Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1332 Before the People

The early morning light is always the best. There were almost no people on the Southampton Beach so the gulls kept me company while I painted. I wanted to get the colours right and had to revert to phthalo blue to do so. The literature says "Phthalo Blue: Warm blue first made for printmaking ink (cyan) to replace Prussian Blue in the 1920's. With clean, pure masstone and transparency, Phthalo Blue, like all modern colors, has high tinting strength." Some artist call it a "stain" but I needed it today. There is always something to learn!
The ridge of high pressure was still dominating the weather but there was a hint of cloud on the western horizon emerging through the pollution contained within the marine inversion.
The community was originally known as Saugeen by the early inhabitants, the Canadian Post Office and Custom House Departments. However, the Crown Land Departments labelled the village as Southampton and the name stuck as the town was incorporated, named after Southampton, the English sea port. The first European settlers of the area were Captain John Spence and William Kennedy, who wanted to establish a fishing company. While it proved unfruitful, Spence became a sailor and Kennedy joined a search for the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin. Nevertheless, in 1851 there were at least a dozen families living in the community. In the same year, the Post Office was established, the first and only in Bruce County for several years. Three years later, a Bank of Upper Canada was built.
The pioneers of Southampton wanted the village to become the county town or county seat, as the village held the only Crown Land Department and Post Office in the county. However, the town of Kincardine had a larger population and seemed the strongest rival. Furthermore, Southampton did not have enough population to meet the requirements for incorporation. The town petitioned the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the elective officials passed an exceptional Act of Incorporation on July 24, 1858 to allow the community to be considered for the county seat. Despite their efforts, Walkerton eventually won the battle.

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