Chatsworth, Ontario


Chatsworth is a township in south-western Ontario, Canada, in Grey County, located at the headwaters of the Styx River, the Saugeen River, theSauble River, the Bighead River, the Spey River, and the Sydenham River.

The current township was formed in late year 2000 with the almagation of Holland Township, Sullivan Township, and the village of Chatsworth.[2]The first white settlers arrived in this area in the early 19th century and a significant amount of settlement was underway in mid-to-late 1800’s.[3]

Canadian suffragette and activist Nellie McClung was born in the town of Chatsworth.[4]

The Sullivan Township area has a large Amish population.


In addition to the town of Chatsworth itself, the township comprises the communities of Arnott, Berkeley, Desboro, Dornoch, Glascott, Grimston, Harkaway, Hemstock Mill, Holford, Holland Centre, Keady, Keward, Kinghurst, Lily Oak, Lueck Mill, Marmion, Massie, Mooresburg, Mount Pleasant, Peabody, Scone, Strathavon, Walters Falls, Williams Lake, and Williamsford.


Arnott’s first post office opened on January 4, 1868.[3] Arnott’s location has not been shown on road maps since 1976 when Highway 10 was surveyed and rerouted.[3] Arnott had a population of 70 in 1864; it was approximately 50 in 1887. The hamlet was originally called “Murray’s Corner” but was renamed “Arnott” after a Francis Arnott who was given a grant to settle the area.[5]


The post office in Berkeley was established in 1853 when the settlement was originally called “Holland”. It was renamed “Berkeley” in 1857. The post office also housed the general store which operated under various proprietors until 1974 when it was phased out of operation.[3]


Inside the township of Chatsworth[6] sits the village of Chatsworth, Ontario where Highways 6 and 10 meet and continue together to Owen Sound. Chatsworth was settled in 1842 when a man named Coyer built a tavern.[3]

Chatsworth had a weekly newspaper called “Chatsworth News” which ran from 1885 to 1935. It had a competitor called “Chatsworth Banner” which was also weekly and ran from 1896 to 1907.[3]


Chatsworth features a hockey arena and a baseball diamond.


The village of Desboro saw its first building in 1856. It was a log school house. The area was originally called Brown’s Corners. At some point its name was changed to Donnybrook and then to Desborough after a village in central England. The first house and store were built in 1866 by George Smith. The Desboro hotel was built in 1869 and is one of the only rural taverns still operating in the township. The town hall was built in 1875 and enlarged to a two storey building in 1950.[7]


Desboro[8] features a modern hockey arena which was built in 1956 and has since been significantly renovated. The community grounds also contains two baseball diamonds.

Desboro is about 13 kilometres west of Chatsworth and Williamsford.


The village of Dornoch was settled by a Mr. Griffin in 1841 when he encountered a crossroads that appealed to him. The area was originally called “Griffin’s Corners” after Griffin started the first general store. In the late 1850s the village was served by a stage coach that was running between Durham and Chatsworth. The name was changed to Dornoch around the turn of the century; named after the village in northern Scotland. The community centre was built in 1952 and still serves Dornoch.[3]

Dornoch is situated between Williamsford and Durham on Highway 6 and is 33 kilometers south of Owen Sound.


The Harkaway post office was established on May 1, 1875. It was closed in 1913 after rural mail delivery started in the area.[3]

Harkaway is 10 kilometres east of Holland Centre.

Holland Centre

In the 1870s, local farmers got together under the leadership of Alfred Williams and got a railway station built. Williams built a general store. With well-travelled roads and a railway station, Holland Centre was well established as a lumber town.[3][3] It was named ‘Williamsford’ after the prominent resident, but with another village bearing the same name only a few miles away, it was changed to ‘Holland Centre’ due to its location at the centre of Holland Township.[3]

The village sits on Highway 10 and is about 10 kilometres southeast of Chatsworth.


Holland Centre features a community centre and a baseball diamond.]Keady

Keady saw its first settlers in the 1850s. The original general store was built in the late 1860s and operated for almost 100 years before being converted into a residence.[9]

Keady is well known in the region for its popular farmers market[10]

Lily Oak

Lily Oak is a farming community. The post office was closed in 1914 when rural mail delivery was started.[3]

Lily Oak is about 8 kilometres east of Holland Centre.


The hamlet of Massie sits in the valley of the Bighead River and had settlers in the area in the 1840s.[3] Charles Winter bought 200 acres in 1854 and the land was divvied to various people after that. The sawmill was built in 1859 and the grist mill was built in 1863. By 1866 it also had a post office, blacksmith shop, horse shoe nail factory and a school house. There were approximately 100 people living in Massie in 1887.[3]

Massie sits on Massie Road between Chatsworth and Walters Falls.


The hamlet of Strathavon was developing in the 1850s and in 1887 had a population of about 50 people.[3]

Strathavon is about 6 kilometres west of Walters Falls.


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