It was Edmund Burke, a British Parliamentarian who dubbed newspapers 'the Fourth Estate'. He said there are three estates in Parliament, the commons, the Lords, and the Soverign, then pointing to the press gallery he said, "There sits a fourth estate more important than them all".
On the other side of the Atlantic, Thomas Jefferson said he would prefer newspapers without a government to a government without newspapers. It was in 1853 that Brighton had its first newspaper when Peter Begg, a native of Caithness, Scotland, founded the Sentinel, sold out to Rev. D. Oliphant and Charles White, who changed the name to the Brighton Flag. Two years later Mr. Oliphant took a partner, R. Spencer, and the paper was known as the Weekly Flag and Christian Banner.
In 1857, Mr. Oliphant went alone with the Christian Banner. Richard Spencer published the Brighton Flag in 1858. Hazelton Spencer appeared on the scene in 1860 with the Educationalist and Weekly Flag. He discarded the Weekly Flag part and in 1864 and changed it back in 1865.
George Young published the Weekly Despatch in 1865. He left Brighton to become editor of the Trenton Courier and Peter Begg once again became the publisher of the Brighton Ensign and Northumberland Advertiser. The Brighton Ensign was born in 1871 with Peter Begg as editor and publisher. J.B. Benson took it over in 1877 and in 1879 J.J. McElroy became the editor and followed in the same year by T.J. Scripture.
The Lapp family became owners in 1886 and it continued in their family until its demise in 1957. Clarence Lapp was the editor. He was followed by Charles Albert Lapp, who enlisted in World War 1 and received wounds from which he never recovered. When her husband went to war, Mrs. Rose Lapp took over the publication. She in turn was followed by her daughter, Miss Margaret Lapp. Thus ended the 86 years of the Ensign, during which time it had been in the Lapp family for 71 years.
The subscription list was sold to the Trentonian, operated by Senator William Fraser and the building was purchased by the Public Utilities Commission. Much of the early history of Brighton was lost when the Ensign office was burned in 1914. Miss Lapp secured a job with the Ontario Government. Orvall Kelly and Charles Wheeler went to the Trentonian where Mr. Kelly carried on a Brighton page until his death in 1965 when the writer [Scotty] became the Brighton reporter.
When George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada in 1939 the Royal train parked on the railway in front of Cooey Metal Products. Miss Lapp, hurrying to get a story, fell and injured a hip from which she never fully recovered. Worse luck, she never got a royal interview as the Royal couple had retired for the night.
Every copy of the Brighton Ensign, from 1894 to 1957, is now in possession of the Independant. They are in a very fragile state.
The Ensign became an institution in Brighton and it was a great loss to the community when it ceased to exist. The Trentonian opened an office in Brighton. Eldon Kemp was the reporter. He was followed by Bud Cook, but the editing of the Brighton page was managed by Orval Kelly, until his death when the writer took over until his retirement in 1975.
About this time the Independent came into being, which was later purchased by the present owner, Simon Conolly. It was the introduction of the offset type of printing that really killed the Ensign. Miss Lapp could not afford the expensive photograph equipment. Newspapers are a business as well as a community institution. The income of the newspaper depends largely on advertising. The Ensign could not afford to hire an advertising manager, and businesses in Brighton could not afford to advertise.
Brighton is well served today by the Independant and, although sometimes you may disagree with its contents, it is well to remember that controversy increases sales and sales increase as readers increase. When a newspaper dies, a valuable part of the community is lost forever. It is your guarantee of good government. What it preserves can never perish. What it ignores is lost forever.
The roads and streets of Brighton are named for not only historical figures but also for some pioneers of the village. Following is a list of the streets followed by short explanations.
Alice Street, Princess Alice; Anne, Queen Anne; Baldwin, Hon. Robert Baldwin, father of Municipal Government; Butler, William Butler, owner of the land; Cedar, the street was cut through a cedar bush; Centre, The centre of the village; Chapel, Methodist Chapel in the corner; Clare, a bright street; Division, it divides the village, Dufferin, Governor General Lord Dufferin; Dundas, it was on the main highway from Kingston to Dundas.
Elgin Street, Governor General Lord Elgin; Eyeres Ave., John Eyre, a lawyer and owner of the White House; Francis, originally Factory, changed by request of Herman Francis who built four houses on Sandford Street adjacent to Francis; George, George Singleton, notable Presbyterian; Greenwood, Captain Greenwood owned the land; Grimes, former Reeve James Grimes; Gross, Sam Gross, a merchant who lived on this street; and Harbour borders the harbour.
John Street, John W. Nix owned the land; Kingsley, Milton Kingsley Lockwood held the surveyors chain when the street was surveyed; Lake, bordering Lake Ontario; Lambton, Governor General, family name of the Earl of Durham; Lyons, John Lyons, merchant; Main, the business section; Meade, Dr. Henry Meade owned the land and operated a school house on the corner of Meade and Main. The Meade family sold the Board of Education the public school site.
Monck Street, Governor General Lord Monck; Midland Court, the Midland Regiment, WWII; Napier, General Napier; Napoleon, the Emperor of France; Oliphant, David Oliphant, publisher of the Flag and Ensign; Ontario, leads to Lake Ontario; Park, Reeve Parker Ketchum; Percy, Lord Percy, Duke of Northumberland; Perry, John H. Perry owned the land; Platt, one of Brighton's wealthy men; Price, Price Brown had a pressing business on this street; Prince Edward, the road to Prince Edward County; and Princess, Princess Alexandria, Princess of Wales.
Proctor Street, Ira Proctor owned the land; Queen, Victoria, Queen and Empress of India; Quick, William Quick built the wharf; Raglan, Lord Raglan; Richardson, Methodist Minister Rev. James Richardson; Russell, Lord John Russell who introduced the Bill of Confederation in the British Parliament; Sandford, T.D. Sandford, hotel proprietor and owner of the land; Simpson, John Simpson, early settler; Simpson Drive, Morley Simpson owned the land; Sullivan, Robert Baldwin Sullivan; Victoria, Queen Victoria; Young, Reeve when the village plan was adopted and registered.
Maplewood, formerly Railroad, because it led to the CNR Station, changed by William Conn to Maplewood; Tay, no longer a street, it was between Trinity St. Andrews United Church and the Manse. It was the road around the church to the horse barn; Dorman, Dorman Sanford, a teacher, lived on this street; Addison, named for Addison Morrow; Hope, it's close proximity to Mount Hope Cemetery; Catharine, Stephen, and Kelly's Court in the new subdivision on Prince Edward Street, named for the three children of Gordon Tobey, owner of the land and the subdivider; and James Street, behind the Independent, named for someone unknown to the writer.