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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Village of Lucknow


[The village of Lucknow bears the name of the city in India around which so much interest centred in the days of the Indian Mutiny, which was fresh in the minds of all at the time of the survey of the village. A number of its streets are named after prominent generals in the Indian Army.]

The present thriving village of Lucknow owes its origin to an offer made by the government of a grant of two hundred acres of land to any one who would erect a mill on the Nine-Mile River near the spot where it crossed the Woolwich and Huron Road, which road forms the boundary line between Kinloss and Wawanosh. This offer was closed with by J. Eli Stauffer, a German from Waterloo County, mentioned in the preceding chapter as one of the first settlers on the Durham Road in the township of Kinloss. It was in 1856-57 that Mr. Stauffer erected the dam and sawmill. The latter could hardly be called a first-class mill, but it supplied a much-felt need of the adjoining townships in Huron and Bruce. One of the first to settle near the mill was Ralph Miller, who in April, 1858, purchased a small parcel of land from Mr. Stauffer, on which he built a log tavern, that went by the name of the "Balaclava House." James Somerville, [James Somerville was born at Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1825 and came to Canada in 1841, with his parents, who settled at Dundas. He there learned the trade of a millwright. In 1851 he moved to Wawanosh and built a sawmill, between what is now Belfast and St. Helens Mr Somerville, in 1858, secured Mr. Stauffer's mill and right to the land' From that date he continued to be associated with Lucknow until his death which occurred September 19th, 1898. In 1872 he was the Reform candidate for the House of Commons for North Huron, but was defeated In 1882 he again was a candidate, this time for West Bruce, and was successful Mr. Somerville also sat in the township councils of Wawanosh and Kinloss.] who deservedly is entitled to be called the founder of the village, was probably living there at the time the agreement for this sale was drawn out, as his name appears thereon as witness to the signatures. During the summer of 1858 Mr. Somerville, having purchased from Mr. Stauffer the mill and his right to the land, had the south halves of lots 57, 58, 59 and 60 on the first concession of Kinloss surveyed into village lots. The date of the registering of this plan is September 21st, 1858. [It seems strange that the Crown patent was not secured before the survey was made. It was April 2nd, 1862, before the patent for the south halves of 57 and 58 was issued to M. C. Cameron, and March 23rd, 1863, when the patent for the south halves of 59 and 60 was issued to James Somerville.] This plan shows both a saw and a grist mill, the latter built, in all probability, that summer by Mr. Somerville. On September 1st, 1858, the village lots were offered at auction, and the ceremony of naming the place was celebrated by a salute of twenty-oneówe cannot say gunsóbut of explosions of that number of charges of gunpowder, placed in large auger-holes bored in good-sized trees standing in the village plot. The survey of the village lots on the Ashfield and Wawanosh side of the village [It was in October, 1854, that the lands in Ashfield and Wawanosh, now in the village of Lucknow, were settled upon by Daniel Webster and James Henderson respectively.] was not made until the early spring of 1861.

The first merchant in Lucknow was Malcolm Campbell, who commenced business in 1859. He was also the first postmaster, the post-office being established shortly after he came to the village. Other merchants, foreseeing the possibilities of development at this point, opened up business shortly after Mr. Campbell had done so. Half a dozen years after the post-office was established the following were carrying on business as merchants at Lucknow: In addition to Malcolm Campbell there was Walter Armstrong, Bingham & Little, Alex. Murray, Charles Secord and John Treleaven. The grist and sawmills were then being operated by Walter Treleaven and Messrs. Lees & Douglas ran a wool-carding mill. The population was then (1866) placed at 430. The village received quite an impetus in the same year from the construction of the gravel road northward through the township of Kinloss, which had the effect of bringing to Lucknow much of the trade of the township that had previously gone to Kincardine. The next forward step of note made by the village was the result of the opening of the railway in 1873. No doubt the business men of the village have complained loudly and deeply at the poor service that the railway has given them at times; but it should be borne in mind that it is the railway that has made Lucknow a grain market, and the shipping point for the produce of the farms situated for miles north and south of the village. It also has given the shipping facilities which induced manufacturers to there establish factories. In fact, it is the railway which has made Lucknow the flourishing village of to-day.

The initial step taken with a view to Lucknow becoming a separate municipality was made in December, 1863, when, on petition of James Somerville and twenty-three others, the United Counties Council erected it into a police village.

The incorporation of the village of Lucknow was an event that created a commotion unusual in the ordinary routine of procedure as laid down in the Municipal Act for the incorporation of villages. This arose from the fact of the village being located partly in the county of Bruce and partly in the county of Huron. The convenience of the inhabitants would perhaps have been secured to a greater extent by being united to Huron, as the county town would then be but twenty-two miles distant. But Bruce had an interest in retaining the village as part of the territory of the county. The arguments used on this side were: That the majority of the inhabitants and three-fifths of the area of the village were on the Bruce side of the county line; that the bulk of the business of the village came from, and would continue to come from, the Bruce side, and this as the result of gravel roads constructed at the cost of the county at large; and, lastly, that the large railway bonus paid by Bruce would, if the separation take place, be for the benefit of a village in another county. This last argument, especially, made the Bruce County Council strongly oppose loss of territory at this point. But politics had possibly the largest share in influencing the decision finally reached. The member for South Bruce (B. M. Wells) had received at election times strong support at Lucknow, and he was unwilling to submit to the loss of so many votes as the placing of it in another electoral division involved, and so his influence, though unapparent, was felt in the contest. With so many interests at work, no wonder that a year passed before a settlement was arrived at. The history of the proceedings was, so far as the author has been able to trace, as follows: "At a meeting of the ratepayers of the village held in the spring of 1873, a motion was unanimously passed that the necessary steps be taken to have the village incorporated and annexed to the county of Huron. Messrs. B. Graham and R. Clendening were appointed delegates to bring the matter before the Huron County Council, and Messrs. James Somerville and Robert Hunter were to act in the same capacity before the Bruce County Council. The prayer of the petition was acceded to by each of these bodies, and both councils on the same day (June 7th, 1873) passed a by-law incorporating the village of Lucknow and annexing it to the county which it represented. When it became apparent that a deadlock was likely to ensue on account of this dual annexation, and the question would have to be decided by the Governor-in-Council, the Bruce County Council appointed the warden (Robert Baird) and Robert Purves as delegates to go to Toronto in the interests of the county. The first Village Council (elected in January. 1874) at an early meeting passed a motion to memorialize the Lieut-Governor to have the village annexed to Huron County. Meanwhile the people of the townships of Huron and Kinloss, who did their trading at Lucknow, gave emphatic expression to the business men of the village of their opinion, that it would be an unjust act to have Lucknow, which had been largely built up by their trade, severed from their common county and united to another. These pronounced expressions of opinion produced an effect, and many in the village were prepared to accede to the wishes of their customers; prominent among those willing to do so were Malcolm Campbell, Robert Graham and Dr. MacCrimmon. On the other hand an equal number held out that to be united to the county of Huron was for the interests of the village. The leaders of this party were James Somerville, Thomas Lawrence and J. Treleaven. Each of the parties sent largely signed petitions to the Lieut.-Governor presenting their views for his consideration. Excitement in the village ran high; in fact, so many bitter feelings were engendered at this time, as the result of the hotly fought controversy, that years passed before they were smoothed away. Finally a meeting was called of the ratepayers, in hope of an agreement being reached. After each side had presented its side of the question, a vote was taken, which gave a majority of one in favor of the village being annexed to Bruce. This vote was challenged on the ground that one who was not a qualified ratepayer had voted for Bruce. In April, 1874, at the suggestion of the authorities at Toronto, so it is said, another vote 'was taken, which resulted in a majority of two being obtained for union with the county of Huron. Notwithstanding this final vote, the Lieut.-Governor, on June 11th, 1874, issued a proclamation annexing the incorporated village of Lucknow to the county of Bruce. A week prior to the issuing of the proclamation, a telegraph message announcing the decision arrived at was received by the warden, and read to the Bruce County Council, then in session; when it was moved that the reeve from Lucknow do now take his seat at the Council board. Up to this date (June 4th, 1874) Lucknow was unrepresented at the County Council of either county. In January, 1875, the respective wardens of Huron and Bruce met with the reeve of Lucknow, and after consultation agreed that the proportionate share of the liabilities of the county of Huron chargeable to Lucknow was twelve hundred dollars. This the county of Bruce assumed, and payment was made in two instalments.

The first Village Council (elected January, 1874) was composed of M. Campbell, reeve; and Thomas Lawrence, Charles Mooney, Alex. McIntyre and Walter Treleaven, councillors. The joint offices of clerk and treasurer were conferred upon George T. Burgess. In a footnote are given the names of the reeves and officers of the municipality from its organization until 1906. [List of reeves of the village of Lucknow, with years of office : M. Campbell, 1874, '75, '76, '77; D. A. MacCrimmon, M.D.,' 1878; George Kerr' 1879, '80, '81, '82; D. Campbell, 1883, '84, '85; J. S. Tennant, M.D., 1886' '87; R. Graham, 1888; James Bryan, 1889, '90, '91, '92, '93; James Lyons' 1894, '95, 96; J. G. Murdoch, 1897, '98, '99; William Taylor, 1900; William Allan, 1901, '02, '04, '05; A. D. Davidson, 1903; J. G. Anderson. 1906. List of village treasurers: G; T. Burgess, D. E. Cameron, George A Siddall, and John Murchison, at present in office. List of village clerks: G. T. Burgess, W. H. Smith, Brown Mallough Hugh Morrison, and P. A. Malcolmson, at present in office.]

The building first used as a town hall was properly known as the Temperance Hall. The land on which it stood was given by James Somerville, at an early date, to a temperance society that they might erect a hall thereon. This they did in or about 1862. The present town hall was built in 1885, [The formal opening was on May 24th, 1886.] at a cost of $4,500. It contains a fire-hall and a lock-up on the ground floor. Over these, in the second storey, is a commodious hall, suitable for public meetings and entertainments. Unfortunately, the plan of this structure was defective in respect to the roof, which, after the building was completed, had to be given additional support in a way that has marred the appearance of the auditorium. In the present year (1906) an arrangement was made with Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire, famous for his gifts to public libraries, who has donated $7,500 for a public library building. The building to be erected will be 50 x 80 feet in size. To all intents and purposes it will be the town hall of the future, as in addition to giving accommodation for a public library it will provide an auditorium and a board-room. The latter will be used by the Village Council to meet in. The village, for its part in the agreement with Mr. Carnegie, undertakes to furnish the site and to make an annual grant of $750 toward the maintenance of the library and hall.

The first public school building known to the village was a modest frame building 24 x 30 feet, erected in 1862. The pupils in attendance there were at first wholly from Kinloss. Three or four years later a union school section was formed by the adding of parts of the townships of Ashfield and Wawanosh. The first to teach in the new building was a Mr. Middleton. [Before the erection of the school building, school was held in a building on Campbell Street, previously used as a tannery.] In 1865-6 the teacher was D. A. MacCrimmon (now Dr. MacCrimmon, of Ripley). He was succeeded by James Warren, P.L.S. (of Walkerton), Angus McCharles (a prominent son of Huron Township, lately deceased), Charles Cliff (of the Wingham Advocate) and others. The last principal in the old school-house and the first in the new was C. Priest. He was succeeded by P. M. McEachern (now the Presbyterian minister at Glammis). D. D. Yule succeeded him, and continued as the principal of the school for seventeen years. Mr. Joseph Stalker, who entered upon his duties in 1902, is the present principal of the school. The commodious eight-room school-house now in use was built in 1878. The erection of this building necessitated the issue of the first debentures sold by the village. In a footnote these are to be found included in a list of all debentures issued by the village corporation.

[List of Debentures Issued by the Village of Lucknow.
In 1878, for school building and furnishing, $10,113.
In 1885, for town hall, $4,500.
In 1890, for waterworks, $10,000.
In 1890, for Cliffe & Forester loan, $5,000.
In 1902, for granolithic sidewalks, $7,100.
In 1905, for granolithic sidewalks, $3,785.]

Lucknow has on different occasions suffered severely by fire, which destroyed important sections in the business part of the village. The first of these serious losses occurred in 1864. Some time in the seventies a good hand fire-engine was purchased by the village. Ten years later, when a proposition was made to invest in a steam fire-engine, public opinion decided that the wisest thing to do would be to instal permanent waterworks for fire protection. This was done in 1890. Since then at the pump-house steam is kept up all the time. The numerous 'hydrants are favorably located, giving an assurance of a bountiful supply of water if a fire should break out. The result of this has been a marked reduction in insurance rates. In addition to the above, the village annually, from 1875 to 1890, inclusive, paid the sum of $130 as its share of the debentures given by the county as a bonus to the Southern Extension Railway.

The earliest public religious services held in the vicinity of Lucknow were conducted by a Presbyterian elder of the name of Campbell, who resided in Ashfield. This was at a time prior to that when roads had been cut through the forest, so the elder and his flock had of necessity to find their way to and from the place of meeting by the blaze on the trees. The Wesleyan Methodists organized a congregation at Lucknow in 1862, of which the Rev. David Ryan was the first minister. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. W. Eraser, and he by the Rev. Wm. Tucker. The New Connexion Methodists were organized into a congregation in 1865, the Rev. John Walker being the minister. The present handsome church edifice on the corner of Campbell and Havelock Streets, erected in 1885, in which the Methodist congregation worships, was preceded by a much less pretentious building of rough-cast, which did service as a place of worship for a number of years. Although Lucknow has always had a large Scotch element in its population, it was some time before a Presbyterian congregation was formed within the village, the "big" church (or South Kinloss congregation), just outside the village, being where the Presbyterians attended services. Sometimes, however, the minister at the "big church" held evening services in the village. About the time (1869) that the Rev. J. McNabb resigned the pastorate of the South Kinloss congregation, steps were taken by the Presbyterian residents of the village to there erect a church building. The result of these efforts was a good-sized frame edifice, known as Knox Church. Soon after the settlement of the Rev. Mr. Cameron at South Kinloss some of the leading members from the village separated from the congregation. Not obtaining what they wanted from the Presbytery of Huron, they applied to the Church of Scotland in Canada, and were erected into a congregation that bore the name of St. Andrew's, Lucknow, which built for itself a neat stone church. [After the union of the two Presbyterian congregations in the village the building was sold to the Baptists. At present it is owned and occupied by the Roman Catholic congregation.] The Rev. I. B. Taylor was the first minister, but he resigned after a pastorate of seven or eight years, and was succeeded by the Rev. John McNabb in 1882. In 1886 the Rev. Mr. Cameron, who continued his ministry in Knox Church, Lucknow, after resigning (in 1881) the South Kinloss part of his charge, and Mr. McNabb both resigned in order to afford the two congregations in the village the opportunity of uniting, which they did in September, 1886. In 1887 the united congregation called the Rev. Angus McKay, and in 1888-9 built the present large and substantial brick church. On Mr. McKay's resignation in 1904 the present pastor, the Rev. D. T. L. McKerroll, entered upon the pastorate of this large congregation. The Church of England at Lucknow is known as St. 'Peter's, and was erected in 1878.

It was in the first week of January, 1874, that The Lucknow Sentinel published its initial issue. Since then, week by week, this chronicle of the local events of village and country has been issued. The first proprietors were Messrs. Bowers and Hunt. In a short time the paper passed into the hands of D. B. Boyd, who conducted it for two or three years. On his death his widow continued to publish it until her marriage to James Bryan. For nearly three decades Mr. Bryan filled the editorial chair of the Sentinel, until he sold his interest in the paper to Mr. Albert McGregor, in October, 1906.

Ever since the railway has been in operation Lucknow has been a good market where the farmer could sell his grain and other farm produce. J. G. Smith was one of the first to be prominent as a grain buyer after the advent of the railway. Prior to that event merchants purchased grain, pork and other produce largely "for trade." To dispose of their purchases they had to team them to Goderich for shipment.

The author, lacking that intimate and personal acquaintance with the citizens of Lucknow, past and present, which might enable him to refer to them individually in these pages, must touch but lightly on such a topic. For a number of years the village possessed among its citizens a trio of medical doctors that stood out prominently. Dr. D. A.. MacCrimmon, as chief of the Caledonia Society, is referred to elsewhere. Dr. J. H. Garnier, noted as an ornithologist, possessed a collection of stuffed birds which numbered over twenty thousand, and Dr. J. S. Tennant, councillor and reeve of the village, and Conservative candidate for South Bruce, whose sudden death, September 12th, 1902, was so deeply lamented. Another old and worthy citizen, the local bard, is Robert Graham. What old curler is there in this part of the province but knows J. B. Hunter and the rinks of keen curlers that stood by him on the ice playing the "roaring game," one of the sports for which Lucknow has made a name for itself.

If there is anything which more than another has bestowed on the village of Lucknow an almost continental fame it is the Lucknow Caledonian Society. It is an acknowledged truism the world over, that the Scot, wherever his lot may be cast, cherishes with enthusiasm everything of a national character, its language, history, poetry, songs, pastimes, sports, and also the national costume. There are few sections, if any, in the province more thickly settled with Scotchmen, or those of Scottish descent, than the townships in the vicinity of Lucknow. These conditions existing, it only required a few leading spirits to inaugurate and maintain an organization the aim of which would be to develop and perpetuate everything characteristic of Scottish sentiment, life and practice. Who was the first to suggest the formation of the Lucknow Caledonia Society the author cannot say. [The records of the society have unfortunately suffered loss from fire on two occasions. The author is indebted for the facts of the society to Chief MacCrimmon and his successor, Chief Alex. MacPherson, and John Murchison, late financial secretary of the society.] The society, however, was enthusiastically inaugurated during the winter of 1874-5. Provision was made in the constitution for extending help to Scotchmen in need or to their families, also for the development of national sentiment by the holding of Scotch concerts, banquets and balls, and for what became the most prominent feature in the history of the society, the holding of annual gatherings for athletic sports. It was the success that attended these gatherings, celebrated on the second Wednesday in September in each year for twenty years, that gave the society a widely extended fame, and caused Lucknow to be appreciatively spoken of in many a far distant group of Scotia's sons. That these gatherings were so successful and so largely attended may be attributed, primarily, to the enthusiastic Scottish element of the adjoining district and to the untiring efforts of the officers to provide attractive features. [The Lucknow Caledonian Society was instrumental in inducing the following to visit America and be present at their gatherings: Donald Dinnie, the leading athlete of Scotland; also Geo. Davidson, another famous athlete; the champion Scottish piper, Wm. McLennan, was another who left Scotland on a visit at the solicitation of the Society. Duncan C. Ross a noted athlete from the United States, was an annual competitor in the' sports for several years. In 1881 one of the attractions was Piper Joseph Hendry, late of the 78th Highlanders, the sound of whose pipes were the first assurance the besieged in Lucknow (India) had of the nearness of the troops sent for their relief at the time of the Mutiny.] Then the management at all the gatherings was excellent, and everything promised in the programmes was carried out. With all this there was accorded a hearty, liberal support by the people of the village to the efforts of the society. Among those connected with the Society at its inception were the following: Donald A. MacCrimmon, M.D., [Dr. MacCrimmon was chief of the society from its formation until he left Lucknow, in 1890, excepting one year, when he was absent in Europe taking a post-graduate course. The doctor is a native of Glengarry, Ontario, where he was born in 1838. His first association with Lucknow was as the teacher of the public school, which position he held in 1865 and 1866. He resigned to take up the study of medicine. On obtaining his degree he commenced to practice in Lucknow, remaining there until 1890, when he moved to Underwood. After a sojourn there of five years he took up his residence at Ripley, where he at present resides. There is no doubt but that the success of the Caledonia Society of Lucknow was largely due to the enthusiasm, energy and personality of Dr. MacCrimmon.] Alex. McPherson, Capt. John McPherson, Alex. McIntyre, Wm. Mcintosh, Allan McDonald, A. D. and A. K. Cameron, Alex. Currie, Dougal McKinnon, Malcolm Campbell, James Findlater, and others. Among other active members who joined the society at a later date might be mentioned John Murchison, D. E. Cameron, George E. Kerr and D. D. Yule. The society held the first of its athletic gatherings in September, 1875. The place where held, both in this and the following year, was at Hugh McKay's grounds. From 1877 to 1880 the Agricultural Society's park was used for this purpose. After that all the gatherings were held at Lome Park, a property purchased by the society. This park has an area of six acres, and is situated in the south-west corner of the village. It is admirably adapted for the objects the society had in view when purchasing it. On its south side there is a gradual slope rising to a considerable height, affording ample seating accommodation for thousands of spectators. To add to this the society erected on the west and north sides of the park large grand stands, on which some four thousand persons could be seated. The sward, on which the contests of strength and skill came off, perfectly level and of ample size, lay before the uninterrupted view of all these spectators. On the grounds there were also two platforms, on one of which the dancing for prizes came off; the other was occupied by bands of musicians and pipers, who enlivened the proceedings and filled up all intervals with music. In the park the society also built the Caledonian Hall, a large frame structure of octagonal shape. Of its eight sides each was sixty feet long. This building, erected in 1883, was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1900. The first athletic gathering, as above-mentioned, was held in 1875. About $300 was then offered in prizes. The attendance thereat was so encouraging that in the following year the management felt warranted in increasing the amount offered in prizes by $100. As the gathering in each succeeding year proved to be a greater success than the preceding one, the prizes offered gradually increased in value until in 1883 and 1884 the handsome sum of $1,300 was offered. The attendance at the games increased from hundreds to thousands, until high water mark was reached in 1882, when fully twelve thousand persons attended the games. Such a large attendance could only be secured by the co-operation of the railway company, which in 1878 offered fares at excursion rates; then, as the demand for transport increased, furnished special trains. These would arrive filled to overflowing with enthusiastic Scots, of whom might be quoted the sentiment that headed each annual programme of sports, which was:

"Oh, Canada, I lo'e ye weel,
Altho' nae son o' thine;
Within thy wide domain there beats;
Nae truer heart than mine.
But when a day like this com's roun'
Auld Scotia has her claims;
The thistle aye corn's uppermost,
I'll gang to see the games.''

The main features of the sports were distinctly in accord with the name and objects of the society. Prizes were given to the best performer on the bagpipes, to the best dancer of reels, strathspeys, the Highland fling and sword dance, also to the best dressed man and boy in Highland costume. In feats of strength and skill the prizes offered covered a wide field familiar to all Scottish athletes. Then there was an archery contest for ladies and also a quoiting tournament. The various contests were eagerly watched and the winners were loudly cheered. The excitement reached its climax over the tug-of-war between teams chosen from the men of Bruce and Huron Counties. This was generally the last event on the programme The men are selected with care by each captain. As the muscular fellows that compose each team strip for the event their supporters are loud in prophesying victory for their county. Then when, each team in place and grasping the rope, the word "go" is given, the "tug" commences. Among the spectators the excitement is intense, some of them being so carried away by it that it is with difficulty they are prevented from seizing the rope to help their side to victory. The handkerchief that marks the centre of the rope quivers over the centre line. Each team, encouraged by the cheers of its friends, strains every muscle. Maybe a foot slips, a slight advantage for the other side is thus obtained. Encouraged thereby yet one more effort is put forth, and amid the shouts of thousands a "draw" is made, and their opponents are pulled across the line.

It seems a pity that these annual sports have for the last ten years been given up, but from various causes the Caledonia Society has not the strength it once possessed. Some of its most interested and active members have left the village; many others have become members of "The Sons of Scotland." Weakened as it has thus been, the feature of the annual games has been dropped, let us hope but for a time.


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