, and she wondered who was this Parkes? Cora set out using her skills to determine what Parkes (or Parks) were living in the area at the time. Her sources from the Upper Land Petitions for Sheffield Township lists Samuel Benson selling to David Park(e)s Lot 6, 7 on Concession 3 and Lot 6 on Concession 5 on May 6, 1824 but the deed was not registered until March 17, 1837. The lots surround Beaver Lake. As well, David

Two children of David Jr. (son of David Sr.) and his wife Cynthia Varty Parks gave their birthplaces as Sheffield, Ontario. In the 1840s these lands were sold to different parties and by the 1851 census David Parkes Sr. was living with a son (age 80) in Fredericksburgh Township. Cora confirms it was David Parks Sr., son of United Empire Loyalist James Parks and nephew of Cyrenius Parkes, who was part of the Fredericksburgh Parks family. Cora Reid is a descendant of Cyrenius Parkes. Cora Reid and Jane Scott are Lennox and Addington Historical Society members.

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The SCOOP • October / November 2018

613-379-2903 613-354-4347 1 866-233-2062 storring@kos.net robert@robertstorring.net

from the Montreal Gazette “Travels in Upper Canada”


he Beaver lake and White lake, both of which are connected with the Salmon river next claimed my attention. There are few people, even of those who have been long settled in Canada, who ever heard of the very existence of these remarkable bodies of water. They are distant from Mr. McGregor’s mills only four or five miles. The woods which intervene, being filled by a variety of odorous plants, we accordingly move along regaled by the delightful perfumes which they emit. The dapple grey which I bestrode slackened his pace, and even the faithful Blount ceased to dash into the woods after the numberless partridges which drummed about us in all directions, but would every now and again lay himself down, and as I passed him even he was would fix his large intelligent eyes upon me, as if even he were conscious of the delightful odour preceding from the woods.

The Beaver lake, lonely and sequester as it is, has already several clearance around its bank. Borrowing a canoe, I crossed over to Jones’ Point, and extraordinary ridge of rocky land which runs up this, nearly the whole length of the lake, and almost meets another similar, but shorter ridge. These ridges divide the lake into what are called the two prongs. Jones’s Point was only a few yards wide where I crossed it. But it does not seem to be much wider at any #6e7071 other place. It derives its name from circumstance, of an unfortunate man named Jones being himself upon it for three days. It is covered with underbrush and cedar trees, which so much abound with mosquitoes and #C92E85 curse of all hot countries – that I was feign to leave it much sooner than I would otherwise have done, and as I pushed off my canoe from it, I left it such a volley of maledictions that if the one half take effect, no green things will long adorn its surface.

White lake is connected with Beaver lake by a short narrow channel, through which the waters of the two lakes pass alternately into each other, just as the one happens to be higher than the other. The White lake has not stream running into it, and is supplied only by a number of springs, which boil up like a pot-ash kettle. It derives its name from the white stones with which its bottom is paved, and gives its waters a whitish appearance. Here, too, we find several fine clearances. I met at this place an old man name Parkes, who is usually styled King of Sheffield. He was the first man, I believe, who settled in this interesting but much neglected township. He had a most primitive appearance; his long, fiery red locks flowed around his neck in wild profusion, and, leaning on his carabine, he would, I have no doubt, have considerably alarmed a person not accustomed to strange sights and characters. Maugre his looks, he is kind-hearted, intelligent old fellow. He invited me to his house, and offered the best he could present to myself and horse. He is now owner of nine hundred and fifty-eight acres of land, a good part of which he and his family have under the plough. When he first came here, about ten years ago, he lived chiefly upon venison and fish; and other provisions he made use of, such as pork and flour, being brought a distance of a great many miles through the wood, at immense labour. He now enjoys a green old age; he sees his family rise up around him in the happy consciousness that they are all well provided for; he beholds the forest lands every year rendering up the treasures it covers to the hardy blow of his axe; he is the best sportsman in the country; he has always plenty to eat, and, in the lake below, plenty to drink. If any man could desire more, he must be with a Beau Brummel or a Henry Pelham.

17-year-old Samantha Fenwick of Enterprise recently had her photo chosen as the “staff choice” by the Seattle-based Jones Soda company to appear on Jones Soda bottles sold across Canada. Samantha’s chosen photo is of the Ferris wheel at the 2017 Kingston Fall Fair. You can see this photo (in its original colour) and many more taken locally on her website at: www.sefphotography.com.

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The SCOOP // October / November 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // October / November 2018  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...