A series of articles from The Watchman, August and September 1851,

from The Watchman August 22, 1851, page 2
We have been kindly furnished with a list of Buildings erected, and to be erected in this town during the present year, amounting at this date to Sixty-four, which with those not known by our friend, which will be put up before the close of the year, will, we venture to say, not fall very far short of a hundred !!! A large proportion of those already erected are built of brick, many of them of the first class of buildings. Of those to be built and already commenced, the most important is the Market and Town Hall, according to a design of Austin of Rochester, one of the first Architects on this Continent. When we say that the Town Council have spared no expense in providing for the erection of this building, we may be pardoned if we say, that a handsomer building of the kind will scarcely be found in Canada. The Corner Stone is to be laid by the Masonic Lodge of this Town with all the honors. The very handsome and really substantial block of three story brick buildings recently erected by our enterprising townsman, Mr Archibald Porter, on Walton street, is richly deserving of a more extended notice than our present limits will allow us to give. There are three large and commodious merchant stores in this stately pile of model brick buildings with dwelling houses, &c. All the Stores are taken, and will be occupied in the course of next month. The next most notable, is the block at the bridge, of the Messrs Smith, from designs by Austin, which will probably eclipse any heretofore erected.— It will comprise four extensive shops and dwellings. Mr Brogdin will complete his handsome block by the addition of two more shops, at the corner of Walton and Ontario streets. We regret that want of space prevents our particularizing further, with the exception of the addition, if we may so call the elegant and commodious transept to St. John's Church, which is, we believe, in the contractor's hands. The designs are by Tully of Toronto, who, to judge of the few specimens which we have seen of his designing, is a tasteful and competent Architect. Mr Garnet, we have heard, was the successful competitor for this contract, at the sum of £247. The addition will furnish upwards of two hundred additional sittings, and will therefore accommodate for some time to come, the congregation at the East End of the Town. It has been in contemplation for some time past, to erect another Church at the West End, or to speak more correctly, at the new town west of us, for really "Cornhill" is becoming a town of itself.

Equally pleasing are the improvements going forward in our streets. Queen street has been thoroughly graded and gravelled. John street, for a long time one of our greatest grievances, is now beautifully graded, and will soon be gravelled. Ontario street is in the hands of Mr George Reynolds, the contractor, for grading, and Mr Allan Harris has contracted for building the new bridge. This very necessary improvement is now therefore in a fair way of completion; it will extend in a straight line about a mile and a half into the country, and we doubt not will become immediately one of our busiest thoroughfare. The gravelled roads extending westward to Clark, and northward to Cavan, (in all a distance of about 20 miles) are in a very advanced state; several miles are already finished, and the whole will be so before the fall rains set in.

P.S. If this small display of what we have been doing since spring opened, be not a satisfactory answer to our Cobourg friend, who so perseveringly advises as to help ourselves and cease calling upon Hercules, we will endeavour at some future time to point out what improvements are going on in Cobourg — Verbum Sap.

from The Watchman August 29, 1851, page 2
At a meeting of the two committees appointed by the town council and the Masonic Lodge, held at Hastings' Hotel on the 29th instant, for the purpose of making preparations for laying the corner stone of the Town Hall and Market Building in this Town, on Tuesday the ninth day of September next, at the hour of twelve o'clock, at noon, with Masonic honours, appointed D. Smart, Esq., Chairman, and John A Ward, Secretary of the Joint Committees.

It was proposed by John Hatton, Esq., and seconded by William Fraser, Esq., and carried unanimously,

That the Joint Committees call on the Mayor to issue a proclamation appointing the ninth day of September a holiday, and invite the co-operation of the national and other societies of the town, the fire department, and townspeople generally, to assist in the celebrations of the day.

It was likewise proposed by Peter Robertson, Esq. seconded by George Charles Ward , Esq.,

That a public dinner be provided at Hastings' Hotel, at five o'clock, pm, on that day. Tickets 10s, each, to be had of the Chairman, and the undersigned Members of the Committee:


N.B. A Programme of the Proceedings will appear in the "Port Hope Watchman," and by handbills, on the 5th of September next.

from The Watchman September 12, 1851, page 2

Tuesday last, the 9th instant, will be an ever memorable day in the annals of Port Hope — on that day was laid with Masonic honours, the chief corner stone of the Town Hall and Market Building, commencing, as it were, a new era in the rise and progress of our flourishing and rapidly growing town. The auspicious day was observed as a general and joyous Holiday, by all classes of the community, and it becomes our pleasing duty to chronicle the proceedings and events of the day in the order that they occurred.
Agreeably to the arrangements announced in our paper of last week, the Procession, precisely at one o'clock, P.M.. moved in the following order towards the site of the Building:-


Captain and Lieutenants, and other officers


Captain and Lieutenants, and other officers
Fire Wardens CITIZENS Fire Wardens
Officers of the sons of Temperance THE SONS OF TEMPERANCE Officers of the sons of Temperance
Officers of the Orange Lodges THE ORANGE LODGES Officers of the Orange Lodges
Visiting Brethren
Jerusalem Lodge, Bowmanville
Corinthian Lodge, Peterborough
Ontario Lodge, Port Hope
St. John's Lodge, Cobourg
Belleville Lodge, Belleville
Provincial Grand Lodge

On reaching the site, the different societies opened out, and the members of the Grand Lodge marched between them to the platform erected for the occasion; they were followed by other members of the craft, the Clergy, the Mayor and Members of the Town Council, etc.

The Mayor then addressed the Right Worshipful the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, as follows:

Sir, As Mayor of Port Hope and in behalf of its Inhabitants, I now beg leave to state, that it has been determined upon to react a Market Building and Town Hall upon the Site where we are present, and the foundation whereof you see before you. The Council of the Town have deemed the occasion one of sufficient importance to the future prospects of the place, to warrant them in making the request, that the Corner Stone of the building should be laid by the proper officers of the Masonic Order, according to ancient usage; and I have much satisfaction in their name as well , in requesting that you, as Deputy Grand Master, in the absence of the Provincial Grand Master, whose illness we all regret, will now proceed accordingly to lay the Corner Stone.

The Right Worshipful The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, replied as follows:

Mr Mayor, — In accordance with your request, I shall in behalf of the Order, have much satisfaction in proceeding to lay the Corner Stone of your Town Hall and Market Building.

The usual impressive and imposing ceremonies observed on similar occasions, were then gone through with, proving to the Brethren by the aid of the Square, Level, and plumb line, that it was such work as Masons can approve of. a parchment, with a Masonic inscription engrossed thereon, was deposited in a case hermetically sealed, which was placed in a cavity under the stone, previous in its being laid. The following is a copy of that document:

The Chef Corner Stone
The Town Hall and Market Building
of the Town of Port Hope,
was laid, on
Tuesday the 9th Sept. 1851, and Anno Luci 5851,
in the Fifteenth Year of the Reign of
Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria,
The Right Worshipful Thos Gibbs Ridout, Esq.,
Deputy Grand Master of
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons,
Canada West,
assisted by
The Grand Lodge and several subordinate Lodges.
In the presence of
The Mayor and Town Council,
Orange Lodges, Sons of Temperance,
and Fire Department.
James Smith. Esq., M. P. P.
John Shuter Smith, John Hatton. John A. Ward,
John Lynn, Cornelius Quinlan, Wm M Smith,
M D Samuel Hutton, Peter Robertson.
Mervin Austin, Architect; Philip Fox, Contractor.

The Mayor and Town Council also deposited a Parchment containing an inscription, of which the following is a copy:

This Corner Stone of
The Town Hall and Market Building of
Port Hope,
Was publicly laid on the ninth day of September,
and in the Fifteenth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria,
with full Masonic Ceremonies,
by Thomas Gibbs Ridout, Esquire,
Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Most
Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons,
attended by
The Mayor and Town Council,
The Masonic Lodges, and the National and other Societies of the town.
The Building was commenced by the
Town Council of Port Hope for the Year,
comprised of the following members:

James Smith, Esq., M.P.P., Mayor.
John Hatton, John Lynn, William M. Smith,
Samuel Hatton, Cornelius Quinlan, John A. Ward,
Peter Robertson, and John Shuter Smith.
Mervin Austin,
of Rochester, in the State of New York.
Contractor and Builder,
Phillip Fox,
Building Committee,
James Smith, Mayor. John Shuter Smith,
John Hatton.
Population as by census of 1850—2,225.

There were also deposited the following coins, viz. a three shilling piece, a quarter of a dollar, seven pence half-penny, one peony piece, Bank of U. C., half-penny, Bank of Montreal. Also, the following newspapers: Colonist, Globe, Examiner, North American, Toronto; St. Catharines Mail; Pilot, Montreal: Cobourg Star. Peterborough Weekly Dispatch, and the Port Hope Watchman.

After the stone was laid, an excellent and most appropriate address was delivered by the very worshipful, Rev J C Taylor, Grand Chaplain, which was attentively listened to by the assembled thousands, and elicited the greatest applause. We expect to be able to procure a copy of this admirable oration, for publication, and shall feel great pleasure in laying it before our readers, as soon as we receive it.

Before leaving the ground, three hearty and deafening cheers, which made the welkin ring, were given for Her Most Gracious Majesty, the Queen, also for the Grand Lodge, and the Mayor and Town Council of Port Hope.

The Procession then left the principal scene of action, and returned in the same order it came. Such a great display of numbers, splendour, respectability, effect and order, was never before exhibited in this section of the Province. The Masonic and other societies, turned out uncommonly well, and we believe we do not exaggerate the truth, when we state, that there must have been between three and four thousand persons assembled on this auspicious occasion, and we feel proud in recording the fact, that the greatest unanimity and good order prevailed throughout the whole proceedings of the day.

The Building when finished according to the design plans and specifications of the architect, Mr Austin, will be an elegant and commodious structure. The style of Architecture is a combination of the Grecian and Doric. It is 98 x 50 feet. The basement story is in tended for dwelling-house, cellars, and cells. This Story will be 8 feet in the clear, and built with stone. The second story will be 13 feet in height, and is attended to be used for places of business. The third story will be 23 feet high. The Town Hall will be in this portion of the building, which will be a fine apartment, measuring 48 x 50. A handsome octagon cupola 18 feet in diameter, and about 30 feet in height from the ridge. It is intended that a Town Clock and bell will be placed in the cupola, which, when accomplished, will be a public benefit. Although Mr Fox the contractor is allowed until the first of May, next, to finish the building, we understand that it is his intention to have the whole finished if possible, by the first of January
We come now to the


At five o'clock PM, upwards of 190 persons sat down to a rich and sumptuous Dinner provided by that justly celebrated caterer of the good things of life, Mr T W Hastings, the worthy and well known host of the North American Hotel, in this town. In consequence of no room being large enough in the Hotel to comfortably accommodate such a large number of guests expected to attend, the entire upper  story of the new buildings belonging Chas, Smith, Esq., was handsomely allowed by him to be used as the Banquet Hall, and which was well and tastefully fitted up for the occasion, by Mr. Hastings, and assistants.

James Smith, Esq., M. P. P., Mayor of the Town, occupied the Chair. He was supported on the right by Thos G Ridout, Esq., Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Order, and Asa A Burnham, Esq, Warden of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham, and on the left by the Revd J Taylor, Provincial Grand Chaplain of the Masonic Order, and Wm Weller, Esg, Mayor of Cobourg. 1st Vice President, David Smart, Esq, supported on his right by Joseph B Ball, Esq, Master Belleville Masonic Lodge, and - Mullen, Esq, of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and on his left by Kivas Tully, Esq, Prov'l Grand Lodge, and Edward Fidlar, Esq 2d Vice Preside Dr, John Shuter Smith, Esq 3d Vice President, Nesbitt Kirchhoffer, Esq 4th do. do. John Hatton, Esq 5th do. do. F H Burton, Esq 6th do. do. John Might, Esq.

The dinner was got up in Mr. Hastings' best style, the table being furnished with all the luxuries and delicacies of the season, and the wines were excellent. The cloth being removed, the Chairman proceeded to give the usual Standard Toasts, which be prefaced with a few appropriate remarks.

The first Toast was The Queen, which was drank with the greatest enthusiasm and all the honours "God save the Queen", was sung with great effect and the band performed their part in "notes omnipotent to charm.'

The Chairman in proposing the health of Prince Albert, made some pertinent and excellent remarks regarding His Royal Highness, being the friend of agriculture, the arts and sciences, and made some happy allusions to him being the originator of the World's Exhibition, which will form a memorable era in the history of Great Britain.

The 3rd Toast proposed from the Chair, was that of His Excellency the Governor General, which the Chairman introduced by observing, that as the health of her Majesty the Queen had been drank with so much enthusiasm and applause, he was sure that her Representative in this Province, would be equally respected. The Toast was drank with more than the usual cold formality of acquiescence to established custom. It was drank with all the honours, and with greater unanimity than we have had occasion to observe on former occasions.

The next Toast in rotation was the Army and Navy. The Chairman then, with a prefatory remarks, proposed the health of The Grand Master, Officers and Brethren of the Grand and other Masonic Lodges." Thomas G Ridout, Esq, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, returned thanks in appropriate terms, and proposed the health of the Mayor and Town Council of Port Hope, which was drank with all the honours, and to which the Chairman responded, who took occasion to notice the rapid and general improvements that have taken place in Port Hope within the last two years, which he ascribed to be some measure owing to the New Municipal Act, which gives greater power and latitude to Corporate Bodies, to improve and advance the interests of their respective localities. The Chairman then facetiously alluded to the good example set by Cobourg in making public improvements, and he would embrace that opportunity of giving our Cobourg neighbours and friends to understand, that the people of Port Hope were resolved to go ahead in the right direction, and he warned his Cobourg friends to look out, and take care that Port Hope did not only overtake, but outrun them in the race of progressive improvement, numerical strength, and preponderating influence.

The worthy Chairman then proposed "The health of the Mayor and Corporation of Cobourg" which was drunk with the greatest enthusiasm. Wm Weller, Esq, the Mayor of Cobourg, returned thanks in an excellent speech, which was listened to with profound attention, and elicited great applause. He said that he duly appreciated this meeting, and was extremely happy to see that Port Hope was going ahead, and had taken a leaf out of the Cobourg book, so far famed for its unanimity of action and go-aheadativeness. He wished that both towns should equally flourish and prosper, and that it was far better to be making public improvements, than to be dabbling in Law, Religion or Politics.

Mr Weller then proposed "The health of the Warden and Municipal Council of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham." Asa A Burnham Esq, the Warden, returned thanks in a neat and sensible speech, spoke favourably of the Grand Trunk Railway, and the great benefits that may be expected to arise from it, when completed, Mr Burnham warmly advocated public improvements throughout the country, and sat down amidst general applause.

The 1st Vise President, David Smart, Esq. being called upon by the President, to give a toast, rose and remarked nearly to the following effect, — That he had been a resident in Port Hope for upwards of 30 years, had seen it when only a mere hamlet, then village, now a rising and flourishing town, with a population of upwards of 2000 souls; he believed that it would not be many years ere it took rank as a city. The natural outlet of the most extensive and productive agricultural settlement in Canada; the resources of which, because more permanent, he considered much more valuable than the gold mines of California. He then proposed the following toast — "The Orange and other societies, which kindly assisted in the proceedings of the day." This toast was drank with hearty good will, and all the honors. McMullen Esq, of Toronto, returned thanks in behalf of the Orange and other societies in a very effective and liberal minded Speech.

We regret that our limits precludes us from giving any of its interesting details, suffice to say, that it was happily conceived, and exceedingly well adapted to the subject; and we may add, gave general satisfaction to all present.

Col Wallis briefly remarked, that it was not only a duty but an honour for the Orange and other societies, to be united and act in concert on such occasions, like the present. The 1st ₯ice President, gave as a Toast "The Clergy of Port Hope," which was well received. The next toast by the 1st Vice President, was, "The Countess of Elgin and the Fair of Canada." D MacLeod, Esq, returned thanks.

The Chairman, then gave "The Press," which was responded to by Mr Steele, who proposed as a volunteer toast, "Success to the agricultural interests of Canada." Sam'l Campbell, Esq, returned thanks in a very pithy and effective speech, which elicited much applause from all present.  John A Ward Esq, gave as a volunteer toast "The Bar of Upper Canada." W H Weller, Esq, as one of the Junior Members of the Bar, present, returned thanks in a neat and appropriate Speech. N Kirckhoffer, Esq, one of the vice presidents, gave "The Health of David Smart. Esq" Mr Smart returned thanks in an impressive and suitable manner. F H Barton, Esq, another of the vice presidents, gave "Success to the Anglo Race,'* accompanied with some very striking and felicitous remarks, which told remarkably well.

John A Ward. Esq, proposed "The Health of the Fire Brigade." Lieut. McLeod. of Rescue, No.1, and Capt. George Henderson of the Juvenile Corps, responded to the Toast in the happiest manner. The Chairman proposed "The Mechanics of Port Hope," which was responded to by Mr P Fox, in an excellent speech. By the Chair, "The Sons of Temperance," By the Chair," which was responded to by C. Quinlan, Esq., in an appropriate and lively speech. F H Barton. Esq, in a feeling and appropriate manner, proposed "The Health of Thomas Ward, Esq," one of the oldest settlers is the County. George C Ward, Esq, returned thanks. By J A Ward, Esq, "The Host and Hostess." To which Mr Hastings replied in his usual happy manner.

The numerous and highly gratified Company began to disperse, and the whole had left the festive board before midnight. Never before had such a large and respectable assembled in the district, to commemorate a public event, nor did ever so much harmony of good feeling exhibit itself, as on this memorable occasion, which will be long remembered by all those who participated of its varied enjoyments and pleasing associations.

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