The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

July 12, 2006

July 12, 2006 – 1898 Annual Report

In 1898 the Mayor and Councilors were as follows: Mayor, William Hall, Esq; Councilors in Ward 1 – J.J. McKenzie and R.W. McDonald; Ward 2 – F.S. Heffernan and J.A. Stansfield; and Ward 3 – M. McPherson and W. Letcher. The Stipendiary Magistrate – A.W. Foster, Esq, M.A. Barrister. The Town Clerk and Treasurer was Daniel McLeod. The School Commissioners which were appointed by Government were A.G. Purdy, Esq. and Robert O’Rourke. Robert O’Rourke was also chairman of the School Board.

Early in 1898 the Town Councilors met with the ratepayers and got authority to borrow $4000. $500 was used for improvements to school property – Repainting of schools which was under contract to E.A. Potter and enlarging the High School basement. Also at this time they were having trouble with the school furnace so they sent them to Robbs Engineering and had them remodeled into roller grate furnaces and adapted for long prong lining which were better suited to the high heat of the Springhill coal. The refitting of the furnaces was done by U. J. Weatherbee. The rest of the money was to be applied to current expenditures or overdraft at the bank. In this year the loan for the High School was paid off.

By 1898 Springhill had 17 school teachers, permanent police force and street lights. According to the Mayor “I don’t think it is a matter of one, two or half dozen generations that will see the Springhill coal field exhausted, and all those questions such as water works, electric light and even the railway question that has agitated peoples minds are simply a matter of time”.

There was also hope that the land extending from Salt Springs to Southampton on the north side of town could be settled and that it would be a good investment to build a good wagon road from Salt Springs station up the valley the course of the Oxford railway striking Springhill and thence towards Athol and Southampton to encourage the settlement of this waste lands.

On Dec. 9 th of that year a school for boys was opened in the lower part of the Orange Hall so as to have more room to enable the compulsory attendance act. There were 31 enrolled with an average attendance of 26.

The streets committee was negotiating with Mr. William Lees to open a drain ditch across his land to protect the Salt Springs road. There had been an earlier ditch there but when Mr. J.A. Murray bought the land he was given permission to close it up. The Council later realized that it was necessary.

In this year there was talk about rebuilding the bridge on McGee St but it was put off until a later date.

In 1898 labour was paid $1.00 to $1.20 per day. Team work – horse cart and boy driver was paid $1.75 a day while a horse cart and man driver was paid $2.00 per day. Some of the day laborers were: Malcolm McMillan, Wm. Henderson, Rod’k McPherson, John Brennan, Wm. Coates, Hugh Bunton, Richard Furbow, Wm. Foster, Wm. Davis, John A. McDonald, John Bishop, John Brown, James Kane, James Morris, Douglas Cameron, Archie Nicholson, James R. Cook, Wm. Gabriel, Albert McCarthy, George Adams, Orrington Wood, George Letcher and Wm. Letcher (boy).

The poor commission paid the sum of $39.20 to a Mrs. Marling for her passage back to the old country. It seems that she couldn’t get along with her friends here and became completely dependant upon the town. The Poor Committee felt that it would be a savings to the town to send her to friends in the old country.

The regular policeman was J T Leadbeater, while the extra policemen were: Alex Robertson; M. McVicar; Andrew McDonald; Wm. McPherson and J.R. Culton.

The cost for the street lights for 1898 was $550.67. The assessment valuation of real estate was $440,055.00. The assessment valuation of Personality was $130,501.00.

The assessment valuation of income was $11,420.00. Poll taxes brought in $2100 and the rate per $100 on real and personal property and income in the town was $1.60.

The rate of interest on bonded debt was $530 -6%; $600 – 5%; $1200 – 4 ½% and $4000 – 4%.

The estimated value and personal property owned by the Corporation was $22,000.00.