Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Perth & District Historical Society October Meeting

The Society meeting on Thursday, 18 October is "The Richmond Military Road"

PDHS welcomes back local author and historian Larry D. Cotton.  Cotton’s presentation for this month will stray from his noteworthy series, “Whiskey and Wickedness” to talk about the Richmond Military Road, for which the area is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. 

The Richmond Military Road, built by the British Government in 1818, was a copy of the Roman model utilized to conquer and hold large parts of western Europe and England for centuries.  So, why was it built here? How adaptable was it to the wilderness of Upper Canada?  What was its impact on the Perth Military Settlement created in 1816?  Cotton also brings other points into the conversation.  The Rideau River Settlements and the construction of the Rideau Canal were integral components of the Richmond Road Project.  How were they linked together to facilitate the construction of 200 kilometers of canal through an unbroken wilderness? 

Sustaining the new military settlements of the Towns of Richmond, Franktown, Perth, Lanark Highlands and Ramsay was an important concern of this Project.  Distilleries and breweries played a major part.  The compelling mystery of the “whiskey tunnels” in the Town of Perth will be explored.  What about the problems of excessive drinking?  The “Nagging Wives Act” relegated miscreants to the public stocks in front of the Bathurst District Court House where they were punished by the passing public for their crime.  A local doctor told his patients with drinking problems that they might “spontaneously combust.”  Half pay officers were provided with “beer money” every three months as part of their pension allotment.  This led to a lot of trouble in town including half a dozen duels.  Why weren’t the laws prohibiting such affairs invoked? 

Larry Cotton has a Bachelor of Arts from Laurier University; Bachelor of Education from Queens University; Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from Queens; Diploma – Municipal Clerk-Treasurer from Georgian College.  He has been a land use planner for almost 40 years, serving as county planner for Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry; Planning Director for the Town of New Tecumseth, and also the Township of Springwater in Simcoe County; Deputy County Planner for Renfrew County.  Larry also taught part-time at Georgian College on Municipal Government; Municipal Law, and Environmental Law, and has facilitated municipal non-profit housing projects for seniors across Ontario. 

Everyone is welcome at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of ‘Hall of Remembrance’, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, 7:30pm (Toonie Donation).

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