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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Thriving and Progressing, 1882-1906

The title given to this chapter is one by which the author would desire to indicate that the period of rapid, lusty development within the county of Bruce, which had been one of its marked characteristics, closed with the final years referred to in the previous chapter. The era when the increase of the county's wealth and population and of the development of its resources took place by leaps and bounds, could not be enduring and continuous; the change to a less rapid advancement must come, and the author would place the date thereof, approximately, at the close of the third decade of the county's history. High water mark for a long time to come, as regards population, is to be found in the census of 1881.

The Redistribution Act passed in 1882 by the Dominion Parliament gave Bruce three members in the House of Commons. In the election which followed the passing of this Act, North Bruce returned Alex. McNeill, his opponent being John Gillies, the late member. In East Bruce the late member also failed in being re-elected, R. M. Wells being successful in this contest against Alex. Shaw. The riding of West Bruce was contested by James Somer-ville and J. H. Scott, in which contest the former was returned. R. M. Wells had to resign his seat in the Ontario House of Assembly. to qualify for nomination in the above election. This necessitated a by-election in South Bruce. The Liberals nominated H. P. O'Connor, a lawyer of Walkerton, and the Conservatives, J. C. Eckford, a leading farmer of Brant. This election resulted in Mr. O'Connor's favor.

The last change in the number of minor municipalities within the county which occurred for the next twenty years took place in June, 1882, when the united townships of Lindsay and St. Edmunds were separated from Eastnor and established as a separate corporation on and from January 1st, 1883.

In 1883 a change took place in regard to the wardenship. During the twenty-six previous years this honorable position was frequently conferred year after year upon the same person, so that only nine names occur during that period among the list of wardens. Commencing with 1883, the honor and the duties of the office have been passed around, and no one since then has held the office for more than a single year, as will be seen by consulting Appendix Q, which shows that altogether thirty-two individuals have attained to the wardenship, commencing with the first County Council, that of 1857. Of these, it is interesting to note, about one-third, having plumed their wings in the County Council, have sought a loftier flight, and have stood for parliamentary honors.

A general election for the Ontario House of Assembly took place February 27th, 1883. In South Bruce H. P. O'Connor was returned by acclamation. The contest in North Bruce was between John Gillies and James Rowand. The former was elected by a majority of 120 votes.

The burning question before the people of Bruce for the greater part of 1884 was the "Scott Act," the name by which the Canada Temperance Act of 1878 was commonly known. The campaign commenced early in the year with the obtaining of the signatures of 3,790 ratepayers to a requisition praying that the Act be submitted to the electors to be voted upon. During the summer public meetings were held in many localities to discuss the features of the Act. Speakers from outside places were obtained by both parties to stump the country and present their views either for or against the temperance question in general and the Act in particular. Literature was freely circulated, and every means used to enlighten the electors upon the question on which they were called upon to vote on 30th October of that year. The vote cast gave a majority of 1,321 in favor of carrying out the provisions of the Act in the county of Bruce.

Seven times have the electors of Bruce been called upon to express their attitude on the temperance question. What that has been may be seen by a study of Appendix R, which shows the number of votes cast for and against prohibition on each of these occasions. The inference the author draws from a comparison of the various votings is that there is a strong sentiment within the county for sobriety, but which sentiment is not vigorous enough to see that temperance legislation is enforced. As a result of this lack of moral fibre neither the "Dunkin Act" or the "Scott Act" were enforced as they might have been. In addition to this, respect for law was lowered, perjury was commonly practised when those who violated the Act were prosecuted, and drinking habits were in no sense changed. The result of this evading of law, of this moral abasement, was a revulsion of feeling as to prohibition enactments, so that both in 1879 and 1888, when the next occasion of voting occurred, large majorities were given against the continued enforcement of temperance legislation in Bruce.

At this point it might not be amiss to refer to the great change which has occurred in regard to the drinking customs of the people since the settlement of the county. Then whiskey was so low in price that its cost was not considered, [It is related of one of the first settlers at Hanover, who had hung out a shingle to indicate that his shanty was a tavern, finding he could not spend time waiting for chance customers to call at the bar, he, when working in the bush, left a pail filled with whiskey and a tin cup for any one to help themselves, and a box to put their money in. The cost of what might be drunk being so small it was not worth while considering it, even if it were not paid for.] the price being twenty-five cents to thirty cents a gallon. So universal was the use of whiskey that no social gathering would have been considered complete without it. It was passed around as a necessary and expected thing at every logging bee, in every harvest field, and wherever any strenuous effort was to be put forth. It was looked upon as the elixir of life, to be drunk in winter to warm one up, and in summer to preserve from being overcome by the heat. [The following account of an hotelkeeper at Goderich, presented for payment to the United Counties Council of Huron and Bruce, January session, 1852, would be considered unique at the present day, especially when it is considered who contracted the indebtedness. It also throws a strong light on the then prevailing drinking customs:


Such being the habits of the people, taverns were everywhere. In confirmation of this it may be stated that during the sixties there were on the Durham Road, between Walkerton and Kincardine, no less than thirteen taverns, and other leading roads would have shown a correspondingly large number. At the time of writing (1905) the thirteen taverns have dwindled down to four. It had been asserted that the reason taverns were so close together on the leading roads in the early days was because then people did not dress as warmly as now. Then a fur coat was rarely seen. Warm knitted underwear was almost unknown. A knitted sash wound around the waist and a muffler round the throat were the only additions made to the ordinary dress of a man by way of preparation for a long, cold drive, consequently the drive consisted of a number of haltings at the different taverns to get warmed. Now, wrapped in warm furs, long drives are only broken when necessary to water the horses. The manufacture of liquor was carried on then as never since. To-day the only manufacturers in this line of business within the county are three brewers of lager beer. Forty years ago whiskey distilleries were flourishing in several villages in the county; now there is not one. When the author reached Kincardine in 1856 he found a distillery and a brewery there, to which another brewery was added in the following year. In time all of these closed up, and it is years since liquor has been manufactured at Kincardine. The following figures as to the number of licenses issued tell most forcibly the rapid change regarding the use of liquor in Bruce. In 1874 there were issued within the county 180 tavern and 20 shop licenses. In 1902 the number stood at 80 and 4, respectively.[There are three townships in Bruce (Elderslie, Lindsay and St Edmunds) in which no liquor licenses are issued, and three townships (Arran, Kincardine and Saugeen) in which only one license is issued.] The finding of excitement in other ways, the different view taken of one who becomes intoxicated, and the general elevation of the standard of what a man is expected to live up to has, in addition to what churches and temperance organizations have done, produced in the county of Bruce a. generation of men who are of temperate, sober habits.

During the summer of 1884 the subject of a re-arrangement of the counties of Bruce, Huron, Perth, Wellington and Grey was much spoken of, the idea being the creation of a new county. This matter had been before the public for twenty years, and was now discussed with some vehemence, especially by those towns or villages which cherished any hope of being made a county seat, the ground for such proposed change being that the construction of railways had changed the lines of travel and centres of business since the days when the counties were laid out and county towns selected. A deputation from Harriston, which waited on the government regarding this matter, were informed that it was under consideration. The question was also discussed in the Bruce County Council, but there and elsewhere the agitation resulted in nothing, Wiarton and Kincardine being probably the only localities in Bruce that considered they might derive any benefit from a re-arrangement of the county.

The county of Bruce was deeply stirred, especially at those eight points where volunteer companies existed, when on May 11th Lieut.-Col. Cooper received orders to muster the 32nd Battalion for active service in the North-West, to aid in suppressing the Kiel Rebellion. This matter has been mentioned in the chapter on "Militia and Volunteers," but is here referred to as one of the historical features of the county during the year 1885. It would be hard to overestimate the excitement felt at that time. A week was put in by each company drilling, after which the various units of the battalion assembled at Southampton. So enthusiastic were many of the volunteers to respond to the call of their country, that good positions were thrown up by many. One man belonging to the Paisley company, earning a salary of $75 a month, gave it up to accept 50 cents a day as a private in the ranks. Another, Dr. Ben. Jeffries, of Texas, gave up a lucrative medical practice there and returned to Canada that he might go with his company to the front. Many other examples occurred of self-sacrifice springing from full-hearted patriotism; the above are sufficient, however, to show the spirit felt by our volunteers. At Walkerton it was estimated that 4,500 people assembled at the station to see the boys off. This seems to have been the acme of enthusiasm, although every other point was deeply stirred.

In November, 1885, gravel road debentures amounting to $191,000 matured. Mr. Cooper, the county treasurer, reported that only $175,405 of sinking funds were on hand to pay these debentures. He also informed the County Council that the sinking funds raised to pay these debentures had been encroached upon by excess of expenditure, in years gone by, over amount of rates levied. The County Council accepted this explanation, and proceeded to issue debentures to the extent of $20,000 to make up the deficit. These debentures were made payable in ten years and bore six per cent. interest. They were sold at a premium, netting the county $22,256.75.

Farmers' Institutes have been the means of diffusing a great deal of information and of developing a higher type of farming in Bruce, as well as elsewhere throughout the province. The first step towards the starting of such was in 1885, when the Provincial Commissioner of Agriculture sent a circular to the various county councils asking for a grant of $25 to supplement one of like amount made by the government, to establish a Farmers' Institute in each electoral district. The County Council of Bruce promptly acquiesced. Two years elapsed before the several Institutes in Bruce, then just organized, applied for the grant.

In October of 1885 the appointment was made of a permanent junior county judge, the position being conferred upon William Barrett, at that time a practising barrister at Walkerton. He had for several years prior to this acted as junior judge, as occasion required, but without a fixed appointment or salary. On the retirement of Judge Kingsmill, towards the latter part of 1891, Mr. Barrett was appointed senior judge, the position of junior judge being conferred upon A. B. Klein in 1893.

Owing to a partial failure of the crops in the northern part of the county in 1884, a certain amount of distress and destitution was felt by many of the poorer settlers in that sparsely settled portion of the county. On this being known, joint commissioners were appointed by the government and the warden in the following year, as is mentioned in the chapter on the "Indian Peninsula," to take such steps as might be deemed necessary for the relief of the needy settlers.

The supporters of the Canada Temperance Act within the county during 1886 and 1887 made repeated efforts to have the County Council pass a resolution affirming that it was expedient to have a salaried police magistrate appointed, to have the provisions of the Act enforced. When such action was taken by the County Council, under Statute (48 Vic, chap. 17), the Lieutenant-Governor might at once make such appointment. Each application of the supporters of the Act was unsuccessful, there being in the County Council a majority adverse to the Act, and also others who thought that if the Act was not enforced and convictions obtained it was not for lack of effective judicial machinery, but for want of evidence, which, owing to the peculiar vagaries of public opinion, was difficult to obtain. The temperance people had good grounds for endeavoring to have a police magistrate appointed, difficulty being experienced in getting a justice of the peace willing to receive an information against any alleged violators of the provisions of the Act. This, in a measure, arose because magistrates who had performed their duty were [No unprejudiced person, at the time, had any doubt as to the origin of the fire that consumed the barn of Wm. Daniel, J.P., or of the two fires Joseph Barker, J.P., experienced, one of his office, and another of his stables; or of the shots fired at his daughters one night when nearing their home.] on several occasions made to suffer therefor. The necessity of the initiative being taken by the County Council, as above, was overcome when in 1887 the Legislature passed an Act [50 Vic. Chap. 11.] empowering the Lieut.-Governor to appoint police magistrates with salary at his discretion. Under the provisions of this last-mentioned Act, Richard Vanstone, a barrister, residing at Kincardine, was gazetted, June 4th, 1887, as police magistrate for the county of Bruce, at an annual salary of $1,000 and expenses, to hold office as long as the Temperance Act remained in force. For almost two years Mr. Vanstone impartially tried all cases of infringement of the Act, and they were numerous. In 1886 another railway to enter Bruce obtained a charter [The floating of this railway scheme was, in all probability, a political scheme to catch votes, in view of the election to be held later on in that year.] under the title of the "Georgian Bay and Lake Huron Railway." The eastern terminus was to be at Meaford, while its western one was to be either Port Elgin or Southampton. Unfortunately the charter lapsed before anything was done in the way of construction.

The excitement marking a general election for the House of Assembly closed the year 1886, the voting being on December 28th, with the result that J. W. S. Biggar was elected in North Bruce, W. M. Dack in Centre Bruce, and H. P. O'Connor in South Bruce. This was the first time Bruce sent three representatives to the Legislature, the additional one being granted by the Franchise Act of 1885.

The county at large was startled, when, about the last days of February, 1887, it became known that James G. Cooper, the county treasurer, was a defaulter and had fled the country. A special audit was made by W. F. Munro, accountant, of Toronto, extending over the period from the 1st January, 1870, to the time Mr. Cooper left. To fully take up this matter would fill many pages of this history. To those who wish to become acquainted with the facts the author would refer them to the report of Mr. Munro and also to that of A. B. Klein, which are given in full in the printed copies of the minutes of the County Council of the April and June session, 1887, and to by-laws No, 232 and 233 discharging from all claims the sureties of J. G. Cooper and Alexander Sproat. The books of the office show that the loss sustained by the county was $25,701.69. To this might be added the cost of the investigations and the loss of interest. At the special meeting of the County Council held in April, Norman Robertson was appointed county treasurer, which office he has held up to the present time.

Among the incidents of 1887 worth recording, and alluded to in a preceding paragraph, was the organizing of a Farmers' Institute in each of the three electoral divisions of the county. [In 1896 a fourth Farmers' Institute was organized, for that part of the county north of Hepworth, to be known as the "North Bruce Farmers' Institute." What remained of the North Riding had an Institute known as that of ''West Bruce."] These Institutes have fully carried out the purposes aimed at, the promoting of scientific farming and the disseminating of information in regard to agriculture. Their worth has been recognized by the County Council making annually a grant to each Institute. The large membership they have is a very encouraging feature, showing a desire on the part of the farmers of Bruce to possess a knowledge of the latest and best methods of farming.

The possibility of having the Canadian Pacific Railway continued through to Lake Huron engaged the attention of the various municipalities in the southern part of the county during 1887. One route proposed was to continue the railway from Teeswater to Kincardine; another was to be along the route proposed by the Saugeen Valley Railway, from Mount Forest to Inverhuron, via Walkerton, Cargill and Glammis. Towards this latter scheme the member for East Bruce, Mr. Cargill, succeeded in having put in the estimates for this year a grant of $3,200 per mile for the twenty-four miles from Mount Forest to Walkerton. For the other scheme Kincardine town was willing to grant a bonus of $30,000. Capitalists, however, could not be interested sufficiently in either proposition, consequently both fell through.

The Dominion Parliament was dissolved January 15th, 1887, followed by an election, which took place February 22nd following. In North Bruce, Alexander McNeill was again returned, his opponent being Dr. Bonnar, of Chesley. In West Bruce Hon. Edward Blake was elected, J. H. Scott having contested the riding against him. As Mr. Blake was also returned for West Durham he resigned his seat for West Bruce, and James Rowand, of Saugeen, was elected by acclamation. In East Bruce the two candidates were Henry Cargill [Henry Cargill was born, August 13th, 1838, in the township of Nassagaweya. His father and mother were natives of the county of Antrim, Ireland. He was fortunate in having had the advantage of a course at Queen's College, Kingston. While still a young man he entered into the lumber business in his native county of Halton. In 1879 he came to reside in Bruce. Having succeeded in purchasing a large portion of the Greenock swamp, he was enabled to develop its almost untouched resources, and built up a large lumber industry, arid ultimately became the wealthiest man in the county. The village that bears his name owes its existence to him. He was reeve of Greenock for three years, and represented East Bruce in the House of Commons almost continuously from 1887 until his sudden death, which occurred at Ottawa, October 1st, 1903. He was married in 1864 to Miss Margaret Davidson, of Halton, and had a family of four children. A staunch Conservative in politics, yet possessing the esteem of his political opponents. He was a man of the most kindly disposition, and a member of the Presbyterian Church.] and E. M. Wells. In this contest the former was successful, but as he was the nominal postmaster at Cargill, he had to resign. In the by-election that followed he was again returned, this time defeating R. E. Truax.

Early in March, 1888, a vote of the ratepayers throughout the county was taken in response to a petition that the "Scott Act" be repealed. The vote (see Appendix R) was decisively against the Act remaining in force in Bruce.

The valuation of the county, as fixed in 1878-9 for equalized assessment purposes, continued for ten years as the basis on which to calculate the levy of county rates. This period having nearly elapsed, a fresh valuation was decided upon. The men selected by the County Council to do this work were James Brocklebank, of Brant, and H. T. Potts, of Arran; both being practical farmers, they were well qualified to judge correctly the value of farm lands, and at the same time were men of wide municipal experience. The work of valuating was commenced in 1888, and at the June session of 1889 the report was presented to the County Council and adopted. The township of Kinloss, however, thought it had not been equitably assessed, and entered an appeal, which was sustained by Judge Kingsmill, who ordered a reduction of the Kinloss assessment to the extent of $82,366.

The last of the outstanding debentures of the large issue of $250,000, given as a bonus to the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Bail-way, matured December 6th, 1889, and were promptly paid as presented. The effect on the finances of the county on being relieved of such a large debt was very marked, the county rate being reduced to about one-half of what it had been.

In 1890 the County Council surprised itself and the constituency at large by accomplishing its legislative duties for the whole year in two sessions, an achievement never attempted before or since; no complaint, either, was ever made that any one suffered from delay in legislation, or from a dearth of it.

A general election was held June 5th, 1890, for the Ontario House of Assembly. The result of this election was that in North Bruce, John George (Con.) was elected, his opponent being David Porter (Lib.). [In a by-election held March 9th, 1891, the situation was reversed, and Mr. Porter obtained the seat and represented the riding until his death.] In Centre Bruce, W. M. Dack (Lib.) was returned, this riding being contested by Alex. Shaw (Equal Eights). In South Bruce the two candidates were H. P. O'Connor (Lib.) and Dr. John S. Tennant (Con.), the former of whom was successful.

The year 1891 was not in any way eventful to the county of Bruce in its entirety, the general elections for the Dominion House, held March 5th, being the only event to record. In the riding of North Bruce, Alex. McNeill defeated Dr. Bonnar. This election was petitioned against unsuccessfully. In West Bruce, James Rowand was re-elected, his opponent being Hugh Morrison, of Lucknow. East Bruce returned R. E. Truax, who had a majority of 114 over the old member, Henry Cargill, but was unseated at the election trial which followed a protest. At the by-election that followed, the positions were reversed, Mr. Cargill carrying the constituency.

On November 29th, 1891, an old servant of the county, Samuel Roether, died, the vacancy caused by his death resulting in a scramble for the position. It seems that the gaolership has anomalous features: the sheriff appoints the official, the government confirms the appointment, while the County Council fixes the salary and pays the greater part of it. The first appointment made by Sheriff Sutton was Geo. A. Henry, of Port Elgin, of which appointment the government did not approve; neither did it of H. B. McKay, of Walker-ton, the sheriff's second appointment, political interests and influences being the cause of the delay in filling the post. The man the politicians at first wished to have made gaoler the sheriff refused to consider. The upshot of the controversy, which became intense, was evidently a determination to change the sheriff. In the summer of 1892 Æmilius Irving, Q.C., was directed by the government to hold an investigation in the matter of some charges made against Mr. Sutton in his official capacity. On the receipt of the report of this investigation, in which some of the charges were sustained, Mr. Sutton was asked to resign. This he would not do, so he was dismissed, and on November 5th, 1892, Frederick S. O'Connor (a brother of the member for South Bruce) was gazetted as sheriff of the county, and a week later the office of gaoler was given to Donald McKechnie, on the recommendation of the new sheriff. Nothing but the highest commendation can be uttered of these two appointees, who proved capable and well qualified for their respective posts.

The question of having established a House of Refuge for the county (a matter which will be referred to more fully later on) was much talked about in 1892, and at the municipal elections held in January, 1893, a vote of the ratepayers was taken, which proved to be adverse to the proposition. The rural municipalities, with one exception, opposed it, while the urban municipalities, with two exceptions, were in favor of having such an institution.

The County Council of 1893 proved to be one of the most liberal the county had known in the matter of making grants for roads and bridges. The grants made that year totalled well over $20,000, resulting in several large iron bridges being constructed over the Saugeen and other streams.

Grasshoppers were so numerous in the summer of 1893 as to be a scourge in some parts of the county, especially towards the southwestern part of it, gardens and meadows especially suffering therefrom. It is stated that these pests developed a taste for binder-twine, and sheaves in the harvest fields had, by the row, their binding devoured, and had to be rebound by hand.

David Porter, M.P.P. for North Bruce, died August 7th, 1893. An election to fill the vacancy so caused resulted in the return of D. McNaughton, the reeve of the township of Bruce. The political atmosphere of the county, from several causes, was much stirred during 1893. The Premier, Sir John S. D. Thompson, and some of his colleagues, visited the county and addressed large meetings. As a set-off to this the leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Wilfrid Laurier, and some of his lieutenants, followed the same course, and enlightened the electors of Bruce on political measures from their point of view. Most of the meetings were held during the month of September. Another element in the political atmosphere was a new party known as the Patrons of Industry, a party or society which to some extent has by many been associated with the Grange movement. This is an error, the ends sought by these two societies being entirely different. In the preceding chapter an outline of the objects of the Grange Society is to be found, which shows that what the Grange strove after was the advancement of the material interests of the farmers. The Ontario Association of the Patrons of Industry was organized at London, September 22nd, 1891, with aims avowedly political. [Some organizers added, as an inducement to establish a lodge, a clause authorizing an arrangement being made with some merchant to sell goods at an advance of 10 per cent. on cost price to members of the Order, but this was outside of the Constitution of the Order. At Paisley, Dobbington, Chesley, Walkerton, and possibly elsewhere also, such an arrangement was made with a storekeeper, which, proving unprofitable to the latter, did not last long.] There were thirteen planks in the platform of the society, as then laid down, most of which were largely along the lines of securing improved legislation, of rigid economy in the public service, and of purity in the administration of government. It was not long after the above date before the order had lodges established in Bruce, which increased in number to eighty-five, or thereabout.. The first representative of the order sent to Parliament from Bruce was D. McNaughton, elected as member for North Bruce in the by-election for that riding in 1893, as mentioned above. At the general election for the Ontario House of Assembly in 1894, a Patron candidate was nominated in each of the three ridings in Bruce: D. McNaughton in North Bruce (elected), John S. McDonald in Centre Bruce (elected), and William Valens in South Bruce (defeated), R. E. Truax being the successful candidate in this riding. At the next general election for the Dominion House of Commons, held in 1896, Patron candidates were nominated, but, as herein stated in the events of that year, only one, John Tolmie, was elected. As a political party the Patrons of Industry have lost much of their influence, but the effect they have had, in Bruce at least, has been to lead electors to break away from mere party lines and think and vote in an independent manner, instead of being but a cog in a political machine.

The municipal elections for 1894 were held on New Year's Day. Concurrent with them there was cast a vote in all municipalities throughout the province on "The Prohibition Plebiscite Act," which in Bruce brought out the largest vote the temperance question there polled, the particulars of which are to be found in Appendix R.

The year 1894 marked the first failure of a private bank within the county, the firm being that of H. A. Allen, of Port Elgin. In the following year J. C. Graham, a private banker of Tiverton, also failed. Other failures of this description, which may as well be grouped together, were those of F. X. Messner, of Formosa, in 1897, and that of the Carrick Banking Co., of Mildmay, in 1898. Those who suffered most by these various failures were farmers who, to obtain a higher rate of interest, had deposited with them their savings. Of late years the number of private banks within the county has materially decreased, they having been absorbed by chartered banks on the latter establishing an agency in the towns and villages where they were in business.

Those who make a note of the condition of the weather had in 1895 many unusual items to record. During the first week of February, at Walkerton, the thermometer dropped so low that the mercury froze and during four days remained below zero. The last week of April and the first in May were marked by summer-like weather. As a result the trees were in full leaf by May 7th. This unseasonable heat was followed on May 12th by a hard frost, so severe that not only were the fruit trees injured, but also many forest trees, beeches especially, were in many cases either killed or permanently injured, the result of all the freshly opened leaves being frozen and falling off. The spring and summer of 1895 were unusually dry. The grain crops did not suffer for want of rain to such an extent as did the hay crop, which was such a complete failure that, to meet the needs of stock owners, large quantities of hay had to be imported into the county. This baled hay found a ready sale at $18.00 a ton, and in some cases even more was paid. Chopped straw mixed with grain was largely used to feed stock, but even straw was so scarce that $11.00 a ton was paid for it. The exigencies of the season made farmers try various methods of feeding stock, and in doing so they learned the lesson that stock could be carried over until spring, and even do fairly well, on other fodder than what had in the past been principally relied on, namely, hay and roots. So the drought was not without some measure of benefit, although the lesson was a hard one, and felt by all classes of the community.

With the payment, in 1895, of the $20,000 worth of debentures issued ten years previously, the county became free of debt. In Supplement T there is given a complete list of the various issues of debentures of the county of Bruce. The total, $709,000, is a large sum. Still none can say but that the ends sought,—while incurring large obligations,—were for the good of the community at Mr. George Gould, who had performed the duties of county clerk since 1861, felt compelled by failing health to tender his resignation in December, 1895. With much regret the County Council accepted Mr. Gould's resignation, and appointed his son, Wm. S. Gould, to fill the vacancy, which post he has held unto the present time.
The House of Commons having been dissolved in the spring of 1896, a general election was held June 23rd. The Patrons of Industry had candidates in the North, East and West ridings of Bruce, they being respectively, H. T. Potts, James Tolton, and John Tolmie. The latter alone was returned, the other two ridings returning A. McNeill and Henry Cargill, who had sat for these constituencies in the preceding parliament.

The southern part of the county had, in the winter and spring of 1896, presented to them for the first time the proposition of an electric railway. Mr. B. A. C. Pew, a railway promoter, came . into the county and held public meetings at Walkerton, Kincardine and other points. The scheme he proposed was on a large scale and obligingly comprehensive, the various terminal points being Port Perry at the east, Goderich at the west, Meaford at the north, while radial lines were to connect all points in the intervening country that would subscribe to a fund for getting surveys made and a Bill passed through the House of Commons. Mr. Pew found little difficulty in having his proposition taken up by the business portion of the community, a provisional Board of Directors appointed, and funds raised sufficient to enable initial steps being taken. In April, 1896, the House of Commons passed a Bill, [59 Vic. Chap. 20.] but not without a good deal of opposition, incorporating this the "Huron and Ontario Railway Coy." The charter, so obtained, has been extended and offered to any capitalists who would construct the road, but so far without success. Such a line of electric road will surely be constructed some day, and will be found a great convenience to the public.

Lieut.-Col. A. E. Belcher, reeve of Southampton in 1896, had for some time been impressed with the necessity of taking steps towards collecting historical data about the settlement of the county, before all the pioneers had passed away. After several attempts, he brought the County Council to his way of thinking, and at the January session a motion was passed, offering a prize of $50 for the best historical sketch of the county, to be submitted at the next session. In response, two papers were handed in, one written by J. M. McNabb, of Southampton, and the other by the writer; both papers were considered so deserving of a prize that each received the full amount offered.

The increase in the number of reeves and deputy reeves and consequently in the size of County Councils throughout the province, arising from the increase of population, gave cause for much discussion as to the advisability of reducing the number of county councillors. As early as 1884 the Provincial Secretary sent to the various municipal councils within the province, a list of questions, requesting answers which would express their opinion on this matter. The question was a difficult one to settle, and no action seems to have resulted until ten years later, when the Legislative Assembly then asked for "a return showing the population of each county and district, and the municipalities therein." This was followed in 1896 by an Act [59 Vic. Chap. 52.] "to reduce the number of county councillors." By this act a county was to be divided for County Council purposes into divisions; each division to be entitled to two representatives, the number of these divisions was to be based upon the population of the county. Commissioners appointed by the Lieut.-Governor-in-Council decided the limits of the divisions, and in doing so endeavored to have them as nearly equal as possible in regard to population. The commissioners so appointed met at Walkerton June 29th, 1896. After hearing and considering the evidence offered, they divided the county of Bruce into nine divisions, thereby reducing the size of the County Council, which under the old system had forty-four members, but under the new would have only eighteen. The report made by the commissioners is given in full in Appendix U. The views held by the forty-four reeves and deputy reeves who, under the new order of things, would no longer be ex-offlcio members of the County Council of Bruce, may be best recorded in the words of the warden (the late J. H. Elliot, of Chesley), in his final official report to the Council at its last session, held in December, 1896. "I cannot help feeling that this sitting of the County Council is memorable from the fact that it marks the end of a long-established system and the introduction of an experimental one. We have hitherto assembled as chosen representatives of twenty-six municipalities of the county of Bruce, and our ranks have swelled in the course of time to the high water mark of forty-four members, but the hand of revolution has been laid upon our system and has shattered its foundation and substituted for it an elective system by districts, created and delimited by judicial commissioners. Our county is now divided into nine districts, and two representatives will be elected by the people next January for each of these districts instead of an assembly of forty-four. The next County Council will number only eighteen. Instead of men who are here because they are associated with local council boards, there will be men who will be elected by the direct vote of the people. These changes may or may not be an improvement. The new system is an experiment which should receive a fair trial before we condemn or commend it, but this much at least is certain, that we will not hereafter know as much about each other as heretofore. One of the pleasant features of our meetings has been the friendly intercourse which we have had with members from every part of the county, and the larger the representation the wider that intercourse of thought and opinion has been, the wider has been the circle of our county acquaintance. That hereafter this is to be narrowed down brings to our mind the pleasant memories of the past, and regret that the future has not in store for our successors such opportunities as we have hitherto enjoyed. I am pleased to be able to say for this little parliament of the county of Bruce what cannot be said of the great Dominion Parliament of this Canada of ours. We leave a clean slate, no debt behind us for our successors to grapple with, though we have taken this county of ours from the forest to what it is to-day, and we leave many monuments behind us of the work we have done, those fine steel bridges all over the county and the many other improvements we have made. And how did we do all this work ? By direct taxation, which in my opinion is the proper source from which all public money should come. The County Council is dead; long live the County Council!"

The councillors could not separate for the last time without having a bit of fun over being put out of office, so when all the sessional work was over the following bogus motion was brought forward: "Moved by James Shouldice, seconded by Henry McKay, 'That as the death of the County Council is at hand, and as we desire that everything be done decently and in order, we would therefore recommend that the following be named as chief mourners, viz., Messrs. Lieut.-Col. Belcher, Robert Johnston, and Henry McKay, and that the following be engraved on the tablet to be erected—

"' Sacred to the memory of the County Council of the County of Bruce.'

'''Peaceful may thy slumbers be,
From cares and labor thou art free;
By action of the Government
Into oblivion thou art sent.

"'Thou stalwart, gallant forty-four,
Your services are required no more;
Eighteen men shall be elected
To do the work you were expected.

"'But should the change not work, as is suspected,
Old boys, you may be re-elected
To fill your places as before,
Thou gallant, stalwart forty-four.' "

After a laugh at the above, the members joined hands, feelingly sang "Auld Lang Syne," and then parting, the little parliament of Bruce County became a thing of history.

The County Council of 1897, reduced in numbers so as to seem but a petty body of legislators compared to its predecessors, although retaining all the authority they had possessed, tackled the House of Refuge question in earnest, and passed a motion directing that the wishes of the ratepayers be obtained by a plebiscite vote, to be taken at the time of the next municipal elections, [In 1893—The majority against establishing a House of Refuge was 2,378. Total votes polled, 8,880. In 1898—The majority in favor of establishing a House of Refuge was 2,477. Total votes polled, 7,996.] in January, 1898.

The initial move towards securing a House of Refuge for aged and enfeebled indigents within the county, dates back to the December session of 1881 of the County Council, when Edward Leslie (of Kincardine) and Wm. Bradley (of Greenock) moved: "That the County Clerk obtain information as to the cost and maintenance of the lately established Poor House of the county of Wellington; at the same time the two reeves of Carrick (Wm. Dickison and James Johnston) moved that reports be obtained from the various local municipalities in Bruce as to the amount spent by them annually in support of indigents. Following these motions a committee was appointed to consider the matter, which at the next session reported in favor of the establishment of a House of Refuge. There was not, however, enough enthusiasm felt to urge on the question; so it lay in abeyance until 1888, when the matter was again brought to the front, Dr. De Witt H. Martyn (of Kincardine) and Dr. W. S. Scott (of Southampton) being the movers therein, at the January session of that year of the County Council. The committee then appointed chose Lieut.-Col. J. H. Scott as its chairman. From that time on until he laid the corner-stone of the House of Refuge ten years later Col. Scott labored assiduously and untiringly in the interests of this most humane and charitable object. The voluminous tabulated reports made by him in 1888, 1892, and 1897, to the County Council, and the sheets of information prepared by him for the ratepayers on the two occasions when a vote was taken on this question, namely, in 1893 and 1898, deserve more than a passing word of commendation. This fact was recognized when there was conferred upon him the honor of laying the foundation stone of the building, June 24th, 1898.

The inquiry as to the cost of maintaining indigents by the local municipalities showed that in 1881 nineteen municipalities (all that then reported) had spent $2,508.43 in granting such relief. In 1887 all townships and villages furnished reports, the total of expenditure was $3,946.34, while in 1890 it had risen to $4,393.66. These amounts are much in excess of the net expenditure of the House of Refuge at present, showing that even from the low level of economy the ratepayers did wisely when, in 1898, they voted to establish this charitable institution, while those who voted from humane motives have seen in the comfort and content of the old folks residing at the House of Refuge their fullest anticipations realized. The inquiries made of the local municipalities revealed one uncommendable practice, namely, that of foisting, if possible, the poor on neighboring municipalities. This practice was candidly confessed by the village clerk of one of the smallest of our villages in his reply to the questions propounded. His report reads as follows: "In 1885 this municipality had one indigent, which cost only $2, because we shipped him off. In 1886 one indigent cost $10; we shipped him, too. In 1887 we had also one indigent, who was brought here, and was too far gone for shipping purposes. He died on our hands, and cost $124."

The vote of the ratepayers, given 3rd January, 1898, on the House of Refuge question, was so pronounced in favor of having one established that the County Council, without loss of time, took the preliminary step of advertising for a suitable site for the building, and met again in March to decide on the offers made. These numbered over fifty and from all parts of the county. A process of weeding out had to be undertaken. The decision finally arrived at was that only farms in close proximity to the towns of Kincardine, Port Elgin and Walkerton would be considered. [This was afterwards amended and the neighborhood of Paisley was also included.] The County Council then decided that it, as a committee of the whole, should visit and examine the various sites offered. Port Elgin was first visited and what it had to offer considered. The next day the councillors drove to Kincardine and inspected the sites there offered. At a meeting held in that town the County Council decided to continue its journey to Stratford and see the House of Refuge lately built there by the county of Perth, it having been reported to be the one which for size, arrangement and cost would most probably be suitable for Bruce. The visit to Stratford was not ill judged; many members of the Council were largely in the dark regarding the requirements of the building and of the regulations of an up-to-date House of Refuge. There they had an object lesson, and one that pleased them so well that on its return to Walkerton the Council instructed the architect [The late Harry J. Powell, of Stratford.] of the building they had so admired to make plans and specifications for a building along similar lines, but to embody whatever improvements experience showed could be made, and large enough to accommodate 125 inmates. It was no easy matter to settle where the building was to be erected. Each of the four towns set a high value upon having the institution in its vicinity, so that it was not until the forty-sixth ballot was cast by the County Council that Walkerton obtained the much coveted honor. The lands there secured for a site are very suitable, having an area of sixty-two and a half acres, between forty and fifty acres of which are profitably cultivated. The amount paid for the land was $3,821. Having decided where to build, and also having settled on the plan, tenders were advertised for and considered at a meeting of the County Council held in May. The tender of Messrs. Cawsey and Young (of Stratford) for all the work was accepted, the price being $16,440. The building was completed in December, and received its first inmates in the first week of January, 1900. In a footnote [1] are given the particulars of the actual cost of this fine building and equipment. The following were the officers appointed to look after the House of Refuge and its inmates: Keeper, Joseph M. White; Matron, Mrs. Joseph M. White; Inspector, Wm. S. Gould. After a year's experience it was decided that the inspector's duties could be undertaken by the keeper, which arrangement is still in force. The average annual net cost of the House of Refuge for the five years, 1900-04, has been $3,036.25. Now that the agitation as to the advisability of having a comfortable home for infirm or aged indigents is settled, and also the controversy where it should be located has calmed down, there exists a feeling throughout the community that all through a wise course has been followed, and nothing but commendation is extended towards the men who carried the issues to a successful termination.

The same spirit which led to the establishment of a House of Refuge for the indigents of the county led also to the establishment of the Children's Aid Society of the County of Bruce. This was organized at a meeting held at Walkerton November 21st, 1898, and was incorporated by order of Council passed in the following month. The object of this society is to improve the condition of all neglected and dependent children within the county. This is done by providing homes for the homeless, by securing better treatment for those neglected by their parents, and in assisting really needy families in caring for their little ones. Over fifty cases have been dealt with by the society, which has been very fortunate in securing comfortable homes for its wards. Funds for this work are obtained from membership fees and voluntary contributions. The late Miss Janet Chisholm, of Brant, left a legacy to the society amounting to $50.00, and the late W. J. Moore, a farmer living near Walkerton, bequeathed to it half his estate, which will amount to seven or eight thousand dollars. This last bequest has not as yet, at the time of writing this history, come into the possession of the society, as it is subject to an annuity payable to Mr. Moore's widow for life. A. Shaw, K.C., has been the president of the society since its inception, and has given a great deal of time and attention, without any remuneration whatever, to the various cases which have been considered and provided for. The office of secretary has been filled by E. J. Rowland and Joseph Morgan.

On March 1st, 1898, a general election for the Legislative Assembly was held, at which the candidates for the several ridings in the county were: In North Bruce, C. M. Bowman (Lib.), who was elected by a majority of 265 over D. M. Jermyn (Con.); in Centre Bruce, A. Malcolm (Lib.) obtained a majority of 234 over John S. McDonald (Patron), the late member, while in South Bruce, R. E. Truax was re-elected by acclamation.

In September of the last-mentioned year the electors were again asked to cast their ballots; this time it was to vote on the Provincial Prohibition Plebiscite. The particulars of this vote are to be found in Appendix R.

This section of Ontario suffered during three successive summers from an invasion of forest tent-caterpillars. The last of these years was 1899. These pests, on account of their numbers, proved very destructive, maples, basswoods, as well as other trees and shrubs being stripped of every vestige of foliage; this process repeated three years in succession resulted in the death of many trees. In towns and villages the citizens struggled to save their shade trees from the caterpillars. In this effort they were successful, as the large matlike clusters in which the caterpillars frequently assembled, enabled a wholesale destruction to be accomplished in short order. The number of these pests was almost incredible. In confirmation and illustration of the statement it is on record in the Walkerton newspapers that a train due there from the north was, near Cargill, brought to a standstill by the caterpillars; the crushed bodies, countless in number, over which the driving wheels of the engine had passed, formed a greasy paste that prevented them gripping the rails, and so the train slowed down until at last it stopped.

A desire, often expressed and deeply felt, that there should be a gathering of the pioneers and old settlers of the county at last became an accomplished fact on 28th July, 1899, at Port Elgin, when in response to an invitation of a committee of its citizens, the pioneers of Bruce and their descendants gathered from all parts of the county, and so had an opportunity of talking over the old days when they entered the bush to make for themselves homes where the tall trees stood. The concourse on that occasion numbered between two and three thousand. About an hour before noon a procession was formed, headed by the brass band of the village. After the band an old familiar ox-team and outfit, driven by R. H. Murray, of Amabel, led the way. On the sleigh, so drawn, were sheaves of grain, the thrashing of which, by flails, was gone on with as the procession wended its way to Lake View Park, where, after a substantial meal, a number of old-timers were called upon to address the assembly and recount their recollections of the days of the early settlements in Bruce. But possibly the most enjoyed feature of the assemblage was the meeting of old-time acquaintances, separated for years, who there met and enjoyed a good old chat of the days when their heads were not grey, but when life was young, and of the hardships they encountered in the bush, now things to be laughed at. The gathering was a success, so much so that it has become one of annual occurrence, much appreciated and largely attended. The citizens of Port Elgin who do so much to maintain the enthusiasm of these annual gatherings deserve a great deal of commendation from those who cherish a warm feeling for the days of the early settlement of Bruce and wish to see its memories preserved.

It is highly probable that the same current of sentiment which prompted the meeting of the pioneers of the county, mentioned in the last paragraph, was also the cause which led to the "Bruce Old Boys' Reunion" that so successfully materialized July 23rd to August .4th, 1900. The inception of this much-enjoyed gathering is credited to some of the sons of the county residing at Toronto. Prominent among them in the originating and working out of this happy idea were the following: James H. Spence, W. A. Skeans, John R. Shaw, Geo. H. Kilmer, Walter O'Hara, besides others whose names the author is unable to furnish. The carrying to a successful conclusion of this reunion involved an immense amount of work, the largest part of which fell upon the shoulders of Arthur Collins, of Walkerton, the Secretary of the Executive Committee. First a list of absent Bruce boys, with their place of residence, had to be compiled. Then the railway companies had to be enlightened as to the advantage it would be to them to offer reduced rates. This secured, circulars inviting all the absentees to the reunion had to be mailed, the number of which exceeded eighteen hundred. The fundamental idea of the originators was to have a gathering of the widely scattered Bruce boys from north, south, east and west. In the past, whenever any of these had returned to revisit the scenes of their youth, they found that they only met of their old comrades those who had remained at home, while those who had wandered away—like themselves, being only occasionally at their old home—were not seen. "If only all the old boys could be back at home together, how much more pleasant it would be," was the thought that urged the promoters on to make the efforts which resulted so successfully. The first steps were taken in February, and by the end of May the invitation circulars were issued announcing special rates on all the railways east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio rivers. These circulars were sent by the secretary to all known addresses of Bruce boys living between New York and Vancouver. It must be acknowledged that the county town and its sons living at Toronto took the lead in this enterprise. When the 23rd of July came, the Toronto contingent left that city on a special train engaged to take them to Walkerton. They brought with them the full band of the 48th Highlanders, which headed the procession that marched from the railway station to the town hall, where the mayor extended a greeting to all. The welcome the old boys met with from their native town and county must have reached the fullest expectations of any of them. Those whose homes were in other parts of the county received just as cordial a greeting as did those whose destination was Walkerton. All expressed enthusiastically their feelings at the success of the reunion. About seven hundred took advantage of this opportunity to view old scenes and to renew old friendships. Since then there have been, almost annually, excursions from Toronto of the Old Boys of Bruce. These seem to be growing larger from year to year, e.g., in 1904 the train that left Toronto consisted of thirteen coaches, filled with "Old Boys" anxious to visit once more their native county. The "Association of Bruce Old Boys" at Toronto has done much to keep alive a feeling of pride and loyalty for the native county of its members, and also a fraternal feeling among those of its offspring who have "swarmed " off from its borders.

The Indian Peninsula had high hopes, in 1900 and 1901, of a railway being constructed through its entire length from Tobermory to Wiarton, when the Ontario House of Assembly incorporated [See 63 Vic. Chap. 115 and 1 Edw. VII. Chap. 23.] "The Manitoulin and North Shore Railway." This line was to connect Meaford with Tobermory, from whence it was intended that a ferry should convey freight and passenger cars to the Manitoulin Island; from thence, by means of a bridge at Little Current, the line would be continued to Sault Ste. Marie. The promise of government aid to help in the construction of the road was granted; this, with the appearance of surveyors to locate the route of the railway, gave the assurance that the road would certainly be pushed to completion. But since the departure of the surveyors but little has been heard regarding this railway. It has been said that the proposed road was nothing more than a political bait, with which it was expected to catch votes at the next provincial election in the various constituencies through which it was to pass.

Over ten years having elapsed since the county was valuated for the purpose of an equalized assessment, the County Council in June, 1900, appointed valuators to make a fresh valuation. On this occasion four men were appointed: two, L. T. Bland and H. T. Potts, were to value the property situated in the several townships, and two, Edward Kilmer and J. B. Campbell, to value the property in the several towns and incorporated villages in the county. Their reports were received at the June session of the following year. These showed many changes, which made a reduction of $139,040 from the equalized assessment of real property of the preceding year. The total assessment of the county of real property, as returned by the valuators, was $25,378,972.

A general election for the Dominion House of Commons was held November 7th, 1900, resulting in the return, in West Bruce, of John Tolmie (Lib.), his opponent being John George (Con.). In East Bruce, Henry Cargill (Con.) succeeded in being re-elected, John Coumans (Lib.) being the defeated candidate. In North Bruce, Alex. McNeill was elected by the narrow majority of one. As might be expected an election trial followed, which resulted in the unseating of Mr. McNeill. At the by-election that followed (March 20th, 1901) James Halliday (Con.) was elected. The Liberal candidate in both of these contests was J. E. Campbell, of Hepworth.

The gathering of the pioneers in 1899 and the reunion of the Bruce Old Boys in 1900 were fittingly followed in 1901 by the founding of the Bruce County Historical Society. The initiative in this action came from the County Council, which, at the January session, 1901, appointed a committee to consider the matter. This committee reported in June, strongly recommending that steps should be taken to organize such a society for the preservation of items relating to the history of the county. This report was adopted by the Council, which at the same time gave a grant of ten dollars to meet any preliminary expenses. Following up the resolution of the Council, a meeting was called at Walkerton at the time of the fall Assizes, as at that time a number of persons from all parts of the county would be at the county town. At this meeting Lieut.-Col. A. E. Belcher was elected president and Norman Robertson, secretary. A constitution was adopted, and application was directed to be made for affiliation with the Ontario Historical Society, which affiliation was obtained. The interest in the society has not been as active as might have been expected, but good work has been done in collecting materials bearing on the history of the county, such as files of newspapers extending from the sixties down, also early maps and plans of the villages as they were first laid out. A most successful banquet was given by the citizens of Walkerton to the society in January, 1902, at which a number of old settlers were present, and gave interesting accounts of the early days. Attempts have on several occasions been made to establish pioneer societies with similar objects to the above: The earliest of these societies was organized at Walkerton, October 7th, 1881, when some twenty or thirty of the early settlers gathered and resolved themselves into "The Bruce Pioneer Society," Most of those then present have joined the great majority, among them being Adam Clement and Hugh Todd, of Brant, C. B. Barker, of Kincardine, and Wm. Gunn, of Walkerton. The author has not been able to find any account of further meetings of this society. A society bearing the same name was organized at Port Elgin in 1900 which has shown enviable vitality. To it may be given much praise for the annual pioneers' gathering and picnic at Port Elgin.

The census taken April 1st, 1901, was a disappointment, as it showed that during the preceding decade the population had declined to the extent of 5,583. Emigration is the explanation to be given. The old folks remain at home, while thousands of the young men 'and women have gone to the North-West or to the cities. Then again, farms are now much larger than formerly, and owing to the use of labor-saving machinery the large farm requires no more help than the small one did. In earlier days there were hundreds of fifty-acre farms and very few over one hundred acres. To-day farms of two or three hundred acres or more are common, while the smaller fifty-acre farms are almost unknown. The changed conditions of farming largely account for this and also the decrease in population. Farmers have grown rich and have added farm to farm, and those who have sold out have sought other localities where, with a moderate amount of capital, they too may become rich.

The sudden death of F. S. O'Connor, the sheriff of the county, on August 16th, 1901, caused a vacancy in the sheriffalty. After a short delay the government appointed C. V. Parke, of Wiarton, to the office, which position he has continued to fill.

Two separate lines of railway to run through Bruce were incorporated in 1902. One, The Huron and Bruce Railway Co., [2 Edw. VII. Chap. 77.] was to connect Wiarton and Goderich, the line to touch at the various lake shore ports between Goderich and Southampton. The other company bore the name of The Huron, Bruce and Grey Electric Railway Co., [2 Edw. VII. Chap. 78 and 3 Edw. VII. Chap 98.] which name was changed in the following year to The Ontario West Shore Electric Railway Co. It is intended to be part of a scheme of electric railways radiating from Goderich. One arm of this road is planned to extend to Wiarton and another, via Lucknow, to Walkerton. Up to the time of writing, however, nothing has been accomplished in the way of construction of either of these proposed railways.

The offer made by the Ontario Government of a grant, under certain conditions, to aid in the improvement of public highways [1 Edw. VII. Chap. 32.] (out of a fund of one million dollars set apart for that purpose) was much discussed in 1902 throughout the county, especially so in the Indian Peninsula, where the lack of even moderately good roads is so fully realized. A visit of the Provincial Commissioner of Highways to Wiarton and the vicinity materially increased the interest regarding this matter felt in that part of the county. Mr. R. E. Moore, of Lion's Head, and B. B. Miller, of Wiarton, were prominent in striving to get the public interest aroused regarding this subject, addressing meetings held to consider the proposal made by the government, A study of the conditions attached showed that to obtain the county's share of the grant, amounting to $45,000, an expenditure of $90,000 would be required, and as about one-third of the grant would have to be expended in the peninsula—which was a ratio of expenditure disproportionate to the amount of county rates paid by the peninsula municipalities—the County Council declined to act in the matter, and the question is still in abeyance. As the offer made by the Government remains open until the 1st January, 1909, it is possible some action may yet be taken.

A general election for the Ontario House of Assembly was held May 29th, 1902, which resulted in the re-election of C. M. Bowman and R. E. Truax for the ridings of North and South Bruce respectively, the defeated candidates being D. M. Jermyn, of Wiarton, and Dr. R. E. Clapp, of Mildmay. In Centre Bruce the election was keenly contested by Major Hugh Clark (Con.) and Dr. M. Stewart (Lib.), the former being returned. The majority was only five. A protest followed, which brought about another election (held February 26th, 1903), when Major Clark was returned by an increased majority.

"The Liquor Act, 1902," [2 Edw. VII. Chap. 33.] passed by the House of Assembly, subject to being sustained by a majority of the electors of the province, was intended to prohibit the sale of liquor within the province except by licensed druggists under certain restrictions. This Act was submitted to the electors to be voted upon on December 4th, 1902. This balloting was known as the "Referendum Vote." The vote east in Bruce gave the largest majority the temperance party ever obtained in the county, for particulars of which the reader will please consult Appendix E.

"The Representation Act" passed by the Dominion Parliament in 1903 reduced the number of representatives from Bruce in the House of Commons from three to two, the ridings to be known as North and South Bruce. As this Act did not come into force until the then existing Parliament dissolved, the by-election, held February 16th, 1904, following the sudden death of Henry Cargill, was for the old riding of East Bruce. In this election the two candidates were J. J. Donnelly (Con.) and A. W. Robb (Lib.), the former carrying the election.

Situated on the Durham Road, partly in Bruce and partly in Grey, the village of Hanover had developed since it was known as "Buck's Bridge" until it had a population sufficient to entitle it to become incorporated. But the necessary steps were delayed. People asked why. If any answer were given, the delay was assigned to politicians who feared that the new municipality would unite with Bruce, on account of the proximity of its county town, which was only six miles distant, and its vote at parliamentary elections in South Grey would thus be lost. Be that as it may, the matter at length came before the County Council in December, 1898, when a petition was presented praying to have the preliminary steps for incorporation proceeded with. In January, 1899, a by-law was passed by the County Council granting incorporation, and that that part lying in the township of Brant be annexed to the county of Grey. The County Council of Grey, however, failed to take action to complete the annexation. This gave the inhabitants on the Brant side of the village time to consider the matter, with the result that they concluded they preferred to remain in Brant, so they obtained a repeal of the by-law. The Bentinck part of the village obtained incorporation, and then in 1903 obtained an Act attaching their neighbors in Brant nolens volens to their village. This is the only occasion wherein the county of Bruce has lost any of its territory to its neighbors.

A pleasing incident to relate are the particulars relating to the establishment of the Bruce County General Hospital, the opening of which institution supplied the last link required to place Bruce on a par, as far as regards providing for the suffering or needy, with any county in the province. This institution owes its establishment to a bequest of the late William John Moore, of the township of Brant, who died March 13th, 1899, and bequeathed one-half of his estate (which amounted to about $15,500, subject to an annuity payable to his widow), "To aid in the erection and endowment of a hospital, at the town of Walkerton, for the sick and injured of the county of Bruce, provided sufficient funds were otherwise raised to purchase and erect a suitable building and furniture for the said hospital." Thomas Dixon and Wm. M. Shaw were the executors of the estate. To obtain the bequest and apply it for the purpose intended, "The County of Bruce General Hospital Trust at Walkerton" was incorporated June 8th, 1900. An effort was made in the same year to get the County Council to assume the liability of paying to Mrs. Moore that proportion of her annuity corresponding to the amount of the hospital bequest, which sum would thus be set free and be available for the prosecution of the work. The Council of that year declined to take any action, but a new Council, that of 1902, considered the matter more liberally and agreed to the proposition. The necessary legislation to confirm this action was. obtained without delay. Subscriptions also were secured in sufficient amount to warrant the letting of a contract for the building, which was commenced during the summer of 1902. Among the larger contributions received by the Board of Trustees were the following: From the town of Walkerton, $2,000; county of Bruce, $1,500; Henry Cargill, $1,000; David Morrison, $500, and also a great number of others from $100 down. The hospital was erected and equipped practically free of debt, which is said to be the first time in the history of the province such a thing has been accomplished. Much credit for this is due to the assistance rendered the Board of Trustees by the Women's Hospital Aid Association throughout the county. It was a happy idea when the trustees requested the ladies of Walkerton to see what could be done by them to assist in raising funds to meet the needs of the hospital. The preliminary meeting was held January 10th, 1903, when it was decided to organize a Women's Hospital Aid Society for the county, with branches in each village and as many townships as possible. That this movement might be one of the women of the county for the support of a county benevolent institution, and that no ground for supposing the hospital was to be a local affair, the meeting to organize the Women's County Hospital Aid Society was called to meet at Paisley in February, 1903. Mrs. Norman Robertson, of Walkerton, filled the chair at this meeting, at which were delegates present from Tara, Chesley, Southampton, Port Elgin, Paisley, Walkerton, and elsewhere. Mrs. Henry Cargill was elected president, Mrs. Thomas Dixon, secretary-treasurer, and also all the other officers. A constitution, which had been previously prepared, was considered and adopted. The society thus organized has performed work that has been most gratifying to the hospital trustees. The following extract from their treasurer's report of June 1st, 1904, is short and concise, but it tells of much earnest effort and work. He says: "During the last eight months the ladies have contributed $2,139.73 to the hospital funds." Truly an amount the ladies may well be proud of. The first patient was received at the hospital September 27th, 1903. The total cost of charter, site, buildings and equipment was $16,645.52. The first lady superintendent, Miss Barbara Campbell, it is gratifying to state, is a native of the county. During her regime of a year and a half the institution was well started on its career of usefulness.

The winter of 1903-4 was one of almost unprecedented severity. Sleighing commenced November 18th and continued until April 18th following. The storms were severe, blocking both roads and the railways for days at a time. The snowfall was so deep that work in the woods was stopped in consequence. The difficulty of getting firewood raised its price exorbitantly. This severe winter was followed by a cool summer, frost being experienced each month of the year.

The general elections for the Dominion House of Commons was held November 3rd, 1904. This was the first election under the new "Representation Act," by which Bruce was only to return two members. Much uncertainty as to the result was felt on account of the changes in the ridings. In North Bruce L. T. Bland (Conservative) and J. E. Campbell (Liberal) were nominated; the former headed the poll by 107 majority In South Bruce the Liberal party nominee, P. H. McKenzie, carried the election by a majority of 150 over the late member, J. J. Donnelly.

In the fall of 1904 a party of surveyors were engaged in surveying the route for a branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway from Flesherton to Teeswater or Lucknow, via Walkerton. The following year they went over the ground again. This gave occasion to high hopes being entertained of a railway entering the county from the east. In 1906 these hopes materialized by the commencement of construction operations. The company promise that the line will be open for traffic to Walkerton (the temporary terminus) by the summer of 1907.

Southampton, on the 1st January, 1905, attained the status of a town, the fourth in the county. The first mayor elected was Lieut.-Col. A. E. Belcher, a gentleman who has always had the interests of the town at heart, and has been associated with it for half a century.

The general election for the House of Assembly, which resulted in the overthrow of the Ross Government, took place January 25th, 1905. At this election the following gentlemen asked for the suffrages of the electors of this county: In North Bruce, C. M. Bowman and John George; in Centre Bruce, Hugh Clark and Andrew Malcolm, and in South Bruce, Dr. R. E. Clapp and R. E. Truax. The first named of each of the above candidates was the one who was elected.

The bridge over the Saugeen River near Burgoyne, known as McCalder's Bridge, during the spring of 1905 was pronounced unfit for traffic. At its June session the County Council concluded that true economy required the erection of a steel bridge at this point. This it was found involved an outlay of $9,000 or $10,000. To meet this it was resolved to issue debentures for that amount. That the by-law might have its required reading at the end of three months, the County Council held a special session in October at Chesley. This was the first time this village has been thus honored by the County Council. The meeting there was decided upon out of compliment to the warden, William McDonald, Chesley being his place of residence.

As the author closes his work on this History in the latter part of October, 1906, the narrative of events for the year is necessarily incomplete. The ranks of the politicians have lately been depleted by the death of the member for the House of Commons for North Bruce, L. T. Bland, who, after a long illness, died August 19th. In the by-election John Tolmie represented the Liberal party and Abram McLellan the Conservative, the former being the successful candidate.

Chesley, the most vigorous of the village municipalities in the county, found during the course of the summer that its population warranted the making of an application for its being proclaimed a town. The application was granted, and on October 1st the municipality was raised to the status of a town, the youngest of five in the county. All will rejoice at the growth of the urban municipalities of Bruce; the only regret is that our rural municipalities do not at the same time maintain the number of their population.

With this chapter the history of the county of Bruce as a whole, during the fifty-eight years following the entrance of the first settler, is concluded. In other chapters will be taken up the history of the various local municipalities, in which an effort will be made to supply local coloring more appropriate there than in the wider outlook of the whole county. The years covered in the first eight chapters of this work have witnessed many changes. The solitude of an unbroken forest has given place to the earnest life of a prosperous community possessing every environment conducive to happiness, and surrounded with every evidence of advanced civilization. But the strong, earnest men who came into the county at first and helped to make it what it is, are finding their ranks thinning out, and those remaining are grey-haired and bent; but they have sent out a race worthy of their sires. Besides those who remain in their native county, Bruce can claim children who were nourished on her fertile soil, but now are scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Wherever these have roamed we find that they retain a loving loyalty for Bruce, with its glorious woods, its fertile fields and its grand broad lake. And well they may, for truly it was a noble heritage that the early pioneers hewed out of the bush. All honor to their memory.

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