History of Rockwood

The Rural Municipality of Rockwood became a Municipality in 1880. Native tribes made paths in the area that were used for cart and fur trading trails. The Faith Trail is a trail from Winnipeg to Stony Mountain. Ox-drawn Red River carts brought in settlers.

The Municipality was known as Little Rockwood but when it got more land the Municipality became Rockwood.

Manitoba became a Province in 1870, soon after in 1871, a general survey was begun. The first Principle Meridian Line running north and south was drawn near Headingley. This spot is marked by a cairn visible from No. 1 Highway a short distant west of Headingley. The north-south line from this spot is the west boundary of the Rural Municipality of Rockwood. The land was divided into thirty-six (36) section blocks called Townships. Each section is comprised of 640 acres or one mile square. These sections were subdivided into 160 acres or quarter sections. Between the sections, 99 feet was kept for a road allowance. This was often referred to as Section 37 to those that availed themselves to a free load of wood or hay from this land. Many think this land doe not belong to anyone, however, it belongs to the Crown and is administered by the Municipality. As it stands today, The Rural Municipality of Rockwood consists of Townships 13 to 17, Ranges 1, 2 and the west-half of 3 East. For voting purposes, there are six (6) Wards and six (6) Councillors with a Reeve as the head of the Municipality. The population of Rockwood is 7,654.

The Town of Stonewall, which is situated within the boundaries of the Rural Municipality of Rockwood, was originally incorporated as a Village in 1906. The first survey of Stonewall was registered in the Dominion Land Titles Office in 1881. On July 1st, 1908, Stonewall was incorporated as a Town. Today, the Town of Stonewall has four (4) Councillors at large and is headed by a Mayor. The population of Stonewall is 4,012.

One of the main industries of the Municipality and the Town for many years in the past was the Stone Quarries. Rockwood has several very active quarry operations today whereas Stonewall’s quarrying ended in the 1960’s. Today, the Town proudly displays Quarry Park which was once a very active quarry. Beds of limestone are to be found throughout the area. The opening of the Western Provinces to settlement resulted in a great building boom that created a demand for stone and lime for buildings and roads. Many of the limestone kilns are still standing today as a monument to the industry.

The first By-Law of the Rural Municipality of Rockwood was passed in the year of Incorporation, 1880. This By-Law was the regulation of business and By-Law #2, passed May 15, 1880 was a By-Law to define the duties of the Treasurer in the Municipality. It is interesting to note that at that time, the Treasurer, before entering into his duties, had to give security to the Council, by bond, in the amount of $6,000.00. However, the Treasurer was only paid $100.00 per month. Councillors received $2.00 per day and mileage of $0.05 per mile.

The oldest Tax Roll available for Rockwood is that of 1891. At that time, there were approximately 1,098 taxpayers. Today, there are approximately 5,000 taxpayers. The Tax Roll had several columns on which details such as the number of acres, wooded or under cultivation, assessment of land and buildings, age of householder, number of persons in the Family (male, female, single, married), religion, vital statistics (births, deaths), number of animals (horses, mules, oxen, cows, pigs, sheep, bulls) and the Statute Labor was recorded. The assessment was based on so much per animal and so much per acre of cleared or un-cleared land. The number of days of Statute Labor (at $1.50 per day) to pay off the taxes were recorded. The mill rate was approximately 6 mills. The first Tax Sale recorded was in 1891. Tax Sales took place if the taxes on a property were in arrears for the third year