Friday, December 8, 1871 The Woodstock Sentinel (Woodstock) Page 3, col. 1

The Woodstock and Port Dover Railroad.

The meeting Monday night.

Resolutions passed.

(From [illegible] Reporter.)

The public meeting held in the town hall on Monday evening to consider the proposed Railway to Port Dover, [illegible] of the largest, most influential [illegible], without exception, the most [illegible] and well conducted that has [illegible] place in Woodstock for years. [illegible] any similar occasion, [illegible] seeing a perfect [illegible] unanimity of feeling expressed [illegible] public meeting. During [illegible] not a single objection was raised, nor an opponent [illegible] to the proposed scheme, but all [illegible] convinced that its early [illegible] was of the utmost importance, not only to the town of Woodstock, but adjacent townships.

At half past seven Mayor Grey took the chair and Mr. Sawtell was requested to act as Secretary. In stating the purpose of the meeting, His Worship said that he had been called at the request of nearly all the leading ratepayers of the town. There was no doubt in his mind of the desirability of the proposed Railway, and he [illegible] every exertion should be [illegible] at once, or the movement [illegible] checked by the action of [illegible]. Ingersoll was agitating for a road to connect that town with [illegible] on the Great Southern, and [illegible] also was endeavouring to enlist the sympathy of the Norwich people in the Brantford and Simcoe scheme. [illegible] the interests of the municipalities to the south of us were more identified [illegible] of Woodstock, and [illegible] better promoted by the building of the Woodstock and Port Dover Railway than either of those referred [illegible] all those no time in [illegible] before the ratepayers [illegible] municipalities. Woodstock [illegible] behind any of her [illegible] the march of progress, [illegible] guard against this, she [illegible] increased Railway facilities [illegible] As a number of resolutions [illegible] to the meeting, he [illegible] these present by any [illegible] but would now {illegible] in whose hand [illegible] had been placed.

H. Parker, Reeve of Woodstock [illegible]. He said be [illegible] to move the first resolution [illegible] glad to see so many [illegible] present, and was also [illegible] remarks made by the [illegible]. He believed the town as in [illegible] another railway. There [illegible] so great a want felt for railway [illegible] as during the pre- [illegible] the grain dealers of Woodstock [illegible] in the vicinity had [illegible] owing to their inability [illegible] to have their grain and other [illegible] promptly removed. He called [illegible] the fact that we, although [illegible], paid 7 cents per [illegible] wheat carried to [illegible], while the grain dealers in [illegible] had theirs shipped to Toronto [illegible] distance of 86 miles, at 6 cts [illegible], too, 3 cts [illegible] than Woodstock for [illegible] Hamilton, although the distance [illegible]. This was owing [illegible] that London had a competing [illegible] if Woodstock had [illegible] believed our freight [illegible] less than at present. [illegible] wanted an outlet to [illegible] if the proposed road was [illegible] would be placed in direct communication with the coal fields of Pennsylvania. With regard to the dif- [illegible] they way of building the [illegible] Mr. Parker thought that a large [illegible] had deeply been in- [illegible] the very small bonuses [illegible] municipalities inter- [illegible] to complete [illegible]. He had read a letter from [illegible] railway projector in New York [illegible] spoke most encouragingly [illegible] if the road being [illegible] American capitalists [illegible] promised to give [illegible] in his power. Mr. Parker the moved the following [illegible] in the opinion of the meeting the time had come when efforts should be made to secure additional railway [illegible] for this town [illegible], and that is is desirable to [illegible] a charter from the Legislature [illegible] a Railway [illegible] from Port Dover on Lake Erie, to Woodstock, with power to extend the [illegible] to the town of Stratford. (Cheers.)

Mr. [illegible] said that a preliminary [illegible] held a few evenings ago [illegible] to second the resolution [illegible]. He had acceeded to [illegible] with pleasure, and was [illegible] to do all in his power to [illegible] and carrying out a [illegible] which would greatly increase a railway accommodation, and was of the highest importance to the interests to the town. He quite agreed with [illegible] the Mayor and Mr. [illegible] our indebtedness. [illegible] should [illegible] present, en- [illegible] of the question and proceed [illegible] as if it did not exist. Railway [illegible] the very best [illegible] of op- [illegible] the resource [illegible] farmers of this [illegible] immense advantages [illegible] the Great Western, and if one [illegible] such benefits, they [illegible] still further benefited by the by the [illegible] of a competing line. And [illegible] would also do much to [illegible] encourage manufactories [illegible] Woodstock. This [illegible] what was wanted. Several large [illegible—manufacturing] establishments had been [illegible] and others were proposed. It was our duty, therefore, to afford these institutions every possible facility for the import of raw material and the export of their manufactured articles. By the proposed railway we could command the country [illegible] to the north and south—a want which was very much felt at the present time by our manufactories here. He did not fall in with the opinion, expressed by some, that Woodstock was going back, and instanced the fact that only to-day town lots for private residences had been sold at the rate of $2,400 per acre. This showed that the people had confidence in the prosperity of Woodstock. The census gave Ingersoll a population great than ours, but from the way in which it was taken,—the students of the C. L. Institute and others, properly considered residents of the town, not being enumerated—it was clear that out actual population was several hundreds more than was given. Ingersoll wanted a road to tap the Southern, and he had no objection to a charter being granted them, but he thought Woodstock had an equally good right, and quite as fair a chance to obtain one. There was no need to apply for a charter further than Stratford, as the people of that town were now asking permission to construct a road to the North in the direction of Lake Huron. If our road were built we would, therefore, have communication with the whole of the large intervening territory, in addition to having connection with the Lake at Port Dover. This would be quite as great an advantage to the rural districts adjoining as to the towns. He trusted the municipalities to the south of us would lend their hearty support to the present movement. He had great pleasure in seconding Mr. Parker's resolution. (Applause.)

Mr. Goodwin, who, with Mr. Schooley and Mr Bullock, were present as a delegation from South Norwich, said that he had driven 20 miles to attend the meeting, from which they might justly infer that he felt interested in the railroad. On learning that such a meeting was to take place tonight, a few of the ratepayers of his township had met on Saturday evening and Mr. Schooley, Mr. Bullock and himself were deputed to attend this meeting and ascertain what the feeling of the people of Woodstock was. They had not come to make speeches, but only to listen. Like Woodstock, the township of South Norwich was laboring under the incubus of a large debt, and he was not prepared to say what amount of support might be expected from that township. Still, he believed the people were deeply interested in the scheme and would aid it to the utmost of their ability. (Cheers.)

Mr. Schooley was pleased to have an opportunity offered him of meeting so large a number of the ratepayers of Woodstock to discuss the question of a railway to the South. Such a road would be of immense advantage to his particular locality (Otterville), and the people there—like the people of Woodstock—were consequently very anxious to have it built. He could not, however, promise a bonus from South Norwich, owing to the difficulties referred to by Mr. Goodwin. He thought the first thing necessary was to press for a charter, and having got that, to look for means to build the road. Already probably £40,000 had been expended on it and this money was not lost. The work done was still available. A large part of the road had been graded and the cost of completion would be small compared with the construction of a new road. He then dwelt upon the many advantages which such direct communication with the coal fields of Pennsylvania and the salt beds of Goderich would afford, and resumed his seat amid applause.

Mr. Bullock agreed with the remarks made by Messrs. Goodwin and Schooley. He believed the people of his township would assist the proposed road to the full extent of their ability. From what he had heard at Norwichville to-day, there appeared to be considerable sympathy in that village for the Brantford scheme and it was important, therefore, that Woodstock should take action at once.

The resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

Dr. Sawn then moved the following resolution: That a committee of seven be now appointed for the purpose of conferring with the various municipalities along the route of the projected railway with the view of cooperating with them in forming a company, obtaining a charter, and any other necessary preliminary action in regard to said road. The Doctor said that the Americans built railroads in order to build up towns, and now that we have a town, we should build the railroad to improve it.

Mr. Rippon seconded the resolution.

It was then suggested that the names of the committee should be inserted in the resolution whereupon, Mr. Bird rose and warned the meeting to be careful in making selections. He said we now come to the crisis. No people had more reasons to be cautious than we had. If the town had not gone buck, it had at all events almost stood still. What it wanted was outlets and he was, therefore, anxious to see this railway built. Its success or failure would depend in a great measure upon the committee appointed, and his object in taking the platform was simply to say "Be cautious whom you select as members of the committee." The names of the following gentlemen were then put to the meeting and having been voted upon were inserted in the resolution, after which is was carried unanimously: The Mayor, Thos. Oliver, M. P., H. Parker, T. J. Clark, John Douglas, D. Peacock and Thos. Scott.

Before the next resolution was submitted, Mr. Pattullo rose, not to speak to any motion, but to refer to a remark which had fallen from a previous speaker in reference to a sympathy existing in the vicinity of Norwichville for the Brantford scheme. This was doubtless true, but he had good reasons for believing that a very deep interest was also felt in the locality for the success of the Woodstock scheme. A prominent resident there had called upon him recently and stated that, in addition to taking stock in the road, he was prepared, personally, to give it a bonus of $1000 in cash. (Cheers.) If this was an indication of the feeling in Norwich he thought the prospects were very encouraging.

Mr. McCleneghan supposed the committee now appointed should call meetings to agitate the matter in the several municipalities. The friends of the Brantford scheme were to have a meeting in Simcoe on day next week and he thought we should be represented there.

Mr. Cameron proposed the following resolution: That this meeting request the Mayor to call a special meeting of the Town Council and ask that body to vote the necessary funds to enable the gentlemen to be now appointed, to procure the charter and pay, in connection with other municipalities, such preliminary expenses, as may accrue in carrying out the decision of this meeting. Mr. Cameron said that the committee would no doubt be at considerable expense and it was only right that we who profited by their labors should pay it.

Me. H. P. Brown seconded the resolution.

Mr. McWhinnie had no objection to the committee's expenses being paid, but thought that it was soon enough to ask for payment when they had actually been incurred. He would also have like to hear a little more form some of the speakers in reference to the present position of the old Woodstock and Port Dover Railway. The meeting was entitled to this. He recognized the importance of the projected road being built, but thought opposition would arise before the committee had gone far and he would advise them to "Be cautious."

After some jocular remarks from the Mayor, Mr. Parks and others, the resolution was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.

A vote of thanks was then tendered to the delegation from Norwich for their attendance and another to the chairman for his conduct in the chair after which the meeting dispersed.

The committee met subsequently and appointed Messrs. Oliver and Parker to attend a meeting to be held in Norwichville on Tuesday night in the interest of the Brantford scheme, a full report of which will be found in another column.

Railways: Pt.D. & L.H.Ry.