• hwtproject.k0j@gmail.com
  • Ontario, Canada

1850 to 1888

Taverns, Roads and Township Expansion

1850 saw a new political body formed: The United Townships of Westmeath, Pembroke and Stafford. At this time in the opening up of the Upper Ottawa Valley, Westmeath Township’s area was earlier settled and more developed than either Pembroke or Stafford townships. The meeting was held at the Front Westmeath School House. The number of Path Masters required in Westmeath compared to the two adjacent areas shows that extensive settlement and road system. The formation of this new body would address numerous shared interests such as the need for policing in the development of the area.

“The election of Councillors for the United Townships of Westmeath, Pembroke and Stafford was held at Tucker’s school house in Westmeath on the 7th and 8th ___1850 when the following persons were duly elected as Councillors for the Corporation of the aforesaid United Townships – David Beach, Henry Bromley, James Rowan, Alexander Moffat and W.A. Keyes. John Robertson, Town Clerk.

Westmeath July 21st, 1850. Pursuant to Law the Municipal Council of the United Townships of Westmeath, Pembroke and Stafford met at Mr. David Beach’s in Westmeath this day. Alex Moffat Esq. was chosen as Town Reeve and the following bylaws and resolutions were unanimously passed.

This new united Township had its own seal used in red wax to authorize each set of Minutes and Bylaws therein. This is the earliest seal. Prior to 1850, no seals were used in the Westmeath Township Minute Book entries.

  • No 1 By Law Relative to the appointment of Township Officers and road divisions.
  • Be it enacted that the Municipality of the United Townships of Westmeath, Pembroke and Stafford, constituted and assembled  by virtue of and under the authority of an act passed in the 12 year of the reign of her Majesty Queen Victoria entitled: “An Act to provide by one general law for the creating of Municipal Corporations and the establishment of Regulations of Police, in and for the several Counties, Cities, Towns, Townships and Villages in Upper Canada”, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the Law that the following persons be appointed as Township Officers for the aforesaid United Townships and to hold office for such period as prescribed by law or until their successors are appointed.
  • 1st  John Robertson, Township Clerk
  •  2nd  John Supple, Treasurer
  • 3rd Assessors Wyman Chamberlin, Robert Coburn and Wm. Wright
  • 4th Joseph Keyes, Collector
  • 5th Town Wardens James Dunn, D.C, Dunlop, and James Hamilton

6th Path Masters

  • Westmeath Divisions: No. 1 Allan McCracken,   No. 2 Robert  McLaughlin, No. 3 John Robinson, No. 4 John Kenny, No. 5 Wm. McDonald, No. 6   Ira Mason, No. 7 Eliy Marcote, No. 8 Thomas Brownlee, No. 9 Francis Bertrand, No. 10 (N½) James Nelson, (S½) James Dunn, No. 11  John Tucker, No. 12 James Steveson,  No. 13  Nelson Lebarress.
  • Pembroke Divisions: No. 1 John  Bowan, No. 2 Louis McCoutlin,  No. 3 George Curry, No. 4 Robert Coburn.
  • Stafford Divisions: No. 1 Peter Poff,  No. 2 Robert Childerhose, No. 3 James Dopson, No. 4 William Young, No. 5 Samuel Gouky

7th Pound Keepers       

  • Westmeath: J.B. Poupore, Henry Little, John Robertson (Roche Fondu Settlement) and William Scott.
  • Pembroke: James Johnston, C.O. Kelly and George Curry
  • Stafford: Andrew Young and Michael Gouky.

8th Fence Viewers 

  • Westmeath:  Hiram Chamberlain, George Williams and Wm. Moore.
  • Pembroke: Hugh Fraser, Alex McMillan, and John Keyes
  • Stafford Wm. Brown John Childerhose, Wm. Burgess

9th Commissioners of Statute Labour  

  • Westmeath: Hiram Chamberlain, John Buchanan, and Abel Beach
  • Pembroke; Daniel A. Mara, James Cobern and Abraham Curry,                                                                     
  • Stafford  Richard Young, William Brown and Wm. Wright

10th Road Surveyors

Ira Mason and Hugh Fraser

In this new United Township, it was enacted:

  • “That no horses, nor bulls, nor swine, nor any horned cattle that have once been proved or that shall be proved to have gone over a lawful shall be allowed to run at large.
  • And it is further enacted that any animal found running at large counter this bylaw shall be subject to pounding and the owner thereof liable to a penalty of five shillings for the first violation of the same bylaw and ten shillings for each subsequent one – to be recoverable for the use of the corporation Provided that the payment of the said penalty shall not exempt the owner from the payments of any damages committed by the animal when running at large,
  • And be it further enacted the  authority aforesaid that the lawful fence shall be 4½ feet in height and that the space between the logs for rails shall not exceed six inches and that a cedar rail fence shall  have hardwood post or rail on the top of it ; the said pole or rail to be included in the said 4½ feet as foresaid.’

Alex Moffat, Town Reeve.”


Payment for Officers: Clerk and Treasurer. At the February 18th, 1850 meeting a Bylaw was introduced to “settle the remuneration of Township Officers: the Township Clerk would be paid £20”,  and the Treasurer’s fee would be “4 per cent of all moneys which  shall come into his hands except such as are exempted by law.”  During this period bylaws provisions were fleshed out and became more entrenched such as exact hours per day expected under statute labour and ways of settling a dispute over labour with the township making the final decision.

Also “the Path Master shall be held liable to perform the said unperformed labour and also shall be held liable to the penalty incurred for each refusal unless he can prove to the satisfaction of the council that he used all the legal powers with which he is invested to bring such a defaulter to justice.”

 First Superintendent of Schools:  At this February 1850 meeting:

  • “…a bylaw for the naming of a Superintendent of Common Schools……and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same that the Rev. Andrew Melville, Presbyterian Minister, shall be and is hereby appointed Superintendent of Schools for the United Townships of Westmeath, Pembroke and Stafford and to hold the said office during the pleasure of the said council in conformity with the 10th Section of the First Recited Act.”


Taxes were raised for specific use for a School Section. Settlers would “petition” the Township when enough children in an area were of school age.

At the October 1851 Meeting:

  • “Presented by H. Bromley the petition of the Trustees of School Section No. 7 in Westmeath praying to have the inhabitants of said section taxed for repairing the School House of said section.
  • “Presented by C. O. Kelly the petition of certain inhabitants of the United Township of Westmeath Pembroke and Stafford praying for a school section and moved by James Rowan and seconded by David Beach that a By Law be introduced to levy the county and township rates and also the school tax necessary to be levied to entitle this municipality to its share of the Legislative grant for school purposes. Carried.”
  • “Moved by C.O. Kelly and seconded by Samuel Rowan that Mr Charles Young, school teacher West Muskrat and Mr, James Smith, school teacher section No. 7 Westmeath be allowed and paid their apportionment of the school fund for 1850 and that Mr. John Buchannan, School teacher Roche Fondu Settlement (Westmeath) be allowed his apportionment of the school fund for six months of the current year. Carried.”


The Westmeath Township council was also meeting on an irregular basis “for the transaction of public business” – 20th February 1851. A bit of business at that meeting was on the topic of Taverns:

  • “Moved by Councillor Dunn and seconded by Mr. Brown that the number of Tavern Keepers Certificates issued in the Township of Westmeath shall not exceed Four, Moved in amendment by Mr. Jackson seconded by James Dunn that the number of Tavern Certificates shall not exceed five.  Carried.”
  • “Moved by Noah Jackson, seconded by D. Brown that any person entitled to receive a certificate   to Keep Tavern shall be  prepared at all times to furnish good warm stables for at least six span of horses, and have a good shed to hold at least three span of horses and to have at least three spare beds and one spare sitting room, apart from the Bar-room. And shall constantly keep on hand for the benefit of travellers, a supply of good hay and oats; and also be prepared at all times at reasonable notice to furnish good and substantial meals to travellers.  He shall also to provide with yards to confine his own cattle from about his doors, and if at any time his cattle shall injure or tear any part of the load or loads about his premises; he shall be subjected to a fine not exceeding Five Shillings nor less than 2/6, together with payment for damages done to said loading. Carried.”
  • “Moved by D. Brown and seconded by J. Dunn that the cost of a certificate shall be £3. Carried.
  • “That the Inspection of Houses of Public Entertainment, meet on the 1st day of March at Dunn’s School House for the purposes of determining who are entitled to receive Certificates. Carried.”

From 1 of March 1851 Meeting:

  • “Moved by N. Jackson and seconded by Robinson that the Reeve call a Township Meeting for the purpose of electing three Inspectors instead of Ira Mason, Nathaniel Chamberlain and Wm. McDonald who have neglected to act. Carried.”
  • Moved by J. Robinson, seconded by N. Jackson that each innkeeper be required on this obtaining his certificate to give Bonds to the amount of Ten Pounds with two sureties of Five Pounds each to observe the bylaw of the municipality. Carried.”

How did the municipality spent its money during this period?  The 8th of December 1851 Minutes gives this listing of expenses for 1851:

“That whereas the sum of £125 has already been levied on the inhabitant freeholders and householders of the Township of Westmeath for the following purposes:

  • £ 51.10 for County Rates
  • £ 12.10 for Schools
  • £ 6.5 for the Lunatic Asylum
  • £ 54.15 for Township Purposes:

“It is resolved that a proportionate sum be levied on the Lands of Non-Residents for improvement of Roads as defined by the Assessment Rolls.  The forgoing resolution was moved by Jackson and seconded by D. Brown.”

In this era of colonial expansion, the Government Land Agents were meeting the incoming immigrants in Montreal and Quebec City or holding sales of Crown Land in Bytown (Ottawa);  all to process and have settlers take up homesteads in the Canadas (Upper and Lower).  Land speculation was also happening whereby purchasers would buy and then resell lands to make a profit.  That would result in some absentee ownership and the township would not be collecting any taxes. It would appear from the following entry that the township needed to be furnished with updated lists of these patented land transactions.  Everything was in a constant state of flux and council was hard pressed to keep up with the newcomers into the area.

“The second resolution was moved by N. Jackson and seconded by D. Brown:  That the Township Clerk be instructed  to write to the Land Agent of the County of Renfrew and ascertain whether he can furnish this Municipality with a full and correct list of all Patented Lands in the Township of Westmeath up to the present date and if so that he be requested to provide such information and present his Bill of Charges.”

Click here to read a description of Crown Land Patents.

In February 17, 1852, we see the first use of a new seal with a crown encircled by the words: Westmeath U C – Upper Canada.

A resolution to limit the numbers of Taverns and Houses of Public Entertainment to only three did not Carry, only horned cattle could run at large, and fences now had to be five feet in height.

“William Spotswood and Henry Sherman are and shall be road surveyors for this year to be paid the rate of Seven Shillings and Six Pence per diem when employed by the Corporation out of Corporation funds; when otherwise they shall be paid by the party or parties employing them at any rate mutually agreed.”

That the Fence Viewers shall consist of Thomas Collins, William Scott, Henry Bryce, James Condie Sr., James Stephenson and Franklin Wright, who shall serve without remuneration.

Collins and John Buchanan shall and are hereby appointed Auditors of the last year’s accounts with both remuneration of 10 shillings each and cost of Publication of Report in the two nearest newspapers.

Westmeath Upper Canada Seal

On February 21st 1852: “Moved by Mr. Hamilton and seconded by Mr. Chamberlain that the appointment of Henry Sherman to the office of Assessor be revoked and that Patrick O’Brien be appointed instead – it having appeared by the assessment roll of 1851 that said Sherman was not possessed of real property to the amount required by Statute, Carried.”

Members of Council were to be land owners and the above statement shows that a Mr. Henry Sherman did not own sufficient to continue.

The number of taverns allowed in the Township was now reduced to two, and home grown bootleggers were put on notice. In his diary William Logan traveling upriver in 1845, makes note of a Mr. Little,  on what is now Lookout Road, was running a tavern in his house.  An easy way to make extra cash.

  • “Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that the Keeper of such House shall not suffer any   person to become intoxicated therein, nor sell liquor to any person who is in a state or intoxication, nor shall be allowed any gambling for either money or liquor therein, and that he is entitled to a copy of this By-law from the Clerk of the Township by paying One Shilling and Three Pence.
  • “That a person keeping such House or Inn or Tavern shall be a man of sober habits and shall not at any time be found intoxicated.
  • “And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that any person or persons selling or retailing distilled or spirituous liquor of any kind, within the Township of Westmeath, without a licence shall pay the sum of £5 of lawful money of this province upon conviction before the Reeve to be paid to the Treasurer for the use of the Municipality.”

Plenty of Moonshine Whiskey: In the diary notes of the Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Coulonge superintendent, a note is made of the high availability of liquor through the Valley. Unlicensed sellers were plentiful.  However in a time when a day’s journey by horse was approximately 20 miles, good taverns or stopping places,  were needed throughout the valley for all travellers, both man and beasts. The Council needed to juggle having enough needed taverns for travellers, while discouraging the easy availability of liquor.


Roads were back on the agenda at the 20th June, 1853, Meeting:

  • “Pursuant to adjournment the council met this day at Mr. Byce’s. Present D. Beach, H. Bromley, Wm. Moore. The Reeve being absent, it was moved, seconded and carried that Mr. D. Beach do take the Chair.
  • “Moved by Mr. Bromley, seconded by Mr. Moore that the £50 voted at the last meeting for the repair of swamp road leading to La Pass, be given out by tender. The work to be done as follows; places where there are sleepers underneath the cross-laying to be stripped, and the sleepers removed, the cross-laying to be made level, a good coat of brush to be laid over the cross-laying, and over the brush a good layer of earth eight feet wide, with a slant from one foot in depth at the centre to eight feet in depth at the edges.   Carried. 
  • “Moved by Mr. H. Bromley, seconded by Mr. W. Moore that the repairs of swamp between Mr. Jackson’s and Mr Mason’s for which the sum of £50 was voted at last meeting be given out and done in the same manner as above. Carried .”


Schools and a hoped-for Library were topics at the 19th December, 1853, Meeting.  School support credited to residents of S.S. #1 and S.S. No.3 are:  WestmeathSchoolSections 1 and 3

“A Meeting of the Municipal Council of the Township of Westmeath, held pursuant to the Reeve’s appointment dated 15th Dec 1853. Present H. Chamberlain Reeve, John Ross, D. Beach, H. Bromley. Minutes of the previous meeting read and approved after certain corrections. 

The following By-laws were read and passed;

  • “By Law to authorize the levying of a sufficient sum to defray the expenses of the current year.
  • “By Law to authorize the collection by the Township Collector, of certain sums required for school purposes, in School Sections Nos: 3,4, & 5, according to the applications of the Trustees of such sections.
  • “By Law to authorize the levying of a sum of Fifty Pounds to be raised by the Municipality of Westmeath for the purpose of establishing a Township Library.

“Moved by H. Bromley, seconded by D. Beach, that the Reeve be required to take immediate legal proceedings against all parties guilty of non-performance of statute labour for the current year. Carried.”

“Moved by H. Bromley, seconded by J. Ross, to resolve that the Township Library of this Township shall be called the Westmeath Township Library and shall be located in school Section #2 in Westmeath, and that each School Section within the jurisdiction of the corporation shall be recognized as a branch of the Township Library Corporation, and shall as soon as the books are received, be entitled to receive a share of said books, proportionate to the number of assessed inhabitants therein. And each of the said branches shall be bound to return said books to the main Library at least every six months when a similar proportion of volumes shall be issued. And the said Township Library for further government shall be subject to the regulations for the government of management of the Public School Libraries adopted on the 2nd August 1853, by the Council of Public Infrastructure for Upper Canada.”


The Duties of Innkeepers was often revisited and at the Township Meeting of 18th February 1854, it was again addressed.  At that time the Beach Hotel in Beachburg and the McCracken Hotel in Perretton were both on the main stage coach route between Bytown and Pembroke which ran through Beachburg Village, and such establishments were necessary to rest both the tired horses and the weary travellers.

“By Law No. 2:  Regulating the Duties of Innkeepers and other Houses of Public Entertainment

1. “Whereas by an Act of the Provincial Legislature entitled “An Act to amend the laws relative to Tavern Licenses in Upper Canada” the power to regulate the Licensing of Taverns, and other Houses of Public Entertainment where Wines and Spirituous Liquors are sold is vested in the Local Municipal Authorities respectively.

2. “Be it therefore enacted by the Municipal Council of Westmeath that the number of Inns and Houses of Public Entertainment where spirituous liquors are sold or may be sold or retailed and drunk therein shall not exceed the number of Two within the Township of Westmeath, one of which may be situated on or near the premises occupied by David Beach and the other on or near the premises occupied by A. McCracken.

3. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that it shall be the duty of the Inspectors of said Inns and Taverns in the Township of Westmeath before they enter on the duties of their respective offices to go before the Clerk of the said Township of Westmeath and take the oath or oaths of office.

4. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the said Inspectors shall meet on the 15th day of February Inst. at the hour of ten of the clock in the forenoon at the house of Noah Jackson, and choose from among themselves a chairman and proceed to the duties of their office, and see that all the requirements of the By Law are complied with.

5. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that said Inspectors shall give certificates to parties complying with the requirements of this By law to keep such Inns.

6. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that when the parties are equally divided, the Chairman will give the casting vote.

7. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that any person elected to the office of Inspector of Inns refusing or neglecting to take the oath or oaths of office shall pay a fine of not more than Three Pounds, nor less than five shillings, at the discretion of the Reeve to be applied for or to the use of the Municipality of Westmeath together with costs payable to the Township Treasurer.

8. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that any person obtaining a license to keep an Inn or House of Public Entertainment as before mentioned shall pay for the same the sum of Seven Pounds Ten Shillings to the Township Treasurer together with Ten Shillings to be paid to the Issuer of Licenses to remunerate him for his trouble.

9. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that any person entitled to Certificate for License to keep Inn or Tavern, shall be prepared at all times to furnish good warm stabling for 6 span of horses, and have a good shed to hold at least 3 span, to have at least 3 spare beds, and one spare setting room apart from the Bar Room, and shall constantly keep on hand for the benefit of Travellers, a supply of good hay and oats, and also be prepared on reasonable notice to furnish good and suitable meals to Travellers.

10. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that the keeper of such house shall not suffer any person to become intoxicated therein, nor sell liquor to any person who is in a state of intoxication. Nor shall he allow any gambling for either money or liquor therein, and

11. “That he is entitled to a copy of this By Law from the Clerk of the Township by paying One Shilling and Three    Pence.

12. “That no person obtaining such License as aforesaid shall allow any horses, cattle, sheep, swine or poultry to    annoy the property of travellers or halting at his place.

13. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that any person obtaining a License as aforesaid on being convicted before the Reeve for any contravention of the provisions of this By Law or non compliance with its requirements may be deprived of his License and shall in addition hereto forfeit and pay to the Treasurer of Westmeath a sum not more than Five Pounds nor less than Five Shillings at the discretion of the Reeve for the use of the Municipality.

14. “And whereas Authority is given by an Act of Provincial Parliament to the Municipal Councils of each Corporation to furnish a form of License to the Issuer of Licenses for the purpose of guiding him in the discharge of his duties.

15. “Be it therefore enacted that the following form be considered legal for the same.15. “Whereas (A.B.) of the Township of Westmeath hath furnished me with the Certificate according to law from under the hand of the Tavern Inspectors for the said Township of Westmeath, intimating that he is a fit and proper person to keep a House of Public Entertainment. I hereby license the said (A.B.) to keep the said Inn or House of Public Entertainment at or near (place) according to the Bylaws passed by the Municipality Corporation of Westmeath. This License to continue in force from the first day of March 1854 until the first day of March 1855.

16. “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid that all former By Laws relating to Tavern Licenses be and are repealed, and that this to all intents and purposes shall be held good and valid. Said Law made and passed this 18th day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty four.

Corporate Stamp

Signed:  C.S. Bellows Reeve John McNeely Township Clerk” 

Around this time  a new township seal started to be used with a Tall Pine image in the centre.

By 1854 the Township Salaries and Fees were becoming a bigger and bigger part of the annual budget.

What kind of currency was in circulation? Money Upper Canada

“18th February, 1854, Meeting

By Law No. 1 To confirm the appointments of the different Township Officers and to fix the Salaries of the Same.

1. Clerk’s appointment:   And it is hereby enacted by Authority of the same that John McNeely be and is appointed Township Clerk during our will and pleasure with a Salary of Twelve Pounds payable annually.

2. Treasurer:  And that Henry Byce Esquire be and is appointed Treasurer during our will and pleasure with a remuneration of Three Pounds payable annually.

3. Assessor:  That John Tucker be and is appointed Assessor for the present year with a Salary of Ten Pounds.

4. Collector:  That John Ross be and is appointed Collector for the present year with a Salary of Ten Pounds.

5. Pathmasters:  That the following persons are and shall be Pathmasters for the present year;

  • William Moore – Division No. 1,
  • Simon Fraser – Division No. 2
  • Joseph Switzer   – Division No.3
  • Thomas Danton – Division No. 4
  • S.L. Devine – Division No. 5
  • Edmund Goddard  – Division No. 6
  • Joseph Tucker – Division No. 7
  • William Bromley – West Half No. 8
  • Tephrairn Marion – East Half No. 8
  • Franklin Wright – East Half No. 9
  • James Nelson – North Half No. 10
  • Henry Litle – South Half No. 10
  • John Reisenstrom  – South Half No. 11
  • John Robison – South Half No. 12
  • Moses B. Bellows – South Half No. 13

All of which Pathmasters to serve without any remuneration further than their time of service counted to them as their own   Statute Labour.

6. Poundkeepers:   That the following persons be and are appointed Poundkeepers for the present year;  William Moore Sen., William Costello, Toutsaint Cecile, Anthony Mahloney, Alexander Condie and Peter Comrie.

 Fees: Whose services shall be remunerated by the following tariffs:

  • For keeping and feeding a horse of any age, 2/6 (two shillings six pence) per head for a day of 24 hours long, and any period less than 24 hours counted as a day.
  • For keeping and feeding cattle for the same period, same price per head, and one shilling and three pence for bringing all horses and cattle to the pound. Five shillings for Bulls and Stallions, half to the Poundkeeper and the other half to the person impounding the same.
  • For keeping and feeding hogs for same period and conditions, one shilling and three pence.

Furthermore it is hereby enacted that no Poundkeeper shall release any animal committed to his charge until the Owner shall satisfactorily prove to him that the damages have been compensated or settled between him and the Impounder or otherwise and also his own fees, on penalty of being held liable for the whole amount on conviction before the Reeve or any of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace.

7. Fence Viewers: That Thomas Collins, William Scott, Charles Bateman, George Williams, Matthew Stevenson and Allan Carswell be and are appointed Fence Viewers with a remuneration of 1/6 (one shilling six pence) per day each when employed to be paid by the parties found in default, with power to decide what Fence shall be sufficient to turn cattle, any cattle breaking through the same to be considered unruly and unfit to run at large, persons not being required to put up fences constituted legal fences as in former By Law to prevent such cattle from breaking in. All differences arising between parties to be decided by the Two Fence Viewers with power to appoint a third if necessary.

8. Road Surveyors: That Robert McLelland and Henry Bromley be and are appointed Road Surveyors for this year to be paid at the rate of Seven Shillings and Six Pence per day when employed by the Corporation out of the Township Funds, when otherwise employed to be paid by the parties employing at any rate mutually agreed upon.

9. Auditors: That John Buchanan appointed by the Reeve and Thomas Collins by the Council, be and are appointed Auditors for the present year, with remuneration of Seven Shillings and Six Pence each per day while employed.

10. Issuer of Licenses: That Noah Jackson be, and is appointed Issuer of Licenses in the Township of Westmeath for the present year with a remuneration of Ten Shillings, for each license granted by him to be paid by the parties applying for the same.

11. Tavern Inspectors: That the Tavern Inspectors be remunerated whilst employed at 1/6 (One Shilling and Six Pence) per day for their services.

Made and passed in open council this 18th day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty four.

Signed: C.S. Bellows, Reeve, John McNeely, Township Clerk  


After years of meetings, first held in homes and then in school houses, the need for a dedicated Municipal Town Hall was discussed. The photograph was taken from “The History of the Township of Westmeath” by Evelyn Moore Price.

The reference to Dollars, as well as Pounds Sterling began in the Minute Book entries around 1860. The conversion rate between the old Pound and the new Canadian Dollar was then £1 = $4. In this sample below both currencies are used.

“Pursuant to adjournment the Municipal Council assembled this 8th day of June 1861. Present T.M. Carswell, Esqr. Reeve, and Councillors J.A. Huntington, William Beall, Donald Frasier, John Wright.

“Moved by John Wright, seconded by Donald Frasier that the Reeve gives David Beach and order on Treasurer for Thirty Dollars in part payment for excavating the ground for Town Hall and levelling the road.     Carried

“Orders granted in open council: To David Beach £ 7.10.0 for levelling the ground for road and excavating the ground for Town Hall. 

“Moved by Beall Seconded by Huntington and Resolved that the buildings and finishing the Town Hall be given out by tender and that the clerk write to the Carlton Place Herald authorizing him to advertise for tenders for the erection of a Town Hall in the village of Beachburg for the Municipality of Westmeath. Tenders for erecting a building both in brick and wood will be received at the store of Donald Frasier until 10 of the clock on Saturday the 3rd day of August 1861, at whose store specifications and plans may be seen. Carried           

“Proposed by Frasier Seconded by Beall that the Town Hall shall be built and finished on or about the first day of October 1862. Carried.”

“3rd August 1861 Pursuant to adjournment the Municipal Council assembled this 3rd day of August 1861. Present T.M. Carswell, Esqr. Reeve, and Councillors William Beall, Donald Frasier, John Wright.

“Sealed tenders for building the Town Hall laid on the table by D. Frasier:

  • David Beach tender for Brick $1,565.00
  • Andrew Johnston for Wood $1,400.00
  • Del Anderson  for Brick $1,400.00
  • Dr  for Wood $935.00
  • Newton Eagleton*  for Wood $1,175.00 (*Eagleton’s name spelled many different ways throughout subsequent minutes)

“Proposed by Wright Seconded by Frasier the Council adjourn for two hours.  Carried.    

“Pursuant to adjournment the Council assembled the Reeve and all the Councillors present.   Specifications and Tenders for Town Hall debated upon.

“Moved J.A. Huntington, Seconded John Wright and Resolved that Del Anderson’s tender be received and that he give Two Securities of Nine Hundred Dollars each for due performance of the work.   Carried

“Moved by John Wright Seconded by D. Frasier that Joseph Labine be paid forty dollars (£10.0.0) for road work, eight dollars (£2.0.0) to Thomas Collins for Tavern Inspecting, & David Beach thirty dollars (£7.10.0) for levelling hill for Town Hall.  Carried

“9th November 1861. Moved by J.A. Huntington, Seconded by John Wright Esqrs that whereas Mr Del Anderson has failed to furnish Securities for the fulfillment of his Contract that the Resolution accepting his tender to build a Town Hall be and is hereby repealed and that Mr. Newton Egleton’s tender be received and is hereby accepted, providing he furnishes to the Reeve T.M. Carswell Esqr. this contract properly drawn up and two good sufficient securities for the fulfillment of said contract within eight days from this date.  Carried 

“Moved by D. Frasier Seconded by John Wright Esqrs that Mr. Newton Egleton be paid three hundred dollars on his contract so soon as the foundation is laid and the frame erected then and two hundred dollars so soon as the building is covered and enclosed. Carried.” 

“25th October 1862. Pursuant to adjournment the Municipal Council for the Township of Westmeath assembled this day in Beachburg School House. Present William Beall, Donald Frasier, John Ross & John Wright. Absent T.M. Carswell Reeve

“Moved by John Wright Seconded by John Ross that the clerk put up notices that sealed tenders will be received by the Municipal Council on Saturday November 8th at 10 of the Clock fore noon for erecting seats in the Town Hall__ the same as the seats in the Town Hall in Pembroke.   Carried

“Moved by D. Frasier Seconded by John Wright, Newton Egleton be authorized to procure by next meeting of Council a ___ foot stove and pipes and put them up in the town hall also to make a table 6 feet by 3 of pine and procure 6 chairs.  Carried.”

1862 First Meeting in the New Town Hall

8th November 1862.  Pursuant to adjournment the Municipal Council for the Township of Westmeath assembled in the Town Hall. 

Moved by John Wright Seconded by D. Frasier that Newton Egleton’s tender be received for making the seats for Town Hall.  Carried

Moved by D. Frasier Seconded by John Ross. Presbyterian Congregation of Westmeath be allowed the use of the Town Hall in Beachburg to preach in, on the appointment as at present till the first of May next for the sum of five dollars.  Carried.”


Without any explanation this decision to buy flour and seed grains is moved and carried.  Had crop failure hit the township?  Were people running low on flour to see them through the winter?  Perhaps then, seed grains would be used for food; leaving a lack of supply to seed in the spring. We can only speculate. This is the first example of  social welfare actions being taken by council to aid its citizens.

“7th February 1863.   Moved by Mr. Wigelsworth & Seconded by Mr. Beall that two or three hundred barrels of Flower (sic flour) be purchased for the use of the inhabitants, if required, and that the Reeve be empowered to purchase the same and that the Treasurer advance the money.  Carried

“Moved by Alexander Frasier, Seconded by John Wigelsworth that three to four hundred bushels of seed oats, one hundred bushels of seed wheat, be procured for the use of the inhabitants and that the Reeve be ordered to purchase the same and draw on the Township Treasurer for the amount. Carried

“Moved by Alexander Frasier, Seconded by John Wigelsworth that Thomas Carswell Esqr. Reeve, and George Tucker, Treasurer, do negotiate for a lone (sic) of money to procure the Flour and Seed Grain, carried in former resolution.  Carried.”


19th January 1863.  Thomas M. Carswell, Reeve. Councillors:  William Beall,  John Ross,  John Wigglesworth, Alex Frasier

7th February 1863    Appointments:    Treasurer : George Rex Tucker,  Township Clerk:  Nathaniel Wright,   Assessor : Joseph Jackson,  Collector: Joseph Keyes,  Auditors : John Bennie, John Griffith

Fence Viewers:  James Dunn, George Cowder, Francis Batrant, Rodger McDonate, Joseph  Keyes, Peter    Buchanan, Joseph Switzer, John Crawford, John Wright.

Pound Keepers:  Sarile Jervois, Levy Beach, George Williams Sr., G.R. Tucker, Allen McCracken, Peter Comery, John Kenny

Pathmasters: E ½ Div 1 William Moore  Jr,  W ½ Div 1 George Thrasher, D2 Jacob Brouse, 3 Joseph Switzer, 4     Lughlan Matheson, W ½ 5 William Costlo, E ½ 5 A. Bodre, 6 James Bromley, 7 Tousant Cecile, E ½ 8 Seriae Marior, W ½ 8 Joseph Labin, 9 Francis Batrant, N ½ 10 Charles Bateman, S ½ 10 James Dunn, 11 John Gourley,  N ½ 12 Francis Dubway, S ½ 12 Donald McLain, 13 James Johnston, 14 John Flanagan, 16 Charles Labarrons,  N ½ 17 John Pounder,  S ½ 17 F. Allen, 18 William O’Brine, 19 John Johnston,  20  J. Eckford, 21 John Evans, 22     James McGinnes,  23 Samuel Wright,

Road Surveyor Robert McLallen

Tavern Inspector William Cannon


When the ratepayers wanted council’s attention they brought forward a petition: 1864 Petition Opening of New Road


“6th April 1867.  Moved by W. Beall, Seconded by J. Ross that the Treasurer be instructed to proceed by law, against people who have not paid what they owe to the Township for flour and wheat supplied to them by the council in the spring of 1864. Carried.”  

The Little Red Cow and her story:  December 1867 Gower Point


Business Hours and regulations: 1867 Taverns & Shops Bylaw


Yearly Labour  on the road crews: 1867 Statute Law Commutation


“2nd May, 1868.Moved by J. Ross, Seconded by W. Beall that Thomas McBride and Patrick McCagherty be allowed to perform their Statute Labour on the 10th Concession, opposite their own places. Carried


“19th December 1870. Moved by Alexander Condie, Seconded by Condie, that James Dunn be paid the sum of three dollars, for two cords of fire-wood for use of Town Hall. Carried”


“12 August 1871. Moved by J. Ross, Seconded by Condie that Aug. Brown be paid the sum of two hundred and eight dollars for building two bridges at Beachburg and supplying Stringers and Bents of cedar for one bridge.            Carried”

“8th October 1871   Moved by Ross, Seconded by Condie, that ratepayers in this Township, who have been returned on the several Pathmasters’ lists, as not having performed their Statute Labour, be charged with the same on the Collector’s Roll for the present year. Carried”


15th January 1872. Thomas M. Carswell  Reeve, Councillors: Daniel Ferguson, Alexander Condie, William Beall, John Ross

 24th February 1872 Tavern Inspector :  Joseph Keyes,  Auditor: Daniel Legerwood

Clerk:  Mr W. Cannon (followed by Mr Thomas Legge in July 1872)

Pound Keepers: John Prettie, Robert McCracken, J.A. Huntington,  Guilbert Gervais, Thomas Sullivan, Augustus Brown, Thomas Brownlee, John Kenney, John Robertson, William Eckford, Toussaint Cecile

Fence Viewers: Damasse Gervais, Joseph Keyes, David Buchanan, Archibald McKillopp, Charles Patterson, Robert Bennie, Robert McLaren, Robert Stewart, Samuel Wright, George Lee, Thomas Perritt, Hugh Ross, John Bettles, James Dickson, Martin Hennessy, Elie Marcott, Robert McLelland, Henry Bromley, Samuel Johnston, James Bromley, William Moore, Fredrick Pinnock

Pathmasters: John Sullivan W ½ Div 1, William Moore E ½ Div 1, Charles Patterson 2, John Porteous 3, John Kenney 4, William Poff* W ½ 5  (*subsequently changed to John Brown), Richard Richarts E ½ 5, Wyman Chamberlain 6, Samuel Viseneau 7, Theophil Bertrand E ½ 8, Andrew Lawless W ½ 8, Louis Gervais 9, Nathaniel Wright N ½10, John Barr S ½ 10, Hiram Chamberlain 11, Duncan McKay N ½ 12, Richard Power S ½ 12, John Barber 13, Maxime Dupuis 14, Joseph Beach 15, William Green 16, John Pounder, Sen. N½ 17, Matthew Magor S½ 17, Thomas Poff 18, John Robertson 19, Robert Stewart N½ 20, Robert McLaren S½ 20, William Beall W½ 21, Henry Harper E½ 21, David Wilson 22, Robert Dickson 23

For the Needy:  From time to time the councils would extent aid to citizens in need, as these two motions from the winter of 1872 show.

“24th February 1872.  Moved by Beall, Seconded by Comrie that a Barrel of Flour be granted to Peter Pappin, to aid in supporting his father who is blind. Carried”

 13th March 1872. “Moved by Ross, Seconded by Ferguson that William Russell be granted two barrels of flour as his family is in much need. Carried


12th July 1873. The trustees of School Section No. 7 presented a petition requesting the Council to authorize and empower them to borrow $1,600.00 for ten years to build a school house.

“Moved by J. Wright, Seconded by J. Ross that this council adjourn till second Saturday in August and all School Sections wishing their School Tax collected through the council to send in their petitions. Carried

“25th October 1873   Moved by Jackson, Seconded by Wright that the petition of Martin Hennessey and others respecting the exchange of the road allowance between the east and west halves of Lot No. 15, Conc. B, Coulonge Lake, with James Spotswood be granted and that the clerk notify the Road Commissioner to examine into this matter in accordance with said petition and report to this council at its next sitting. Carried

“31st October 1874   Moved by John Ross, Seconded by A.J. Mansell that Thomas Burgess be paid the sum of eighteen dollars being for a Float to accommodate travellers while the bridge burnt on Snake River is impassable.  Carried”

“28th December 1874   Moved by John Ross, Seconded by Wm Beall that Orsou Gouchou be paid the sum of one hundred six dollars for work done on Snake River bridge. Carried.”


1st February 1875.   Moved by A.T.Mansell, Seconded by John Ross that a Certificate to obtain Tavern License be granted to each of the persons named below, provided that the Inspector of Licenses reports favourably in each such case:

  • James Johnston on lots 4,5,6 in Block B, Beachburg
  • Thomas Sullivan on lot 48, Block G, Beachburg (Pembroke House)
  • James Lindsay on part of Lot 2 in the 6th Concession of Westmeath
  • Archibald Acheson on part of Lot 23 in the 6th Concession of Westmeath
  • Mrs. A. Cracken on Lot 24 in Concession A. E.M.L. of Westmeath
  • Toussaint Cecile on Lot 10 in W.F.E. Concession of Westmeath (Dominion House)  
  • Gilbert Gervais on Lot 3 of Concession E.F.C. of Westmeath

When live entertainment came to the township the council was ready: 1875 Shows Circus

Setting out of Electoral Districts.  This is the first entry regarding specific districts being formed and voters instructed to vote their home district. Until this entry, the men who were property owners, of the whole district would come to a central meeting and there would elect, from amongst those gathered, the reeve, clerk and council.

“29 May 1875   Moved by A.T. Mansell, Seconded by Thomas Legge that that part of the Township of Westmeath composed of;

  • the whole of Concessions 3,4, and 5, East of Muskrat Lake, 
  • Concession 6 excluding Lots Nos. 21,22, 23. 
  • Lots Nos.1 to 17, inclusive in Concessions 7 and 8. 
  • Lots Nos. 1 to 15 inclusive, in Concession 9. 
  • Lots Nos. 13 to 30 inclusive, in the East Front B Concession, and 
  • Lots Nos. 1 to 12 inclusive and 25 to 30 inclusive, in the North Front A Conc.
  • be formed into an Electoral Division to be known as Electoral Division No. 1, and that the polling place be in the Town Hall in the Village of Beachburg. Carried 

“Moved by A.T. Mansell, Seconded by Thomas Legge that all that part of the Township of Westmeath; 

  • –  lying to the west of the line between the 2nd and 3rd concessions,  east of Muskrat Lake and of the said line produced to the lower Allumettes Lake, be formed into an Electoral Division to be known as Electoral Division No. 2, and that the polling place for said Division be Moores School House. Carried

“Moved by A.T. Mansell, Seconded by Thomas Legge that that part of the Township of Westmeath composed of;

  • Lots Nos. 21,22 and 23 in the 6th Concession
  • Lots Nos. 18,19,20 and 21 in the 7th Concession
  • Lots Nos. 18,19 and 20 in the 8th Concession
  • Lots Nos. 16,17,18 and 19 in the 9th Concession
  • The whole of the 10th Concession
  • Los Nos. 1 to 12 inclusive in the East Front B Concession, and
  • All that part of the said towns life lying to the north of the Gore Line be formed into an Electoral Division to be known as Electoral Division No. 3, and that the polling place for said Division be the School House in School Section No. 3 of the said Township. Known as Bromley’s School House.”


26th February 1876.  A.T. Mansell moves Seconded by John Ross that the Statute Labour for the present year be distributed as follows, at the disposal of the Pathmasters:

Section No. 1 James Tate, W ½ 1 Fletcher Winters,  2 James Orsmby, W ½ 3 M. McDonough, E ½ 3     Enoch Price,    W ½ 4      J. Robinson,   E ½ 4     J. Croskery, 40 days across north half of 13 on the Govt Road, balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster.     E ½ 5        George Smith,     W ½ 5       R. Graham,   6     George Tucker,    7      Elie Marcott,   E ½ 8       John Wright,     W ½ 8         D. McLeese,     9      Allan Carswell,    N ½ 10     Joseph Jackson,   S ½ 10      Wm. Little,   11        Thomas McBride,   N ½ 12      P. Cowrie Jr.,     S ½ 12     D. McLean Jr.,     13       J.W. Johnson,  20 days on Side Line at the McKillops, balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster,   14     Joseph Primeau Snr.,    15        P. McLaren,   16     Wm. Green Jr.,  S ½ 17       Jas. Davidson Snr.,    N ½ 17     Thos. Geoff,  18        James Mullen, 10 days on Blank Line between 7th and 8th Conc. on Lots 13 & 14, balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster.   19      John Johnston, labour of Moses Wilson and James Moreau on the townline, balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster,  S ½ 20     Wm. McLaren,   N ½ 20     Robt. McLaren- 10 days on Side Road between 5 and 6, balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster,  W ½ 20   Wm. Beall,   E ½ 21       Robert Perrett – labour of Evans and Gibson on the townline , balance at the disposal of the Pathmaster,   22      John Keyes,  23       Thomas Dickson.


After his investigation of boundary lines, Surveyor John McNaughton reports to council: 1876 Surveyor John McNaughton


“22 December 1877.  Moved by John Ross Seconded by William Moore that Robert McLelland be paid a sum of sixty six dollars for services as Road Commissioner for the year 1877. Carried”


Elected Officials 1879

  • Reeve, Daniel Ferguson      
  • Deputy Reeve, John Ross                 
  • Councillor, Thomas Fraser         
  • Councillor, John Kenny
  • Councillor, William Moore          

Appointments 1879

  • Clerk: Archibald Cameron
  • Treasurer:  George Surtees
  • Auditors: John Griffith 1878, Thomas Thwaites 1879
  • Poundkeepers: Toussaint Cecile, Gilbert Gervais, Thomas Sykes, Thomas Brownlee, Robert McCracken, James Johnston, Martin Hennesay, John Pretty, George Lee, Augustus Brown, Edmund Goddard, Robert Davidson Snr
  • Fence Viewers: James Dunn, Noah Jackson, Adam Crozier Sr., Demase Jervais, Robert Davidson, George Tucker, Robert Stewart, John Wright, John Brown 3rd Conc., Thomas Scott 2nd Conc. E.M.L., Allan Carswell, John Viseneau, John Buchanan, James Robinson, Hugh Ross, Samuel Wright, Daniel Robinson, William McLaren, John Cowie, Robert Bennie
  • Pathmasters: James Tait, James Hawkins, Michael McDonough, Joseph McDonough, Samuel Robinson, A.E.M.L. N ½ 15, Alexander Ross, Thomas White, Richard Sutton, Joseph Smith, Samuel Huntington, John Lamarsh, Martin Hennessay, Henry Bromley, Francis Bartrow, Joseph Keyes, William Collins, Edward McDonald, Peter Comrie Jr., John Burnett, Maxim Dupuise, James W Johnson Sr., William Collins 8th Conc., Richard Stewart, Thomas Scott John Anderson, John T. Anderson, John Ledgerwood, James Richardson, William Eckford Sr., John V. Evans, William Beall Sr., James Lavell, Robert Dickson


Another case of aid being offered to citizens

“22nd February 1879. Moved by John Ross Seconded by Thomas Fraser, that the following widows be exempt from paying taxes for the year 1878; Mrs. Costello $3.43,  Mrs. Hughes $4.29,  Mrs. Brown $5.34,  Mrs. Weldon $4.03,  Mrs. Mitchell $7.35. Carried”

The Township Council handled many diverse items all noted in the minute books.  Here is a collection:  Collection of Excerpts


The council is now paid an annual  stipend

30th October 1880.  Moved by John Ross Seconded by Thomas Fraser, that Thomas Fraser, John Ross, John Kenney and William Moore, be paid the sum of twelve dollars each for acting as councillors for 1880. Carried

“Moved by John Ross Seconded by William Moore, that Daniel Ferguson be paid the sum of twelve dollars for acting as Reeve for 1880, and three dollars for selecting Jurors for 1881. Carried”


“Money makes the world go round” and the Westmeath Township  needed to collect revenue:  1881 The Levy and Collection of Certain Rates or Taxes


Crop Loss Due to Hail Storm

Damaging Hail Stones

“1st March 1884.  Moved by Thomas Fraser Seconded by John Ross that this council buy one Car Load of Seed Wheat to be distributed among those farmers who lost their crops with the hail storm, to be given on Endorsed Notes, made payable on the first of December 1884, with interest at 6% per annum.    Carried”


Elected Officials 1886: “Reeve:  Thomas Fraser, Deputy Reeve:  Duncan Cameron,        

Councillors:  Robert Bennie,  James Robinson,  William Ross”           

Appointments 1886:  “Clerk: Archibald Cameron, Assessor: Samuel Wright,  Auditors: John Brown, Hugh Dunn.

Pathmasters: T.M. Carswell Sr., Samuel Young, Osborne Wright, Francis Sittle, Lophfile Lablance, Joseph Smith, James Hawkins, Donald McLean, Robert Nelson, James Connelly, Daniel Carnegie, William Poff, Henry Poff, John Burns, Christopher Miller, Robert Keyes, Richard Purcell, John Kenny Jr., Samuel Robinson, Edmond Goddard, John Robinson Town Line, Adam Crozier Jr., Isaac Condie, Lachlan Cameron, William Moore Sr., Thomas B. McCracken, William Davidson, Samuel Visenau, Henry Metcalf, John Martin, Charles White, Nathaniel Caswell, N.A. Chamberlain, John Ross, James Bromley Sr., John O Anderson, Thomas Burgess

Pound Keepers: Toussaint Cecile, Gilbert Gervais, Thomas Sykes, James Davidson Jr., Hugh Brownlee, Robert McCracken, Abel Beach, Martin Hennessy, John Pretty, Augustus Brown, Donald R. McDonald, S.A. Huntington, Robert Davidson, Daniel Robertson

Fence Viewers: Thomas Wright, Demasse Gervais Sr., George Tucker, Thos. Scott 2nd Conc., Edward Gervais, John Buchanan, Heugh Ross, Daniel Robertson, John Comrie, Stewart Snowden, John Dunn, Adam Crozier Sr., Robert Davidson, Robert Stewart, James Spotswood, James Hawkins, Samuel Wright, William McLaren, Peter Buchanan”  

Ferry Service between Lower and Upper Canada:  (Mansfield is a municipality in Pontiac County, western Quebec, located directly across the Ottawa River from LaPasse, Ontario).

“12th June 1886    Moved by James Robinson Seconded by William Ross and resolved that the petition of Napoleon Gervais and Alfred Gervais be granted that the Hon. John Costejan do grant a license for a ferry between Lapasse and Mansfield and that the fare be as follows:

1.    Fares:

a.    for a pair of horses with wagon 50 ¢

b.    for a single horse with wagon 37.5 ¢

c.    for one head of cattle 25 ¢

d.    for each person 5 ¢

2.    That the hours of ferry be from six o’clock A.M. to 8 o’clock P.M.

3.    And that the Minister of Inland Revenue give full instruction the kind of boats to be used. And that the seal of the corporation be attached to the above motion.  Carried”

“11th December 1886.  “Moved by Robert Bennie Seconded by William Ross, that this council apply to the Government of Canada for $500.00 being amount of damages sustained by the banks of creek being washed away from bridge on lot 21 E.F.B. by high water caused by the constructing of Government Dam on Rochu Fondu. Carried

This photo of the 1887 Council  is from Evelyn Moore Price’s  ” The History of the Corporation of Westmeath Township.


Shopkeeper Thwaits Protests Taxes: 1886 Thwaits


Two things that show the growing population of the Township:  the first Board of Health for the Municipality is struck and later in the year a fourth electoral division.  Now there was a polling station in Beachburg, Perretton, Front Westmeath and Snake River/Meath.

“17th January 1887.  Moved by James Robinson Seconded by W.H. Sherman that the blanks in the by-law to appoint a local Board of Health in the Municipality of Westmeath for the year 1887 be filled up as follows; Thomas Fraser, Archibald Cameron, Joseph Keyes, John Beaupre, John Brown, and that Dr. Forbes be Medical Health Officer. Carried “

 9th July 1887.  Moved by James Robinson, Seconded by William Ross, that the blanks in the by-law to divide the Township of Westmeath into Four electoral divisions be filled up as follows that is to say:

  • No.1 Polling Subdivision: Shall comprise of …….  and that the polling place for the said subdivision be at the Town Hall in the Village of Beachburg.
  • No. 2 Polling Subdivision: Shall comprise of……. and that the polling place for the said subdivision be at or near S.S. No. 1 known as Moores School House.
  • No. 3 Polling Subdivision: Shall comprise of……. and that the polling place for the said subdivision be at or near S.S. No. 2, situated near the West End of Gore Line.
  • No. 4 Polling Subdivision: Shall comprise of……. and that the polling place for the said subdivision be at or near S.S. No. 8, known as Lees School House. Carried.”


The community’s vital reliance on having a modernized grist mill is shown here.

  • “27th October 1888.  Moved by John Brown Seconded by William Ross that by-law No. 17 to exempt Festus Weedmark  from taxation on his grist mill for a term of five years on condition that he fix up his mill on the improved  Roller System. Carried”