The settlement made steady progress in the early years. Road work was completed and small bridges and culverts were built by colonists in payment for their land. Log shanties and cabins were steadily replaced by log houses, and finally by frame homes. Land was continuously being cleared for planting, stumps pulled, and crops harvested. As well, Bishop Sweeny's requests for additional blocks of agricultural land met with the government's approval. Some of the Johnville settlers managed to find part-time employment along the river, as farm labourers and woodsworkers, which allowed them to improve their lots while earning a little money to support their families. By 1869 an estimated 652 people were living in the Johnville settlement.