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Chapter 1
The Road through Richmond Hill
Table of Contents

Title Page
Author's Preface
1 The Road through Richmond Hill
The Spinal Cord of the Community
Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe: The Man Who Planned Yonge Street
Governor Simcoe Plans the Road
Yonge Street's Namesake: Sir George Yonge
Construction Begins
Augustus Jones Finishes the Road
The Yonge Street Settlers
2 First Peoples on the Land
3 The European Settlers Arrive
4 From Miles' Hill to Richmond Hill: The Birth of a Community
5 Tories and Reformers
6 Stagecoach Lines and Railway Tracks
7 The Neighbours at Mid-Century
8 Fire Brigades and Fence Viewers
9 Picture Post Card Village of the 1880s and 1890s
10 Rails through Richmond Hill
11 The Flowering of Richmond Hill
12 The Village Transformed
Table of Illustrations

Yonge Street's Namesake: Sir George Yonge

Sir George Yonge, British Secretary of War, from a 1790 painting by Edmund Scott. Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library
Sir George Yonge was born in England in 1731 and educated at Eton College and the University of Leipzig. During the years 1754 to 1761 and 1763 to 1796, he was a member of the British House of Commons for the constituency of Honiton in the county of Devon. Yonge served as a lord of the Admiralty from 1766 to 1770, as secretary of war from 1782 to 1794, and as master of the mint from 1794 to 1799. He was appointed governor of the colony of Cape of Good Hope in 1799, but his administration proved so unpopular that he was recalled two years later. He lived in retirement at Hampton Court, England, where he died in 1812.

Simcoe's desire to flatter his British superiors persuaded him to name Dundas Street after the secretary of state and Yonge Street after the secretary of war. Sir George Yonge was an especially logical choice for a namesake, since he was an old friend and benefactor of Simcoe's family. And he happened to have an unusual connection with pioneer road building - he was a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries and an amateur authority on Roman roads in Britain.

Sir George Yonge left no children, so Yonge Street is his only legacy to the world.


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Copyright Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991