Liquor in Carleton Place before Prohibition in 1921

 

Liquor Once So Strong Fumes Blew Apart Barrel

Carleton Place Canadian, April 17, 1958

By Howard Morton Brown

 

Stories of less commendable features of Lanark County’s nineteenth century social life are found accompanying records of the pioneer progress of the county.  Among these was the liquor problem, frequently a controversial combination of poverty and alcohol.  Some of its aspects, as seen and reported by weekly newspaper editors of this district, are reproduced here from the so-called good old days.

Social Problem

Licenced or unlicenced bars and other private sources of liquor supplies were among the ordinary features of community life throughout the century dating to the World War of 1914-1918.  They carried on a flourishing business in every village or town, and once in taverns at strategically located country crossroad points.  Examples were those in the “stirring little village” of Carleton Place, appraised in a traveller’s “Sketches by the Way”, in 1841 as “more taverns I think than are necessary for comfort or accommodation, numbering about five or six”.

Effects of excessive consumption of alcohol became a nineteenth century social problem.  Commonly caused or aggravated by other social conditions, it appears to have been a conspicuous contributor to crime and to other broader social losses.  Local temperance societies were formed as early as about 125 years ago to combat its evils.  At the outset of settlement at Carleton Place the Ballygiblin Riots of 1824 – joined in the name of law and order by participants of the areas from Perth to Almonte, with gunfire casualties including loss of a life – had been sparked by a drunken military Donnybrook on Mill Street in Morphy’s Falls.

Drunken Bipeds

 

A similar scene, checked at its onset, is found in James Poole’s press report of the next generation’s Spring Fair Day of 1852 at Carleton Place:

“The Spring Fair was held at Carleton Place last Tuesday.  Very indifferent Milch cows brought 20 pounds.  There was an average stock of drunken bipeds in the village, some of whom were under eighteen years.  The day was finished with one of those party fights between Orangemen and Catholics, which have been the disgrace and ruin of Ireland and which occasionally break out among her sons in this land of their adoption.  We know not what length their passions would have carried them had they not been checked by the prompt and decisive action of Mr. Robert Bell, who was called there by the uproar, where there were about fifty actually engaged, and the whole crowd which filled the street were fast giving way to their passions.”

Explosion

 

Among other less typical and therefore newsworthy incidents of the liquor trade, a classic barroom news item is one recorded in the July 12th  Carleton Place Herald of the summer of 1860, reported from the village of Clayton:

“An accident happened at Clayton on Monday last by which a young man named Andrew Waugh came near losing his life, and may serve as a caution against similar occurrences.  Accident happened at the Hotel of Mrs. Sutherland.  A newly emptied high-wines barrel was turned out in the morning and stood on end outside the barroom door.  In the afternoon the young man, who is the bar-keeper in the hotel was sitting on it and took out a match to light a pipe for another individual.  The fire ignited with the gas or steam of the alcohol escaping out of the tap-hole of the barrel and caused it to explode with a terrible cannon-like report, pitching the young man and the barrel a considerable distance out on the street and severely burning one of his hands.  Had not the lower end of the barrel burst out the consequences might have been serious.”

Tribunal

 

Alleged dispensing of liquor in proceedings of a junior court of justice at Carleton Place became the theme of an 1858 editorial onslaught by the town’s prohibitionist editor (Herald, July 22, 1858):

“Whatever notions of respect we may hitherto have felt for magistrates as peace officers of Her Majesty and the dispensers of justice among the people, we can entertain nothing but the most profound contempt for a tribunal of Just-asses who sat in this village on the 19th instant.  The first case tried was that of a woman who threatened to murder a boy about fifteen years of age who, as she stated, said something prejudicial to her character.  The case was clearly proved but the magistrates, one of whom seemed more like counsel employed by the defence, insisted on settling the case.

A decanter of liquor was immediately placed on the table in front of the justices who helped themselves liberally, and invited the parties partake freely.  At this stage we left the courtroom, completely disgusted with the proceedings.  The second case was that of some little boys who had climbed a fence for the purpose of eating green peas, and were brought before the Solomons.  We were not present but have been told the witnesses were sworn on Wesley’s Hymns, the magistrates being so tight that they probably did not perceive the difference.”

Syrup Labels

 

A period of restriction of sale of alcoholic beverages, imposed in Lanark County in the 1870’s under the Dunkin Temperance Act, was ended for this county in 1879.  Its suspension was reported by editor James C. Poole (Herald, June 18, 1879):

“Hotels – The hotels throughout the county are again in full swing, though to be candid they “swung” just as freely while the Dunkin Act was in force.  Our genial landlords can now remove the syrup labels off their brandy bottles.”

Lanark and Renfrew hotel keepers two years later were found getting together to raise the prices of meals and liquor.  As reported in Carleton Place, “The hotel keepers of this section held a largely attended meeting at Arnprior, and unanimously agreed on raising the price of liquor to ten cents a glass, and meals to thirty-five cents.”  Similar liquor prices seem to have prevailed for many years, as suggested by a 1905 report from Brockville, relating that “Brockville hotel men have combined to raise the price of liquor dispensed over the bar.  Five cent drinks will hereafter be ten cents.”

Missing Tanglefoot

 

Editor J. C. Poole’s characteristic version of a Carleton Place liquor enforcement case of 1881 was published by him under the title “Suction”:

“A few weeks ago complaint was made before Licence Inspector Manning of certain infringements of the law.  After examination of the houses and premises of Messrs. George Warren and James Lee, a considerable number of bottles supposed to contain ‘crooked whiskey’ were seized and said to be confiscated.  The matter was published in the papers at the time.  Praise was given to the local constables for at least ferreting out and assisting in disposing of the ‘tanglefoot’ by placing it under lock and key in the building which was at one time known as the Town Hall and Lock-up, but which has since been dignified with the name of an educational institution.  For several years this building was presided over by a most worthy and efficient constable by the name of Alvin Livingston.  Mr. Livingston was deposed and the office filled by the favorites of the Reeve and Council, named Donald Stewart, musician, and James Nolan, carpenter, bona fide residents of the ‘South Side’!

Our reporter saith that the Inspector with the aid of his assistants placed in the Lock-up the large amount of twenty-seven dozen of bottled ale and porter and, by way of spice, two large jars of whiskey; and that every drop of this large stock of stimulants has, by thirsty palates or otherwise, been drawn through the massive stone walls of the lock-up building!  We do not wish to be understood to be attaching any blame at all to the worthy inspector, although the placing of such a powerful temptation in the way of his assistants may seem extraordinary.  At or near the close of the picnic, which neighbouring observers say was kept up for several days in jolly style, the lock disappeared from the door, as if pried off.”

Bar Room Conditions

 

Seasons of lumbering prosperity in the twenty-five years before 1900 provided their share of unconscious human figures laid out on Bridge Street in Carleton Place on Saturday nights.  A local editorial verdict was that the accompanying prevalence of drunkenness was both disgusting at times and a disgrace to the town.  Such penal enforcement of liquor licencing as prevailed from time to time seems to have been aimed largely at support of the local and other revenues gained from licence fees.  Unlicenced production and sale included such arrangements as those reported to the Kingston Whig from one of the small up-river lumbering centres in the Mississippi watershed, on the Clyde River and the K. and P. Railway.

 

Licenced Vendors

(Herald, Sept. 10, 1894):

“Although we have no licenced hotel, for some little time ‘bug juice’ has flowed freely.  The ‘bhoys’ do not have to go down lanes, through long dark corridors or spell such a long word as Constantinople to get it, either.  We have a good corn and potato crop.”

Licenced liquor vendors in Lanark County when the time of the brass-railed open bar was nearing its end included, in South Lanark in 1903, nine hotels and one shop at Smiths Falls, seven hotels and shops at Perth, in Beckwith township two hotels at Franktown and one at Lake Park, in Drummond township a hotel at Innisville and one at Ferguson’s Falls, and a hotel at Maberley in South Sherbrooke.  North Lanark in 1900 had twenty-three licenced outlets, including eight hotels and two shops at Carleton Place.  A change in public opinion leading to stricter licencing and prohibition of sale by local option vote – carried in 1910 at points including Almonte, Pakenham, Ramsay and Beckwith and in 1916 at Carleton Place – brought the final trend noted in 1914 in the Carleton Place Herald, April 21, 1914:

“North Lanark is gradually becoming dry.  Only seven applications came before the Licence Commissioners at their meeting here this morning, all for hotel licences.  Six of these are in Carleton Place, the seventh is in Lavant.  The latter was renewed.  The applications of W. C. McIlquham, M. Doyle and Mr. Lambertus were granted.  Mr. Rothwell was given three months notice for improvements, and at an adjourned meeting the applications of E. White and M. Morris were refused.  The Commissioners are Messrs. Cole of Almonte, Howe of Pakenham, and Berryman of Carleton Place.”

In the post-war depression of 1921, the last step in prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Ontario was taken when by referendum the previously permitted importation into the province was barred under the Canada Temperance Act.

Royal Visit to Carleton Place 1860

Historian Recalls Visit of Royal Party 100 Years Ago

Carleton Place Canadian, 14 November 1957

By Howard M. Brown

 

The route of the state tour of Ottawa’s first royal visitor, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, included Lanark, Renfrew and Leeds counties.  Proceeding in 1860 by boat from the new capital, the royal party received an elaborate lumbermen’s reception at Arnprior.  Its progress continued by road from Arnprior to Almonte, the royal carriage passing through many triumphal arches erected at various points along the way.

Lanark County Royal Visit

After an Almonte reception the future Edward VII boarded his waiting train at that temporary terminus of the new railway, continuing by rail through Carleton Place and Smiths Falls to Brockville.  A report of the royal progress through these Eastern Ontario counties, given by James Poole in the Carleton Place Herald, tells of a minor amusing adventure of the future king in Almonte as seen by the Carleton Place editor.

He writes in September, 1860:

“The laying of the corner stone of the Government Buildings in Ottawa is, to the people of this section of Canada, one of the most interesting events of the visit of the Prince of Wales, particulars of which we publish today.  His trip on Monday last to the Chatt’s Lake, escorted by the canoes, reception at Arnprior and carriage drive to Almonte were, we are informed, very pleasant and highly gratifying to the young Prince and Royal Party.  We have heard scores of people say that it is mainly owing to the liberality and exertions of Mr. Daniel McLachlan of Arnprior that we were indebted for the visit of the Prince along this route.

For the size of the place, Almonte was second to no other village on the whole route in the taste and enthusiasm of the reception for their Royal visitor.  During the few minutes we had to spare we could not see one half of what had been done in the village, and nothing in the country, where we understand great triumphal arches were also erected.

We noticed any number of constables armed with staves of office and mounted with badges of their rank.  A rather amusing incident occurred which drew a hearty laugh from the Prince.  Just as the royal party ascended the platform the crowd, anxious to see the Prince, rushed together from all directions in spite of the best efforts of the constables, whose painted sticks might be seen flourishing at all points.  One of them undertook to push back the royal party, with cries of “Ye canna get up here!”  The Prince nimbly eluded his vigilance and having succeeded in getting on the platform of his own car, laughed heartily at the mistake.

The Prince remained outside for some time and received several hearty cheers which he duly acknowledged.  The day being far spent, his train hurried off to Brockville, stopped a few minutes at Smiths Falls Station and received an address from the village corporation.  With our other reports of the Royal Tour we publish the Address and Reply.

The town of Brockville was lit up to perfection and contained arches and decorations too numerous to mention.  The excursion train was left far behind and did not get to Brockville until far after the excitement of the evening was nearly over.  The excursionists had barely time for supper when the hour was announced to return.”

Canadian patriotic spirit was further increased in the early 1860’s by perils and alarms from the south, accompanying and following the United States Civil War.  Defence preparations included locally the authorized formation in 1862 of a relatively large and active rifle company at Carleton Place replacing, with popular acclaim, Beckwith township’s former 5th Battalion of Lanark Militia.  This new unit, with James Poole as its senior local officer, like units similarly formed in neighbouring towns, was active in frontier guard duty in the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870.  Uniforms of the new volunteer forces of the ‘60s were green for the rifle companies and scarlet for other infantry units, the headgear being a high shako bearing a brass plate ornamented with a beaver, the words ‘Canadian Militia’ and a wreath of maple leaves.

A brief press account of the Carleton Place May 24th celebration of 1865 shows the local rifle company on display and engaged in a target shooting competition:

“Wednesday last, the 46th birthday of our Queen, was a general holiday all over the Province.  The members of the Carleton Place Rifle Company met at the armoury at 10 o’clock and, after going through sundry evolutions, marched around the principal streets of the village to music of the Appleton Brass Band.  At 12 o’clock noon they halted on the bridge, took open order and fired a feu-de-joie.  The national anthem was played by the band, one part intervening each round of firing.

Through the liberality of the Beckwith Council $30 was divided into six prizes for the best target shooting, competed for in the afternoon by firing five rounds at 300 yards and five at 400 yards.  The following are the successful competitors – W. B. Gray, $8; Absolem McCaffrey, $7; Robert Metcalf, $6; John Ellis, $4; Albert Patterson, $3; James McFadden, $2.  Particular praise is due to the Appleton Brass Band and the Carleton Place pipers for their services.”

District militia activities of the 1860’s renewed the Lanark County military tradition which was begun here by the large element of disbanded members of the armed forces of the Napoleonic Wars period among the original settlers of 1816-1819.  This tradition and service continued through the times of the Rebellion of 1837-38, the Fenian Raids and the Red River and Northwest Rebellions of 1870 and 1885 to the Boer War and this district’s records in the victorious tragedies of the last two World Wars.

First Local Militia

Representing earliest local militiamen, pledged to serve the interests of the Province and King George IV, are the officers of the unit based at the newly settled Morphy’s Falls area in 1822.  The three senior officers are of Perth, the others following include names of Beckwith township families now well known and a few of Ramsay township origin:

     Colonel Josias Taylor, Lieut. Colonel Ulysses Fitzmaurice, Major Donald Fraser.

     Captains T. Glendenning, John Robertson, Wm. Pitt, John Ferguson, James      

     O’Hara, Julius Lelievre.

     Lieutenants, Wellesley Richey, Thomas Wickham, Wm. Moore, George Nesbitt

     M.D., Duncan Fisher, Robert Ferguson, Wm. Toshack, Israel Webster, James

     McFarlane, John Cram.

     Ensigns, John Fulton, Peter McDougall, Wm. Baird, Peter McGregor, James

     Smart, John Nesbitt, Alex Dewar, John Dewar, Manny Nowlan, David Ferguson.

One of the annual musters of these militia units of long ago is vividly pictured in an 1841 letter from “A Militia Man” of Carleton Place, published in the Bathurst Courier at Perth:

“Beckwith, Friday June 4, 1841. 

Sir —- I send you for publication a statement of the proceedings at Carleton Place today.

Col. The Hon. H. Graham, commanding the 3rd Regiment of Lanark Militia, in common with all other Colonels of Militia, received some time last winter a Militia General Order directing him to form two flank companies in his regiment, and that those companies should be formed of volunteers if possible, but that if such could not be obtained the number should be drafted.

As the Regiment was deficient in officers and the promotions recommended had not been Gazetted, the above order had not been complied with up to this date.  However this being the day appointed by law for a general muster of the Milita, Co. Graham, to give as little trouble as possible to the farmers at this busy season, determined to call for volunteers for the flank companies on the present occasion.

Never having attended a militia training before, I felt some curiosity to meet my Brother Soldiers.  At an early hour this morning I was awakened by the sound of a Pibroch.  In an instant I was out of bed and from the window perceived a body of most respectable looking young men marching into the village to the tune of ‘Patrick’s Day’, played by one of Scotia’s sons in Scotia’s garb on Scotia’s national instrument.  Until about 11 o’clock the men were arriving in parties equestrian and pedestrian.

At this hour the Companies were ordered to ‘Fall In’, and soon after we were all on the parade ground in open column.  Then the Major, Alexander Frazer, formerly of the 49th, the Green Tigers, General Brock’s regiment – made his appearance in uniform, mounted on a white charger.  Having inspected the companies and formed us into close column, he addressed the Regiment in a short but pithy speech, stating the object for which the flank companies were to be formed and his hope that there would be sufficient volunteers and that it would be unnecessary to have to resource to drafting.

This was received with enthusiasm, and ‘I’ll volunteer’ was responded from all directions.  We were again formed into open columns, wheeled into line, the ranks opened, and three deafening cheers for Her Majesty made the forests re-echo to the joyful chorus.  Immediately after, the Captains of the respective companies enrolled the names of the volunteers.  To the honor of the Regiment be it spoken, the flank companies were soon filled up, the full number having volunteered with the exception of some fifteen or twenty.  Had the officers recommended by the Colonel last fall been Gazetted I firmly believe there would have been more volunteers than required.

The 3rd Battalion of Lanark Militia is formed of the yeomen of the townships of Beckwith and Ramsay, the sons of English, Scotch and Irish emigrants.  Four-fifths of the regiment are under forty years of age, and a finer or more orderly set of young men I never saw in a body.”

Victoria Proclaimed Queen

The Queen cheered at Carleton Place in 1841, like her successor here in the Royal Visit of 1957, was a young monarch and in the early years of her reign.  Four years earlier on the death of William IV proclamations of her accession to the throne had been made throughout British lands.  The proclamation for the judicial district of Lanark, Renfrew and Carleton counties, made at Perth, was concisely described in a Bathurst Courier report:

“On Saturday last Queen Alexandrina Victoria was proclaimed here by the Deputy Sheriff, in the absence of the Sheriff.  The ceremony was but meagerly attended in consequence, we suppose, of the short space of time which intervened between the notice and the day selected for proclaiming.

The order in which the procession moved was as follows – The Deputy Sheriff on horseback, the Clergy, Members of the Medical Profession, Members of the Bar, Officers of Militia, Clerk of the Peace, and the Magistrates, with the Perth Volunteer Artillery in the rear, in uniform.

When Her Majesty had been proclaimed in four different parts of the Town, the Artillery fired a Royal salute of twenty-three guns from the island to conclude young Queen by those assembled, and then they dispersed.”

 

A History of Schools and Teachers in Carleton Place

Teaching School Once Hazardous Occupation

The Carleton Place Canadian, January 9, 1958

By Howard M. Brown

 

School Staff

Among public school inspectors in Lanark County a record of long service was made by F. S. Michell who continued in that capacity from 1880 to 1921.  Near the beginning of his forty years of duty he reported his views and findings on teachers’ prevailing salaries:

“The headmasters of the Public Schools in Carleton Place and Pakenham received the highest salaries paid teachers in this County – $550.  Male teachers salaries of 1884 ranged from $300 to $550, averaging $337.50.  Female teachers received from $150 to $350, the average for 1884 being $193.  Even the princely sum of $550 is but poor inducement for a man to undertake the ordeal of preparation in High, Model and Normal Schools and the harass and responsibility of a large graded school.  While the false economy of cheap teachers is the rule, the work must remain largely in the hands of students and school girls who intend to teach until something better presents itself.”

Twenty-five years later Carleton Place appointed a new public school principal to teach the senior class and supervise the operation of two schools and the work of thirteen other teachers.  The opening salary was $800.  Teachers were: Misses McCallum, Shaw, Burke, Anderson, O’Donnell, Caswell, Sturgeon, Sinclair, McLaren, Fife, Flegg, Morris, Cornell, and Mr. R. J. Robertson, principal.

Public school teachers of 1917 as listed by R. J. Robertson, principal, were Misses V. Leach, H. Cram, Laura Anderson, A. L. Anderson, I. H. Caswell, M. E. Sturgeon, Lizzie McLaren, Kate McNab, S. P. May, M. I. Mullett, C. Mallinson, M. M. McCallum and Mary Cornell. 

An item of juvenile training of this period was the Carleton Place curfew bylaw passed to protect youth or public order from the post-war perils of 1919.  It provided for ringing of a curfew bell at 9 p.m. standard time.  After this hour children under 16 years unless accompanied by a parent or guardian were required by law to remain indoors.

An earlier list of Carleton Place public school teachers available is that of 1890 :  Misses Munro, Nellie Garland, Shaw, Cram, Flegg, Garland, Smitherman, Lowe, Suter, Ferguson, McCallum, Mr. Neil McDonald (who transferred to the high school in 1890), and T. B. Caswell, principal.  Public school principal preceding Mr. Caswell was John A. Goth.  The local school board in 1890 comprised of Robert Bell, chairman; board members, McDonald, Struthers, Taylor, Donald, Begley, Kelly, Wylie, Breckenridge and, until his death in 1890, David Findlay, Sr.  In the same period J. R. Johnston, M.A. (Queens) was high school principal, with D. E. Sheppard, barrister, as assistant.

University Students

A selection of the local university students of the 1890’s are named in a note by Editor W. H. Allen reporting their return from college in the spring of 1896:

“Among those who have arrived are :  R. W. Suter from McGill, W. H. Cram, J. S. McEwen, Herb Sinclair, D. L. Gordon, and W. McCarthy from Queen’s.  Among those who have passed we note with pleasure the name of C. H. Brown who tied for first place in the honor class in anatomy at McGill, W. J. Cram who also passed with honors in the same class and Holden Love who passed his first exam.  In Queen’s W. H. Cram captured his B.A., W. B. Munro of Almonte took his M.A. with honors and J. B. McDougall a B.A.  J.R. Conn of Prospect took his M.A. with honors and the medal in political science.  In Trinity, J. D. McCallum, B.A. passed his second year divinity with honors.”

Rural Schools

A little log school house traditionally has been the first school of many prominent persons in the professions, agriculture and business.  Like others of the province and nation, Lanark county’s humble early schools, despite their disadvantages, and aided by the family backgrounds of their students and teachers, filled this role well.  For a typical early list of eastern Ontario rural and village teachers, Beckwith township’s teachers of 1855 may be taken.  In order of school sections they were:

1U (Gillies) Alex McKay; 2 (Franktown) John Sinclair; 3 (Coocoo’s Nest) Wm. Kidd; 4 (Prospect) Donald McDiarmid; 5U (Tennyson) Donald Cameron; 5 (7th Line E.) Alex Armstrong; 6 (The Derry) Duncan McDiarmid; 7 (9th Line W.) Elizabeth James; 8 (9th Line E.) Elizabeth Murdock; 9 (11th Line E.) Fleming May; 10 (Scotch Corners) Helen Johnston; 11 (Carleton Place) Margaret Bell; 12U (with S.S.11 Goulbourn) Wm. McEwen.

A glimpse of rural schools of about fifty years ago may be gained in extracts from Lanark school inspector F. L. Michell’s reports of 1905 on Beckwith township schools:

“No 2 (Franktown) – The school suffers greatly from that evil so prevalent in our schools, irregularity of attendance.  School work is well done in the junior grades but unsatisfactory in senior grades.  The grounds are rough and not fenced along the road.

No. 3 (Cuckoo’s Nest) – The school house is small and worn out.  Doing excellent work under disadvantages.

No. 4 (Prospect) – An excellent school property.  Attendance is very large.  The old useless well should be filled in.

No. 5 (7th Line East) – Always kept in first class condition.  The school work is excellent.  The attendance is small, but few schools in the county have to their credit a larger number of graduates who have taken prominent positions in our land.

No. 5U (7th Line West) – This is also one of our banner schools.

No. 6 (The Derry) – This is also an excellent section, and like No. 5 it has sent out numerous young people to lives of usefulness.  Attendance is very small.  The school work is excellent.

No. 7 (9th Line West) – A good site and in fine condition.  The school work was not up to average.

No. 8 (9th Line East) – An excellent new school house, and work well done.

No. 9 (11th Line East) – One of the richest sections of the county.  There is no library.  The school ranks excellent.

No. 14 (11th Line West) – Some small repairs are needed.  The school work is generally good.”

School sections in Beckwith township which had their first teachers in the 1820’s about the same time as Carleton Place were those of the Derry and Franktown.

School Cadets

Early stages of local high school cadet training are found in a July 1913 Carleton Place press report:

“High school principal E. J. Wethey with a squad of nine high and public school pupils spent a week at Barriefield Camp, being attached to the Prescott company of cadets.  Between 1,200 and 1,300 boys were in the camp.  All went through the regulation drill and exercises and athletic contests.  In the athletic events all our boys qualified for at least one bar and the Y.M.C.A. medal, Thorold Kellough and Horace Brown doing exceptionally well.  It is the intention to organize a cadet company here next season in connection with the high school.”

High School Opening

Closing at the years following the World War of 1914-18 these local school notes of the period which opened after the world war of a century earlier, the latest local school landmark was the building of the present High School.  It was completed in 1923.  In its corner stone, laid by Dr. Milo H. Steele, Board of Education chairman, was placed a local and school history record read at the ceremony by J. Morton Brown, chairman of the building committee.  John A. Houston, inspector of Ontario High Schools, was present at the opening ceremony.  He added to local school records by recalling his own youth in Carleton Place.  Between 1865 and 1871 he had attended school here in four locations, first in the old school on the present Central School grounds, next at Hurd’s Hall, the frame building at the southwest corner of Bell and James streets, then in the former Baptist Church building on Bridge Street, and finally at the newly erected Central School.  School teachers in 1923 in Lanark County numbered 224, including those of public schools and 33 high school teachers.  These and their successors have been part of the army of classroom heirs to the first  government-supported school in the old Lanark, Carleton, and Renfrew Counties district, opened in Perth in 1817 by the Rev. William Bell.

Carleton Place on Armistice Day, 1918

Armistice Day in Carleton Place Was Great Event Back in 1918

The Carleton Place Canadian, 11 November, 1954

By Howard M. Brown

 

From a letter to one of our boys who did not come back…..

 

There certainly was a great day here last Monday.  We went to bed Sunday night expecting the word of the signing of the armistice to be put off by the Germans until the last minute, but it looks as if they could not give in quickly enough.  Now they are whining and crying like they always do when caught.

The first word came to Ottawa at 3 a.m.  The general fire alarm sounded here at 4 a.m.  Findlays’ whistle was the first to give it but we did not waken until we heard the fire alarm.  We got our flags out and_________fired off his gun.

The streets were soon crowded with cheering, shouting, singing men, women and children.  There was great hand shaking, some even hugging and kissing – some cried for joy.  Before half an hour there was an immense bonfire on the market square.  Cars were decorated and flying everywhere, horns blowing.

Crowds of young people paraded the streets with banners and flags, blowing horns and making a noise with everything they could from a tin pan up.  I went in the car for Bessie who was nursing between Franktown and Smiths Falls and just got back in time for the parade about 9:30.

There was a long procession, mostly of decorated cars but there were also a lot of decorated cars but there were also a lot of buggies, wagons and drays decorated and fixed up.  One had a war canoe with all the boys in it with paddles as if going into the water.  Scores walked.  The Town Council, the Board of Education, the Firemen, the fire fighting apparatus were there.

One of the funniest things was Curly Thompson, the painter, with a moustache painted to imitate the Kaiser, and Mr. Dack alongside to represent the Crown Prince, in a little old two-wheeled pony cart drawn by men and boys.  All the bells and whistles were kept going, and at night there was another big bonfire.  It was midnight before the noise died out.

There will never be anything to approach it of the same nature again, at least it is hard to see how there ever can be, and to think that all over the civilized world there will be great rejoicing but at the same time, I suppose even in enemy countries.  It will not be long now until the soldiers will be starting to come home generally.  There will be great rejoicing but the war has lasted so long and there are so many who will never come back that the joy will be saddened.  Well it is a good job it is over, and how quickly all the Central Powers went to pieces once the start was made.

It is hard for us here to see the necessity of keeping up a large army after peace terms are signed, and that is practically assured by the inability of the Central Powers to fight any longer.

Riverside Park Site of Carleton Place Graveyard

20-Foot Square Unmarked Grave in Riverside Park

The Carleton Place Canadian, 27 December, 1956

By Howard M. Brown

 

In Riverside Park there lies a little-known site which is of some interest in the town’s history.  It is found at the extreme end of the town’s park, near Lake Avenue and close to the Mississippi River.  This was a burial ground, where members of one of the first families of settlers of the town were laid in a now unmarked graveyard.

Discovery of this site some ten years ago was reported at a Parks Commission meeting, at which the suggestion was made that the area should be marked as a historical site by erection of a cairn.  Pending the receipt of further particulars no action was taken.  The Canadian subsequently found from the late Alex John Duff, Beckwith farmer, that he recalled this burial ground in his youth in the 1880s as being at that time a little cemetery about 15 or 20 feet square, a gravestone in which bore the name Catin Willis. 

With the Morphys and the Moores, the Willises long were among the widely known earliest owners of farm land coming within the present boundaries of the town.  It is well recorded that the whole central section of the present town was first located to the Morphy and the Moore families in 1819 as Crown grants of farm land; the part extending north of Lake Avenue to four of the Morphys, and three hundred acres at the south side of Lake Avenue to three of the Moores.  William Moore is said to have aided in the founding of the town by opening its first blacksmith shop in 1820, the first year of settlement as a community.  About the same time the first marriages here were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy.  Well known descendants of these families continue to live in the town and district.

On a farm which reached the western end of Riverside Park George Willis, born about 1778, settled and raised his family.  Other Willises coming from Ireland and settling near Morphy’s  Falls between 1819 and 1821 were Henry, William, Thomas and Catin Willis.  When the present Carleton Place Town Hall was built, the central building on its site, said to be the second dwelling built in the town, was the home of Mrs. William Morphy,  daughter of George Willis, where she had lived to 1888 and the age of 85, a widow for over fifty years.  The Bathurst Courier at Perth, reporting her husband’s death in August, 1837, said in part:

“Fatal Accident.  On Friday afternoon last, William Morphy of Carleton Place, whilst on his way home from this place on horseback, in company with several others, met with an accident from the effect of which he died on Sunday morning last, under the following circumstances.  Between this and Joseph Sharp’s tavern the deceased and another of the party were trying the speed of their horses when, on approaching Sharp’s house at a very rough part of the road, his horse fell and threw him off, by which he was placed under the animal.  Severe wounds causing a contusion of the brain led to his death…….The deceased was a native of Ireland, and has left a wife and family to deplore his sudden death.”

Grandchildren of William Morphy and his wife Sarah Willis included William, Duncan and Robert McDiarmid, prominent Carleton Place merchants, sons of James McDiarmid, Carleton Place merchant, and his wife Jane Morphy.

George Willis Jr. (1820-1892) succeeded his father on the farm at the end of Lake Avenue (Conc. 11, lot 12) and there brought up a family long known in Carleton Place, including Richard, drowned while duck hunting in November 1893, and George E. Willis, photographer, musician and bandmaster, who died in Vancouver in 1940 at age 96 while living with his son Stephen T. Willis of Ottawa business college fame; William and John H. of Carleton Place, and daughters including Jane, wife of James Morphy Jr. the son of “King James” of the pioneer Morphy family.

The George Willis place on the river side during one period was the annual scene of colourful sights and stirring sounds on the 12th of July.  It was a marshalling ground and headquarters for the great Orange parade, with the Willis boys of the third generation prominent among the performers in the bands.  The names of George Willis, Senior and Junior, appear with sixty others on the roll of the Carleton Place Loyal Village Guards which mustered in 1837 and 1838 at the time of the Upper Canada Rebellion and “Patriot War,” and again with that of Catin Willis in the St. James Church monster petition of November 1846 for maintaining tenure of the Church’s clergy reserve land in Ramsay against claims of Hugh Bolton and others.

Catin Willis, born in Ireland in 1795, settled as a young man in Ramsay on the present northern outskirts of Carleton Place (con. 8, lot 2w) when that township was opened for settlement in 1821.  He died there in 1869.  His name appears as contributor to the Carleton Place fund for providing and operating a curfew bell in 1836.  The Church Wardens of St. James Church here in 1845 were Catin Willis and James Rosamond, founder of the Rosamond textile manufacturing firm.

William, another of the first Willises here, took up land in the 4th concession of Beckwith (lot 18W) in 1820, securing his location in the usual way through the district settlement office and performing the settlement duties required for obtaining a patent to his land, which lay east of Franktown.  Franktown, then usually referred to as The King’s Store at Beckwith, and later named possibly for its sponsor, Colonel Francis Cockburn, had already been approved for surveying into town lots, and had the taverns of Patrick Nowlan and Thomas Wickham for the accommodation of travellers, in addition to the government supply depot for the Beckwith settlers.

George Ramsay, Ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Governor General of British North America, made the Nowlan Inn his stopping place, accompanied by Colonel Cockburn, during a one day visit in 1820 in the course of a tour of inspection of the Perth, Beckwith and Richmond settlements.

Henry Willis landed from Ireland in the early summer of 1819 with his young family on the sailing ship Eolus, whose passengers included the families of Beckwith settlers Thomas Pierce, James Wall and William Jones.  He first settled on the 2nd concession of Beckwith (lot 13W) near Franktown, and later moved to Carleton Place where he is found as a contributor to the 1836 curfew bell fund and on the roll of the Loyal Village Guards of 1838.

Henry was an unsuccessful 1838 petitioner with Captain Duncan Fisher for preferential purchase from the Crown of a farm lot extending near Indians Landing (con. 11, lot 11), adjoining the farms of George Willis and Captain Fisher.  Those providing certificates of facts in support of this petition were Catin Willis, John Moore, William Willis, Greenwall Dixon, and Edward J. Boswell, Anglican “Missionary at Carleton Place.”

Thomas Willis is shown by Beldon’s Lanark County Atlas of 1880 to have been an inhabitant of the new village of Morphy’s Falls in its first year, and to have given his daughter in marriage then to John Morphy.  John (b.1794, d.1860), another of the family of six sons and two daughters of Edmond Morphy, built his home for his bride at the east end of Mill Street on the present Bates & Innes lands.  It stood there for over fifty years after his death, and last served as the watchman’s house of the Bates & Innes mill.  The large family of John Morphy and his wife Mary Willis, raised in that pioneer home, included Abraham Morphy of Ramsay, near Carleton Place; and Elizabeth, Mrs. Richard Dulmage of Ramsay, who was born in 1821 as the first child born to the first settlers in Morphy’s Falls.

It is possible that further consideration will be given to providing the added note of interest and distinction to the town, and to its popular Riverside Park, which would be furnished by a cairn and tablet at the Park denoting some of the ancient origins of the town.

1921 Canadian Census Countdown!

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

According to Library and Archives Canada:

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

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

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

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

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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1940 U.S. CENSUS

It’s finally here!  If you have family that lived in the United States, the 1940 U.S. Census is up and running today, April 2, 2012. Some of the people listed will even still be alive today. As required by a confidentiality law, 72 years must lapse in the United States before a census may be unveiled.  As well as collecting the usual information, such as names, addresses, ages etc., census enumerators in 1940 asked things that had never been asked before – about personal income, migration patterns, employment, and whether households had servants or boarders.  While the images will be available on April 2, you can only search the documents manually.  In other words, all you can do is move from page to page with a click of your mouse – people’s names will not be indexed for some time to come.

Another interesting thing is that this census is being released only in digital format, and not in a microfilm version.  Institutions and individuals alike will have free access available.  This census will be the first to use cloud computing (hundreds of servers in the ‘cloud’) in order to handle the extreme workload of the servers in the first few days.  However, if thousands of genealogists try to access the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at 1940census.archives.gov  this morning, there may be some glitches to contend with – clouds or no clouds.  I think I will be waiting until they index the census by names.

According to Ancestry.com:

“Ancestry.com took delivery of the 1940 census from the National Archives at 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2012. Currently we are in the process of loading all 3.8 million census images online. Once an image is online, you can browse it to see the information included on that page. When all images are uploaded, you’ll be able to browse by enumeration district to find your family’s neighborhood.”

Please remember, that if you don’t have access to Ancestry.com at home, the library provides free computer access for one hour a day, or you can book the genealogy room for an afternoon or evening.

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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