Source: Document from Thistle Ha’ private collection.

Although John Miller/Thistle Ha’ had success at winning several elections to local office, he failed in his attempt at higher office. In the February 22, 1887 federal election, he ran for the Conservative party, led by Prime Minister John Macdonald, who governed with a coalition of members from two political parties: the Conservatives and the Liberal-Conservatives.

The image on the left is the second page of the Returning Officer’s election results, showing that John Miller was easily beaten by the Liberal party incumbent, James Edgar. Hugh Miller/Thistle Ha’ recalled that John Miller ran against a very capable opponent in a riding that was considered a safe seat for the Liberals. Edgar later became Speaker of the House of Commons and was knighted by Queen Victoria.

Sources: Past Years in Pickering by Rev. William R. Wood. Published by William Briggs, Toronto, 1911.
County of Ontario – Short Notes as to the Early Settlement and Progress of the County and Brief References to the Pioneers and Some Ontario County Men who have taken a Prominent Part in Provincial and Dominion Affairs by J. E. Farewell. Published by Whitby Gazette-Chronicle Press, 1907.
Pickering 1911 centennial medal from Thistle Ha’ private collection.

This is the bicentennial year of the municipality of Pickering.

In 1791, British parliament divided the province of Quebec into two provinces named Upper Canada [Ontario] and Lower Canada [Quebec], and a surveyor was hired to mark townships east of Toronto along the north shore of Lake Ontario, including ones named Edinburgh [Whitby] and Glasgow [Pickering]. There is a record of a meeting held in March 1803 to choose town officers for Whitby and Pickering. For Pickering township alone, its first meeting was held on March 4, 1811.

Pickering’s first elected municipal council met in 1850. John Miller/Thistle Ha’ was very active in Pickering politics. He was elected deputy-reeve of Pickering for the years 1868-1873, and was Pickering’s reeve for the years 1875-1876, 1878-1882, 1888, 1890. He served as warden of Ontario County in 1876. The number of municipal council meetings was far fewer than today; in his 1870 diary, John Miller recorded seven Pickering township council meetings, usually held on Saturdays. He also had two Ontario county council meetings. Given the traveling distances for some members, county council met for several days at a time in Whitby.

This year, Pickering has planned numerous bicentennial events. There will be a display featuring the Miller family in the main Pickering library during the month of June, and Thistle Ha’ will participate in Pickering’s inaugural Doors Open event on October 1.

Thistle Ha’ after this week’s snow storm.

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