Town of Richmond History
Dr. John Hayes was the mayor of Richmond five times (1902, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1923). He wrote widely about the history of Richmond and the Eastern Townships. The following article contains extracts from a larger history which he wrote in 1920.
�Among the pretty little towns situated on the banks of the St. Francis River, along its course through the Eastern Townships, there are none more interesting for their histories than the Town of Richmond, whose annals extend over a century, as far back as 1798, the date when the first colonists came to establish themselves in the Township of Shipton. Here, like elsewhere, the first colonists of the Eastern townships were of American origin.
Elmore Cushing, founder of Richmond, chief of his forty-six associates, to whom was granted the charter of the Township of Shipton, came to settle here on May 24, 1798. Cushing cultivated 24 acres the first year in lot number 24 in the 14th range of the town. Soon other followed to take possession of their lots and build the foundation of this celebrated corner of the Eastern Townships. Nearly, at the same time, other colonists established the villages of Danville, Melbourne, Windsor Mills, and Bromptonville, all in Richmond County.
Richmond was named Front Village of Shipton until 1819, the time when an English officer, passing on his way through this place, gave its present name in honour of the famous Duke of Richmond, Governor of Canada, who died after being bitten by a fox. He was then visiting the valley of Ottawa. The mortal remains of the Duke lie in the Anglican Cathedral at Quebec.
The famous Craig�s Road, constructed in 1809, from the banks of the St. Lawrence (Levis) to Richmond by the soldiers of the forty-ninth regiment under the direction of General James Craig, opened up communication between the new settlements of the Eastern Townships and Quebec City. From that time, their importance rapidly increased. Another road following the St. Francis River was opened in 1802 from Lennoxville to La Baie. It is to be noted that the government of the province has in contemplation a project for the construction of a permanent road from Quebec City to Richmond, Sherbrooke and Montreal which will follow its winding direction the outlines of the old Craig�s Road.
Richmond, the chief town of the county of this name, has played an important part in the political history of the country. Part of Buckinghamshire until 1829, the county was included in Sherbrooke County until 1854 when Richmond County was established as it exists today. It contains the Townships of Cleveland, Shipton, Melbourne, Brompton, Windsor andd Stoke.
The list of representatives is as follows: Federal Members; Wm. H. Webb, 1858-1861; Chas de Cazes, 1861-1863; H. H. Webb, 1863-1874; H. H.Aylmer, 1874-1878; Wm. B Toes, 1878-1891; C. C, Cleveland, 1891-1896; M. T. Tenson, 1896-1900; E. W. Tobin, 1900- present representative in the House of Commons. Provincial Members: Joe Picard, 1867-1890; Jos Bedard, 1890-1900; Hon. P. S. G. MacKenzie, 1900-1914 (died Nov. 10, 1914); Hon. Walter G. Mitchell from 1914 who is the present treasurer of the province.
Starting from 1855, Richmond was part of the Township of Cleveland for municipal affairs. The incorporation of the village took place October 28, 1862. Its first mayor was F. C. Cleeve and the first councillors were Messers Burney, G. K. Foster, E. Griffith, Ed Vasey, Dr. N. Webber, A. Donnely. The incorporation as a town took place in 1882. The succession of mayors is as follows: F.C. Cleeve, 1863; R. N. Webber, 1868; T. Hart, 1872; Jos. Bedard. 1889; John Murphy, 1891; A. Wilcocks, 1893; John McMorine, 1900; John Hayes, M.D., 1902; E. S. Bernard, 1904; A. Poulin, 1906; John McMorine, 1907; E. J. Pearson, 1908; C. Campbell, 1909; John Hayes, 1910; John McMorine, 1911; A. J. Hudon, 1912; Dr. B. W. Brock. 1913; John Hayes, 1914; Robert Dyson, 1915; A. J. Hudon, 1916; J. D. Smith. 1917; E. J. Pearson, 1918, E. L. Hall, 1919; John Hayes, 1920.
Richmond, from a municipal view-point has become more modern during the past ten years. Today, the town owns excellent cement sidewalks, macadamized roads, electric lights, sewer system, excellent installation of waterworks, fire alarm and municipal buildings. The present valuation is $1,210,000.00.
The following are members of the present council: Mayor John Hayes, M. D. Councillors: E. J. Pearson, J. D. Smith, A. J. Hudon, Ernest L. Hall, Robert E. Dyson and John McMorine.
Richmond owes much of its importance to the fact that here is the junction of the Quebec line with the main line from Montreal to Portland of the Grand Trunk Railway. This railway which connects all the Eastern Townships with the big Canadian and American centers, has some modern buildings built in 1910 and the new station of Richmond, built in 1915, is one of the most charming on all the system. The Grand Trunk arrived at Richmond in 1851. Since that time, the town has greatly increased in population and importance.
The population of Richmond is mixed. Nearly the half is French-Canadian. The Canadians play an important roll in business, the professions and industrial life. They have occupied and occupy yet some places in public life. We say also that the best of good fellowship exists between the different elements of the population. The population of all the county is 22,000.
The Town of Richmond looks to the future with confidence. Its important position and its past progress is the best guarantee for a future more favourable still.�