Does Elzevir (the hamlet) really exist?

Look on the map showing the general vicinity of Elzevir Township and you'll see, down in the lower left corner, the township's two longtime population centres (tiny as they are), Queensborough and Actinolite. But look again: up in the upper-right-hand corner, just west of the county line and south of the village of Flinton, is: a place called Elzevir. Is it real?

Look on the map showing the general vicinity of Elzevir Township and you’ll see, down in the lower left corner, the township’s two longtime population centres (tiny as they are), Queensborough and Actinolite. But look again: up in the upper-right-hand corner, just west of the county line and south of the village of Flinton, is: a place called Elzevir. Is it real?

I had long believed (and probably mentioned on this blog, probably more than once) that tiny Queensborough (where the Manse is located, and where I grew up) and tiny Actinolite were the only population clusters – hamlets – in the very large and empty township of Elzevir, which is now part of the Greater Tweed Area. But recently I’ve discovered that some maps show a third “place” in Elzevir, called – fittingly – Elzevir. On a map of the township that appears in the Heritage Atlas of Hastings County (an awesome, chock-full-of-useful-and-interesting-information book), and also on my trusty MapArt map of Eastern Ontario, there’s a little dot for Elzevir off in a northeasterly corner of the township, close to the line that separates our Hastings County from neighbouring Lennox and Addington County and not far from the village of Flinton (which I know from my childhood growing up in Queensborough, and wrote about here).

So what’s the deal, people who live in, or know about, Elzevir Township? Is there really a hamlet of Elzevir way off there southwest of Flinton? If so, why is there no mention of it (as far as I can find) in Times to Remember in Elzevir Township, the go-to history of our corner of the world? Are new hamlets springing up in deepest rural Ontario even now, in the 21st century? I wouldn’t have thought so, but…

24 thoughts on “Does Elzevir (the hamlet) really exist?

  1. Well, if it is on the map, it must be “real”…LOL

    If it ever existed, it may have been a community of frame houses with no basements that would have left no traces when everyone moved away. Worthy of a field trip in the spring.

    I wonder if it is listed in the book “Ghost Towns of Ontario”?

    • It really is strange that this place just suddenly appears on modern maps. I have a couple of very old maps of the area and there’s no sign of it. I had a faint hope that someone might a) actually be living in the hamlet of Elzevir and b) might read the blog, and would chime in with a full store of information about this mysterious place. For sure Raymond and I will take a drive up that way when the weather is nice to check it out. But meanwhile, Graham, why wait for spring? I hear you have a snowmobile (or three) …

      • I have been doing research on my family, who actually were among the first settlers of Elzevir, or noteably “Johnson’s Corners”. This was a small hamlet just west of Flinton. My great great grandfather was Leander Levesque. His wife, Jane Arney Levesque who was born in Australia, ran a General store at Johnson’s Corners, even though she did not read or write.

        Perhaps Johnson’s Corners is this place you speak of. When my father would speak of his relatives…He would say live lived in Elzevir.

      • Jim, this is amazing. “A small hamlet just west of Flinton” describes exactly where the hamlet of “Elzevir” shows up on the map. I haven’t had any time in the last couple of days to do any research, but I think chances are good that Johnson’s Corners and Elzevir are one and the same. I have not (yet) found a reference to Johnson’s Corners in my trusty Times to Remember in Elzevir Township, but the one thing that that excellent history book is missing is an index, so I might find it yet. Meanwhile, I would love to know more about your great-great-grandparents and their connection with that place, and what you know about it yourself – have you ever been there? It’s just so great to find a connection to the far eastern region of lonely Elzevir Township, and the possibility of learning more about it. I’m glad you found Meanwhile, At the Manse!

  2. Well, I could not find any direct references to Elzevir as a ghost town in Ontario. However, Queensborough was mentioned several times [HELLO! We’re still here! News of our demise has been greatly exaggerated]:

    Their characterizations of Queensborough are not flattering…

  3. Katherine,

    Book, “Times to remember” Chapter 5 page 126. Is all about Johnsons Corners. The first paragraph speaks about my GG Grandmother Jane Levesque. Later on there is a short ditty about my GG Grandfather Leander Levesque. RE: Helping Survey grinsthorpe township.

    I understand Johnsons Corners lies on Elzevir Road a few miles from Flinton Road. My father took me there as a small boy. I would probably remember the area if I was there in person. It was always refered to,as “Elzevir” My father, who is now deceased, was very passionate about Elzevir, as he was brought up by his grand parents on there farm in Elzevir. My father’s grandparent’s names were, Malguire Levesque and Bertha Brown Levesque.

    I have a link to the cemetery memorial :

    Note, my father erected this memorial, because many of his aunts, uncles, grandparents had no memorials. He erected this memorial in there memory. This may have some very interesting information on the back of this memorial,because it lists the history of the family and “Elzevir”. He even had a picture of the crab apple tree he remembered as a small boy drawn on the back of this memorial.

    Jim Kammer

    • Jim, this information is amazing! I looked up the Johnson’s Corners chapter in Times to Remember in Elzevir Township and read all about it. Who knew that Johnson’s Corners and the “Elzevir” that now shows up on the maps were/are one and the same? When I have a bit more time than I do this evening I will do a post about the interesting things I read about the community thanks to you guiding me in that direction. My big question now, though, is: does anybody still live/work/farm in Elzevir/Johnson’s Corners? That will be something for Raymond and me to investigate come the nice weather, when a drive on the beautiful back roads of Hastings County is a very enticing thing indeed. But do you happen to know what’s doing there these days? Have you been able to visit?

  4. Katherine,

    Of note of people who lived in “Elzevir” and are related to me in a distant way….
    The Duquettes; McGeachys; Reavies.

    I have other stories that I can share, but may be to large to share on this blog. Some may nort be directly related to Elzevir, but stories from people and ancestors who lived there at one point in their life.

  5. Katherine, I am told that there are some decendants of the original settlers still living there, including the Duquettes. I will be getting up there this spring to docyument more memorials of ancestors I have located in various cemeteries…from Tweed to Flinton.

    If you get to the Flinton Anglican St Pauls cemetery. Read the back of the memorial, re: the link I posted earlier. I know there is some interesting information located on the back side.

    • My great-great-grandfather was Charles Johnson of Johnson’s Corners, His son Alexander Johnson married Mary Duquette (aka Ducatte) and their son (my grandfather) was Moses Johnson. You’ll find a few of my ancestors buried at the RC Church in Flinton. While I go to Flinton every few years, the only time I recall specifically going up the road to Elzevir was when I was very little and my dad was showing me the way he walked to school when he was young. I don’t recall seeing much more than farms.

      • Hello, John-Paul – glad to hear from someone with a Johnston’s Corners family connection! Raymond and I took a drive up there a couple of months ago, and my goodness, unless you’d read it in the history books, you’d really never know there had ever been a community there. There was so little to see, in fact, that I didn’t even think to take any photos until we were several miles on and it was too late! Sometime I’d like to go there with someone familiar with what once was, who could maybe point out landmarks that the untrained eye (mine) wouldn’t see.

  6. I know this is a little late but Hello John-Paul, we are cousins, my grandfather was also Moses Johnson. I remember every time we would drive the car sick gravel road from his farm to Flinton our father would always point to where Johnson corners use to be and where the Ducatte’s house was. Moses’ youngest daughter purchased the farm and now lives there.

    • Wonderful to hear from a Johnson of Johnson’s Corner’s, Ann! And how interesting to hear that a member of your family – your aunt – still lives there. I’d love to talk with her one of these times. I also smiled at your reference to “the car sick gravel road” – I remember some roads from my childhood that we too called “the carsick road.” For obvious reasons…

      • Your blog was a pleasant surprise Katherine, we never knew if it was the gas fumes, we always got gas at the station with the bears, my uncle and father caught them as cubs, or the winding road on the way to Flinton.
        My aunt Phyllis is the youngest of the family and I am sure she would be delighted to have a chat with you about the history of the area.

      • Ann, when the school year turns into summer and I have a little bit of spare time for a change, I would love to arrange to go and have a chat with your Aunt Phyllis. I am getting quite intrigued by this new information about Johnson’s Corners/Elzevir. Stay tuned for an email from me one of these days!

    • Hi Ann. I thought I knew all of my cousin so it’s quite a pleasant surprise to hear from you. Which one of my dad’s siblings is your parent? My Aunt Phyllis does live at the old homestead and I know that road well. We used to visit there quite often when my grandfather was still alive.

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