1921 Canadian Census on Ancestry

1921 Census of Canada Released

 

The 1921 census of Canada has finally been released from Library and Archives Canada.  It is available, free of charge at Ancestry: www.ancestry.ca/census.

At the moment, you are only able to browse a geographic index with links to the census images, and you need to be registered with Ancestry to do this.  You will need to know the province, district, and sub-district where your ancestor lived, and then be ready to scroll your time away.

 Ancestry intends to have a name index available for its customers by autumn, available free of charge at LAC after three years.

1921 Canadian Census Release Date

Census returns are in the custody of Statistics Canada and the records are closed until 92 years after the taking of a census, when those records may be opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada.

On 01 June, 2013, the 1921 Canadian census will be transferred to Library and Archives Canada.  LAC informs us that “only microfilm copies of this census exist and they will digitize the microfilms and make them available online as JPEG and PDF images shortly after their release date.”

More information is available here: http://thediscoverblog.com/2012/03/27/1921-census-countdown/

I would not expect this census to be available for public viewing for a few months after the June 1st  date.

Robert Reynolds Powell, Carleton Place Grocer circa 1920

We Remember Poppa:  Robert Reynolds Powell, Grocer

By Mary Cook

Carleton Place Canadian, 1987

 

Just before  the turn of the century, a young Valley man earned his living by working in the grocery section of the old Bryson-Graham Department store on the corner of Sparks and O’Connor Street in Ottawa.  He probably missed his home town, because around 1901, Robert Reynolds Powell came back to Carleton Place to clerk in Tom Steven’s store which was situated where the laundry portion of Carleton Place Cleaners is today.  This was where his family and friends and fiancé Elsie Lever lived, and it was good to be home, doing what he liked to do best:  serving the public.

Robert was a devoted employee of Mr. Stevens for 19 years, and then without warning, his boss sold the store without giving young Powell a chance to even make a bid for the business.  It was a cruel blow for an honest young man who had devoted so much of his life to his employer.

There weren’t too many options opened to a young man in Carleton Place in those days, but Robert Powell decided it was now or never.  If he didn’t’ open his own store then, he probably never would.  And so the first of two Powell Grocery locations opened.  He chose the Leslie Building, which now houses the Karate School next to Comba’s furniture store.

It was obvious that many of his customers from his Steven’s days like the young Powell, because his store flourished, and they moved their business to Powell’s Grocery without hesitation.  By this time, Robert was married and the father of four children.  Gladys Lashley, a daughter, remembers that her father bought some stock from an Almonte store when he first opened his doors.  “It was whale meat.  We have no idea why he would stock that, but I remember these cans of whale meat” she recalls. 

The store was right across the street from Central School (the site of the present Post Office), and the young Powell children were expected to go to the store at recesses and noon hours to wait on customers.  Many of them were school mates who came in to spend their money on penny candy, Fern remembers.  The grocery business in the 20s was not like it is today.  Few people had cars, fewer had phones.  So Robert and his young son Bert would go through the town early in the morning to pick up orders from the houses.  They would scurry back to the store to fill the orders, and then Bert would deliver them…free of charge, of course.

Just dropping the groceries off at the back door would be simple enough, but Bert occasionally was asked by the customers to perform other services as well.  Services much above and beyond the call of duty.  He remembers one time being asked by a young bride to step inside and tell her if the cream in the pitcher was sour.  A job the young man remembers with disdain.

Very few items came in packages back in the 20s.  Everything had to be weighed and measured in the store.  Sugar and flour sat in huge bins under the counter, and was weighed out in brown paper bags to meet the customer’s demand.  Molasses came in bulk containers and poured into jars which the customer brought in.  Coal-oil for the lamps was sold in the same fashion.  Dry goods like flour and sugar were weighed out on the old tin scoop scales that sat at one end of the counter.  Christie’s biscuits came in big square tins and sat together in a cluster on a special rack.  Olive Powell remembers her favorite.  “They were pineapple cookies.  Made in the exact shape of a pineapple.  I thought they were delicious.”

Most supplies came in by train and were then delivered by the express wagon from the station.  Every so often, a fruit truck came up from Ottawa to deliver fresh produce.  A hand grinder prepared fresh ground coffee, and bread arrived from Ottawa in huge hampers.  Boxes of berries also arrived by train in season from Western Ontario.  Bananas hung in huge bunches in the front window to attest to the fact that at Powell’s Grocery the customer could get fresh produce daily.

Those bananas caused a bit of concern one day when a huge tarantula spider escaped from a hanging bunch in the front of the store.  “An employee finally caught it in a big open mouthed jar and it was the full bottom of the jar.  It was taken to high school for the science class”, Fern recalls.  Before it made its final trip, it was put on display in the store window, where it attracted much attention from the local people walking past the store.

It was an era when a businessman was honest and gave full value to the customer for his dollar.  Robert Powell believed in honest service, and would not sell as much as a banana if it had a bruise on it.  “Those went home for the family.  We got all the produce which wasn’t up to scratch, or if a box was damaged, it ended up at our house too.”

Mrs. Powell helped augment the store’s profit by doing home baking.  Pies and cakes baked in the Sarah street kitchen of the Powell home ended up in the Bridge street store.  Cakes sold for 30 cents, and pies for a quarter. 

The store was closed on Wednesday afternoons.  That gave the staff a break and Robert time to fill shelves and do the countless other jobs necessary to keep the business running smoothly.  However, Saturday evenings often saw the workers at the store until after 11 o’clock.  Because the farmers would come in early to place their orders, and then go off for a few hours, while the grocery clerks worked frantically to fill the orders before the farmers came back at closing time.

The merchants got along well with each other.  If someone couldn’t fill an order, he could borrow it, or buy it at a discount from his competitor.  And there was a law of ethics amongst the businessmen too.  One time Robert was asked to stock ice cream.  But his friend and neighbour Mr. Keayes sold ice cream and candy just a few doors down.  He knew ice cream would do well in his grocery store, but he wouldn’t put it in, because it would hurt Mr. Keayes business.

Malago grapes were a great treat in those days.  Fern recalls her father one time was asked to measure out a bunch of grapes for a particular customer.  The customer doubted they weighed as much as Robert said they did.  However, after a bit of debate, she decided she’d buy them anyway.  “Not my grapes, madam” Mr. Powell retorted.  “She had questioned his integrity” Fern said.  And that was a cruel blow to Robert, and he put the grapes right back on display.

Robert Powell never took holidays, but often in the summertime, he would take off early on a Saturday and go up to the ball park to watch the local team play.  He had three main interests in life:  his business, his family, and the Methodist Church, which he attended regularly and for which he was a lay preacher.  Every Monday morning, the minister, Donald Munro, would walk down to the store, and the two men would discuss Sunday’s sermon.

The depression hit almost every household in Carleton Place, just as it did all over the country.  Many customers had to be carried on Robert’s books during this bad time.  Some were often unable to pay their grocery bill, explaining that unfortunately they first had to pay their rent, or the installments on the new washing machine, and there just wasn’t enough left to pay Powell’s Grocery.  But Robert continued to carry these receivables, aware that if he didn’t, little children would probably go hungry.

The Powell children remember many happenings while their father was in business, which bring a smile and a chuckle at family gatherings:

Mrs. Mel MacRae delivering fresh eggs to the store, the bride who ordered a pound of pepper (Robert explained he doubted she needed a full pound), Keith Nolan who ordered a loaf of butter, and the customer who wanted straw pillows (shredded wheat), the young girl who would rush into the store and blurt out “Ma wants a pound of butter, a loaf, and ‘thebillofit’”, running the last four words all together.

During the 30s, Robert Powell moved his store up the street to where the “Eating Place” is now located.  Gordon Lancaster was one of his most dedicated and valued employees.  Buddy Bennett was the conscientious delivery boy, who saw that the orders got to the customers in perfect condition.  Dave Bradley, who stood over 6’ tall, was called “Stepladder” because he could just about reach anything in the store on the upper shelves.  He was with the store for years.  Old Nell was the horse that was used to deliver the orders.  She was housed behind the Powell home on Sarah street, and produced three foals for the children to play with.  Robert Powell loved Old Nell, and treated her as a member of the family.

In 1941, after more than a half century in the grocery business, Robert Powell decided to call it quits.  He sold the business to his long time employee and good friend Gordon Lancaster, whom he knew would carry on in the honorable fashion which had become a tradition.

Within a few years, Robert Reynolds Powell was dead.  He died under circumstances which would have pleased him greatly had he had anything to do with the event.  At the close of Sunday Service at Memorial Park United Church one Sunday, Robert collapsed.  All his family except his son Bert was there when he died.  Upstairs, the choir was singing one of his favorite hymns…”Oh, Master, let me walk with Thee.”

1921 Canadian Census Countdown!

 While the 1940 U.S. Census is being released in the United States 72 years after it was taken, Canada is gearing up for the release of the 1921 census next year.  Canadian legislation dictates that 92 calendar years must pass since the taking of a census before those records can be opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada.  One can only wonder why there is this 20 year difference in access to census information???

According to Library and Archives Canada:

“Census returns after 1916 are in the custody of Statistics Canada, not Library and Archives Canada. The 1921 Census was taken on June 1st, which means that it will be in the custody of Library and Archives Canada on June 1, 2013.  Our intention is to make it available to researchers online, in the same format as previous censuses, as soon as possible after that date.”

It is not the mandate of Library and Archives Canada to provide a name index to any census.  They have to be searched by geographic area.  On thediscoverblog.com which is, at the moment, the Library and Archives Canada Blog, you will find the following information:

“Census returns were enumerated geographically (according to a person’s residence), not by an individual’s name. The information for each sub-district was recorded in the order in which the enumerator visited each household. Many genealogical societies and individuals transcribe and index census returns by name and make them accessible. Our census indexes page provides you with helpful links to these indexes. Starting in 1851, a census for all of Canada was held every ten years, with the addition of a census specifically for the Prairie Provinces in 1906 and 1916.”

You can also ask questions and receive answers about the 1921 census at the above link.

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Story of High Schools Goes Back 114 Years, Carleton Place Canadian, 15 March, 1962

The story of high schools in Carleton Place is a lengthy one with many interesting sidelights (sic sidelines).

The corner stone of the present High School (Prince of Wales High School) was laid in 1923 and under it was placed a scroll containing the following information:

The High School has made many moves since it was started about 75 years ago (about 1848) as a Grammar School. . Mr. Nelson, a highly educated gentleman, was the first teacher.  The first building used was a frame one on the Central School grounds.

From there it was moved to Hurd’s Hall on Bell Street, being the upper flat of the building for many years known as McKay’s Bakery.  After that the present Holiness Church on the corner of Bridge and Herriott Streets, was used for a short time.  Then the north-east room in the present Central School was used.

From here it was moved to Newman’s Hall, in the rooms now occupied as temporary quarters for a High and a Public School class.  This school went back again to the Central School building for a short time, until the present used building on High Street was ready for occupation in 1882.

Note: Newman’s Hall is the building now occupied by the Brewers’ Retail Store and the school on High Street is the present Prince of Wales School.

For nearly 30 years the people of Carleton Place were considering the question of better school accommodation, but owing to the exigencies of the times, such as loss of population, removal of industries and expenditures on other public undertakings, small progress was made.

However, with the rapid growth of the rising generation during the past few years, we have become convinced that more school accommodation should be provided.

Early in 1922 it was decided to build a High School.  Messrs. Richards & Abra of Ottawa were selected as architects, a plan was adopted, the estimated cost being placed at $100,000.  A building committee was appointed composed of J. M. Brown, chairman, A. E. Cram, Alfred McNeely and W. J. Muirhead.

On the 12th of June, 1922, the Council submitted the question to the electorate who pronounced in favor of granting the aforesaid sum by a vote of 412 for to 79 against.

The scroll concluded with a list of the contractors.

On January 3, 1924, the present High School was opened at an impressive ceremony.

The Canadian’s files recount some of the turbulence that accompanied building of schools, including a riot which once decided the place for the town hall. 

Howard M. Brown, who has written countless articles on the early history of the town, records that in the 1870’s came municipal incorporation, the building of a town hall on Edmund Street (now Victoria School) and finally the provision of a High School on High Street.

The school was built in 1877 by the Board of Education.  The succeeding administration, supporting objections to its location refused to accept the school and in 1879 began converting the town hall into classrooms.  After public and private litigation and a long and bitter municipal feud the High School was occupied as such.

The town hall settled into service as a combination Public School and village lock-up.

1910 Year of Great Fire Town Had 7 Automobiles, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 06 October, 1960

A series of local history notes recalling the first century of community life at Carleton Place is ended with the present recollections of events in this area in the years from 1910 to 1920.

Fifty years ago the town and district began to move out of the old-time horse and buggy days.  Its maturity coincided with the years of the First World War, when this district served its country well.  Among local municipal developments was the forming of a public utilities system, with the installing of waterworks lines in the town’s rock-ribbed streets and the transfer to public ownership of electric generating and distributing facilities.  Total industrial employment in the town continued with little change.

Seven Automobiles

1910 – The greatest Carleton Place fire of living memory destroyed about twenty-five buildings between Bridge Street and Judson Street, including Zion Presbyterian Church, the Masonic Hall, the militia drill hall, the curling rink and many homes.

Following the death of James Gillies, the Bates and Innes Company bought the Gillies Machine Works building and converted it into a felt mill.  The Hawthorne woollen mill was reopened by its new owner, the Carleton Knitting Co., Ltd.

There were seven automobiles owned in Carleton Place, including a Buick, a Packard, a Reo, Fords and a Russell-Knight.

Hospital building proposals were discussed at a town meeting and abandoned.  The cost of erecting and equipping a suitable hospital was estimated by a provincial official at $1,000 a bed, and maintenance costs at under $5,000 a year.

The Starland Theatre here was showing moving pictures of the Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Film Company.

The first Boy Scout troop was formed by William Moore.

George V became king when death ended the ten-year reign of Edward VII.

New Power Plant

1911 – Electric power was supplied to the town from the new 125,000 north shore hydro electric plant of H. Brown and Sons.  The firm’s old south shore generating units were maintained as a supplementary source of power.

Reconstruction of buildings destroyed by fire included Zion Church, the Masonic Building and a number of residences.

David Smythe, of Ferguson and Smythe, harness makers, was elected for the first of seven yearly terms as mayor of Carleton Place.

Waterworks Construction

1912 – Findlay Brothers Company commenced a fifty per cent enlargement of its stove plant. 

A public vote endorsed a waterworks installation bylaw.  Twenty-five thousand feet of steel pipe was ordered from Scotland.  The excavation contractor from Kingston began work with thirty Bulgarians, who were quartered in the old Caldwell sawmill boarding house in the town park, a dozen Italians accommodated in the Leach school house building, and a dozen Roumanians in addition to local excavation workers.

A town landmark adjoining the home of A. R. G. Peden on Allan Street was removed when the ruins of the large log house of Edmond Morphy, a first settler at Carleton Place, were torn down.  It was said to have been built about 1820.

The first rural mail delivery route from Carleton Place was started in Beckwith Township, to be followed by opening of a second mail route on the north side of the town in Ramsay township.

Town Clock

1913 – A town clock was installed on the Post Office.  James A. Dack, jeweler, was given charge of its care, and J. Howard Dack first started its 150 pound pendulum in motion.

Dr. A. E. Hanna of Perth was elected in a South Lanark by-election occasioned by the death of the Hon. John G. Haggart, member for the constituency in the House of Commons for a record continuous period dating from 1872.  North and South Lanark in the following year were combined for future Dominion election purposes.

A steel bridge replaced the wooden bridge across the Mississippi River at Innisville.

High school principal E. J. Wethey and nine high and public school pupils attended a cadet camp of over twelve hundred boys at Barriefield.  Plans were made to form a Carleton Place High School cadet corps.

First Contingent

1914 – The year which saw the start of world-changing events began locally with a mid-January record low temperature of 32 below zero.

The ninth annual spring show of the Carleton Place Horse Association was opened by the Hon. Arthur Meighen (1874-1960), Solicitor General of Canada, who said his grandfather was among the early settlers of Lanark County.

For transportation by gasoline motor power, there were twenty-five automobiles in the town and fifty motor boats on the lake when summer opened.  Ford touring cars were selling for $650 f.o.b. Ford, Ontario.  A resident was awarded damages for injury to a horse frightened by an unattended and unlighted automobile parked on High Street.

F. A. J. Davis (1875-1953), editor and publisher of this newspaper for nearly forty years, bought the Carleton Place Central Canadian.  He changed the name in 1927 to The Canadian.

The Great War began in August.  Within two weeks the town’s first dozen volunteers under Captain William H. Hooper, joined by volunteers from the Pembroke, Renfrew, Arnprior and Almonte areas, left Carleton Place.  Their parade to the railway station was attended by town officials, the Carleton Place brass band, the Renfrew pipe band and hundreds of citizens.  The send off ended in the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

Guards were posted on railway bridges.  Local industries started producing war supplies.  Active service enlistments increased.  Food conservation began.  Women’s groups organized sewing services for war hospitals and shipped food parcels to the district’s overseas soldiers.  Belgian and Serbian Relief Fund collections were made.

Another pioneer home dating from about 1820 was removed when the original farmhouse of John Morphy, son of Edmond, was torn down.  It was the birthplace of the first child born to settlers at Carleton Place (Mrs. Richard Dulmage, 1821-1899).  In later years the old building had accommodated the night watchman of the Gillies Woollen Mills.

War Service

1915 – The municipal waterworks system, completed in the previous year, went into operation.  Electric lights were installed in the town’s schools.  The Hawthorne Woollen Mill, bought by Charles W. Bates and Richard Thomson, was re-opened and re-equipped to meet war demands.

War news and war service work dominated the local scene.  There were many district recruits joining the armed forces, reports of heavy casualties, the furnishing of a motor ambulance and the making of Red Cross Society supplies, industrial work on government orders, increase in price levels and some food restrictions.

The Mississippi Golf Club was formed and acquired the old Patterson farm and stone farmhouse on the Appleton road.

The Goodwood Rural Telephone Company was organized.  It let contracts for installing forty-four miles of lines in Beckwith and in the west part of Goulbourn township.

Recruits and Casualties

1916 – A local option vote closed the public bars of Carleton Place.

Patriotic Fund campaign objectives were oversubscribed.  The 130th Battalion, formed from the district, went into training.  Recruiting began for the Lanark and Renfrew 240th Battalion.  Some 125 men of the 240th visited Carleton Place on a training and recruiting tour, accompanied by a bugle and drum band and a thirty-piece brass band.  They were entertained by two nights of concerts and dances in the Town Hall.  Some wounded soldiers came home on leave.

The McDonald and Brown woollen mill, previously leased, was bought by the Bates and Innes company from H. Brown and Sons, and its machines were removed to other local mills.

Road shows performing in Carleton Place included two circuses, one of which disbanded here ; September Morn (a “dancing festival from the Lasalle Opera House, Chicago”) and D. W. Griffith’s great motion picture, The Birth of a Nation, which was travelling with an orchestra of thirty musicians.

Fire destroyed the Houses of Parliament of Canada, in a blaze visible from high observation points of this town.

The War Continues

1917 – The Lanark and Renfrew 240th Battalion under Lieut. Colonel J. R. Watt left for overseas service.  Heavy war casualties continued.  Memorial services were held for men killed in action.

The Hawthorne Mills Limited was incorporated with a capital stock authorization of $200,000.  Electric power was installed in the C.P.R. shops.

Increased horseshoeing charges, to fifty cents per shoe, were quoted in a joint announcement of fourteen blacksmith shops.  They were those of Duncan Cameron, Richard Dowdall, Robert Kenny, McGregor Bros. (Forbes and Neil), and James Warren & Son, all of Carleton Place ; Edward Bradley, William Jackson, Edward Lemaistre and William McCaughan, all of Almonte ; and George Turner of Appleton, George Kemp at Black’s Corners, S. Robertson at Ashton, Robert Evoy at Innisville and Michael Hogan at Clayton.

John F. Cram and Sons bought over eight thousand muskrat pelts in one week from district trappers and collectors.

Highly popular home front war songs ranged from “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, to “Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers.”

The Armistice

Another year of war ended in November.  Armistice celebrations commenced in Carleton Place at 4 a.m. when the news was announced by the sounding of church and fire alarm bells and factory bells and whistles.  Cheering, shouting and singing groups gathered in the streets.  A great bonfire soon was prepared and burning in the market square on Franklin Street.  In a long and noisy morning procession there were decorated automobiles, buggies, wagons, pony carts, drays and floats, one of them with a war canoe full of young club paddlers in action.  The Town Council and Board of Education paraded with the firemen and their equipment and with cheering marchers on foot.  Groups of young people had their own banners, flags, horns and other noise makers.  Celebrations continued until midnight.

Major W. H. Hooper, home after four years’ service including two years as a prisoner in Germany, was welcomed in a reception held outdoors.  Indoor meetings had been banned by reason of deaths from a world influenza epidemic.

The Hawthorne woollen mill, with two hundred employees, was enlarged.  Fire destroyed the Thorburn woollen mills in Almonte.

End of an Era

1919 – Members of the armed forces returned to Canada.  Over fifty from Carleton Place had lost their lives, together with similar numbers from all sections of the surrounding district.  A military funeral was held here for the burial of a young officer who had died overseas.

Roy W. Bates was re-elected for the second of three yearly terms as mayor.  The town’s electric power supply facilities were converted to public ownership under the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission system.

Three persons were killed when an automobile collided with a train at the William Street railway crossing.  Another local fatality was caused by a fallen live wire of a municipal distribution line.

In a baseball game at Riverside Park between junior teams of Carleton Place and of the Smiths Falls C.P.R. club, local players included Mac Williams, Bill Burnie, Howard Dack, Jim Williamson, George Findlay, Tommy Graham, Gordon Bond and Clyde Emerson.  The umpire was Bill Emerson.  The score was 15 to 14 for Smiths Falls.

In the Town Hall Captain M. W. Plunkett presented the Dumbells in an original overseas revue, “Biff, Bing, Bang,” with an all-male cast of returned soldiers at the outset of their years of Canadian stage fame.

Centenary Celebrations

One hundred years after the first settlers had come to occupy the site of Carleton Place, a centenary celebration of the settlement of Beckwith Township was held at McNeely’s 10th Line Shore on Dominion Day in 1919.  Among the thousand who attended was a representation of descendants of most of the township’s Scottish, Irish and English emigrants of a century earlier.  A few  elderly first-generation sons and daughters and many grandchildren of the district’s honoured pioneers were on hand to mark the day.  Speeches included a review of the township’s history by the Rev. J. W. S. Lowry.  Fiddlers and a piper provided the music for dancing.  A collection of pioneer household and farm equipment was on display.

At Almonte an Old Home Week was held in 1920.  The Centenary Celebration and Old Home Week of Carleton Place in 1924 was opened by the ringing of church bells and the sounding of the whistles or bells of the railway shops, of Findlay Brothers foundry and of the Bates & Innes and Hawthorne woollen mills.  The week’s programme was the result of months of planning and preparation for the return of the town’s young and old boys and girls from distant and nearby points.

Parades, shows, bands, fireworks, dancing, midway attractions, banquets, concerts, church and cemetery services, an array of athletic events and open house accommodation for renewing old acquaintances were all combined to fill the seven day programme.  The chief sports events were a number of baseball games, a football game, track and field sports, a cricket match, horse racing, an aquatic carnival, trap shooting, a boxing tournament and old timers’ quoit matches.  An historical exhibition of district relics, curios and heirlooms was shown.  The native son chosen to be chief guest of honour was D. C. Coleman (1879-1956), vice president and later president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

These civic honours opened our area’s second century of settlement by paying tribute to those of the past who had paved its way.  The district’s centenary celebrations may be claimed to have reflected on a small scale something of the enduring viewpoint once recorded by a great English historian in the following thought: – “A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.”

Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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