Early Settlers

Settler families of Lake Bernard

This section is to record the histories of the early settler families around the lake, including the Mitchell’s’, McClellands’, Woods’, Brooks’, Higgins and farmers from elsewhere on the lake, from the time of first settlement. Most, if not all of the early settlers around the lake arrived after immigrating to Canada. The first cottagers later bought land from these farmers and the two groups began relations that continue to this day.

Please inform us of original settler families on the lake that should be included and contribute historical information to: history@lacbernard.ca

Have you ever wondered why there is a bay, road and even a small lake named “Mitchell” in our area? And what about the new monument that was erected on Lac Bernard Road last June. Well wonder no more….read the article in the 2019 fall issue of the association’s newsletter.


My family settled on the land by the lake, circa 1840. They had three farms running from Mitchell Bay down to the curve on the Lake Bernard road.

The farm at the corner of the Lake Bernard Road was owned by Henry Higgins, married to Jane Mitchell, a sister of William and Samuel Mitchell.  Henry Higgins moved to the opposite end of the lake about 1860. (You can likely get the actual date from one of the Higgins).
William Mitchell was married to Catherine Higgins, Henry’s sister. They had the farm that is presently the Woods’ farm.

The third farm was that of Samuel Mitchell.  William Noble Mitchell, the son of Samuel Mitchell, took over the farm on Sam’s death.   Many of William Nobles’ brothers went west. Gordon Mitchell and Charles Mitchell split the Samuel farm, when William Noble died.
Gordon continued to farm. Charles got much of the land on Mitchell Bay.  Charles sold off many lots for cottages over the years. Some of these are still in the hands of descendents of the buyers of the lots (eg. Kennedy, Moffett).    The original Mitchell cottage has been renovated and now is the Horne’s home.

In later years Eileen and Don MacMillan built a cottage on Mitchell Bay land and subsequently so did Gary MacMillan. Ruth (MacMillan) and David Armour built a cottage on Deep Lake (Mitchell Lake), on part of Mitchell homestead. Edith (Mitchell) Anderson (sister of Eileen) built a small cabin high on a hill overlooking Horseshoe Bay off  of  Mitchell Bay. Sandy (MacMillan) Pigeon put in footings high on the hill known as Maple Hill, overlooking Mitchell Bay, but the cottage was never completed.

Brian MacMillan built a home and woodworking shop near the road entrance to Mitchell Bay where he lived and worked in for many years.

Stan (brother of Eileen) and Betty Mitchell built a log cottage in the early 1990’s on the homestead land in Turtle Bay behind Lilly Pad Island (Snake Island). That property now is owned by Ken Mitchell, son of Stan and Betty.

Submitted by Ken Mitchell -Turtle Bay

To submit information about an early settler family please contact us at history@lacbernard.ca

Harry McClelland on his farm in 1932. There is a road in the A section named after Mr. McClelland.