Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Elgin County Ontario Canada villiage of Richmond Family names Cook and Lawton

Richmond is Oldest Place in East Elgin Settlement

The village of Vienna has long been regarded as one of the oldest communities in Elgin district as well as in southwestern Ontario, but the truth is that the little village of Richmond, or Bayham Post Office, on the Talbot Road from Aylmer to Straffordville, is far older than Vienna, Port Burwell or Aylmer, Up to 1830, we told those three places has but slight claims to the title of villages, but in 1819, Richmond was quite a flourishing little business centre and by 1835, Richmond has three stores, two tanneries, two hotels, and different woodworking and iron working shops. Until 1845, it was a larger and busier place than Aylmer. Caleb Cook was Richmond’s first settler, then Noah Cook about a year later, in 1817, built a saw mill and grist mill on the Little Otter. In 1819, William Fisher started a store and an ashery (where ashes from virgin hardwood were leached) and the Sphor tannery widely known in its day, was also begun. Richmond can claim pioneer priority almost as far back as St. Thomas.

Richmond figured quite prominently in the MacKenzie Rebellion of 1836-37. In the “Life and Times of William Lyon MacKenzie” reference is made to a riot in that area and the Riot Act having to be called. This took place in Richmond.

The Reformers or “Rebels” as their opponents called them, from Yarmouth, Malahide and Bayham Townships, arranged for a convention to held in Richmond and to be addressed by George Lawton of the Sparta district and others. The meeting was held and the speaking was over and all would have been well if there had not been a clash of hotheads of the two political schools of thought before the Reformers got out of Richmond.

The Riot Act was really not read for the reason that as soon as the magistrate, Doyle McKinney put his head out of the window of his office to read it to the surging crowd, he was seized by a burly individual named Cooke, by the collar and seat of his trousers and tossed down the stairs, carrying his copy of the Riot Act with him.
Talbot Times March 1984

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