Brussels organizations from the past
CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETYA branch of the provincial Children’s Aid Society was formed in Brussels in late December of 1909.
The officers were: president, Rev. A. C. Wishart, BA; vice-president, Rev. E.G. Powell; secretary, J. H. Cameron; treasurer, W.H. Kerr; Committee, Rev. Mr. Cameron, F. H. Gilroy, George Thomson, F.S. Scott, G. A Deadman and W.M. SInclair.
The organization was the outcome of a visit of W.A. Gunton of Toronto, inspector of the department of Neglected and Dependent children.
AOUWThe officers elected to the Workmen’s Lodge in June of 1887 were: M.W., E.E. Wade; foreman, W. H. Cloakey; foreman, W. Ainley; financier, J. Shaw; recorder, J.A. Creighton; receiver, R. N. Ferguson; guide, T. O’Neil; I. W., G. Birt; O.W., Wm Thompson.
The executive elected in April 1911 was: M.W., R. Leatherdale; foreman, R. A. Pryne; overseer, N. F. Gerry; recorder, W.H. Kerr; financial secretary, W.H. McCracken; treasurer, G.A. Deadman; guide, Jno. Simmons; inside watchman, W. Armstrong; outside watchman, W. Work.
BRUSSELS MECHANICS' INSTITUTEIn the 19th century reading material was not as plentiful as today. Books were expensive, the print was small, but the quality good. The opening of a library was a great boon to any community. The early subscription libraries were replaced by Mechanics’ Institutes, beginning in the 1830s. The former had existed solely to lend books while the latter was intended to provide their members, mechanics and workingmen, with lectures, classes, reading rooms and lending libraries.
The Brussels Mechanics Institute was incorporated in 1874. In the latter part of the century it provided a library and reading room in the Holmes Block over Smale’s store. Librarian Miss Ross, served until 1887.
Every year a crowd gathered on a Saturday night in January for the auction of magazines. Purchasers would have the privilege of removing magazines from the tables as soon as new ones arrived.
The Brussels Mechanics’ Institute elected officers for the year of 1887 were: president, J. R. Grant; vice-president, F.S. Scott; secretary/treasurer, A. Hunter, directors, Jno. Shaw, Rev. Jno Ross and Rev. W. Smyth, W.B. Dickson, George Rogers, Adam Good, Angus McKay and Dr. Hutchinson.
A motion passed in April of that year that no one would be allowed to take books from the Library without having first paid their membership fee.
The librarian was commissioned to solicit subscriptions for membership for the coming year. She would be paid 10 per cent on all cash received.
Rev. Ross and the president were commissioned to arrange for the purchase of $125 worth of new books for the library.
The financial returns for the year showed receipts of $194.20, with expenses of $112.17 for a profit of $82.03.
There were 1031 volumes in the library representing works on science, biography, history, fiction, poetry, voyage and travel, miscellaneous, religious literature, encyclopedia, magazines, reports and atlas. Fiction was the preferred choice that year. Members numbered 54.
By May 27, 1887, there were 80 names on the membership roll of the Mechanics’ Institute.
One year later the library had a balance of $114.77. The librarian was Miss Minnie Shaw, who reported to the Institute that there was a total of 1,397 books in the library, with 107 members.
At the end of the century municipal library boards were established to provide library services.
WOMEN'S FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETYThe Brussels auxiliary of the WFM Society met the first Tuesday of each month in the year of 1887.
Its anniversary meeting was held in April. The well-attended program was as follows: devotional exercises, motto song by nine little girls, paper on missions by Miss Robertson, sacred music by Mrs. Hutchinson, recitation by Miss McGuire, sacred music by D. Stewart and family, address on missions by Rev. A.Y. Hartley of Bluevale, missionary anthem by the youth choir, recitation and song by five girls and two boys, an anthem by the Choral Society, recitation by Miss McGuire.
The Society was in a prosperous condition with about 50 members. Their contributions in 1887 were $120.
IOOFThe Brussels Independent Order of Oddfellows celebrated the lodge’s anniversary in April of 1887 with a service at Melville Church. The pastor, Rev. Jno Ross delivered the sermon on how “loving God implored reverence, confidence and obedience”.
According to The Brussels Post he spoke very “scathingly of sentimental sympathy and said that oceans full of it were not worth a drop of genuine sympathy and helpfulness”.
He concluded his address referring to the noble work done by the IOOF.
CANADIAN TEMPLE IOGTThe following officers were elected to this lodge in Aug. 1888: W.C., George Currie; W.V. Miss Roddick; W.M., David Armstrong; W.D.M., Miss May Kerr; P.W., William Miller; W.C., Thomas Hill; W.T., Miss Lily Vanstone; W.F.S., William McCracken; W.S., James Blashill; W.I.G., Miss Bessie Moore, W.O.G., Luther Ball; T.D., Jas. Buyers.
The membership exceeded 50.
COF (FORESTER'S COURT)In June 1888, the following officers held the reins of government for the ensuing term in Princess Alexandra Lodge, COF: C.R., Rev. W.T. Cluff; V.C.R., A. J. Lowick; Chaplain, A.Crozer; R.S., W. Smith; F.S., George Rogers; Treasurer, S. Smale; S.W., S. Wake; J.W., W. Wilbee; S.B., N. Flatt; J.B., J. Stretton; H.C. Delegate, Wm. Blashill.
This lodge was a popular institution according to the local newspaper.
BRUSSELS BANDHarry J. Whitley came to Brussels in 1883, to teach the Brussels band. Four years later it was one of the best in the county.
In June of 1887 the band received first prize in Seaforth. The $60 was to be spent on new uniforms.
The Brussels Brass Band of the early 1930s was led by a Mr. Schade and Ernie Seddon, both of Wingham. Members were trumpeters, Wilfred Cameron, George Smith, Wilford Willis, Jack Baeker and Earl Moore, trombonists Ken Tyerman and Cliff Buschlin; baritones Ross Cardiff, Roy Pascoe and Bill King; saxaphonists Norman Hoover and Ken Ashton; clarinetist Bertram McDonald; bass horn players Chester Rintoul, Jack Gibson, Lloyd Wheeler; alto Gerald Gibson; kettle drummers Mac McDowell and Louis Russels and Bob Campbell as bass drummer.
In 1932 the band won first prize at the Waterloo Music Festival, but was later disqualified as contestants were to be 21 and under. Only two in the Brussels group were, so they were given third prize.
The first uniforms were black pants, white shirts with black bow ties and Japanese koolies (hats) made of rice straw.
A year later the Perth Regiment of Stratford discarded their old uniforms which the band purchased. The pants were navy blue with a red stripe down the leg. The tunics were bright red with officer style peek caps.
CALEDONIAN SOCIETYBeginning 1878, the Caledonian Society hosted the annual Auld Scotia’s Games.
GENTLEMAN'S CLUBSome 50 years ago, a group of retired gentlemen began to gather in a room above the present day municipal office. Every night after supper members of the Gentlemen’s Club would climb the 23 stairs to socialize and enjoy some games of euchre. The club has its share of interesting stories. One member tumbled down that long flight to his death. On another occasion a group discovered a group of teens had snuck in to the unlocked building and caused some minor mischief. The police officers were called and the miscreants taken away.
As members passed away the club declined in numbers until only a handful continued to make the trip up those stairs. The club ceased to exist in 1992.
A plaque has been made with the club members names: Alex Rutledge, R.J. McLauglin, Jim S. Smith, Jack Thynne, Dan McTavish, Walter Scott, Jas. Kerr, Water Kerr, John Rowland, Ken Ashton, Alex Shaw, Jack Yuill, John Bowman, Alvin Logan, Chas. Draper, Albert Quipp, Jake Fisher, Wess Kerr, Jas. W. Smith, Frank Thompson, Ned Rutledge, Glen Smith, Joe Cooper, Stan Alexander, Bill Smith, Harvey Craig, Jack Savage, Jack McCutcheon, Norm Hoover, Ross Cunningham, Carson Watson, Jack White, Norm Pheiffer, Gordon Grant, Jas. McTaggart, Jas. McFarlene, Jas. McDonald, Bob Bowman, Wilbur Turnbull, George Davidson, Brigham Henry, Ward Sellers, Francis Kearney.