A political dynasty
A treasured set of municipal council minutes from 1853
This set of council minutes was one of 50 treasured objects made available to citizens in 2022 by the Stratford-Perth Archives. Each object had a special connection to people and places in Stratford's history.
In 2022, the Stratford-Perth Archives celebrated a special anniversary. Fifty years ago, on Jan.13, 1972, work began on a project championed by the late R. Thomas Orr (see Cobourg Street) and the Stratford Public Library (see St. Andrew Street) to protect the Orr family collection of local history books, documents and photographs, as well as archival material from the Perth County historical collection, and make them easily available for researchers.
Andrew Monteith, surrounded by family at their Erie Street residence, 1892. The house was demolished in 1970 Stratford-Perth Archives
These bound Perth County council minutes from 1853 were presented to Samuel Nelson Monteith (1862-1949) in 1907. Stratford-Perth Archives
Both collections had been growing since the early 1900s. Eventually, similar collections from around the county were added. Local governments transferred records no longer needed for day-to-day work that have permanent value. These council minutes date back to the first year of operation for the newly independent Perth County council, which included representatives from rural townships and unincorporated villages such as Stratford and St. Marys. Prior to 1853, the county had been a part of the Huron District and the United Counties of Huron, Perth and Bruce.
This printed and bound set of minutes from Perth County council’s first five years was donated to the archives in 1987 by the family of Samuel Nelson Monteith (1862-1949). Monteith was MPP for the riding of Perth South from 1899 to 1908 and was minister of agriculture. Before he was elected to the provincial legislature, he had been county warden. A note inside the cover indicates that before the book was presented to him in 1907, it had belonged to Thomas Babb from Mitchell. Clearly, it was treasured long before arriving at the archives 80 years later.
Samuel Nelson Monteith (1862-1949) inductee 2000: Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association