SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-NINE

Carleton Place’s Great Fire Occurred in 1910

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 27 June, 1963

 

Stories of former days in the long and distinguished record of the Ocean Wave Fire Company of Carleton Place, founded in 1875, are continued in this instalment.

It recalls the years of the eighteen eighties, and this town’s perilous fire of 1910, in the times when steam fire engines and equipment were raced to the scene of action by galloping fire horses.

Officers of the Ocean Wave Fire Company in the early eighteen eighties were William Patterson, captain; George Warren, first lieutenant; George Crawford, second lieutenant; John R. Galvin, secretary; William Rogers, treasurer; and John Flett, company engineer.  The grants of the Carleton Place Council to the fire company at that time were $200 a year.  The company usually had about 25 or 30 members; 35 was the membership attending its annual meeting in 1882.  Leaders of the ld days subsequently included Tom Nagle, Dave Moffatt, Tom Lever, Jim Warren, Alex McLaren and the great Billy McIlquham.

After the years of the hand pumpers, the purchase of a steam fire engine finally was authorized by an 1884 bylaw to raise $6,000 for this purpose.  A brick fire hall, still standing, had been built on Bridge Street at the end of William Street.  Several large tanks were situated at points distant from the river to serve as fire engine water reservoirs.

The new fire engine was unable to save the inflammable new tannery and wool pulling plant of John F. Cram and Donald Munro, burned in 1886 with a fire loss of $10,000.  Spectacular fire in the town of the nineties included the destruction of the  Moffatt & Cavers shingle mill and most of the firm’s planning mill, and two losses of groups of Bridge Street retail shops.  The plant and office of this newspaper, then named the Central Canadian and located at the corner of Bridge and Elgin Streets, were consumed by fire forty years ago.

Keen public interest and pride was taken not only in the speed and skill of the Ocean Wave firemen but also in the horses which drew the fire fighting equipment of a generation ago.  A glimpse of one of many similar races to smaller fires is given in a Carleton Place Herald report of a 1910 fire which threatened to destroy St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Appleton several weeks before the great Carleton Place fire disaster of that year:

“The town team, driven by James Walters, took the big fire engine to Appleton – four miles – on Saturday night in the dark in thirty-five minutes, and there were four men on the engine.  Mr. J. M. Brown, with one horse, took a load of firemen and a hose cart down in half an hour, and signaled for water thirty-seven minutes after leaving the hall here.”

As in the country’s other larger towns and cities of fifty years ago, the pounding gallop to a Carleton Place fire by great teams of horses, drawing heavy brass-stacked fire engines belching their smoke and fire, and clanging and rattling hook and ladder wagons manned with firemen, brought a never to be forgotten wave of excitement to young and old alike.  To youthful onlookers it was a latter-day Roman chariot race, in a vital and perhaps desperate cause.

Battle Against Disaster

This town’s greatest fire came in mid May of 1910, and rode to its crescendo on the peak of a heavy gale.  It came about the time predicted for the reappearance of Halley’s Comet.  Some when half-awakening to its glare, thought they were viewing the light of the comet.  Within four hours after midnight about thirty buildings were destroyed, most of them residences.  Property losses in 1910 values were estimated at over $150,000.  Through heroic work by the town fire department, the Canadian Pacific Railway fire force and Almonte firemen with their fire engine, aided by the courageous and frantic efforts of householders and others, a greater part of the south and east sides of the town was saved from equal devastation. 

The fire started on Bridge Street in a pair of retail stores at Albert Street, from a cause not known.  Fanned by a high southwest wind it swept an area equaling about two blocks, centred  in the Albert, Beckwith, Judson and Franklin Streets section.  The block bounded by these four streets was reduced completely to ashes and ruin.

Zion Presbyterian Church, valued at over $35,000 with its additions and renovations of the previous two years was wholly destroyed.  Other public and church buildings bunred down, in addition to retail stores, were the curling rink, the militia drill shed, the Masonic Temple and St. Andrew’s and Zion church manses.

A total loss at the residence of Mrs. James Gillies, on the site at Franklin and Judson Streets where fire had struck over thirty years earlier, was set at $18.000.  For some time the fire illuminated the windswept night sky to an extent at which in Almonte and more distant points a newspaper could be read in its light.

The Action

These were some of the tactical incidents and sidelights of this fire of over fifty years ago, as told by William H. Allen in the Carleton Place Herald:

“The first water supply came from the new engine, which played two good streams from the bridge.  The old fire engine also played two streams from the bridge but gave out early in the fight, the lift being too much for her.  Two streams were laid from Brown’s, one from the pump at the light station and one from the grist mill.  Another stream came from Mr. Nichols planning mill and still another from the Bates & Innes mill, to which the C.P.R. brigade attached their hose and held the fire from spreading across the tracks.

Early in the night Mayor Albert Cram telephoned Almonte for aid.  Our neighbour at great risk sent over their fire engine and a squad of men, the run being made over at a mile a minute rate by a locomotive and a flat car with Howard Moffatt at the throttle.  The Almonte engine, was placed on Judson Street.  As all the own hose were in service one of Brown’s pumps had to be cut off to give sufficient hose to the Almonte engine, which was placed below Brown’s mill.  It did excellent service for some hours.

Away over the track the tower of Bates & Innes mill took fire and was saved after a hard fight.  Many houses on William Street were covered with embers, but the careful work of the owners prevented any outbreak.  Half a mile further the granary and driveshed of Mr. Herbert Morphy took fire and was swept, the barns nearby being saved with difficulty.

The firemen had a desperate fight with Zion Church manse.  Here there would have been no hope for the wooden houses adjoining, and the Methodist parsonage and church and the Brown mills with dwellings would all have been in line.

The uniforms and arms of the volunteers were removed from the drill shed, but some blank ammunition kept up a mournful fusillade when the fire reached it.  The only thing standing in the block bounded by Beckwith, Albert, Judson and Franklin streets is a lattice-work in the rear of Mrs. Gillies home.

Norman McNabb got caught in the bellrope when sounding the alarm from Zion Church.  He had a narrow escape from strangling and has a sore neck.  We regret to observe that there were thieves among the crowd, and many articles were afterwards lost that had been saved from the flames.”

Reminiscences of former generations of the men of the Ocean Wave Fire Company at work and in their lighter moments at play, as written about 50 years ago by the great, old sportsman W. J. ‘Baldy’ Welsh, will conclude the present group of stories of that memorable era of the town’s fire fighters.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK NINETEEN

 

 “Beards” of Bygone Days

Recalled by M. J. Shields

Carleton Place Canadian, 29 December, 1960

By Howard M. Brown

 

Random recollections of Myles J. Shields of Ottawa as supplied to H.M.B.

“Extemporaneously I am sending you a few items on local affairs that I recall and hope will be readable:

Long ago twilight brought out Harry Tetlock to light the switch and semaphore lamps on the CPR yard tracks.  He was always smiling and walked fast.  Jim Moore with brown beard and big clock in leather case went out to watch the lumber yard.  Mr. Cram with white beard went to watch Gillies Woollen Mill.

In the day time Ned Carr, old tall and gaunt, was crossing guard at the foot of Bell street where the sawmill tracks crossed the CPR.  In his prime he was, according to my father, a famous axeman. 

George Tait had a market garden on Lake Avenue.  He did not believe in trimming fruit trees.  He said they had a hard enough time surviving in our climate.  This theory has since been upheld by many fruit growers.

Maurice Burke, a cooper, made barrels across the street from where the post office now stands.  His sister Julia taught school in the Public School for many years.  We often heard the youngsters rhyming c-a-t  CAT, r-a-t RAT, etc.  She was burned to death in a fire as was Levi Brian’s wife.

Sam McLaren with a red beard was captain on the steamer, Carleton, which plied the Mississippi lakes and river in those days.

Alvin Livingston had a long, almost white beard and was town constable in the 1870’s.

Patrick (Peter) Struthers, post master, and his assistant Finlay McEwen, had rather thin light coloured beards.  Peter had a farm on the 5th Line of Ramsay, operated by Jim Boyd.

William Goth, of Beckwith, from the breastbone up was entirely hidden in white whiskers, hair and eyebrows.  All one could see was a purple nose and two twinkling blue eyes.  He kept good horses and many a time passed the C.P.R. station, homeward bound, at a full gallop.  Mr. Goth had a sense of humour and my mother, nee Margaret Holland, who was telegrapher in the post office, situated at that time, in the building across Bell Street from the Arcade, recalled a remark he made to her one time.  It appears that Mr. Goth and David Findlay Sr. had a tussle in the post office and Mr. Findlay apparently got the worst of it.  When Messrs Struthers and McEwen remonstrated with Mr. Goth, he threatened the whole staff, at which my mother burst out laughing.  Mr. Goth turned and said to her; “Young lady, when I was young I used to laugh too, but, now that I am in an office of public trust I am above laughing.”  John Goth, a son, was principal in the Town Hall school and his daughter, Miss Goth, taught in first grade.

Mr. Aitken, from Appleton way, used to leave town in the same style as Mr. Goth, his horses on the gallop down William Street, but they arrived at a more sedate pace on entering the town.

Dr. Howard, who claimed to have been descended from one of the original 13 Barons of England, was a big man, soft spoken, and used to relate to me about his turkey hunting trips in the U.S.A.  He had a law suit with the Montreal Daily Star and lost.  The Star published a pamphlet about him and distributed it to the householders of Carleton Place.

Andrew and Robert Bell were descendents of the famous clergyman William Bell; Andrew lived near Taylor’s big house and Robert lived at the end of main street bridge, where Dr. McFarlanes old residence stands.  There is, or was, a stained window in St. James Anglican Church inscribed “To the Glory of God and the memory of Jane A. Bell”.

Peter Lake and his wife Susanna lived in the big stone house at the river at the end of the Town Line.  He also had a beard and was Choir Master in Zion Church.

Abe Morphy Sr. was tall and blackbearded, he lived in the white house at the Town Line and 8th line.  He was born in the yellow house that stood between the Gillies Mill flume canal and the C.P.R. subway.

Mr. Griegson, a stout husky type operated a farm on the 5th line of Ramsay.  He always carried his buggy whip while in town and walked about 4 or 5 feet ahead of his wife.  They would have a beer at Wilson’s hotel and then do their business.  Mr. Griegson worked on the railway that was built across the Isthmus of Panama to prepare for the building of the great canal.  I remember when he told my Grandfather Holland that he had worked there and what a surprise, because my grandfather had taken the first stationary steam engine down there.  They had a terrible time, heat, flies, filthy water, fever and the late arrival of the relief ship.  Every man in my grandfathers group of labourers died one after the other.  He buried the last man just before the relief ship arrived.  He said he paid a native two cents a day to follow him around swishing a bunch of palm leaves to chase flies and create a little breeze.

Mr. Hamilton, a painter, father of John R., a C.P.R. conductor was a veteran of the Crimean war as was my grand uncle who was a V.S. (Farrier Sgt. In army parlance); he was at the Charge of the Light Brigade, although not actually in the charge, took care of the horses.  I have a tin-type of him in full uniform taken about 1850 in Dublin.

William Street, as I recall it, had its list of tragedies, perhaps, more so than any other street.  A young Glover child was killed by being crushed under a lumber yard wagon; Billy Glover fatally injured sliding down the Spring Street hill; Bob Illingsworth shot in a bar room squabble; Miss Reynolds drowned; Mr. Summers had legs crushed in lumber yard; amputated twice but gangrene set in and he died.  Mr. Quackenbush was run over by a lorrie the first day he worked in the lumber yard; he said he always had a premonition that he should not take a job there; around the turn of the century Abe Morphy Jr. drowned; Neil McDonald died from an overdose of sedative (I believe); Harry Clark fell down cellar; Proctor Moore fell in a C.P.R. culvert.

And I could go on, and on, but enough is enough.”

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK EIGHTEEN

8 H.P. Ford Was Bought By Findlays – First Local Car

The Carleton Place Canadian, 15 September, 1960

By Howard Morton Brown

 

Some of the local events of fifty to sixty years ago in the Carleton Place area are recalled in the present section of a continued story summarizing the history of this town’s early days.

This was the time which saw both the heyday of the Empire on which the sun never set and the end of the Victorian era.  It opened to the martial air of The British Grenadiers, with Canadian soldiers on active service in South Africa, and closed on a modern theme with such developments as the motor car and electricity on their way towards changing the ways of life of half the world.

In the first year of the present century Canadian soldiers, including several volunteers from Carleton Place, were in South Africa serving in the Boer War.  Some of the present century’s great changes in living conditions had their start in these years.  Electricity began to be used as a growing source of power instead of mainly for lighting and communication equipment.  While annual local horse shows were being held the first automobiles appeared on the town’s streets.  Business and social life began to have a greater resemblance to conditions of the present.

Among the towns of the Ottawa Valley, Carleton Place, with its population reduced to 4,000 at the opening of the century, had been outdistanced in size by the growth of Smiths Falls and Pembroke, each of which had attained a population of about 5,000.  The brief views of local scenes and events which follow are based on news reports of the two Carleton Place weekly newspapers in the years from 1900 to 1909.

South African War

1900 – To supply serge for British army uniforms the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills. 

Local talent presented the Temple of Fame, an historical pageant.  The town had a day of enthusiastic celebrations when news of the Relief of Ladysmith came from South Africa.

Abner Nichols & Son brought their season’s log drive down the lake to their newly opened sawmill at the riverside on Flora Street; while two drives of logs, ties and telegraph poles were reaching the mill operated by Williams, Edwards & Company at the dam.  A new branch of the Union Bank of Canada was in operation in Carleton Place, in addition to the longer established branch of the Bank of Ottawa.

The Carleton Place Canoe Club was reorganized as a racing association and joined the new international canoe association.  A district grouping to include Ottawa, Brockville, Aylmer, Britannia and Carleton Place clubs was planned.  This town’s club ordered its first war canoe.

Peter Salter bought and reopened the Carleton House, the oldest two storey stone building in the town.  He renamed it the Leland Hotel.

Findlay’s Foundry Rebuilt

1901 – Findlay Brothers large new stove foundry of brick construction was built on land sold by the Canada Lumber Company.

The McDonald & Brown woolen mill at Mill and Judson Streets was continued in operation by John Brown on the retirement of John McDonald.

In the first local celebration of Labour Day the moulders and machinists unions held a sports day in Gillies Grove near the lower woollen mill, with football, baseball and lacrosse games and track and field events.

William H. Hooper, who had returned to Ottawa from the South African War, bought Charles C. Pelton’s Carleton Place photographic business.

A Carleton Place firemen’s demonstration was attended by the fire companies from Renfrew, Arnprior, Lanark, Perth and Smiths Falls, the Ottawa Nationals baseball team and the Perth Crescents lacrosse team.  Among its other sports events in Gillies Grove were hose reel races, tug of war contests, a hub and hub race and tossing the caber.  A parade included the fire brigades, decorated floats, and the Town Council and citizens in carriages.  A massed band uniting the citizens’ brass and silver bands of Pembroke, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place marched through the town in an evening parade, playing The British Grenadiers.  Officers of  the Carleton Place band included leader Joseph McFadden and secretary James Edwards.

About sixty neighbours helped in the raising of a barn of forty feet height at the farm of John McArton in the sixth concession of Ramsay near Carleton Place.

With Robert C. Patterson, barrister, as mayor, the town bought a twelve ton $3,000 steam road roller.

Queen Victoria’s long and illustrious reign ended early in 1901 and Edward VII became King.  At Ottawa the Duke and Duchess of York – the future King George V and Queen Mary – witnessed a war canoe race of Ontario and Quebec canoe clubs including Carleton Place.  South African War service medals were presented and a statue of the late Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill.

Shanty Horses

1902 – The closed Carleton Place sawmills and upper Mississippi reserve dams of the Canada Lumber Company were bought by H. Brown & Sons for water conservation and power development uses.

The Canadian Canoe Association held its annual regatta at Lake Park during two days of high winds, with over two hundred visiting paddlers present from clubs of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Brockville.  The mile course, from Nagle’s Shore to about the Lake Park steamer dock, was measured in the previous winter on the ice.

A railway bridge of steel construction on stone piers replaced the former railway bridge across the Mississippi at Carleton Place.

At the Queens and Leland hotel yards, agents were hiring teams of horses in December for winter work at Ottawa Valley lumber shanties.

 

Two Mills Closed

1903 – The Gillies and Hawthorne woollen mills – recently working on overtime hours with 192 employees, after six years of improvements under the ownership of Canada Woollen Mills Limited – were closed.  The reason was stated to be loss of Canadian markets to British exporters of tweeds and worsteds.  The company went into bankruptcy.

Twenty miles of toll roads were bought by Lanark County and freed of tolls.

For the killing of a foundry employee by stabbing during a week-end drunken quarrel, an elderly resident of Carleton Place was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a three year term of imprisonment in the Kingston penitentiary.

Carleton Place curlers, with William Baird and Dr. D. A. Muirhead as skips, won the Lanark County Curling League cup.

Town Park

1904 – The Caldwell sawmill property between Lake Avenue and the river was bought by the town and, after consideration for industrial uses, was reserved for a town park.

Sir Wilfred Laurier addressed a Carleton Place meeting on behalf of T. B. Caldwell, successful North Lanark candidate for Parliament.

An eight horsepower Ford was bought by Findlay Brothers as the first automobile owned in Carleton Place.  It was the local harbinger of great changes in transportation and in ways of life, comparable to the results of railway construction of fifty years earlier.

Street Lighting

1905 – Carleton Place street lighting was improved under a ten year contract, with introduction of a year-round all night service and erection of 150 street lights to supplement the arc lamp system.

Use of the Town Park was opened by the visit of a three ring circus with a thirty cage menagerie, a twelfth of July celebration attended by 5,000 out of town visitors, and a lacrosse game between Renfrew and Carleton Place teams at the newly built grandstand and fenced athletic grounds. 

Car Casualty

1906 – A fire at Gillies Engine Foundry and Boat Works destroyed the stone building’s two top storeys and a number of completed motor launches.  Work was resumed by some twenty employees. 

A mica-splitting industry of the General Electric Company was being carried on in J. R. McDiarmid’s Newman Hall at the corner of Bridge and William Streets.  Gardiner’s Creamery was built on Mill Street.  Concrete sidewalks were being laid on many town streets. 

Thousands of European immigrants were passing through Carleton Place weekly on their way to western Canada.  An exhibition of moving pictures was held in the Town Hall by the Salvation Army in aid of its work for assistance of immigrants.

For causing the death of his brother in a drunken quarrel in a motor boat near Lake Park, a local resident pleaded guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The first car fatality in Carleton Place occurred when Samuel A. Torrance’s automobile collided with a locomotive at the railway station crossing.  One of his passengers was killed. 

The first of a series of annual horse shows was held at the Town Park.

Bates & Innes Mill

1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill as a knitting mill.  A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

The Carleton Place Canoe Club won the Canadian war canoe championship and other races at the year’s Canadian Canoe Association meet, held at Montreal.

Mississippi lumbering continued on a reduced scale.  A Lanark Era spring report said:  – The Nichols drive on the Clyde parted company here with Charlie Hollinger’s logs at the Caldwell booms, and swept its way over the dam to await the coming of the Mississippi sawlogs.  The gang folded their tents and rolled away up to Dalhousie Lake where the rear of the drive floats.  It will take about two weeks to wash the mouth of the Clyde, and then the whole bunch will nose away over the Red Rock and on to Carleton Place.  While going through Lanark some of the expert drivers did a few stunts for Lanark sightseers.  Joe Griffiths ran the rapids on a cedar pole just big enough to make a streak on the water.  The Hollinger logs were retained at the Caldwell mill, where they are now being rapidly manufactured into lumber.

Street Traffic Rides

1908 – A Bridge Street runaway accident took the life of Archibald McDonnell, aged 77, son of one of Beckwith township’s original few settlers of 1816.

Spring floods burst the old lumber company millpond dam and two flumes at Carleton Place.  Users of Mississippi River water power united to plan the building of retaining dams at headwater locations.

George H. Findlay was mayor, W. E. Rand, M.A. was High School principal and principal of the public schools was Reg. Blaisdell.

Roller Skating

1909 – Bates & Innes knitting mill, after making waterpower improvements, began running night and day with about 150 employees.  The Hawthorne knitting mill was closed by reason of financial difficulties, and its operating company was reorganized as the Carleton Knitting Co. Ltd.

Construction of a hydro electric power plant was begun by H. Brown & Sons at the former site of the Canada Lumber Company mills, after several years of preparation of the riverbed including tailrace excavation and building of a concrete millpond dam.

A roller skating rink with a new skating floor was re-opened at the militia drill hall on the market square.

J. W. Bengough, noted Canadian cartoonist, entertained a Town Hall audience with his skill, making such sketches of local celebrities as Reeve William Pattie at his desk, Dr. J. J. McGregor extracting a horses’ tooth, Arthur Burgess in his automobile, William Miller in a horse deal, and Tom Bolger with his hotel bus at the railway depot.

 

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SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK FOURTEEN

Carleton Place First County Town – Lights

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 21 May, 1959

 

County’s First Hundred Years (Part 2)

Montague township, where settlement on the Rideau River began in 1790, is the oldest township in Lanark County.

Ninety persons were living in Montague township in 1802, according to a local census.  Included were families of the name Arnold, Chester, Covell, Haskins, Hill, Hodgins, Jarvis, Merrick, McCrea, McIntyre, Nettleton, Nicholson, Stafford and Van Dusen.  The Arnolds were Henry and Richard, sons of General Benedict Arnold; and Hannah Arnold, the sister of the General.  John Arnold, born 1786, another of General Benedict Arnold’s sons, lived in Kitley township, Leeds County, where he is buried with members of his family in Leahy’s cemetery near Frankville.  The nine Merricks named were the family of William Merrick, whose building of mills on the Rideau River in Montague township in the 1790’s originated the village of Merrickville.

Government and Industry

 

First Canal Transportation – Rideau Canal, 1832; Tay Canal, 1834.

First Township Officers – Elected in the early eighteen-twenties.  An 1835 Act provided for officers including an assessor, a collector, a clerk and three commissioners with narrowly limited powers, together with overseers of highways and poundkeeprs, for each township of adequate population.

First Continuous Fall Fair  - Bathurst District Agricultural Society, formed at Carleton Place, January, 1840.

First Member of Parliament of United Canada – Malcolm Cameron (1808-1876), elected 1841, defeated Sheriff John A. H. Powell, became cabinet minister in several administrations, member of Legislative Council, Queen’s Printer, and member of Parliament after Confederation.  Re-established the County’s newspaper at Perth in 1834 under the name Bathurst Courier.

First Township Elections of District Councillors – January 1842, under an Act transferring regulatory duties from appointed magistrates of court of quarter sessions.  This District’s area was changed by withdrawal in March 1842, of Carleton County’s present townships of Goulbourn, Newpean, March, Fitzroy, Torbolton and Huntley, and in 1845 by the entry of Montague, N. Elmsley and N. Burgess townships.

First Power Looms for Weaving Cloth – Installed in James Rosamond’s woolen factory, Carleton Place, 1846.

First Municipal Government as County – Came in 1850 under Municipal Institutions Act of 1849 which abolished district councils and placed county and other forms of municipal government on an enduring basis.  First Warden of United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, 1850, was Robert Bell, M.P., Carleton Place.

First Incorporated Urban Community – Perth, as a town, September, 1850.

First Railway Transportation – The Brockville and Ottawa Railway, 1859, extending then from Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls to the Grand Trunk  Railway at Brockville.

First Royal Visit – By Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, in 1860.

First Separate Government as County – The two United Counties separated in 1866, Perth remaining as county seat of Lanark.  Warden, Daniel Galbraith of Ramsay township.

CONFEDERATION

 

First Members of Dominion Parliament – North Lanark; Hon. William McDougall (1822-1905), minister of public works, later active in transfer of much of Canada’s north and west from Hudson’s Bay Company. 

South Lanark:  Alexander Morris (1826-1889), son of Hon. William Morris of Perth, and later a cabinet minister, chief justice and lieutenant governor.

First Canadian Senators – Hon. Roderick Matheson and Hon. Henry Graham, Perth merchants; Hon. James Shaw, Smiths Falls merchant.

First Members of Ontario Legislature – North Lanark: Daniel Galbraith (1813-1879), later M.P. for North Lanark, 1872 to 1879.  South Lanark:  William McNairn Shaw (1823-1869), barrister, born Ramsay township.

First Railway to Ottawa – 1870, from Carleton Place.

 

USE OF INVENTIONS

 

First Community and Long Distance Telephones:

Bell Telephone Company, 1885, including Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place and Almonte.

First Electric Lights Installed:

In mills including Peter McLaren’s Carleton Place lumber mills in early 1880’s; first community lighting service, Carleton Place, September, 1885.

First Roller Process Flour Mill:  Carleton Place, February, 1886.

COUNTY CENTENNIAL YEAR

 

First Century of Settlement – 1890; hundredth anniversary of first settlement by a family of European racial origin in area of the present Lanark County, the first Ontario permanent settlement north and west of the Rideau River.

 

 

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWELVE

Louis Cyr, Canada’s Strongman Once Competed Here

By Howard M. Brown

The Carleton Place Herald, May 29, 1958

 What were some of the differences between life in Ontario towns of sixty to seventy years ago and today?  Glimpses of a town of 4,000 people at work and at play, as mirrored in advertisements in Carleton Place’s two newspapers of that time, the Central Canadian and the Herald, offer one of the answers.  A few of these advertising announcements have been culled and condensed for their following second publication.  They tell of some of the typical minor scenes and local events of an enthusiastic, hard working and lively period of national development, sometimes recalled as the booming ‘80’s and the gay 90’s.

New Publishers

We have fitted out our office with an entirely new stock of job and advertising types, in addition to what was good of the old plant which we purchased.  Heretofore the Herald has been conducted by a gentleman endowed with more than ordinary knowledge and ability, a man residing in this county the greater part of his life.  We come as comparative strangers to resume his position.  As formerly, the Herald will give its support to the Liberal Party in everything that is for the benefit of the country and in accordance with the principles of morality and justice. 

Allen Bros. & Kibbee, Publishers and Proprietors.  July 18, 1883.

Engineering Works

Central Canada Machine Works, Carleton Place.  Saw Mill Machinery, Engines, Waterwheels, Grist Mill Machinery, Shafting, Gearing, Pulleys, Hangers.  All lof the above are our specialties.  We also make custom Cards, Pickers, etc., Drop Hammers, Presses, etc., Stump Screw Machines always on hand.  Good Circular and Drag Saws made to order.  Also Repairing and Castings of all kinds in Iron and Brass. 

Graham, Lawson & Co. – July 1883.

World Champion Oarsman

Fourth Annual Regatta of the Carleton Boating Club.  Mississippi Lake Regatta Grounds, Thursday, Sept. 6, 1883.  Edward Hanlan, the Champion Oarsman of the World, will give an exhibition.  Lee, Plaisted, Hosmer and other notted oarsmen will take part in the professional race.  $800 in prizes.  Baseball match.  Prescott Oddfellows Band, 28 strong.  Grand Evening Concert in the Drill Hall.

Shouting Soprano

The Jubilee Singers of Tennesee University under the auspices of the Carleton Place Mechanics’ Institute, in one of their Weird and Thrilling Concerts.  Plantation Melodies in the true Southern Style.  Miss Piollie Johnson, The Great Shouting Soprano.  Admission 25c, 35c, children 15c.  Tickets at MacLean’s Book Store.

September 1883.

Food Costs

The Summit Store is the Spot.  Your choice for #1.00: 6 cans Salmon, 6 cans Lobster, 8 boxes Sardines, 11 lbs Prunes, 12 lbs. new Valencia Raisins, 13 lbs. Bright Sugar, 4 lbs. choice Japan Tea.  Five dozen Labrador Herring for $1.00, or $3.00 per half barrel.  Also Fresh Halibut, Mess Pork, Fresh Herring, Tommy-Cods, etc.  Early Rose Potatoes.  Green Apples – Glassware and Crockery, Boots and Shoes. 

Eli Hutchings. – May 1884.

Gillies Grove

Zion Church Sunday School will hold its annual picnic Saturday, August 15, 1884 in Gillies’ Grove, just below the factory.

Stoves Supplied

Carleton Place Foundry.  Come and examine our stock.  Diamond ‘G’ Coal or Wood.  Show Room at the Foundry.

Dave Findlay. – October, 1884.

Bucksin Mitts

Prepare for Winter.  First class handmade Buckskin Moccasins and Mitts.

James Presley, opposite Methodist Church.  –  December 1884.

Newman’s Hall

New Public Hall opened by Mr. Robert McDiarmid.  One of the best in this part of the country.  Auditorium rearranged to accommodate 500 people.  The stage scenery, painted by Sosman & Landis, Chicago, provides four scenes, the ‘woods’, ‘parlor’, ‘kitchen’, and ‘street’.  The drop curtain presents a view of placid waters, rugged mountain rocks and ancient castle.

February 1885.

Shooting Gallery

Mr. Bush, proprietor of the Shooting Gallery under Victoria Hall, has taken out a licence for his business.  He has good rifles and air guns.

May 1885.

Roller Flour

Now in operation.  One of the best and most complete mills in this country.  Price of Roller Flour, Bran, Shorts, etc. reduced.  Graham Flour, Cracked Wheat, Oat Meal, Corn Flour, Brose Meal, Buckwheat Flour, etc., also manufactured.  Liberal discounts to the Trade.  Custom grinding as usual.

Horace Brown.  –  February, 1886.

Bedroom Suites

Furniture – A good handsome Bedroom Suite, five pieces for $16.00.  Undertaking, Open Day and Night.

Five Dollar Suit

Golden Lion Stores.  Every man should see our Five Dollar Suit. – Dress Goods – Carpets – Spring Leaf Japan Tea, 25c per pound.

W. & D. McDiarmid, near Post Office. – May, 1887.

Hand Loom Weaving

Weaving.  The undersigned desires to inform the citizens of Ramsay, Huntley, and Beckwith that he is prepared to do all kinds of Country and Custom Work.  A call from old customers solicited, as I intend to do all the work myself. 

Andrew Dunlop, Weaver.  Near George Tait’s Gardens, 12th Line Beckwith.  – July 1888.

Sailing Yacht

For Sale.  Small Sailing Yacht, nearly new, 22 ft. long, 5½ ft. beam, built of cedar, quarter-decked.  Patent folding steel centerboard, and carry 90 ft. of sail, mainsail and two jibs.

James Winthrop, Lake Avenue. – July, 1889.

Retail Trade

The undersigned has reopened his Meat Business.  Hours 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., every lawful day, except Tuesday and Saturday mornings, when he will visit Appleton and Ashton with choice supplies, and Friday afternoons when the shop will be closed.  Fifteen pounds of roasts, steaks and stewing for $1.00 cash.

Augustus Lavallee.  –  August, 1889.

Blacksmith Work

The undersigned are prepared to do every kind of Blacksmith work – Mill and Factory work – River Driving Tools – Waggons, Sleighs and Cutters made to order.  Quarry Men’s Tools, Mason Tools, Agricultural Implements and Machinery repaired.  Horse shoeing a Specialty.

T. & W. Glover.  Alex Hunter’s Old Stand, Mill Street near Grist Mill. – March 1890.

Louis Cyr, Strong Man

In the Drill Shed, Louis Cyr, the Strong Man.  His holding against a team of the Canada Lumber Co’s horses will be repeated at tonight’s performance.  Concluding feat a lift of fifteen heavy citizens upon a 200 pound platform.

May 1892.

Kickapoo Indians

Free!  The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Co. will open in Victoria Hall on November 30, 1892 for two weeks.  Indian War Dances, Buffalo Dances.  Also Ventriloquists, Banjo Players, Comedians, Contortionists, Wire Walkers and high class wonder working.

Meat Prices

Central Meat Market.  In future I intend to carry on a strictly cash business.  Beef prices per pound – steaks and roasts 10c, boiling 5 to 6 c, corned beef 7 to 8c.  Ten cents a pound for cutlets, leg, loin or chops of pork, veal, mutton and lamb. 

E. J. Griffith, proprietor.  Shop next to the Bridge. – October, 1891.

Incandescent Lighting

Commercial and meter rates for lighting.  The first supply of lamps furnished free.  Renewal lamps free on return of burnt out lamps.  Prompt attention to orders for wiring. 

Carleton Place Electric Light Co., J. M. Brown, Manager.  May, 1893.

Canoe Meet

First Annual Meet of the Ottawa Valley Canoe Association to be held at Lake Park, Carleton Place, Wednesday, August 16th, 1893.  Single and Tandem Races, half mile and mile, with turn.  Tilting, Smoking and Upset Races.  Grand evening Boat Illumination and Citizens’ Band.  The Steamer Carleton will leave Town Dock at 1:30, 2:30, 7 and 8.  Usual fares of 15 cents includes the sports.

S. J. McLaren, president; W. J. Welsh, vice-pres.; Colin McIntosh, secretary.  Committee Robert Patterson, A. E. Cram, Robert Sibbett.

Winter Lumber Trade, 1895

The Canada Lumber Co. desires to intimate that its Water Mill is in running order.  Custom Sawing at satisfactory prices.

Custom Sawing at our Saw Mill on the river bank, beside the Machine Shop of John Gillies & Co.  Logs Wanted.  Shingle Sawing done as usual at our Planing Mill near C.P.R. Freight Sheds.  – A. Nichols & Son

Planing Mill and Sash Factory – Furniture and school desks a specialty.  Mill on river bank.  –  Moffatt & Co.

Arklan Saw Mills.  Now prepared to do Custom Sawing.  Also hashing of grain.

Andrew Hawley, Sr.

All grades Rough Lumber constantly in stock.  Also joist, scantling, plank, lath.  B.C. Red Cedar shingles, $2.75 per M. Yard at Caldwell’s Old Piling Grounds.  –  Nathan D. McCallum.

Steamboat Schedule

Steamer ‘Carleton”.  This week’s time bill to Lake Park.  Boat will run from Caldwell’s Dock as follows:

Tuesday – 7:30 p.m.  Citizen’s Band and Hop;  Wednesday-9:30 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m.  St.  James Sunday School Picnic;  Thursday-9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Baptist Sunday School Picnic;  Friday and Saturday – 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and to Innisville.

August, 1896.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Under the personal direction of John F. Stowe, nephew of the celebrated authoress Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin will appear in the Town Hall, Carleton Place, September 19, 1896.  Company of 40.  Novel features include the blowing up of the battleship ‘Maine’.

Wool Wanted

The undersigned are prepared to purchase any quantity of Good Clean Wool.  A full line of Fine and Coarse Tweeds, Blankets, Flannels and Yarns, always in stock.  Custom work as formerly.

Carleton Place Woollen Mills, McDonald & Brown. – June, 1900.

Three Ring Circus

Lemen Brothers World Monster Shows and Three Ring Circus, at Carleton Place, Friday, August 10, 1900. –  Roman Hippodrome – Five Continent Menagerie – Rajah bigger than the famous Jumbo – 100 Exalted Circus Champions – Parade at 10 a.m. – High Dive at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

 

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TEN

Amusing Advertisements Published in Old Days

Carleton Place Herald

May 15, 1958

 

A series of glimpses of local life as seen in newspapers of the past is continued here.  The time is in the days of James C. Poole, one of the town fathers and founder of the first Carleton Place newspaper.  When newspapers were few the pioneer Carleton Place Herald once carried business notices of a large area of Lanark and Renfrew counties, together with advertisements of other classes and places.  The few which follow, unless otherwise noted, are of Carleton Place businesses and events.

New Foundry

New foundry in Carleton Place.  Two doors west of Mr. Pittard’s Waggonshop, on the Perth road.  David Findlay, having commenced a Foundry in the above premises, begs to intimate that he is prepared to execute all kinds of Castings, such as Ploughs, Coolers, Stoves, etc., of the most modern patterns.  Having worked in some of the best establishments in Scotland, the public may depend on getting their work well done.  Castings exchanged for old metal or farm produce or sold cheap for cash.

Rifle Match

A Rifle Match will be held near this village on Saturday, August 15, 1863, between the Carleton Place Rifle Company and the Infantry Company from Almonte.  The Riflemen are requested to be in uniform at the armory at 6 o’clock and be in readiness to march to the station to meet the Almonters.

Blakeney Brewery

To Let.  That building at Pine Isles, near Sneddon’s in Ramsay, known as being formerly occupied as a brewery.  It is a good building and may be used for any purpose.  Apply to Robert Gomersal, Bennie’s Corners, P.O., Oct. 4th, 1864.

Taylor’s Tinware

Highest price paid in cash for wool, sheep pelts and cow hides.  Cotton and woolen rags taken in exchange for tinware.  Also cooking, box and parlor stoves sold cheap for cash or approved credit.  Stove ovens lined.  Stove pipes 12 ½ cents.  William Taylor, tinsmith, September 12, 1864.

Newsman’s Bees

Bees!  A few hives of bees for sale at the Herald Office.  March 13th, 1865.

Medical Accounts

Notice – As medical accounts are too exorbitant for many families who live several miles from the village, I have resolved to reduce my charge.  In future I will for half the usual fee visit any person who lives more than one mile from my office.  Henceforward my motto shall be, Sempter Paratus, ever ready. 

William Wilson, surgeon, July 12, 1867.

Butternut Sawlogs

Saw logs wanted.  Highest price in cash or lumber for good white oak, hard maple, black birch, white and black ash, basswood, butternut and cherry saw logs.  Custom sawing. 

Gillies and McLaren, December 3, 1869.

Hair Dressing Salon

The Hair Dressing Salon in Mr. McCaffrey’s building having fallen into his hands, William Chenett is prepared to execute hair dressing, hair dyeing, shaving, shampooing, the setting of razors, scissors, shears, etc.  Gentlemen’s and ladies’ curling particularly attended to.  He has spent a considerable park of the last 15 years in the leading establishments of New York, Montreal and Ottawa.  Hair restorative always on hand. 

September 14, 1869.

Hoop Skirts and Parasols

New firm, in Sumner’s stand.  Dry goods, fancy flannel shirtings, hoop skirts, parasols, gloves, veils, gents’ paper collars, ladies’ do., groceries, crockery and glassware, hardware.

Carley and McEwen, April 18, 1870.

Treat Your Girls

Carleton Place Bakery.  Come boys, treat your girls to temperance drinks such as lemon, vanilla, cherry, sarsaparilla, pineapple, raspberry syrups, ginger beer, etc. at McKay’s.  Also oranges, apples, raisins and other fruits.  Cakes, confectionaries.  Picnic parties supplied.  Remember the spot, under the Masonic Hall.

James McKay, May 2, 1870.

Church Guide

Guide to Church Services, 1870.  St. James’ (Church of England) – ½ past 10 o’clock a.m. on each alternate Sabbath, and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the other Sabbath.  St. Andrew’s  (Church of Scotland) – 11 o’clock a.m. every Sabbath.  Zion Church (Canada Presbyterian) – ½ 2 o’clock p.m. every Sabbath.  Reform Presbyterian – 11 o’clock a.m., and 3 o’clock p.m., on alternate Sabbaths.  Wesleyan Methodist – ½ past 10 o’clock on alternate Sabbaths, and ½ past 6 o’clock on the other Sabbath.  Baptist – ½ past 2 o’clock every Sabbath.  Roman Catholic – occasionally, of which notice will be given.

Music Lessons

Music.  The undersigned has just opened a music store opposite Metcalfe’s Hotel.  He has on hand all kinds of musical instruments, sheet music and stationery.  J. C. Bonner, band master, teacher of piano, melodeon, organ, voice, thorough bass and harmony, Violin, etc. 

May 11, 1870.

Steamer Sailings

The Steamer Enterprise will leave her wharf at Carleton Place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1 o’clock for Innisville, returning in time for the train going south.  Also every Friday evening at 7 o’clock will leave for a pleasure trip round the lakes.

John Craigie, agent, May 11, 1870.

New Railway

Canada Central Railway.  The section of this railway between Ottawa and Carleton Place, forming with its connections a through Broad Gauge route between Ottawa and the west, will be open for traffic on September 16, 1870.

H. Abbott, Managing Director, Ottawa.

Guaranteed Flour

The subscribers having leased the Carleton Mills for a term of years are prepared to do custom grinding on the shortest notice.  Flour, Bran, Hash, etc. for sale.  Wanted, a large quantity of Wheat, also Oats, Peas, Corn, etc., highest prices paid.  Orders delivered free of charge.  We guarantee our flour to give entire satisfaction.  Caldwell & Brown.  April 16, 1871.

Town Hall Tenders

Sealed tenders will be received by the undersigned up to September 30, 1871 for the building and finishing of a Town Hall and Lock-Up in the village of Carleton Place – the building to be completed by September 1, 1872.

John Graham, Wm. Kelly, Dr. Wilson, Building Committee.

Credit and Depression

A. McArthur & Son, Carleton Place. –

Believing that too much credit has been one of the main causes of the depression which is now felt throughout the country, we are prepared to sell for Cash or Short Date on approved Credit, at prices to suit the times.

A. McArthur, W. B. McArthur, March 1, 1879.

Book Store

Having brought out the Stock in Trade of Mr. Stackhouse, I am about making large additions to the stock, which will be sold at Lowest Living Prices.  Books, Stationery, Jewelry and Fancy Goods in large variety.

John Flett, March 31, 1880.

Reputation of the Town

Those Editors and Professional men that persist in going to the Junction twice daily should get a good fitting suit at Sumner’s Old Stand and keep up the reputation of the town, in the tailoring line at least, especially as Bob will sell them a suit so cheap.  Also dress shirts at a great bargain.  Come in, gentlemen, and try ‘em on.

Robert McDiarmid & Co., April 28, 1880.

National Policy

New Goods.  Owing to the benefit arriving from the National Policy I am adding a choice assortment of staple Dry Goods to my large stock of Groceries, Boots & Shoes, Crockery, etc. –

Fred Hollingsworth, June 2, 1880.

News Office Canaries

Canary Birds, warranted first class singers, for sale at the Herald Office.

June 9, 1880.

Lost.  Some Tame Canary Birds.  As they will fly into some house, their return to the Herald Office will be thankfully received and suitable rewarded.

June 28, 1880.

Olympian World Wonders

Pullman & Hamilton’s Electric Lighted Great London Seven-Fold Confederation of Equine, Pantominic, Educated Animal and Olympian World Wonders will exhibit at Carleton Place, Ontario, Friday October 8th, 1880.  It presents for the first time to the Canadian Public the Great Electric Light.  It cost $30,000, requires a 30 horse-power engine, a 40 horse-power boiler, and miles of Copper Cable Conductors.  It exceeds the power of 240,000 Gas lights.

Early Closing

The following number of the business men of Carleton Place have agreed to close their stores and shops at 8 o’clock every evening except Saturdays, during the months of June, July and August.

-         Wm. McDiarmid, James L. Murphy, Robert McDiarmid & Co., A. McArthur & Sons, James S. Galvin, Colin Sinclair & Son, Alex Sibitt, Stewart & Code, John Flett, George Graham, M. W. Sumner, James Sumner, Wm. Taylor, Brice McNeely Jr., Fred Hollingsworth, Patrick Struthers, Alex Steele. –

           June 22, 1881.

Editorial Parrot

Parrot for Sale.  An African Grey Parrot for sale at the Herald Office.  Cheap for Cash.

November 16, 1881.

Gas Light

William McDiarmid’s Golden Lion Store will be lighted by gas in a short time, and will have a gas light on the street corner. –

April 12, 1882.

Carleton Place Herald Advertisements pre-1850

Humor and Spice News Contained in Old Time Ads

Carleton Place Canadian, 27 February, 1958

By Howard M. Brown

 

Impressions of some of the varied local conditions of the earlier days of this district may be gained from the old time advertisements published in its newspapers.  A random selection of these will be taken as illustrations of the fading Ottawa Valley scene which was viewed from the nineteenth century newspaper office of the Carleton Place Herald.

Those which follow in the present column are advertisements and similar contributed announcements reproduced in abbreviated form from the Perth Courier, one of the first and the oldest of existing Ottawa Valley newspapers.

They are the period before the establishment of the Herald at Carleton Place.

Subscription Rates

The Bathurst Courier is printed and published in Perth, Upper Canada, every Friday morning by James Thompson.  Terms 15 shillings if paid in advance, 17s.6d. if not paid till the end of the year.  Postage included.  Produce taken in part payment.  Agents at Bytown, Pakenham, Richmond, Carleton Place, Horton, Lanark, Dalhousie, Sherbrooke, Smiths Falls and Merrick’s Mills.

September 18, 1835.

Flourishing Village

Staple and fancy dry goods, groceries, liquors-also for sale, a few first rate building lots in the flourishing village of Carleton Place. – W. & J. Bell, Perth, August 14, 1834.

Pioneer Pastor

Died, at his residence in Beckwith, Upper Canada, on September 12, 1835, the Reverend Doctor Buchanan in the 74th year of his age, and the 45th of his ministry.  He has left a widow and nine children to mourn his loss.

Temperance Convention

A convention of delegates of the Bathurst District Temperance Society was held in the Methodist Chapel, Carleton Place on February 23, 1836.  The Rev. William Bell was appointed chairman of the meeting and the Rev. T. C. Wilson, secretary.  The secretaries of the five societies whose delegates were present gave an account of the formation, constitution and present membership of their respective societies.  Memberships are Perth 511, Mississippi and Ramsay 295, Lanark 187, Richmond 57, and Franktown 18.  There are several other Temperance Societies in the District –

Thomas C. Wilson, secretary.

Credit Restricted

The subscribers having held a meeting at Carleton Place, Beckwith on March 10, 1838, herby notify the public that they have adopted the resolution of Carding Wool and Dressing Cloth, at their respective places of abode, for ready pay only.  The prices will be as low as the circumstances of the individual establishments will admit of, and merchantable produce shall be taken in payment at cash price.  Edward Bellamy, Ramsay; Elijah K. Boyce, Smiths Falls; Isaiah K. Boyce, Drummond; Silas Warner, Merrickville; James Rosamond, Carleton Place; Gavin Toshack, Ramsay.

Rapine and Bloodshed

To the inhabitants of the townships of Drummond, Lanark, Darling, Dalhousie, Bathurst and North and South Sherbrooke, comprising the First and Second Regiments of Lanark Militia.  Another attempt to invade these provinces is about to be made by numerous bands of lawless citizens of the United States, associated with disaffected persons who have left this country.

Rapine and bloodshed will mark the progress of these diabolical disturbers of our quiet homes.  Be ready to march to the frontier on a moment’s notice. – Wm. Morris, Col. Com’g, 2nd Lanark Regt., Alex McMillan, Col. Com’g, 1st Lanark Reg’t. Perth, 2nd November, 1838.

Beckwith Schools

Wanted immediately.  A common School Teacher for the Second Concession of Beckwith.  None need apply wh cannot give satisfactory reference as to character in every respect.  Apply to the Trustees or to the subscriber. – William Moore, Beckwith, 15 April, 1839.

Gentleman With a Cloak

A hint to Stage Drivers.  It would be well if stage drivers be more on their guard and first ascertain who they are giving passage to, and if such are their Own Masters!  Before they enter into a contract with them, or they may get into trouble.  On Thursday morning, the 11th instant, a gentleman with a cloak was quietly taken from our door, by the Brockville stage on his way to the land of liberty.  This was our newspaper boy, an Indentured Apprentice! – February 19, 1841.

Medical Card

Card. – Mr. William Wilson, surgeon, Licentiate in Midwifery and late of Glasgow University, begs to inform the inhabitants of Carleton Place and surrounding territory that, having come to reside among them, he has opened apartments in Mr. Rosamond’s building opposite the residence of R. Bell Esq., where he will be ready to wait upon or be consulted in any case requiring medical advice or interference.  He refers to the length of time he has resided in the country and the attention he has paid to those diseases peculiar to the climate. – Carleton Place, April 6, 1841.

Mountain Dew

To the Temperate – but not Teetotalers.  Malt whiskey for sale.  1,000 gallons of very superior malt whiskey is offered in quantities of not less than 3 gallons.  Merchants and Innkeepers will be supplied at the moderate rate of 4s.9d. per gal.  This whiskey is strongly recommended, being made by an experienced distiller, Mr. Peter McEwan, from the Braes of Breadalbane in the Highlands of Scotland, who in former years, with his drop of ‘mountain dew’ over his shoulder, played the game of hide-and-seek with the Gauger, with glorious success.

Having just got a new tub erected which will contain 1,400 gallons at a distilling, he hopes yet to enjoy a good share of public patronage, notwithstanding the progress of teetotalism – ‘go it, ye cripples!’ –

William Lock, Perth

April 29, 1841.

Pakenham School

A public meeting was held at Pakenham Village on June 16 in reference to the school of that village.  Mr. Andrew Russell presented regulations including the following to the consideration of the trustees, subscribers and others.

Hours of attendance from 10 to 4 with an interval of 15 minutes; and 5 minutes in the course of the former and 5 in the latter meeting.

The exercises of Saturday to consit of a repetition of the weekly lessons, with questions on the first principles of Christianity.

The school fund to be a pound per annum, with half a cord of wood or two and sixpence, the former payable in February and the latter on or before the 1st of December.

For purchasing maps and other classics apparatus, each subscriber shall advance an additional sixpence.

Pakenham, June, 1841.

Church Schism

We the undersigned elders and trustees of the Presbyterian Church in Ramsay in connection with the Church of Scotland beg leave to state –

 When two ministers styling themselves the Bytown Presbytry gave a notice of a Presbytry meeting, in a most illegal manner, to be held in the Ramsay Church to moderate in a call to Mr. McKid, while an appeal to the Synod was pending, the Church Trustees with the concurrence of the Session did the, to prevent that meeting only deliver the keys to Mr. Wylie as collateral security for the debt on the church property, with instructions to shut the door against the pretended Bytown Presbytry.  (signed) Andrew Toshack, Duncan Cram, elders; James Wylie, James Wilson, William Wilson, Robert Bell, John Gemmill, David Campbell, trustees. –

Ramsay, September 8, 1843.

Stolen Pocketbook

Stolen.  From the subscriber’s Great Coat pocket, in the Inn of John McEwen, Carleton Place, a large pocketbook, containing $18 in bills, promissory notes amounting to about 90 pounds, a small memorandum book and sundry other papers.  The notes were all payable to the order of the subscriber.   All the makers of the said notes are hereby cautioned not to settle with any other person presenting them for payment. –

Samuel Young, Carleton Place,

February 15, 1844.

Concert Ball

Mr. Archibald McArthur of Ramsay is induced to give a splendid Concert and Ball on Friday, April 4th in Mr. Peter Young’s barn, 8th line Ramsay, which will be fitted up expressly for the purpose.  He has acquired the valuable assistance of Mr. John McFarlane, the celebrated Musical Bell player;  Mr. Joseph Docherty of Ramsay, the Solo singer; Mr. John Brennon of Perth, the Clarinet player; also Mr. Peter Young, Ramsay, comic singer, whose powers are well known.  He has procured the valuable assistance of a Flute Band, and a number of other performers, along with your humble servant who will do all in his power to amuse them with the Patent Kent Key Bugle.

Tickets are 1s.6d. each, reserved seats 2s each; to be had of Mr. John Gemmill, merchant, Carleton Place.  Mr. Alex Snedden and Mr. David Leckie, Ramsay, also at the door on the night of the concert.  Performance to commence at 7 o’clock precisely. –

March 24, 1845.

Licenced Inns

Return of licences issued in the Bathurst District in the first half of the year, 1847:

Township of Beckwith Inn licences – Ann Burrows, Donald McFarlane, Archibald Gillis, Thomas Kidd, James Jackson.  Carleotn Place, Robert Mclaren, Manny Nowlan, Napoleon Lavallee.

Beckwith Shop licences, John A. Gemmill, Carleton Place.

Township of Ramsay Inn licences, James Coulter, Edward Houston, James McAllister, John Wright.

Stills, Bathurst District, Peter McArthur, Beckwith; Thomas Findlay, Lanark; Robert McLaren, Perth. –

Anthony Leslie, Inspector of Licences, Bathurst District.

Ploughing Match

Results of the Ploughing Match conducted by the Bathurst District Agricultural Society on the farm of William Walllace, 8th Line Ramsay, yesterday.  The judges James Wilkie, James Black and James Duncan, reported the following winners:

Old Ploughman’s Class – 1st, Lawrence Naismith, 2nd Robert Cowan (James Drynan’s man), 3rd Matthew Millions, 4th James Stewart.

Young Men’s Class – 1st Wm. Young (son of Peter Young), 2nd Robert Steele, 3rd Wm. Young (son of Robert Young), 4th Peter Cram.

Four prizes awarded in each of the two classes were in the amounts of 25s., 20s., 15s., and 10s.

James Bell, secretary, B.D.A.S., Carleton Place,

October 18, 1848.

Early Journalism Provided Doubtful Living, by H. M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 05 April, 1962

Journalism in Lanark and the Ottawa River counties had its birth in the now distant year of 1828.  The Bathurst Independent Examiner at that time began to be published weekly in the twelve year old community of Perth.  It appears to have been the first newspaper in the province to be located at an inland point north of the original Loyalist settlements which forty-five years earlier had been started along the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers and eastern Lake Ontario.

The Examiner after continuing for four years was re-established by William Tully as the British Constitution.  Mr. Tully had been a Perth mill owner and was a fighting Irishman of many controversies.  Under the banner of the British Constitution Perth’s newspaper survived for a year or less.  About a year intervened before it reappeared in 1834, with the same printing press, as the Bathurst Courier under the management of Malcolm Cameron.  Rising as a reformer in the sphere of provincial political affairs, he became the Hon. Malcolm Cameron in whose honour a commemorative plaque was erected several years ago in Perth by the Ontario Historical Sites Board.

Already there were about thirty newspapers in the province in the early eighteen thirties.  Those east of Kingston in 1833, in addition to the Perth weekly, were the Brockville Recorder and one other at Brockville, the Observer at Cornwall and the Grenville Gazette at Prescott.  Several years later Bytown gained its first weekly news publication in 1836.  In the Perth newspaper’s first year as the Courier it was called the Bathurst Courier and Ottawa Gazette.  For the next ten years it used the name Bathurst Courier and Ottawa General Advertiser.  Then it adopted its present title of the Perth Courier.

First Editors

The Rev. William Bell in his diary noted the arrival of Mr. Stewart’s printing press in Perth in March of 1828, “the first instrument of the kind that ever came to the place.”  John Stewart, founder and first editor of the pioneer Perth Independent Examiner, was the schoolmaster of the district’s fully state-supported public school, receiving for that service a salary of one hundred pounds form the provincial government.  Before the end of its first year the Examiner claimed to have 521 subscribers.

It had subscription agents at twenty-seven points from Hamilton east to Montreal.  Agents at nearby points were Manny Nowlan, innkeeper at Carleton Place ; John A. Murdoch, postmaster at Lanark ; John Toshack at Ramsay, William Stewart at Bytown and James Burke at Richmond ; Thomas Read at the March settlement, Mr. Ballantine at Merrickville, James Maitland, postmaster at Kilmarnock ; and J. B. Rutley at “Rideau Settlement,” probably Smiths Falls.

The Examiner’s later editor was Francis Henry Cumming.  He had been a British army officer of the 104th Regiment in the War of 1812-14 and an officer of the first militia regiment at Perth, and one of the early Commissioners of the Peace of this district.  He became the original editor of the Brockville Gazette in 1828, and returned to Perth within three years to acquire and undertake the editorial duties of the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

The remaining original record of this trail-blazing newspaper of the district, the parent or first incarnation of the venerable Perth Courier, appears to consist now of only about one third of the weekly numbers issued in its second year.  With much of the staple fare of today’s weekly press, the Examiner was spiced from time to time by serving as a forum for a few of the acrimonious public or personal local feuds which were a popular pastime of that period.

The top news sensation of the Examiner’s second year came in the luridly presented details of a murder trial and a public hanging which took place in front of the Perth jail, its final event a Roman holiday for the people of the town and adjacent areas, at which “the concourse of spectators was immensely large.”

Struggle For Existence

A struggle for journalistic existence was claimed before long in the Examiner editor’s pleas for subscription payments.  Some of John Stewart’s five hundred subscribers seemed to have failed to pay their annual fifteen shillings, either in cash or in kind.  At the first of January in 1830, traditional time for the settling of debts, the editor made this forthright demand:

To Our Patrons.  We want our payment for the Examiner, and we must have it ; for we can do no longer without it.  When our Agents distribute the papers, they will please ask every mother’s son of a subscriber for his cash, and all kinds of grain will be received at this office, at the market price, from our friends in the adjoining townships.  Since the commencement of our establishment we have sunk above 600 pounds in it, and (will it be believed?) we have not yet received enough to pay our Foreman’s wages.

Two weeks later he added:

Wanted.  Wheat, Corn, Rye, Barley, Oats, Pork or Cash, in payment for the Examiner.  Last year we did not press any one for payment, as we knew the failure of crops was the sole reason of the farmer not paying us.  This reason no longer exists.  All the appeals which we made for payment, since the new crops came in, have been hitherto disregarded.  The sleighing time has now come on, and payment we must have in one way or another.  Our patrons, we trust, will have no excuse.

Finally two months later came a further appeal:

Acknowledgments.  Since the winter set in we have received from our Patrons 15 bushels of oats, 7 of wheat and about as much cash as would pay for one week’s boarding for our workmen.  Our total receipts since the first of Dec. are not sufficient to cover the cost of one week’s publication.  Now if our friends mean to bring us anything they had better set about it in reality, and avail themselves of the very first dash of sleighing, as the season is far advanced, time is precious, and we cannot wait for payments till next winter.

Hard Times

Similar straits of tradesmen and businessmen and their local creditors, practically all working with little capital, are shown in such reports as those of sheriff’s seizures of property to enforce payments.  These were coupled with the ever-present further sanction of the power of confining defaulting debtors to a primitive jail.  These are some examples for the year of the calls upon debtors in the neighbourhood of Perth and Carleton Place.

Notice is hereby given to all indebted to Mr. Thomas Wickham to make payment of all debts by notes of hand or book account on or before the 10th of January, 1830, or their accounts, notes of hand, etc. will be given to a man of business for collection.  To save expence, they will do well to settle, as Mr. Thomas Wickham is not to suffer imprisonment the ensuing year, as he has done this year, in order to save others. – Perth, December 28th, 1830.

Notice.  All those indebted to the subscriber by note or book account are hereby notified that unless they make immediate payment the papers shall be put in the hands of one or the other of the three Perth doctors who are celebrated for blistering.  Charles Stuart, Booven-Hall, Beckwith.

Notice.  The Subscriber, having lately been tickled by a Limb of the Law, will be under the necessity of amusing those indebted to him in a similar manner, unless they will within ten days settle their accounts.  – Perth, 17th February, 1830.  John Lee, Tanner.

Sheriff’s Sale.  By virtue of two writs…..against the lands and tenements of Hugh Boulton, one at the suit of George L. Bellows, another at the suit of Richard Coleman; – Also by virtue of a writ…..at the suit of Daniel McMartin Esq., I have taken into execution as belonging to the said Hugh Boulton a plot of land in the east half of Lot No. 14 in the 12th Concession of Beckwith, containing about four acres, on which are erected a grist mill, saw mill, distillery etc., which I shall expose for sale at the Court house in Perth on Saturday the 19th of June next, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, to the highest bidder for Cash…..J. H. Powell, Sheriff, by J. A. H. Powell, D’y Sheriff.  Perth March 18th, 1830.

Subject to such temporary vicissitudes, the founder of the first mills of Carleton Place retained his industrial properties and water power rights here until he sold those on the north side of the Mississippi in 1850 to Alexander McLaren.  Those on the south side of the river, including his grist mill, oatmeal mill and stone residence, were sold some eight years after his death to Henry Bredin in 1866, by his son Hugh Boulton, Junior.  The Bredins in turn sold them a few years later to Horace Brown.

Carleton Place Business Changes

The opening of the first substantial retail merchandizing business in Carleton Place was advertised by this brief announcement which appeared in the Examiner for a number of weeks.

New Store.  The Subscriber begs leave to inform the inhabitants of Beckwith, Ramsay and the adjoining Townships that he has commenced business at Murphys Falls, on the Mississippi River, with a general assortment of goods suitable for that part of the country, which he will dispose of, on the most reasonable terms, for ready payment.  – August 8th, 1829.  Robert Bell.

Soon after a “commodious Distillery” in Carleton Place was being offered for sale by its first owner, with this notice in the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

Notice.  That commodious Distillery situated at Carleton Place, lately erected by the subscriber will be sold at public auction on Tuesday the 3rd day of November next, at the hour of 2 o’clock p.m., if not previously disposed of at private sale.  Terms of payment will be made easy to the purchaser. – Carleton Place, 13th Sept. 1829.  C. J. Bellows.

Other brief glimpses of the times of 1829 and 1830 from the pages of this district’s first newspaper will follow in a final installment.

No art can conquer the people alone – the people are conquered by an ideal of life upheld by authority. – William Butler Yeats.

Great Falls At Almonte Started Woollen Industry

A group of sketches of origins of the communities of Ramsay township concluded here with notes of scenes and events in the early years of the town of Almonte.

First named Shepperd’s Falls and Shipman’s Mills, the town of Almonte, until its industrial growth which started in the eighteen fifties, was a small village which gained the name of Ramsayville.  Then, with the opening of its first woollen mills and railway transportation, it grew in a period of about thrity years to take a place among the leading centres of the pioneering days of Canadian manufacture of woollen textiles.

Shipman’s Mills on The Great Falls

Rights to lands now forming the greater part of Almonte were granted in 1821 and 1822 to John Gemmill, James Shaw, then of Lanark village, and David Shepherd.  John Gemmill’s land ran from Highway 29 to include the exhibition grounds in the southern part of the present town.  The grant to the absentee owner, James Shaw, was a corresponding downstream section of the ninth concession, extending on both sides of the river as far south as the foot of the bay in Almonte.  It was not until late in 1822 that under the special requirement of building a grist and saw mill at the falls, the central part of the future town was located to David Shepherd, together with another separate hundred acres at the town’s northern or downstream side.  James Wylie, who had emigrated from Paisley in 1820 to begin business as a merchant at Perth, removed to Ramsay where in 1825 he leased and settled on the next northerly two hundred acres (conc. 9, lot 17), a Clergy reserve, which he later bought.

John Gemmill, a Scottish society settler of 1821 from Ayrshire and forbear of Lieut. Colonel James D. Gemmill and of John Alexander Gemmill, Ottawa barrister, was one of Almonte’s first merchants.  James Wylie (1789-1854) was a merchant, Rideau Canal contractor, postmaster, farmer, county agricultural society president and builder of the Almonte residence Burnside.  He was appointed in 1849 to the Legislative Council of Canada in the period of the Baldwin-LaFontaine reform ministry, when riots by opponents of its Rebellion Loses Act led to the burning of the Parliament Buildings of Canada at Montreal.  Daniel Shipman, prominent in the founding days of Almonte and of American Loyalist origin, came in 1823 from the Brockville district and acquired the central properties of David Shepherd.  He completed the building of the future town’s first mills when Shepherd had failed in his undertaking and had fled to escape the imprisonment which awaited defaulting debtors. 

A traveler of 1841 made this brief report of his impressions of the settlement at the falls:

“James Wylie, Esquire, a majistrate and storekeeper, has erected a fine house, his son (William G. Wylie) another.  About half a mile from this, Mr. Shipman’s spacious stone dwelling, his mills and the surrounding buildings, present a bustling scene.  There is one licenced tavern here, and a school.”

Mr. Shipman’s last residence, built in 1837, became the Almonte House hotel.  It was from this house that Daniel Shipman, a sturdy and outspoken reformer in the days of the Upper Canada Family Compact, had escaped from a night search by ten armed men of the Carleton Militia led by over-zealous Captain George Lyon, Richmond mill owner and distiller.  During the alarms following the 1838 Prescott invasion they had ridden from Richmond, at the top speed permitted by bad and devious roads, on hearing false rumors that Shipman was sowing sedition and secreting two men supposed to have escaped in the Prescott battle from the stone windmill fortress of the defeated invaders and rebels.

Pioneer Almonte Industries

The first carding and fulling mill of the community was placed in operation by Mr. Shipman’s father in law, Mr. Boyce; the first planning mill and wagon making shop by John M. Haskin, and the first tanneries by Thomas Mansell and Smith Coleman.  A three storey flour mill built on the east side of the upper falls in the eighteen forties by Edward Mitcheson was bought some few years later by J. B. Wylie, and James H. Wylie.  The Hon. James Wylie’s eldest son, William G. Wylie, a magistrate and township treasurer, had died at Havana in 1851 on his way to the California gold fields.

Industrial growth at Almonte began in larger proportions in the eighteen fifties with the building of the Brockville & Ottawa Railway Company’s line.  Before the railway from Brockville reached the Ottawa River in 1864 at Sand Point, it ran for five years to a temporary northern terminus at Almonte.  The town’s woollen manufacturing had its start with the opening in 1851 of a mill with one set of machinery by the Ramsay Woollen Cloth Manufacturing Company, a company formed under the new Joint Stock Companies Act with capital raised in Ramsay and Beckwith among some forty shareholders.  The village of Ramsayville at this time had a population of little more than two hundred persons.  The next summer a fire destroyed the new woollen mill, gutted Daniel Shipman’s nearby unfinished and uninsured new gristmill and destroyed his old mill.  The loss in this Mill Street fire, one of a number of similar fire losses of following years, was about 2,000 pounds  to the company and 2,000 pounds to Mr. Shipman.  Daniel Shipman at once rebuilt his mill within its standing stone walls.  The building, later owned by John Baird, finally was torn down in 1902.

Start of Woollen Enterprises

James Rosamond of Carleton Place, a shareholder of the short lived Ramsay corporation, then moved his woollen mill operations, the first in Eastern Ontario, from Carleton Place to Almonte as the founding of Almonte’s leading manufacturing enterprise.  He bought the site of the Ramsay Company’s mill and built a four storey stone building, later known as No. 2 Mill, which he opened in 1857.  Before its erection Samuel Reid and John McIntosh opened a small woollen factory in 1854 on the former site of the Boyce fulling mill.  James Rosamond, who lived until 1894, gave the management of his growing business in 1862 to his sons Bennett and William, who doubled its plant capacity and in 1866 admitted George Stephen, Montreal woollen manufacturer, as a partner.  He became Baron Mount Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal and first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

The new Rosamond firm of 1866 began operations by buying the Island property of some sixteen acres and building its No. 1 Mill, then one of the finest in Canada.  Bennett Rosamond (1833-1910) was elected president of the Canadian Manufacturers  Association in 1890 and was Conservative Member of Parliament for North Lanark from 1892-1904.  He was president of the Almonte Knitting Company and in 1909 donated the Rosamond Memorial Hospital to the town.  He continued as head of the Rosamond Woollen Company until his death, when he was succeeded by Lieutenant Alex Rosamond (1873-1916).

A number of other woollen mills opened soon after the original Rosamond mill in Almonte.  Among the first were those of John McIntosh (1832-1904), a large frame building on the upper falls, and of John Baird (1820-1894) and Gilbert Cannon, all on Mill Street.  Sawmills, machine shops and iron foundries followed, including among the latter the foundry operated for a few years by John Flett (1836-1900).  A local real estate boom and flurry of inflated land speculation developed, only to collapse in a severe depression of the mid-seventies.  A fire loss of over $20,000 in 1877 destroyed the Cannon mill and the machinery of its lessee William H. Wylie, who moved to Carleton Place where he leased the McArthur (now Bates) woollen mill and later bought the Hawthorne woollen mill.  William Thoburn (1847-1928) began to manufacture flannels at Almonte in 1880 and became the head of the Almonte Knitting Company and Member of Parliament from 1908 to 1917.  Five textile mills in Almonte in 1904 were those of the Rosamond Woollen Company, William Thoburn, James H. Wylie Co. Limited, Almonte Knitting Company, and the Anchor Knitting Co. Limited.

Woollen Mill Party

In view of the claim that a people and its times often are best reflected in its songs, a Christmas Eve supper party given by the Rosamonds to their employees of 1863 may be worth recalling.  Its chairman was Thomas Watchorn, formerly of Carleton Place and later of Lanark and Merrickville.  A song by a member of the party was given between each toast after the supper, ending with the glee club’s Christmas carols at midnight.  The offerings of Mr. Hepworth, the principal performer, included The Cottage by the Sea, Dearest Mary, Little Tailor, The Factory Bell, A Merry Ploughboy, A Kish of Black Turf, Young Ramble Away, Stunnin’ Pair o’Legs, and The Sailor’s Grave.  Mr. Lowe offered Hard Times Come Again No More ; Mr. Douglas gave I’ll Marry Both Girls Bye and Bye, and J. Dornegan The Wedding of Ballyporeen.  The Irish wit George Bond contributed I’ll Never Get Drunk Again.  (George Bond, born in Carleton Place in 1837, was still singing in a celebration of his hundredth birthday by relatives and friends at his home in the Clyde Hotel in Lanark in 1937, when he “concluded the happy event by singing, in a fine clear tenor voice, When Billie Brown and I Slid Down Old Cram’s Cellar Door.”)  For the Christmas party of the men of the Almonte woollen mill, in the time of local recruiting and Canadian defense preparations which accompanied the progress of the United States Civil War, a fitting conclusion with the national anthem was guest Dr. William Mostyn’s The Banner of Old England.

Naming The Town

Almonte ended its changes of community names in 1856.  On the east side of the falls a section promoted by grist mill owner Edward Mitcheson had been given the name Victoria.  A bylaw of Lanark and Renfrew’s old district council “to define the limits of the Village of Ramsayville and Victoria, in the Township of Ramsay, and to extend the Act 12 Victoria Chapter 81 for the Regulation and Police of Unincorporated Villages and Hamlets to the Above Named Villages” was enacted in 1853 and renamed these combined limits as the village of Waterford.  The name most probably was taken from the town and county of Waterford in southern Ireland’s province of Munster.  There already was a village of Waterford in the Canadian province, and at the request of postal authorities  the name of the Ramsay centre was changed again.  The village population then was about five hundred.

The choice of a name of Spanish origin had a precedent in those which had been given to some of the townships of southwestern Ontario by Upper Canada’s Lieutenant Governor of the eighteen twenties, Sir Peregrine Maitland.  The Mexican general Juan N. Almonte had become his country’s ambassador at Washington and had gained his first fame in Mexico’s struggles to defend its territories from the encroachments of the United States.  An early source of his name, adopted by our town of almonte, may be found in Almonte, a village in the province of Andalusia in the southwestern corner of Spain.  It is near the Gulf of Cadiz and half way between the city of Seville and the town of Ayamonte.  Seven hundred years ago this part of Spain was raided often by the Moors, from whom it had been taken.  Near Almonte two centuries later a shepherd is said to have found a statue of the Virgin, hidden at the time of a Moorish raid.  The site of the find continues to be the place of a Pentecostal festival of the region.  Miracles ascribed to this statue of the Virgin, known as Our Lady of the Dew, include the escape of the inhabitants of Almonte in 1650 from a plague.

Almonte of Former Days

Lanark County’s Almonte was incorporated as a village of 2,000 persons in 1870 and as a town of 2,700 population in 1881.  It had somewhat more than 3,000 residents at each of the two next decennial censuses.  For record of its earliest township officers before its incorporation, references have been found as near the beginning of settlement as 1830.  Its first commercial bank, a branch of the Merchants Bank of Canada, later joined with the Bank of Montreal, was opened in 1869.  It gained a newspaper, the long-flourishing Almonte Gazette, in 1867, founded by William Templeman (1844-1914) who learned his printing trade with the Carleton Place Herald, went to British Columbia to found the Victoria Times, and became a member of the Senate, Sir Wilfred Laurier’s minister of inland revenue and the first Canadian minister of mines.

Almonte’s first Protestant churches, together with the municipal hall of the township, were located in the vicinity of the present Auld Kirk cemetery, more than a mile distant from the village community.  They were the St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland, completed about 1835 and still maintained in its original structural condition, the Canadian or Free Presbyterian church, built ten years later, and the Methodist church.  An Anglican church in almonte followed, and the parish of Almonte was separated in about 1860 from that of Carleton Place.  A Roman Catholic church built at Almonte in about 1840 was burned down more than twenty-five years later and was replaced by the present stone church building completed in 1876.  The Baptists built a small Almonte church and the township’s Reformed or Cameronian Presbyterians moved their place of services in about 1867 to the former Canadian Presbyterian church on the Eighth Line, later building their present church facing the Mississippi’s Almonte bay.

A number of the men whose names have lent luster to that of the town of Almonte, notably including pupils of Dr. Peter C. McGregor (1842-1916), Almonte high school teacher of distinction, are found to have had their youthful years coinciding with those of the present Almonte newspaper.  Among them were Dr. James A. Naismith (1861-1939) best remembered as inventor of the game of basketball ; Senator Andrew Haydon (1867-1932), politician, lawyer and author of the Lanark County history “Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst” ; Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie (1867-1938), surgeon and sculptor, commemorated by an Ontario historical plaque at the Mill of Kintail near Almonte as well as by his sculptures (one is “The Volunteer,” located beside the Mississippi on the grounds of the Almonte town hall) ; Sir Edward Robert Peacock, born 1871, living 1961, financier, director of companies including the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, former head of the Banking firm of Baring Brothers and director of the Bank of England ; Dr. William Bennett Munro (1875-1957), American educator, historian and political scientist ; and Dr. James Mackintosh Bell (1877-1934), geologist, explorer, soldier and author, one of the noted descendants of the county’s pioneering Rev. William Bell.

Perhaps on a June night an imaginative viewer of the flood-lit beauty of the Almonte falls still might detect glimpses of the shades of Daniel Shipman, miller and loyal reformer, and the stern and affluent magistrate James Wylie – or of Scottish emigrants walking to John Gemmill’s barn for communion service – or of a band of Ballygiblins freed from the agonies of Ireland and gathered to the falls for mass.  The reflections of centuries of campfires and silent Indian portages past the falls probably would be lost.  The shadows below the falls might seem to hold a few of the host of bygone workers and employers of mills and shops ; or a crew of Scottish, Irish and French rivermen bound for Quebec City, pausing after the risks of breaking a great log jam.  And in the roar or rumble of the floodlit falls he might even hear the roll of wheels of farm wagons, mill carts and horse drawn carriages of a former generation crossing its stone arched bridge – or the rattle of a railway train with a high-stacked wood-burning engine as it drew to the northern end of its run from Brockville – or the shouts of crowds at lacrosse games and cricket matches, at the outdoor open polling of electors or in holiday parades and almost certainly a steady echo of the blows of The Builders, shaping the future of a new land.

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Early Stories of Hamlets in Township of Ramsay, By Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 29 June, 1961

When the northward push of the first settlements of Lanark County reached the township of Ramsay, the town of Almonte and the village of Clayton soon were founded as little frontier communities based on water power sites of the Mississippi and Indian Rivers.  The grist mill and sawmill of Daniel Shipman of Leeds County, built at Ramsay’s Great Falls of the Mississippi in 1823, was the nucleus of a village which grew to become the town of Almonte.  A story of some of Almonte’s nineteenth century citizens and industries will appear in a following number of the Canadian.

Clayton had its origin little more than a year later than Almonte when Edward Bellamy, who recently had come to Grenville County from Vermont, obtained the water privilege of the falls on the Indian River there and opened a sawmill and grist mill to serve a section of the new townships.  Among the other communities of Ramsay township, Blakeney, once the location of several  manufacturing concerns, came next in time of origin as Snedden’s Mills.  Not far from Snedden’s the small hamlet of Bennie’s Corners appeared on the scene of the eighteen thirties, adjoined on the Indian River by Toshack’s carding mill and Baird’s grist mill.  The Baird mill, now known as the Mill of Kintail, has been preserved by a private owner for public historical uses and as a residence.

At the township’s Apple Tree Falls, where young  Joseph Teskey drew land in 1824, the Teskey brothers later built their saw and grist mills, followed by a succession of woollen mill businesses which began about a century ago at Appleton.

On the Indian River in the north of Ramsay township, in a section where some of the last Indians of the township lived, sawmills have continued to run on a small scale since the eighteen twenties at the community of Clayton.  Edward Bellamy, who in 1824 bought the mill site of its falls, had come from Vergennes in Vermont with his three brothers in 1819 to the Brockville district.  They established the mills and village of North Augusta on the south branch of the Rideau River in Grenville County and mills at other points in Leeds County.

Bellamy’s Mills On The Indian River

At his Ramsay saw and grist mill Edward Bellamy added a distillery and a carding mill.  Around his mills a village grew to have a population of 250 persons.  It continued to be called Bellamy’s Mills until in the eighteen fifties its name was changed to Clifton and again changed in 1858 for postal reasons to Clayton.  It was on what was then the main road from Perth to Pembroke, and soon supported a tannery, a cooperage works, a medical doctor, James Coulter’s hotel, and shops of blacksmiths, wagon makers, shoemakers and general merchants.  When the political riding of North Lanark was separately established in 1854, its nomination meetings which led regularly to the reform party’s reelection of Robert Bell of Carleton Place were held at Clayton.

The village’s semi-annual market or fair days were held in mid-April and mid-November.  In an era when not uncommonly feuds and disputes were arbitrated by physical encounter, J. R. Gemmill, founder of the Sarnia Observer and a son of Lanark’s first minister, gave this report in his Lanark Observer on an exercise of political passions on Clayton’s 1851 spring fair day:

“Riot At Bellamy’s Mills.  We regret to learn that another of those disgraceful party rows, which are a blot on the character of any community wherever they occur, took place at Bellamy’s Mills on the evening of the Fair or Tryst at that place, namely Wednesday, the 16th instant.  It appears that it originated with some of the younger class, in which ultimately the other spectators interfered, and ended finally in a regular party riot, in which stones and other missiles were so freely used that several individuals have got themselves severely injured.

About twenty businesses were in operation at and near the bustling village of Clayton in 1871, including a grist mill, a cooperage plant, Coulter’s and Gemmill’s hotels, McNeil’s tannery, the sawmills of Timothy Foley, Daniel Drummond, and William Smith ; James McClary’s planning mill, Timothy Blair’s carding mill and J. & A. Hunter’s woollen cloth factory.  The Hunter woollen mill, destroyed with a fire loss of $10,000 in 1873, was located on the river near Clayton at the site then known as Hunterville.

The village of Appleton was settled and developed by members of the Teskey family who came to Ramsay township in the emigration of 1823 from southern Ireland.  Among less than a dozen families not of Roman Catholic religious persuasion in this government-sponsored emigration to Ramsay, Huntley and Pakenham townships were John Teskey, his wife and nine children from Rathkeale in Limerick.

Joseph, the eldest son, had obtained his hundred acre lot at the location then known as Apple Tree Falls on the Mississippi.  After the family had lived together for a few years on the father’s farm (conc. 11, lot 7) in Ramsay and the children had begun to marry, the second son Robert joined with Joseph in building a small saw and grist mill at the falls.  The land including the southern half of the present village was a 200 acre Crown reserve and south of it were the farms of Robert Baird and William Baird, Lanark society settlers of 1821.

Teskeyville At Apple Tree Falls

On the strength of attractive natural assets and the initial enterprise of three Teskey brothers, a small community developed in the next thirty years, known for a time as Teskeyville and as Appleton Falls.  With a population of about seventy five persons by the mid-fifties, it contained Joseph Teskey’s grist mill, Robert Teskey’s sawmill equipped with two upright saws and a public timber slide, Albert Teskey’s general store and post office, Peter and John F. Cram’s tannery, and two blacksmith shops, William Young’s tailor shop and a wagon shop.  A foundry and machine shop was added before 1860, when the village grew to have a population of three hundred.  Albert Teskey, a younger brother who lived to 1887, also engaged in lumbering and became reeve of Ramsay township.  A flour mill in a stone building erected in 1853 by Joseph Teskey below the east side of the Appleton Falls was operated after his death in 1865 by his son Milton.  It was sold in 1900 to H. Brown & Sons, Carleton Place flour millers and suppliers of electric power, and resold several years later to Thomas Boyd Caldwell (1856-1932) of Lanark, then Liberal member of Parliament for North Lanark, a son of the first Boyd Caldwell who had owned a large sawmill at Carleton Place.

Appleton Woollen Mills

Robert Teskey, a magistrate for over forty years, built in 1863 a four storey woollen mill of stone construction.  He retired a year later and lived until 1892.  The woollen mill, later doubled in size, was operated by his son John Adam Teskey (1837-1908), with the assistance for a time of his brother in law, William Bredin, later of Carleton Place, and his brother Rufus Teskey.  Before the depression of the eighteen seventies, when the Appleton mills had been leased for a period of years, the village had two firms manufacturing tweeds, flannels and blankets ; Charles T. Drinkwater & Son and Lancelot Routh & Company.  The Teskey woollen mills were owned from 1900 for over thirty years by Boyd Caldwell & Company and Donald Caldwell, who rebuilt the dams in 1903, and for over twenty years since by the Collie family and the present Collie Woollen Mills Limited.  The latest owners built the present mill before the old stone woollen mill buildings, chief landmark of a picturesque setting, were destroyed in the nineteen forties by fire.

At the head of Norway Pine Falls on the lower Mississippi in Ramsay township, James Snedden, one of the Lanark society settlers, received an 1821 location of one hundred acres of land which ran from the present Highway 29 to the village of Blakeney.  Alexander Snedden, who had emigrated two years earlier and had located with David Snedden in the eleventh concession of Beckwith, soon removed to the Pine Falls where he built grist and saw mills and a timber slide.  The family entered the square Timber trade, taking their timber down the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence to the Quebec City market.  James Snedden jr. (1821-1882), known as “Banker Snedden,” also engaged in lumbering and other enterprises.

Rosebank Inn and Norway Pine Falls

On the road to Pakenham and the Ottawa, Alexander Snedden’s Rosebank Inn provided travelers with accommodation of a high standard.  Here the Reform Association conventions of the old District of Bathurst and of the United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew of the eighteen forties and early fifties were held.  A discriminating traveler of 1846 wrote of “Snedden’s Hotel, which is kept in as good style as any country Inn in the Province.”  Another travelling newspaper contributor of fifteen years later added in confirmation: “Who in this portion of Victoria’s domain has not heard of Snedden’s as a stopping place?  Ask any teamster on the upper Ottawa and he will satisfy you as to its capabilities of rendering the traveler oblivious to the comforts of his home.”  Alexander Snedden became a militia officer and in 1855 gained the rank of Lieutenant colonel in command of the Ramsay battalion of Lanark Militia.  His adjutant was Captain J. B. Wylie,  Almonte mill owner.

Around the Snedden establishment a small community grew at Norway Fine Falls, known as Snedden’s Mills until in the eighteen fifties it was named Rosebank.  It was renamed Blakeney when the post office of the area was moved here in 1874 from Bennie’s Corners with Peter McDougall as postmaster.  The nearby railway station continued to be called Snedden, and the name Rosebank also persisted.  Other early industries at Blakeney included a woollen factory, a brewery at the Pine Isles, a second sawmill and a tannery.  A three storey woollen mill of stone construction operated by Peter McDougall, was built in the eighteen seventies.  The flour mill at Blakeney continued to be run for some years after the turn of the century by Robert Merilees.

Bennie’s Corners was a small village less than two miles from Blakeney.  It was at the junction of the eighth line of Ramsay and the road from Clayton north of the Indian River, on land where James Bennie located in the original settlement of the township in 1821.  The buildings of the hamlet were destroyed in the summer of 1851 by fire.  As rebuilt it had little more than a post office and general store, a few residences, a school and such tradesmen as blacksmiths and shoemakers, and claimed a population of about fifty persons.

Bairds Flour Mill Restored

Nearby were William and John Baird’s flour mill, Greville Toshack’s carding mill and Stephen Young’s barley mill, all on the Indian River ; and on the Mississippi the similar industries of Blakeney.  The Baird mill, restored as a century old structure in 1930 by Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, sculptor, surgeon and native son of the manse, is now well known as the Mill of Kintail, repository of examples of his works and local historical exhibits.  It was described by its owners in 1860 as:

“Woodside Mills, consisting of a Flour Mill with two runs of burr stones, a superior Smut Machine and an Oatmeal Mill with two runs of Stones, one of which is a Burr.  The Mill is three and a half stories high and most substantially built.  There are also on the premises a kiln capable of drying from 120 to 200 bushels of oats at a time, a frame House for a Miller, a Blacksmith Shop with tools complete, two Stone Buildings and outbuildings, with Stabling for eleven horses.”

Bennie’s Corners Squirrel Hunt

A Bennie’s Corners story of 1875 may be recalled as telling of a recognized sport in some circles of the Ottawa Valley of those times, known as a squirrel hunt and featuring a reckless slaughter of the birds and animals of the summer woods.  An Almonte newspaper report told of the hunt on this occasion:

On Friday the 25th instant a squirrel hunt took place at Bennie’s Corners.  Eighteen competitors were chosen on each side, with Messrs. John Snedden and Robert McKenzie acting as captains.  In squirrel hunts, squirrels are not the only animals killed, but every furred and feathered denizen of the forest, each having a certain value attached.  The count runs as follows : squirrel 1, chip munk 2, wood pecker 2, ground hog 3, crow 3, blackbird 1, skunk 5, fox 50, etc.  At the conclusion of the contest the game killed by both sides amounted to over 2,500.  Mr. James Cochrane bagged 164 squirrels, being the highest individual score, and Mr. Andrew Cochran came next.  The affair wound up with a dance at the residence of Mr. James Snedden.

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