J. Smyth Carter.

The story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 online

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Brennan, Edward Fitzgibbons, Michael Hughes, Garret and James Wheeler,
Patrick Keans, Garret and John Barry, Bernard McCadden, Mathew Flynn,
John Flynn, William Hawn, Patrick Kirby, John Mulchrone, John and Pat-
rick Coyne, John Devanny, William Barrett, Patrick Flynn, Thomas Manley,
Thomas Chambers, Martin Cain, Anthony Hevenan, Patrick Cummings,
William McGloynn, Patrick Hughes, Alex. Gillissie, John Coyne, Felix Mc-
Manama, John Cooper, James Grady, Anthony Corcoran, John B. Moran,
Lawrence Martin.

Rev. Dean O'Connor became pastor in 1888, and during his pastorate of ten
years (1889-1899) the church was enlarged to its present dimensions. In 1899
the present pastor, Rev. J. S. Quinn, was translated from Marys ville, Hastings
county, to the incumbency of Chesterville. Father Quinn was born in Ballin-
dine, county Mayo, Ireland, May 26, 1861. He received his early education in
the schools of his native parish and at the age of 14 years was sent to the col-
lege at Tuam, where he remained for six years, distinguishing himself in all
his classes ; thence to the renowned college of St. Patrick, Maynooth,
where he remained three years in the study of theology. He came to this coun-
try in 1884, and graduated the following year with high distinction from the
Grand Seminary, Montreal. Since his ordination, on Aug. 24, 1886, he served
as curate in Glennevis, Madoc, and St. Mary's cathedral, Kingston. In 1890 he
was promoted to the pastorate of Brewer's Mills, then to Marysville, and fin-
ally to Chesterville. He has been very successful in all these places. Since
taking charge of Chesterville he has removed a debt of over $3,000, beautified
the interior of the church at great cost, improved the presbytery and adjoin-
ing church grounds, and built and equipped a commodious parish school.
Father Quinn bears the reputation of being the soul of honor, he is esteemed
and loved by his brother priests of the diocese of Kingston, and respected and
reverenced by the people over whom he presides.


While the beautiful churches throughout Dundas lend dignity to the coun-
ty, we must not neglect to mention some of our cemeteries. Many of these
burial places are ideal sites, but few are properly cared for. The Maple Ridge
cemetery, situated on the east half of lot 10, con, 5, Winchester township, is


among the most beautiful in the county. It is undenominational, and accord-
ing to the original pure hase contained four acres, divided into about four
hundred lots. The first trustee board consisted of R. D. Fulton, D. Rae, A. J.
Laflamme, J. McKercher and (J. Fox. In 1902 an additional purchase of 1$
acres adjacent to the former ground was made, the price being $250. The vault
constructed a few years ago is in keeping with the beautiful grounds.
The cost of the vault exceeded $600, of which amount $500 was a donation by
the late W. N. Barrie. The present trustees of the cemetery are : Thomas
Hamilton, George Elliott, Dr. Brown, Joshua Frith, R. D. Fulton. To walk
through Maple Ridge cemetery on a fine day and view the beautiful country
about, to see the legion of small mounds tastefully arranged and marked by
appropriate stones, including a number of fine granite monuments, one is
impressed with the spirit of unselfishness which has and we trust ever may
inspire such fidelity to duty as is exhibited in the keeping of this sacred field.

O graves of our fair county,
We water thee with tears,
We know you keep in reverence
The men of other years.

The men that ne'er did falter
But calm pursued their way,
That made our own dear county
The Queen she is to-day.




THE termination of the "War of the Boundary Lines" placed Canada within
the jurisdiction of the British Empire, which was confirmed by the Treaty of
Paris, 1763. "Military Rule," Governor and Council," and "The Quebec Act,
were early instruments of Government. But it was under the Constitutional
Act of 1791 that the counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and sister
constituencies began their parliamentary existence.

The first parliament of Upper Canada held its initial session at Newark
(Niagara) Sept. 17, 1792, and was presided over by Governor Simcoe, whose
place of residence was a small frame house about half a mile from the village.
Those were the days of homespun, and the members were selected chiefly
from the farm and store, but nevertheless they had the interests of the new
country at heart. The legislation which early found a place on the statute
books included acts regulating tolls for millers at one-twelfth for grinding and
bolting ; providing for the erection of jails and court houses in each of the
four districts ; preventing the further introduction of slaves into the province,
and offering a reward for the heads of wolves and bears. In his "Life and
Times of General Simcoe," D. B. Read, Q. C., wrote : "In those primitive
times many an M. P. travelled on horseback to Niagara to attend the sittings
of the House from his far-off home, with saddle bags in which was carried food
for man and provender for horse on their way, frequently having to camp out
in the woods, and not infrequently receiving hospitality from friendly Indians.
Some of the members of Parliament would return in bark canoes, skirting the
margin of Lake Ontario and by this route and the St. Lawrence reaching
their eastern homes."

The Act of Union which came into force 1841 not only united the provinces
but placed them on equal footing, each with 42 members. In 1853, to meet
the growing condition of the Canadas, the representation of each province
was increased to 65, which ratio remained until the founding of our present
constitution, in 1867, known as the British North American Act.

The Legislative Council was made elective in 1856 and for that purpose each
province was divided into 21 districts. Of these the St. Lawrence electoral
division included Dundas county, the south riding of Grenville, the north


riding of Leeds and Grenville, the township of Elizabeth town, and the town
of Brockville.

Hon. Geo. Crawford, of Brockville, was the first member for the St.
Lawrence electoral division. He was returned by a majority of 58 votes over
Dr. Brouse. Mr. Crawford was a native of Ireland, and when quite young
came to Canada and engaged in farming. In 1827 he changed his vocation and
secured a contract on the Bideau canal. He performed similar contracts on
the Cornwall and Beauharnois canals, and finally retired from active busi-
ness, having netted a considerable fortune. He was twice elected to Parlia-
ment, as representative of Brockville, before occupying a seat in the Legis-
lative Council. The subject of this sketch also commanded a company of
volunteers during the troubles of 1837-8. He assisted in the selection of the
route for the Grand Trunk Railway through these counties and for some time
was one of the directors of the Company .

A parliamentary election in the very early days was not an occasion of party
strife, but was hailed with pleasure as a time of reunion of old comrades and
friends after long separation. The proceedings evidenced no marked outward
demonstration as is the case to-day. There was rarely any voting at all. The
rival candidates in turn addressed the electors at the meeting ; the choice was
made by a "show of hands," and the result as announced by the returning
officer was accepted gladly by all present.

But as the country's population increased political rivalry crept in, fanned
by party enthusiasm and the spirit of conquest characteristic of the Anglo-
Saxon the world over. Very early Mariatown was the only polling place
in Dundas, and some had to travel long distances to reach the poll, but the
hardships of the journey were compensated by the "fun" incident to the
occasion. Referring to the early elections Judge Pringle in his history of
Lunenburg furnishes the following interesting narrative :

"The proceedings began on the appointed day, which was 'generally a Mon-
day, by the returning officer and the poll clerk appearing on the hustings
accompanied by the candidates and as many of their friends as could find
room. The commission was read by the returning officer, the candidates
were duly proposed and seconded, the speeches were made to the free and
independent electors who assembled from all parts of the county, and the
voting began without any further delay, and was continued until Saturday
night. The voting was 'viva voce,' not by ballot, and many times in each day
was the poll clerk asked to put on a slip of paper the state of the poll, the an-
nouncement of which to the people outside the hustings was greeted with
cheers by those whose favorite candidate was ahead, and by oaths loud and
deep by the losing party. Each candidate had his flag (always the Union


Jack), and in Stormont and Glengarry his piper. Each 'kept open house,'
where their supporters, wearied with travelling, voting, shouting and quarrel-
ing, could refresh themselves. There was abundance of cold beef or ham,
bread and cheese, rum, and in later days whiskey and beer. Some refreshed
so often that they became overpowered, and some who had no votes patronized
all the open houses until they were ignominously turned out and 'went to bed
happy and drunk in the street.' "

This political rivalry had however its ill effects, and the free use of money
began to figure in the election results. The candidate's chances of
success were more or less dependent upon hi* providing "the barrel
of rum." Thus the lofty standard of political morality was lowered. Turning
the searchlight upon the present day methods of conducting political cam-
paigns do we find any improvement ? The "secret ballot" was designed to
protect the voter, that he might vote as his conscience dictated, without fear
of violence or other undue influence. In the light of recent events we are
forced to the conclusion that that sacred trust has been violated most shame-
fully by individuals in the ranks of both the great political parties of this
province. If we are to build up a larger Canada and remain a potent factor
in a "greater Empire than has been" we must guard our national honor by
preserving inviolate and untarnished the franchise.

This section of eastern Ontario presents much of historical interest.
From the Historical Atlas of these counties, published in 1879, we quote
the following : "There is probably no territory of equal extent in the province
which has produced a greater number of able and eminent politicians or
around which more interesting political memories cluster than the counties
of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. From this field the first Parliament of
Upper Canada selected its Speaker, in 1792 ; here that political monster, pop-
ularly known as the "Family Compact," is alleged to have been born ; from
the constituencies embraced within these counties the said "Compact" gather-
ed a good share of its support. This district contributed at least five Speakers
to the list subsequent to the one above mentioned ; here was the birthplace
and home of that great coalition leader, the late Honourable Sanfield Mac-
donald ; of his brother, the present Lieu tenant-Governor of Ontario; of one
Chief Justice (McLean) ; of numerous Judges, as well as many others prom-
inent in public life." The pople of these counties may well feel proud of their
representatives, past and present, many of them possessed of marked ability
and unswerving in their integrity.

To the first Parliament of Upper Canada (1792) Glengarry sent two members,
while Stormont and Dundas each sent but one. In 1820 Stormont's member-
ship was doubled, and in 1826 Dundas was granted a similar increase. In 1834


the town of Cornwall was given representation as a separate constituency ;
thus from the three counties seven members were elected. This continued
until the union of the Canadas in 1841, after which each of the three counties
and the town returned a member. For a time the county of Russell was
attached to Stormont, and Prescott to Glengarry, for representative purposes.
At present Cornwall and Stormont form one parliamentary constituency, and
thus from these counties three members are elected to each parliament. An-
nexed is found a consecutive list of members :


From 1792 till the Act of Union : Jeremiah French 1792-6 ; Robert D. Gray
1796; D'Arcy Boulton until 1808 ; Abraham Marsh 1812 ; Philip Vankoughnet
1818-34 ; Archibald McLean 1820-34 ; Donald M. McDonnell and William Bruce
1834-7 ; Archibald McLean 1836-7 ; AlexauderMcLean 1837-40 ; Donald M. Mc-
Donell 1838-40.

'From the Union (1841) till Confederation (1867) : Alexander McLean 1841-4;
D. M. McDonell 1845-7 ; Alexander McLean 1848-52 ; William Mattice 1853-61 ;
Samuel Ault 1882-7.

Federal Parliament since Confederation : Samuel Ault 1867-72 ; Cyril Archi-
bald 1878-8; Oscar Fulton 1878-82 ; Dr. Bergin 1882-1896; J. G. Snetsinger
1890-1900 ; R. A. Pringle 1900-1904.

Provincial Parliament since Confederation : William Colquhoun 1867-72 ;
-Tames Bethune 1873-9 ; Joseph Kerr 1880-86 ; William Mack 1886-1894 ; John
Bennett 1894-8 ; John McLaughlin 1898-1902 ; W. J. McCart 1902-1904.


Until Confederation: Archibald McLean 1834-6; George S. Jarvis 1836-40 ;
S. Y. Chesley 1840-46; Rolland McDonald 1848; John Billiard Cameron 1847-
52; Roderick McDonald 1853-8; Hon. J. S. McDonald 1858-67.

Federal Parliament since Confederation : Hon. J. S. McDonald 1887-72 ;
Dr. Bergin 18734 ; A. F. McDonald 1875-8; Dr. Bergin 1878-82.

Provincial Parliament since Confederation : Hon. J. S. McDonald 1867-72;
J. G. Snetsinger 1873-9 ; William Mack 1880-83 ; A. P. Ross 1883-6.


From 1792 till Act of Union, 1841 : Alexander Campbell 1792-7 ; Thomas
Fraser 1797-1800 ; Jacob Weager 1800-04 ; Henry Merkley 1804-8 ; John Crysler
lbOS-24 ; Peter Shaver 1824-28 ; Peter Shaver and George Brouse 1828-30 ; Pet-
er Shaver and John Cook 1830-40.

From the Union (1841) till Confederation : John Cook 1841-5 ; George McDon-
ell 1845-8; John P. Crysler 1848-52; Jesse W. Rose 1852-4; John P. Crysler
1854-7 ; James W. Cook 1857-61 ; John S. Ross 1862-7.


Federal Parliament since Confederation : John S. Ross 1867-72; William Gib-
son 1873-8 ; John S. Ross 1878-82 ; Dr. C. E. Hickey 1882-91 ; H. H. Ross 1891-6;
Andrew Broder 1896-1904.

Provincial Parliament since Confederation : S. P. Cook 1867-75 ; Andrew
Broder 1875-86 ; Dr. T. F. Chamberlain 1886 ; J. P. Whitney 1887-1904.


From 1792 till the Act of Union, 1841 : John McDonell (first Speaker) 1792 ;
Hugh McDonnell ; John N. Campbell 1796; Angus B. McDonell 1803 ; Alexan-
der McKenzie 1808 ; Alexander McDonell and Walter B. Wilkinson 1808 ;
Alexander McDonell and Thomas Fraser 1812 ; John McDonell (Greenfield)
1812 ; Alexander McMartin and John Cameron 1816 ; Alex McDonell and Alex-
ander McMartin 1820-23 ; Alexander McDonell 1821 ; Duncan Cameron 1823-8 ;
Alexander Fraser 1828-34 : Alexander McDonell and Alex. Chisholm 1834-5 ;
Donald McDonell 1836-8.

From the Union (1841) till Confederation : John S. McDonald 1841-58 ; D. A.
McDonald 1858 -67.

Federal Parliament since Confederation : D. A. McDonald 1867-75 ; Arch.
McNab 1875-8 ; John McLennan 1878-82 ; D. McMaster 1882-7 ; P. Purcell 1887-
1891 ; R. R. McLennan 1891-1900; J. T. Schell 1900-1904.

Provincial Parliament since Confederation : James Craig 1867-75 ; A. J.
Grant 1875-9 ; D. McMaster 1880-83 ; James Rayside 1883-1894 ; D. M. MacPher-
son 1894-8; D. R. McDonald 1898-1902; W. D. McLeod 1902-1904.

Alexander Campbell was the first representative of Dundas in the old Par-
liament of Upper Canada. Of his career little information is at hand except
that he resided in Montreal.

Captain Thomas Fraser, the representative of Dundas in the second Parlia-
ment of Upper Canada, had served under Sir John Johnston. He was a resi-
dent of the county, was of good family, a man of high character, and no doubt
his legislative talent compared very well with that of his fellow members.
Captain Fraser at one time owned the land upon which the Parliament Build-
ings at Ottawa stand.

Captain Jacob Weegar, who represented Dundas four years, was of German
descent. His family with many others emigrated from the Palatinate on
the River Rhine and during their voyage were wrecked on the coast of
Ireland. For a few years they sojourned in the Emerald Isle, hence the
name Irish Palatines. Upon coming to America they settled on the Mohawk
flats. During the Revolutionary War, Captain Weegar fought on the Royal
side and was in action at Niagara. He married a daughter of Harry Hare,
a man of rank and an officer in the British army, who was cruelly hanged by


the Americans, being adjudged a British spy. For so foul a crime the British
Government demanded an investigation which resulted in several of the
leaders of the plot being put to death.

Major Henry Merkley, a German U. E. Loyalist, was a plain, outspoken
farmer ; his education was limited as well as bis mastery of the English
language. He however was not slow to grasp any opportunity of serving
his constituents when in the halls of Parliament. Oratorical polish was un-
known to him, yet in his honest and independent way he spoke what he
thought. He was highly respected by all, a man of sterling character, and
was frequently a guest at the Governor's table.

Col. John Crysler, a U. E. Loyalist, who for sixteen consecutive years re-
presented Dundas in Parliament, came to the county in 1784 and settled along
the St. Lawrence in Williamsburg. Besides being a very successful
farmer, Mr. Crysler was a merchant, a magistrate and militia colonel,
and by industry and foresight amassed a considerable fortune. As a citizen
and parliamentarian he was prominent, and everiused his efforts to advance
the interests of the community and county in which he resided.

Peter Shaver, another parliamentarian of theearly days, was'born near Johns-
town, N. Y., in 1777. Three of his brothers and his father had served under
the standard of Sir John Johnston, and during the war their premises were
plundered, their house burned and the family rendered homeless. Under
a flag of truce the wife and younger children made their way to Canada, and
in 1784 the whole family came to Dundas. During the journey they
were possessed of a horse and on its back was slung a bag, having in one
end some provisions, while in the other end was placed Peter, a lad seven
years of age, in order to keep the balance true. Thus did Peter Shaver come
to the county, which he later represented in Parliament for a period of seven-
teen years. As a pioneer resident of Dundas, a farmer, merchant, lumber-
man and a militia officer Mr. Shaver proved himself a man of intelligence,
while his kindly disposition won for him a legion of friends.

George Brcmse, a representative of Dundas for two years, was a wealthy
and influential citizen of Matilda. Relative to his career we cannot do bet-
ter than quote the words of a friendly biographer, who said : "George grew
rich and great. If Sir William Johnston lived like a baron so did Mr. Brouse.
He was a member for the county, a merchant, and many were under his
control, for there was little money in those days. Men paid their debts to
others by orders on his store and then toiled all winter in the woods making
the great oaks and elms into timber for Bmnse to turn into gold at Quebec.
So he built a great mansion, which still stands. He kept up a retinue about
him. He had his black servant, his race horse, his coach. His power and


influence were extensive, still he was merciful and kind. In local public life
Mr Brouse played a prominent part for many years."

John Cook, M. P. P., was born Nov. 28, 1791, in Williamsburg township, on
the historically famed Crysler's Farm, which he owned and occupied for some
time. During the war of 1812-14 he took an active part. Being fleet-
footed, he was the first one of the Canadian militia to reach Ogdens-
burg when that place was captured. At the famous battle of Cryslor's
Farm he was engaged, afterwards receiving a medal, now in possess-
ion of his daughter, Mrs. C. A. Styles. After a time he exchanged his front
property with Mr. Crysler for a tract of land in Williamsburg, upon which
the greater part of North Williamsburg stands. Endowed with great powers
of endurance Mr. Cook in his business interests repeatedly walked to Mon-
treal ; such a course he chose rather than depend on the slow transportation
by boat. Even at the advanced age of 80 he retained his athletic powers. He
died Nov. 8, 1877. In character the subject of our sketch was dignified, gen-
ial, chivalrous, and generous to a fault. He allowed the poor to live upon
tracts of his land until they owned them by virtue of possession. During a
failure in the wheat crop, followed by general financial depression, he pur-
chased a cargo of flour and distributed it among the needy at wholesale price,
receiving in payment labor in the woods. He also donated considerable money
towards the building of the first Lutheran church at North Williamsburg.
At one time he conducted a general store at North Williamsburg, and was
extensively engaged in the lumber business in western Ontario. For fifteen
consecutive years he was a parliamentary representative of Dundas. His
sympathy with Mackenzie's reforms of irresponsible government made for
him many political enemies ; but one incident will suffice to show how
admirably his opponents esteemed him. It was rumored that William Lyon
Mackenzie was a secreted guest at Mr. Cook's house and that certain docu-
ments derogatary to the government were also there. Col. John Crysler,
the strong political opponent of Mr. Cook, came on horseback at midnight to
notify him that if such were the case he (Cook) and Mackenzie would suffer
the penalty of death, as a regiment was then approaching to execute the
order. Mrs. Eli Merkley, daughter of Mr. Cook, distinctly remembers the
house being filled with armed soldiers and her father giving them liberty to
search from cellar to attic, and further recalls that in their disappointment
they gave vent to their wrath by piercing the walls and ceiling with their

George McDonnell was a promising young lawyer of Cornwall. While he
represented Dundas he had the interests of the county at heart, and it was
during his term of service in Parliament that the Lutherans of Williamsburg
received a grant from the Government to partially recompense them for the


loss of their church and glebe. He was also successful in procuring from the
Government a sum of money for the construction of the first bridge at Arm-
strong's Mills (Chesterville).

John P. Crysler was born Feb, 26, 1801, on the celebrated "Crysler's Farm,"
and was a youthful but interested witness of the famous battle of more than
ninety years ago. He was a son of the distinguished John Crysler, a U. E.
Loyalist parliamentarian, to whom we have already referred. John P.
obtained a commission as captain of a militia company which figured in the
"Battle of the Windmill." His early life was devoted to mercantile pursuits;
he was deputy registrar of Dundas for several years, and was extensively en-
gaged in the timber business. In the parliamentary elections of 1848 he was
the county's choice, but in 1852 was defeated by Jesse W.Rose ; he regained
his seat in 1854, and was again defeated in 1857 by J. W. Cook. Upon the
death of the late Alexander McDonald Mr. Crysler was appointed registrar of
the county.

Jesse W. Rose was a son of Alexander Rose, a U. E. Loyalist. As a farmer
he was an advocate of improved methods. His interest in anything pertain-
ing to the science of agriculture was paramount and he gave enthusiastic and
loyal support to the county agricultural society. In the early life of Morris-
burg he entered into business, and in 1849 sold out, went west after a time
and became editor of a paper, but later returned to mercantile life. His selec-
tion as representative of Dundas was but fitting recognition of his worth
as a citizen.

James W. Cook was of U. E. Loyalist descent, his grandfather being
George Cook, who left valuable properties in the Mohawk Valley and settled
in Dundas county where he might enjoy the privileges of British institutions.
The father of our sketch was also George Cook, the younger brother of John,

Online LibraryJ. Smyth CarterThe story of Dundas, being a history of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904 → online text (page 19 of 40)