Energy on the Nathan H. Pawling Farm and Louth, Lincoln County, Ontario

The Nathan H. Pawling farm in Lincoln County is an example of an energy strategy on an established farm and orchard in the prime farmlands of the Niagara Peninsula’s “Fruit Belt.”

Figure 1a. H.R. Page. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln & Welland. Toronto: 1876. Note the utility lines (likely telegraph). The Canadian County Atlas Project,

Nathan Henry Pawling (1818-1899) was a member of the prominent Pawling family, descended from Loyalist Revolutionaries who joined the Butler Rangers and were granted land on the shore of Lake Ontario.  Benjamin Pawling (1749-1818), an officer eventually promoted to Colonel, was granted 3000 acres, of which he took 860 acres in Grantham township, Lincoln County (present day St. Catharines); his brother Jesse Pawling (1753-1799), the company Quartermaster and “private gentleman,” was granted 2000 acres of which he took 700 acres in Louth Township, west of Port Dalhousie.[1]  Both brothers would take active roles in the first Legislative Assemblies and courts of Upper Canada.[2] Through marriage, Jesse’s son, also Nathan Pawling (1796-1877) would be deeded the Van den Broeck land at the mouth of Twelve-Mile Creek and advocate for this route of the first Welland Canal.[3]

Both Benjamin and Jesse apparently named sons Henry, and reports conflict as to which brother fathered Henry Pawling (b. around 1787), but we do know that he followed in his father’s and uncle’s footsteps as a commissioned officer in the War of 1812, stationed at Fort George (in present-day Fort Erie) and leading a company at the age of 25 in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.[4] He and the British fended off the Americans thanks to a farm girl from Queenston named Laura Secord.

After his military service, Henry married Margaret Weaver, who would bear him a son, Nathan Henry (b. 1818) and two daughters. The 1876 Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln & Welland shows the property of Nathan H. Pawling on lots 5 & 6, concessions 1 & 2 (300 acres of the original 700 taken by Jesse Pawling) as having been settled in 1818.[5]

Figure 1c. H.R. Page. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln & Welland. Toronto: 1876.  Note N.H. Pawling at upper right outlined in green, including lakefront lots 5 and 6. Source: The Canadian County Atlas Project,

Figure 1d. N.H. Pawling property, St Catherines, Ontario. Source: Google Maps

As of 1871, Nathan H. Pawling was farming 109 ha along the shore of Lake Ontario, midway between 12- and 15-Mile Creeks.  He and his wife Matilda lived with eight children ranging from five to 26 years of age and one farm labourer.[6]   With only one labourer and his eldest son to do the heavy farm work, Pawling likely brought in additional labourers at key harvest times.


Farm Energy Funds

Nathan Pawling farmed 109 ha (270 acres) whereas the average farm in Louth in 1871 was 32 ha.  Of this total, 89 ha had been cleared over the previous 100 years, and 18 ha were dedicated to gardens and orchards; only 14 ha and 15 ha were allocated to pasture and hay respectively, and 20 ha were left as woodland.

Figures 2a and 2b. Area Visualization of the Nathan H. Pawling farm and Louth CSD.  Pawling had more land in orchards and gardens which we would expect to see in farms in the part of the Niagara Peninsula. Otherwise, the two land use profiles are remarkably similar.

Despite the emphasis on fruit, Pawling also reported six horses, seven milk cows, six other horned cattle, 31 sheep and eight swine, resulting in a livestock intensity ratio of 16.6 LU/km2 compared to 17.5 for the district. The farm grazed a total of 50 ruminants over 14 ha of pasture, or .82 livestock units per ha (LUr/ha), compared to the township average of .67 LUr/ha. 

Farm Energy Flows

The Pawling energy strategy focused on producing fruit for sale and export, and similar to the CSD of Louth, his fodder’s share of total cropland and pasture output was lower than the other parts of Southwestern Ontario we have profiled in this series. Both Pawling and the larger township produced 2.4 joules of fodder energy for every joule of other crops. In other recent energy profiles, we found that these ratios ranged from 2.7 (Raleigh) to 3.4 (Waterloo). Neither the CSD nor Nathan Pawling required much supplemental fodder from residues. Pawling reported 15 ha of hay on his farm, producing 55 tons of hay or 1.5 tons per acre, whereas the Louth average hay production was 1.1 tons per acre.  

In addition to hay and pasture for their cattle and sheep, orchards and vineyards, the farm also grew oats, wheat and corn; however, Pawling grew significantly more corn and wheat and no barley, creating a better return on his energy investment (see figures 4a and 4b). Pawling’s orchards, gardens and (implied) vineyards also generated seven times the output of the district average. Sixty-four percent of the grains and crop biomass was reused for feed and litter, similar to the district’s 68 percent biomass reused.

Nathan Pawling sold cattle, sheep, swine, and butter, producing approximately 59,000 MJ of energy, over three times more than the Louth average of 16,470 MJ per farm. Approximately half of this energy was milk, which was most likely used for household consumption and animal feed as a by-product of the butter-making process. Proportionally, their flows were consistent with the district as a whole, with more emphasis on the sale of cattle for slaughter or export in that census year.

Pawling reported 30 cords of firewood, three times more than the district average but not sufficient for sale. It is likely that he used the woodlot primarily for family use, possibly supplying extended family living in town.


The Nathan H. Pawling farm and orchards were representative of the energy strategy in Louth  Township in 1871, but were also privileged with fertile lakeshore lands and easy access to wharves and key transportation routes.  When Nathan H. Pawling died in 1899, his obituary in The Globe[7] recognized him as a former Reeve, Councillor and School Trustee in Louth Township, and as having participated in the ’87 (Northwest) Rebellion – at which point he would have been 69 years old.  With multiple generations of military service in the family and significant political connections, he could have been considered a true “gentleman farmer.”

Figure 6a. – Ho! For Peaches & Grapes – Loading Cars at G. T. R. St. Catherines, Ont. Loading Cars at the St. Catharines rail yard.  Packed fruits were sent by rail to Hamilton, Toronto, Buffalo, and beyond.  St. Catharine’s Museum, STCM 2002.130.91A,

Unfortunately, this prosperous family farm would not continue in the family. As of 1891, son Jesse was farming elsewhere in Louth Township and Henry (Harry) was at home;[8]  by 1906 Henry Pawling had moved to Alberta[9] and by the 1921 census, Jesse Pawling was listed as a “Government Official” living in Port Dalhousie,[10] so the farm of Nathan H. Pawling must have been sold on his passing.

By the mid-20th century, the area between the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario shoreline was labelled “The Fruit Belt, but today it is recognized as a premier wine-producing area. The Niagara Association of Grape Growers is situated on what was once Pawling’s land, now bisected by the Queen Elizabeth Way, and the property surrounding the Pawling house is primarily vineyard. Although farms are consolidated and focus on fruit production, the initial efforts of the Pawlings to cultivate the Lake Ontario shore continue to pay dividends with fertile farmland today.

Today the Pawling house still stands on Lakeshore Road, with an added front portico but otherwise looking much as it did in the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln & Welland woodcut, but the lakeshore lands on the opposite side of the road are occupied by a gated community of high-end homes.

Figure 6b. Google Street View of the Pawling homestead on Lakeshore Drive.

[1] Benjamin Pawling, “The Ontario Pioneers and Available Genealogies, Pace to Phelps,” The Long Point Settlers,

[2] J.K. Johnson, “Benjamin Pawling,” DCB Online V, ,accessed January 31, 2022,; B.K. Narhi, “Historical Overview of ‘Hollydean,’ 333 Main Street, St. Catharines, Ontario,” St. Catharines Heritage Advisory Committee, 2017,Accessed January 31, 2022,

[3] Brock University Archives, “Survey of Lands Appropriated to the use of the Welland Canal Company, Nathan Pawling 1826; includes map and text,” accessed January 31, 2022,

[4] Alan Holden’s War of 1812-1814 Personnel List,; Narhi, “Historical Overview of ‘Hollydean.’”

[5]  H.R. Page. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln & Welland. Toronto: 1876,

[6] “Nathan H. Pawling,” 1871 Census of Canada, C-9922, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

[7] “Death of Mr. N. H. Pawling,”,January 10, 1899, The Globe,

[8] “Harry Pawling,” 1891 Census of Canada, LAC.

[9] “Henry Pawling,” 1911 Census of Canada, LAC.

[10] “Jesse Pawling,” 1921 Census of Canada, LAC

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