During 1850, the first year of municipal government in the township, much of the business conducted by the council was mundane and far from controversial.
Many entries recorded in West Flamborough Township council minutes reflect the day-to-day issues that almost all newly created councils face.
In February 1850, a letter was received from the Reverend Joseph Clutton, Baptist minister of Dundas, requesting the post of superintendent of common schools in the township. However, Richard Craddock – with no religious affiliation – was appointed instead with a salary of 6.5 shillings.
In September the mayor of Hamilton wrote to the councillors, inviting them to buy shares in the Great Western Railroad, and at the end of the first year, December 30, 1850, the councilors agreed to pay Mr. Crooks, the clerk , an end-of-year salary of seven pounds, 17 shillings, and two pence—seven pounds and 10 shillings for salary and seven shillings and two pence for stationary supplies and postage.
Among the regular business of the council recorded by the clerk, Mr. Crooks, was the care and provision of funds for the poor and destitute of the township. At the meeting of January 13, 1851, Mr. Sanderson and Mr. Christie were paid 17 shillings and sixpence for their expenses in burying a pauper; on 1 July 1852 a petition was received from Patrick Cain and others declaring that Michael Creen and his family were destitute, so the council recommended the “sum of £3 from the township funds for their support”; on October 9, 1854, Peter Blackstock, “an indigent person”, was awarded £6 following a petition, and on May 6, 1875, £6 was granted to Mrs. Auckland, “an indigent woman with six children “.
During the decade of the 1850s the question of the erection of a proper town hall was sometimes discussed by the council, but there was never any strong movement towards such expenditure, and although meetings were summoned, no decision regarding its location could be agreed – unlike the neighbours. East Flamborough Township, where their council oversaw the construction in Waterdown of one of the finest municipal buildings in southern Ontario.
With no interest shown in the matter, council meetings continued to be held at the merchandising business of Kenneth Wishart and William Van Every at Bullock’s Corners and occasionally at other locations in the township – the majority of which were local hotels – these included Manuel Markle’s Hotel Greensville, John Anderson’s and Jacob Markle’s hotels on Brock Road and William Bullock’s Inn at Bullock’s Corners, where twice a month he received a pound and two shillings for the use of a room, fuel and candles!
Sylvia Wray is the former Archivist of the Flamborough Archives. She can be contacted through the archives at [email protected]