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an account of the setlement and development of both the townships of Mara and Rama- part of the County of Ontario.

articule from history of Ontario County
Edited by Marvel Ous

Mara was surveyed in parts. First part surveyed by J.G. Chewitt in 1821.

• The first settler in the Township of Mara was Patrick Corrigan in 1823. The second settler, Arthur Kelly, took up his location in 1827, and died at the age of 106.

• The pioneers of Mara were strong and hardy people – many of them lived to great age. Mrs. Christina Campbell, widow of Duncan Campbell, was one of a group of Mara’s centenarians. She came from Isla, Scotland in 1847, a widow, and brought a large family. The late Rev. Dr. McTavish, on coming to Canada, sought out his old friends, the Campbells.

• Rama Township’s settlement began in 1836 when Capt. Garnet settled there. His daughter married James McPherson, son of Capt. Allan McPherson, the second settler in the township. Capt. Garnet had served as a lieutenant in the 82nd Regiment in Spain under Wellington. He died in 1866, aged 80 years. About the same time, Capt. Allan McPherson, of His Majesty’s Sicilian Regiment, Capts. Pass, Rooke, Cottinger and Yarnold, and Mr. John McKinnon settled in the front range near Longford, which was the centre of the first settlement.

• In 1837 the Indians volunteered to aid in the suppression of the rebellion and Squire McPherson was one of those in command of them. His father-in-law, Capt. Garnet, an able officer, represented the townships of Mara and Rama in the Home District Council. Capt. Allan McPherson was an officer in the 78th Highlanders and received his commission for special bravery at the battle of Maider. He served in the army for 20 years. He died at Orillia in 1858, aged 86 years.

• There was formerly an Indian village where Orillia now stands. The Indians were moved to Rama in 1838. They are Chippewas and Potawotamies.

• When the Indians were removed from Orillia to Rama, the McPhersons and the Garnets were the only white families living in the township.

• The first church in Rama Township was the Indian mission church on the Indian Reserve, a log building which is still standing but not now in use. The first store in the township was kept by Peter Jacobs, an Indian, near the site of the Indian church. This Peter Jacobs was a fairly well educated man and possessed much ability, particularly as an interpreter and public speaker. He acted as interpreter for the missionaries both here and in other parts of Canada. He was presented to the Queen in London and addressed the Methodist annual mission meeting at Exeter Hall in London on two occasions.

• The first white male child born in Rama Township was Allan McPherson, the energetic and prosperous miller and quarryman. The first female child born in the township was his sister, Mrs. Jane Adams. The latter was James McPherson, Esq., for many years reeve of the township and was warden of the county in 1880.

• The Townships of Thorah, Mara and Rama formed the seventeenth “Court of Requests” Division in the Home District. William Gibbs, L. McLean, Cameron, Major Kenneth Cameron, Francis Osborne and Michael McDonagh, Esquires were the commissioners in 1838, and discharged about the same duties as to the collection of small debts as the Division Court Judges now perform.

• By 1839 the population of Mara Township was 211.

• North Mara was largely settled by Highlanders from the Western Islands of Scotland and Glengarry in Eastern Ontario. The majority of settlers were Roman Catholic.

• Murdock Johnston and George Thompson, elders of the Kirk, held religious services in Gaelic and English. They improved their part of Mara Township in regards to education and morals. They received a lot of assistance from Rev. Dr. McTavish of Beaverton.

• Amongst the householders in Mara Township were the Bruces (Hugh and Robert), the Gilchrists (Donald and William), the Grahams (Michael, John and James), Angus Kennedy, the McDonalds (Angus P. and several others), the McRaes (Donald, John and Finlay), James Ritchie, the Simpsons (William and C.), Robert Waddle (whose daughter, Jeanette, was the first white child born in the township), the Morrows (David and Alex), McGregor Duncan Campbell, John McNab, and Peter McMillan. There followed a large influx of Irish and Scottish Roman Catholics including the families of McDonagh, McDermot, Doyle, O’Boyle, Flinn, Harahay, Duffy, McNulty, McGrath, McLennan, and Foley.

• J.P. Foley was a leading man in Mara Township for many years. He was a member of the County Council and left valuable bequests for the church and Separate School of Brechin.

• In 1839, Capt. Allan McPherson petitioned the Government to open a road to Orillia. He was successful. A post office was opened between 1840 and 1847 and was known as the Rama post office.

• The importance of good roads in promoting the settlement of the country is shown by the fact that the northern part of Brock, the Township of Thorah and the south of Mara had received many settlers while Reach was comparatively unoccupied, the settlers in these townships having gone up Governor Simcoe’s road (Yonge Street) to Lake Simcoe and then eastward along the shores of the lake.

• John Adams, a son-in-law of Squire McPherson, to whose energy and tact the building of some of the largest bridges in the township is due. Rama Township is traversed by large streams, which render road making difficult. These difficulties are aggravated by the fact that the best land of the township belongs to the Indian reservation and is not liable for taxes. The removal of the pine timber led to a decrease of the population and the people liable to assist in road building.

• Rama Township is the most northern of the townships of the county. The Laurentian range of rocks, the oldest known range of rocks, passes through the northern part of this township.

• The Laurentian range of rocks crosses from the Adirondack Mountains in New York State at the Thousand Islands, stretches northward to the shores of Lake Huron and forms the extreme northern part of the Township of Rama. So, “When Britain first at Heaven’s high command,” “Rose out of the azure main,” this part of the County of Ontario was in evidence, and its people now live in “The old country,” the oldest of countries. These rocks are crystalline and contain no fossils.

• Rama Township is bounded on the west by Lake Couchiching, the Indian name meaning “The lake of many winds.”

• The Commissioners of the Court of Requests for the Townships of Thorah, Mara and Rama in 1839 were Captain William Gibbs, L. McLean Cameron, Colonel Kenneth Cameron, Francis Osborne and Michael McDonagh, Esquires.

• Population of Rama Township, 1850, 8 whites, 500 Indians.

• The County of Ontario was organized in January 1854, with nine minor municipalities, represented by nine reeves and four deputy reeves. There are now seventeen minor municipalities and three police villages in the county.
The members of the first council were:
Township of Brock – Robert Sproule, reeve, Alexander Carmichael, deputy.
Georgina – James O’Brian Bouchier, reeve.
Mara and Rama – James McPherson, reeve.
Pickering – W.H. Mitchell, reeve, Peter Taylor, deputy.
Reach and Scugog – Thomas Paxton, reeve, Abel W. Ewers, deputy.
Scott – James Galloway, reeve.
Thorah – Charles Robinson, reeve.
Uxbridge – Joseph Gould, reeve.
Whitby – James Rowe, reeve, James Dryden, deputy.
Oshawa – Thomas N. Gibbs, reeve.
William Powson of Manchester was appointed clerk.

• Wardens of the County of Ontario from its inception in 1854 to 1906 included the following:
1858 – D.G. Hewett, Esquire, Reeve of Mara and Rama
1874 – Philip McRae, Esquire, Reeve of Mara
1880 – James McPherson, Esquire, Reeve of Rama
1888 – Timothy O’Leary, Reeve of Mara
1894 – F.J. Gillespie, Esquire, Reeve of Mara
1896 – Duncan Graham, Esquire, Reeve of Mara

• At the third County Council meeting, the council proceeded to strike out the name of James McPherson as Reeve of Mara and Rama and did order the name of Michael McDonagh to be substituted in lieu thereof and that Michael McDonagh do take his seat as Reeve of the Township of Mara and Rama, which the said Michael McDonagh straightway did, and upon his motion, seconded by Mr. Ewers, William Paxton Jr., was appointed provisional treasurer of the county.

• Thomas McDermot represented the united townships in the first County Council of Ontario and opposed the railway through the county. D.G. Hewett for many years was his successor. He was warden in 1858. Alex. Kennedy, another Atherley man, followed him. He built the steam gristmill at Atherley.

• Peter Thompson, who frequently represented Mara Township in the County Council, is one of the worthy descendants of a sturdy pioneer family.

• D.G. Hewett, formerly warden of the county and for many years reeve of the Townships of Mara and Rama, was an early settler. He lived near Atherley.

• Duncan Graham, a descendant of one of the early settlers of Mara Township, has failed the office of warden and represented North Ontario in the Dominion House of Parliament.

• F.J. Gillespie, Timothy O’Leary and William Broomfield, leading men of a later date, each have filled various offices of public trust in Mara Township. Each of them has been warden.

• The first mill in Rama Township was Trenouth’s saw mill, established about the year 1867, upon the Black River. The Longford Lumber Co.’s large mills were started about 1870. John Thompson, and afterwards his sons, George and William Thompson, carried on these mills with great success.

• The first township meeting in Rama Township, after the passing of the Municipal Act, was held in 1869. It was held at Thomas Lawrence’s Inn on Lot 12, Front Range. It records the election of Thomas McDermott, reeve, Messrs. Jno. M. Trenouth, Patrick Mahoney, James Tahaney and William McDonald as councilmen. Dennis O’Brien was appointed as clerk, Duncan McKinnon assessor and Michael McNulty collector and Edward Lawrence as treasurer.

• The Township of Mara and Rama were united until 1869 and were represented in the First Home District Council by A. McRae. Michael McDonagh, of Point Mara, for several years succeeded him in that office riding on horseback all the way to Toronto. He was an intelligent, warm-hearted, whole-souled Irishman.

• The second meeting of the council was held at the Rama schoolhouse, but the record shows that it adjourned at noon for one hour to meet afterwards at the Traveller’s Rest. The clerk parenthetically remarks the “old boys found the school a dry sort of place.”

• Rama was formerly united to Mara and while so united Squire James McPherson was reeve of the united townships for fourteen years. Mr. Allan McPherson now carries on a large business in quarrying and cutting limestone blocks for building.

• Philip McRae, a descendant of one of the early settlers, was warden 111 in 1874.

• As Veterans of 1812, John Simcoe (Rama) and William R. Dafoe (Rathburn) applied for pensions under the Dominion Act of 1876.

• What was supposed to be the poor Township of Mara has, by the perseverance and skill of its people, been converted into one of the most thriving and prosperous townships in the province, with good roads, good fences, well tilled farms, and good railway communication.

• In 1891, 17 reeves and 18 deputies represented the municipalities of the County of Ontario. Under the County Councils Act, the minor municipalities were grouped into 7 divisions and represented by 14 members. By recent statute, the council will be composed of the reeves of each municipality, and deputies for every thousand ratepayers.

• Assessment of Rama Township, 1904, $190,936. Population, 1,239.

• Members of the County of Ontario Council 1910 – George Read, Reeve Mara Township-Uptergrove, Franklin Thompson, Deputy Reeve Mara Township-Brechin, and John Hayes, Reeve Rama Township-Rathburn. Clerks: W.M. Shields, Rama-O’Connell P.O.; W.R. McPhee, Mara-Brechin. Treasurers: George L. O’Connell, Rama-O’Connell P.O.; John Fox, Mara-Millington.

• The manufacture of lime and chemical products is one of Rama’s largest interests.

Year Reeve Deputy Reeve Local Supers. of Common Schools
1854 Thomas McDermott D.G. Hewett
1855 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1856 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1587 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1858 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1859 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1860 D.G. Hewett Rev. Mr. Dougall
1861 Alexander Kennedy D.G. Hewett
1862 D.G. Hewett D.G. Hewett
1863 Alexander Kennedy Reverend J. Michell
1864 Alexander Kennedy Philip McRae Reverend J. Michell
1865 Alexander Kennedy Thomas Neilis Reverend J. Michell
1866 Alexander Kennedy Philip McRae Reverend J. Michell
1867 Alexander Kennedy Philip McRae Rev. K.A. Campbell
1868 Philip McRae William McPhee Rev. K.A. Campbell
MARA AND RAMA DIVIDE
1869 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – Thomas McDermott Rev. K.A. Campbell
1870 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – Thomas McDermott Rev. K.A. Campbell
1871 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – Thomas McDermott Rev. K.A. Campbell
1872 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – Thomas McDermott
1873 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McDermott J.P. Foley

1874 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McDermott J.P. Foley
1875 Mara – James P. Foley
Rama – James McPherson John H. Seager
Robert Rowland
1876 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson John H. Seager

1877 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – Thomas McDermott John H. Seager
Robert Rowland
1878 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1879 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1880 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1881 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1882 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1883 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1884 Mara – Philip McRae
Rama – James McPherson Timothy O’Leary
1885 Mara – Timothy O’Leary
Rama – James McPherson James C. Smith

1886 Mara – Timothy O’Leary
Rama – James McPherson Peter Thompson

1887 Mara – Timothy O’Leary
Rama – William J. Treenouth Peter Thompson
1888 Mara – Timothy O’Leary
Rama – William J. Treenouth Peter Thompson
1889 Mara – Timothy O’Leary
Rama – William J. Treenouth Duncan Graham
1890 Mara – Duncan Graham
Rama – William J. Treenouth F.J. Gillespie
1891 Mara – Duncan Graham
Rama – William J. Treenouth F.J. Gillespie
1892 Mara – Duncan Graham
Rama – William J. Treenouth F.J. Gillespie
1893 Mara – Duncan Graham
Rama – William J. Treenouth F.J. Gillespie
1894 Mara – F.J. Gillespie
Rama – George Cleavely Wm. Broomfield
1895 Mara – F.J. Gillespie
Rama – George Cleavely Wm. Broomfield
1896 Mara – Duncan Graham
Rama – George Cleavely Wm. J. Hare

Mara, Rama, Thorah, and Beaverton become “Division 7” (Simcoe Division)
Year Name Post Office
1897 F.J. Gillespie
Wm. Broomfield Uptergrove
Brechin
1898 F.J. Gillespie (also appointed Special Commissioner of Roads and Bridges)
Wm. Broomfield Uptergrove
Brechin
1899 James Doyle
Wm. Broomfield Uptergrove
Brechin
1900 James Doyle
Wm. Broomfield Uptergrove
Brechin
1901 Wm. Broomfield
Alex. McRae Brechin
Beaverton
1902 Wm. Broomfield
Alex. McRae Brechin
Beaverton
1903 Wm. Broomfield
Donald A. Brown Brechin
Beaverton
1904 Wm. Broomfield (also appointed Special Commissioner of Roads and Bridges)
Donald A. Brown Brechin
Beaverton
1905 Wm. Broomfield
Duncan McMillan Brechin
Beaverton
1906 Wm. Broomfield
Donald A. Brown Brechin
Beaverton

Note:

Website Exec.


Submission Committee:
Frances Laver
Lisa Burke
Fred Lamb
Mike Crosby


Content:
P.D.McNamee

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