from The Guide  September 13, 1877
Mr Samuel Marsh, son of the late Col Marsh, a UE Loyalist, settled in Consecon on the Bay of Quinte about the year 1792, where he married. Two years subsequent to that date he sold his farm and transferred himself, his wife and their personal property to Smith's Creek, which they reached by coasting along the lake shore in an open boat. They finally settled at the point now known as Port Britain, where Mr Marsh erected a shanty, the roof of which was covered with basswood bark, and in this primitive mansion he installed his newly-wedded wife. But they were young and nothing disheartened by their humble position, from which they looked forward to a happy and prosperous future. Mr Marsh commenced to build a sawmill, and subsequently he erected a grist mill, blacksmith shop, distillery and a large two story dwelling house, which, during the war of l812, he opened as a tavern, and as the front road was the only thoroughfare to York, his place became the welcome rendezvous of the British officers and soldiers.

In 1801 our old and respected townsman, James Sculthorpe, Esq, then a young boy, came here to reside with his grandfather, Elias Smith, Esq, with whom he had been brought up from infancy. To give the reader some idea of the abundance of salmon in the Creek in 1807, we may mention that it was at that period no rare occurrence for the fishermen of one boat to catch one or two hundred fishes in a night. Our then young friend, in company with his uncle, J Smith, Esq, caught in one night no less than 300, the largest haul ever made and for which they refused the sum of $50 the following morning. In the same year young Sculthorpe and J Taylor went to fish in the cove near the mouth of the river and close by where the storehouse of the late Captain Wallace now stands. Here an almost fatal event took place. They had no sooner entered the cove when Taylor was seized with convulsions (to which he was subject) and fell into deep water. The commotion caused by his falling into the water and that produced by his young companion's jumping out of the boat, so alarmed a large shoal of fishes that, in their precipitation to escape, they carried the canoe with them, capsizing it in their course. Mr Sculthorpe ran for help, which he obtained, but he and his companions, upon returning, found to their dismay that Taylor had disappeared. Their consternation can be more easily conceived than related, but they were speedily relieved by discovering Taylor - who had been somewhat restored by the douse in the water - lying upon the hill, whither he had crawled in a exhausted state, from which, however, he soon rallied. Upon returning in the morning for their boat, our heroes found it upside down, and 32 fine salmon confined beneath it.

Some slight description of the facilities afforded for crossing the creek at this period may not be out of place, the more so as it will contain an incident in our young hero's career. Where the lower bridge now stands was a structure formed of slabs placed upon upright sticks for buttments. While crossing this structure during the prevalence of a very high spring freshet, he fell into the flood and was carried down the stream some 30 rods before he was rescued. In 1812 he volunteered for the term of six months, the period of service required in the militia, and was stationed at Kingston upon garrison duty, where but one affray took place during his term of service. It resulted from an attempt of the American vessels to enter the harbour and take a British war vessel from her moorings. The warm reception which they received from the Fort, however, caused them to speedily desist from their bold attempt. At the expiration of his term of enlistment, young Sculthorpe returned to Smith's Creek with the preferment to the rank of Sergeant, in which capacity he acted that winter in 'pressing in' farmers with their sleds to convey men and munitions of war to York. This position was no sinecure inasmuch as he had to travel through the back concessions on foot in the discharge of his duties. In 1813 he was, through some unfairness as he thought, drafted to serve six months longer in the militia, a difficulty which he obviated by hiring a man to take his place. On the arrival during the summer of a boat on its way to York with Lower Canadian recruits, the latter, thinking that no one understood their language, agreed among themselves, in the presence of the Sergeant, who comprehended their conversation, to commit depredations upon grandmother Smith's potatoes in the evening. Mr Sculthorpe prepared himself with a quantity of small stones as ammunition, awaited their arrival, and received them in the darkness of the night with such well-directed showers of his small shot, that they beat a speedy 'Bull Run' retreat.

It will probably not be uninteresting to mention here a mysterious instance of hallucinations which our hero experienced in 1808 in the presence of Mr Nicholas Moizier, better known as 'Uncle Nick'. The story runs as follows. Mr Juston Johnston, who is still living in the Township, was chopping on the Caldwell's farm on the lake road now occupied by J B Hall, Esq, and was expected to finish his contract by 3 o'clock in the afternoon by Uncle Nick with whom he was boarding. But while conversing with another man in the presence of young Sculthorpe near the sawmill about 11 am, Uncle Nick was astonished to see Johnston cross the beam which spanned the creek where now stands the bridge at the foot of Walton Street, with his axe on his shoulder. Losing sight of him when near the distillery of Elias Smith, Jr, a little south of the old log malt house, near where the Royal Hotel is now situated, he sent young Sculthorpe to see why he had come so early, when to the amazement of all, he was not to be found, nor had he been seen by any of the men. Mr Johnston returned at the appointed time, only to share in the general astonishment which the mysterious occurrence had created.

We hope that our readers will bear with us in our narration of the simple events of which we have treated, as we have no old and ruined castles or deserted cities or other antiquarian relics to engage and interest the mind. We are placed on ground where there are no traces of any human being having preceded our pioneers, save the Indian skulls and bones found entombed near the residence of the late Captain Wallace. They were brought to light when the first road was made leading to the wharf, and bore evidence that this was once the rendezvous of the aborigines of the country and at one time no doubt their battlefield where many a brave must have fallen.

The grave of an Indian chief was disclosed when the house owned by Samuel Edsall, Esq, was in course of erection. The skeleton of the warrior was found in a sitting posture, with tomahawk, scalping knife, stone pipe and other relics by his side. There was also one of those sepulchres accidentally discovered in 1857-58 on a farm in the township of Hope. Here hundreds of Indians were entombed, evidently at the same time, as evinced by the state of preservation of the skulls and bones; indicating that this spot had been the scene of a bloody aboriginal conflict. Our old friend, Mr Wilson of Perrytown, has in his possession some Indian relics, found by him when ploughing on his farm, consisting of pipes and chisels, carved by a practised hand out of stone not indigenous to this part of the country, also articles of earthenware, the origin of which it would require the researches of an antiquarian to determine. Mr Wilson would, with pleasure, we are certain, show then to any person desirous of seeing such interesting relics.

The late Mr James Hawkins, Sr arrived here in 1801 from Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. He was one of the most useful men in the settlement, his great mechanical genius fitting him for the place he had chosen as his abode. He was the right man in the right place and filled a vacancy - several vacancies - much felt by the settlers. He was blacksmith, joiner, carpenter, bricklayer, stone mason - in fact everything in the mechanical line suited to the wants of the little colony in its early days. His first work was to finish the blacksmith shop (of which we made mention in our last letter) placing in it a trip-hammer propelled by water power, the first, we believe in the province. Late in the winter he went to meet his family at the German Flats on the Mohawk River, whither they had come to await his arrival, staying with relatives who resided there. There he built the boat which was to convey him and his family to Smith's Creek and as soon as navigation opened in the spring of 1802, started with his wife and eight children - four boys and four girls - up the Mohawk to Fort Stanix, now Rome, over the two mile portage to Wood Creek and thence by Oneida Lake to Oswego. They then coasted along the southern shore of Lake Ontario to Gravelly Point (Cape Vincent) where they met with an experienced boatman on his way home to Canada, who accompanied them, his services greatly ameliorating their hardships.

They crossed to Kingston, then coasting along the shores of Kingston Bay and the Bay of Quinte, reached the Carrying Place, and after making this short portage, re-entered Ontario proper and advanced, hugging its northern shore, until they reached their destination. When their boat was gracefully gliding up the beautiful serpentine river, studded with islands, which has given place to the most spacious and safest harbours on the north shore between Toronto and Kingston, one of the girls in her youthful joyousness held up her apron in imitation of a sail to accelerate their speed through this picturesque and enchanting spot, thereby creating a pleasing picture which called forth hearty cheers from those on shore, who had assembled to welcome the voyageurs, the sound being echoed and re-echoed from the surrounding hills as if the forests on either hand were joining in a grand chorus of congratulation.

Mr Hawkins in 1802-03 erected the red house in the rear of what is now Sculthorpe's block of brick stores. He himself manufactured all the nails, door hinges and latches used in the building, erected the chimneys, plastered the walls and finally became the landlord of the stately edifice. We shall not attempt to give a minute history of the multitudinous doings of this place of entertainment: for though many of its bacchanalian revels might be related, they might not prove highly edifying to our readers; we therefore let them rest in oblivion.

There is, however, one incident of the Red Tavern we cannot let pass. A traveller on horseback from the rear country called here and secured his horse in the shed, leaving him with the happy assurance that all was well. When ready to depart and on going to remount, fancy his dismay on finding his saddle, stirrups and bridle - all made of straw - eaten by the cows. How he got out of this plight we, know not.

The inroads made upon the forest up to this date (1808) began to give the colony a cheerful aspect. The sound of the woodsman's axe and the crash of the falling trees broke the monotony of the solitude. It is time we brought these reminiscences to a close for the present.