Some Ancient Political History
The following was found in the Perth Courier of 30 June 1905 It was written by Donald Fraser, grandson of Col Donald Fraser of early times in Perth and Lanark. This was just one or several articles written in connection with the ‘Old Boys’ Reunion’ that was held that year. Additional articles can be found at https://www.perthhs.org/documents/the-fraser-reminiscences.pdf
Fraser was born June 2, 1841, in the ‘Red House’ on Craig Street, the first house built at the Perth Military Settlement. He was the son of William Fraser (1802-1870), Lanark County’s first Treasurer, and Catharine Adamson (1810-1886), whose father, John Adamson (1775-c1842), had built the ‘Red House’ in 1816 as an inn and tavern. Donald of Victoria, BC, was the grandson of Colonel Donald Fraser (1772-1856) who had served with the 74th Highland Regiment of Foot under Wellington in the Peninsular War, earning a General Service Medal with bars for Busaco, Badajoz and Vitoria, and with the 41st Regiment in Upper Canada during the American War of 1812-1814. He retired on half pay and came to the Perth Military Settlement in 1820.
My grandfather, Col. Donald Fraser, belonged to the 74th Highland Regiment. He exchanged into the 41st Regiment of foot, when that regiment was sent to Canada, during the American war of 1812-1815. He was in the battle of Queenston Heights, Lundy’s Lane, and some others. After the war he returned with his regiment. He retired on half pay, and brought his family to the Perth settlement in 1820. As a half-pay officer he was entitled to considerable land in the new country. He first settled on a farm on the Scotch Line; afterwards owned by James Cameron. He moved from there and took up what is now known as the Manahan farm, adjoining the village of Lanark; subsequently he took another farm about a mile and a half from Lanark on the Perth road.
In the early thirties political feeling was running very high in Canada, the people were getting more than restive under the regime of the Family Compact. An election was coming on, the power of the Family Compact in Bathurst District must be broken, my grandfather was prevailed upon to be the people’s candidate, he was elected, Captain McMillan being his opponent. He was only a short time in the house but long enough to secure a grant to build the first long bridge in Perth at Drummond street and some other grants for roads in the district. He was unseated for the want of property qualification, he had neglected to take out the patents on crown grants for his lands. A new election was called. In the meantime the crown grants were obtained. Malcolm Cameron, in making the nomination in the hustings literally covered himself with the documents, the effect was wonderful. the people were aroused to the highest pitch of excitement, the voting was all done in Perth, it took about a week to record the votes. The return of my grandfather was almost unanimous in this election. Dr. Reade was his opponent. On the chairing day he was carried shoulder high on the stringers of the long bridge which was in the course of erection.
William Lyon McKenzie was then agitating his reforms; my grandfather would no doubt support him as long as he did so constitutionally but anything savouring of rebellion ws too much for a soldier who had fought to save the country. He moved one of the resolutions expelling McKenzie from the house.