As written by Elaine Connell

Maybe you would like to know William Warriner I?

In the early spring of 1779, a number of British people became interested in a new land of plenty across the seas. Here they thought they would become wealthy. This group pledged themselves to remain loyal to the British Empire always.

Among the newcomers to America was a family by the name of Warriner. William Warriner I, who was of Welsh ancestry lived in Sussex on the south coast of England. His wife was a Miss Lucy. Records and a plaque are still displayed in the English Church in Sussex. Trouble broke out in the church and the Warriners decided to leave this church and join with the Wesley group.

They gathered their few belongings together and left England. After a hazardous voyage, they landed along the coast of Maine. Here they endured many hardships and found it was far from the bed of roses they had expected. Three or four of their family of seven were born here. One of then was my great-great-grandfather, William Warriner II. His birth is registered in Springfield, Mass. in 1802.

At this time in the United States there was a dispute between Canada and the United States. The United States wanted these newcomers to become American citizens. The Warriner family would not join with these states and were told to leave. They came to Canada where they were promised land. They were given land consisting of 100 acres. Most of the deeds were dated 1803. They were also given a team of oxen, a wagon made from slabs with wheels cut from trunks of trees. These were put together with wooden axles and were covered with heavy canvas. They were given some wheat, grain, corn, potatoes, chickens and pigs. What a nuisance the pigs were! The people would travel until tired, then camp for the night. They came by way of Muddy York. They started up Yonge Street which was just being put through. The road was corduroy, but really it was mud. It was said at the time by a visitor to Muddy York (Toronto) "It is better suited for a beaver meadow and frog pond than for the habitation of human beings." This was the year 1804 and Yonge Street was cut up as far as Holland Landing. One night, while camping up Yonge Street the men went to hunt for meat and got lost. The women, being anxious, made torches with flint and travelled into the woods making nicks with their hatchets as they went. They found the men travelling in circles. They travelled up to Holland landing as far as the trail was cut. The land they were granted was situated at Roches' Point. When they landed here, there were no buildings or shelter on their land. All that was cheering about their land was the cold water creek which ran through their place. Now began the cutting of huge trees for houses and barns.

There were several families, among them Warriners, Mortons, Woods, Connells, and Mitchells. William II had several other children here, among than was Lucinda Warriner, who was born in 1809. She married Rev. Squire Morton, who was one of the first Christian Church ministers. He preached in a small church near Keswick. They had a family of seven. One of their daughters taught in the old grammar school in Newmarket for years. She opened her own private school in her own home. Her grand-daughter was principal of Waterloo - Kitchener Collegiate. After she retired she was Chief Librarian. While there she wrote many interesting books such as: "The Trial of the Connestoga, Grand River, The Trial of The Red Man." These are found in most public libraries. Her name is Mabel Dunham.

William Warriner II was married twice. His first wife vas Miss Barrett. They had two children, John and Mary Ann. When she died William II married Jane White Latham from Ireland. Jane's father owned a linen mill in Belfast and her first husband was head of the Orange order. He was killed by the Catholics. She decided to come to Canada with her three children, Ann, Tom and Robert Latham. She packed her belongings and started the long voyage to find her brother who had come to Canada earlier. No one had ever heard of her brother when she got to Canada. She met Captain McAtier who brought her to Toronto. He was building a college for English Church clergy on the property belonging to Sir Edmund Osler. Shortly after this she met William Warriner II whom she later married. They had four children, Martha, Robert, William III and Samuel. Their home was at Roches' Point near the government wharf. Today this land belongs to the Osler Estate. Their garden was in the field where the English Church at Roches' Point now stands. The church was built in the year 1850 and they attended church and Sunday School here for many years. On rainy days and in the evenings, William II would sit by the fireplace making moccasins out of deer skins, tell Indian stories which he had been told by the Indians from Snake Island. Their mother, Jane, would spin yarn and knit socks for their nine children. They grew wheat and when it was ready for harvest they would flail it out and take it on home- made sleighs to Holland Landing. Sometimes they went by trail and in the winter they travelled over the ice of take Simcoe. Here they would buy a few supplies while they waited for their wheat to be ground. The next day they would walk back home. William II's first child "John", married Mary Morton of Keswick. They had six children, Hattie, Dave, Minnie, Wilmot, Fred and Hugh. They lived at Keswick where John built many large barns. Of this family, only one, "Dave", is living with his daughter Marjorie Preston at Miami Florida.

Minnie Warriner married Ralph Connell March 7, 1888. They farmed at Orchard Beach for a while. At that time there were no cottages there and people were coming up to tent for the summer. Later they moved to a farm at Guthrie, near Carrie. Their only child, Erma, was born here in February 1907. In 1920 they moved back to Keswick. Ralph Connell died of a heart attack November 12, 1929. Erin Connell and merges Taylor were married March 9, 1953 and had three children. One died at birth and the other two are Elaine and Myron Taylor. They moved to Newmarket in 1941 and Minnie Connell died there August 4, 1942. At the present time Elaine and Myron Taylor are the sixth generation of Warriners to live in North Gwillimbury.