Early History Of Combermere

On the morning of July 1, 1867 (a Monday morning) the people of Combermere awoke with a variety of emotions. First of all, it was a pleasant summer morning - warm, sunny with a slight breeze (Archivists tell us that the other provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) entering into confederation with Ontario, also experienced the same weather. Citizens who kept in touch with events occurring beyond Combermere, were aware that important things were about to take place in Charlottetown, P.E.I. which would be of great significances to Canadians.

The more politically-minded citizens grumbled about too many things happening too fast – after all, the community they grew up in had its name changed from Dennison’s Bridge to Combermere only two years earlier, apparently to honour the English soldier Stapleton Cotton, Viscount of Combermere who had fought under and admired in 1865, and under whom had served Captain John Dennison, a founding father of the community. Dennison fought under and admired Cotton. In addition to this dramatic re-naming, the Townships of Brudenell, Radcliffe, Raglan; and Lyndock had been incorporated on a joint municipality within the United Counties in Lanark and Renfrew, with Brudenell as the Senior Township on October 5, 1860 (Radcliffe would again regain independent status in 1902, holding its first Council meeting January 13, 1902). Radcliffe Township had been named after Hon. Thomas Radcliffe who had fought under the Duke of Wellington, eventually settling down in Wellington, ON, and serving as a Member of Parliament. An Act of Union in 1841 had united Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada, with Ottawa chosen as its Capital by Queen Victoria in 1857. Hence the grumbling! Citizens would also learn that the July 1, 1867 Confederation Conference was something that had been influenced by earlier Conferences in Charlottetown (1864) and in Quebec which saw 72 Resolutions form the basis of Union. Believing that finally they had lived through all the of the political “slaloming” necessary for correct government-citizens identify the village of Combermere settled down to enjoy a new life in the Dominion of Canada, unaware of course, that on January 1, 2001, the Township of Radcliffe would merge with the Village of Barry’s Bay and the Township of Sherwood, Jones and Burns to become the Township of Madawaska Valley!

On a more domestic note, 1867 saw the birth of a Combermere baby, Jane Adelia (Jenny) Yondau, daughter of Thomas Xavier and Martha. She would be included in the 1,620,851 people living in Ontario (46.4% of the Dominion of Canada population) in 1867. Some other births recorded in 1867 included Margaret Dennison, Caroline Frederick and Enoch George James.

On July 1, 1867, the Toronto newspaper The Globe, published these words: The Union of the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, under the new Constitution, takes effect today. We heartily congratulate our readers on the event, and fervently pray that all the blessings anticipated from the measure, by its promoters, may by fully realized.