A Very Short History of Milton
The Martin family – Jasper, Sarah, and their two young sons – left Northumberland, England, to immigrate to Canada in 1821. They settled the area now comprising Martin Street and the Mill Pond north of Main Street. Here Jasper Martin started a gristmill using power from the 16 Mile Creek. After 1821, 3 more children were born.
The Harrison family – Thomas, Elizabeth, and their six children – arrived in the area in 1820 from Devonshire, England and settled on Lot 12, Concession 1, along the west side of Bronte Street. The couple had two more children once on their farm property. Tragedy struck the family when in 1824 Thomas died leaving Elizabeth with their children to raise and provide for, the oldest 17 the youngest less then 3 months old.
The gristmill drew other settlers to the area, including the Whitefields, Fosters, Greenias, Huffmans and Teetzels. Milton grew into a thriving agricultural community centred around the mills, and the Martins became one of its most influential families. The first post office was built in 1836, which necessitated a formal name for the settlement be provided. Milton was chosen in honour of the English poet John Milton a favourite author of the Martin family.
The early settlers of Milton and the surrounding districts were primarily from Great Britain and Ireland, as well as Loyalists who left the United States during and after the American Revolution.
Development was rapid in the 1850s and 1860s. The first library was organized, the first newspaper appeared. John Martin built the large stone Town Hall and Market House (it now houses the Chamber of Commerce offices and others) and the first Halton Agricultural Society Fair was held.
In 1853 the village of Milton was designated the County Town of the new County of Halton to the annoyance of those communities situated along Lake Ontario. County buildings were built, such as the Court House and Jail (now the new Town Hall) and the Registry Office (now the Hugh Foster Hall). In 1857 the town was formally incorporated and an election was held to form a Town Council. The first meeting of the Council was on July 4, 1857. At this time, “Milton” was confirmed as the name of the town. George Brown was chosen as the first Mayor of Milton.