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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Walkerton


The Indian name for this place is "Mah-sko-se-sing," meaning "A little marsh."

The history of the town of Walkerton is so closely associated with that of the township of Brant, of which municipality it formed for many years a part, until by special Act of Parliament it was incorporated as a town, [Walkerton is probably unique as a municipality, inasmuch as it never was a village, but blossomed into being a full-fledged town at a bound.] that in writing of the town it is necessary to refer to the township also.

The first part of the township of Brant to be surveyed by the Crown for settlement was the tract consisting of the first and second concessions north and south of the Durham Road. The farm lots on these concessions were known as "free grants." (The third concessions were also surveyed at the same time, but the farms thereon were not "free grants.") This survey was made under the direction of an Order-in-Council dated 26th August, 1848, and was executed by A. P. Brough, P.L.S. The farms in the "free grant" tract.were open for location in the spring and summer of 1849, and immediately thereafter land was taken up in what now forms the town plot of Walkerton.

During his tour of prospecting for a "free grant" location, in the month of May, 1849, Thomas Adair [See in Chapter III. where Mr. Adair and the other early pioneers are further mentioned.] stood on the "Clay Banks''" overlooking the present site of Walkerton, late one afternoon as the sun was declining in the west, viewing, as he has since expressed it, the most beautiful landscape he ever beheld. The valley beneath him contained many wild cherry and plum trees, then robed white with blossoms, and whose perfume ladened the air with rich sweetness. In every direction hill and vale were covered by an expanse of primeval forest, shining bright in its coat of verdure fresh from the hand of spring. The sun as it sank lightened up, or cast in deep shade, the masses of foliage, and projected long shadows over the flashing waters of the Saugeen, making a combination of sylvan loveliness so enchanting that Mr. Adair ever spoke of it with enthusiasm, while Kenneth Kemp, a staid, unimpassioned Scot, his sole companion, after silently contemplating the lovely prospect, vented his feelings by saying, "Eh mon, if Eden was anything like this, what a fool Adam was to eat the apple."

[Another description of the primeval appearance of Walkerton is here given, being an extract from the Report of Survey made by A. P. Brough, P.L.S., of the Durham Road. It is as follows:

"Township of Brant, lots 35-25. The line on this block proceeds over a waving surface, composed of a good clay soil, and containing heavy hardwood timber, a distance of 61 chains and 80 links, when it drops forty feet into the valley of the Saugeen River and crosses valuable flats' of five chains in width. When the Saugeen is met, the river is crossed obliquely, and at the crossing-point is intersected by an alluvial island standing six feet over the water, thus forming two channels in the river, the east one of which is shallow, with a rapid current, and is 185 feet in width. The west channel is also rapid and is four feet in depth and 87 feet in width. The island is crossed at its northern extremity, and is 177 feet in width; it will form a convenient resting-place for piers in erecting a bridge; the total distance across the river, including the island, is 449 feet. This is the second time in which the Saugeen River is crossed, and now the stream pursues a northerly direction and is no more met with by the Durham Road. Above the crossing point the river is intersected by numerous small islands, and immediately below occur small rapids, and the river takes a sharp turn nearly at right angles toward the west, having its east banks rising to an elevation of over one hundred feet and composed of a clay bluff, while its west bank is low. The line having crossed the river pursues its course over a nearly level surface composed of a sandy loam soil and producing large hardwood timber, crosses two small streams, but which run dry in summer, and meets the side road at lots 25, 26, at the distance of 1 chain 89 links from the Saugeen, on its north side. Immediately at the side road, between lots 25, 26, the line crosses Silver Creek, which falls into the Saugeen close to the line. Silver Creek is a rapid stream, with a shingle bottom from eight to twelve inches in depth and twenty-seven feet in width, and ought to afford a mill privilege."]

The first settlers on any of the lands now included in the town of Walkerton were William Jasper and Edward Boulton, who took up farm lots just east of the river in June or July, 1849, and there erected the first house in what afterwards became the town of Walkerton, the site of this log shanty being in the gore formed by Bay and Mary Streets and the Durham Road. That same summer or fall John Lundy and Moses Stewart settled west of the river. To these were added, in the spring of 1850, Thomas Bilkie, whose name is still borne by the hill on the west of the town.

Among the settlers who took up land in 1850 one of the most noted was Joseph Walker, [2] a man who will always be remembered in connection with the county town of Bruce, appropriately named after him. If any one can claim to have founded Walkerton it certainly is Joseph Walker. When he constructed a dam across the Saugeen and erected mills that cut lumber and ground flour in those early days for the scattered settlers, the certainty of a town developing at that spot was assured. Realizing this, Joseph Walker had the adjacent farm lots which stood in his own, or his son William's name, surveyed into a town plot. It was largely through his efforts that the infant settlement became a busy business centre. If any can claim to have struggled to make the settlement a town, it is Joseph Walker. During the prolonged contest for the county town, it was he who championed the cause of Walkerton, and that successfully; never despairing during that prolonged nine years' struggle, even when his cause seemed all but lost, manifesting throughout a buoyant courage, determination and versatility of resource that commanded the admiration even of his opponents.

[Footnote 2: Joseph Walker, familiarly spoken of as "Old Joe," was by nationality an Irishman, and claimed, so it is said, the county of Tyrone as his birthplace. Before arriving at the years of manhood he came to this country, and resided for a number of years in the vicinity of Cookstown, from whence he removed to the county of Grey. At the time he entered the county of Bruce he was a man of forty-nine years of age, stoutly and compactly built, rather below the average height, energetic, tenacious of purpose, and of an active, nervous temperament. Many of the old settlers speak warmly of him for the kindly acts extended to them in the early days, when nearly every one was in comparatively poor circumstances. He was twice married—first to Jane Pinkerton, by whom he had four children, and on her death to a Mrs. Bailey, who kept the "White Horse " hotel near Durham. Besides the log-house first erected by him, he also built the stone house now occupied by R. E. Truax, and also the one occupied by the late Judge Kingsmill, and the one on the corner of Colborne and Cayley Streets, now occupied by Mr. Alexander Menzies. He was the reeve of Brant for several terms, and was also Walkerton's first mayor. He was rather careless in his business methods, the result being that finding his means slipping through his fingers, he in 1870 gathered together what he had left to make a fresh start on the Mani-toulin Island. He purchased a mill privilege and erected a grist mill at Sheguindah village. He spent the last winter of his life at Walkerton, returning to the Manitoulin in the spring. His end came in June, 1873 at the age of 72. Further biographical details are dispensed with, as his name and actions will appear in other parts of this History, especially in that relating to the contest for the county town. A large sized portrait of Mr Walker fittingly hangs in the Walkerton Town Hall, enabling later generations to become acquainted with the lineaments of its founder.]

To take up land for the purpose of farming was not the object Joseph Walker had in view when he entered Bruce. His vocation had been that of a miller, and he came seeking for a mill site on the line of the Durham Road. In the spring of 1850 he left Durham, in the vicinity of which he had been residing, accompanied by three friends, John McLean, William Mcintosh and Archibald Fraser, all thorough backwoodsmen. They walked to Owen Sound, thence by the "Gimby Trail" to the mouth of the Saugeen, and on to Kincardine. It. was a long, round-about way to reach the spot on which he ultimately settled, and we can only offer a surmise for his doing so, which is, that he had learned of applications having been made for the near at hand mill privileges, [Mr. Archibald Todd, of Walkerton, says the mill privilege there was first applied for by One Anderson Foster, in 1849, but he threw up his claim before the application was granted.] and so travelled the route he did hoping to find at, or near, Kincardine a suitable water power not taken up. Being unsuccessful at first, they journeyed eastward over the blazed path which then marked the Durham Road. Walker's companions found lands which suited them in Greenock, but he pushed on until the Saugeen was. reached, and there decided to locate. The records of the Crown Lands Department show that on 15th July, 1851, Mr. George Jackson recommended that Joseph Walker be the locatee for the mill site and lands where the Saugeen crossed the Durham Road, which recommendation the Department confirmed July 26th of the same year.

It was in May, 1850, that Joseph Walker arrived at the locality with which his name is associated, and located upon lots 27 and 28, concession 1, N.D.R., and lot 29, concession 1, S.D.R., taken in his own name and that of his son William. Subsequently he obtained the assignment of the rights of other settlers, or purchased them, so that patents were issued to him or his. son for ten of the twenty-eight farm lots which subsequently were included within the corporation of the town of Walkerton.

Those who first settled at or near what is now the town of Walkerton entered the county from the east, passing through Durham, where the Crown Lands agency for the "free grants" was located. From there, through the unbroken forest, they made their way by the surveyor's marks, as any claim to a road consisted of nothing but a blazed path. It was not until the fall of 1850 that the Durham Line in the township of Brant was chopped and logged and a bridge built over the Saugeen river at the site of the future county town, which bridge lasted until 1855, when it was rebuilt.

Joseph Walker after taking up his land proceeded to erect a log house. As the conditions of settlement required that this should not be less than 18 x 24 feet, it is not difficult to picture the appearance of the first building erected by him in Walkerton. Its site was where Durham and Mill Streets now intersect. This house was not only a dwelling for Mr. Walker and his family, but was the hotel of the settlement for many a day, where the weary pioneer obtained rest„ and lodgings when on his way to the lands he had taken up in "the bush." Walker must have worked hard after settling on his lots, as we find that he was the first man in the township of Brant who, having complied with the conditions of settlement (which among them required that twelve acres of land on each lot should be cleared), obtained his patent from the Crown; this not for one lot only, but for four. The date of these patents is 17th December, 1851. Having obtained his patents, Walker proceeded to erect a saw-mill, which was completed in 1852. The construction of a dam to give the necessary motive power was no small engineering feat in those days in a small settlement where help was hard to be got and money none too plentiful. The initial dam at Walkerton was in two parts, one from each bank of the river, thrown across it to a wooded island in the centre of the stream. The present dam was constructed by S.&.T. H. Noxon & Co., in the early seventies.

The village of Durham was the base of supplies for the first settlers who came into Brant. It was there they had to go for their mail matter, and also to have ground into flour the first grain grown on their small clearings, as well as to purchase their groceries and clothing. These inconveniences were partially overcome when in 1851 Messrs. Jardine & Valentine, having erected the building familiar to Walkertonians of the present day as "the old post-office," they there established the first mercantile business known to Walkerton. The building referred to was nearly opposite Joseph Walker's tavern. Between them a small stream of water flowed, which long since has disappeared. Shortly after the opening of Jardine & Valentine's store, John Shennan opened another, which was located on Willoughby's Hill, east of the river. In 1852 Shennan was appointed postmaster, the office being known as "Brant." It was the third post-office established within the county, the offices at Kincardine and Southampton having been established the preceding year. As Shennan was unacquainted with the duties of the office, he had Malcolm McLean, at that time engaged as a clerk with Jardine & Valentine, and who had experience in post-office duties, to open and send out the first mails from the office. Shennan after holding the office for about a year resigned, when Malcolm McLean received the appointment, dated 15th November, 1853, and has held it to this day, possibly the oldest postmaster in Canada. The name of the post-office was changed to "Walkerton," September 24th, 1857. The next to open places of business in Walkerton were John Bruce and James Jamieson. The former claims to have built, in 1853, the first frame building, and in 1859 the first brick building erected in the town.

In 1853 the need of a grist mill was a want so seriously felt by the settlers that an effort was made to have one built. Maple Hill was the site spoken of as the most promising. At a meeting held to discuss the project, Joseph Walker was present and succeeded in persuading the majority present to unite with him and erect the mill at Walkerton. The farmers gave a very substantial support to this undertaking by subscribing $1,600, which financial assistance assured the building of the needed mill. The many difficulties arising from the transporting of the heavy machinery over the almost impassable roads through the woods were overcome. Alex. McPhail was engaged as the first miller, and in November, 1853, the mill was set in operation. [William McBride, of Elderslie, relates that in the winter of 1854-55 the head-race of Walker's mill became so blocked with anchor ice that he could only run one pair of stones out of three, and that only at the rate of a bushel and a half per hour. A grist he took at Christmas time was not delivered until July.] As since then the hum of machinery has always been heard in Walkerton, the evolution of its industries may as well be referred to here as later on.

The saw and grist mills which Mr. Walker's energy had secured for Walkerton were for some years the only manufacturing industries of the place. A tannery seems to have been the next industry established. Following these were an oatmeal mill, a planing mill and a woollen factory. In 1864 James Blair opened a foundry and machine shop on the site of the present town hall, and ran it successfully until it fell a prey to the flames in May, 1871. The grist mill was unfortunately burnt in the early part of 1864, and it was not until January, 1870, that it was rebuilt and running again, being owned at that time by Noxon, Saylor & Co. This mill was enlarged to six run of stones by the Noxon brothers, who became sole owners afterwards. In April, 1877, it passed into the hands of David Moore. Not finding it profitable, it remained idle for a while, during which time the mill was burnt down. Obtaining municipal assistance, R. B. Clement rebuilt the mill in 1886. This time the mill was built of brick and of four stories in height, and fitted with machinery for the "roller process" of gristing. It is run at present by S. W. Vogan & Son. The grist mill west of Silver Creek was used at first as a planing mill, but was changed into a grist mill and run by George Harrington, who having obtained a municipal bonus was thereby enabled to change the machinery in the mill and install the "roller process." The mill has been run for a number of years by John Lee. Several industries which flourished at Walkerton for a time under the stimulus of a municipal bonus have disappeared. Among those may be mentioned the felt-boot factory, which was started in 1881 on receiving a bonus of $3,000. This business existed for about sixteen years under various proprietors, but at last had to be closed down. Another was the woollen mill. This received a bonus of $4,000, granted to Messrs. Kennedy & Bunson. On their failure, the business passed through several hands and ultimately was taken up by Rife & Co., who were induced to remove the machinery of this mill to Cargill in 1902. O. G. Anderson received a bonus of $6,000 in 1887 to enable him to extend his furniture factory. Mr. Anderson in many ways is a remarkable man. His first attempt at manufacturing at Walkerton was in connection with a stave mill in 1877. This was developed and enlarged to a furniture factory, which at the time of his leaving Walkerton had 125 hands on the pay roll. Mr. Anderson's reputation had extended to Woodstock, where the largest furniture factory in Canada existed. This business had become financially embarrassed, and those interested in looking around for a suitable man to conduct it, robbed Walkerton of one of the most enterprising men who have resided in it. The whole plant of this concern was transferred to Woodstock, August, 1895. The town felt the loss of this extensive industry in a marked degree, and an effort was made to start another industry of similar description. This resulted in the formation of a company called the Walkerton Chair Factory Co., in the year 1896, which in the following year received a loan from the town of $6,000. This business was ultimately taken over by the Knechtel Furniture Co. (of Hanover), and is carried on by it, they having assumed all the conditions in reference to the repayment of the loan. If some industrial concerns moved away from Walkerton, others have moved to it, foremost of which is the American Rattan Co., late of Toronto, the move from that centre of manufactures being largely the result of the efforts of Mr. John R. Shaw, a well-known Walkertonian residing at Toronto. This business is under the supervision of Mr. L. C. Benton, manager, and ships its artistic products to all parts of Canada, from Halifax to Victoria.

In 1902 three bonuses or loans were granted by the town to as many new industries. A $5,000 bonus was given to the Walkerton Hosiery Co., this company having taken over the machinery of D. Williams, who had conducted a similar business at Collingwood; $5,000 was loaned to Pett & Son to start a biscuit and confectionery factory, and $2,000 to the Canada Bobbin Co. This latter company had carried on business years before in Walkerton under the name of Kerr & Harcourt, but expecting to obtain lumber cheaper at Wiarton and Parry Sound had moved thither, but finding that labor could be more readily and cheaply had at Walkerton, decided to return. The business is now managed by Wm. M. Shaw. The business carried on by Messrs. Pett & Son did not prove successful, and the corporation became owners of the land and buildings under the mortgage. Possibly the most prominent industry in the history of Walkerton, is. that at present controlled by R. Truax & Co. This saw and planing mill is on the site of the saw-mill originally erected by Joseph Walker, and has under one firm or another been carried on continuously to the present day. It emerged from the mere sawmill stage in January, 1871, when S. & T. H. Noxon & Co. procured the machinery to do all kinds of planed work. The ownership of this valuable property remained in their hands until about 1877, when it was purchased by David Moore, who carried on the business for a short time, then leased it, in December, 1878, to R. Truax & Co. This firm ultimately purchased the plant and water privilege, and have extensively increased the business; employing a large number of men and keeping installed the latest machinery it has been enabled to obtain orders from the most prominent centres of our province. Mr. Alexander Menzies and Mr. James Watt, as manager and foreman, have been connected with this firm from the beginning, and assisted greatly in the development of the business. To Mr. Truax much credit is due for the success he has achieved. As it might cumber this chapter with too great a mass of detail to refer in particular to all the manufacturing industries that have existed, or are in existence, at Walkerton, a brief mention of some of the most notable will close the subject. Among those which have been, might be mentioned the flax mill, also the oatmeal mill, run by George Shortt, the ruins of which are by no means unpicturesque. The manufacture of brick has been carried on at Walkerton for over forty years, the clay to be found there making durable bricks and tiles. The names connected with this industry are A. McVicar, W. Carter, E. Kilmer, Thomas Adamson and his son William, Louis Yaeck, and others. Hemlock bark being available in quantities, Walkerton had among its industries at an early date a tannery,. the first tanner being Andrew Thompson. Of late years Thomas Pellow, Samuel Arscott and his sons, have carried on the industry in the three tanneries at present existing. The factory that is perhaps the most widely known of any which have carried on business in Walkerton is that for the manufacture of binder twine, established in 1900. The shares of this company are largely in the hands of farmers scattered throughout this and neighboring counties. James Tolton, a man who was prominent in the municipal and agricultural interests of Brant for many years, was selected by the shareholders to be the manager. This industry unfortunately met a competitor shortly after it commenced to manufacture twine in the American Binder Twine Trust, which, being determined to crush' put all opposition, and having immense capital to do so, first captured the sisal market and then placed the price of the manufactured article at a lower figure than it is possible for the Walkerton factory to produce it, the directors of which have wisely decided to cease manufacturing at a loss.

The first survey into town lots of the various farm lots now within the limits of the corporation of Walkerton, was that known as "Bilkie's survey of part of lot 23, concession 1, S.D.R.," the plan of which as registered bears date of 4th December, 1855. The next survey was made by Joseph and William Walker, of lots 24 to 31, concession 1, S.D.R., and of parts of lots 25 to 28, concession 1, N.D.R. The plan of this survey is dated 4th of February, 1857. The survey in both cases was made by E. H. Kertland, P.L.S.

That Walkerton did not seek to obtain a separate municipal existence earlier than it did is not easy of explanation, except upon the ground of the seeming incongruity of the county town being merely a village municipality; so as part of the township of Brant it remained for some years after it attained to the required number (750) of inhabitants necessary to entitle it to be incorporated as a village. Being comprised in the municipality of the united townships of Brant and Carrick, Walkerton was represented in 1854 and 1855 at the Council of the united counties of Huron and Bruce by Joseph Walker, its reeve, which office he held also in subsequent years for the township of Brant when it became a separate municipality.

The contest for the county town commenced with the first meeting of the provisional County Council of Bruce, held in March, 1857, a contest in which each village in the county contended. This struggle continued for nine years before being finally settled in favor of Walkerton. A bare recital of some of the facts of this contest is all that can here be related. The first vote taken in the provisional County Council, "To select a fit and proper place to recommend to the Governor-General as the one to be mentioned in his proclamation as the county town of Bruce," resulted in favor of Walkerton. The Governor-General, in accordance with this vote, proclaimed Walkerton the county town. This was on the 15th of June, 1857. This proclamation was, however, on petition, set aside by Act of Parliament on August 16th, 1858. After another struggle by Joseph Walker—for he almost single-handed fought the battle for Walkerton—the Governor-General again (8th November, 1860) proclaimed Walkerton as county town. This proclamation was also petitioned against, and Parliament, yielding to the petition, voided the proclamation 30th June, 1864. A decision was arrived at in 1865 which was confirmed and put beyond local influences, when Parliament passed an Act on the 15th September, 1865, declaring Walkerton to be the county town of Bruce. In the same year the county buildings were commenced, and completed toward the end of 1866. On the 1st day of January, 1867, Walkerton became in fact, what it had been de jure, the county town of the flourishing county of Bruce. At that time this ambitious little place had not population enough to enable it to claim incorporation as a village, nor did it have for some time after. The incongruity of the county town not being a separate municipality was overcome by special Act of Parliament (34 Vic, chap. 69) passed 15th February, 1871, which enabled Walkerton, without ever having been a village municipality, to assume the dignity of a town. The population of the town in the year of its incorporation was only 995. It rose to 2,604 in 1881, and to 3,061 in 1891, but fell in 1901 to 2,971. The rapid increase in population which marked the first decade of its municipal existence was the result, in a large measure, of the opening of railway communication with the outside world, resulting in an excellent grain market being established there.

The first school-house in Walkerton was a shanty-roofed building on the hill east of the river. It was opened as a school in 1852, the teacher being a Miss Nancy Wilson, [Miss Wilson, while teaching, married David Moore, of the Walkerton Grist Mills, but continued to teach until a successor was found qualified to impart instruction to the handful of scholars.] who taught for four years, and was succeeded in 1856 by Mr. Donald Reid, afterwards township clerk of Amabel, and he, in February, 1857, by Mr. William Collins. [Mr. William Collins resided in Walkerton for many years after teaching school, filling many important positions. He was born in the county of Antrim, Ireland, in the year 1833. When he was of the age of fifteen his father immigrated to Canada with his family, and settled in the township of Finch. William Collins was educated for a schoolteacher, and pursued this vocation for several years in the eastern part of the province. From 1853 to 1856 he followed photography, at Owen Sound and other places. His position of schoolteacher he resigned on his receiving the appointment of Division Court Clerk in the year 1859, an office he held until his death. Of the many other public offices Mr. Collins filled the following are some of them: Reeve for eight years of the township of Brant, also reeve of the town of Walkerton, town treasurer, and County Master of the Orange Order for East Bruce. He married Miss Jamieson, of Walkerton, in 1858, and had a family of six sons and two daughters. In politics he was a very strong Conservative and a hard fighter in an election contest. His death, which occurred April 19th, 1901, was deeply lamented by a large circle of friends.]

The attendance of scholars during the first years after the school was opened was never large. Among the remarks entered in the visitor's book of the school in the year 1855, it is stated that at the time of the visit the attendance was "14," "14," "20," etc. As the school population increased the need of more accommodation was felt, so after the building of the old Orange Hall on Orange Street was completed, it was used as a school-house until another move was made to a frame building erected purposely for a school on the corner of Jackson and Catharine Streets. This in time gave way to the commodious brick buildings on Colborne and Victoria Streets, now in use, the first of which was built in 1875 and the second in 1888. Before passing on to other items of history, attention is drawn to a school-boy's composition, printed in a footnote, [3] that was preserved by Mr. Collins. It tells us something of Walkerton as it was in the year 1858.

[Footnote 3: Copy of a composition by a schoolboy at the Walkerton Public School in 1858, on "Topographical Description of Walkerton."

"Walkerton, the county town of the county of Bruce, is beautifully situated on the river Saugeen, about seventeen miles west of Durham, and is also within twenty-eight miles of Lake Huron. It is divided near the centre by the Saugeen, on which river is erected a good grist and saw mill, and there is also a beautiful bridge built over it. Walkerton is surrounded, except on the south, by hills, on the top of one of which an Episcopal Church is in the course of erection, and from the church can be seen a fine picturesque view. It has water privilege capable of forcing any quantity of machinery. I should mention that a railroad is expected to come there, or near it, and if it does it will certainly be a place of some importance. It already contains a population of 175, a post office, five stores, four taverns, three shoemakers, two blacksmiths, two tailors, a tannery, two cabinet-makers, and several carpenters and joiners. It is situated in the midst of a very fertile and healthy country and promises fair to be a fine place."]

The Orange Hall, mentioned in the preceding paragraph, was the sole public building in the early years of Walkerton. It was used, as its name indicates, as a lodge room, and also used as a school. In this building also worship was conducted by the various Protestant denominations each Sunday, in the following rotation: the Church of England in the morning, the Presbyterians in the afternoon, and the Methodists in the evening. It was in this building that all public meetings, as well as the Division Courts, were held in those pioneer days.

With the incorporation of the town and the opening of the railway, the erection of a town hall became necessary. So in 1872 [A by-law to raise $2,700 for the purchase of a market-place and erection of a town hall thereon was voted on and carried April 8th, 1872. $1,000 for the land, $1,500 for the building, and $200 for anticipated expenses.] the site for a market-place and town hall was purchased, and the building of the latter proceeded with. It was only a frame building, 30 x 62, with a bell tower and a lean-to for the caretaker's residence. David Siebert was the builder. After lasting for a quarter of a century, it had to make way for the more pretentious and commodious civic building erected in 1897. It might be well to here give the names' of those who have filled the mayor's chair from the incorporation of the town to date. They are as follows: In 1871, Joseph Walker; 1872, Paul Ross; 1873, 1874, James G. Cooper; 1875, Alex. Shaw, 1876, Alex. Sproat; 1877, 1878, Paul Ross; 1879, Malcolm McLean; 1880, 1881, H. P. O'Connor; 1882, David Moore; 1883, 1884, A. B. Klein; 1885, Andrew McLean; 1886, 1887, C. W. Stovel; 1888, 1889, Reuben E. Truax; 1890, 1891, 1906, David Robertson; 1892, 1893, William Richardson; 1894, 1895, Hugh Birss; 1896, John Standish; 1897, 1898, Alex. Menzies; 1899, 1900, M. Stalker, M.D.; 1901, S. H. McKay; 1902, C. W. Cryderman; 1903, S. W. Vogan; 1904, 1905. R. H. McKay. [No time was lost after the bill incorporating the town was passed in electing a town council, the first meeting of which was held on 17th March, 1871, at Waterson's Hall. Its members were: Joseph Walker, mayor; William McVicar, reeve; councillors—Stephen Noxon, David Moore, Hugh W. Todd, Louis Wisser, William Shannon, James F. Davis, William Smith, Paul Ross, and Moses Stewart. The first officers were: W. L. Watt, town clerk; W. L. Watt, town treasurer; Thomas Burrell, town inspector; James Flett, assessor.]

The incorporation of the town was followed in the succeeding year by the establishment of a high school. For lack of a proper building, the school had a migratory existence for some years. At first it was held in the Orange Hall, on Catherine Street (a building which originally was built by the New Connexion Methodists as their church).' From this building the school was removed to a hall over the Herald office, on the south side of Durham Street. From thence it was removed to the town hall, and then again to the public school building, when that building was completed in 1876, where it occupied two rooms. This was the last move prior to taking possession,. in February or March, 1879, of the present fine high school building. The first head-master in the high school was Arnoldus Miller, B.A., who was succeeded by Dr. Morrison, M.A., in 1880, and he again in. October, 1881, by Joseph Morgan, M.A., who still fills the position. In 1877 the Walkerton public school was constituted a county model school for the preliminary training of public school teachers, and for over a quarter of a century has, under the various head-masters, maintained an enviable record for efficiency.

The pioneer settlers manifested an honest pride in the products of their new farms, the virgin soil of which yielded magnificent returns, both as to quantity and quality, and they early organized an, Agricultural Society. The first of the fall shows was held in 1854 or 1855, the indoor exhibits being shown in and about the store of Jardine & Valentine, while the live stock was scattered along the street and over the bridge. Annual exhibitions in this line finally developed into the Northern Exhibition, conducted under an incorporated company, liberally aided by the town, which issued $4,500 of debentures towards this object. The present buildings, at a cost of $4,555 were erected in 1877. For many years the Northern Exhibition ranked high among the fall exhibitions held in the province, but of late, owing to the number of township fairs, it has not been as successful as formerly.

In the early pioneer days it was difficult to supply the scattered settlers with regular religious services, and many hardships had the early pastors to endure as they tended to the spiritual needs of their respective flocks. The facts, as here given, regarding the various churches in Walkerton are much condensed, as to give more than the leading facts would extend the narrative to too great length. The various denominations are referred to in alphabetical order, The Baptist congregation was organized in 1879, and until their church was opened (November 4th, 1883) worshipped in the court house, the Rev. Henry Cocks being their first pastor. The Disciples of Christ used the town hall as a place of worship until the present church edifice was first used for worship, October 9th, 1881. The first Church of England services (and also the first of any denomination in Walkerton) were held in Joseph Walker's tavern. To conduct these the Rev. A. H. Mulholland, of Owen Sound, paid monthly visits to Walkerton, which at that time was an outlying station. Rev. T. P. Hodge succeeded him as a missionary in this parish. The first settled minister was the Rev. T. E. Saunders, who took charge of the spiritual interests of this flock in 1859. In 1858 a church edifice was erected on land given by Thomas Todd, on Willoughby's Hill. The construction extended as far as the roofing of the building, but it was never completed owing to the foundation being insecure. No services were ever held therein. The present church, bearing the name of St. Thomas, was erected about 1864-5, during the incumbency of the Rev. E. Softly. The ministers who have subsequently occupied this charge were the Rev. John P. Curran, the Rev. John Greenfield, the Rev. Wm. Shortt, the Rev. J. H. Fatt, the Rev. S. F. Robinson and the Rev. T. G. A. Wright. The Evangelical Lutherans have from an early date been fairly numerous in Walkerton and vicinity, and they erected a neat church building on the gore formed by Colborne and Yonge Streets in 1885. Unfortunately they have not been able at all times to maintain a permanent pastorate. The Evangelical Association (German Methodist) held religious services in the council chamber of the county buildings for a number of years, when, increasing in strength, they built for themselves, in 1899, a brick church on the corner of Colborne and Prince Streets, which possibly was the only church building ever opened in Walkerton free of debt. Methodism was first represented in Walkerton by the New Connexion Methodists. Their first missionary was the Rev. Andrew Clark, who came to Walkerton in 1854. They erected a frame building for their church on Catherine Street, which subsequently has been used as the Orange Hall. The Wesleyan Methodists sent their first missionary, the Rev. John Hutchinson, to Walkerton in 1860. They built for themselves a brick church on Catherine Street, which was opened October 23rd, 1870. This building afterwards was used as a public hall, bearing the name of "Rothwell's Hall." These two Methodist bodies were officially united September, 1874. In 1886 they purchased St. Paul's Church from the Presbyterian congregation, which building is still their place of worship. Presbyterianism was represented at an early date by the United Presbyterians and the Church of Scotland. The former had their first church erected in 1851 at Frame's Corners, two and a half miles east of the town, but moved in 1859 to a commodious frame church building built east of the river. This was used until the congregation erected the brick church on the corner of Cayley and Colborne Streets, built in 1875, at first called Free St. John's, but after the union with St. Paul's congregation, in 1886, it was known as Knox Church. In this church was placed, in 1896, the first pipe organ known to Walkerton. The Rev. R. C. Moffat, D.D., was the pastor of this congregation until the union with St. Paul's. The congregation known as St. Paul's was originally formed in connection with the Church of Scotland. This was organized about 1869 by the Rev. M. W. McLean, who came from Paisley at intervals, holding service in Waterson's Hall at first, afterwards in the Court House. This congregation entered into their handsome church building in 1877, the Rev. Dr. Bell being their pastor at that time. The following are the reverend gentlemen who have had charge of the united Presbyterian congregation of Knox Church: [The Jubilee services of this congregation were held in September, 1901.] Rev. John James, D.D., Rev. Donald Guthrie, Rev. J. S. Conning and the Rev. Thomas Wilson. The spiritual needs of our Roman Catholic brethren were at an early date attended to by a French priest, who held services in the house of one known as "protestant" John Smith. The brick church they now occupy was erected in 1874, and the convent building adjoining was opened in 1879, the first resident priest being Father Keough, who came to Walkerton in 1872 and remained in charge of this parish until 1877.

The press first became an institution in Walkerton in 1861, when the Bruce Herald was established by W. T. Cox, who sold it in 1863 to Wm. Brown, who conducted it until 1883. Since then it has been under the proprietorship of Messrs. Kribs & Wesley, W. Wesley, W. R. Telford, and at present of L. H. McNamara. [During the excitement attending the war in South Africa, there was issued a small daily sheet from the Herald office, bearing the title, Daily War News. The issue of this commenced January 29th, 1900, and ceased May 7th following, owing to the excitement to some extent having diminished. This has been the only attempt in the way of publishing a daily paper within the county. ] The Walkerton Telescope was established in December, 1869, by D. W. Ross, and subsequently was conducted by Wallace Graham, Joseph Craig, D. C. Sullivan, T. H. Preston, J. B. Sheppard, A. Eby,. J. B. Stephens, and at present by A. W. Robb. Die Glocke, published in the German language, was first issued by John Klein in February, 1870. The paper was sold by him to A. Eby and J. A. Rittinger. Subsequently it passed into the hands of J. A. Rittinger solely, who continued to publish it until June, 1903, when the plant was moved to Berlin. The Times, the latest addition to the newspapers of the town, conducted by W. Wesley, was first issued in September, 1905.

Like most inland towns; lacking cheap and speedy freight communication with outside markets, Walkerton did not rank high as a local market until the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway had opened a station there. The local papers prior to that time published the market quotations of Port Elgin, Kincardine and Guelph, as well as the prices for grain that were offered by S. & T. H. Noxon & Co. at their flour mill. It may be of interest to compare the prices as given in the papers issued one week previous to grain buyers being able to make use of the railway for shipping purposes, and those of a week subsequent to that event, and note what a gain to the farmers resulted from the opening of the railway, the price of fall wheat at the various markets being that here given: At Walkerton $1.05, at Port Elgin $1.12, at Kincardine $1.15, and at Guelph $1.25. The following week the prices at Walkerton were at a level with those ox Port Elgin and Kincardine. The first locomotive to reach the town of Walkerton did so November 30th, 1871, it being one used by the contractors in the construction of the road; nevertheless, it was the advent of the "Steam Horse," and was hailed with great joy and celebrated by a supper at Water-son's Hotel. The first train carrying freight from Walkerton left the station on the 10th February, 1872, and the railway was opened for passenger traffic August 5th following. The following extract from the Bruce Herald of January 26th, 1872, gives an idea of the change brought to Walkerton by the opening of the railway: "The sight of a number of teams on the streets with wheat, pork, etc., for sale is something new to Walkerton. There has probably been purchased within the last ten or twelve days on our streets more grain than there ever was since the place came into existence. Hitherto Walkerton has been so situated that, unless for home consumption, it offered little inducement as a market. The produce of this section went from it in all directions,—to Southampton, Kincardine, Seaforth, and Guelph. The railway is about to change all this, and give the farmers a market at their doors."

The prospect of Walkerton becoming a point where large quantities of grain would be offered for sale by the farmers, induced Thomas Adair, at that time engaged in grain buying at Southampton, to come to Walkerton to engage in the same business there; he and John Bruce seem to have been the first to purchase at Walkerton for export.

Walkerton has always had cause to regret that the railway station was placed at such a distance from the town, the reason therefor being largely, it is understood, because speculators held the lands in the vicinity of the Carrick Road at too high a figure. As soon as it was definitely known where the railway station was to be, the town took steps to have streets surveyed to it, which resulted in a great deal of discussion as to the position of such streets, but at last McGiverin and Ridout Streets as they now are were laid out. The amount to pay for the right of way and construction of these streets was raised by debentures, the by-law for which was voted upon December 20th, 1871. The amount so raised was $1,500. [The W. G. & B. Railway gave $1,250 to assist in construction of these streets.] The first-mentioned street was named after W. McGiverin, the President of the W. G. & B. Railway, and the latter after the Chief Engineer, Thomas Ridout. [A. H. Ridout, agent of the Bank of Hamilton, Port Elgin, is a son of the above.]

The county town question having been settled, the agency of the Commercial Bank of Canada, which had been located in Southampton for some time, was moved in June, 1867, to Walkerton. Unfortunately, in October of the same year this bank failed. The inconvenience, arising therefrom was overcome when, about a year later the Merchants Bank established an agency at Walkerton. In January, 1877, the Canadian Bank of Commerce opened a branch there also, since which time the town has not lacked for banking facilities.

The loss by fire of the foundry in May, 1871, stirred up the people of the town to take steps to ward off similar disasters in the future, and they shortly afterwards purchased a hand fire engine from the town of Brantford; this reached Walkerton' in August following. To pay for the engine and for the construction of water tanks, debentures were issued December 26th, 1871, for $2,000. Hand fire engines have but a limited power; this Walkerton learnt to its sorrow when it experienced its heaviest loss by fire, an event which is still remembered and spoken of as "the big fire," which occurred May 28th, 1877, starting early in the afternoon of that day in a stable situated back of where the present postoffice stands. Favored by a high wind, it spread with marvellous rapidity, defying the modest fire-fighting appliances above referred to. It swept over a large part of the business section of the town, destroying forty-two buildings. The losses were heavy, but most bravely the sufferers set to work to rebuild, and eventually buildings of a finer and more substantial character were erected to replace those destroyed. With the construction of a fine system of waterworks in 1891, [In August, 1877, as a result of ''the big fire,'' a by-law was submitted to the ratepayers to authorize the expenditure of $11,000 on a system of waterworks, which failed to carry.] at a cost considerably exceeding $30,000 (the first estimated cost), a repetition of such another conflagration is not to be dreaded; whilst, in addition, the town enjoys the blessing of an abundant supply of the purest drinking water. The establishment of the system of waterworks was followed by a system of sewerage. A large trunk sewer [The county contributed $2,000 toward the cost of this sewer,. the Inspector of Prisons having ordered that a sewer from the gaol be laid.] was laid on Durham and Jackson Streets in 1895, and subsequent years have seen the system extended until a large part of the town is now supplied with this sanitary convenience.

Walkerton, for a town of its size, is fortunate in possessing a number of handsome public buildings. Those erected by the municipality include a handsome town hall (erected 1897), three large two-story brick school-houses, and an extensive Exhibition Building. The government erected in 1890 a fine building for a post-office, customs and inland revenue offices. The county buildings (erected in 1866), while not as large or impressive as those at Stratford or Woodstock, are convenient and provide ample accommodation. The House of Refuge (erected 1898) commands the attention of those who enter the town by the station road, being a building of architectural good taste, as well as of commodious accommodation. The Bruce County General Hospital (erected in 1903) had its origin in a bequest of the late W. J. Moore. The amount bequeathed has been increased by a grant of $2,000 from the town, and one of $1,500 from the county, as well as by numerous private subscriptions. Further particulars are to be found in Chapter VIII. regarding the founding of this institution.

A number of isolated minor facts relating to the history of and development of Walkerton may properly conclude this chapter.

For a long time in the early days a town-bell was a felt want. At last someone was stirred up to take action, which resulted in a public meeting being held to discuss the matter, the upshot of which was the passing around of a subscription list, to which the town people readily responded to the extent of about $200. This fund was increased by receipts from "Sixpenny Readings," held in the court house, and from other sources, until the necessary amount, in the vicinity of $275, was raised. Alexander Sproat, M.P., succeeded in obtaining from the government permission for the bell to be imported free of duty. When it reached the town in the summer of 1870 it was placed on a high derrick, erected in the court house grounds, and was rung, as required, by William Richardson, the caretaker, until removed in March, 1873, to the market square. At present it hangs in the tower of the town hall.

The property which now comprises the public park known as "The Bend" was sold at sheriff's sale in May, 1874. The mayor was instructed to act for the town, and purchase it at a price not exceeding $400. This action of the Council in securing such a lovely spot for a public park will be gratefully commended by the future generations that use it as a recreation ground. [Since the above was written it has been decided to allow the C.P.Ry. to build its station on "The Bend."]

No provision had been made when the town was first surveyed for a cemetery. Burying grounds in connection with the several churches met this need for a time, but at best it could be but a temporary procedure. This fact forced itself upon the citizens, who in 1877 commenced to take action in the matter. After much discussion as to the proper location for a cemetery, the present ground was secured and the first lots therein were offered for sale in July, 1879.

The Walkerton Public Library, or to call it by the name it bore at first, the Mechanics' Institute, was organized November 19th, 1875. After varying vicissitudes a free public reading room in connection therewith was thrown open to the public. The Town Council also installed it on the ground floor of the town hall when that building was opened in 1898.

The first steps to organize a Board of Trade date back to February 14th, 1872, immediately after the opening of the railway for freight shipments. In January, 1878, it came under the general act of incorporation passed by the Dominion Government regarding Boards of Trade. It has on various occasions been of much benefit in advancing the interests of the town, as it is able to voice in a manner that carries weight the ideas of business men of the place. It was possibly owing to the influence of the Board of Trade that Walkerton was made a port of entry for customs on June 1st, 1878.

The wires of the Montreal Telegraph Company reached Walkerton in 1868. Sixteen years later those of the Bell Telephone Company followed, local service being established in 1884, and in 1886 the town enjoyed the privilege of service with other towns and cities. Arc electric lamps were introduced in October, 1886, for the lighting of the streets, churches and shops, and eight years after the incandescent system was established and largely adopted for private residences.

Walkerton has taken an interest for many years in athletic sports. The oldest society it can boast which is extant under this heading is the curling club, which was organized in February, 1870. [Before the curlers organized into a club they played many a friendly game on the ice covering the mill-pond. The."stanes" were blocks of wood, turned, when possible, from a large knot. To these were attached iron handles manufactured by a local smith. The "stanes" being clumsy to carry and being of no monetary value, were left on the ice after the close of each game during the curling season. This was done once too often. A sudden thaw came on, followed by a freshet, and ice and "stanes" together went over the dam and disappeared down the river. This disaster could not damp the ardor of the lovers of the "roaring game," but had the effect of a club being formed, with the use of regulation stones in a rink.] The first skips appointed were John Bruce and Alexander Sproat. The old drill-shed was used every winter to curl in (being used, as well, as a skating rink). With the practice there acquired this club became prominent in this district, and in 1890 carried off the Ontario Silver Tankard, in competition with the best clubs in the province. The banner awarded them at that time, with the names of the successful players embroidered thereon, has for years hung in the office of the manager of the Bank of Commerce. Walkerton's Bowling Club in 1888 carried off the silver medal at a tournament held at Toronto, open to all clubs in the province. The cricket, baseball and lacrosse teams of Walkerton have in various years obtained a high record for their efficiency, to the great jubilation of the town.

The first apology for sidewalks known to Walkerton consisted of plank platforms placed in front of each shop. By-and-bye, when the stumps were cut out, these were connected and extended, until the plank sidewalks on the various streets were over several miles in length. As long as lumber could be procured at a moderate price, such sidewalks answered well enough, but 'with increased prices for plank a change had to be made. In 1891 the first granolithic walk was laid alongside the post-office. Each year since then has witnessed a further extension of this enduring and satisfactory kind of sidewalk, until in 1905 over five miles of it have been laid, adding greatly to the appearance of the streets. The practice of removing all fences in front of residences, commenced in 1897. This, combined with the large number of shade trees [To encourage the planting of shade trees, the town council passed a by-law (June 18th, 1877) offering to pay twenty-five cents, on certain conditions, for each tree so planted along the streets of the town.] gives the citizens of Walkerton cause to boast of the beauty of the street of their town.

During the summer of 1906 the Canadian Pacific Railway announced its intention of constructing a branch line from the vicinity of Flesherton to Walkerton. This announcement was quickly followed by work being commenced. At the time of writing the closing pages of this work such progress has been made in the grading of the road as to warrant the assurance that in 1907 Walkerton will possess all the advantages that may be had from the presence of competing lines of railway.


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