Monday, April 7, 2014

Eagle's Nest - A Talbot Times Tidbit

St Thomas Times Journal
9 May 1959
Second Section
Page 13, c6

Submitted by Carol Van Harn
Eagle’s Nest, Original Name of Village on Talbot Road, Aldborough Township
          Every once in a while the question is asked:  Where did the village of Eagle located on No. 3 Highway 26 miles west of St Thomas, and 3 miles south of West Lorne, get its name?  The answer is:  From the eagles, which in the early days of the Talbot Settlement (and still do) make their home in the vicinity.
          Originally the place now known as Eagle was called Eagle’s Nest.  Mrs Sidney Cosan, of Eagle (R. R. 2 West Lorne) tells The Times Journal that the late Daniel Humphries, one of the early settlers of the district, had given her the information that in a large balm tree, standing in early days at the southwest corner of the Talbot road and the road running north from the lake, the bald Eagles built their nests, several of them in one tree, and there raised their young.  Thus the crossroads came to be commonly known as Eagle’s Nest.  Later as the place developed and a post office was established there the ‘Nest’ was dropped from the name and it became plain Eagle.

Eagle in Early Days
          Back in the 60’s and 70’s, perhaps earlier, Eagle was one of the most important points on the famous Talbot road.  That was natural because traffic, mostly horse drawn of course, was quite heavy from the lake, where there was a dock, northward, as well as along the Talbot Road.  When the railroads (the Canada Southern and the Great Western) built their lines east and west across Southwestern Ontario, the importance of Eagle, along with Wallacetown, Fingal, New Glasgow, Iona and other places along the Talbot Road dwindled and such places as West Lorne also known as Bismarck, Shedden, Dutton and Iona Station in West Elgin, sprang into being and Rodney, in 1870 with only 100 population developed into a more prosperous village.
          Just how important a place Eagle was in those early days can be secured from Armstrong and Company’s Gazetter and Directory published in 1872.  It gives the population as 150 served by mails daily and says:  ‘The village has a good shipping harbor on Lake Erie, where a large quantity of timber, lumber, shingles and staves, and all kinds of farm produce are exported.  The village contains a Baptist Church, erected in 1868 at a cost of $1,000 (still in use); a good school, etc.
          Mowbray and Loud’s Steam Saw mill has capacity to cut one million feet of lumber annually and the planning mills and shingle factory are carried on extensively; 12 hands are employed and a 40 h. p. engine is used.
          P. J. Lindeman and Co’s large planning mills, door, sash and blind manufactory is wrought with equal energy and success; 6 hands are employed.
          ‘There are two good hotels.  The Elgin House kept by John Partridge and the Dominion Hotel, kept by John Livingston and both worthy of patronage and supply public comfort and accommodation.’

Still an Eagles Nest
          Today, although Eagle is a different looking place from what is was in the 60’s and 70’s or 80’s it is an important and busy point on the busy No. 3 highway at the intersection of highway No. 76, leading to West Lorne.  And while the large balm tree that stood on the southwest corner of the crossroads, where the bald eagles raised their young, is gone the name ‘Eagles Nest’, remains.  It is carried by a well kept restaurant on the northeast corner, where once stood a busy blacksmith shop.  The eagles too, inhabit the neighbourhood but are more inclined now to build their nests in the tall trees that border the lake.  Incidentally, shooting or otherwise killing of bald eagles is prohibited by Ontario law.

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