Kingston City Hall

Kingston’s first 3 mayors were Irish

Kingston’s first mayor was Thomas Kirkpatrick. He was Irish, as were the next two mayors William Ford and Dr Sampson.  In 1838 Kingston was incorporated as a town with a mayor and an elected corporation of alderman and councillors. It was divided into 4 wards, each of which elected, on a rotating system, an alderman and a common councillor, for terms of 4 years. (Osborne & Swainson, 116)  In March 1846 a meeting was held to press for changes in the municipal system and a bill was subsequently passed to incorporate Kingston as a city. Elections were held annually for the entire council and the council was subsequently enlarged. Kingston now had 5 wards – Sydenham, Ontario, St Lawrence, Cataraqui and Frontenac. (Osborne & Swainson, 118)  Each ward elected 2 aldermen and 2 councillors with the council continuing to elect the mayor. A tour of the portraits hung on the walls of Kingston City Hall (a building designed by a Belfast man) confirms the high percentage of Irish elected to the position of Kingston Mayor, from its first mayor in 1837 to the present day.


The Irish captured most of the council seats in 1846

In 1846 elections were held for the new 20-man council. The only striking thing about the results was the strength of the Irish, who captured most of the seats. (Osborne & Swainson, 118)  In 1848, while Kingston had a population of 8,362, a further 3,656 persons were to be found in such ‘outer suburbs’ as ‘Stuartsville’ population 2,286, ‘Williamsville’, ‘Chathamville’, ‘Charlesville’, ‘Picardville’ and ‘Orchardville’. Stuartsville (i.e. Lot 24) was outside Kingston’s limits in 1838 and in 1846. It did not enjoy a high reputation as it was seen as a poverty-stricken area “chiefly inhabited by working classes,” (Osborne & Swainson, 119) made up primarily of mechanics and labouring men.  On 1 January 1850, Kingston annexed Lot 24 and other ‘suburbans’. They were organized into 2 additional wards, Rideau and Victoria. This increased the total number of wards to 7. (Osborne & Swainson, 118-121)