William J. Jamieson

Photography Courtesy Cramahe Library Archives: Our Past Our Present

Chief Constable, Village of Colborne

William J. Jamieson served as chief constable of the village of Colborne from 1910 until well into the 1930s. He administered the law with fairness and equity. Indeed, he was a large man with a common touch.

The Chief kept tabs on local criminal activity, which ranged from petty crimes – stealing eggs from backyard chicken coops and snatching laundry off clotheslines – to the more serious and relatively new crimes of car theft. But it seems his job entailed much more.

Newspaper clippings and historical reports from that era show that Chief Jamieson’s role went well beyond what is considered conventional policing in today’s world: Not only did the Chief patrol the village streets on busy evenings, curtailing boisterous activity outside the local hotels, he saw to the needs of the poor, issued deer licences, and looked into school truancies. He also oversaw the local road maintenance.

He built the wooden sidewalk along King Street, and he drove the water wagon along the main street to suppress the clouds of dust during dry spells. One account tells of Chief Jamieson sitting on the water wagon, “…on a high seat, driving the team with a pedal under each foot. One pedal released a fan-shaped spray from the left rear of the wagon, and the other produced a similar spray from the right. Together they would spray the normal width of the road.”

He was also known to “carry a knobby blackthorn cane and boys needing correction received many a whack across the butt with it.”

Chief Jamieson played a vital role in the Village of Colborne. His day-to-day presence gave reassurance to folks that civility was a constant within their community for over a quarter century.

[Fall 2021 departments]