Millgrove is a hamlet or small village about 7 miles north of the centre of the City of Hamilton. On some maps it was erroneously named Mill Grove. It has had a post office for many years. Millgrove is situated at the intersection of Ontario Highway 6 (which runs north from the City of Hamilton) and the Millgrove Road which runs west from Highway 6 and which was originally known as the Fifth Concession Road in West Flamborough. The village is intersected by the Millgrove Side Road which runs south to the Town of Dundas.
It is in what was originally the Township of Flamborough West which had been surveyed about 1793. The township was also referred to as West Flamborough or Flamboro. Many who considered themselves residents of Millgrove actually lived in the adjacent township of Flamborough East. In 1973 East and West Flamboro were merged to form Flamborough Township. In 2001 Millgrove was annexed into the City of Hamilton along with many other small communities and townships in Wentworth County including Flamborough.
The Millgrove Cemetery was established before 1848. A formal agreement establishing the cemetery was registered on title in lot 19 concession 5 Flamborough West Wentworth County Ontario in 1848 by three men (the three Johns): John Angle Cummins, John Warren Ryckman and John Keen Crooker who represented the three branches of Methodism practiced in the village. These were respectively New Connexion Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists and Epsicopal Methodists. Its original name was The Grove Free Burying Ground. Because it was adjacent to the Tabor Chapel it had been erroneously referred to as the Tabor or Mount Tabor cemetery. The first known burial for which a stone survives was that of Jane Finlay on July 29 1837. The cemetery continues to be owned and administered by the Millgrove Cemetery Board of Trustees which consists of local residents. It was never taken over by the province or a municipal government. Despite this, it has been erroneously described by some as the Millgrove "Municipal" cemetery.
In 1850 there were two Methodist Chapels in Millgrove: the Tabor New Connexion Chapel on the south side of Lot 19 concession 5 and the Ryckman Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on the north side of Lot 18 Concession 4. The Episcopal Methodists did not have a chapel but met in the house of John Keen Crooker. There remains only one church and it is situated on the site of Ryckman's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. The present church which was built in 1881, is known as Millgrove United Church.
The earliest settlers in Millgrove included three brothers: John A. (1790-1861), Jacob, and David Cummins who moved to the area from their father's farm in Rock Chapel. John went on to acquire property to build businesses and mills along the Grindstone creek in Waterdown in East Flamborough and he founded the village of Cumminsville in Nelson Township in Halton County. In 1830 David and Jacob were leasing Clergy Reserved Land in Millgrove. David's farms included lots 17 and 18 Concession 5 in West Flamborough. Jacob's farms included lot 13 in concession 6 in East Flamborough.
Millgrove Public School was built in 1914 and was probably the fourth school in the village. It sits directly across the Millgrove Road from Millgrove Church and serves pupils from junior kindergarten to grade 5. It now has many class rooms but originally it had only two class rooms as well as a library on the tiny second floor.
The first known school teacher in Millgrove was Albert Bemiss Palmer who was born about 1807 in the United States of America. He married Katherine Baker in 1835. In 1841 Palmer received title to the land where the cemetery is now located. He appeared in the 1852 census as a carpenter. He had probably taught school in the Baker school house on property owned by his father-in-law, Abraham Baker in East Flamborough. It is not certain where the second school house was located. It may have been near the third known Millgrove school house which was built of brick in 1868 near the north-east corner of lot 18 concession 4 in West Flamborough. The third school held two class rooms for two teachers and it had a library on the top floor. It was demolished late in the 20th century after serving as a farmer's warehouse.
Millgrove Community Centre was built in 1982. The sod was turned in July and it was officially opened on December 4th. It sits beside Millgrove Park which is located on Millgrove Side Road just south of Millgrove Road.
The Community Centre replaced the Millgrove Hall which had been located directly opposite the entrance to Millgrove cemetery on land donated by Shipman Cummins. The hall had started as a New Connexion Methodist chapel which had been built by John A. Cummins in the north west corner of thee intersection of Highways 5 and 6. It was moved to Millgrove about 1874 John's death in 1861 by his daughter Margaret Cummins-Rymal who had inherited the building. From then until about 1896 it was the site of regular meetings of a fraternal order known as The Sons of Temperance. In 1896 a second story was added for meetings of the Masonic order. In 1923 a basement was added. In the 1950s the Masonic order built a new hall fronting on Highway 6 for their exclusive use. The old Millgrove Hall was the site of plays, concerts, community bridal showers, dances and polling booths. It had been owned and administered by a Board of Trustees known as The Millgrove Hall Board consisting of local residents. It was later taken over by the Township and it was finally razed in the fall of 1983.
Millgrove library had occupied the top floor of the last two Millgrove school houses. A new library was built beside the park and next to the Community centre. It is now a known as the Millgrove Branch of the Hamilton Public Library.
Just to the north of Millgrove at the intersection of sixth Concession Road East Flamborough, Millgrove Side Road, and Highway 6 was located a neighbourhood known as Black's Corners. At this location stood a blacksmith shop, a store and a hotel. Joseph Black received a tavern licence in 1868 and his tavern (also locally called a hotel may have been located here. No evidence remains of these enterprises. Instead a single restaurant is located at the intersection.
For many years the Millgrove Store and post office stood on the southeast corner of Millgrove Road and Millgrove Side Road. In the 1950s a new Millgrove General Store was built in its present location several doors to the east. The post office was located within.
W. Raymond Cummins
The primary source for basic documents (vital statistics, land records, wills) for people who lived in the Province of Ontario is the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2C5.
Civil registration did not begin in the province until 1869. Before then there may be church records of baptisms and burials. For the most part these are still held by the denomination who recorded them. Copies of marriage records made pre-1869 had to be sent by individual clergymen to the registrar of the county in which the marriage took place. These marriage records are available through Ontario Archives, on micorfilm through LDS libraries, and on paid and unpaid websites, but because they were copied at the registrars' offices, they cannot be considered a primary source.
Vital Records after 1869
Birth, marriage and death registrations are not open to the public until a specific number of years after the event occurred. Births to 1914 are now available [October 2012]; dates for marriages and deaths are later. Birth and death registration was not universally carried out in the early years after its adoption. Deaths were more apt to be reported than births for several years. The more rural the area, the less likely it would be that these happenings were reported to the authorities.
Land Records and Wills
Information on how to access land records and wills is best sought on the Archives of Ontario website. An ancestor's land holding might be found on Canadian County Atlas Digital Project if he was in occupancy circa 1878.
Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents (APOLROD). A list of Land Registry Offices for all Counties of Ontario.
The original censuses are in the hands of Library and Archives Canada. All of the original census (1851-1911) images are online with the exception of that for 1861. Not all of them are indexed. Later censuses are not yet available. Census divisions were redrawn as the population increased and more land was inhabited.
E-books and Books
Some websites with more local information on Wentworth County