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Dochstader Family Early Settlers in Gainsboro

[Smithville Review, Wednesday November 22, 1967]

In practically ever historical account of the early days of Lincoln County the name of Dochstader is very prominent.

They were one of the many families who left the United States in the 1780‘s to settle the land in the Niagara Peninsula. In 1782 John Dochstader settled on what is now the south-west angle of the township of Gainsborough, This was the beginning of the village of Wellandport. He was quickly followed by families of the name of Hodge, Vaughan, Philip, Henry Dils or Dilts, McDowell, Barker.

Descendants of these families are still living in the district. In order to reach this part of the peninsula the early settlers had to travel by boat and canoe in the summer and by sled on the ice, during the winter.

Wellandport is situated on a strip of land between the Chippawa and Beaver Creeks which was once known as the narrows. This was a trail once used by Indian runners. Now known as Canboro Road it is a direct route East and West from Niagara Falls to Windsor. Because of the natural proximity of the two creeks this site was chosen as the most suitable to build a mill. In 1816 the Beaver Creek was damned and a cut was made through the narrowest part where it operated a wheel and discharged into the Chippawa Creek. Today, of course the Beaver Creek is little more than a swamp in summer regaining some of its semblance of a river only in spring.

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