Florence Ontario
Florence Ontario is a very small community a few miles South East of Oil Springs. Hopefully I will have much more here soon. As I strive to bring you the history of Petrolia and Oil Springs I will include other close communities when I find historical pics that illustrate them.

                                             editor's collection
This is downtown Florence ca.1908
                                                                                             editor's collection
The Florence bridge

                                                                                          photo by Phair
A look down Fansher Road. On a very nice October day John Phair, David Hext and I took a ride to Florence to ride down Fansher Road. As you can see it was a worth while trip. I wanted to check it out based on Jeffery Carter's story.After our ride we had lunch in Florence. Very good food there.

Fansher Road: It began as an Indian trail and grew from there

By Jeffery Carter

  Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:08:01 EDT PM


To a casual observer, the Fansher Road appears to be like any other graveled stretch in Southwestern Ontario.

     Look a little harder, however, and you'll notice subtle differences.

     The fence lines and some buildings crowd the gravel. The road itself appears far narrower than others in the area.

     And as you drive along, you'll soon discover a circuitous route of curves and T-intersections as the road follows the course of the little creek with the same name.

     "This is actually a given road... that means it more or less started as a trail," says Darrell Johnston who farms at the eastern terminus.

     Johnston is correct according to local historian Fred D. Fansher.

     Fred Fansher's ancestors, David and Elizabeth Fansher, were the first permanent settlers in the former Township of Euphemia. They came to Upper Canada from the United States in 1822 and three years later, with 10 children and two sons-in-law (Captain William Walker and Jonathan Brackett), made their way to what is now the Township of Dawn-Euphemia Township in Lambton County.

     "The lands were situated along a creek which was spring fed and emptied into Big Creek (Sydenham River). The creek was later called Fansher Creek; there was also an Indian Trail following the creek to the river and this became known as Fansher Road."

     Much can be said of the Fansher family.

     As was the case for other pioneers, they faced many challenges. While lands along the creek were well drained, there was the wilderness to contend with and David and his wife lost two of their children to typhoid fever that first year.

     David, 53, only narrowly survived the disease to live another 29 years.

     The family name was given to the Fansher Methodist Episcopal Church that was established in 1855. David's sons John and David Jr. were among the first trustees and the building was located on land that had belonged to the patriarch's daughter Sarah and her husband Captain William Walker.

     The original church building was replaced with a cement block structure in 1911. This in turn, was demolished in 1968. Today just the cemetery remains.

     Euphemia's first school -a log structure -built in 1834 also has a Fansher connection. Captain Walker, David's son-in-law, was instrumental in securing funding and Walker's daughter Lavinia had taught classes in the Walker home even earlier.

     In 1880, S.S. No. 4, known as the Fansher School, was built. It remains standing, the grounds still cared for.

     Fred D. Fansher, now of London, is among the last of his line to have lived along the road with his family's name. He spent years compiling the history of his family and the history of the entire Euphemia community.

     Among the other early names of Euphemia are Dobbyn, Moorhouse, Smith, Bobier, Bilton, Brownlee, Annett, Armstrong, Carey, Cross, Johnston, Burr, Palmer and Rolston.

     Some families like the Dobbyns are still in the area.

     There are also relative newcomers. The Stenger family, for instance, arrived from Europe in the late 1940s. In 2013 they are looking to celebrate their 60th annual tobacco crop.

     Then there's Herman and Gerry Wygergangs who arrived in the 1970s from Holland.

     Herman is the last farmer with cattle along the road and for years worked as a crane operator. "I was supposed to be here for half a year, until freeze up, but it never froze up," he jokes.

     If you are interested in visiting Fansher Road, find your way to either Florence in Lambton County or Newbury in Middlesex.

     From Florence, simply head east from Three D's Restaurant. The Fansher Road ends at Limerick near Newbury.

     From Newbury, head along Concession Drive toward Bothwell until the road bends southward. Turn north up Limerick. The second road to your left is Fansher.

     Taking a map with the concessions and side roads marked is a good idea.

                                                                                       photo by Phair

                                                                                                     by editor
A few of the tomb stones mentioned in the sign left

                                                                                         photo by Phair
Your editor by the sign at the site of the former Fansher Road United Church. They have a very nice memorial at the site as you can see.

Also in Florence we discovered the monument of Ed Kerby the 3rd mayor of Petrolia ca.1877-8

Is this the stage that travelled Fansher Road?



 All of these pics and more are from my own collection because people like you let me copy them. I want more.
Email Martin at martyd@ebtech.net