Brandon was one of four siblings who had emigrated from county Fermanagh in Northern Ireland bound for Canada.  John was approved for a 200-acre parcel on lot 18 of Concession 13 in Brock Township on March 30, 1825 – about a mile north and east of the village of Cannington.  Their property was bisected by the Beaver River, and underlain by a rich clay soil.  

Maureen Collins playing Susanna Brandon and  Brandon Collins playing John Brandon at an event recognizing 200 years of European settlement in Brock.  Maureen and Brandon are direct descendants of the original Brandon family.

Brandon Cabin

The Brandon family became known for their love of music, and they became key members of the spiritual and cultural life of the rapidly growing village in Cannington.  The family also became leaders in local politics, assuming a number of key roles on the various boards and commissions that made Cannington work. Wesley was on the first Council of the Village of Cannington in 1878, and became the second reeve of the village. 

Over time the family moved to a larger home, but kept the original cabin on the property – eventually using it as a farm implement shed.  In 1978 the cabin was donated to the historical society, after which it was dismantled, moved and rebuilt on the museum site it still occupies to this day.  

As demand for farm land started to increase in the late 1700’s, surveyors were commissioned to map out new townships further north of Lake Ontario.  In 1817 Sam Wilmot was instructed to survey a new township north of Scugog – to be named Brock Township after Sir Isaac Brock, renowned military commander in the war of 1812.  Wilmot completed this arduous survey by the end of November, 1817 – frustrated by the harsh conditions he encountered throughout that year.

The Brandon family completed their settler duties by 1837, and were thrilled to receive title to their land for all their hard work. In 1838 he sold the western half of his property to his brother William for the price of a yoke of oxen – valued at about $30.00!

Subsequent changes to the property included selling a ten-acre portion to a brick yard, and an additional sub-division was made to accommodate a grist mill on the Beaver River.  The small cabin Brandon built became home to ten children – who slept in a loft that was built above the main one room cabin. 

This newly surveyed township provided opportunities for those willing to settle in this new frontier.  One such settler was John Brandon, who, along with his new bride Susannah Norris (from Port Hope), successfully petitioned Lt. Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland of Upper Canada for a 200-acre lot Crown land grant in Brock Township. 

Before a settler was awarded title to his land, he had to complete certain ‘settler duties’.  These duties included clearing one half of the road allowance across the frontage of their property, cultivating a portion of their land and erecting a cabin of a minimum size.  Brandon complied by building a cabin that was 24 feet by 20 feet in size, complete with a stone fireplace 6 feet wide and three feet high.