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 TWENTY-EIGHT

Describe Business Places 100 Years Ago

By Howard Morton Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 16 May, 1963

 

Start of High Street

On the Perth road, now High Street, a dozen of the village’s buildings of 1863 extended from Bridge Street along the north side of the road for a distance of about two blocks.  There was only one building on its south side, the large stone house torn down several years ago, at the corner of Water Street.  It was built in 1861 by John Sumner, merchant, who earlier at Ashton had been also a magistrate and Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Battalion.  Carleton Militia.  Beyond this short section of High Street was farm land, including the farms of John McRostie, Peter Cram, the Manny Nowlan estate and David Moffatt.  The stone farm houses of John McRostie and David Moffatt are now the J. H. Dack and Chamney Cook residences.

The buildings on the north side of High Street were rented houses owned by John McEwen, William Neelin, William Moore and Henry Wilson; and the homes of Mrs. John Bell, Arthur Moore and James McDiarmid; together with Joseph Pittard’s wagon shop, and two doors west of it near the future Thomas Street corner, the new foundry enterprise of David Findlay.

Bell Street Businesses

Bell Street an even century ago had some twenty five buildings scattered along its present four blocks.  William Street already had a similar number.  The section from Bell Street north to the Town Line Road, as the first subdivision of the future town, had most of its streets laid out as at present, but north of William Street they held in all only five or six houses.

The block of Bell Street next to Bridge Street was the second early business section of the town.  The first business there had been started about thirty-five years before this time by Robert Bell, together with his elder brother John and assisted for some years by his younger brother James, sons of the Rev. William Bell of Perth.

The new Sumner Arcade on its Bridge Street corner was built on the site of the original 1829 store of Robert Bell, in which the post office once had been located for many years.  The Sumner store was adjoined by several frame shops, William Moore’s tavern, later run by Absolem McCaffery, John McEwen’s hand weaving establishment, Mrs. James Morphy’s home, and near James Street, the late “King James” Morphy’s shoemaking shop.

On the south side of this Bell Street block were several shops with living quarters, including buildings owned by Mrs. Morphy and William Muirhead.  Down by the river side was an old tannery, once owned and possibly built by Robert Bell.  It had been owned for some years by William Morphy junior and was bought in 1861 by Brice McNeely, who built the present stone building there where he continued a leather tanning business for forty years or more.  At the other end of the block rose the venerable Hurd’s Hall, a relatively large two storey frame building then newly built, with its upper floor serving as the first public concert and meeting hall of the village other than the churches.  It was built by the young Dr. William Hurd, son-in-law of James Rosamond.  He had his medical offices there and lived in the former James Rosamond stone residence still standing on the corner across the street.

Going east on Bell Street, the second block from Bridge Street was occupied by the homes of Dr. Hurd and William Muirhead and, on the river near the present electric power plant site, by the sawmill owned by William Muirhead and leased then by Robert Gray.  The third block, between Edmond and Baines Streets, had the large frame Church of England on its north side, and on the south side Robert Gray’s house and a building near the river owned by William Muirhead and apparently occupied in connection with the sawmill.  On Bell Street’s last block, the north side had the home of Absolem McCaffrey, grocer and liquor dealer, the Wilson stone house then occupied by its builder, Dr. William Wilson, and a rented house owned by Robert Bell.  On the river side of Bell Street here there were two rented houses and the home and wagon shop of George McPherson, bailiff and carriage maker.

William Street and The Railroad

North of Bell Street, William Street extended east for five blocks from Bridge Street.  It was a route to the railway station, and was occupied by about thirty buildings, almost all on the north side of the street.  Its tradesmen’s shops included two cabinet shops, a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and two shoemaker’s shops.  Residents owning their homes on William Street included William Peden and Patrick Struthers, general merchants; Joseph Bond and Horatio Nelson Docherty, shoe makers; Richard Gilhuly, blacksmith; Walter Scott, tailor; Mrs. David Pattie and Henry Wilson.

The stone Presbyterian church, later to be occupied by the St. Andrews congregation, and the old Cameronian Presbyterian church stood at either end of the last block which extends to the railway line.  The railway station for the line opened four years earlier from Brockville to Almonte and at this time in course of construction to Arnprior, stood beyond the eastern side of the village at about the site of the present Legion Hall.  A long shed beside it held cordwood used for locomotive engine fuel, and the station master’s residence was nearby toward the Town Line Road.

George Strett, then called Boswell, was open in 1863 from Bridge Street east to the railway station and Morphy Street ran from Bridge to Baines St.  This section to the Town Line Road was not built on, except for three lone houses on George Street.  Homes on the Ramsay Township side of the Town Line Road and east of Bridge Street were those of Mrs. John Tweedie, Frank Lavallee, cooper, and James Dunlop, cabinet maker and millwright.

Residents Of A Century Ago

Among other residents sharing the Carleton Place village scene of a century ago were the families of Jacob Leslie, cabinet maker; George and Robert McLean and Henry Beck, carpenters;  Alexander Dalgety, carpenter, Hugh McLeod, miller; James Duncan and Duncan McGregor, blacksmiths; Joseph Gilhuly, carriage maker; James McFadden, and William Moore, shoemakers; also William Kelly, saloon keeper; William Paisley, carter; John Cameron, John Neil and Robert Knox, labourers; William Bradley, weaver, and William Nowlan, painter; Joseph Thompson, railway switchman; Thomas Hughes, station master and Frederick S. Haight, M.A., school master.

Resident clergymen were the Revs. John McKinnon, Presbyterian; E. H. Masey-Baker, Anglican; and Lawrence Halcroft, Baptist.  Younger tradesmen of Carleton Place who the census year of 1861 were unmarried employees and apprentices included William Taylor, tinsmith; Alex Ferguson, George Griffith and Thomas Garland, blacksmiths; James Munro and William Laidlaw, carpenters; Henry Cram and Thomas Code, carriage makers; also James Moore and William Ferguson, shoemakers; Richard Willis, labourer; Charles Sumner, chemist; and William Metcalf, painter.  David Moffatt, Moses Neilson and James Scott were apprentice printers and John Brown, Finlay McEwen and James Patterson were clerks.

There were about a dozen residences of stone construction within the central area of the Carleton Place of 1863.  They included the homes of Hugh Boulton, Jr. grist mill owner (later Horace Brown); Dr. William Hurd (formerly James  Rosamond’s and later William Muirhead’s), Napoleon Lavallee and Robert Metcalf, hotel keepers; Archibald McArthur, merchant; Allan McDonald, carding mill owner; Duncan McGregor, blacksmith; James Poole, publisher; John Sumner, merchant; Henry Wilson and Dr. William Wilson.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-THREE

Making Charcoal in Pits Once Town Attraction

Carleton Place Canadian, 28 February, 1963

By Howard Morton Brown

 

Some tales of Mississippi lumbering and timber driving and of life in Carleton Place at the height of its sawmill days will be recalled in this and following installments of the Canadians old time views.

Written by James Sidney Annable and published in the Ottawa Citizen about twenty-five years ago, they tell of shanty and river life and of boyhood pranks and adventures of the eighteen eighties.  Sid Annable, born in 1871, was a younger son of John Sidney Annable of Carleton Place.  He left Carleton Place in his youth, returning only as a visitor, but kept up his interest in the activities of this town until his death in 1959 in Toronto.

His story retold this week is of scenes around the charcoal pits operated in Carleton Place by Alex. Hunter.

Alexander Hunter, father of the late Fred Hunter, was a blacksmith and axe maker of great skill.  He came here from Lanark village at the age of 36 to do the smith work in connection with the Boyd Caldwell and Sons sawmill when it was being built in 1869.  For many years he carried on his trade on Mill street.  He died here by drowning in December 1910.

This is Sid Annable’s story:

“In 1881 and 1882 charcoal was made by Sandy Hunter, a blacksmith in Carleton Place, first for his own use in his blacksmith shop to shrink the wagon tires on the wood felloes of the large six foot wheels of the dump carts used by the Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren lumber firms.  His sons Alex and Lorenzo Hunter followed in their father’s footsteps and continued this enterprise from a commercial standpoint for some time.

Charcoal formerly was made in large quantities by cutting down trees and piling the logs in pyramids or moulds, covering them with earth and sod and restricting the draught of air so as to keep the logs from burning completely to ashes.  This required much labor and it was necessary to watch the pits night and day.  Just as soon as the earth and sod would dry out and the smoke and gas show forth through the moulds, the men would place boards with cleats on the pits so they could cover up the air holes with wet earth and green sod.

LENGTHY PROCESS

Alex Hunter contracted with the Caldwell firm to take all the sawmill refuse, slabs and ‘buttons’, and he disposed of them to the people in the village.  The heavy or thick slabs he piled up on the banks of the Mississippi until he had enough for their charcoal pits.  These pits were formed by cutting long elm saplings, eight inches at the butt, three inches at the top and eighteen feet long.  With these they built a frame in tent formation, leaving a door opening at earth end so the watchers could see if there was any daylight showing through them.

Inside this green framework they piled the slabs on their end and placed the ends called buttons against the standing slabs.  They continually placed the green wet pine and hemlock until the thickness of the pits would be form eight to twelve feet.  Those moulds, as I remember them, were one hundred feet long.

When the wood was all in formation, earth was piled over, about twelve inches thick, then grass sod was cut in squares and laid on top of the clay.  The ends of the pits would be in conformity with the sides.  This resembled the igloo the Eskimos live in around the Arctic Circle.  When the pits were completed the fire was started from many places, all from the undersides of the pits.  Great care was exercised in watching the fires so they would burn simultaneously.

BONFIRE ENTERTAINMENT

The village folk were on hand every night to watch.  Many potato roasts and roasted ears of corn were enjoyed by the young set, night after night, until the pits were ready to be drawn and the charcoal cooled off.  Old time dances with Dick Willis performing on the fiddle gave the young folk much merriment.

Old Paul Lavallee, the proprietor of the Mississippi Hotel, often amused himself with other old cronies – Pat Gavin, Tom Nagle, Jim Nolan, Tom Buckeye Lynch, Pat Tucker, Bill Patterson, Alex Wilson, and my dad – who listened to the Little Napoleon tell his stories while they watched the men climb up and down, plugging the air holes as the fire burst through the sod.

 

CHARCOAL SALES

Thousands of bushels of the shining black blocks and logs were ready to be sold.  Blacksmiths from the surrounding towns – Smiths Falls, Perth, Almonte and Ottawa – were on hand to purchase the salt bags holding two bushels each, which were sold for fifty cents each on the cash and carry basis.

Sandy Hunter, with a mustache like the handlebars of the bicycle of today, was in his usual good humor, taking in the cash as long as there were customers in sight.  The balance of the pit products was stored in the old barn where his son Alex Hunter had his livery stable, at the rear of the old Metcafe property (between Bridge and Water Streets).

His son Alex Hunter had a large livery stable in the village with many horses known by such names as Swayback Charlie, Black Rat-tail, and Old Buckskin.  He made the horses work night and day, drawing wood in the daytime and human freight at night.  He was the same tall, sandy-haired horseman who owned and drove Little Vic at the ice meets in Ottawa with Nellie Sharper.  Later he operated the former Metcalfe House, which he bought from Joe Wilson.  He owned a hotel in Ottawa afterwards, on George Street down on the market square, the Grand Central Hotel.

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.

Howard McNeely, Carleton Place Auctioneer

“Will somebody make it twenty?”

Howard McNeely has been seeking bids for 40 years

By Mary Cook

Carleton Place Canadian, 1987

 

Forty years ago a large broad axe fetched a quarter.  Today, if it’s really old it could command a lofty $60.  The crowds were smaller back then, and Howard McNeely, the newest auctioneer in the valley knew just about everyone by his first name.  But times have changed since that day almost 40 years ago when Howard thought he could do what he had been watching other auctioneers do for years.  He thought…..”there’s nothing to this.  All I have to do is stand up on the platform or the back of a truck and ask for bids.”  Well, it turned out not to be quite that simple.

A young Howard McNeely had been following the local auctions for years.  He never paid too much attention to the “stuff” being sold, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the auctioneer.  He was fascinated with the fast talking, the rapport with the crowd, and the obvious delight when a bid was over.

Actually, Howard had had plenty of experience on the stage by the time he first tried his hand at auctioneering, so he wasn’t walking into the job cold.  For years he had an orchestra that toured the Ottawa Valley, and he was well acquainted with standing up before people.  He is probably one of the few people who had an orchestra but never mastered a musical instrument.  But that didn’t stop him from enjoying the toe tapping valley music everyone loved.  He really had two orchestras.  One was a rag tag group who got together for the sheer love of valley music.  It included Ab Duncan, Stewart Comba, Les Neild.  When he wanted to fancy things up a bit he added Jack Peckett and Les’ daughter Elsie on the piano.  Howie kept up a steady patter between songs and dances and found it pretty easy to entertain the crowd, so that the first time he took to the platform at an auction sale, he wasn’t even nervous.  “I had been so used to being in front of people, that I never gave it a thought.  And besides, in those days you knew everyone…everyone!” he said.

Not so today.  Even if the faces of the collectors and dealers are familiar, Howard often doesn’t get to meet them personally.  For that reason, and because the crowds are so much bigger now, Howard finally had to go to a number system like the big auctioneers in the city.  The crowd didn’t like it when he first introduced numbers about 15 years ago, but as he said, times had changed.

Howard’s first sale was on Park Avenue, “just across the fence from where I was born and raised”, and Burnett Montgomery was the auctioneer who set out to show Howard the ropes.  Burnett had been auctioneering for a long time, and the partnership was to last for 30 years.  “All that time we never had a disagreement.  It was a great relationship.  We got along well, and I learned a lot from Burnett” he admits.

The biggest sale Howard ever held was when he sold the Mississippi Hotel by public auction.  All the furnishings went too, and then the big stone heritage building was put on the block.  Howard lives by the adage that discretion is the better part of valor, and insists he cannot honestly remember what the landmark building sold for.

One of the longest running auctions was on a farm on the old Ashton road that took three days to complete.  “It was loaded with antiques, and the dealers were there from all over.  The prices held up for the full three days too” he remembers.

There are items today that couldn’t be given away 40 years ago.  Old milk cans command a good price now, and Gingerbread clocks which sold for $10 in the 50’s would be considered a good buy today if you paid a mere $100.

Although he won’t say from which sale it sold, Howard recently got the bidding up to $6,800 on an old corner cupboard.  “Forty years ago, you’d consider it a pretty good sale if you got that for a whole house full of furniture.”

Over the years Howard has always tried to keep a good sense of humor.  Early in the game he learned if one person in the crowd was entering into the spirit of the sale by bantering back and forth with the auctioneer, you capitalized on that.  Just last week one woman seemed to be in perfect sync with Howard.  They both ended up cracking jokes throughout the entire sale much to the delight of the crowd.

In the early years Howard has sometimes inadvertently sold the same item twice.  It can happen.  Two different helpers will hand Howard the same item after it has been sold….but as a rule the crowd is astute, and there is always someone there to holler, “Hey, McNeely, you’ve already sold that once today.”

Howard remembers an incident from years ago that still makes him chuckle today.  “It was a large sale, with two or three people in on it.  Someone handed me up a baby carriage.  It was in pretty good condition too.  It was one of those old fashioned jobs.  You don’t see them around anymore.  Anyway, I asked for a bid and got one right away.  The bidding went pretty high too.  And it sold to someone.  Then this woman came to me in an awful sweat.  It seems she brought her baby to the sale in the carriage, and was just off looking at something else when I sold it.  Everyone thought it was very funny, because I had to get the carriage back.  The people who bought it were just loading it into their car.  I was a bit embarrassed, but those things happen.”

Right from the day Howard started auctioneering 40 years ago, he has always been on the lookout for stealers.  He remembers one sale where two women were busy loading their shopping bags with small things at a sale.  “But unknown to them Herb Cornell, the Chief of Police was watching them.  It was his day off, and of course they didn’t know he was a policeman.  When he showed his badge they put everything back in a hurry.”

At another sale many years ago, he was aware of a big jackknife that was in the auction.  “It was a beauty..very old, and huge, with a handmade wooden handle.  During the sale I remembered it and asked my helper to hand me the jackknife.  Well, it was gone.  It vanished in a couple of seconds.  That’s all i

Robert Reynolds Powell, Carleton Place Grocer circa 1920

We Remember Poppa:  Robert Reynolds Powell, Grocer

By Mary Cook

Carleton Place Canadian, 1987

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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