Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library


by Daniel L. Ogilvie


Continued from Trelawny 9

See History of Trelawny list of pages and links


If ever there was a successful Water Supply scheme that has justified the expenditure of Government funds, the Dornock ranks in priority. Not only in the colossal engineering achievement which has its second only in far away Australia, we understand, but its supreme utility. The natural elements have been harnessed to facilitate mankind in such a way that the skill applied coupled with the result, fills us with amazement. It was an impossible task to the layman. Many laughed and were looking for failure to have been justified in "I told you so". The Water Supply Law was enacted in 1889, giving powers to the Municipal Boards to establish Water Supplies and to levy rates, but for years it was a dead letter law. In 1896, upon pressure being brought on the Board by residents in the Duncans and contiguous Districts the Water Supply Law was for the first time implemented. On the advice of a Water Diviner a Well was dug in the Duncans Market land, the property of the Parish. The depth was around 200 feet and all the water that seeped in for a day was not enough to satisfy the needs of a child. £2,000 was expended on this fruitless scheme. The Central Government made a Grant of £1,000 and the Board's Loan of £1,000 as paid off around the year 1900. The Well was made use of in 1937, as a Public Latrine Pit. The next application of the Law was in the year 1902, when the Falmouth Water Supply was taken over, an account of which is given above.

The inhabitants of these dry areas around Duncans were always agitating for a permanent and reliable water supply. From Duncans proper the distance to the "Spring" which runs continuously is approximately four miles down hill - and such a hill it is. The ordinary man advocated the construction of a large Tank, but is was argued against as the district suffers from seasonal drought and the Sugar Estates which wanted water would derive no benefit. Somewhere around 1912, Mr. Holmes, an Hydraulic Engineer was commissioned by the Central Government to advise on the establishment of a Water Supply to meet the needs of those Districts, the growth of which were being stunted for want of this amenity, especially Duncans and Clark's Town. He when about his work submitted his plan and an Estimate for harnessing the Dornock River for the purpose. The matter was submitted to the Board but it was advised that the Parish could not finance such a project as if we remember correctly, £60,000 was the estimated cost. Time passed, but the Board was always urging and nagging Government to finalize the matter. To pave the way around the year 1919, on the advice of Mr. W. Fitz-Ritson, its capable Clerk, the Board passed a Resolution advocating the creating of a Fund by Government and allocating each year a few thousand Pounds to assist Parishes in establishing Public Water Supplies. The Government was so enamoured with the proposal that it caused the Resolution to be Gazetted. The suggestion was later approved by the Legislature and made Law. The Board was never weary in importuning Government over this Water Supply. We remember in the year 1919, when Governor Probyn made an official visit to the Parish and after the address was read, Mr. Joseph Stockhausen in a most passionate speech said to the Governor, "Sir, we beg you, we beseech you - for God sake give us water". The earnestness in which Mr. Stockhausen delivered himself appeared to have touched the Governor. He remarked in his reply, I will do my best for you in this respect. The proposal was now receiving favourable consideration. Government was prepared to make the cost half Grant and half Loan, but it wanted to know how the Board would finance the Loan. Certain modifications were made to the Holmes scheme with a view to making it less costly to be covered by a moderate rating of the area to be served. The financial undertaking was peeled down to around £26,000, half of which would be the Board's liability. The Collector of Taxes; roll was examined and after manipulations and careful calculations it was agreed that a 1/9d rate in the £10 on the value of properties in the area would cover Interest and Sinking Fund to service the Loan. This analysis was submitted to Government and the reply was "a case had been made out" and the Director of Public Works would be requested to cooperate. The D.P.W. was fortunate in obtaining the services of Mr. R. F. Perkins who had made a special study in Hydraulics and who was a Consultant Engineer for the P.W.D. The Parish and particularly the area involved in the Dornock Water Supply operations owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Perkins and if no other visible monument is erected to his memory, this Water Supply will always bear testimony to his worth and self sacrifice. We who know of his devotion to the task, his pride in the result of his labours are in a position to pay this tribute to one who by generations may be forgotten. The monetary price was but of secondary consideration in his untiring and independable efforts. He treated the operations of the Water Supply as if it were part of his flesh. He loved the work and found pleasure in it. We will at this point attempt to give a layman's description of the topography and matters relating to the magnitude of the undertaking from its inception.

The Dornock River rises in the vicinity of Stewart Town nearly two miles to the east. (The Cinema Film "A Daughter of the Gods" was projected at this spot some years ago). Its current is almost imperceptible at normal times but as it runs in a gorge to the sea at Rio Bueno it develops momentum. Before reaching the intake at the Works the water rolls over several Dams of rocks which may have centuries ago fallen from the precipitous cliffs. It was one of these Dams that our Engineer decided to improve and divert the water as his skill directed him. Before a start could be made work of a pioneering nature had to be tackled. Water must be raised to an elevation of nearly 900 feet within 3 miles. Road had to be built through the forest which abounds in cliffs and boulders. Time, skill and money had to be employed in making this dream a reality. The difficulty of the task could hardly be foreseen for an exact estimate to have been made of the cost. Cement had to be manhandled down this steep and winding tract, a track that had to be restored after each shower of rain. The contrivances and devices applied in the work of transportation of materials were indeed ingenious if they were even primitive. After the foundation was laid the removal of heavy machinery was undertaken. This was a job that called for the utmost care and foresight. Lives had to be protected and machinery also. Only one man received a slight injury when he fell over the "Jazz bend". No part of the machinery at any time suffered damage. Over 100 tons. The conduit of aqueduct runs for about 20 chains going in a westerly direction towards the works, creating a uniform current and a fall of approximately 12 feet. By the water power from this 3 foot square conduit falling on two over-shot Turbines the machinery is operated and this passes on to the Pumps. It is with some amount of hesitance that we trespass in a description of the fine art of Engineering of which subject we are not fully qualified in giving a faithful outline. We apologize for any offence to their susceptibles. Notwithstanding, we are allowed to say that after just 3 years of toil and sweat the constant prayers of the people concerned were answered and water was made to pump water to an elevation of 900 feet into a Reservoir with a capacity of 300,000 gallons. The Rising Main has a diameter of 8 inches and is of steel. Up to the year 1943, there were 38 miles of Main pipes serving an area of 30 square miles. The total cost in 1943 was £43,000, half of which the Central Government's grant and the other half a loan to the Parish.

Owing to the severe drought in 1927, the inhabitants could not wait for the laying down of pipes to be completed, so they combined and induced Government to turn on the water prematurely on Good Friday in April 1927. This was what was said in the Gleaner of the 21st. April: "At about 11 o'clock on Good Friday the hopes of many years to the residents at Duncans and the nearby Districts were realized when the turncock turned on the water from the Reservoir at the Dornock Scheme and residents who up to a few hours before had to go miles for water could receive same ad lib, at the Stand-pipes in the Town. The gravity of the situation was brought before the Government by a Resolution passed at a recent massed meeting held by the Rev. D. D. Parnther and sent to the Hon. Colonial Secretary. The Resolution was ably supported by the Trelawny Parochial Board and it is very gratifying to see that the Government has arranged temporary measures whereby the situation can be relieved pending the completion of the Scheme. It is understood that as soon as the tappings and meters for the large properties are erected, the Parochial Board will take over the Scheme. At present the Reservoir is filled by the P.W.D. staff twice a week at a cost of £6 per week which bill is being paid by the Parish Board. The inhabitants are therefore by this arrangement receiving water free as the Collection of Rates will not commence until the Works are taken over by the Board."

It may be the outcome of sentiments (but we are British subjects, and this peculiar trait is quite in keeping with the Nation's ideology) but we are constrained to feel that if no public monument is raised up to Mr. Perkins' memory, it would be fitting for photographs of him to be in the household of the people whose children may cherish his memory. Generations yet unborn will not know of the annual scourge of the so-called "Vomiting Sickness" in these areas. They will not know that each year dozens of children died from this malady. They will never conjecture that the chief sources of their drinking water was cattle ponds. From the inauguration of the Dornock Water Supply the very name "Vomiting Sickness": is forgotten as is "Yellow Fever". We remember the lamentations in October, 1926, when Mr. Perkins in testing the Machinery was caught by the fly-wheel and thrown to the ground seriously injuring his hip and other parts of his body. To extricate himself from certain death, he had to tear his jacket. He had to seek medical aid and was laid up for months, but as soon as he could, he was back on the work in which he was so devoted. Many heartfelt prayers were said for the recover of Mr. Perkins especially by the people for whose benefit he had been working and it was a happy day when he was once more seen being driven by his self-sacrificing and devoted daughter, Miss Lily G. Perkins. So as to be of service to the public and be near to supervise this work of his, he accepted a reduced salary of £300, yet withal in the year 1941 the Parochial Board in its wisdom thought it advisable to relieve him of his position and placed the Superintendent of Roads and Works in charge.

Mr. Perkins died in 1942 at his home at Claremont in the Parish of St. Ann, much beloved by all.

Due to an extended service an additional Turbine was installed in 1943. The Revenue from this supply is ever inadequate to meet the annual charges which now runs into thousands of pounds, being met by the Taxes from the whole Parish. But the lives that have been saved and the comfort and happiness it has brought to hundreds of people in is sufficient justification for the expenditure. It is to be hoped that at no distant date the roadway from the Reservoir to the Works will be so improved as to facilitate visitors and students in Hydraulic Engineering. Since the above was written a driving road has been constructed at Bengal near Rio Bueno which goes almost to the Works. We understand that the river is being harnessed to produce electricity for lower Trelawny and also to pump water into the Reservoir.


Before Emancipation all Slave owners were responsible for the well-being of their slaves as each meant so much monetary value. Aside from the fact that there was such an institution as a Slave Board where neglect and or abnormal illtreatment were ventilated, there was then no necessity for their general medical care or maintenance to be assumed by Government. Notwithstanding that fact, local government had an established Poor House at the Half Moon Bay as in our notes we find that Dr. James Lawson was appointed Surgeon to that institution.

In October 1805, Messrs, Brougham & Cruickshank were given the job to build a Marine Hospital for the sum of £4,600 which must be completed before the 1st. May, 1806. This amount to be paid in two installments. On the 1st. August, 1806, £2,300 and on the 1st. August, 1807 £2,300.

Dr. James Lawson was appointed the first Surgeon to the Marine Hospital at a salary of £550. On the 25th. January, 1808, the Executor of the late Edward Barrett was paid £810 for land for the Marine Hospital. This institution was constructed entirely of wood and we daresay despite periodic improvements and alterations much of this original material still remains. It has accommodation for 25 beds but more often than not accommodation have had to be improvised for 40 patients. In those days of which we are writing it was supposed to be the best equipped Hospital in the Island. Voluntary donations to this end were very popular measure to the accomplishment of any project relating to the community's welfare and betterment. No better site could have been chosen for this institution which is located hard by the sea coast. In May, 1808, in consequence of a big fire in the town of Falmouth the Hospital had to accommodate quite a few of the Officers and men of H.M.S. "Favourite" who fell ill in assisting to subdue the fire.

Dr. Robert Neilson, who had succeeded Dr. James Lawson as Surgeon, obtained leave in 1842, in consequence of ill health, and Doctors Anderson and Stevins were appointed to act. Dr. Neilson, having died, they were confirmed in the position. Dr. Anderson (father of Mr. Frederick Gilchrist Anderson, well known to us as Justice Anderson and owner of Fontabelle Estate) died in October 1846, and a Resolution of condolence was forwarded to his widow by the Vestry. Dr. Anderson was succeeded by Dr. Lewis Ashenheim. Dr. Ashenheim died in 1859, and his Surgical Instruments were purchased by Dr. William Scott for the Poor House. Dr. Henry Hume succeeded to the position.

In 1834 the Revenue from this Hospital was £700.

The new Hospital constructed in 1954 by the Central Government at the cost of over £12,000 was opened in February, 1955, by His Excellency Paul Magloire, the then President of Haiti. The site is to the West of Falmouth, which was previously owned by the Parochial Board of Trelawny.

Mr. A.M. Douglas, M.H.R. for Trelawny, was instrumental in urging the Government to construct and equip the institution. It is now one of the best in Jamaica.

At one stage when his party delayed in coming to a decision on the matter he resigned in protest.


The first Poor House was located at Half Moon Bay, but was very undesirable and an effort was being made to have it removed.

In 1835, it was contemplated to construct a Poor House near the Quashi River under Law 7 George 4 Chap. 26. The following excerpts may be of interest. "At a meeting of the Commissioners to settle a Pauper Town at Quashie River held at the Court House, Falmouth, on Tuesday the 9th. August, 1836, there were present His Honour the Custos, William Wray; William Lemonias, John L. Walcott, John Kelly and Thomas R. Vermont. It was resolved that Tenders be advertised for cleaning off 15 acres of land at the above place, 10 of which to be planted in provisions, say 8 acres of Cocoes and Plantain Suckers throughout and 2 acres with Yams and the same to be kept in order for twelve months and that a Watchman at the expense of the Contractor, also that Tenders will be received for the creation of six cottages and school rooms agreeable to plan and specifications to be seen at the Vestry Office. Resolved that £200 be expended on the road leading to the Pauper Town, the same to be 14 feet wide in the clear, round ridged and macadamized. The tenders to express the rate per chain. Resolved that there be a meeting of the Commissioners at the intended Pauper Town on Thursday the 25th. Instant, when the tenders for the above work will be opened. On the 25th, a Meeting was held and the tender of John L. Walcott was accepted - for £80 for a Cottage 30 feet by 24 feet to be built in stone foundation 1 foot clear of the surface to be framed with hard wood timber and to be shingled with Broadleaf or Santa Maria shingles, Spanish walled, plastered inside and rough cast outside, doors and windows as per specification. Cottages to be erected for the present and also to accept of the tender for one acre of Yams for £35 and 4 acres of cocoes for £23 per acre also to give the sum of £150 for twelve and one half chains of road. Bonds to be entered to as usual. The tender of William Lemonias for constructing 20 chains of road for £200 was also accepted. The above report was not (however, acted upon as in January 1837, the following Pauper Committee's Report was adopted - "On the formation of a new establishment it will be found difficult to combine utility with that to economy which the depreciated state of Colonial property renders an imperative duty on this Board. As a basis but subject to further consideration perhaps if an establishment was found in a situation not distant from the town the agricultural services of these few persons who are capable of performing some description of light labour may still be obtained. It may serve as a receptacle for the old not very remote from their usual locality and also as an asylum for those who only require temporary relief of whom a large number may be expected and whose services may be insisted upon during that period. If a Parochial establishment is placed in a distant part of the parish, the two latter advantages would be lost. The transmission of articles for the support of the paupers will be attended with a heavy cost. The inspection of the institution will be confined to a few instead of being constantly under the general eye. A school establishment for such as do not receive the Parochial aid and a Poor House must still be continued in this Town. An additional number of Parochial officers must be appointed and the present very heavy expenditure of the Parish must be considerably augmented upon an object, the successful result of which appears to your committee very doubtful. (Sgd.) George Marrett, J. Hodgson, John Kelly, James Solomon, Samuel Magnus.

In December 1837 the Pauper Committee reported with regard to the incurable people the Committee sees no necessity for putting the Parish to any expense that that of allowing them, the Committee to employ Negroes to clear the found, collect wood and build and thatch 6 or 8 new huts at the old "Salt Works" (near Half Moon Bay) for the removal of the unfortunate persons now on the roadside 4 in number and 3 or 4 others that are said to be skulking in or about the town. The probably expense of this removal will be about £40. (Sgd.) W. Fraser, J. Hodgson, J. Kelly, J. Vernon, James Gerard and Robert Neilson."

In May 1846 it was resolved that Notice be served on the representative of Mr. Vermont that the occupation of his premises used as a Poor House since September, 1841, and for which £90 per annum was being paid as rental, would be determined at the end of September, 1847. These premises contained 18 rooms and out-buildings.

In July, 1846, a Plan for the erection of a New Poor House at the Grasspiece on the southern side of the land acquired for the Marine Hospital in 1806 was submitted and was adopted. Instructions were given to advertise for Tenders for its construction. In November of that year it was recorded that for Carpentry, Painting and glazing, the tender of Mr. George Atkinson was accepted for £673 and that from Mr. Thomas Young for Masonry for £170. Total £843.

The Poor House so constructed were two long ranges opposite each other. One on the side to the Hospital and the other parallel with Rodney Street. There were both of wood and measured 50 feet by 10 feet. The one to the North for Males and the other for Females. These buildings could never be kept free from insects. With the increasing number of Paupers the Parochial Board in 1902 was successful in its negotiation with Government for rental of the unused portion of the District Prison which had been closed since 1897. This was the female section. A Loan was also raised and the conversion of this structure in its adaption as a Poor House was undertaken by Mr. Charles S. Henriques, then Superintendent, P.W.D. The work was completed in early August, 1903, and was to be formally handed over to the Parochial Board. On the 11th. August, 1903, one of the severest Hurricane struck Falmouth and the inmates had to be expeditiously removed over to the new quarters. Only one male inmate received injury despite the excitement.

The two old buildings then fell flat after the 30 odd inmates were removed. This was the hand of Providence. The Board was supposed to pay a Peppercorn rental of one shilling per annum, but to our certain knowledge up to the year 1943, this shilling has never been paid. But in another Chapter it will be noted that all the lands as well as the Prison were bought and built respectively by Local Government.

As time progressed with changing conditions, we find the Justices and Vestry after constructing the building in 1846, had in October, 1852 some new ideas to solve the eternal Pauper problem. Read Report of the Pauper Committee inter alia: "That prior to the proposed application to the Legislature for the adoption of some general test for the Paupers etc it appears that the best system would be if possible to have all Reliefs granted upon the English system, i.e., solely to Indoor Poor and for which purpose a thrown up Estate might probably be obtained at no very great expense and be made to a limited extent self supporting but as in the present state of the Parish finances and of the want of Legislative sanction for the change, such an object is not likely to be effected."

The Vestry was this year without funds and with £2,000 liabilities.

We hope the day is not far distant when the suggestion for acquiring a suitable Farm for the establishment of a Poor House will be an accomplished fact. It has been our experience that with nothing to do at the present Institution, no scope for light industries in the making of mats, baskets, etc., the very mind of the inmates become lethargic and if the mind rules the body as it does, both functions develop harmony in chronic indolence. We often in our visionary moment found a Farm not only for the aged and infirmed, but one adaptable to meet the needs of the destitute and orphan children. In our picture we see boys learning trades under some old inmates who at one time in their lives were good Carpenters, Shoemakers, Masons and such like trades. The Agricultural section of this Farm would have an abundant supply of materials. Girls also may learn sewing and basket making and domestic service. It could be run on such lines, having as its head people who are sympathetic to humanity and with Christian ideals, that it would be regarded as a home and not a public institution. It may be utopian, but a high aim is not without fundamental issues. No place, however cheap the price may be, should be acquired for the purpose without a Water Supply in close proximity. We understand that such a place has been acquired at Holland.

Continued at Trelawny part 11

Used by kind permission of Donovan Ogilvie and the late Pearl Ogilvie

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