Appleby was a small community first settled by the Van Norman family, a prominent Loyalist Family from Pennsylvania in 1806. As part of their settlement duties, Ephraim and his son Isaac were required to each build a log cabin and clear bush on their properties. Once they completed their tasks, both Ephraim and Isaac received their Crown patents in 1809 and 1810 respectively (Turcotte 1989). Isaac became Appleby’s jack-of-all trades. He established a sawmill on his property, he tanned leather to make shoes and he also filled the roles of blacksmith, carpenter and brick maker (Turcotte 1989).
Since the Van Normans were such a prominent family in the village, the area was frequently referred to as “Van Norman Neighbourhood” (Turcotte 1989). The Village became known as Appleby because many of its early settlers, such as the Altons and Breckons, immigrated from Appleby in Westmoreland, England (Turcotte 1992). The Village grew up around the intersection the present day Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line.
Like most of the villages and towns in Nelson Township in the early 1900s, Appleby was a thriving community with churches, a school, a gristmill, a sawmill and a tavern. What set Appleby apart from some of Burlington’s other Villages was that it had a railway station. In 1854, the Great Western Railroad (which became the Canadian National Railway) built tracks through Appleby which enhanced the village’s ability to trade goods and provided faster postal service (Machan 1997).
The Village of Appleby disappeared in the 1950s when the Queen Elizabeth Way was widened. In addition to 955 Century Drive, one of the last remnants of the Appleby Village that can be seen today is the Mount Vernon Cemetery, located on Harvester Road near Appleby Line.
955 Century Drive “The Van Norman-Breckon House” - House built in 1848 for William Van Norman. This house is a large one-and-a-half storey brick house whose design is Classical Revival with Federal influence. The property received heritage designated in 1986 and still stands today as a landmark structure in the old Village of Appleby.
“Mount Vernon Cemetery” - This cemetery was established in 1814 by Isaac Van Norman who buried his daughter in it the same year. Many other notable people are buried at this cemetery, including: Isaac Van Norman, Joseph Van Norman and the Clement & John Lucas (brothers who fought in the War of 1812).
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