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Mayor Edward Saunders Rutledge

Portrait of Mayor E. S. RutledgeEdward Saunders Rutledge was born in 1863, the eldest of four brothers. Rutledge was educated in his home village of Markdale, Ontario and like many young men at the time, decided to head west. After working on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Saskatchewan, he moved to Ignace to run a general store. In approximately 1885, Rutledge and his brother Albert opened another store in Fort William’s Town Plot, which they ran until 1889.

In December 1891, Rutledge became Clerk for the Municipality of Neebing, and in March 1892, when Fort William was incorporated, he became the first Town Clerk, a post which he held until March 1900, when he then served as Town Collector for three years.

In 1904, Rutledge was elected to Council, and in 1905 he became Mayor. As the new City hall had just been built, he had the honour of officially opening it to the public in October 1905. Rutledge was greatly opposed to the idea of amalgamation with Port Arthur, and even encouraged competition between the two cities. In 1906, he was acclaimed for a second term and Fort William saw the opening of the Ogilvie flour mill, the flour mill slide into the Kaministiquia River, and the Kaministiquia Power Company start a 20 year contract. The same year, construction started on the Canada Iron & Foundry Company and the Consolidated Elevator. 

Rutledge was faced with turbulent times. Events of 1906, included a violent strike in October and an outbreak of typhoid in the city’s water supply which killed 80 people. In 1907, while Rutledge was Chairman of the Fort William Board of Water, Light and Telephone Commissioners, he was blamed for the poor telephone service, the long wait in obtaining Loch Lomond’s water supply, and strained labour relations. Because of these problems, in 1909, Council dissolved the Board and took control over utilities directly.

Born: May 13, 1863, in Markdale, Grey County, Ontario
Died: March 11, 1951, in Fort William, Ontario at the age of 88
Councillor: Neebing Councillor 1887, 1888; Fort William Councillor 1904, 1931
Councillor Candidate: Neebing Councillor 1889
Mayoral Candidate: 1914
Mayor: 1905-1906


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