Photography by Lindi Pierce
There was a time in not-too distant history when the words German Landing did not convey anything good, much less something peaceful and pretty. But German Landing (or Germans Landing as the town sign says, and German’s Landing as history would suggest is most appropriate) is a sweet spot indeed. Apostrophe anxiety aside, the cottage community in Murray Township along the banks of the Trent River, at the end of a dead-end road named, appropriately enough, Germans Landing Road is well worth a drive. (Or investment in a cottage property with plans to spend all the rest of your summers there.)
Historically, due likely to the early prominence of the Carrying Place (Signposts Autumn 2015) and the Danforth Road, strong ties existed between Murray Township in Northumberland County and Prince Edward County. It’s therefore no surprise Brighton area historian and genealogist Dan Buchanan has traced the resting place of New York state-born Jacob German (1768-1829) to the Chadsey Pioneer Cemetery in Hillier township, PEC.
One of Jacob’s sons, William Ruttan German, ventured into Northumberland County (a common enough occurrence as a pioneer farm could only support so many) appearing in the 1878 Atlas on 27 acres of Lot 7, Concession 10 along the Trent. Curiously, adjacent to German’s small holding, on parts of Lots 6 and 7 appears the name Chadsey Estate. The settlement of Germans Landing is on Lot 6.
Dan also pointed out an intriguing detail on the 1878 map. Near the Trent riverbank appears a tiny black rectangle, usually indicating a building of some prominence. A mill? A diagonal road runs across the concession, ending at the shore. Why? Could the landing have been an important lumbering centre?
Some more recent residents may shed light. Rod Nelson, who grew up at Germans Landing in the 1950s recalls hearing of area farmers floating logs cut on their farms to the paper mill in Trenton. He cannot recall any German family residents by that time.
Paul Rose met his wife at Germans Landing where her Belleville family cottaged. The Rose farm lay partly in the 10th Concession; cottagers leased the marshy front of the farm for simple cottages. Paul recalls a store run in the 1950s by Rod Nelson’s uncle John, and a Texaco gas pump. Locals gathered at the swimming hole nearby. These days the area is a mix of year-round and seasonal dwellings.
Whatever its history, a wander around Germans Landing is a tiny holiday. Rafts await the next swimmer, and comfy chairs gather around fire-pits for an evening of gazing over the river, watching passing watercraft or the folks at the sprinkling of cottages on the opposite shore (who are doing the same thing.) Enjoy Nature’s artwork of water lilies and reflections on the satiny smooth Trent gliding by, and feel the heavy humid summer air.