Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peter Stoutenburg's Tower of Babel

Each year, I put together an annual newsletter for the Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Association. The following is based on an article entitled, "The Tower of Babel" that I included in the 2006 Newsletter. The source I used for the newsletter article is the "Illustrated History of Collingwood Township." I have added some additional explanatory comments to this article.
Collingwood Township was a township in Grey County, Province of Ontario, Canada but in 1998, it became a part of the Town of The Blue Mountains.
Grey County is on the western side of Nottawasaga Bay. In the early days of my research, I was not aware that there were two Collingwoods and that Stoutenburgs lived in both. One was a township and another was a city in Simcoe County. After a little research, I realized that it is not surprising that their were two places named Collingwood in Ontario.
Lord Cuthbert Collingwood was an admiral under Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars. He assumed the role of head of the British fleet upon the death of Lord Horatio Nelson.
The Tower of Babel is about a structure that Peter Stoutenburg built in the community of Kolapore. Peter, a grandson of Jacobus and Margaret (Teller) Stoutenburgh, was born near Toronto. The book erroneously claims that he was of Pennsylvania Dutch origin.
His parents moved from Hyde Park, NY, settling in Ontario just before the turn of the 19th century. Having reached adulthood, he married and raised a family. By 1860, Peter made the decision to move. He was the second settler in the settlement of Paradise (Kolapore) in Collingwood Twp. A Milo Parks was the first settler in Paradise. Peter had purchased Lot 9 of Concession 9.
By 1865, Peter erected the first sawmill in Kolapore at Lot 10, Concession 8, on a branch of Mill Creek. This sawmill was moved out of the area by 1880 and the only sawmill in operation was Archibald McKean’s sawmill, on Lot 7, Concession 8, on another branch of Mill Creek. It was run by Archibald and his son Andrew until the early 1900s when it burned.
Archibald McKean married Peter’s daughter Ellen. They moved to Pasadena, California in early 1904 for health reasons, but Archibald died there in April 1904.
Peter’s son, Peter, built another sawmill that was purchased in 1890 by Johnston, White and Company. At this time, I do not know where this sawmill was located nor have I found any information about the Johnston, White and Company.
The elder Peter Stoutenburg built a wooden tower that was called the Tower of Babel. The article did not explain why it was called this. He apparently built it on his property as a hobby and for the purpose of seeing the town of Thornbury from its top. Although the tower was four stories high, it was not high enough to see Thornbury.
There were windows on each floor and a winding stairway, which took visitors to the top where a railing gave some protection. It was still standing in 1934 but was dismantled sometime later.
Reverend J. Vickery was the 1st minister of the Kolapore Methodist Church. The early families that supported the church included the Lawsons, Stoutenburgs, Longs, Parks, McAteers, McEdwards, Wilsons, Collins, McKeans, Allcocks, Peggs, Teeples, Sayers, Clemens, Johnstons, Craigs, Carefoots, Smalls, Moores, Winneys, Shaws, McDermitts, Saggetts, Hallets, Ranshaws, Gardiners, and Strongs. Peter Stoutenburg's children and descendants married into many of these families.
Paradise Settlement was renamed to Kolapore in 1884. The book did not offer a good explanation as to why the name changed. However, in 1881, a Scottish born Ontarian, Col. John Gibson, led the Canadian team to win the Rajah of Kolapore Cup at Wimbledon. You may note that in the list above a number of the names of the early settlers are of Scottish origin. I will let you draw your own conclusions.
Peter’s nephew, Alfred Stoutenburg was postmaster of Kolapore in 1912.
The picture of the Tower of Babel and other pictures that included members of the Stoutenburg family are not clear on the copy I received. In attempting to locate a copy of the book, I found that the appears to primarily be available in libraries in Ontario.
Source: Illustrated History of Collingwood Township, William Shannon. Collingwood, Canada: Council of the Township of Collingwood, 1997. Pages 167-170 Chapter 17 Kolapore.

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