Ontario is a very small community a
few miles South East of Oil Springs.
Hopefully I will have much more here
soon. As I strive to bring you the
history of Petrolia and Oil Springs
I will include other close
communities when I find historical
pics that illustrate them.
editor's collection This is downtown Florence
editor's collection The Florence bridge
photo by Phair A look
down Fansher Road. On a very nice October day
John Phair, David Hext and I took a ride to
Florence to ride down Fansher Road. As you
can see it was a worth while trip. I wanted
to check it out based on Jeffery Carter's
story.After our ride we had lunch in
Florence. Very good food there.
It began as an Indian trail and grew
By Jeffery Carter
September 19, 2012 2:08:01 EDT PM
casual observer, the Fansher Road appears to
be like any other graveled stretch in
Look a little harder, however, and
you'll notice subtle differences.
The fence lines and some buildings
crowd the gravel. The road itself appears far
narrower than others in the area.
And as you drive along, you'll soon
discover a circuitous route of curves and
T-intersections as the road follows the course
of the little creek with the same name.
"This is actually a given road... that
means it more or less started as a trail,"
says Darrell Johnston who farms at the eastern
Johnston is correct according to local
historian Fred D. Fansher.
Fred Fansher's ancestors, David and
Elizabeth Fansher, were the first permanent
settlers in the former Township of Euphemia.
They came to Upper Canada from the United
States in 1822 and three years later, with 10
children and two sons-in-law (Captain William
Walker and Jonathan Brackett), made their way
to what is now the Township of Dawn-Euphemia
Township in Lambton County.
"The lands were situated along a creek
which was spring fed and emptied into Big Creek
(Sydenham River). The creek was later called
Fansher Creek; there was also an Indian Trail
following the creek to the river and this
became known as Fansher Road."
Much can be said of the Fansher family.
As was the case for other pioneers,
they faced many challenges. While lands along
the creek were well drained, there was the
wilderness to contend with and David and his
wife lost two of their children to typhoid
fever that first year.
David, 53, only narrowly survived the
disease to live another 29 years.
The family name was given to the
Fansher Methodist Episcopal Church that was
established in 1855. David's sons John and
David Jr. were among the first trustees and
the building was located on land that had
belonged to the patriarch's daughter Sarah and
her husband Captain William Walker.
The original church building was
replaced with a cement block structure in
1911. This in turn, was demolished in 1968.
Today just the cemetery remains.
first school -a log structure -built in 1834
also has a Fansher connection. Captain Walker,
David's son-in-law, was instrumental in
securing funding and Walker's daughter Lavinia
had taught classes in the Walker home even
In 1880, S.S. No.
4, known as the Fansher School, was built. It
remains standing, the grounds still cared for.
Fred D. Fansher, now of London, is
among the last of his line to have lived along
the road with his family's name. He spent
years compiling the history of his family and
the history of the entire Euphemia community.
Among the other early names of Euphemia
are Dobbyn, Moorhouse, Smith, Bobier, Bilton,
Brownlee, Annett, Armstrong, Carey, Cross,
Johnston, Burr, Palmer and Rolston.
Some families like the Dobbyns are
still in the area.
There are also relative newcomers. The
Stenger family, for instance, arrived from
Europe in the late 1940s. In 2013 they are
looking to celebrate their 60th annual tobacco
Then there's Herman and Gerry
Wygergangs who arrived in the 1970s from
Herman is the last farmer with cattle
along the road and for years worked as a crane
operator. "I was supposed to be here for half
a year, until freeze up, but it never froze
up," he jokes.
If you are interested in visiting
Fansher Road, find your way to either Florence
in Lambton County or Newbury in Middlesex.
From Florence, simply head east from
Three D's Restaurant. The Fansher Road ends at
Limerick near Newbury.
From Newbury, head along Concession
Drive toward Bothwell until the road bends
southward. Turn north up Limerick. The second
road to your left is Fansher.
Taking a map with the concessions and
side roads marked is a good idea.
photo by Phair
by editor A few
of the tomb stones mentioned in the sign
photo by Phair Your editor
by the sign at the site of the former Fansher
Road United Church. They have a very nice
memorial at the site as you can see.
Florence we discovered the monument of Ed
Kerby the 3rd mayor of Petrolia ca.1877-8
Is this the
stage that travelled Fansher Road?
All of these pics and more are
from my own collection because people like you let
me copy them. I want more. Email Martin at email@example.com