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Ancaster, Ontario

Ancaster was originally founded by Richard Beasley, a businessman and former fur trader who had experience dealing with the Mohawks, and James Wilson, a millwright. Both men had adjacent parcels of land with a stream running through, and together they built a gristmill in 1791 and a sawmill in 1792. This business partnership proved very lucrative and it wasn’t long before Wilson had built a store, a blacksmith's shop, a tavern, and a distillery. Several houses sprang up in the area and it became known as Wilson’s Mills. The Wilson mills were located very close to the junction of Rousseaux Road and Wilson Road in Ancaster. In 1795 the village was the biggest in Ancaster Township and the name of the village was changed to Ancaster Village. The township of Ancaster had been named after Peregrine Bertie, the Duke of Ancaster, by Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe. A group of Loyalist settlers had been granted land in the area in 1787, in the hope that they could clear the land and begin farming. This was a rugged domain, with the nearest settlement of any size being in Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake. Today Ancaster is a quaint bedroom community with many of its residents commuting to work in cities such as Hamilton, Brantford, Mississauga and Toronto.


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