Thirty-five years ago this month, the former Lancaster Village made history when Dorothy Perrier was named reeve.
Mrs. Perrier was the first female to hold the title in the then-133-year history of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
First elected to village council in 1971, Mrs. Perrier became reeve a dozen years later following the death of Reeve William Cumming on Feb. 17, 1983.
She carried out the duties of the municipality as acting reeve following Mr. Cumming’s death before being appointed to the seat on a full-time basis in early March. According to a story on the front page of the March 9, 1983 edition of
The News, Mrs. Perrier was a “cooperative and enthusiastic part of the municipal force that brought many improvements to the village,” including water and wastewater services, road resurfacing, street lighting, and a number of projects with neighbouring municipalities.
Mrs. Perrier, who died in 1993 at the age of 75, came by her interest in community service honestly.
Her father, Johnnie Willie MacLeod, was councillor, deputy-reeve and reeve of the former Lochiel Township over a 23-year career in municipal politics during the 1940s and ‘50s.
Mrs. Perrier told The News in 1983 that she’d had a lifelong interest in “all levels of politics. I find it satisfying and really enjoy it.”
She added that “no one works alone,” thanking Mr. Cumming for “preparing me for this,” and pointing out that she would “have a highly dependable (municipal) clerk in Ian MacDonald” to help out during her time in office.
With her appointment as reeve, Mrs. Perrier – the mother-in-law of current North Glengarry mayor Chris McDonell – also laid the groundwork for a number of local women who would later go on to hold that position in their respective municipalities.
Jennifer Charbonneau served as Lancaster village reeve in the late 1980s and early 1990s, while Janette Abbey held the same post from 1994 until 1998.
The late Carol-Ann Rattray (then Ross) was Charlottenburgh township reeve from 1988 to 1991; the late Gwen Morris was Kenyon township reeve in the 1990s; and Francine Richer was elected reeve of the former Town of Alexandria in 1994.
MAKING HISTORY: In the municipal election of 1963 Lochiel’s Enid “Archie Eddie” MacDonald easily prevailed in her quest to become the Township's deputy reeve. A few weeks later she attended a meeting of Counties Council, the first woman to do so in 113...