Another installment from the Ottawa Citizen Old Time Stuff – Reminiscences of the Ottawa Early Days. Personages, Scenes and Incidents for Evening Citizen Readers – this time from August 11, 1923.
Who was the first on the site of Ottawa?
Among people who have not studied the subject there is a general impression that Nicolas Sparks was the first to occupy any part of the present site of metropolitan Ottawa. But such is not the case, as the evidence seems to show that several families ante-date Mr. Sparks. The Williams, Billings and Fairbairn families all apparently located between the Glebe and the Rideau River before Mr. Sparks starting farming on the Ottawa River front. According to Mr. Frank Williams, of Rideau Gardens, his grandfather, Lewis Williams, came to the site of Ottawa from Cardiff, Wales, in 1817, and actually “squatted” for a while in Upper Town on the site afterwards bought by Mr. Sparks.