Machar Township, according to its first official survey, was unsettled in 1875 but that soon changed with Eliher Stewart’s report of “good sand loam,” and lots of potential. By the end of 1876 more than 20 homesteads were being carved into the wilderness, these pioneers arriving via the Nipissing Road to the west. Amongst them were John and Sarah Ralston, who brought a growing family and Sarah’s brother Thomas Quirt to The Narrows.
Original Road Grader at Eagle Lake Road with family aboard! (1910). Some might wonder if the same technology is used on some of our rougher backcountry roads.
Sarah served as the local midwife and gained notoriety for saving a man’s life by amputating a gangrenous leg. John and Tom are credited with building the first crossing at The Narrows, a pair of rafts towed by fording horses or oxen!
Other families arriving in 1876 include Ardiel, Bow, Campbell, Jones, McCaig, McKee, Tennant, Tough and Proudliff.
Narrows Causeway construction (1930)
A bridge over the narrows was first constructed in 1915, rebuilt during The Depression and the causeway installed in the 1950s using rocks ploughed up from farm fields west of Eagle Lake at the settlement, perhaps ironically named for Eliher Stewart, the scout of this “good sand loam.”