Fonds - Village of Newburgh fonds

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Village of Newburgh fonds

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  • 1858 - 1979 (Creation)

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4.4 m of textual records

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Administrative history

The Village of Newburgh is located about 10 km northeast of Napanee and about 35 km northwest of Kingston in the township of Camden East (now Stone Mills). It is located on the Napanee River. The village was settled about 1822 by two families on the south side of the Napanee River. These were identified as the families of Benjamin Files and William van Pelt Detlor. In 1824 David Perry built a sawmill on the north bank of the river. Due to the location on the river and the proximity to rich timber areas up river Newburgh rapidly grew into a local manufacturing centre.

By 1851 Newburgh was well established as a local manufacturing centre with 17 manufacturing businesses including 2 grist mills, 5 sawmills, 1 carding and fulling mill (wool), 1 foundry and 2 tanneries. During its early life the village was known as 'the Hollow' or 'Rogues Hollow' because of reputedly rowdy millers and numerous inns and taverns. By 1857, the village had a population over 1,200 and local industry was still growing.

In 1872 John and James Thomson built a paper mill in the village starting a new local industry that quickly spread to other local villages. John Thomson is partially credited with the invention of chemical wood pulp in Canada. He worked for Angus Logan & Company managing their paper mills in Sherbrooke and Windsor Mills, Quebec where the technique was first developed. He then moved around to different mills before building the Newburgh Paper Mills in partnership with James Thomson and J.W. Rooklidge.

Newburgh was also known as a local education centre thanks to the Newburgh Academy which was established about 1839. It was a grammar and secondary school which received international students as well as local. The historic stone building that housed the Academy was built in 1853 and sits on a hill west of the village centre. The Academy was one of the first six grammar schools established in Upper Canada. In 1860 the Newburgh common school had 257 students, and the grammar school had 45. In 1949 a new school district was formed and in 1952 after the construction of a new high school in Napanee the Academy closed its doors as a secondary school. The building was still used by the elementary school until 1965 when they moved across town to a new building.

The village's name was changed to Newburgh sometime prior to 1840 due to lobbying efforts by local businessman, Isaac Brock Aylesworth. The village was incorporated in 1858/1859 . A municipal seal was commissioned in 1859 at the first meeting on the 17th of January with the words “Municipality of Newburgh”. As an incorporated town Newburgh had a new level of self governance as well as a seat on the County Council. The first Reeve of the newly incorporated village in 1858 is generally said to be Augustus Hooper. However at the first meeting of Village Council in January of 1859 Cephas H. Miller was elected as Reeve and served until 1860 .

Both population and industry growth began to decline in Newburgh during the late 1800’s for several reasons including politics, decline of industry, and fires. Newburgh lost its bid to become the county seat in 1863. This ended the town’s hopes of becoming a local political centre. Although original surveys had the Grand Trunk Railroad running through Newburgh from Napanee to Kingston, this was altered and Newburgh did not get a railroad until 1884. This delayed the ability of local industries to ship goods to a larger market. The Napanee, Tamworth and Quebec railroad operated a rail line through Newburgh from 1884 until the mid twentieth century. In addition downtown Newburgh was destroyed by fire on September 7, 1887. Eighty – four buildings burned, consisting of most of the main shops and stores in the downtown. Sixty – six of the buildings were eventually rebuilt. Later fires in 1902 and 1908 destroyed Stickney’s foundry and a local grist mill as well.

The Newburgh town hall was rented for many years until in 1929 they moved into the old Presbyterian Church. The vacant church was purchased by Sir Allen Aylesworth and conveyed to the municipality as a gift in memory of his grandfather Job Aylesworth and his father John Bell Aylesworth. This was the municipal building until 1998.

In 1998 Newburgh became part of the township of Stone Mills with the amalgamation of the townships of Camden East, Sheffield and the Village of Newburgh. Beginning in the mid 1990’s the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing began encouraging municipalities to amalgamate in order to provide better local services. Amalgamation of Newburgh, Camden East and Sheffield into the Township of Stone Mills was approved by Minister’s Order on January 7, 1997 to come into force on January 1, 1998.

Custodial history

Accumulated and used or distributed by the Council and staff of the Village of Newburgh. Material transferred and donated to the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives in several accessions (1972.534, 1977.43.1, 1983.071). Material privately donated (1972.534, 1977.43.1) is the property of the Historical Society, material transferred from the Village of Newburgh (1983.071) is on long-term loan.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of legal, administrative, and financial records of the incorporated Village of Newburgh. The fonds is divided into two distinct sections. Those records belonging to the Village Council and those records accumulated and used by the Clerks and Treasurers of the Village. The fonds contains the following series: Council Records, and Clerk’s and Treasurer’s Records.

The fonds contains the following subseries: Council Minutes, By-laws, Court of Revision, Declarations and Oaths, Voter’s Lists, Elections, Vital Statistics, Municipal Returns, Selection of Jurors, Railway, Statute Labour - Roads, Bonds, Licenses, Weights and Scales, Assessment Rolls, Collector’s Rolls, Correspondence and Accounts, Auditor’s reports, Financial Accounts, Treasurer’s Correspondence, Financial Statements, Timesheets, Direct Relief, and Municipal Taxes.

Fonds contains the following sub-subseries: Birth, Marriage, Death Registers, Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates of Registration, and Birth, Marriage, Death Returns.

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Series and subseries arranged by archivist. Original filing scheme consisted of storing like records in letter sized envelopes according to year. Over time many of these envelopes were torn and lost their contents. Previous attempts to arrange records had seen contents of these envelopes separated. Attempts were made to reconstruct the original order of records within subseries based on contents of those envelopes still intact. Records of the Board of Education of Newburgh were separated from fonds by archivist. Although maintained parallel to the Village records, the Board of Education was deemed a separate body.

Language of material

  • English

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Access restricted on certain subseries and sub-subseries. All records containing personal information are restricted until 100 year after the date of creation.

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Detailed finding aid available

Associated materials

Newburgh Voter’s Lists, Accession 1976.14
Newburgh Women’s Institute, Accession 1978.105
Newburgh Public School Accession 1983.056
Board of Education of Newburgh fonds Accession 1983.071
Newburgh Academy Reunion fonds Accession 1997.149
Public School Register Newburgh Accession 2001.052

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No further accruals expected

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