RM of Marriott

No. 317


The Rural Municipality of Marriott was incorporated on December 12th, 1910. However, the history of the area began in the early 1900s, when settlers began arriving in what are now the southern townships of the municipality.

Local Improvement District

The R.M. originated as Local Improvement District No. 16M3 and consisted of Townships 31-14, 32-14, 31-15, 32-15, 31-16, and 32-16. The first meeting of the Local Improvement District was held in October of 1906 with Robert Foster as Chairman and William Webb as Secretary. The assessment was set at 1 ¼ cents per acre. Elections were held and the next meeting was held in February of 1907. Councilors were W.D. Powell, E.W. Bartlett, A.R. Bell, A.D. Traill, M.B. Douglas, and M.N. McLeod. Regular meetings were held at the home of F.C. Ahrens. Assessment was raised to 2 ½ cents per acre. Scrapers were purchased for each Division and settlers were allowed to pay their taxes by working on the roads. In 1908 H.R. Powell was named as Secretary-Treasurer, a position he held for the next 42 years. This exceptional service was honored by the R.M. in 1950, with the establishment of the annual Howard Powell Scholarship to a deserving student who resides in the municipality. Awarding of this scholarship has continued to this day. The L.I.D. was disbanded in 1909 and renamed L.I.D. 317 and consisted of the area which currently comprises the R.M. of Marriott No. 317.

Municipal Incorporation

In 1909 the Rural Municipality Act of the Province of Saskatchewan was acclaimed and on December 12th, 1910, A.P. McNab, Minister of Municipal Affairs granted approval to the
incorporation of the Rural Municipality No. 317. The first meeting of the Council was held in January of 1911.

The Reeve was Joseph Ardell and Councilors were A. Burton, W. Bothemly, W.D. Powell, John Elder, W. Wardrop, and E.W. Bartlett.

Marriott Barclay Douglas

The R.M. was named after Marriott Barclay Douglas who homesteaded in the area in 1904. Douglas, who was born near Toronto, Ontario in 1854, chose to homestead the Section 36-31-14 W3rd. After filing for the homestead, he returned to Toronto. He came back to Saskatchewan in 1905 to fulfill his homestead duties, along with his sons J.M. Douglas, N.B. Douglas, and later G.S. Douglas who was employed by the Toronto Post Office. With the influx of new settlers the need for a post office arose and Marriott Douglas was asked to send an application to the federal government. The request was granted and a post office called Marriott was opened in the Douglas sod shack with Gordon S. Douglas as postmaster. Mail was brought in once a week from Hanley until 1909 when the railroad came to Zealandia which brought daily mail.

Ruby Rush

One of the more colorful episodes in the R.M. of Marriott’s history occurred in July of 1914. A man by the name of Alex McCarthy discovered a large rock in the Valley Centre area which he believed contained rubies. He shared this knowledge with the Gordon Brothers of Harris, and a claim was staked.

A newspaper in the area reported the claim and within three days, approximately 2,500 prospectors descended on the area. For a brief period, this area bore a large resemblance to the Klondike Gold Rush which had occurred 16 years earlier. This caused a huge economic boom in the Town of Harris. It was short lived however, as it was soon determined that no rubies existed a mere 10 days after the claim was staked.

The Village of Harris holds an event known as “Ruby Rush Days” to commemorate this colourful period in history.

The Subsequent Years

The R.M. helped to organize the early school districts. A special tax was levied to finance these schools. School Districts in the R.M. included Ailsa Craig, Dolly Brae, Glen Eagle, Hazeldene and Muirland. These schools eventually closed and in 1953 a new school was built by the Rosetown School Unit to accommodate students from eight districts.

The new school was named the Howard Powell School. This was to honour the long time Secretary-Treasurer of the R.M.

The earliest rural post offices which served residents of the municipality were located at Piche, Marriott, Kingsland, Klamath, Goldberg, Oliver, and Valley Centre. For a period of time, the hamlets of Bents, Valley Centre, Malmgren and Marriott were the major trading centres for the R.M. residents. As society became more mobile and people travelled further to shop and haul grain, Rosetown, Biggar, and Harris became the main trading centres for our residents.

The R.M. has provided many and varied services to its ratepayers and citizens over the decades. The primary service provided over the years has been the construction and maintenance of the municipal road system. In recent times, this has been aided
greatly by the construction of a new municipal shop at the Hamlet of Marriott in 1991.

The R.M. has also been involved in many other services throughout the years. One of those services included providing relief (welfare) during difficult times. This continued until 1931 when the province received federal funds and set up the Saskatchewan Relief Commission.

The municipality has been involved in the establishment and operation of hospitals, nursing homes, regional parks, libraries, economic development areas, and other service providing bodies. The Council continues to be involved in many of these services.

The Council

The municipal office of the R.M. of Marriott has had several locations over the years. For many years it was located near the Howard Powell School along Highway No. 4. In 1984 a new office was built in the Town of Rosetown.

In 1996, long time Reeve Jas. D. Archibald (Councillor from 1952 to 1972, and Reeve from 1972 to 1996) passed away. In recognition of Mr. Archibald’s long term service to the municipality, a scholarship was established. Known as the J.D. Archibald Memorial Award, it is awarded annually to a grade 12 student that is a resident of the R.M. of Marriott and shows leadership in school and community activities and sports.

The R.M. of Marriott No. 317 celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at the R.M. Shop at Marriott.