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BASTARD WARD

There are several explanations for the origin of the colourful name of Bastard Township. The most likely (but least colourful) explanation is that Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe named the township after an old and prominent family (the Bastards - pronounced Bah stahrd) in Devonshire, England, where the Simcoes had their estate. Surveyed in 1796, Bastard Township extended from Rideau Lake to Beverley Lake. The Township was settled quickly. Its first settler was Elder Abel Stevens who came to Upper Canada from Vermont in 1793/94 and subsequently brought a number of families from his home State to settle in the area. After the War of 1812, Bastard benefited from soldier settlers pensioned off by the British government and with its fertile land, good mill sites and strategic location on the land routes from the St. Lawrence to the interior, this municipality grew steadily through the 19th and 20th century.

One of the colourful fables of the naming of Bastard had to do with Able Stevens, the founder of Bastard, who brought many settlers into the township. A number of these were relatives with the name of Stevens and the area became known as Stevenstown. It is told that Stevens was summoned to York to report on his township. When he was asked what it was called, he was overcome with shyness and hesitated to say "Stevenstown", whereupon a flippant clerk remarked, "As it has no father, it must be a bastard", and henceforth, the township was called Bastard. (from Historical Atlas of the Counties of Leeds and Grenville, edited by Mika Publishing, Belleville, Ontario, 1973).

A local tale is that a meeting was called to name the township. After the assembled had waited over an hour past the appointed starting time for the chairman to arrive, the co-chairman said "The bastard is not coming." All present thought it would be a good idea to memorialize that thought, so they called it "Bastard Township." (recounted by Leonard Howard)



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