William and Elizabeth Robinson settled in Ontario shortly after the American Revolution. In July 1806, they bought 81 hectares of farmland in Markham Township. William died in 1824 and over the next few years, the land was split amongst their children with their son John acquiring the southernmost part of the property.
In 1834 and 1835, John acquired land adjacent to his farm on what is today the west side of Main Street North. Some of this was for the development of the tannery at the end of Robinson Street. The Robinsons soon became leading manufacturers of leather goods and prominent in local politics and community life.
One of John’s sons, William, farmed part of his father’s property. He had married Elizabeth Reesor in 1869 and it was Elizabeth who had the house at 1 Orchard Street built in 1887. Following William’s death in 1922, 60 hectares were bequeathed to his son, James G. and 18 hectares to his daughters Hannah, Mary, Edith, Christine, Annie, and Helen. The daughters also acquired the house on Orchard Street. Sadly, James G. died shortly after the transfer.
In 1923, the daughters sold approximately three hectares to Austin Graham, who then sold them to the Village of Markham. This is the property at the southeast corner of Parkway Avenue and George Street that became Morgan Park.
Albert Richard Lewis purchased James G’s 60 hectares in 1926. As there were no dwellings on the property, Albert and his wife Margaret lived in a rented house on Wales Avenue. Their first dwelling at the farm began as a barn and had a parlour room added to the front. By the early 1930s, a vacant house from a neighbouring farm had been moved to the north side of the barn. Today, this house remains at 27 Parkway Avenue.
When Albert and Margaret’s son Carman founded Markham Dairy, he used the first dwelling as the bottling plant. Carmen Lewis died in 2009 and is commemorated in the naming of a park at Parkway Avenue and Paramount Road.