William Perceval 1857 Map of Amherst Island

William Perceval 1857 Map of Amherst Island

The Museum has restocked quality prints of our William Perceval 1857 Map of Amherst Island, which was a fast seller last Christmas. $60 all proceeds to the Museum.

Map of Amherst Island Copied from Old Map in Possession of John Boyes to Ld. Mt. Cashell [signed] Wm. Perceval C.E. P.L.S. October 14, 1857 ‒ Thomas Sylvester September 8, 2017

The Neilson Store Museum received an invaluable donation last Labour Day. The treasure is a map dated October 1857, the twilight of Lord Mount Cashell’s feudal estate on the Island. The map had been folded and tucked away at Farnham, the manor house for a century until Rev. W B Williston collected it.

The map is the earliest record of the physical community of Amherst Island. It records the occupants, lot numbers, boundaries, and acreages; principally to identify and locate the Estate’s leaseholders.

The 1857 Islanders have been transcribed, sorted alphabetically and their current spouses inserted:

Alphabetical listing of Amherst Islanders 1857 Wm. Perceval

This map was created at a turning point in the history of Amherst Island. Robert Perceval Maxwell had just bought the Island estate at Sheriff’s Auction, to initiate recovering his wife’s and her family’s £30,000 loans to their kin, Lord Mount Cashell.

The map’s draftsman William Perceval, was a younger brother of Robert, and as such, Robert had set up William, sponsoring William’s education as a Civil Engineer.

Lord Mount Cashell had owned most of our Island from 1835 and lost it through personal financial crises that dated from the late 1840s. The “old map” was copied in the midst of the legal proceedings: the County Sheriff had auctioned off the Amherst Island estate, August 1, 1857; the paper work was completed November 20.

Provenance: donated to the Neilson Store Museum & Cultural Centre, Amherst Island, September 5, 2017 from the heirs of the personal estate of the Reverend Canon W B Williston, minister of Christ Church and St Albans Anglican Church, 1947-1961: his executrix, his daughter Rev. Constance Frances Williston, subsequently to her nephew, his grandson Terrence Williston circa 1992. Framed circa 1992. William H Moutray 1871, William Perceval 1857.

Family and community historians have been very challenged to research our Island. There were multiple veils that obscured the few extant records of the 19th century community of Amherst Island. The Crown Patent record fails completely. The Land Registry Office Lot Abstracts yield ambiguous chaos: the registered deeds relied entirely on the thread of grantor to grantee. October 1857, three quarters of the Island was still occupied by tenants who had no hope of ownership of their transitory existence. The lot addresses had been nominal, fluid or at best descriptive. There was the “north side” including the First Concession, the “Town Plott” and the North Shore Concession. The entire balance of the lots were the “south side” including the South Shore Concession, Second Concession, Third Concession, and what I call the Fourth Concession. The contemporary, published directories repeat the resulting confusion for decades.

Scope and Content: Island map showing physical geography, lots, concessions and roads, with leaseholder and freeholder names, with acreages. The lot lines are black with red lease sidelines. The freehold lots were shaded blue. Scale: 1,980 feet per inch.

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