Continued from History of Trelawny 8
In the Town of Falmouth, from time to time, several Friendly Lodges have been established, but none appears to have lasted very long. The first of such was the Athol Union Masonic Lodge of the Scottish Constitution. It was first founded in the year 1798, with a great impetus The men controlling its interests were of some prominence. On the 8th October, 1798, we find recorded in the records of the Justices and Vestry ordered that the Right Worshipful Master and Wardens and brethren of Lodge No. II have the use of the Court House for their meetings on their agreeing to make good any injury that the building may sustain in consequence of their Lodge being held therein. This Lodge was an aristocratic one. It was about this time that the building of their Temple began. Its construction was completed within two years. This building is now known as the Baptist Mission at the western corner of Market and Trelawny Streets. It is constructed of the best cut stones procurable and under the supervision of master masons The laying of the corner stone at the North-east corner of this edifice by members of the Craft was a great occasion and the ceremony was brilliant. Masons of both Scottish and the English Constitutions attended in their gorgeous regalias. In this august assembly the first stone was well and truly laid The four corner stones from east to west emblematic or wisdom going from the East to the West, were all placed in position by distinguished Masons A sumptuous repast and eloquent speeches in the Court House (then located at the north-western corner of Market and Duke Streets and now a tavern) where the gathering repaired It was a red letter day for Free Masons. The building proceeded apace with all the artificers and apprentices working in harmony It was the first Temple to be erected as such in Jamaica. The finest and best materials were used on this building. Within that year, 1798, the Temple was completed All hail to the morning that bidst us rejoice, The Temples completed, Exalt each voice, The cap-stone is finished Our labour is oer. The sound of the gavel shall hail us no more This edifice was duly dedicated with such brilliancy that the decades after, parents recounted to their children the grand festival the Free Masons had. No Mason on the most cursory examination, can fail to associate this building with that of a truly built Temple. The interior of this building demonstrates the Crafts teachings in several aspects, but which we are not permitted to disclose. This Lodge flourished for many years and its influence had far reaching social effect It was considered an exclusive Lodge. Your background had to be well and truly proven before admittance. There was however one snag which grated against its stability. It was hopelessly in debt. Tradition states that the prime financier was a young Jew (of course here were then plenty of this race in Falmouth) by the name of DeSouza. It is said that he became obsessed with the virtues of the Craft, and when his father, the principal of DeSouza, Son, & Lazarus, was away in England, young DeSouza advanced so much of the firms cash that the business went bankrupt. The Lodge was called upon to pay up, but the sum, which ran into thousands of pounds, was too much. The premises was thereupon foreclosed, put up for action and sold to the Baptist denomination to liquidate the debt. The Lodge now in a dying state, was in 1832 removed to a premises situate at the eastern corner of Trelawny and Queen Streets (now owned by the Roman Catholics). Enthusiasm waned and coupled with migration of its members, the Lodge ceased to operate sometime about the year 1884. The premises were then taken over by the Forresters. This Craft lasted for about twelve years.
About the year 1898, a branch of the Order of Oddfellows of the Manchester Unity Friendly Society was founded. This Lodge had a large and influential membership and did excellent work in the Parish. It worked appreciatively among the young men in the community. The quality of new members, however, did not fit in with ideas of the older set and became incompatible with the tenets of the order. The older Oddfellows resigned and in about the year 1940, it ceased to function. It owned its own premises in Princess Street, not far from the Wesleyan Chapel. Whenever this Lodge staged a Concert or other public entertainment, it was always well patronized by the community.
An Order of the Elks was at one time flourishing but this also died a natural death. There is now a Mechanic lodge operating, which we hope will continue long.
The first Newspaper published was the Cornwall Chronicle in the year 1780. In 1890, The Cornwall Gazette was also in existence. In October, 1814, the Justices and Vestry gave orders that application for tenders for building the walls of the intended new Court House in Falmouth be inserted in The Kingston, St. Jago de la Vega, Cornwall Gazette and the Cornwall Chronicle. These two newspapers ran contemporaneously. In 1853, we had The Falmouth Post, edited by Mr. John Castello. He was nicknamed Thunderer of the North. He was a fearless and outspoken citizen. In his editorials he attacked both Central and local governments. We remember seeing a clipping in the Vestry records which was sent by the Colonial Secretary for the Vestrys observations. This clipping from the Falmouth Post reviewed that a Slave along with others was put up to Public Auction at the Court House. This particular slave, talking to another, pointed out a certain gentleman who was bidding and remarked to his fellow slaves that he would not like that massa to own him. His conversation was overheard by this gentleman that when he the slave was put up for sale, he was bought by this person, removed to the gaol, salted and whipped in such a brutal fashion, that he became unconscious. That this was done under the superintendence of his now owner, the editorial asked: is this British justice to say less of humanity?
One Mr. Hanlon of Holland Estate was, as the outcome, severely censured by the slave Board for his outrageous and inhuman conduct. Mr. Castello was in 1853 arrested and taken to the Spanish Town gaol, for criticizing the House of Assembly and Representatives of the Parishes. He himself in that same year became a Member of the House of Assembly, representing the Parish of Hanover. He died and was buried in the Falmouth Church yard. On the wall of the Falmouth Parish Church is a Tablet to his memory.
The Baptist Herald appears to have originated in Falmouth. This organ was a monthly issue. Its articles were more or less confined to religious subjects. Be that as it may, these three papers were well supported by the community, but with changed conditions and departures of the prominent factors they faded away. About the year 1880, Mr. John Henry, a Printer from the ashes of the defunct Bi-weeklys founded the Falmouth Gazette, a weekly paper. This paper ceased to exist about the year 1898. The articles in this paper were chiefly devoted to the latest social scandals. Mr. Henry with years heavy on him, relegated its management to irresponsible youngsters who produced frivolous articles and sometimes scurrilous notes. We remember on a certain occasion a Concert was advertised to be given in the Town Hall. That night it rained cats and dogs. The Concert was postponed, yet next morning the Falmouth Gazette appeared with a full account of a Concert that was never staged! Encores which were even interspersed and expressions of appreciation for renditions. The article was prepared in anticipation and the crew were posted to encore stated items to synchronize with the article. Mr. John Henry died about the year 1902.
The Trelawny Advance was the last periodical to brave the wind. It was founded by Mr. Philip Lightbody of Montego Bay. This paper lasted about one year and ceased to exist for want of financial support. This was about the year 1906. Mr. Lightbody was a great patriot with aspirations primarily towards the Parish of St. James. Whenever any move was made for improvements in Trelawny, with conflicting interest to the Parish of St. James, he was particularly critical. Railway extension to Trelawny and the construction of a primary pier in Falmouth. We do not blame him. It was inherent and traditional. He deserves honour to his memory by Noble St. James.
Although this is now owned and operated by Local Government, its history is not without interest and its connection with present day conditions is not very remote.
The Town of Falmouth, as already stated, was founded in and around the year 1790. Other than shallow wells giving a slightly saline water, the purity of which became questionable with the erection of contiguous latrines, the inhabitants of this newly formed township obtained their supply of drinking water from the Martha Brae River at it nearest point which was one mile away. This was no great factor and money was not scarce. It was between the years 1797 and 1798 that certain inhabitants who, actuated by an interest for the public weal, met together with the Rev. Adrian Reid, the first Rector for the Falmouth Parish Church, as Chairman, and organized a Company and was later granted a Charter under Law 40 of George III, to supply water to the inhabitants of Falmouth and to facilitate the needs of shipping. Four hundred shares at £50 each were issued to form a Capital of £20,000 currency. (£166. 13/4d was the equal of £100 sterling). One-fifth of each share was paid in on application and the balance on demand. No one person was allowed to own more than 10 shares in this Company. The Charter gave it power to acquire lands, make aqueducts and to convey water into and through the Town and to such place upon or near to the seashore to be made a watering place for the use of ships and vessels in the harbour of Falmouth. The water rates to be levied were to be calculated on the rental value of the holding, which value was to be settled by the Justices and Vestry each year and a copy forwarded to the Companys office. The rate for each and every vessel coming into port irrespective of frequency or the necessity for watering, was sixpence for each ton gross registry. Droghers and vessels under 25 tons were exempted. The maximum tonnage of ships in those days was 500, which means that for every voyage into port £25 would be levied. The Company first acquired lands at Martha Brae about a mile from Falmouth; constructed a diversion canal, now called the cut off for about half a mile; built a dam of rubble stones, a short aqueduct and a sluice gate. A 20 foot Persian wheel like a Paddlebox was installed, which, revolving by the current of the stream emptied about 100 gallons of water per revolution into a wooden trough approximately 20 feet elevation, where it is received by a six-inch main and gravitates to Falmouth and is stored in a reservoir which is seen in the square as a monument of those primitive days. Lands in the centre of the town were acquired for this purpose. The entire Square, as it was called, was the Companys property until the year 1802, when the unused portion was sold to the Justices and Vestry for £700. The following are the records for reference. On the 29th February, 1802, at a meeting of the Justices and Vestry, there were present The Reverend Adrian Reid, Messrs. John Gaynor, Edward Knowles, James Brady, David Richards, Andrew Gardener, William Fairclough, Samuel Ernshaw, William Green and James Kelly Vestrymen. The proposal from the Falmouth Water Company having been read and Mr. Gaynor from the Committee appointed to treat with the said Company having recommended its adoption. Resolved that the said proposal be dealt with and that the Church Wardens do pay unto the Director the sum of £700 for one half of their land in the town of Falmouth. The Company retaining only that portion on which their reservoir stands. It was further understood that the whole of the buildings on the said land were to be immediately taken down. On the 6th December, of the same year it was resolved that the Company be paid £749-18s-6d being half of the first cost of the land when purchased by the Company from the Rev. Adrian Reid. Foundations of these old buildings were, in the year 1940, unearthed while digging for a main pipe. It may be of interest to note that in 1804 an extra piece of land in Water Square was purchased from Fred Lamont, being the estate of the late Michael Walsh, for £500, and in 1812 John Thomas Tennison was paid £150 for his piece of land by the Vestry. The Charter of the Water Company was fully complied with after delivering water in the reservoir and extending it to facilitate shipping.
In assessing the value of this enterprise comparison should be made with relative demand. What was the population of the town of Falmouth in those days? It was a new township. Our records show that in 1771 there were only 30 houses, and in 1790, it had increased by seven times to over 200. In 1861 there were in Falmouth, Males: White, 137; 534 Brown; and 881 Black; Females: 166 White; 844 Brown; and 881 Black, or a total population of 3,127. The last Census in 1943 gave a population of little over 2,500.
The comparative few in 1799 were very satisfied with conditions appertaining. With the expansion of the Town, the Company made further extensions of its main pipes and the erection of not more than six stand pipes. You were considered highly favoured to be given permissions to lay a Service Pipe connection to your residence. Only a few persons were so allowed. The water supply became unreliable as during the dry weather there was not sufficient water power to turn the wheel, and when the river was in spate the wheel refused to turn for want of current. These circumstances demanded alternate measure. An auxiliary Steam Engine and pump was eventually installed and this remedied the situation for quite a while. After many years had elapsed the Shareholders, or most of them, seemed to have disappeared and the Secretary was at a loss as to the disbursement of the revenue, and, for that reason, it appeared to many, the Secretary of the Company allowed many ratepayers to go on without exaction. All the funds needed were to pay the staff and keep the works in order and this was easily met from the excessive shipping levy and rates from Government institutions and the better off people. Shipping now began to squeal against this antiquated and outmoded system of exacting rates for water which they were not in need of.
At this time an agitation had begun for improvement to the Channel and the Harbour of Falmouth. Government refused to give consideration to this aspect as it considered that the first rock to be blasted was the Falmouth Water Company. After a deal of correspondence on the subject, Government appointed a Commission in the year 1902, consisting of Messrs. R. A. Walcott (a prominent Barrister at Law), the Hon. and Rev. W. M. Webb, M.L.C. and Mr. G. McNab Livingstone. Evidence was taken in the Falmouth Court House. Mr. T. M. DePass was the then Secretary of the Company. After a day of sitting the Commission found that the Company had failed in many respects to live up to its Charter and that, in the light of modern requirements, it was unable to give adequate and satisfactory service to the community and recommended that it be taken over by Local Government. The entire Works and Rights were valued at £1,600. This amount was loaned by Government to the Parochial Board and the Falmouth Water Companys chapter sealed and its legacy passed over to Local Government. A lot of money has since been expended but results may appear very inadequate after 45 years. It will now be your history, not ours.
The Persian Wheel, like Tennysons Brook, goes on forever. It may be of some interest to observe that the annual flooding of the Main Road from Holland to Falmouth as well as lands contiguous is due to the cut off made at Bessie Kick Up by the Falmouth Water Company. The river was diverted at this point in 1799, to produce a uniform flow of water to operate the Water Wheel. When this old Persian Sheel and the antiquated method of the scheme are abandoned, the river should be made to take its natural course by blocking its intake at the Dam as well as at the Cut Off and all the land now used for the cultivation of rice would facilitate drainage. To a great extent health conditions at least would be improved in the town as the swamp would become dry ground.
Since the above was written the works have undergone great modern improvement insomuch that electricity is being used to pump the water from the river to the Clifton Hill where it undergoes purification and settling. This altitude produces a gravity flow to enable water reaching by pipeline the highest house in Falmouth.
Residents who previously grumbled at the low pressure are now grousy over the increased rates and of the fact that new service pipes at their cost must replace the old ones in consequence of the increased pressure for which they clamoured. Life is no one way street. The Parochial Board which was by order of the Governor dissolved in the year 1953, was replaced by Mr. E. E. A. Campbell (Barrister at law) and in the opinion of most of the inhabitants directed a most revolutionary act by demolishing the Reservoir in the Town and converting it into something more respectable and ornamental. No Parochial Board would have run the risk of ever suggesting such a desperate vandalism!! From the point of view of lots of us old fogies clinging to tradition. This Reservoir had served it usefulness in the old days. It was not outmoded and useless, except as a monument to ancient ingenuity when no better plan could be conceived. The Commissioner is a brave man. Trelawnys slogan being old and historic. This must die and change to Trelawny rediviva. The water supply is now satisfactory and for this improvement, the inhabitants must pay.
The Fountain in the Square which is a part of the old Reservoir was opened by Mrs. C. M. Kelly-Lawson in July 1955 in presence of 1,000 people from this and other Parishes. The memory of Mr. E. A. Campbell, the Commissioner, will be well perpetuated by this Garden and Fountain. [See Falmouth Fountain]. We regret to say Mrs. C. M. Kelly-Lawson died in November, 1958.
To be continued. . . . .
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