Carleton Place First County Town – Lights
By Howard M. Brown
Carleton Place Canadian, 21 May, 1959
County’s First Hundred Years (Part 2)
Montague township, where settlement on the Rideau River began in 1790, is the oldest township in Lanark County.
Ninety persons were living in Montague township in 1802, according to a local census. Included were families of the name Arnold, Chester, Covell, Haskins, Hill, Hodgins, Jarvis, Merrick, McCrea, McIntyre, Nettleton, Nicholson, Stafford and Van Dusen. The Arnolds were Henry and Richard, sons of General Benedict Arnold; and Hannah Arnold, the sister of the General. John Arnold, born 1786, another of General Benedict Arnold’s sons, lived in Kitley township, Leeds County, where he is buried with members of his family in Leahy’s cemetery near Frankville. The nine Merricks named were the family of William Merrick, whose building of mills on the Rideau River in Montague township in the 1790’s originated the village of Merrickville.
Government and Industry
First Canal Transportation – Rideau Canal, 1832; Tay Canal, 1834.
First Township Officers – Elected in the early eighteen-twenties. An 1835 Act provided for officers including an assessor, a collector, a clerk and three commissioners with narrowly limited powers, together with overseers of highways and poundkeeprs, for each township of adequate population.
First Continuous Fall Fair – Bathurst District Agricultural Society, formed at Carleton Place, January, 1840.
First Member of Parliament of United Canada – Malcolm Cameron (1808-1876), elected 1841, defeated Sheriff John A. H. Powell, became cabinet minister in several administrations, member of Legislative Council, Queen’s Printer, and member of Parliament after Confederation. Re-established the County’s newspaper at Perth in 1834 under the name Bathurst Courier.
First Township Elections of District Councillors – January 1842, under an Act transferring regulatory duties from appointed magistrates of court of quarter sessions. This District’s area was changed by withdrawal in March 1842, of Carleton County’s present townships of Goulbourn, Newpean, March, Fitzroy, Torbolton and Huntley, and in 1845 by the entry of Montague, N. Elmsley and N. Burgess townships.
First Power Looms for Weaving Cloth – Installed in James Rosamond’s woolen factory, Carleton Place, 1846.
First Municipal Government as County – Came in 1850 under Municipal Institutions Act of 1849 which abolished district councils and placed county and other forms of municipal government on an enduring basis. First Warden of United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, 1850, was Robert Bell, M.P., Carleton Place.
First Incorporated Urban Community – Perth, as a town, September, 1850.
First Railway Transportation – The Brockville and Ottawa Railway, 1859, extending then from Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls to the Grand Trunk Railway at Brockville.
First Royal Visit – By Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, in 1860.
First Separate Government as County – The two United Counties separated in 1866, Perth remaining as county seat of Lanark. Warden, Daniel Galbraith of Ramsay township.
First Members of Dominion Parliament – North Lanark; Hon. William McDougall (1822-1905), minister of public works, later active in transfer of much of Canada’s north and west from Hudson’s Bay Company.
South Lanark: Alexander Morris (1826-1889), son of Hon. William Morris of Perth, and later a cabinet minister, chief justice and lieutenant governor.
First Canadian Senators – Hon. Roderick Matheson and Hon. Henry Graham, Perth merchants; Hon. James Shaw, Smiths Falls merchant.
First Members of Ontario Legislature – North Lanark: Daniel Galbraith (1813-1879), later M.P. for North Lanark, 1872 to 1879. South Lanark: William McNairn Shaw (1823-1869), barrister, born Ramsay township.
First Railway to Ottawa – 1870, from Carleton Place.
USE OF INVENTIONS
First Community and Long Distance Telephones:
Bell Telephone Company, 1885, including Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place and Almonte.
First Electric Lights Installed:
In mills including Peter McLaren’s Carleton Place lumber mills in early 1880’s; first community lighting service, Carleton Place, September, 1885.
First Roller Process Flour Mill: Carleton Place, February, 1886.
COUNTY CENTENNIAL YEAR
First Century of Settlement – 1890; hundredth anniversary of first settlement by a family of European racial origin in area of the present Lanark County, the first Ontario permanent settlement north and west of the Rideau River.