By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement
Throughout this year, I’ve been using this blog series to showcase the history of the hamlets and villages throughout our municipality. In February, we looked at Columbus Road, and Raglan Road was discussed in May. A look at Harmony Road and the former Village of Harmony is the next in this series.
The following is adapted from an article written by our archivist, Jennifer, for the Oshawa Express in 2012.
In what is now known as the east end of the City of Oshawa, early European settlers arrived during the late 1700s and early 1800s; gradually two small communities developed, eventually known as Harmony Village and Toad’s Hollow, which was later known as Grandview Village.
Settlement in the Village of Harmony has been attributed to the Farewell family once they arrived in the area in 1801. In 1804, Harmony Creek was described as being big, full of fish and utilized by several mills. Throughout that decade, the area began to see the arrival of several more families. The influx of people saw the growth in businesses such as the construction of mills, the creation of distilleries and the opening of several general stores.
The earliest settlers relied on farming to support themselves. By the 1851 census we see a village with not every settler focused on farming. In fact, the 1851 census lists on five full time farmers in Harmony. There were stockbreeders, coal merchants, barristers, watchmakers and even sailors.
In 1812 Moody Farewell opened a tavern and inn on Harmony Road. This inn has an interesting history as it was used as a rest point for British soldiers and captured Americans during the War of 1812. At the conclusion of the war, Farewell built a gristmill and a sawmill on Lot 4, Concession 1.
Growth in the area continued. In 1829 a log school was built to replace the original school that had been constructed in 1812. The very first teacher in Harmony was John Ritson, for whom Ritson Road is named. S.S.#1 East Whitby continued to grow and in 1871 a brick school was constructed on land donated by Moody Farewell.
The growth of Oshawa had a profound impact on the Village of Harmony. In 1924, Oshawa annexed the Village of Cedardale; the Village of Harmony, along with much of East Whitby Township was annexed later in 1954.
Remnants of the old village can still be seen at the corners of King Street and Harmony Road. The old Farewell family cemetery is located just south of King Street on the east side of Harmony. The old Harmony Public School is in the location of the school built in 1871.