Lennox and Addington Historical Society Papers and Records, Volume 1, 1909
Note.-These letters were written by an "old resident," and were published in The Beaver in 1873 and 1874. They appear in one of the Historical Society Scrap Books.
LETTER I. LETTER II. LETTER III. LETTER IV. LETTER V. LETTER VI. LETTER VII.
And it came to pass in those days, that for many years Napanee was a waste, howling wilder- ness, and the land thereof was covered with thorns, briars and thistles, and as there was an entailment upon the land, therefore it could not be sold. And Solomon, who was a wise and just man, said unto his brethren, behold the land of our fathers which we have inherited, is a goodly land, and should flow with milk and honey and corn, and the finest of wheat. Let us go up and possess the land, and build a city, and sell the same and get gain. And his brethren all with one accord, having heard the words of Solomon, said, it shall be done. And it came to pass that Solomon took ship and sailed to the east and went over to the other side of the Sea, to the land of his forefathers, where good Queen Victoria now reigneth, and he prayed the King, and the Commons, and the Lords of the land, to pass a law to set aside the entailment upon the land of his brethren. And the King and the Commons and the Lords heard the words of Solomon, and they answered, let it be done ; and it was done, and the law was passed by the Lords and the Commons, and signed by the King. And Solomon returned to the land of his brethren and told them all what had been done, and Solomon was afterwards a ruler and a judge over the people, and was in favor with the people.
Accordingly, in the year 1832, the first survey of Napanee Town plot proper was made by Samuel M. Benson, P.L.S., of,Belleville. This plot extended from East street to West street, and from the river to Thomas street, containing about one-quarter of a mile square. Several other surveys were made since, so that the town now is nearly two miles square. These town lots were immediately put into the market and sold off rapidly at reasonable rates, averaging from $ioo to $2oo, and are now worth from two to five thousand dollars each, besides buildings. Those on Dundas and Main streets were taken up first, and building operations soon commenced. Among the first to build was Mr. D. Pringle, who put up the hotel now owned and occupied by Mr. J. Culhane. Mr. Pringle shortly afterwards sold it to Mr. Miles Shorey, and erected another public house on the opposite side of the street, now called the Tichborne House. Those two hotels were kept for many years by Pringle and Shorey, and were the principal public houses in Napanee.
Mr. John V. Detlor, about this period, built on the, corner opposite the Tichborne House, and opened a general country store. He continued in business in Napanee for many years, but some time ago removed to Goderich, where he has acquired wealth and honorable position. About this time also, John Benson, Esq., now in H. M. Customs, erected the building on the corner, now owned by John Stevenson, Esq., and occupied by Thos. Waller.
Here Mr. Benson opened, and for many years kept, a general store, carrying on an extensive trade. His head clerk for some time was the late Augustus Hooper, who afterwards purchased large quantities of grain, and subsequently was elected M.P.P. for the County. Mr. Hooper was a pushing man. Several other buildings were erected about this time, but most of them have either been destroyed by fire, or removed and replaced by those more substantial. Stores were also opened in Clarksville, on the east side of the river, by Mr. McNeill and Mr. Ramsay, which have long since been closed, but the buildings are still standing as momentos of the past.
About forty years ago Mr. David Roblin put up a building opposite where Grange's Drug Store now stands, and opened a store and had a large trade. He after this became a very prominent man in our County being several times elected Reeve of Richmond and Warden of the United Counties, and for many years had a seat in Parliament. He was a very energetic man, a warm friend, and an obliging neighbor.
A few years later, Mr. Alex. Campbell put up the building now owned by Mr. William McMullen, opposite the Campbell House, and opened a store. He also built the Campbell House, and for many years held the position of Postmaster. And it came to pass in the first year of the reign of Victoria, Queen of the land of our father and of the isles of the sea, and many lands and provinces, and who ruled with wisdom, and was just and discreet in all her ways, and one Lion, whose surname was McKenzie, who was evil disposed and stirred up the people to commit acts of rebellion and to fight against the Queen and her people, and behold a man named James, of the clan of Fraser, and who was a man of the highest stature in the town, and of great energy, and one Archibald, whose surname was Campbell, were appointed captains of an host, and they raised companies of men of valour and who were not afraid of these rebellious people, and who were loyal to the Queen and the country, and they went forth to fight those rebellious and evil-disposed men and to defend the land of their fathers and their children. And so it came to pass, that the wickedness of the wicked soon came to an end, and many of them were killed with the sword, and many more were put in prison, and others were hanged, and peace and harmony was restored to the land, and the captains and the soldiers all returned in safety to their families and friends, and the old men and maidens and all the people received them gladly, and there was great joy and rejoicing, and peace and prosperity reigned in the land for many years.
About the year 1852, Napanee was made a Police Village, and three Trustees were elected to look after the best interests of the place. It was however, still under the jurisdiction of the Township of Richmond. But in 1855, Napanee was created an Incorporated Village, and elected five Councillors, one of whom was chosen Reeve, who acted as Police Magistrate for the Village. The first election resulted as follows : John Benson, Esq., Reeve ; Geo. H. Davy, Donald McPherson, Robert Esson and Abraham Fraser, Councillors; James F. Bartles being Village Clerk. For ten years it remained an incorporated village, and progressed favorably ; however, the elections for municipal honors were very closely contested, and generally turned on politics between the Conservatives and Reformers, sometimes one party being in power and then the other. Protests and writs of quo warranto were then quite common. For several years an agitation was carried on for a separation of Lennox and Addington from Frontenac, and through the indefatigable exertions of John Stevenson, Esq., the matter was consummated in 1864, and on the first of January, 1865, Napanee was proclaimed a County Town by the Government, and at the ensuing town meeting, B. C. Davy, Esq., was elected Mayor; John Stevenson, Reeve; William MeGilvary, Deputy-Reeve, and Wmn. Miller, John T. Grange, S. McL. Detlor, M. T. Rogers, John Gibbard, John Herring and Henry T. Forward, Coun cillors ; Wm. V. Detlor, Clerk. Mr. B. C. Davv was elected Mayor for three years in succession. In 1868, J. C. Huffman, Esq., was elected Mayor for four years; John T. Grange, Reeve; John Herring, Deputy-Reeve, and S. McL. Detlor, C. R. Miller, T. Beemnan, W. S. Williams, Alex. Henry, Jas. Perry, M. T. Rogers and Thos. Flynn, Councillors.
In 1871, A. L. Morden, Esq., was elected Mayor and has been re-elected for the third time. The Councillors are: S. McL. Detlor, Reeve; Wm. Ross, Deputy-Reeve, and Messrs. Joy, C. James, J. Fennell, C. Lane, R. Boyes, R. Dowling, W. F. Hall, Dr. H. L. Cook and J. C. Huffman, Councillors for the present year, and W. R. Chamberlain, Clerk.
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