In the first half of the 19th century, Scarborough settlers typically first worked as farmhands. Later they would rent a farm for ten or so years. Finally they had saved enough cash for a downpayment on a farm of their own.
It wasn't easy clearing and breaking in the land, as tragedy often struck the family. Robert Rae was killed by a falling tree. Teasdale Hall was killed while removing stumps with a big stump remover. James McCowan and his son died of cholera. But their family ultimately reaped rewards from what they first saw as a wilderness.
To start this section of our site, here is an 1881 receipt covering the rent of the Doris McCarthy property, purchased in 1876 by Robert McCowan. He had left the original McCowan settlement over 30 years before, but it was now important for his sons to have a farm in Scarborough. By this time, many of the younger generation were going west.
Received from Robert McCowan, my son, two hundred and sixty five dollars $265 being one years rent for my farm Lot 20 Con B and C. Due on the above date. Received also ten dollars $10 being one years rent due at the above date for the south west corner on the west side of the Gully being part of Lot 19 C and B belonging to Neilson Gates.