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

1890 to 1929

Telephones, Smallpox and Machine Guns


“15th February 1890.  Moved by Robert Bennie, Seconded by William Ross, that Alex Fraser and Thomas Carswell be sent as delegates to Ottawa to wait on the Dominion Government for the purpose of getting a Grant to build an interprovincial bridge at Gower Point.  Carried.”  

Moved by Robert Bennie, Seconded by William Ross, that the petition be sent to Thomas Murray of Toronto to have it laid before the Ontario Government for the purpose of getting a Grant to build an interprovincial bridge at Gower Point.  Carried.”

Two years later the Council was still looking for financing for this project to no avail – an interprovincial bridge, at what would later be LaPasse, never materialized…

“9th August 1890  Moved by James Robinson, Seconded by William Ross, that the construction of a sidewalk in the village of Beachburg be suspended, until as many of the citizens in the village enter into an agreement with the council as will satisfy them. Namely that they will assume all responsibility in the construction, maintenance or any damage that now or hereafter be incurred on account of said sidewalk. Carried” 


“4th February 1891.  Moved by William Ross, Seconded by Thomas Sykes that the by-law to prohibit the sale of spiritous Liquors or other manufactured Liquors in shops and places other than houses of Public entertainment within the Township of Westmeath be now introduced. Carried 

A new Liquor By-Law referendum was held Feb 27th, 1891.  Majority, (186 to 156), voted for the new by-law.


Elected Officials for 1896:   Reeve:Thomas Fraser,  Deputy Reeve: James Robinson

Councillors:   James H. Bromley, John A. Gourley, Richard Purcell.

Appointments 1895:  Clerk: Hugh Dunn,  Assessor: Stewart Snowdon

Pathmasters: Wm Ross, James Johnston, James Smith, Samuel Drew, Robert Kayce, George Smith, Louis Scott, Thos. A. McCracken, Jas. Davidson, Wm Wilson, Danl Robertson, Joseph LeFleur, Munro Ross, Jule Primeau, James Montgomery, Robert Goddard, Nathaniel Carswell, Wm Cotnam, John C. McLean, Euclid Dupuis, John Kenney Jr., John Tait, John E. Bromley, John Fraser Sr., N. Marcotte, Jas. Levingston, Jas. Daugherty,  Frank Brown, Sam Gourley, John Robinson, John Howard, John Bennie Jr., John Collins, John McBride, Stephen Strong, Samuel Wright Jr., Ed Gervais, Wm., Graham, Louis Lacroix, John Brown, Wm Kenney, George Kenney

Fence Viewers: Thos. Wright, Demasse Gervais, Geo. Biggs, Thos. Scott, Ed Gervais, Jas. Buchanan, Hugh Ross, Dan Robertson, John Comrie, Stewart Snowdon, John Dunn, Arch’d Crozier, Robt. Davidson, Robt. Stewart, Martin Hennessy, W.H. Sherman, Sam’l Wright, Alex J. McLaren, Peter Buchanan, Wm Cotnam

Pound Keepers: Toussaint Cecil, Gilbert Gervais, Robt. Stewart, Jas. Davidson, John Wright, Francis Lyrte, Saml. Drew, Able Beach, Martin Hennessy, W.H. Pretty, Augustus Brown, D.R .McDonald, G.A. Tucker, John Davidson, Thos. A. McCracken, David  Nutchel

The first telephone line privately established from the Fraser Farm on Rapid Road westward to Front Westmeath where the Fraser Paterson Store was located.

“11th April 1896.  Moved by John A. Gourley, Seconded by James H. Bromley, that this council grants permission to W.H.A. Fraser to erect telephone poles from his residence to place of business. Poles to be placed so as not to obstruct construction of road, also to operate same and that the seal of the corporation be attached to this motion.Carried.”          


First Jails or “Lock-Up Houses” 

8th October 1898.  Moved by Thomas Little, Seconded by S. Drew that the by-law to establish, maintain and regulate. Lock-up houses in the villages of Beachburg and Westmeath be now introduced and read a first  time. Carried                                                                                                         

15th December 1898.  Moved by James H. Bromley, Seconded by Thomas Little that the by-law to abolish Statute Labour now be introduced Carried 

4th March 1899  Moved by James H. Bromley, Seconded by Thos Little that the recommendation of the Board of Health to this council to the effect that the Medical Health Officer, John Graham M.D. shall give notification to the Board of each School Section in this municipality of the day upon which he purposes calling at their school for the purpose of vaccinating the children and others assembled for that purpose at a fee of 35 cents per capita for those who able to pay the same, but free of charge for those unable to pay – be adopted. Carried

Smallpox Vaccinations were introduced into Canada in 1798.  Ft Coulonge Hudson Bay Post was hit by an outbreak of smallpox in 1842. The early Indians (17th & 18th centuries), trading at Hudson Bay posts were very susceptible. Montreal lost 3,000 people to a major outbreak in 1885. Vaccination was soon mandated for school children, although there was much resistance by anti-vaccinationists. Endemic smallpox was successfully eradicated in Canada by 1946.


A special meeting was held for the purpose of taking steps to prevent the spread of smallpox in the township.

9th March 1901  Moved by Andrew Poupore, seconded by William Ross, that the by-law to appoint four Sanitary Inspectors one for each Polling Subdivision in the Township. Carried

Moved by Andrew Poupore, seconded by William Ross, that in view of the fact that smallpox threatens to be epidemic and also on recommendation of the Board of Health and Medical Health Officer that this council adopt a general vaccination of the Township of Westmeath and that Dr. Forbes of Beachburg and Dr. Graham of Westmeath be appointed Medical Practitioners to have the same done at once by a house to house visitation and that they each receive a remuneration for their services the sum of twenty five cents for each person successfully vaccinated (township to furnish vaccine) and also that the following territory be allotted to each: Dr Forbes Polling Stn No 1 and 4, and Dr Graham Polling Stn #2 and 3. Carried

15th February 1902.    Moved by Andrew Poupore, Seconded by Samuel Young, that acting from a recommendation of the Board of Health to erect a temporary hospital or Pest House somewhere near Westmeath Village. That Samuel Drew, Alex Fraser, and Andrew Poupore be a committee to meet next Monday the 17th to select a site and give contract a building same under the directions of Dr. Graham, Medical Health Officer. Carried

Managing Smallpox:  During the first half of 1902, the Township of Westmeath spent $718.16 on smallpox vaccine, 2 doctors’ services, supplies to Pest House, quarantines and other smallpox management costs.    As recorded and published by John Brown, Clerk .   That expenditure conversion into today’s currency using an inflation calculator would be the equivalent of $18, 752. spent in the first six months of that year.  At that time there was not universal healthcare. Municipalities had to step in where needed and provide care.


29th October 1904.  Moved by Sam Young Seconded by William Ross that owing to the bridge across Muskrat River in the Township of Westmeath, commonly known as Graham’s Bridge, being over 300 ft long and being used by the inhabitants of municipalities other than the Township of Westmeath and being situate on a highway which is an important road affording means of communication to several municipalities, and it being unjust that the township should be liable for the maintenance and repair of the bridge, this township council hereby declares that the said bridge should be maintained and repaired by the corporation of the County of Renfrew, and that application be made to the judge of the county court of the County of Renfrew for an order declaring such bridge a county bridge and to be maintained and kept in repair by said county corporation……  Carried  

Note: County refused to assume ownership at this first request.


Elected Officials:

  • Reeve: Andrew Poupore
  • Councillor: James Robinson
  • Councillor: William Ross
  • Councillor: James R. Davidson
  • Councillor: John G. McLean

9th January 1905.   Moved by James Robinson, Seconded by James Davidson that the sum of ten dollars each be granted to the Hospital for Sick Children and Hospital for Consumption in Toronto. Carried

22nd April 1905.  Moved by John McLean, Seconded by James Robinson that the Township be divided in 5 Road Divisions for road improvement purposes, to be numbered 1,2,3,4 & 5 and to have road overseers of each division. Carried

Moved by William Ross, Seconded by John McLean that the by-law to appoint road commissioners have the blanks filled in as follows:

  • Div #1 Martin Beaupre
  • Div #2 John Collins
  • Div #3 James Mullen
  • Div #4 William Smythe
  • Div #5 Frank Berry

And the sum of two dollars as remuneration and be now read the second and third time. Carried           

16th December 1905.   Petition from John G. Bromley and others asking that a vote of the ratepayers be taken to abolish the system of Commulabour (?) road work and again establish the system of Statute   Labour.                                                                                             

Moved by John McLean, Seconded by James Robinson, that in view of the fact that this council gave the ratepayers of this township an opportunity to vote on the repeal of Commulabour system, and that the present system was ample sustained by the vote a year ago, and further that the County is about to take over a certain percentage of the Township roads to be made and maintained by the county, we think it not advisable to take another vote at the present. Carried 

Animals running wild fines:  “entire”  horse is  $4.00, a goose is 5 cents.   No mention made of partial horses! 1905 Bylaw Animals


Township appointed officers 1906 (Pathfinders no longer used)

Fence Viewers: Jonathan Montgomery, Thos. McBride, Germaine Gervais, Henry O’Brien, James Scott, Ed Gervais, John R. Davidson, Jacob Stewart, Martin Hennessy, Peter Buchanan, James J. Barr, Hugh Ross, Daniel Robertson, John Comrie, Stewart Snowden, Matthew Barr, Archie Crozier, Gillian Davidson, Alex J. McLaren, Geo. A. Cotnam

Pound Keepers: Maxime Cecil, Gilbert Gervais, Jacob Stewart, James Davidson, D. Bromley, Robt. W. Ross, William Smith, Charles White, Martin Hennessy, Wm. H. Pretty, Agust Brown, ___ R. Davidson, Daniel Robertson, Gordon Tate, Geo. A. Tucker, Alex Mclean, Hamilton Brown, Thos. A. McCracken, Henry Harper, Benjamin Sweeney

Note: Some of these old documents are very fragile and crisp – ready to tear or crumble;  so they were handled very sparingly and sometimes it was better to not try to flatten.  The quality of the digitized image suffers accordingly.


How was money spent by the Township?   1910 Expenditures


9th January 1911.  Moved by John R. Davidson, Seconded by John Dennison, that the by-law to appoint Overseers of Winter Roads [to keep roads open during winter months of sleighing], have the blanks filled in as follows: John B. Moore, Robert Thompson, William O’Brien, James H. Bromley, James Conley, Wm. A. McMullen, James J. Barr, Robert Dougherty, James C. Dennison, William Wilson, Lamar Papin, Charles Burns, Heiram McLelland, William Miller, Angus Barr, William Matheson, and George Brisco. Carried

13th April 1911.   Messrs Wm. Headrick and Albert Munroe presented petitions from the Westmeath and Beachburg Telephone Association and the Westmeath Telephone Association No. 1 respectively, for permission to erect poles and string wires along the public highways in the Township, and Messrs John E. Bromley for the Bromley Line Association and R. T. McLaughlin for the Alba Association for the same purpose but without formal petitions.

Mr. McLaughlin also approached the Council for a grant of money (say two hundred dollars) towards erecting a trunk line from Pembroke town to Westmeath village via Beachburg to be used jointly by the various telephone associations. This was refused.

Moved by Alex Bromley Seconded by John Dennison, that James R. Davidson, Esq. Reeve, be and is hereby authorized to sign agreements with the various telephone associations who are applying for permission to erect poles and string wires along the various highways within this Township. Carried


20th April 1912.  Moved by Robert Wright, Seconded by John Mclean, that the Reeve be authorized to order a Road Grader from the Sawyer and Massey Co. Ltd. on terms offered by them, the Grader to be of the latest improved Stell Reversible Machine. Carried

24th August 1912.  Moved by John R. Davidson Seconded by Robert Wright, that this council is still of the opinion that the station on the C.N.R. (assumed C.N.O.R.) for Beachburg would be more convenient for the village and surrounding country if located on Lot No. 8, Conc. 5, and urge the location on said lot.      [Note: subsequently changed to Lot 7, Conc 5] Carried


5th April 1913.  Moved by Robert Wright, Seconded by Henry C. Davis, that the Reeve be authorized to purchase from the Massey Harris Co. Ltd. five drag scrapers, for the Townships use. Carried 


Elected Officials

  • Reeve: James R. Davidson
  • Councillor: Henry G. Davis        
  • Councillor: William Mathieson
  • Councillor: John R. Davidson
  • Councillor: Robert Wright

6th March 1915.  The clerk read the correspondence and bills for the month, and reported that he had received 32 notices from electors that they proposed to support a Separate School at Lapasse. The Reeve reported that he had received a notice from the Secretary of the Formation of a Separate School Section at Lapasse.

7th August 1915.   Moved by Robert Wright Seconded by John R. Davidson, that the Corporation of the Township of Westmeath donate immediately two Machine Guns, not to cost more than two thousand dollars, to the Militia Department of Canada at Ottawa, and that the Department provide same as early as possible, for the use of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, and that the clerk be authorized to notify the Honourable, the Minister of Militia. Carried


23rd June 1917. Moved by Robert Wright, Seconded by Albert Buttle that the by-law to pay out certain sums of money have the blanks filled in as follows:

  • John H. Lyttle – work on roads 170.75
  • Thomas Gervais – work on winter roads 4.25
  • Ernest Thibault – work on roads 120.10
  • James McMullen – work on roads 116.05
  • Henry Robinson – work on roads 141.00
  • Wm. Purcell – Colonization Road No. 7 375.00
  • Wm. Purcell  – Colonization Road No. 6 100.04
  • Robert A. Graham – work on roads 75.35
  • Wm. P. O’Brien – work on winter road 9.88  Carried

18th August 1917  Moved by John R. Davidson, Seconded by Albert Buttle, that the by-law to grant the sum of one thousand dollars to the British Red Cross Associations, be now introduced and be read the first time. [2nd and 3rd readings carried also] Carried

8th March 1919    Moved by Albert Munroe, Seconded by Alex Bromley, that George Forbes, M.D. be and is hereby appointed to provide medical attendance for indigent persons suffering from the result of injury or disease and who, in the opinion of the Head of the Municipality, are unable through poverty to pay for the necessary attendance. Carried     

12th April 1919   Moved by Albert Munroe, Seconded by Thos. F. Burgess, whereas a petition has been presented to this council to get an estimate from the Hydro Electric Commission of the cost of supplying electric light and power in accordance with the provisions of the “Power Commission Act” of 1911; therefore be it resolved, that the petition be referred back for the purpose of increasing the number of of signatures to said petition to be dealt with at next meeting of Council. Carried


Elected Officials

  • Reeve: Albert Munroe
  • Councillor: Alex Bromley
  • Councillor: John D. McLean
  • Councillor: John Cowie
  • Councillor: Edward Lyons


Clerk: Wm. Headrick

Pound Keepers: Walter Davidson, H. G. Bromley, Wm. Smyth, W.F. Weedmark, Harris Brown, John Fletcher, Gordon Tait, W.P. O’Brien, Wilbert Brown, James J. Barr, Thos. A. Gervais, Geo. D. Bennett, Andrew Barr

Fence Viewers: Graham Montgomery, Thos. McBride, Thos. Eckford, Izett Anderson, Hugh Ross, Matthew Barr, Wm. Davidson, Jas. J. Barr, Thos. Gervais


15th December 1921   Moved by Alex Bromley Seconded by Ed Lyons, that the following rules and regulations be adopted for Ferry Boat at Lapasse, between Mansfield and Lapasse Government Wharf. It is the wish of this council that there should be a licensed Ferry Boat and that the same should have the following rules herein enacted:

1. Time: From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. from 1st May to the 1st September. Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. and from 1 to 9 p.m. During the remaining portion of the season before freezing said Ferry Boat shall be operated from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2. Limit of Ferry – One mile each side of Government Wharf at Lapasse which shall be known as South Landing, and one mile each side of Mansfield Government Wharf, which shall be known as North Mansfield Landing

3. Tariff of Charges

  • Car, wagon, loaded or unloaded team with express or buggy – 50¢ each way
  • One horse, single buggy or express – 40¢ each way.
  • Passengers one way – 25¢
  • Cattle per head – 15¢
  • Sheep per head – 15¢

And Ferryman should be also bound to come whenever signaled to do so by flag or horn.

4. Boat – motor propulsion, steam, coal oil, gasoline

5. Dimensions of Boat – at least 50 feet long by 26 feet wide at beam.

 Also that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Department of Public Works, Ottawa.  Carried


15th July 1923  Moved by Izett Anderson, Seconded by S.S. Robinson that the by-law to raise by way of loan the sum of twenty thousand dollars for the erection of a building for Public and Continuation Class School Section No. 7 of the Township of Westmeath in the County of Renfrew be now read a second time and third time short and passed. Carried


4th  October 1924   Moved by John D. McLean, Seconded by Ed Lyons that this council now assembled do not approve of any changes in Clause 4 regarding the number of trips to be made each day by the ferryman on Lapasse – Coulonge Ferry, but we do approve of schedule of fares in letter of Department of Public Works, dated Sept 23/24, to Dennis J. Shea of Ft. Coulonge, as follows:

  • Passengers on foot, each way  .25
  • On trips made for one passenger only  .25
  • On trips made for more than one passenger .15
  • Automobiles including driver and passengers .50
  • Two horse cart loaded or unloaded, each way  .50
  • One horse cart loaded or unloaded, each way .40
  • Cattle, each, each way  .15
  • Sheep, each, each way  .05  Carried


1925 Elected Officials

  • Reeve: Albert Munroe
  • Councillor: John D. McLean
  • Councillor: Thos. F. Burgess
  • Councillor: Izett Anderson
  • Councillor: Edward Lyons

6th February 1925 Moved by Edward Lyons, Seconded by Izett Anderson, that this council appoint A. Munroe, John D. McLean, and Thos. F. Burgess a committee to look into the matter of electric power and light for the Township of Westmeath.    Carried

The forgoing motion was carried after a lengthy conference with Mr. H.L. McGill who spoke on the subject of a new industry coming to Beachburg and power development. 


The 1929 municipal election results are not complete in the stored records.  The Municipal Election of 1929

Minutes of Years 1929 to 1941, inclusive, are Missing

The Westmeath Township Minute Book(s) that would record the years 1929 through to the end of 1941 are missing from the collection housed at the Cobden Municipal Building.  If and when they come to light they will be inserted on this site.

This is an important loss because it would be interesting to read how the municipality dealt with the Dirty Thirties and the economic hardships of the Great Depression.