Explain How Lanark County Townships Named, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 09 November, 1961

How did the townships of the County of Lanark get the names they bear?  And how far back in time must one go to reach the days when the native Indians heard the tall forests of these townships ring to the first axe blows of surveyors and British settlers?

When the townships of this area were grouped together long ago to form the present County of Lanark their names already were the same as today.  They had been given when they first were surveyed and opened for settlement in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  The origins of some, such as the Scottish names of Dalhousie and Lanark, remain well known.  The sources of others long have been forgotten locally and possibly are unknown to all of their present residents.

Investigation shows that nearly all of the fourteen townships of Lanark County were named in honour of greater or lesser British public and military figures of the time when this county was receiving its first large influx of settlers.  Among them are the names of some of the leading men of that day who were associated with Canadian and British North American public affairs.  Some wider local knowledge of the origins of these historic names seems worth preserving.  They are among the oldest existing place names in the county, with such exceptions as those of the Indian-named Mississippi and the French-named Rideau.  Together they form a permanent part of the record of the early inhabitation of this district by our forefathers.

Southern Townships First Settled

The townships of Montague, North Elmsley and North Burgess, on the northern borders of the waterways of the Rideau, are both the oldest and the newest townships of Lanark County.  They were the first named and surveyed and received the county’s first settlers, but until about 1845 they remained a part of the adjoining district to the south which became the united counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Admiral Montagu and the American Revolution

Montague, the southeastern corner extending east along the Rideau River from Smiths Falls to beyond Merrickville and north to within two miles of Franktown, is the oldest township in Lanark County in point of date of settlement, naming and time of survey.  Before it was named and surveyed in about the year 1797, the first farm land to be occupied north of the Rideau River was cleared and settled in 1790 by Roger Stevens and his family.

He had been an officer in one of the voluntarily enlisted corps of those American colonists who strove to preserve a British North America from revolution and who as migrating loyalists had shaped momentously the future of Canada. This Lanark County pioneer location became lot number one in Concession A of  Montague township, near the mouth of Rideau Creek.  Three years later Stevens had met his death by drowning and his Montague associate William Merrick had begun building the first mill in Lanark County at Merrickville.

The member of the prominent Montague family for whom the township was named appears to have been Admiral Sir George Montagu (1750-1829).  He had been a British naval captain in the American Revolutionary War.  At the outset of the war he had charge of blockading the ports of Marblehead and Salem.  He captured the Washington, the first war vessel sent to sea from the revolting colonies, and he covered the embarkation of the main British force removed from Boston to New York.  During the American Revolution and in earlier periods dating from 1748 his father John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), was first Lord of the Admiralty.

Chief Justice Elmsley

North Elmsley township was named for John Elmsley (1762-1805), Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1796 to 1802, Speaker of this province’s Legislative Council in 1799 and Chief Justice of Lower Canada from 1802 until his early death.  His land ownership in Upper Canada was measured in thousands of acres, and he maintained residences at Quebec, York and Newark.  The home of one of his present descendants is in Lanark County at Appleton.

When the Canadian parliament buildings were destroyed in the Montreal riots of 1849 and Parliament began meeting for alternate periods of years at Toronto and Quebec, Elmsley Villa became the Toronto place of residence of the governor general Lord Elgin.  North Elmsley township extends south from Perth to Rideau Ferry and Smiths Falls to Rideau Ferry and Smiths Falls.  It contains the Tay Canal and is crossed by the highway running from Perth to Smiths Falls through Port Elmsley.

Bishop Burgess

North Burgess township borders the Rideau from North Elmsley west to the Narrows lock and bridge at the junction of the Big Rideau and Upper Rideau Lakes.  It extends north to the locally historic Scotch Line.  While sometimes said to have been named for a mythical Earl of Burgess, the township is recorded as having been given its name in honour of the Rev. Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury.  At Oxford University he had been a fellow student with Henry Addington (1757-1844), the late Viscount Sidmouth, English Prime Minister.  Allan’s Mills and Stanleyville are localities in North Burgess township.

North Elmsley and North Burgess townships were separated from their southern counterparts of the same names on the south side of the Rideau and were attached in 1845 to the jurisdiction which became the present Lanark County.  Before this division they were named in or about the year 1798 and were surveyed as townships at periods between 1800 and 1810.  Along their northern Scotch Line the first group of the county’s emigrants from Britain, natives of the south of Scotland, came to establish themselves as farmers in 1816.

Pioneers of 1816

Beckwith, Drummond and Bathurst townships, each named and initially surveyed in 1816, were the first townships of the county to be prepared for the opening of Lanark County for settlement by British emigrants and demobilized soldiers and sailors after the War of 1812-14 and the end of the long wars with France.  With South Sherbrooke they continued for nearly thirty years to form the southern extremity of the new district.  The fourth of the district’s new townships to be surveyed was Goulbourn, now part of Carleton County.

The Third Earl of Bathurst

Bathurst township, extending along the north side of the Scotch Line from Perth to Christie Lake and north to beyond Fallbrook was named for Henry Bathurst, Third Earl of Bathurst (1762-1834).  He was Secretary for War and the Colonies from 1812 to 1827, years which in Canada ran from the beginning of the War of 1812 to the start of the building of the Rideau Canal between Kingston and the site of Ottawa.  He had senior executive responsibility for the emigration and soldier settlement provisions which led to the founding of Lanark County.

The entire new district also was given his name.  It became later the counties of Lanark and Renfrew and a large part of the County of Carleton.  The earl of Bathurst entered the peerage as Baron Apsley and for several years was Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.  Other places in Canada bearing his name are the town of Bathurst in New Brunswick and the Arctic’s Bathurst Islands and Bathurst Inlet.

Canada’s Defender Sir Gordon Drummond

In Drummond township in 1816 Perth was established as the new district’s regional administrative centre.  Extending eastward on the upper Mississippi Lake to the location known as Tennyson, Drummond township contains the present smaller communities of Balderson, Ferguson’s Falls and Innisville.  Drummond is the only township in the county to be named for a native of Canada.  General Sir Gordon Drummond (1771-1854) was born in the city of Quebec.  In his British army career he served in the Netherlands, Egypt, Ireland, Canada and the West Indies before returning to Canada in 1813 to become second in command of the forces engaged in this county’s defence in the War of 1812-14.  His vigour and ability as a leader played a large part in turning the balance in British Canada’s second successful war of independence against the power of its southern neighbours.  After becoming the administrator of Upper Canada in 1813 he was wounded at the conclusive winning battle of Lundy’s Lane.  He was commander in chief and administrator of Lower and Upper Canada in 1815 and 1816 when the first large scale settlements of Lanark County were begun.  In Quebec his name was given to the city of Drummondville in the County of Drummond.

Sir Sidney Beckwith Directed Settlement

Beckwith township gained its first few settlers in 1816, when the township was named and partly surveyed.  It received its largest single group of early residents from Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands in 1818, and became the location of the town of Carleton Place on the Mississippi and the smaller communities of Prospect, Franktown and Black’s Corners.  The township was named for Major General Sir Sidney Beckwith (1772-1831).  Entering the army at the age of nineteen, Sir Sidney Beckwith served in India, under Sir John Moore in the Spanish Peninsula, and in North America in and after the War of 1812-14.  He became commander in chief at Bom in 1829 and died two years later in India.

As quartermaster general of the British forces in Canada when the first main settlements in this county and district were made, Sir Sidney Beckwith headed the branch of the army in Canada which from 1815 to 1823 issued supplies to the several thousands of emigrants who, together with groups of demobilized soldiers, began the conversion of this section of Ontario into an inhabited region.  Under the immediate direction of his military department from 1816 to 1822 the farm sites then being granted in the present County of Lanark and other nearby areas were assigned individually through local offices opened at Perth, Richmond and Lanark.

Story of The Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment, by Howard Morton Brown, 14 Sept. 1961

Some 13 years ago The Canadian prepared an article on the history of the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment which has a company stationed at Carleton Place.  Here is the story recalled.

Lanark and Renfrew Regiment, July 22, 1948

Glorious pages of history, full of stirring accounts of hard fought battles on the field of honor, of meritorious commendation for efficiency and service, could be unfolded if the complete history on the Lanark and Renfrew, Scottish Regiment, was available.

One of Canada’s oldest and most famous military units at present under command of Lieut. Col. W. K. McGregor, Pembroke, the regiment, since organization in 1862 as a volunteer militia company has aided in the suppression of the Fenian Raids of 1886, contributed 2,956 men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Great War, won five battle honors, and finally recruited 73 officers and over 2,000 men who served in active units in the present war.  How the regiment was organized is told in an abridged copy of its activities which have been notated from time to time through the years.

Early settlement of the Ottawa Valley started with the disbanding of the British regiments after the war of 1812.  Conditions in England and Scotland at this time were such that men discharged from the army were unable to find employment and so came to Canada.

Although the 42nd Brockville battalion of infantry (the “Old 42nd”) as it was formerly known, was not formed until 1866, the early settlers belonged to several units which were established at that time.  The Militia Act of 1855 authorized the formation of volunteer militia companies and the following were formed in Lanark and Renfrew counties :   Infantry company at Almonte, Dec. 5, 1862 ; at Brockville, Dec. 11, 1862 ; at Perth and Fitzroy, Jan. 16, 1863 ; at Lansdowne, June 15, 1866 ;  and Smiths Falls, June 22, 1866.

Units Are Concentrated

On October 5, 1866, these independent units were concentrated into one unit “the 42nd Brockville Battalion of Infantry.”  When the regimental command was given to Lieut. Col. Jacob D. Buell in the same year, the unit became known as the Lanark and Renfrew Regiment.  Another unit, an infantry company at Pembroke, was attached and absorbed as No. 7 company in 1871.

In 1866, the militia received training under active service conditions.  When the threat of Fenian raids assumed serious proportions in 1870, contingents from the companies stationed in the two counties were detailed for duty at Brockville, Prescott, Cornwall and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River.  In the same year, a small detachment led by Capt. Thomas Scott, was sent with the Red River Expedition to the Canadian West to help crush the Riel Rebellion.

Drill sheds (as they were then called) were under construction for the battalion in 1868 at Lansdowne, Almonte, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and Perth.

During the succeeding five years, activities of the unit were comparatively quiet although it is said the camp of 1875, was the first “dry” one since its formation.  The original historian facetiously remarks on this point.  “The matter has since been rectified and great improvement noted in the orderly conduct of the men.”  In 1877, the Pembroke company commanded by Lieut. Moffatt was called out to aid the local civil authorities in repressing riotous raftsmen.  This occurred during the great lumbering days.

Col. Buell retired in 1896, after 20 years continuous service and was succeeded by Lieut. Co. Arthur J. Matheson.  The new commanding officer approached his task under difficult circumstances as many of the officers had reached the age of retirement, but under his direction, the regiment was able to go to camp near Prescott with a strength of 15 officers and 185 other ranks.  It is noteworthy the regiment was highly complimented on its showing during an inspection. 

For the next nine years, training was reduced to a minimum due to a reduction in militia grants but the battalion was kept together through voluntary training at local headquarters.  A brief scare in 1895 due to differences between Great Britain and America over the Venezuela boundary, (which was finally settled by arbitration) helped arouse interest in the militia and the strengthening of Canadian defences.

In 1898, Lieut. Col. J. McKay succeeded Col Matheson.  Three years later he in turn was succeeded by Lieut. Col. Lennox Irving.  During his tenure of office the 42nd was selected the rural unit to take part in the ceremony and review on the occasion of the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York.  After the march past, General Otter addresses the regiment stating, “Well done 42nd.  It was simply splendid.”

In 1906, Lieut. Col. H. J. Mackie succeeded to the command.  During his tenure of office an amusing incident took place at the camp.

Lost Spur is Found

One of the staff officers was fond of brilliant dress.  He wore a pair of brilliant golden spurs.  One day camp orders reported the loss of a spur.  A soldier found it and brought it to the Orderly Room.  The unit, through exercises for the day, was immediately called out and a stretcher party of four men was detailed to carry the spur.  An armed guard was detailed to accompany the party.  With the regimental band leading the parade, the unit proceeded to headquarters.  The story concludes at this point.

Lieut. Col. J. M. Balderson succeeded Col. Mackie in 1908 and he remained in command until 1920.

During the Great War, the regiment enlisted and transferred men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force as follows:  First contingent, 150 ; 21st Battalion, 120 ; 38th Battalion, 285 ; 77th Battalion, 103 ; 80th Battalion, 321 ; 130th Battalion, 1,024 ; and the 240th Battalion, 963.  The 130th Lanark and Renfrew Overseas Battalion was mobilized Nov. 14, 1915, at Perth, under Lieut. Col. J. E. de Hertel, and the 240th, on June 1, 1916, at Renfrew under Lieut. Col. E. Watt.

Battle honors awarded to the regiment were, the Somme, 1916 ; Amiens, in the same year ; Arras, 1917-18, (Hindenburg Line) ; Ypres, 1917, and the pursuit to Mons in the same year.

The unit was re-organized in 1922 and Lieut. Col. J. R. Caldwell succeeded to the command.  Companies were allocated as follows : Headquarters, Perth ; “A” Company, Pembroke ; “B” Company, Renfrew and Arnprior ; “C” Company, Carleton Place, and “D” Company, Perth.

Two years after Lieut. Col. J. A. Hope, D.S.O., M.C., V.D., was given the command in 1925, the name of the regiment was changed to the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment and became affiliated with the famous Black Watch regiment.  During his term of office, headquarters of the battalion was at Perth, on the Tay River.  In Scotland, a Lieut. Col. Hope commanded the 42nd Regiment of the Black Watch.  His headquarters was also at Perth, on the Tay.

The colors were presented to the battalion at Barriefield, July 13, 1930, by Miss Constance M. Dawes, and the ceremony of dedication took place the same afternoon.  Hon. Major H. H. Bedford Jones, D.D., officiated at the dedication.

A few years later, Col. Hope commanded the Bisley rifle team.  He was succeeded in 1931 by Lieut. Col. E. H. Wilson, V.D., who remained in command until 1933 when Lieut. Col. P. H. Gardner, M.C., V.D., was appointed commanding officer.

During his tenure of office, the regiment resumed training at Petawawa Military Camp for the first time since the war years.  He had the honor of being present at the Coronation of King George VI.

In 1938, the present commander, Col. Beatty, succeeded Col. Gardner.  During this visit of the King and Queen in 1939, his regiment was given a prominent part in the ceremonies at Ottawa and Kingston.

Aids at Ottawa Function

At Ottawa the regiment was credited with preventing what might have developed into a serious situation on the evening Their Majesties attended a parliamentary dinner at the Chateau Laurier.  Over 300 strong, the battalion’s duty was to line Mackenzie avenue and control the traffic and crowds.  About eight o’clock, the crowd began to press forward and civilian “casualties” occurred right and left.  The situation rapidly got out of hand.  But the pipe band was brought forward and played in front of the Chateau.  Soon the temper of the crowd changed and the situation was under control.

A personal bodyguard for the Queen was selected from the unit and stationed in the hall leading to the East Block of the Parliament Buildings.  It was commanded by Capt. A. Wallace.

At the outbreak of the present war, guards were established for a time at each armory, and shortly afterward the regiment was required to detail a guard of two officers and 50 other ranks over the Magazine, Pump House, and Main Gate at Petawawa camp. 

The regiment provided a guard over aliens interned at Centre Lake, in December, 1939.  Within a short time, a complete company of 250 officers and men were supplied to the Governor General’s Footguards, under command of Major Harold Baker.

Appointments announced in 1943 were : D. E. Jamieson, Smiths Falls, and now of Pembroke, will shortly receive his commission and will be appointed adjutant.  Lieut. W. R. Eliott, Renfrew, is training officer.  The following N.C.O.’s will be appointed assistant instructors with the rank of warrant Officer H, Sgt. Major J. B. Rouselle, Headquarters Company, Renfrew ; C.Q.M.S.P.J. Rooney “B” Company, Almonte ; C.Q.M.S.C.A. Clarke, “C” Company, Smiths Falls, and Sgt. L. E. Fagan, “D” Company, Carleton Place.

The spring of 1946 marked a turning point in the history of this famous regiment as it came under the scrutiny of the Department of National Defense under new plans announced for the Canadian Army in the post-war period.

The regiment was placed under command of Col. William Boyd, of Smiths Falls, who succeeded Major Alex Bathgate, of Pembroke, who was in command for a short time after Lieut. Col John McLaren Beatty.  A short time later, Col. W. K. McGregor, of Pembroke, succeeded Col. Boyd.

The regiment became known as the 59th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Lanark and Renfrew Scottish (Reserve).  Instead of the old time companies in an infantary regiment, the unit was divided into artillery batteries.

The 176th Battery was subdivided into two troops.  “A” Troop is located at Perth under Capt. W. Arbuthnot ; “B” Troop at Smiths Falls under Capt. Gordon Thom.  Headquarters is at Carleton Place under Major C. R. Ryan who commands both troops.

The 17th Battery is located at Renfrew and the 177th Battery at Pembroke.

In command of Headquarters in Carleton Place for the 176th Battery are : Major Ryan, Lieuts. G. W. Comba, Ivan Romanuke, Ronald McFarlane, M.B.E., John Dunlop ; Battery Sergeant Major E. M. Evoy, M. M. and Bar, Battery Quarter Master Sergeant, W. E. Fraser ; sergeants H. Neil, Thomas Poynter and Transport Sergeant Thomas Leach.

The first post-war camp was held at Point Petre that year.  The camp is located on Prince Edward Island, near Picton.  A considerable number from this area attended and were introduced to the new equipment allotted the regiment.  This included the main weapons, the 40-mm. Bofors gun and the 20-mm. Polsten rapid-fire gun.

The following year, the next camp was held at the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (L.) at Picton on the site of the former airport.  More advanced training was given and as a result of the men’s progress, the regiment was complimented on its showing.

At this camp, guns were fired at Point Petre.

During the winter of 1947, considerable training took place at various troop headquarters.  Carleton Place made use of the 40-mm. Fofors, gun tractor and 15-cwt. Transport allotted to them.  Many lectures were given and some schemes were completed.  The year 1948 saw a repetition of previous training at the artillery school during the annual camp, just completed.