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Wardens 1864-1921, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

The first Warden of the independent county was Patrick McHugh, Reeve of Ops. His successors since that time have been as follows:
1864, Duncan McRae, Reeve of Eldon;
1865, Wm. Cottingham, Reeve of Emily;
1866-68, 1870-72, Joseph Staples, Reeve of Bexley;
1869, 1874, 1876, John Fell, Reeve of Somerville;
1873, John D. Naylor, Reeve of Fenelon;
1875, Robt. E. Perry, Reeve of Bracebridge;
1871-78, Wm. L. Russell, Reeve of Lindsay;
1879, Chas. Fairbairn, Reeve of Verulam;
1880, Dr. Geo. E. Norris, Reeve of Omemee;
1881, Wm. Parkinson, Reeve of Mariposa;
1882, Jacob W. Dill, Reeve of Bracebridge;
1883, 1886, Nelson Heaslip, Reeve of Bexley;
1884, Thos. Smithson, Reeve of Fenelon;
1885, W. H. Brown, Reeve of McLean and Ridout;
1887, E. D. McEachern, Reeve of Eldon;
1888, John Bailey, Reeve of Laxton;
1889, Dr. V. C. Cornwall, Reeve of Omemee;
1890, Thos. H. McQuade, Reeve of Emily;
1891, 1905, Adam E. Staback, Reeve of Eldon;
1892, Dr. A. E. Vrooman, Reeve of Mariposa;
1893, Eustace H. Hopkins, Reeve of Ops;
1894, Elijah Bottum, Reeve of Bobcaygeon;
1895, John Chambers Reeve of Fenelon;
1896, Wm. C. Switzer, Reeve of Emily;
1897, Dr. John W. Wood, 6th division;
1898, James Lithgow, 4th division;
1899, Robt. Bryans, 2nd division;
1900, John A. Ellis, 5th division;
1901, James Graham, 2nd division;
1902, John Austin, 4th division;
1903, John Bailey, 5th division;
1904, Wm. Channon, 1st division;
1906, Frederick Shaver, 1st division;
1907, Taylor Parkin, Reeve of Fenelon;
1908, Dr. Robt. Mason, Reeve of Fenelon Falls;
1909, Geo. A. Jordan, Reeve of Lindsay;
1910, Emerson Tiers, Reeve of Verulam;
1911, Robt. A. Callan, Reeve of Somerville;
1912, James Steele, Reeve of Eldon;
1913, A. E. Bottum, Reeve of Bobcaygeon;
1914, Alfred E. Varcoe, Reeve of Mariposa;
1915, Robt. J. Mulligan, Reeve of Omemee;
1916, Jas. Robertson, Reeve of Ops;
1917, Alfred E. Tiers, Reeve of Fenelon. Falls;
1918, Richard Howkins, Reeve of Eldon;
1919, Alex. Morrison, Reeve of Somerville;
1920, Robt. W. Wilson, Reeve of Emily;
1921, John Alton, Reeve of Carden.

The first County Clerk and Treasurer was Mr. S. C. Wood, of Taylor's Corners, who fourteen years later became Provincial Treasurer under Sir Oliver Mowat. He was succeeded in the Clerkship by Mr. Thomas Matchett. Mr. J. R. McNeillie, the present incumbent, took Mr. Matchatt's place in 1900, after twenty-five years of training as a subordinate in the same office.

Canada, Also Reaches Higher Unity

This second one-third of the centennium witnessed the coming of age not only of Victoria County but of modern Canada as well. In 1867 a federal Dominion was organized with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario as its provinces. One of the terms of union was the construction of the Intercolonial Railway to connect the maritime provinces with those farther west. In 1869 the Northwest Territories were purchased from the Hudson Bay Company, and in 1870 Manitoha was organized as a province. The Pacific colony of British Columbia entered the federation in 1872 with the understanding that a transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific, should be constructed. The C.P.R. was completed in 1885, and in the following year the Northwest Territories, now Saskatchewan and Alberta, were given representation in the Senate and House of Commons at Ottawa. Thus by 1887 the governmental scaffolding of modern Canada was practically complete.

Final One-third Century, a Modern Era

The closing one-third of the centenary has witnessed the steady erection, within this scaffolding, of a strong and promising edifice. Canada's population has increased from four and a half millions to nine millions. Alberta and Saskatchewan attained provincehood in 1905. Our material wealth has increased abundantly. A national self consciousness has been awakened by our participation in a world
war, and our representatives have upheld in the Assembly of the League of Nations our character of nationhood within the wider solidarity of British federation.

The changes in Victoria County have been typical of these wider transformations. The railway system has been still further extended by the addition of the Bobcaygeon-Burketon line of the C. P. R. in 1904 and the C. P. R. grain line from Port McNicholl to Bethany in 1912. The Trent Canal has at last been completed after half a century of shuffling and procrastination. A new policy of road construction entered upon in 1917 has entailed an expenditure of over two hundred thousand dollars on the roads of the county during 1919 and 1920 alone.

Conveniences have been distributed in great detail throughout the countryside. The farmer is seldom without his telephone. His mail is delivered at his gate. The automobile takes him to town at speeds once fabulous. Perhaps a tractor drags his plough untiringly. The urban dweller has water service, electric light and the cheap diversion of the cinematograph. Life is now one hundredfold easier than it was for our grandparents.

Another notable phenomenon has been the urbanization of industry. Manufacture, no longer dependent on local water power and seeking the most advantageous location with respect to labor and commercial markets, has developed in the larger cities. Urban competition has stifled the little shops and factories that flourished forty years ago in every country village.

In North Victoria this decline has been further complicated by the practical disappearance of lumbering. The magnificent pine forests of earlier times were slaughtered with no thought for the future and the country was left in its naked sterility of scarred rook. The decline of lumbering meant also the decline of shipping. In 1881 thirty-three vessels plied on local waters; in 1920 there were scarcely three. Thus the economic functions of the county system were simplified to the agricultural production of farms, a little manufacturing, and the retail distribution service of Lindsay and the larger villages.

Along with the amelioration of modern life and the urbanization of industry has come a rapid decrease in rural population. In 1886, the county, apart from Lindsay, reached its maximum of 25,133. In 1920 the total was 18,810, a decrease in one generation of 6,323, or 25 per cent Lindsay stood at 7880, an increase of forty-three per cent. All the villages have declined in recent times.

The county assessment, however, has increased from $4,341,960 in 1861 to $10,995,514 in 1886 and $20,714,099 in 1920. This appears to be a substantial advance, but if we stop to compare the actual values represented by one dollar in 1886 and in 1920 respectively, we shall find food for serious rumination.

We have thus sketched in outline the history of Victoria County over a period of one hundred years. We have followed the development of three distinct eras: the pioneer era which closed with the full development of municipal institutions; the railway era, in which the county attained municipal maturity and its maximum population and prosperity; and the modern era, in which certain radical changes have become manifest.

County History

Victoria County


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