Dufferin Bridge was one of the many casualties of the failed colonization road scheme, started by the province in the mid-19th century. The province believed farming was the way of the future and began recruiting settlers with this in mine. Unfortunately, due to previously conceived notions, provincial officials did not take the time or trouble to determine whether or not the area was suitable for farming.
By comparison, the Nipissing Road shared similar conditions to those on the Hastings Road further east. Both were extremely poor for farming. Settlers eventually turned to lumbering and small commercial ventures as a means of survival.
In addition to lumbering, the area along the Nipissing Road was ripe for stopping places. Travellers needed a place where they could pack it in for a night or so as they made their way through the rocky terrain.
At first, the situation in Dufferin Mills looked promising. By the late 1870s, it included a sawmill, blacksmith, general store and a busy hotel. Institutions included an Anglican Church and Orange Hall. A post office opened in 1882. On the negative side, community was never large with an average population of about 50. Nevertheless the settlers struggled on. Later on they added a Methodist Church and a school.
Depletion of the lumber supplies and a new railway stop at Seguin Falls, 5 kilometres to the south eventually put an end to Dufferin Bridge. As business slowly began to trickle away, many settlers subsequently left. By the early part of the 20th century, Dufferin Bridge was pretty much finished.
Today all that remains of Dufferin Bridge are the Anglican and Methodist cemeteries. The tombstones tell heartbreaking tales of high childhood mortality rates. In one particularly egregious example, a tragic diphtheria outbreak claimed the lives of 10 children over a two-week period. Learn more