Date Published: 1834 to 1895
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: 3-Ring Binder
A unique and important early Ontario land ownership archive of Judge William Collis Meredith.
This archive is a fantastic testimony of land and forest economics and the management of absentee land ownership in Southern Ontario in the 19th century; land purchases and sales, clearance of land, drainage issues, ditching of roads and land improvement, renting of land lots, selling of valuable forest species (timber; oak, walnut and hickory) and prices, payment of taxes, evolution of value and assessment of land, unlawful cutting of trees, etc. Archives Ontario Meredith fonds mentions due to a fire, most of the pre-1930 records of the Township of Romney were lost!
This archive consists of a total of 107 items, with a total of about 250 handwritten pages, dealing with land management in Upper Canada:
• The first transactions to acquire the land in 1834 (apparently the former owner was in arrears in taxes),
• About 30 letters (some are copies of letters sent), notes, contracts written or signed by Judge Meredith himself about these lands,
• The correspondence (about 60 letters, always signed, dated and from Romney) of Thomas C. Renwick (1825-1916), Reeve of the Township of Romney and Authorized Agent, to Judge Meredith starting with letters dating from March 2, 1847
• Remainder of the items being tax receipts and other miscellaneous letters received by Meredith.
The dates of items as follows: 1830’s (5), 1840’s (2), 1850’s (9), 1860’s (22), 1870’s (10), 1880’s (55) and 1890’s (4).
The Township of Romney had an area of 26,193 acres in the survey of 1794 and was named for the Kentish port in England. William Meredith became financially independent at age 18 in 1830 and despite not being left land by his stepfather like the rest of his brothers (for reasons which are unclear) he purchased 2,000 acres (village-town 10 lots of 200 acres) of land in 1834 (almost 8% of the township of Romney, Kent, Upper Canada (Ontario) paying 32 pounds! He must have had excellent contacts early in his life in Canada! He sold off progressively certain lots of the land. Those lots turned out to be an important investment in consequence of the railway that was built there. In 1852, less than 20 years after his purchase, he sold 400 acres of land for 375 pounds, almost 60 times the initial cost of that particular lot. He still had about 400 acres when he passed away.
Thomas Coke Renwick’s involvement in these Romney land lots owned by Meredith begins in March 1847 and continues until March 1895 (slightly more than one year after Meredith’s death in February 1894), seven (7) decades and almost half a century of collaboration!
William Collis Meredith [1812-1894] was born in Dublin, Ireland. He arrived in the province of Québec in 1824, then went back to Ireland to study at Trinity College. He established himself in Montreal in 1831 before moving to Quebec City, where he is buried. As a lawyer he was admitted at the Bar in 1836, appointed Judge in 1849 and became Chief Judge of Superior Court of the Province of Quebec in 1866, after the influential and affable D’Arcy McGee (then Minister of Agriculture) made a few representations on his behalf. According to different testimonies, Meredith was considered to be a very good Judge liked both by the French and the English which was extremely rare for the time.
Thomas Coke Renwick (1825–1916) had been a prominent man, as reeve of Romney township, township clerk and treasurer, school trustee for many years, as well as secretary of the Kent and Essex Fire Insurance Co. He is a local preacher of the Methodist Church, of which he and his wife, Mary (n e Robinson [1826-1912]) had been members for many years. Renwick served many years as steward and superintendent of the Sunday-school. The Renwick’s had one child, Jonathan Gladwin Renwick (b.1847), a farmer of Romney township.
Thomas C. Renwick (1825–1916) was the son of Thomas Renwick (1792-1870) and Ann Robinson of England, who immigrated to County of Kent, Ontario in 1815 and taking up 200 acres of land in Romney Township.
Good. Item #8420