My parents, Allan and Norine Duck, are members of the Morpeth Heritage Club. They noted that today, an open house was taking place to mark the 30th anniversary of the “new hall” in Morpeth. That reminded me that where I left off sharing posts from “As the Story is Told” was actually right at the chapter about the hall. I will share this chapter in a short series of posts this week. What I found interesting about this section is mention of my ancestor Ebenezer Colby (my paternal grandmother was Monica Colby Duck). Also, I guess Ridgetown got the first hall?
The Town Hall
From a plan of that portion of Morpeth as laid out by Albert P. Salter, Provincial Land Surveyor, on part of Lot 91 T.R.S., dated 1856, we find where the first Town Hall was located. Coming in to Morpeth from the east, the post office was on the first lot past the corner of Talbot Road and Bagot Street and on the next lot the original Town Hall stood. Just when this hall was built we o not know. It is presume, however, that early in the 1820s there was a building, that served as a meeting place for Council and various get-togethers typical of those early pioneer days. Up until a few years ago all social life was centered around events in the church, school or town hall.
In 1852 it was decided that a new larger hall should be erected in Howard for the use of the whole Township of Howard. It is quite evident from the following minutes of the Howard Township Council, (Archives of Toronto) that there was quite a controversy as to where it should be built, Morpeth or Ridgetown.
Copies of those minutes follow:
ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO
Howard Township Council Minutes
References to a Town Hall.
10 May 1852
Moved by James A. Rolls and seconded by William Wilson that whereas it has been necessary that a Town Hall be erected in the Township of Howard and certain inhabitants of said Township have voluntarily subscribed one hundred and fifty pounds currency and also a plot of ground for the site of the said Township Hall in the village of Morpeth that the municipality do pass a By-law giving an additional fifty pounds to be levied by a note on all taxable property of said Township making in the whole two hundred pounds currency and that a Town Hall be without delay erected in the said village of Morpeth. Which said Town Hall shall not cost more than two hundred pounds and that the Deed of which shall be to the Municipality of the said Township of Howard.
Mr. John Wilson presented a Petition very unanimously signed praying that this Town Hall be erected in Ridge Town, Mr. Ebenezer Colby giving a plot of ground for the site of it.
The subject of the Town Hall postponed or deferred till next meeting of the Municipality.
25 May 1852
Read the motion of James A. Rolls recorded in the Minutes of last meeting in favor of Town Hall being erected in the village of Morpeth. When it was put to a vote, it lost, the reeve giving the casting vote.
The Dr. Then proposed in amendment that the fifty pounds of assessment be withdrawn and that the whole be raised by voluntary subscription.
The amendment also lost – in favor Rolls and Wilson; against it the Reeve, Arnold and J. Wilson.
The Petition in favor of the Town Hall being erected on the Ridge in Ridge Town was read, when it was considered it would be well to try by subscription how much could be obtained in favor of its erection on the Ridge in preference to Morpeth.
1 April 1853
Mr. Wilson introduced a By-law for the purpose of erecting a Town Hall in the village of Ridgetown and the levying of a tax of ? Pounds on all ratable property in the Township for the year 1853 for that purpose. Read the first time.
Mr. Wilson’s By-Law to provide for the erection of a Town Hall in the Village of Ridgetown was proposed for a second reading when it was moved by Mr. McKerricher, seconded by Wm. Arnold that it be read again 12 months hence.
30 Sept 1853
Read a letter from the Secretary of a meeting of the Shareholders of the Morpeth Town Hall held therein on the 20th day of August last tendering the use of the said Hall unto the Municipal Council of this Township at all times they see fit to occupy the same free of expenses.
Moved and carried that a vote of thanks be tendered to the Shareholders of the Morpeth Town Hall through their secretary and that the Clerk do forward the same.
26 Feb. 1855
Mr. McKerricher presented a subscription signed to the amount of 100 pounds, 6 shillings and 3 pence for the erection of a Town Hall in Ridgetown. Mr. Colby tendered a lot in Ridgetown free of expence to the Muncipality for the erection of a Town Hall thereon.
Moved by Mr. McKerricher and seconded by Wm. Sinclair that the deed for the same be accepted from Mr. Colby and that the Clerk to have the same prepared by the next meeting.
15 June 1855
Two tenders received for the erection of a Town Hall.
1. from Mr. McIntyre @ $1400.
2. from Mr. James Ferguson & Sons @ $1175.
9 Oct. 1856
Application being made for the Morpeth Brass Band to hold a Concert in the Town Hall in Ridgetown.
It was moved and carried that they be allowed the privilege of holding a Concert or Concerts therein.