Published in the Perth Courier, Dec. 16, 1904.


First Meeting of Bathurst District Council held in
1823 at Perth — Courts Established in Bath-
urst Same Year — Division of Taxes.


           At the request of Public School Inspector Cowley the following address was given by Charles MacNab, county clerk, before a gathering of public school teachers of Ottawa recently. The address was listened to with keen interest, as it contained much valuable information regarding the history of Carleton County and the duties and responsibilities of the various municipal bodies.

           The address was as follows:

           The first mention of the County of Carleton I have been able to find is in the 38th year of the reign of George the Third or in 1796. It was then called the County of Carleton but was in the district of Johnstown. In 1821 the second year of the reign of George the Fourth, at the first session of Parliament, power was given the then Governor by proclamation when he saw fit, to declare the County of Carleton a separate district by such name as to him seemed meet or to add to or alter the same. The Governor, by proclamation bearing date the 13th day of November, 1822, declared the County of Carleton a separate district by the name of Bathurst.

           Effect was given to the proclamation by an act passed on January 29th, 1823, establishing courts in Bathurst and providing for the division of the taxes raised in 1822 in the district of Johnstown while Carleton was a part of it.

           The first meeting of the Bathurst district council was held in 1823 at Perth. I have not the minutes of the first meeting in my possession to show what municipalities were represented at that council, but at the last meeting held in 1842, as a whole, the following municipalities were represented : — Bathurst, Drummond, Beckwith, Ramsay, North Sherbrooke, Dalhousie and Lavant, Goulburn, Nepean, Huntley, Pakenham, Ross, Horton, McNab, Westmeath, Torbolton, and March, 17 in all. Eight of the municipalities sending two representatives, a total of 25 councilors.


           The district of Dalhousie was by proclamation. 1. Vict. Chap. 25, 1837 38, brought into existence, its territory being the Townships of Nepean, Huntley, Goulburn, March, Torbolton, Fitzroy, Marlboro, North Gower with the Townships of Gloucester and Osgoode added for municipal purposes only. Evidently the proclamation did not come into force until 1842, as I find by the minutes that the first session of the district of Dalhousie was held on the ninth day of August, 1842, with 12 representatives, two of the municipalities sending two representatives each. The Honorable Thomas McKay being the first warden and G.P. Baker first clerk. Its places of meeting was the court house in Bytown.

           In 1896 the Ontario Legislature passed a law designated as “The County Council Act,” dividing the counties in Ontario into county council divisions for the purpose of reducing the representatives in county councils which were becoming too numerous, some large councils having as many as 50 members, a small parliament. Carleton had in 1896, 26 members. The divisions were made the basis of population, counties having 25,000 or less five divisions and ten members; 25,000 and up to 40,000 or more, but less than 60,000, seven divisions and 14 members; 60,000, nine divisions and 18 members.


           Carleton is divided into six county council divisions as follows: No. 1, Gloucester division, the Township of Gloucester only; No. 2, Rideau division, Osgoode and North Gower; No. 3, Richmond division, Marlboro, Goulborn and the Village of Richmond; No. 4, Carleton division, Huntley, Fitzroy and Torbolton; No. 5. Nepean and March division, Nepean and March; No. 6, Suburban division, Village of Ottawa East, Hintonburg and polling sub-divisions eight and nine of Nepean.

           The representatives of the division are called county councillors and when elected hold office for two years. The first election under the new act was held on the first Monday in January, 1897. The reeves of minor municipalities are debarred from election to both offices.


           Under the district system it would appear from the minutes that district councillors [were involved] in many minor details of management in townships than county councillors have now. The ammendment to the municipal act made since, having loaded them over to the township councillors.

           Some of the duties of township councils are building and keeping in repair roads and bridges within their jurisdiction; levying and collecting rates for the payment of school teachers, the erection of school houses, heating etc., and for township purposes generally the levying and collecting of county rates for county purposes imposed upon the township for that purpose; assessing the ratable property within the township; dividing the township into school sections; building bridges on townlines over streams, eight feet wide, and the approaches for 100 feet at each end of the bridge; building across any stream running through villages within the county. Bridges on boundary lines between counties are to be built jointly by counties affected. The payment in the first phase of all accounts in connection with the erection of jail and court-house, and all other accounts connected with the administration of justice such as the maintenance and care of county jail and court-house, the feeding and clothing of prisoners, the providing of accommodation and furniture of law library, stationery for the various officers connected with the administration of criminal justice, and generally to supervise all affairs pertaining to the county. Every quarter an account is sent to the Ontario Government, the Government returning to the county such portions of the expenses as the law allows, according to the number of indictable offences committed within the county and city. After deducting the amount received from the Government, the county and city are responsible for the balance, the city and county being one for judicial purposes. If the city disputes the amount it is charged with and both parties cannot agree, the law provides for arbitration. The last arbitration the county had with the city the arbitrators fixed the basis according to population. The city having at that time 50,000 and the county 30,000, so the city had to pay five-eighths and the county three-eighths. Arbitrators fix the time for five years.


           In the year 1849 an act was passed dividing the districts into counties, 42 counties and nine united counties, Carleton territory remaining the same as Dalhousie district but having one more municipality added. Bytown, which was formerly a portion of Nepean, the townships and villages electing a reeve and four councillors to manage the local affairs. The Reeve of each municipality being the representative at the county council board.

           The first meeting of the County Council of Carleton was held in the courthouse, Bytown, Monday the 28th day of January, 1850. Honorable Hamnett Pinhey representing March, being elected the first warden and his son C. H. Pinhey, clerk.

           In 1851, Richmond Village, a portion of Goulburn, was added. In 1866 New Edinburgh Village, a part of Gloucester, having obtained incorporation, sent a representative to County Council in 1867. In 1866[sic] the Village of New Edinburgh was taken into the City of Ottawa, now forming what is called Rideau Ward, ceased to send a representative to the County Council of Carleton in 1887. In 1888 Ottawa East village was made a part of Nepean and in 1893 Hintonburg was also made part of the same township — 13 municipalities in all. The County of Carleton has retained its corporate name ever since.


           In 1854 Bytown was incorporated as the City of Ottawa, and formed a county of itself for municipal purposes, and ceased to send representatives to the County Council of Carleton after December 31st, 1854.


           Previous to 1871 the common schools were inspected by local inspectors, generally the resident clergyman in each municipality. On March 16, 1871, the Rev. John May was appointed public shool inspector of the County of Carleton. He resigned in June, 1883, and the late Archibald Smirle was appointed shortly after, remaining in office until his death in 1897. In October, 1897, the present inspector R.H. Cowley was appointed and is still in office.