SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY

Clearing Bush First Task of Early Settlers

Carleton Place Canadian, 08 June, 1961

By Howard M. Brown

 

One of the many family sagas of emigration to Ramsay township was that of the McDonald family which, after investigating other locations, chose land in the tenth concession of Ramsay north of the falls of Almonte.  Long-lived members of this family included the father, John McDonald of the Isle of Mull, who came in 1821 with his wife, three sons and several daughters, and lived in Ramsay till he reached his hundredth year in 1857.  His son Neil at the age of 100 had the distinction of living in three centuries before his death in 1901 at his Ramsay homestead.

Emigration Adventures

 

Sailing from Oban in the Western Highlands in June 1821 on a ship bearing the later Canadian Pacific Steamships name The Duchess of Richmond, the McDonald family came up the St. Lawrence from Quebec to Montreal by steamship.  From Lachine they travelled by boat up the Ottawa to Point Fortune where they failed to find suitable land.  Going then by Durham boat to Prescott, their intention of reaching York was changed by a meeting with friends which led them to the five year old village of Perth and the new village of Lanark.  After examining and refusing to accept land still available in Lanark and Dalhousie townships, the McDonalds rented a farm site from Duncan McNaughton in Drummond township near Mississippi Lake.  In a winter’s work with primitive tools they cleared the trees from about twelve acres and, with hoes and sickles for the planting and harvest amongst the stumps, gained a first crop of corn and potatoes and a little wheat and oats.

Continuing down along the Mississippi in the next summer, two of the sons selected four hundred acres for the four male members of the family in the tenth and eleventh concessions of Ramsay several miles north of the Ramsay falls.  They cleared their first acre there, put in a crop of potatoes and built a shanty.  That winter Neil with his sister Flora remained at the cabin in Ramsay to cut down trees.  They had to carry hay for two miles on their backs for their cow.

Rugged Pioneer Days

 

At the Mississippi Lake farm in Drummond in the first fall, all of the family except the parents and one son had become ill with a fever.  About two years later two of the three sons, Donald and Lachlan, died of its effects.  Their bodies are reported to have been carried twenty-two miles from the farm in Drummond on the shoulders of friends for burial at the family farm in Ramsay.  The rest of the family moved there from Drummond in the following May, bringing three cows and two pigs.  Within another year a daughter had died in Ramsay and two daughters were married, Flora marrying Duncan McNaughton and remaining on the farm in Drummond.  John McDonald still had funds of almost £200 when he moved to Ramsay.  He bought a barrel of flour in June of 1824 at Boulton’s mill at Morphy’s Falls, which he and his remaining son Neil carried over a twelve mile return journey from Carleton Place to the farm.  Seeking to buy a yoke of oxen and some sheep, the son travelled with “Big Neil McKillop”, for fifteen days in December of 1822 going as far as Cornwall.  A flock of sheep was obtained in 1825 when the supply of clothing brought from Scotland was almost worn out.  Neil McDonald became a great hunter of the game which abounded in the district.

At the age of 34 Neil McDonald married Flora McLean of Ramsay.  Their children included Lachlan, who remained on the homestead and later lived in Almonte, and Mrs. James Cowan and Mrs. Alexander Bayne, both of Carleton Place, who reached the respective ages of 91 and 94.  Grandsons of the centenarian Neil McDonald included Neil McDonald, Carleton Place high school teacher from 1890 to 1913, the Rev. John A. McDonald and R. L. McDonald, Almonte public school principal.

A large section within the area of Ramsay township made rapid progress.  Only twenty years after the first Ramsay settler had cut the first tree on his land, and still in the days before there was a railway in the province, a visitor was able to report that the township was “well-settled, very prosperous, and can boast a goodly number of practical farmers, men of extensive reading and sound knowledge.  Its appearance plainly proves this by the number of schools and churches within its range which are erected and in progress of erection.  The great number of substantial stone houses erected and being put up speaks more favorably than words of its growing prosperity.”

Aided by its villages of Ramsayville, Bennie’s Corners, Snedden’s, Appletree Falls and Bellamy’s Mills and by Carleton Pace on its borders, with their stores, inns, tradesmen’s shops, sawmills and gristmills, Ramsay township had made an early start in sharing the growth of Canada.

 

Carleton Place Stirring Village Back in 1840’s, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, July 7, 1960

Carleton Place in the times of the Eighteen Forties is recalled in the present installment of a year by year listing of local scenes and events which had their part in shaping the present character of this section of Lanark County.

The first signs pointing to this community’s growth to the proportions of a town began to show themselves in the Eighteen Forties.  Still in the handicraft era, the district after its first twenty-five years was gradually leaving behind it the kinds of hardships its people had known in their first years of settlement in the woods.  In the sixty year old province of less than five hundred thousand people, substantial government reforms in parliamentary, municipal and educational institutions began to be launched.  This district and this young community shared in promoting their reforms and in their benefits.

FARM IMPROVEMENTS

1840 – A district agricultural society, the parent of the present North Lanark Agricultural Society, was founded at a January, 1840, meeting at Carleton Place, with James Wylie of Ramsayville as president, Francis Jessop of Carleton Place as secretary and Robert Bell as treasurer.  Its activities for the improvement of farming methods and products have included from the beginning an annual exhibition, held until the late Eighteen Fifties at Carleton Place and thereafter at Almonte.  Carleton Place exhibitions were continued for some further years by a Beckwith Township agricultural society.

Ewen McEwen (1806-1885) in 1840 became clerk of Beckwith Township and postmaster at Franktown.  He held both positions for forty-five years and was township treasurer for twenty years.  His son Finlay McEwen for many years was Carleton Place municipal treasurer and postmaster.

STIRRING LITTLE VILLAGE

1841 – Dr. William Wilson, graduate of Glasgow University and son of a district settler, began in 1841 a medical practice of about fifteen years in Carleton Place, building later his stone home which remains on Bell Street.  Edward M. Barry, M.D., trained in London and Dublin, opened a briefer medical practice here a few months before Dr. Wilson, as another of the town’s early surgeons.

A visitor in 1841 recorded this description of the section between Carleton Place and Almonte :

Carleton Place, about seven miles from Ramsay (Almonte) and eighteen from Perth, is a stirring little village.  By Franktown it is twenty-four miles from Perth, by Bellamys (Clayton) it is eighteen.  It has advanced greatly of late years, and the active enterprise of the Bells, merchants here, have contributed in no small degree to this.  They have several buildings themselves, one being a large two-storey stone dwelling.

There are three churches in Carleton Place – one Episcopal, a new Presbyterian and a Methodist church.  The Rev. Mr. Boswell officiates in the first, none yet appointed to the second but suppose Mr. Fairbairn will occasionally preach in it, and Mr. (Alvah) Adams is the stationed Methodist preacher.  The interests of religion are much attended to in the whole township, as well as in Carleton Place.  The Mississippi river runs through the village, and if it prevents the place from being as compact as desirable it at least contributes to its beauty and loveliness.  There are mills here by one Boulton, and more taverns I think than necessary for comfort or accommodation, numbering about five or six.  Mr. John McEwen has opened his home again for respectable travelers.  He is a man much esteemed, his fare excellent and his charges reasonable.

The township of Ramsay is well settled, very prosperous, and can boast a goodly number of experienced practical farmers – men of extensive reading and sound knowledge.  Its appearance plainly proves this, by the number of schools and churches within its range which are erected and in process of erection.  About the centre of the Township is a substantial Presbyterian Church of stone in which a Mr. Fairbairn officiates, also a Methodist meeting house where a Mr. (Alvah) Adams preaches – with a Catholic Church where Rev. Mr. McDonough of Perth officiates occasionally.  The great number of substantial stone houses erected and being put up speaks more favorably than words of its growing prosperity.

James Wylie Esq., a magistrate and storekeeper, has erected a fine house, his son another.  About half a mile from this, Mr. Shipman’s spacious stone dwelling, his mills and surrounding buildings, present a bustling scene.  There is one licenced tavern here, and a school.

DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTED

1842 – Residents of Carleton Place in 1842 included about twenty tradesmen engaged in metal, wood,  textile and leather trades, in addition to farmers, merchants, innkeepers, labourers, two surgeons, two teachers and one clergyman.  Of the present Lanark County’s 1842 population of a little over 19,000 persons, Beckwith township including Carleton Place had some 1,900 inhabitants and 330 houses.  Ramsay township with 390 inhabited houses, had a population of 2,460.  Each of the two townships had eight elementary schools.  Half of the number of children of ages 5 to 16 in the two townships had attended school within the past year.

An elected council assumed duties of county administration for the first time in 1842, under legislation of the new united Parliament of Upper and Lower Canada.  District council members elected for Beckwith township were Robert Bell and Robert Davis.  Those for Ramsay were John Robertson Sr. (1794-1867) and Arthur Lang. 

A convention of district teachers of common schools met in the fall of 1842 at John McEwen’s hotel, Carleton Place.  A long-lived local Union Sabbath School was commenced in this year.

LOCAL MAGISTRATES

1843- Justices of the peace in Beckwith township authorized to act as magistrates included James Rosamond and Robert Bell, Robert Davis, Peter McGregor and Colin McLaren.  Those in Ramsay township included James Wylie and his son William H. Wylie, William Houston and William Wallace.

The Rev. Lawrence Halcroft (1798-1887), a resident of Carleton Place for over forty years, came here by call in 1843 and for eleven years was minister of the local Baptist Church.  He combined farming with his religious duties, and was a man of broad and liberal views who afterwards preached to all denominations.

A GENERAL ELECTION

1844 – Malcolm Cameron (1808-1876), supported by the large Scottish reform party element of this district and by others, was re-elected member of Parliament in a general election after the capital of Canada was moved from Kingston to Montreal(?).

The Rev. John Augustus Mulock, uncle of Sir William Mulock, became rector of the Carleton Place Anglican Church after a two year vacancy.

CHURCH DISSENTION

1845 – Dissention and division in the organization of the Church of Scotland was followed here in 1845 by the construction of the present stone building of Knox Presbyterian Church at Black’s Corners, parent of Carleton Place’s Zion Presbyterian Church.  In Ramsay township the frame building of a Free Presbyterian Church was erected at the 8th line of Ramsay, which for about twenty years served the congregation of the later St. John’s Presbyterian Church of Almonte.

POWER LOOMS

1846 – James Rosamond in 1846 was manufacturing woollen cloth by machinery at Carleton Place.  His mill at the foot of James Street with two looms operated by water power, was the first of its kind in Eastern Ontario.

The Carleton Place Library was established in March, 1846 as a subscription library under the management of the Carleton Place Library Association and Mechanics Institute.  Napoleon Lavelle began his hotel business which he continued here for nearly forty years, commencing as the Carleton House in the Bell’s stone building on the south side of Bridge Street facing Bell Street.  The three, two-storey stone structures among the sixty occupied dwellings of Carleton Place were this building, plus Hugh Boulton’s house (later Horace Brown’s) on Mill Street, and James Rosamond’s home (later William Muirhead’s) on Bell St.

WARDEN ELECTED

1847 – District wardens, previously appointed by the government of the colony, were first chosen by election in 1847.  The warden elected by the council of the Lanark and Renfrew district was Robert Bell of Carleton Place.

STOVE FOUNDRY

1848 – Samuel Fuller in 1848 opened a stove foundry here which he ran for ten years.  Its first location was near the site of the power house now owned by the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission.  The bridge over the Mississippi River was rebuilt.

A stone schoolhouse building was erected at Franktown.  In the United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew there were 1,069 inhabited and assessable houses and 120 public schools.  Most were log buildings.

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

1849 – The Hon. James Wylie (1789-1854) of Almonte was appointed to the Legislative Council of Canada.

Local school trustees James Rosamond (1804-1894, John Graham (1812-1887) and Brice McNeely (1794-ca 1878) advertised for a classical teacher for the Carleton Place School.

Robert Bell, elected as member of Parliament for Lanark and Renfrew Counties in the previous year, when the reform party attained power and responsible government arrived, was present when the Parliament Buildings of Canada were burned by an influentially backed Montreal mob.  He is said to have made his escape by a ladder from the burning building.  Delegates from district points including Beckwith and Ramsay townships were received at Montreal by Lord Elgin, governor general.  They delivered resolutions prepared at local meetings which supported his reforms and condemned the outrages committed by his opponents.  One of the addresses presented was that of the Carleton Place Library Association.

Mississippi River Main Factor in Industrial Growth, by Howard M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 21 March, 1957

The water power of the Mississippi at this point is excellent, and ever since the first utilization of a small portion of it by Boulton’s grist mill, various manufactories have been added along the banks of the stream. After the inception of the Brockville railway in 1853, and its completion as far as Carleton Place and Almonte six years later, the advantages of these water privileges became still more manifest.

It was not long before the interests already established here was widened. Those engaged in agriculture in this neighbourhood were also stimulated to greater things and began to reap better results. Almonte for a few years possessed an appreciable advantage in being the terminus of the railway system of the Ottawa Valley. From the north and to each side a larger tract of county contributed to its trade. James Rosamond who came to Carleton Place as a chair-maker and began a wool carding and cloth dressing business here with a partner about 1830, built a four-storey woollen mill in Almonte, moving his machinery and business there from Carleton Place in 1857 ahead of the railway’s arrival.

When the Brockville and Ottawa Railway (later the Canada Central Ry.) with the line opened in 1870 between Carleton Place and Ottawa passed into the hands of the Canadian Pacific syndicate, the importance of Carleton Place as a railway point became apparent. The extensive repair shops of the railway, established here in 1882 and employing at different times from 100 to over 200 men, with accessions to the town’s trade by reason of the railway traffic and the many railway employees outside the shops, were a large element in the town’s progress. In the five years to 1887, not yet incorporated as a town, the population has doubled to an estimated 3,780.

Municipal Affairs, 1887

The incorporation of Carleton Place as a village took place in October, 1870, with a population of 1,226. We now have about a thousand more people than most towns in the Dominion had when they designated themselves as towns by acts of incorporation. Our civic affairs are entrusted to a reeve, deputy reeve and three councillors. These at present are Reeve William Pattie (building contractor) Deputy Reeve, William Kelly, (retired hotel keeper), and Councillors James Warren (blacksmith), Alex Steele, (tinsmith and stove merchant) and Abner Nichols (planing mill owner). The clerk of the Council is A. R. G. Peden.

The following gentlemen comprise the School Board : Robert Bell, chairman, Rev. Duncan McDonald (of St. Andrew’s Church), Abner Nichols, William Taylor, (hardware dealer), Peter Cram (retired tanner), S. S. Merrick, (grain dealer), A. R. G. Peden (grocer), J. Dougherty, Colin Sinclair, (merchant tailor), David Findlay (stove foundry owner), and D. Breckenridge (superintendent, Gillies woollen mill).

One constable is employed – bur rarely required. We have an efficient fire department, a first class Ronald fire engine, a good fire station and good equipment. An ample supply of water for fire purposes is kept in reservoirs in those parts of the town not contiguous to the river. There are twenty-five regular members of the fire brigade.

Mills and Foundries

As a manufacturing centre, every years’ seen big improvements. Amongst our manufacturers we might mention first the lumbermen. In 1842 John Gillies entered into lumbering on the Clyde River and later on the Mississippi and formed a partnership in 1853 with Peter McLaren. An extensive business was conducted on the Mississippi River, with mills at Carleton Place from 1866.

The business was sold in 1874 to Peter McLaren, later senator. After another twelve years of expanding operations Peter McLaren sold it to James McLaren of Buckingham, lumberman and president of the Bank of Ottawa, and W. C. Edwards, M.P. Principals of the then formed Canada Lumber Company for a reported $900,000. Mr. A. H. Edwards became the resident director and manager at Carleton Place.

Boyd Caldwell and Son’s large sawmill, manufacturing lumber, shingles, and lath, has been an important industry. The senior member of the firm is one of the pioneer lumbermen of this country. He has been engaged in lumbering operations since boyhood, after he came from Scotland with his parents about 1821 and settled in Lanark County. The firm has large and valuable limits, the timber from which on the Mississippi has been manufactured at Carleton Place for nearly twenty years. Boyd Caldwell & Son have saw mills elsewhere in Eastern Ontario but their largest are here. Both reside in Lanark village, but have done much to assist the progress of Carleton Place. The two saw mills here cut about thirty-five million feet each season.

Moffatt Company

Moffatt & Company embarked here some thirteen years ago in the manufacture of sash, doors, blinds, shingles, a general planing mill business, and as builders and contractors. The parners, David and Samuel Moffatt and James Cavers, are practical men and the firm has done a large business, enlarging its capacity several times. Abner Nichols, for many years uperintendent for Peter McLaren, has a model planing mill and turns out sash, blinds, doors and shingles. He has a large experience as a practical builder and contractor.

Brown & Son

Horace Brown & Son, the latter, Morton, lately admitted as a partner, have one of the finest roller process flouring mills in the province. Their stone process mill also is operated to its fullest capacity, and for many years it was regarded as one of the best grist mills in this district. With the junior partner, who is a practical miller in every branch and a young gentleman of first class business qualities, there will doubtless be still greater things done by the Carleton Place Mills.

After John Gillies had retired in 1874 from lumbering, he built and equipped one of the most complete machine shops and foundries in Eastern Ontario. It is operated by John Gillies & Company and employs a large staff in the manufacture and principally of mill machinery and engines of every description. The company has the sole right for Canada of the Acme Coal Oil Engine.

Findlay Company

Mr. D. Findlay & Sons manufactures all classes of stoves, hollow ware, etc. Their foundry is one of the industries that has grown up with the place and with the requirements of Eastern Ontario. Now with tripled energy they are pushing their excellent productions into distant territory, the demand having arisen from the good name their stoves have earned.

Mr. W. H. Wylie & Company’s Hawthorn woollen mill is a f sett enterprise, built about 1872 fro Abraham Code, and operated to its full capacity. A variety of tweeds, worsteds and a speciality of shawls are turned out. The demand distributes a large amount of earnings to the operatives.

John Gillies, Son & Company’s large 4 ½ storied woollen mill, four broad sett, sends out some of the finest tweeds, silken mixes and worsteds on the market. The mill was built in 1870 by the late Archibald McArthur and was bought in 1881 by the present owners, who have increased the output and improved the quality.

Brice McNeely’s tannery is one of the oldest in this part of the country. The proprietor manufactures leather of various kinds and is one of our substantial steady and increasingly prosperous men, with considerable real estate. John F. Cram, whose large wool-pulling establishment is well known in this section, manipulates a vast amount of sheep pelts in a year, his premises being one of the most extensive in Eastern Ontario. He also manufactures russet leather. Donald Munro, having severed connection with the other large wool-pulling establishment in which he was a partner and started in the same business on his own account, has by untiring perseverance and good equipment worked up a remunerative business.

William Willoughby, contractor who came to our town from Almonte a couple of years ago, at once proceeded to the manufacture of brick on a large scale here. Mr. Willoughby and his two sons George W. and Richard, associated with him, are practical men in masonry of every kind. Their contracts in stonework fulfilled during the past two years include the masonry for the new St. Andrews Church and for the iron bridge across the Mississippi here. William Taylor, whose business experience here extends over more than a quarter century, during the past season started a brickyard that is likely to be a most successful enterprise. Mr. Taylor, who does nothing by halves, will first make enough brick to build his own solid brick block on the valuable McArthur lots, Bridge St.

McDonald & Brown, woollen manufacturers, have a large trade in their special line of tweeds, etc. Their mill is run by water power, one of the best sites on the river. With a continuation of their prosperity for a short time they will likely increase their capacity. They do a large custom business.”

 

 

Early Beckwith Settlers Included York Chasseur Men, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 21 February, 1957

This is the third in a series on early life in Beckwith Township prepared by the historian, Howard M. Brown.

 Settlement Day

Predominence in pioneer Beckwith of Scots “having the Gaelic” was limited by families coming from Ireland. These outnumbered annual arrivals from Scotland for several years after 1818, and within three or four years had brought a roughly equal division of numbers of the township’s farms between Irish Episcopelians and Scottish Presbyterians. The number from England remained small, mainly the demobilized war veterans.

A glance at one of the varied problems met by the administrators of settlement operations is permitted by a letter from the Earl of Bathurst, Secretary for the Colonies, to the Duke of Richmond who in the same year died here near the village previously named for him. Dated Downing Street, February 13, 1819, it refers to the undesirable reputation of men of a regiment of whom over twenty-five were offered land in 1819 in a section of Beckwith township between the two lower Mississippi Lakes and present Highway 29:

“My Lord,____The Prince Regent having been pleased to direct that the York Chasseurs should be disbanded in Lower Canada, the Regiment has been ordered from Jamaica for that purpose. On their arrival Your Grace will ascertain what number of the men are disposed to accept of Grants of Land in the Province, and will adopt the necessary measures for locating them in those parts of the Province best calculated for such a Settlement.

Your Grace is no doubt aware that the men composing this corps are to a great degree deserters and men otherwise of doubful character. It will be expedient therefore, in disbanding them in the Province, to prevent as far as possible the interference of the more ill-conducted individuals with the settlements already established.

The reports of the officers of the Corps will afford the means of distinguishing those who are most worthy of encouragement as settlers. With respect to the other it would certainly be more desirable that every facility should be given to their removal out of the Province. It is with this view that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury have made provision, in their minute of which an extract is enclosed, for a pecuniary payment in liew of their rations. Your Grace will see the necessity of not making such a payment except under a reasonable expectation that the persons receiving it will without delay take their departure.”

Some half dozen of these “most worthy” men out of the ranks of the York Chasseurs remained in Beckwith township, with locations along the present road from Highway 29 to and including Lake Park, at least long enough to qualify for patent grants. Two died before the end of their first three year term of occupation of their land.

A bright picture of local progress is painted by the Earl of Dalhousie, the succeeding Governor General and Commander in Chief of British North America, after his visit in 1820 to the new settlements. Writing in September from Sorel to Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, he says in part:

“Perth and Beckwith already shew what the whole of these townships severally will be, abounding in population and in produce. When I was there the harvest was getting in, and they all informed me that there was not a settler from Beckwith to Perth around them who might not have one half of his crop as surplus, after setting aside sufficient for his family and seed for next year. The people from Lanark, 1,200 going there, will afford a market for that surplus, and the money paid to them by order from Government will provide the funds. Thus these settlements will benefit each other.

The impediments in their way are the want of roads leading through them. I hope we may contrive to give some effectual assistance to this. But the serious evil appears to me to be the system of Crown and Clergy reserves. I cannot but think this an unwise plan. I do not however exactly know upon what views it has been adopted, and I should feel myself obliged to you to inform me ; as Cockburn has mentioned to me that he believes it to proceed from recommendation of yours in which the late Duke of Richmond concurred.

……In the wish to encourage these new settlements I gave 200 Pounds at Richmond to open the great line of road to Beckwith store, 200 Pounds at Perth to open also towards Beckwith, and 200 Pounds to clear it into the Lanark township from Perth, twelve miles if it being already fit for wagons in that direction. Next season I will repeat this, provided your Legislature shall vote us some efficient aid to that main line from Richmond landing place, at the falls of the Ottawa Chaudiere, to Kingston.”

A Case of Law Enforcement

The beginning of the local administration of justice in the district is shown in one of its settings by the following petition on the conviction of Patrick Nowlan, Beckwith innkeeper, at the future Franktown, addressed by the alleged offender to Sir Peregrine Maitland and dated Beckwith, October 16, 1820:

“Your petitioner, having been recommended by Colonel Burge to his late Excellency the Duke of Richmond, drew land agreeably thereto in the Township of Beckwith, and by his Excellency’s wishes took out a Tavern Licence for the accomodation of the public.

On his Excellency the Earl of Dalhousie’s way with Colonel Cockburn from Richmond to Perth his Excellency called at Petitioner’s place and stopped one day, and was well pleased with his accommodation.

Your petitioner’s neighbour Thomas Wickham, being a Tavern Keeper, through spite and malice watched his opportunity and seeing some people go to the King’s Store to draw some articles and they were getting some Liquor not agreeably to the Licence of Petitioner, he made Information that your Petitioner was selling Liquor as a Store Keeper and not as a Tavern Keeper. Consequently Petitioner has been fined twenty pounds, with costs.

A copy of George Brooks affidavit sworn at Perth on 23rd September 1820 states : George Brooks do swear he went on or about the 10th of September last for a grinding stone to Patrick Nowlan, Tavern Keeper being in charge of the King’s Store. He called for some spirits, when he got a half pint and drank in said house, and the said Patrick Nowlan filled a small jug of spirits and gave i to me in a small vessel for the nourishment of the men that was to carry the stone with me home, also which spirits he never charged me for. (signed) George Brooks.

John Rice, being sworn at Perth 23rd September 1820 states that the said John Rice and Thomas Barracklough, the postboy, being on their way from Richmond to Perth with the Post, called in at Patrick Nowlan’s Tavern, called for a quart of spirits, set down and rested ourselves, drank what we wished, and put the remainder in a Bottle for their Nourishment on the road to Perth.

Petitioner humbly solicits your Excellency may be humanely pleased to take his case into your favorable consideration and have the fine mitigated. Petitioner, having a numerous family to support, feels himself very much distressed to pay the fine as petitioner has layed out a great deal of money to accomodate the Public, as it is fifteen miles from any accommodation on any side of him. (signed) Patt Nowlan. P.S. Petitioner now has a Store Licence, also his Tavern Licence specifies to be consumed in his house.”

Accompanying official correspondence indicated that, following policy of the Inspector General, prosecutions had not been taken in the past under similar circumstances in neighbouring jurisdictions, and that, on being so advised, convicting magistrate Thom, Powell and MacMillen suspended an execution on the effects of the Beckwith innkeeper.

 

 

Eagles And Vultures Once Flew Around Mississippi Lake by Howard Brown, from the Carleton Place Canadian, December 22, 1955

“The Canadian is fortunate in receiving a number of articles from Howard Brown of Ottawa concerning early hunting and fishing stories around Carleton Place.  The series includes one on the first game club, deer hunting, bird protection, Mississippi fishing, the beaver, wildcat and lynx, introduction of pickerel to the Mississippi.  The first article follows:

 Hunting and Fishing Stories of our Grandfathers

Lanark and Renfrew counties, well supplied with woods, lakes and marshes, have a record as a favourite fishing and hunting district which antedates their first English speaking settlement.  Referring to the immediate neighbourhood of Carleton Place, William Bell, pioneer Lanark County pastor and an observant man if not an experienced fisher or hunter, wrote soon after his 1817 arrival at Perth:

“The Mississippi Lake, its length about 12 miles and its breadth varying from four miles to half a mile, affords an abundance of fish for the settlers in the neighbourhood, who kill them with spears in great numbers in the spring when ascending the river to spawn.  Some of the islands in the lake are still inhabited by Indians, whose hunting ground is on the north side and who are far from being pleased with the encroachments our settlers are making on their territories.

The animals most troublesome to the farmers are squirrels, brown and grey, equally destructive to crops both in fields and gardens.  They do most mischief in the spring by taking the seed up out of the ground.  I have seen a field of Indian corn entirely ruined by them so that it was necessary to plant it a second and even a third time.  The number killed by some farmers in a year almost exceeds belief.  There is another species called the black squirrel but it seems scarce, being seldom taken.

Of birds there are many kinds.  The principal are eagles, vultures, owls, night hawks, fish hawks, cranes, geese, wild ducks, partridges, snow birds, teal, wild pigeons, blackbirds, thrushes, larks and various other kinds.  The wood pigeons pass to the northward in the spring and return in the fall in immense numbers.  Great numbers of them are taken in nets, but they are more frequently shot, and are generally found to be fat and good eating.  When they happen to alight upon a field they scarcely leave a grain, if not disturbed.”

The story of these famous clouds of passenger pigeons, which usually frequented wooded regions rather than farmers’ fields and which, at 40 cents a pair, were still sold on the Ottawa market in the 1870’s, is well known.  After wanton whole sale killing they were exterminated from the continent to the last bird.  Some larger fur bearing animals, such as the marten and fisher, the lynx and the otter, soon retreated in these counties, like the Indians themselves, before the axe and the plough.

 First Game Protective Club:

 Forty years after the white man had settled in the local scene to dispossess the North American Indian, the second generation in this area, had begun to lessen the seeming abundance of some useful wild animals and birds to a point at which a local Game Protective Club was undertaking enforcement of existing legislation (19-20 Vic. C, 94) for their preservation.  An 1859 Carleton Place announcement gave notice that a sportsmen’s club, composed of persons resident in this and adjoining townships and prepared to prosecute and punish breaches of the game laws “exists in this village as some unseasonable slaughters of game may yet learn to their cost.  The Club has thought proper to offer a reward of $5 to be paid by the Treasurer of the club to any person giving such information as shall ensure the conviction of offenders.  The company have also employed a Lawyer to conduct their business and attend to the prosecution of all parties complained of without respect of persons.”

 The seasons of prohibited hunting still left a six months open deer and moose season from August to January, six months of grouse or partridge hunting from September to February, and gave no protection for waterfowl beyond an eleven week closed season from mid-April to the end of July for “Wild Swan, Goose, Duck of kinds known as Mallard, Grey Duck, Black Duck and all kinds of Teal.”

 An 1862 visitor observed: “There are few villages in the interior, off the main streams the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, that can rival Carleton Place in scenery and we know of few places where a day or two’s fun can be better appreciated than up on the Mississippi Lake.  In fact fishing and hunting has become almost an institution among the inhabitants and the fame of the Mississippi Pike and Ducks and we may add Deers or Dears, has reached distant sections of the Front.”

 The Game Protective Club, interested chiefly in increasing the deer population, became the Lanark and Renfrew Game Protection Society, as formally constituted at a March 1861 meeting of district deer hunters at Pakenham, home town of the then retired Andrew Dickson, prominent as a deer hunter as well as in Eastern Upper Canada public affairs. 

Cases of convictions for winter killing of deer in the closed season were cited at the Society’s meetings.  “A Law Abiding Hunter” wrote to the deer-hunting editor of the Carleton Place Herald at the end of the 1861-62 season:

 “It is estimated that upwards of 700 deers were butchered on the crust last winter and spring in the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, and that about 150 deer have been killed in these counties in the past year during the time allowed by law.  In settlements where liquor can be procured the most of the venison that the Indians kill is sold to procure whisky.  It is stated that one Indian, who stopped near Arnprior, killed no less than 90 deers on the crust last winter and spring – a crime.”

Early court records of deer hunting in the two counties were not limited to cases for deterring hunting out of season.  Others concerned appropriation of hounds or of the hunter’s quarry.  In an 1865 trial at Almonte dealing with an October deer hunt at White Lake, magistrates James Rosamond and John Menzies, after hearing many witnesses, dismissed a charge based on the information and complaint of a Pakenham resident to the effect that James Poole, W. Morphy and James Cram of Carleton Place “did with force of arms take and carry away one deer the property of John McManagle.”  The implication of the decision seemed to be that hunters stationed at a lakeshore in shooting and attempting to keep possession of deer which had been run out by another hunting party did so at their peril.

Remarkably large packs of dogs were maintained by some deer hunters.  Andrew Dickson, ex-sheriff of the United Counties and onetime warden of the Provincial penitentiary at Kingston, was once reported to be the owner of over thirty.  In the same period large numbers were kept by James Poole of Carleton Place.  A granddaughter’s account of Andrew Dickson’s last farewell to hunting and to his dogs is given in Senator Andrew Haydon’s Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst.

     The scene is in 1868 at the Dickson home in Pakenham :

“The last time I saw my grandfather was just a week before he died.  The dogs had broken out of their kennels and rushed into the house, Sport, the favourite, on the bed, the place of honor, earned by years of devotion, and the other dogs with noses resting on the quilt, and on the gray old plaid they had so often followed.  The tears ran down his face, but he beckoned to me.  I took the whistle, which I could hardly use for crying, I led the way to the kennel, but Sport would not come.”

     In the early 1880’s the district game supply and the hunting restrictions both continued to be generous to the hunter.  A pair of hunters are reported returning to Carleton Place from a five week deer hunt in which they shot forty deer, followed by an advertisement “Good Venison for Sale,”  James Presley opposite the Methodist Church, Carleton Place.  Moose in the Upper Ottawa were meeting a similar onslaught which they could less readily withstand.  A Carleton Place “Protect the Moose” editorial May 1887 said:

     “Steps are being taken to have the Governments enforce more stringently the laws for the protection of this noble game.  As an instance of the terrible slaughter of moose deer that has gone on in the Upper Ottawa this season, it is mentioned that Montreal man who hunted on the Mississippi River killed 27.  A Pembroke man killed 40.  It is computed that all the carcasses would weight 53,600 pounds.  The Montreal man killed his moose during the legal season, but his companion killed during month of March and is reported to be killing yet.”

     Restrictions following 1887 included in the case of deer a season limit of 3 to 5 per person depending on the size of the hunting party with a season opening November 15th.