Just north of the Billings Bridge, on the west side of Bank Street, a new historical marker has been installed.
Sponsored by the Gloucester Historical Society, Association of Friends of the Billings Estate Museum, Gloucester Lions Club and Billings Bridge Shopping Centre, the plaque commemorates the 200th anniversary of the arrival in 1812 of pioneer settler Braddish Billings to the Ottawa area.
The official unveiling of the plaque to honour Braddish Billings took place Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
The text of the plaque reads as follows:
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the arrival in 1812 of Braddish Billings (1783-1864)
In 1812, Braddish Billings became the first permanent settler in Gloucester Township, when he settled east of Bank Street on the south shore of the Rideau River. Braddish cleared and farmed the land, built a sawmill and provided food and building materials for the construction of the Rideau Canal. He operated a ferry to carry his produce to Bytown and canvassed for the construction of the bridge that now bears his name.
His lands were the township’s administrative centre for over 100 years. Billings shaped the community by building a school, churches and the township hall, while acting as clerk, assessor, path-master, collector, pound-keeper, warden, magistrate, Justice of the Peace and District Councillor. He helped build Bytown’s first jail and courthouse and assisted in bringing Bytown its first railway. His descendants were influential as philanthropists, politicians, scientists and writers. Completed in 1829, “Park Hill” was Braddish’s third home and is located on nearby Cabot Street. It is now known as the Billings Estate National Historic Site.