Quarterly, of Kingston is still doing good service in publishing well edited
reports of the earliest court records of this section of the province. To
Prof. Adam Shortt much credit is due for the careful manner in which these
original reports are being edited. The current number of the Quarterly
contains the reports for 1801, and the two following years. At that time, as
has already been stated in these columns, the Sessions were for the entire
Midland District, the territory from Gananoque to the Trent rivers, - and the
Sessions were held alternately at Kingston and Adolphustown.
We are mostly interested
in the affairs of this county, and will, therefore, make most special mention
of the Adolphustown sessions. The first report given in this Quarterly was of
the Sessions held in Adolphustown Court House on the 14th of July 1801 - just
ninety-nine years ago. The magistrates then present, who presided, were
Alexander Fisher, Esq., who cited as foreman; Thomas Dorland, also of
Adolphustown; J. Miller and M. Pruyn, of Fredericksburgh; N. Lazier, of Sixth
Town, Prince Edward; J. W. Meyers, of Thurlow, Hastings and J. Embury, of
Fredericksburgh, we believe. This if we remember, was the first time that the
name of Alexander Fisher appeared as the presiding magistrate. From that time
on for years he appears to have presided at Adolphustown, and Richard
Cartwright at the Kingston sessions; Mr. Fisher's name, however, generally
appeared among the magistrates at the Kingston sessions. Just when he was
appointed the judge of this county we do not know, but it seems always
understood that he was the first judge of this county. He appears to have
held that position for a good many years, as men yet living can well remember
when he still presided. As we have before stated, he lived and died in the
third concession of Adolphustown, on the south shore of Hay Bay, and about a
mile east of the first Methodist church. There the family vault still stands,
and is in a good state of preservation.
At this time it was the
perogative of the Quarter Sessions to receive applications for liquor
licenses, and to grant or reject them. At that Sessions the following
applications were duly received and granted: - Jas. Garrett, Isaac Huff,
James Simpson and James Walker. We do not know where they resided. Isaac
Simpson probably resided at "Meyers Creek" now the city of
Belleville. It has been frequently stated that his was the first licensed
public house in that place. It was continued by his widow for many years
after his death. At the next sessions, held in Kingston the following
October, licenses were granted to Phineas Bean, of Kingston township, and
Joseph Huffman, of Ernestown.
Again at the Kingston
Sessions, held in April, 1802, licenses were granted to Joseph Kemp, Henry
Betslay, Samuel Hitchcock, and Stephen Fairfield. Mr. Fairfield's house was
located between Mill Haven and Collins' Bay, on the shores of Bay Quinte, and
was, probably, at that time the finest house in the county. The house still
stands, and is occupied by descendants of the family. It is still a very
commodious and comfortable dwelling house. At the next Sessions in
Adolphustown, in July, 1802, a license was granted to Caleb Benedict, of
The first licenses of all
of which record was then given were to John Kemp and Garrett D. Clute, of the
Township of Fredericksburgh. These were granted at the Kingston Sessions,
held on the 30th April, 1801.
On the 27th of April,
1802, at Kingston, it was ordered that the Clerk of the Peace should give the
necessary documents for obtaining licenses to all who held them the last year
except Wm. Brody, who, it was stated, "has removed into a house where it
is evident no proper accommodations can be had." An early resident, long
since gone, once informed the writer that the early taverns did not require
much sleeping accommodations. A man would be first "filled up" with
the rum of that day, and then "bed and board' were easily combined. Mr.
McDonnell of Kingston, was then first granted a license. These were evidently
the beginnings of the liquor license system in these counties.
We have also here a record
of the earliest ferry licenses in the district, which were also then granted
by the Quarter Sessions. The first of these was granted to Samuel Hitchcock
for a ferry from his house "on the Grand Island opposite Kingston."
That is now probably Wolfe Island. That was at the January sessions of 1802.
The rates of each ferry were also fixed at the same time, and they appear to
have been very liberal at that time. For a single person, 5 shillings; man
and horse, $1.50; horse, ox or cow, $1; for every 112 pounds weight of
luggage, ferried along with a person, $1.20. Now the steamboat ferry on the
same line does not pretend to charge more than a "quarter" for
either man or beast. At the March Sessions license was also granted to Samuel
Corn for a ferry from the south side of Wolfe Island to the American shore,
and the rates were about the same.
At the same time a license
was granted for a ferry "from the Fourth Township to Vanalstine's
Mills." For years and years until quite recently, that ferry from what
is now Young's Point, Adolphustown to Glenora, was kept up, and it was one of
the most important on the entire bay. The need of one there is very much felt
now. At the same time a ferry license was also granted to John Vanalstine,
but just where is not stated.
At the Adolphustown
Sessions in July, 1802, a ferry license was granted to Edward Barker from his
point in Adolphustown to the opposite house in Sixth Town. That was from what
is now Mallory's Point to the High Shore, in Sophiasburgh. Mr. Barker lived
there for years, and it was known as Barker's Point, then as Thompson's
Point, and now Mallory's Point. A ferry was kept there for many years, and is
still much needed. Nicholas Wessels (written Kessels in the report) was also
given a license from his place on the Prince Edward side, just opposite, to
Adolphustown, at Barker's Point.
At the Adolphustown
sessions held in January, 1803, a license was granted to Cyrenus Parks to the
opposite shore of Hay Bay in South Fredericksburgh. Cyrenus Parks then lived
where his grandson, A. C. Parks, now resides. The rates then were 10 cents
for a single man; man and horse 20 cents; cows and oxen, 10 cents each. A
good ferry is still maintained by Mr. N. Woodcock, a mile or two west of
that. A license was also granted to Benjamin Garrow, of Ameliasburgh. It was probably
from Prince Edward to Hastings counties, somewhere near the splendid Bay of
Quinte steel bridge, near Belleville, is now located.
THE M.P.P.s AT THAT TIME
At that time, and for
years after the sessional salaries of the representatives in the Provincial
parliament were provided for by the sessions and a tax was levied on each
county for that purpose. Here are the yearly rates so levied during the years
"Timothy Thompson, member of the Counties of Addington and Lennox, $106.
Ebenezer Washburn, for the county Prince Edward, $106.
John Ferguson, for the County of Frontenac, $106.
Timothy Thompson was, we
believe, then, or later on, a resident of Kingston, where he published a
paper. He married a daughter of William Ruttan of Adolphustown, and later on
moved to Toronto.
Ebenezer Washburn was a
native of Fredericksburgh, but moved to Hallowell afterwards the town of
Picton, where he became quite an extensive and wealthy merchant and a large land
and property owner. He married a Miss Trumpour, of Adolphustown.
John Ferguson was a
resident of Kingston, and was at one time in trade in Thurlow, near
Belleville, where probably, the first store in Hastings County was
At that time no minister
had a legal right to perform a marriage ceremony but those of the Church of
England, unless a special license was first granted by the Sessions. And
these licenses could only be granted to Lutheran's, Baptists, or Presbyterians.
The records show that a couple of such licenses were granted during these
years. At the Sessions held in Adolphustown in January 1802, there was made
the following record:
"Public notice was given in Court that Asa Turner applies for a
certificate as a Calvenist Minister at the next quarter Sessions of the Peace
for the Midland District, for the Townships of Sydney, Thurlow, Ameliasburgh
Then in the records of the
January Sessions at Adolphustown of 1803, this appears: "Asa Turner applied
for a License as an Anabaptist Calvinist, and having made due proof to the
Magistrates in Sessions of his Ordination, it was allowed him." We have
not seen anything else of the history of Mr. Turner, but he was probably the
first Baptist minister in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.
SUNDRY ACCOUNTS PASSED
The record of the accounts
passed and ordered to be paid gives clear indication of the changes there
have been in the duties and prerogatives of the Court of Quarter Sessions
since this century was young. It must be remembered at that time there were
no municipal councils and no other representative tax-levying bodies except
the Provincial Legislature. Here are some of the financial records.
At the Sessions held in
Kingston, 27 of April, 1802, it was recorded that, the following sums of
money were allowed by the Magistrates in sessions to be paid by the
To pay what is due to
Adolphustown Court House, £5.
That was, no doubt, for
the use and maintenance of the building. It appears by the Adolphustown town
meeting records that it was first built in 1796 or thereabouts and that to
provide for the expense of the erection there were subscriptions made in the
township. Here is an extract from the Adolphustown town meeting record of
March 7 1796.
William More and Michael Slote, by vote of the whole township, are appointed
to be a committee to conduct, regulate and oversee the businesses of erecting
a Court House in this town according to the subscription made for that
At the same Sessions, the
following sums were ordered to be paid to the Town Wardens; Marysburgh,
Ernestown, Kingston, £13.10 each; Sophiasburgh, £5.10; Sydney,
£14. The Town Wardens at that time were the legal Trustees of a municipality
and thru them legal business must be done. They were elected at the annual
town meeting. These sums were, no doubt, levied in taxes by the Sessions and
paid over to the Wardens for local improvements. At the April Sessions in
1803, there is also a long list given of accounts passed and ordered to be
paid. Among them was quite a large sum (£41, 12, 8 1-4) for the Court
House. The name is not given, but it was probably the Kingston Court House.
At the same time £6 was granted to Thos. Dorland for "making
Shutters and Stocks for the Court House at Adolphustown." The
"stocks" were then used as a place of punishment. A grant of
£4.6.6 was made for "Mr. Markland's account for School House in
Kingston." That is the first school house grant we remember to have
noticed in these records. Then come in grants for Officials, which probably
represents the salaries they then received:
Clerk of the Peace.....£15
The Town Clerks, elected at the
township annual meetings, also appear to have had their salaries then granted
at the Sessions. Here are the items passed at that time (April 27 1802);
Town Clerk, Adolphustown,
10 shillings; Kingston 15; ditto, County of Addington, 15; Sophiasburgh,
10." The Town Warden of Ernesttown was granted £13. Mr. Hereford,
Town Clerk of Richmond, was granted 10 shillings. Richmond now begins to
appear in among the municipalities. Can any readers of The Beaver inform us
who Mr. Hereford was and where he resided?
William Robbins was town
clerk of Adolphustown that year. We are informed that he was a school teacher
and that he kept the first store in the township. He was a beautiful writer,
as the old minutes of that time still bear witness.
The other officers for that
township elected that year were; "Coonroad VanDuzen, Peter Rattan, sr.,
Assessors, William Rattan, Collector; Willet Casey, Rueben Bedell, Town
Wardens; Peter Swade, James Canniff, William Griffis, John Huyck,
Poundkeepers; P. Dorland, Joel Haight, William More, Abraham Bogert,
Overseers of Highways; William Rattan, John Roblin, Constables." We have
here followed the spelling of the names as given in the original minutes of
that time. It will be seen that a number of the same family names are spelled
differently now. Nearly all these original settlers have now descendants
either in that township or in this county.