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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Town of Southampton

[At the time the name Southampton was bestowed upon the prospective town it did not seem appropriate, as it was then the most northern lake port in the province. Possibly the name was bestowed in the hopes that in its development the town might rival in importance its famous English namesake.]

For a number of years in its early days the village was known by the names of Saugeen or Southampton, one as commonly used as the other. The former was that used by the Post-office and Custom House Departments, as well as by the public generally, while as Southampton it was known by the Crown Lands Department, besides being the name of the village mentioned in the special Act passed for its incorporation. It took many years [[It was 1889 or 1890 before the name of the post-office was changed from Saugeen to Southampton, and 1895 when, as a port of entry, Saugeen was changed to Southampton.] before unanimity was reached as to the name to be used when speaking of the village.

The idea of laying out a town plot at the mouth of the Saugeen River was early thought of by the heads of the Crown Lands Department. Even before a plan for the division of the county into townships had been settled upon the decision to have such a survey made was arrived at. This is indicated by a letter on record among the correspondence of the Department, dated October 1st, 1847, addressed to B. Lynn, P.L.S., directing him to survey a town plot at the mouth of the Saugeen River. Why he did not immediately proceed to carry out these instructions the author cannot say. Four years passed, and it was the summer of 1851 before he made the survey.

The first settlement made at Southampton was in 1848 by Capt, John Spence and William Kennedy, the particulars of which are to be found in Chapter III. [In addition to the biographical incidents relating to Captain John Spence given in Chapter III., it might be stated that he was a skilful, brave seaman, traits of character he markedly exhibited in the rescue of the crew of a large American vessel from a watery grave under most dangerous circumstances. The American Government recognized this heroic act by presenting Capt. Spence with a very fine gold watch.] These two pioneers were before long joined by James Orr and George Butchart. At first they were all engaged in carrying on a fishing business, Spence and Kennedy having purchased of the Niagara Fishing Company its plant and rights at the Fishing Islands. This did not prove a successful venture, and in a few years was dropped. Capt. Spence took to sailing, being in command of a vessel called the Sea Gull. Wm. Kennedy left to engage in a search for Sir John Franklin, James Orr opened a tavern in the village, and George Butchart took up land and started a sawmill at Port Elgin, as related in the next preceding chapter. Among the earliest settlers who came in after the above-mentioned were Alex. McDonald, John McLean, Jos. Gilbert, Peter Brown, John Cooke, Jas. Lambert, Thos. Lee, Robert Reid, Richard Hill and James Calder. The last three mentioned were storekeepers. In August, 1851, Crown Land Agent Alexander McNabb [A biographical sketch of Mr. McNabb is given in a footnote in Chapter V.] and his son, John M. McNabb, arrived at Southampton. His stay that year lasted until the beginning of December. In May of the following year he brought his family to the village to take up their permanent residence there. Among others that settled in the village in those early days, at a slightly subsequent date, might be mentioned John C. Coulson, John Belcher, John Peck, J. M. Kelly and John Ewing.

The winter of 1851-52 opened with sad forebodings for the handful of settlers at Southampton—some dozen or more families—who depended for their supply of the absolute necessaries of life upon what was brought from time to time to the village by sailing vessels from Goderich. As the winter drew on, the supplies were found to be running low. The settlement was relying upon Capt. Alex. McDonald, in command of the Saucy Jack, to bring in, before navigation closed, what flour and other provisions would be required. Unfortunately he delayed his time of sailing too long. His vessel was caught in a gale, and it, with all on board, perished. It was a black outlook for the settlers, some of whom made their way to the older settlements, there to remain for the winter. [Mr. Kennedy, in ''Pioneer Days,'' p. 72, seq., gives a graphic account of their tramp through the snow to Owen Sound.] For those who stayed at the village supplies sufficient to maintain existence were by some means brought through the deep snow and a roadless forest from Owen Sound. Nevertheless, it was a winter of many privations.

A graphic description of Southampton in 1852 is given in a letter written by Mr. Andrew Crawford, a student missionary, sent by the Presbytery of London, to minister to the spiritual needs of the people in this locality. An extract from the letter which bears date May 25th, 1852, is here given:

"Our village (Southampton) is quite a new place; it only rose into existence last summer, and already it numbers about thirty houses. Though but a village at present, Southampton is laid out for a large town, and judging from its situation and other advantages connected with it, this contemplated design may be speedily realized. Many town and park lots have already been taken up, and some excellent frame houses are being erected thereon. The streets are regular and wide; some of them have been opened. Several large reserves have been laid off for churches, schools, market buildings, court-house, a cemetery and other public institutions. There are already three well-filled stores, and even now the inhabitants have the privilege of weekly mail, despatch and arrival. At present a few inconveniences arising from the situation and circumstances of the place are, of course, to be expected and experienced."

A post-office, known as Saugeen, was opened in the village in 1851. The first postmaster was Robert Reid. He held this office until 1857, when Thomas Lee [Thomas Lee settled in Southampton in the spring of 1851. In partnership with his father-in-law, Thomas Godfrey, he built the first bridge over the Saugeen River, on the line of the Elora Road. The bridge was known as Burgess' bridge and crossed the river in the vicinity of what is now known as McCalder's bridge. Besides holding the office of postmaster he was engaged for some years as a forwarder, commission merchant and insurance agent. For many years he was one of the wardens in the Church of England congregation, and was the village treasurer for twenty-six years. His death took place February 20th, 1901.] received the appointment and retained the position until his death in 1901. On January 26th, 1855, the present system of post-office money orders was instituted. Of the 160 offices in Canada at that time authorized to issue such orders, Saugeen was the only one in the county of Bruce. There is no doubt this privilege was on account of the presence of the Crown Land Office in the village. Two years after the establishing of a post-office the government made Saugeen a port of entry for the collection of customs. John McLean was the first officer in charge. That an idea may be obtained of the business done at this port in the early days, the following figures from the returns of 1855 are given: Exports, $629.20; imports, $6,614.02; amount of duties collected in 1855, $843.58. It is said that a great deal of whiskey used to be smuggled in at this point from the United States, and tales are told of the devices to get the officer out of the way while the goods were being landed.

An agency of the Bank of Upper Canada was established at Southampton as early as 1854, Alexander McNabb being the agent. The large payments made on account of land purchases doubtless accounted for the presence of a chartered bank in what at that time was only a small backwoods village. On the failure of the Bank of Upper Canada, the Commercial Bank of Canada opened an agency in Southampton, of which Alex. Proudfoot was agent. His successor was Alex. Sproat. Mr. Sproat was also county treasurer, and when it became necessary for him to remove to Walkerton when it became the county town, he succeeded in taking the agency with him. From that time (June, 1867) until the Bank of Hamilton in 1898 opened an agency in Southampton, the village was without a chartered bank. At the time the provisional County Council commenced to thresh out the county town question (this was in 1857), the village of Southampton considered itself as possibly the premier village of the county because of having resident there the Crown Lands Office and a bank over and above all that Kincardine, its strongest rival, could boast of, except, possibly, in the matter of population, in which Kincardine slightly excelled. Into the fight for the county town Southampton, therefore, entered, with strong hopes of capturing the coveted prize. In addition it had assurances made by government officers that it was certain to be the county town. To strengthen its claims for the coveted honor, incorporation was sought. As the required population did not reside within the proposed limits of the village, this could not be obtained in the manner laid down by statute, so Parliament was asked to pass an Act of incorporation, [22 Vic. Chap. 42.] which was done, July 24th, 1858. The record of the county town contest is given in Chapter VI. There is related how that on two occasions an effort was made to make Southampton the county town of the north half of a divided county. Both of these attempts came to naught, as well as those to make it the county town of the county as a whole.

The election of the first Village Council occurred shortly after incorporation, in the summer of 1858. In a footnote [Reeves of the village of Southampton: James Calder, part of 1858; Thomas Webster, part of 1859; J. T. Conaway, part of 1859, '60, '62, '63, '71, '72, '78, '79; John Eastwood, 1861; Thomas Adair, 1864 to 1868, 1873 to 1877; Alex. Sinclair, 1869, '70; W. S. Scott, M.D., 1880 to 1883, 1888 to 1892; George E. Smith, 1884 to 1887, '93; A. E. Belcher, 1894, '95, part of '96, '98; C. M. Bowman, part of 1896, '97; William McGregor, 1899 to 1902, '04; N. B. Zinkan, 1903. List of mayors of the town of Southampton: A. E. Belcher, 1905, '06.] the names are given of all those who held the honorable position of reeve during the years the municipality ranked as a village. In 1904 the necessary steps were taken to have Southampton raised to the status of a town. A census revealed a population of over 2,400 (but this was at the height of the season of summer visitors), so after the required notice had been given, the Lieutenant-Governor issued a proclamation that Southampton be erected into a town, which proclamation came into effect on Monday, December 26th, 1904. At the election that followed in 1905, A. E. Belcher [Lieut.-Col. Alexander Emerson Belcher was born January 30th, 1844, at Toronto, and came with his parents, to Southampton in 1852, where he received his education at the public school. Possessing a liking for military matters, he, when only fifteen years of age, raised a company of boys, which he drilled. At the time of the Trent affair he joined the Southampton Rifle Company. In 1866 he went with it to Goderich, at the time of the Fenian Raid. In 1868 he attended the Military School and obtained a first-class certificate. In 1895 he was made Honorary Lieut-Colonel of Militia. From 1872 to 1888 he was engaged as a commercial traveller for wholesale houses doing business at Toronto. In 1891 he returned to Southampton, where he has resided since. He has taken an active part in politics, working in the interests of the Conservative party. Being likewise active in the Orange Society, he has held office in the four Grand Lodges of the Order. He was first elected to the village council when only twenty-one years of age, and has been reeve of the village during three years, and was elected its first mayor. Enthusiastic in regard to the history of the county, he has been president of the Historical Society from the beginning. He is also a vice-president of the Bruce Pioneer Society.] was elected the first mayor of the town, an honor conferred upon him again in 1906.

A month after the village was incorporated action was taken to have a town hall. A lot on the west side of Albert Street was secured, on which a building was erected which was used in a twofold capacity, the ground floor being fitted up for school purposes, and the second story as the town hall. This building still exists, and is known as the Masonic Hall. The building now used as a town hall was built in 1862, by private subscriptions, as a drill shed for the Rifle Company organized in the previous year. When the headquarters of this company were removed to Port Elgin the village acquired the building for the purpose of being used as a town hall. It was opened as such by a concert and ball, December 27th, 1873.

In 1855 that part of the town plot lying north of the river was surveyed into village lots. The trouble that arose with the Indians about this survey is referred to in Chapter I.

The author has in his possesion a map of the village of Southampton, dated July 30th, 1857, which outlines the village as it was at that date. There are over 130 houses marked in this plan. At that time the business portion of the village seems to have been north of High Street, on Huron and Grosvenor Streets. On the east side of Huron Street, commencing close to the river, was the Crown Lands Office. A little south of this was the Bank of Upper Canada, and still farther south was the office of the Crown timber agent. In all, there are six shops shown on the plan, two hotels and five warehouses. These last were located near the mouth of the river. Of manufacturing establishments there is shown to be a planing mill (located on the beach near where the mineral water spring is now), a steam sawmill (on the river's edge, east of where the creek from the Little Lake enters it), and a saw and grist mill at the Indian Rapids. No wharf or pier is shown on this plan; but the author has been informed that the owner's of the warehouses had each a landing wharf constructed at the owner's expense and known by his name, as Reid's Wharf, Calder's Wharf, Belcher's Wharf, etc. A little later than this, in 1858, the government built a breakwater north of the river, and at a later date constructed piers on each side of the river. The government report made in 1898-99 shows that the total amounts spent on these works at the mouth of the river amounted to $32,757. Since then there has been a very large expenditure for dredging and deepening the channel. In the sixties a pier was built that extended out into the lake from the beach, at a point a little south of the present pumping station, the remains of which, though under water, are still to be traced. This pier bore the name of the Bogus Dock.

When speaking of the harbor at Southampton the extensive works at Chantry Island are first thought of. In the winter of 1870-71 the contracts for these were let, being for a pier that was to extend from the island towards the shore, and for one from the shore outwards, an opening, forming the entrance to this harbor of refuge being left between these two piers. The contract for the first 500 feet from the island was let to a contractor of the name of Brown; the next 2,200 feet was let to a syndicate composed of Robert Baird, Robert Reid, Robert Walker and Thomas Adair. Andrew Lindsay had the contract for the pier extending from the shore. A large part of this contract he sub-let to Thomas Adair. [Thomas Adair, of whom the author wishes to refer with the kindest memories and as one who was enthusiastic in obtaining material for this Historv, was born December 24th, 1826, a short distance north of Glasgow, Scotland. He, with his father and the rest of the family, in August, 1844, emigrated to Canada, and settled in the township of Dummer, County of Peterboro'. After several years of hard work, some of the time in the lumber shanties, he managed to secure a little ready money. Having heard glowing accounts of the Queen's Bush, he, in the spring of 1849, came to see what the free grants were like. In Chapters III. and XXI. an account is given of his entry and settlement in the township of Brant. He sold his farm there in 1853 and took up land in the township of Saugeen, near Dunblane. After three years' work on his two lots he sold them and bought lot 34, concession 15, in the township of Brant. This he traded for one in Arran. In 1857 he came to Southampton and worked for James Calder, merchant. In 1861 he built a storehouse, and for the next twelve years was engaged in buying grain. From 1871 to 1877 he was engaged on large contracts on the Southampton Harbor piers, along with Andrew Lindsay and others. These contracts proved remunerative, yielding a handsome profit. He left Southampton in 1880, and after a residence of a year at London he moved to Toronto, where he resided until his death, which occurred on Christmas Day, 1901. For ten years Mr. Adair filled the reeve's chair in the village council. He took a very active part in the railway bonus campaign of 1869. He was one of the volunteers who went to the front in 1866, and was in charge of the teamsters that accompanied the Red River expedition, in 1870, as related in Chapter X. Mr. Adair's gifts as a singer were well known throughout the county, and he was often called upon to sing at concerts and church socials. In religion he was a Presbyterian and helped in the organization of the U. P. Church of Brant. He was twice married—his first wife was a Miss Inglis, of Brant. To them were born ten children. His second wife was Miss Margaret Graham, who survived him. Of this union three children were born. In politics Mr. Adair was an enthusiastic Liberal. His remains were brought to Southampton for interment.] The total amount spent on this harbor of refuge by the government closely approximates the large sum of $300,000. Owing to the difficulty of entering under certain conditions of wind and weather, it is not of the service that was anticipated.

The lighthouse at Chantry Island, a circular stone structure, that exhibits its light at a height 94 feet above high water mark, has been sending out its warning and guiding rays over a radius of fifteen miles, since 1859, to the mariners sailing on Lake Huron. Duncan McG. Lambert was the first lighthouse-keeper. On his death the post was given to his son, W. McG. Lambert. On several occasions members of this family have heroically rescued shipwrecked mariners whose vessels have been lost on the shoals surrounding Chantry Island. On September 19th, 1879, in one of these gallant efforts, one of the sons, Boss Lambert, and another of the crew lost their lives through the capsizing of the boat in which they had gone to an attempted rescue.

The Government Meteorological Department is closely associated with the navigation of our Great Lakes, and it will be in place here to mention that one of the large observatories of this department has been stationed at Southampton since 1871. Mrs. and Miss, Stewart, in charge, telegraph thrice daily their reports to the department at Toronto.

The early settlers were not long before they had a school started in the village; 1852 was the year when it was opened, it being the second or third in the county. The first teacher [The author is indebted to Mr. J. McNabb's sketch of the History of the County of Bruce for the name of the first teacher. He also desires to acknowledge the assistance he has received from the frequent historical items Mr. McNabb has contributed to the public press from time to time. Mr. McNabb's knowledge and memory of the events of the early days and early settlers is without an equal within the county of Bruce.] was Nathaniel Squires. He was succeeded by Miss Gooding, of Goderich, and she by James D. McVittie. The school at first met in the log building erected as a Presbyterian Church, which stood in the south-west corner of High and Albert Streets. It was afterwards held in the New Connexion Methodist Church, and after that in what is now the Masonic Hall. The present school building was erected in 1880 at a cost of over $5,000.

The first medical man in Southampton was Dr. A. Walker; then came Dr. H. Haynes, but he in a short time moved to the township of Bruce, and was its reeve for part of 1856. The next who ministered to the ailments of the community was Dr. W. S. Scott, [Dr. W. S. Scott was intimately associated with Southampton for forty-five years. He was a native of the township of Esquesing, where he was born in 1825. After completing his studies, he commenced the practice of medicine at Southampton, in 1855. His kindly, cheerful manner made him popular as a doctor throughout the adjoining townships, in which he possessed an extensive practice. In politics he was a Conservative, and on different occasions was made president of the North Bruce Conservative Association. His death occurred October 18th, 1900. Having been long associated with the Bruce Volunteers, he was given a military funeral under the charge of the officers of the 32nd Bruce Infantry.] who came in 1855, and made Southampton his home during the rest of his life.

The history of the church life of Southampton is not without interest. Owing to the fact of there being a mission at the Indian reserve, as mentioned in Chapter III., the Methodists were on the ground from the very first, and the minister at the reserve held services for the early settlers. The Wesleyan and New Connexion Methodists both organized congregations in the village in 1854. The Rev. George Jacques, William Richardson and Stephen Brownell were the first ministers of the Wesleyan Church. The Rev. S. B. Gundy, William Tindall and Rev. B. Hammersley were the first ministers of the New Connexion congregation. The church buildings erected for each of the congregations were of no great size, only about 20x30 feet. After the union of these two churches a neat brick building was erected, that had a seating capacity for about 200. The congregation grew markedly, and a larger church has long been needed. On September 12th, 1906, the corner-stone was laid of a church building that is expected to cost about $12,000. About half of this sum has been contributed by C. M. Bow man, M.P.P., and appropriately the ceremony of laying the corner-stone was performed by Mrs. Bowman.

No item in connection with the early history of Southampton has been related in the public press more frequently or with more detail than the starting of the Presbyterian congregation there. As it is desirable to collect and preserve these facts in a permanent form, the author here gives them in full. The Rev. J. B. Duncan, the first Presbyterian minister to visit Southampton, arrived there August 5th, 1851, in company with his uncle, Alex. McNabb, the Crown Lands Agent, having journeyed from Goderich in a sailboat. His first public service in the village was held in a house that stood on the site afterwards occupied by the Busby House. Mr. Duncan's sojourn in the village was short, but yet sufficiently long to stir the people up to apply to the Free Church Presbytery of London to be erected into a mission station, which request that body, on October 8th, 1851, agreed to, and resolved to send a missionary. On March 12th, 1852, the Presbytery arranged to send Mr. Archibald Crawford, a theological student, who arrived at Southampton, May 7th following. In a letter written by Mr. Crawford shortly after his arrival, he has the following to say regarding his mission:

"I was particularly pleased, upon landing, to find that the Presbyterians of this place had erected a neat and commodious place of worship, which was receiving the last touches of the tools of the mechanic on the day of our arrival. On the Sabbath, the 16th inst., it was opened for worship and dedicated to the service of our God and Maker. I was kindly assisted on that occasion by the Rev. Mr. Hutchison, Methodist missionary to a company of Chippawa Indians, residing about three miles from this place, and by the Rev. Mr. Kribs, of the Congregational Church mission, Colpoy's Bay. The attendance was highly gratifying, and the collection, too. I rejoice to say that the church has been opened almost free of debt. Last Sabbath we had two diets, which were well attended, on which also our regular collection gave evidence of the liberality of the people. On the morning of that day we opened a Sabbath School, [This was the first Presbyterian Sunday-school established in the county, and probably the first within it of any denomination.] when several teachers and twenty-four children commenced their interesting labors. I am happy to say that Alex. McNabb, Esq., who has done much for this place, has kindly undertaken the superintendence of the school. To-morrow evening I propose opening a Bible Class, where I hope to meet several young people. I have managed to give a service every third Sabbath at a station in the country. Though there are no horses or means of conveyance here, yet I was glad to notice some in church who walked through the bush eight and ten miles."

The church building that Mr. Crawford mentions was built of logs, and stood on lot 8, south of High Street, near where the present post-office is. Its doors and windows were donated by Mr. Alex. McNabb, and were brought from Toronto. Friends in Toronto also contributed to the cost of erecting this building. In 1863 the lot was sold, and the building torn down. Services were then held in the Town Hall on Albert Street. After the union with the United Presbyterian congregation services were held in the building erected by them, which was on Clarendon Street, overlooking the river. In 1887 this building was moved to its present site on Albert Street. Mr. Crawford's stay at Southampton extended over the summer of 1852. In the following summer the Rev. John Scott (afterwards of London and North Bruce) ministered to this flock. In the year 1854 the Rev. James H. McNaughton was inducted into the pastorate of the congregation. He remained for some four years. After he left, the congregation was pastorless for four years until, in December, 1862, the Rev. Andrew Tolmie was inducted. His pastorate extended over thirty-five years. In 1898 the Rev. W. T. Ellison was ordained minister of this charge. His successor is the Rev. R. T. Cockburn, the present minister of the congregation. At one time there was a United Presbyterian congregation in Southampton. Its sole minister was the Rev. D. Waters, and his ministry was during the years 1861, '62 and '63. Patrick J. Hamilton gave to this congregation a lot on Clarendon Street as a church site. The church built thereon was erected free of debt; but Southampton at that time was not large enough for two Presbyterian congregations, and Mr. Waters resigned. The union of the two congregations and the transference of the church property was not accomplished without some hard feelings, which are now, we hope, forgotten.

The Rev. A. H. R. Mulholland, of Owen Sound, is said to have been the first to hold Church of England services in Southampton. About 1856 the Rev. J. P. Hodge was settled over the congregation that had there become organized. He only remained a year or so. After a vacancy, the Rev. J. P. Curran was placed in charge of this parish. Under his efforts a church, a frame building, known as St. Paul's was built. In later years this has given place to the tasteful brick edifice in which this congregation worship.

The first attempt of the press to make itself known within the county was at Southampton, when, in 1856, The Pioneer made its bow to the public. Its existence was, however, of but short duration. David Culbert was the publisher, and he may justly be termed the pioneer printer of the county. In 1859 he sold out to D. McMillan, who published a newspaper known as The Morning Star, but this, too, faded away after an ephemeral existence. F. H. Lynch Staunton, in 1862, commenced to publish The Bruce Vindicator. This paper lasted until 1864, when it, too, ceased to be. After this about twenty years passed, and the village was without a newspaper of its own. Job printing was carried on during part of this time by David Culbert, who at last, in 1888, commenced the publication of The Pioneer (No. 2). This was two years after The Beacon had been successfully launched. There was no room for two papers in the village, and Mr. Culbert's venture collapsed. "William Graham was the founder of The Beacon, which is now published by Ernest E. Short.

The first manufacturing industry that Southampton possessed was a steam sawmill, started in 1853. It is that mentioned in a previous paragraph, where a plan of the village as it was in 1857 is spoken of. Messrs. Lines & Hamilton were the owners. This mill was burnt down. When rebuilt it was operated as a steam grist mill and distillery by William Brady. The mill privilege at the Indian Rapids was taken up by Messrs. Lines & Hamilton in 1852 or '53, and transferred by them in 1854 to Messrs. Dalton & McNabb, of Toronto, who, in the following year, commenced the construction of a mill race. They also erected and partially enclosed a building intended for a grist mill. In 1856 they sold their rights to the mill privilege and the improvements to John Denny, who in that year cut a road through the bush to the village and moved his family in. By the spring of 1857 Mr. Denny had the grist mill in operation. In 1859 the sawmill was completed, and in 1865 the woollen mill was running. The head of water at first was not obtained by a dam thrown across the river, as at present, but by one that from the headgates ascended the river about mid-stream, to a sufficient distance to obtain the required head. Mr. Denny continued to operate these mills for many years, after which he retired to Toronto. This water privilege was purchased in 1897 by the Saugeen Electric Light and Power Company, and the power developed furnishes electric current for lighting purposes to the town of Southampton and the village of Port Elgin.

The opening paragraphs of this chapter refer to fishing as the initial industry of Southampton. For many years it was also the most prominent, employing many men and a large amount of capital. The importance of this industry is apparent by a return made in 1885, which gives the number of men employed as 70, manning 18 boats, in which and their outfit some $30,000 of capital was invested. The day of the sailing fishboat is passing away, and steam tugs are replacing them. The latest statistics that are available to the author are for the year 1899. There were then engaged in the fishing business of this port five steam fishing tugs and five sailing fishboats. The tugs averaged about 40 tons measurement, and carried crews of five or six men. The outfit of each of these tugs in the way of nets, etc., was worth about $4,000. The outfit of a sailing fishboat was worth from $500 and upwards. The names of the Southampton fishermen indicate that many are of Scotch descent, such as McAulay, McLeod, McKenzie, Murray, Graham, and Logie, while others have names such as Dobson, Chambers, Foster, etc., which show that the Scotch do not have a monopoly of this occupation, involving so many hardships and so many ups and downs of fortune.

A large tannery was built in 1880 by Messrs. Bowman & Zinkan at the outlet of the Little Lake. The village gave the firm in the way of a bonus the site, comprising about six and one-half acres. To enable the corporation to do this a special Act of Parliament was passed.[45 Vic. Chap. 42.] For twenty years this business was the chief manufacturing industry of the village. On July 31st, 1900, a fire broke out and destroyed the greater part of the works, throwing over one hundred men out of employment, and causing a loss that exceeded $100,000. As the tannery was not rebuilt, its destruction was a serious blow to the village, but was not such a crushing blow at that time as it would have been ten years earlier, owing to the establishment in the meantime of the large furniture factories established by the Knechtel family, known as the Knechtel Furniture Company, the S. M. Knechtel Chair Company, and the S. Knechtel Wood Turning Company, some of which firms have been in operation in the town since 1895.

The loss by fire mentioned in the last paragraph was not the first time the village suffered seriously in that manner. Early in the morning of November 4th, 1886, a fire broke out which proved to be the most disastrous the village ever experienced. It started in the house of J. M. Kelly. The wind being high, it soon spread to the Busby House on the corner of Grosvenor and High Streets. From there it extended eastward, and this so rapidly that in four hours everything for two blocks along High Street was burnt to the ground. Over fifty buildings were consumed, and over thirty families rendered homeless. The loss was estimated at over $60,000, with but a small amount of insurance. Subscriptions for the relief of the sufferers were taken up that amounted to over $8,000, both municipalities and private individuals subscribing liberally. The County Council also remitted the county rates payable by the village that year.
There is no doubt that many people were disappointed in the growth and development of Southampton. Many settled there, expecting that in a short time it would become quite a good-sized town. Why the place was held back has been attributed to the following reasons: First, the village lots are too large for close settlement, so the people at first were too scattered. Then the lots were largely bought up by speculators, who held them for high prices. Such as these manifested no willingness to put forth effort for the common weal, but each for self, waiting for others to improve their property, that they thereby might receive indirect profit. People came to the village expecting to settle there, but were frozen out by ridiculous prices asked for property. Another reason was that until 1866 the village had hardly any back country to build it up by its trade. A glance at the map shows Southampton to be at the apex of a triangle. These reasons, in part, also account for the development of Port Elgin. The lots there were only one-fifth of an acre in extent, and purchasers had to settle on them. Then the older settlers at Port Elgin came largely from one district, and there existed a community of interest among them. Then the township of Bruce and a great part of Saugeen geographically were tributary to Port Elgin rather than to Southampton. Nevertheless there was no necessity for the second village, and there would not have been one if the result of speculative greed could have been clearly foreseen.

That Southampton might have some back country which could be depended upon to do its trading there, the people of the village, some time in the early sixties, petitioned the government to erect a bridge over the Saugeen River, that thereby the settlers in the townships of Amabel and the north part of Arran might be enabled to reach Southampton. The petition was acquiesced in, and a grant of $4,000 was made. With this grant the bridge known as Denny's bridge was built in 1865. The Southampton tradespeople, however, learned in time that Amabel people crossing at Denny's bridge found the distance to Port Elgin so very little more than Southampton that they were often tempted to go there. This started the agitation to have a bridge built nearer the mouth of the river. At last, in 1889, the present bridge was built, the county contributing $2,000 towards its erection. This bridge, some 430 feet long, is the longest in the county.

Southampton seemed to take on a new lease of life about ten years ago, and this with a vigor that has been maintained. New blood was circulating, fresh ideas were received in an optimistic spirit, trade increased, handsome residences were erected, granolithic sidewalks laid, an expensive system of waterworks established, a park secured, and the village became a town. This is gratifying to record, but the most satisfactory point is the hopeful feeling possessed by the townspeople. This became very apparent in August, 1906, when, although the debenture debt of the town was known to be $59,729, four by-laws were passed by an almost unanimous vote, granting substantial aid toward the establishing or enlarging of manufacturing industries. It is this spirit which has enabled the town to assume as its motto, "Progressive Southampton."

In bringing this volume to a close the author does so with a realization that one topic connected with the County of Bruce has not received the notice it deserves. A chapter should have been devoted to Lake Huron, its navigators, its fisheries and fishermen. The story of dire disasters and shipwreck, of heroic efforts to rescue endangered lives, as well as the tales and legends connected with the lake, deserve to be recorded. The author does not feel capable of doing justice to the subject, having for the last twenty years resided at Walkerton, an inland town. He is conscious of having lost touch with those whose daily life is on the bosom of Lake Huron, not to mention missing the inspiration received from gazing on the broad expense of its waters and daily drinking in a sense of its grandeur and beauty. That these last-mentioned features might not be altogether overlooked in this volume, the author would bring his labors to a close by quoting some beautiful lines written by the late Thomas McQueen, and published half a century ago in The Huron Signal:


We cannot boast of high, green hills,
Of proud, bold cliffs where eagles gather,
Of moorland glen and mountain rills,
That echo to the red-bell'd heather.
We cannot boast of mouldering towers,
Where ivy clasps the hoary turret;
Of chivalry in ladies' bowers,
Of warlike fame and knight who won it,—
But had we Minstrel's Harp to wake,
We well might boast our own broad lake.

And we have streams that run as clear,
O'er shelvy rocks and pebbles rushing;
And meads as green, and nymphs as dear,
In rosy beauty sweetly blushing.
And we have trees as tall as towers,
And older than the feudal mansion;
And banks besprent with gorgeous flowers,
And glens and woods with fire-flies glancing,—
But prouder, loftier boast we make,
The beauties of our own broad lake.

The lochs and lakes of other lands,
Like gems, may grace a landscape painting,
Or where the lordly castle stands,
May lend a charm where charms are wanting.
But ours is deep, and broad, and wide,
With steamships thro' its waves careering,
And far upon its ample tide
The bark its devious course is steering;
Whilst hoarse and loud the billows break
On islands on our own broad lake!

Immense, bright lake! I trace in thee
An emblem of the mighty ocean,
And in thy restless waves I see
Nature's eternal law of motion;
And fancy sees the Huron Chief
Of the dim past kneel to implore thee—
With Indian awe he seeks relief,
In pouring homage out before thee;
And I, too, feel my reverence wake,
As gazing on our own broad lake!

I cannot feel as I have felt,
When life with hope and fire was teeming,
Nor kneel as I have often knelt,
At beauty's shrine, devoutly dreaming.
Some younger hand must strike the strings
To tell of Huron's awful grandeur,
Her smooth and moonlight slumberings,
Her tempest voice loud as thunder;
Some loftier lyre than mine must wake,
To sing our own broad gleaming lake!

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