Liquor in Carleton Place before Prohibition in 1921

 

Liquor Once So Strong Fumes Blew Apart Barrel

Carleton Place Canadian, April 17, 1958

By Howard Morton Brown

 

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

Social Problem

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

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

Drunken Bipeds

 

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

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

Explosion

 

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

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

Tribunal

 

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

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

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

Syrup Labels

 

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

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

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

Missing Tanglefoot

 

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

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

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

Bar Room Conditions

 

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

 

Licenced Vendors

(Herald, Sept. 10, 1894):

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

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

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

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

Riverside Park Site of Carleton Place Graveyard

20-Foot Square Unmarked Grave in Riverside Park

The Carleton Place Canadian, 27 December, 1956

By Howard M. Brown

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Townships First Settled

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

Admiral Montagu and the American Revolution

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

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

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

Chief Justice Elmsley

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

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

Bishop Burgess

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

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

Pioneers of 1816

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

The Third Earl of Bathurst

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

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

Canada’s Defender Sir Gordon Drummond

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

Sir Sidney Beckwith Directed Settlement

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

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

Last Service At Beckwith Old Kirk Held 35 Years Ago, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 23 March, 1961

This is the third and final part of a story which has recalled some of the events in the memorable background of the Old Kirk Ruins of Beckwith township.  The first Presbyterian Church of the eastern half of Lanark County was built near Carleton Place in 1832, replacing a primitive log structure in a vicinity where services had been held since about 1818 and continuously since 1822.  The church remained in use until about 1870.

On the township’s Seventh Line road, two miles south of Black’s Corners and a mile east, its foundations may be seen.  In a recent pictorial map issued by the National Capital Commission its location is shown as one of the district’s historic sites.  Church services here were carried on for two pioneer generations by the first colony of Scottish Highlanders to be established north of the Glengarry settlement in Ontario.

One of the last commemoration services to be held within the walls of the Beckwith Old Kirk was conducted thirty-five years ago by a native son who still “had the Gaelic,” the Rev. Dr. James Carmichael, returning at the age of eighty-eight for the occasion.

A service of commemoration had been observed at the Old Kirk in the previous year.  It had opened with a procession in which the beadle, William Young, followed by the precentor, D. R. Ferguson and the minister, the Rev. J. W. S. Lowry, in black gowns, accompanied by a large number of the ruling elders of the neighbouring congregations, had made their way out from one of the doorways of the hallowed ruins to a raised platform.  A concluding service of prayer within the Old Kirk walls was attended by those present who in their youth had had their church upbringing there.  Among them were Margaret Anderson, Alan Cameron and Mrs. Cameron, Mrs. Donald Carmichael, William Drummond and James C. Elliott, John H. Ferguson, Mrs. Robert Ferguson (The Derry), Mrs. T. Ferguson, Mr. and Mrs. John McArthur and Mary McArthur ; also Duncan McEwen, Mrs. Finlay McEwen (Jock), Mr. and Mrs. Hugh McEwen, John McFarlane (11th line) and Mrs. Peter McLaren.

 

Gaelic Commemoration of Highland Scots

Reports of the commemoration services of 1916, conducted in English and Gaelic at the honoured meeting place, said in part:

Sunday last was a red letter day in Beckwith township, when the Presbyterian Church people observed the anniversary of the first public services held there by their forefathers.  The renowned highway, the Seventh Line, was all a-going with automobiles, rigs and pedestrians for the Presbyterian rally at the Old Kirk.  They came from all over Beckwith, from Montague and Elmsley, from Almonte and Carleton Place and from Ottawa, to pay their reverential respect to the days of the fathers and to that scriptural and reformation faith in which they lived and died.

After a largely attended and impressive sacramental service in Knox church in the morning, at which Rev. Mr. Lowry presided and Rev. Dr. Carmichael of King preached, the people assembled in large numbers in the afternoon beside the ruins of the Old Kirk on the seventh line of Beckwith, where for a generation the worship was conducted according to the principles and usages of the Church of Scotland.  A pulpit and precentor’s desk were erected and comfortable seating accommodation provided.  Following the opening exercises of prayer and scripture reading, and the singing of the 100th, 90th, and 103rd Psalms led by Mr. D. R. Ferguson as precentor, Rev. James Carmichael, D. D., was introduced by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Lowry, as a son of Beckwith welcomed back to his native heath.  Dr. Carmichael preached the commemoration sermon, the theme of his discourse being “The Cloud of Witnesses,” and was a most pathetic exhortation to those present to walk in the ways of their fathers.

With the singing of “O God of Bethel,” the benediction and the singing of “God Save the King,” the people crowded inside the stately old walls of the church ruin and listened to devotional exercises and a short address in the Gaelic language by Dr. Carmichael.  At its conclusion the cheerful tones of “When the Roll is called up Yonder” rang through the old gray walls.

Many visitors from outside points spent the day “on the line” and some, following the old-time custom, “walked to meeting.”  They took part in a bilingual service on the Sabbath and all seemed to enjoy the variations, whether they understood the ancient Gaelic or not.  It is the mother tongue of many of them, and they still dearly love its soft toned accents.  Those who know the Gaelic sincerely sympathize with those who have only the Saxon tongue.  It is the language of paradise, “which the devil does not understand, and in which the angels praise God.”

Beckwith Twp. Church Had Turbulent History, By Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 09 March, 1961

This is the second part of a story of the pioneer past of the Old Kirk of Beckwith township. The remains of the recently demolished Old Kirk Ruins may be seen near Carleton Place on the Seventh Line road of Beckwith township, two miles south and a mile east of Blacks Corners. The stone church was built in 1832, replacing a log church building. It served the first two Canadian generations of the first large settlement of Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlanders in the district of Upper Canada north of the Rideau River.

 

Within the historic church walls recently torn down after standing for over 125 years on the old Beckwith Cross Keys road, the Rev. John Smith from Edinburgh preached and ministered for eighteen years to the township’s Perthshire Highlanders as the second minister of the Beckwith Kirk. The church’s six trustees in 1834 were Alexander Stewart (1792-1892, Blacks Corners, from Blair Atholl), John Scott (The Derry, from Kinardchie, Parish of Dull), Finlay McEwen (The Derry, from Arveuh, Balquhidder Parish), Donald McLaren (1774-1847, conc. 4, from Achra, Balquhidder Parish), Colin McLaren (The Derry, from St. Fillans, Comrie Parish), and James McArthur (1767-1836, conc. 7 at Kirk, from Ross, Comrie Parish). The two elders were Peter Campbell and John Campbell.

 

The Great Disruption

In the spread of the Scottish Disruption of 1843 to Presbyterian congregations in Canada the Beckwith Kirk, like those of neighbouring townships and many others, divided into Church of Scotland and dissenting Free Church followers. The Beckwith Free Church body withdrew from the Seventh Line Church during the Rev. Mr. Smith’s pastorate. They formed a separate congregation with the Rev. Mr. Blair as first minister, building Knox Presbyterian Church at Blacks Corners in 1845, the building for which funds now are being collected for its conversion to serve as a United Cemeteries vault. This was the first Presbyterian Free Church of stone construction in the district. Its congregation included the Free Church Presbyterians of Carleton Place until 1868, when it became the mother church of Zion Church of Carleton Place.

 

When the Rev. John Smith died in 1851 in his fiftieth year, leaving a wife and six children, James Poole noted in his Carleton Place Herald : “Mr. Smith had been in the habit of officiating both in English and Gaelic, an accomplishment particularly grateful to our Highland friends.” His large monument in the United Cemeteries, Carleton Place, was erected by his congregation. In the six concession near the Church was his stone house and his farm which in part had been that of his predecessor the Rev. Dr. George Buchanan. It was offered for sale at Lavallee’s Hotel in Carleton Place on the fall fair day of 1864 by the Rev. Mr. Smiths’s heirs and was long the Drummond farm. Succeeding him as the ministers of the Beckwith Auld Kirk were the Rev. Duncan Morrison and the Rev. William McHutchinson, with pastorates of five years each. The manse then was in the seventh concession (NE ½ lot 12) nearer the intersection with the Mill Road now Highway 29.

 

Moved to Carleton Place and Franktown

After nearly fifty years of regular services at the Seventh Line site, since 1833 in the stone church and before that in more primitive buildings, the increase in the populations of Carleton Place and Franktown led to the congregation’s decision in 1869 (perhaps hastened by the formation of the Zion Free Church congregation in Carleton Place) to hold its services in the two villages and to close the Old Kirk building. In Franktown a frame church was built in 1871.

 

In Carleton Place there were two Presbyterian Church buildings, both on William Street. That of the Cameronian Reformed Presbyterians had been built in the 1840’s. Construction of the stone church building which remains at the corner of St. Paul Street, facing the park of the old Commons, had been started in the 1840’s after the Disruption. It had been completed but lack of agreement had prevented it from being occupied. It was being used by Robert Bell for the lowly purpose of storing hay. Now it was renovated and fitted as the first St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Carleton Place, for the part of the Seventh Line Church of Scotland congregation living at and near the village.

 

It served that congregation for nearly twenty years, until the present St. Andrew’s Church building on Bridge Street, with its corner stone laid by the Rev. George M. Grant, Principal of Queen’s University, was dedicated and occupied in 1888. The connection between St. Paul’s Church of Franktown and St. Andrew’s of Carleton Place as one congregation under one minister and one session severed in the following year. The Rev. A. H. Macfarlane, father of J. Calvin Macfarlane, moved from Ashton to Franktown and continued to minister to the congregations at Franktown and Blacks Corners from 1889 until his retirement in 1913.

 

Last Days Of Beckwith Auld Kirk

The last of the five ministers of the Seventh Line Kirk congregation was the Rev. Walter Ross, M.A. He was inducted there in 1862. For nineteen years he contined to serve his congregation, both at the Old Kirk building and after the move to Carleton Place and Franktown. In 1875 he changed his place of residence to Carleton Place, where he died in 1881. He was the father of A. H. D. Ross, M.A., M.F., whose history of “Ottawa Past and Present” was published in 1927. His successor for nine years was the Rev. Duncan McDonald, M.A., a graduate of Queen’s University, inducted at Carleton Place in 1882, who was followed by the Rev. Robert McNair and in 1897 by the Rev. G. A. Woodside, M.A., later of Winnipeg.

 

Upon the opening of the new St. Andrew’s Church in January of 1888, the fixtures which still furnished the Seventh Line Old Kirk were advertised for sale and it was announced the building would be sold. The contents went to buyers in five lots for $78. The stone building of the first St. Andrew’s Church on William Street was sold for $500 for conversion into a double dwelling.

 

Kirk Pulpit At Gallery Height

The interior structure and arrangement of the old Seventh Line house of worship were recalled from vivid boyhood memories of Peter Drummond in the history of a part of Beckwith township published in 1943 by the late Dr. George E. Kidd, M.C., “The Story of the Derry” :

The most unique feature of the building was the pulpit. It was placed high in the centre of the north side. This recalls how in the reign of Charles I, Archbishop Laud had, among other things in an attempt to force the return of Episcopacy on the Covenanters, insisted on the return of the pulpits to the east ends of the churches, whereas they then stood in the middle. The Beckwith church pulpit was so high as to be on a level with the gallery opposite ; and its canopy, made of finely carved native wood, reached to the top of the wall behind it. The precentor’s stand was placed directly in front of and below the pulpit. It was reached by ascending three steps.”

There was a doorway in each end wall of the church. These doors were connected by a wide aisle which divided the floor in halves. The pews in the south half all faced north, while those in the other half were placed at right angles to the aisle, and faced the pulpit from the east and west respectively. The gallery was reached by two flights of steps, one at each end of the church. An impassable partition cut across its centre. A long table, at which communicants sat while they partook of the Sacrament, stood in front of the pulpit.”

 

The Old Kirk’s last years before its stand of more than half a century as an historic ruins are viewed in an early story of the Auld Kirk on the Cross Keys by J. T. Kirkland, Almonte barrister, the years when “John D. Taylor with his schoolboy companions, hunting wild pigeons through the Beckwith woods, could peep in through the dismantled windows and see the sagging roof, the rotting floor and the faded plush and tassels of the old pulpit.”

St. James Church Franktown Oldest in Ottawa Valley, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 26 January, 1961

“The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Beckwith sheweth that we are desirous of a Place of Divine Worship and not having the means to Erect a suitable Place we humbly beg of your Excellency to take it into your consideration to grant the King’s Store Beckwith for a Church of the Established Religion of England.”

These words related the first steps toward the erection of Lanark County’s oldest existing church building, one which apparently is the oldest structure in Ontario’s Ottawa Valley to have been preserved in substantially its original form and in use as a church.

Franktown Inn Served As Church

The Rev. Michael Harris, M.A., on a winter day in his fourth year in the new Perth settlement of Upper Canada, scanned the eighty-two names attached to the petition that had been circulated among the Anglican men of Beckwith township.  To the Lieutenant Governor’s military secretary at York he wrote:

“At the request of the Inhabitants of the Township of Beckwith I forwarded the enclosed petition for His Excellency’s consideration, to request your interests with him to forward so desirable an object as that which the petition contains.  I am in the habit of performing Divine Service there once a month, and there is no place suitable for the purpose, therefore am compelled to make use of the Tavern which you will agree with me is not the most proper place.

If His Excellency should grant their petition the people have pledged themselves not only to take care of it but to finish it off for Divine Worship.”

In the centre of the same township the body of emigrants from the Scottish Highlands had their Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Dr. George Buchanan, who in response to their request had arrived from Scotland in the summer of the previous year.  Pat Nowlan’s tavern stood on the north side of the present village of Franktown.  It already had the distinction of having served as overnight accommodation for a Governor General of Canada and his travelling party as well as for holding Church of England services.  As a lesser distinction its owner also had been convicted of selling spirits in illegal quantities at his tavern.  Near it in the present village was the King’s Store, a government warehouse from which for several years farming supplies had been issued to new settlers.  On the east side of the warehouse an area equaling about the present size of the town of Carleton Place had been surveyed as a town site.  It had been portioned out in the past two years in town lots of 25 acres each by Lieut. Colonel James H. Powell, Perth district settlement superintendent.  Most of the town lot holders were his Irish compatriots, members of the Church of England.

But the government storehouse in Beckwith was no longer in active use.  Neither were the sites and buildings of the government’s main settling establishment in Perth, where the superintendent’s office and supply warehouse stood on opposite corners of Harvey and Gore streets.  Six years of military supervision had completed the substantial task of placing the first wave of several thousands of posts-war emigrants and disbanded soldiers as settlers in the woods of Lanark and Carleton counties.

Beckwith’s Anglican Church Founders

Beckwith township settlers who had petitioned in 1823 for the grant of the government building in Franktown for Church of England uses included such names as Austin Allen, George Bailey, John Conboy, Robert and William Davis, several Edwards (George, Thomas, Richard and Francis), James Garland, George, John, Robert and William Griffith, Henry and William Hawkins, Luke and William James, Peter Jones, William Kerfoot and William Kidd.  Others were Leaches (Edward, Thomas, Samuel and William), John, Thomas and William Lummox, Phineas Lowe, John and Dr. George Nesbitt; also Nowlans (John, Luke, Manny and Patrick), and John Poole, Peter and William Salter, James Saunders, Stephen and William Tomlinson, William Willis, Allan and William Wilson.

Original holders of rights to the town block lots of the 600 acre site over which Franktown must have been expected to grow had also received 100 acres farm sites elsewhere in the township.  They included Thomas Armstrong, William Burrows, John Conboy, Daniel Ferguson, Andrew Hughton, three Nesbitts, four Nowlans, Josiah Moss, Owen McCarthy, Thomas Wickham and others.

Government Store Became Church

Permission to use the government store at Franktown as a temporary church was given at once in March of 1823 by Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.  After another three years had passed, the promise of a free grant of ownership of the government building and its cleared six acres of land to the Church of England was obtained from the Lieutenant Governor by the persistent Rev. Michael Harris.  From the spacious rectory which he had built in Perth, now the Inderwick residence on Craig street, he wrote to Sir Peregrine’s secretary, Major Hillier of a more ambitious plan for the Beckwith Church:

“Relative to the sale of the lots in this place (Perth) for the purpose of erecting our church in Beckwith, I do not think we could get more than 100lbs for the one that the Office is built on, and as the Store is falling into decay I am of opinion that no more than 50 or 75 at the outside could be got for it.

A short time ago I brought down with me a person to estimate the expense of repairing the Store in Beckwith and fitting it up in a manner suitable for Divine Service.  He thought the whole of the repairs would amount to seventy or eighty pounds.  He strongly recommended that instead of repairing it we should lay out whatever funds we could collect on a new building, as the money that would be expended on the old one would go far in putting up the walls etc. of a stone Church.  I have since been to Beckwith and have had some conversation with the inhabitants of that township on the subject, who now offer to put the whole of the Stone and Lime on the ground if His Excellency will permit the funds to be appropriated to that purpose, and they would much rather turn the old Store into a temporary Parsonage and to have a good substantial place of Worship.

I have therefore made an enquiry of the probable expense and find that if the people make good their proposals of furnishing the stone and lime we will be able to complete the whole for 200lbs.  You will therefore confer an infinite obligation on me by your using your interest with His Excellency so that we may have the benefit of the Sums arising from the sale of the two lots.  Tho’ I am aware this demand is rather extravagant, still when I consider the benefit likely to accrue from this request to our Church establishments in this part of the Province, I am induced to trespass on Sir Peregrine’s liberality and to request your assistance to further our views.”

A glimpse of monetary values of the times may be had in comparing the estimate of costs of the proposed Beckwith Church with the Rev. Mr. Harris’ own government stipend, which was 200lbs a year.

County’s Oldest Stone Church

The responsive hierarchy at York soon authorized by orders in council the free grant of the government property in Franktown, and also the use of a share of the proceeds of the proposed sales of the government building in Perth, to aid in constructing a suitable building at Franktown for services of the Established Church.  The government’s disposal of its Perth storehouse was allocated to providing help for a plan to build a Perth town market house on Cockburn Island ; and when the sale was made in May, 1827, William Morris, the local Member of Parliament, paid 81lbs for the Perth government store property.  To get the funds for starting the Beckwith Church building the Rev. Mr. Harris had written in early March to the Lieutenant Governor’s secretary, urging the hastening of the sales:

“Relative to the lots to be sold for the Beckwith Church, if the deeds are not completed I would wish for an authority to sell them as the sleighing is nearly over.  Unless we provide the necessary materials now we will not be able to go on with the building till next year.  We have already provided the stone and lime, and are now only awaiting the sale of those lots to make the necessary arrangements.  The Bishop has promised me one hundred pounds but we cannot touch that till the building is enclosed.”

Eventually Mr. Harris was able to write his Bishop, Charles J. Stewart, second Anglican Bishop (1826-37) of Quebec, saying:

“I take the liberty of writing your Lordship respecting the Beckwith Church.  I have got it completely enclosed, with the exception of the windows, which are now ready to be put in.  They are being made at this place (Perth).  In the meantime we are going on with the inside.  In consequence of the roads being bad we are not able to send the windows out.”

Seeking the appointment of a missionary to the Beckwith station, Mr. Harris in a letter of 1827 gives his view of the importance of his area as compared to mission stations reported to be planned at Toronto and St. Catharines :

“From letters I have received from York, I understand that Toronto and St. Catharines are to be opened immediately as mission stations.  I should be sorry to remind His Lordship of his promise concerning Beckwith, but I must be allowed to say that, whatever claim both these places may have as to priority of settlement, still in point of church population I will not give in to them, both put together.  Besides Beckwith is a station where it is not necessary to build up the church but to preserve that where it is already established.”

The Gospel in Foreign Parts

The Rev. Richard Hart in 1829 was appointed to the Franktown station as Beckwith Township’s first resident Anglican clergyman.  He remained until 1833.  He is said to have conducted the first Anglican services in Carleton Place.  On a visit to Smiths Falls in January, 1833, before a Church of England existed there, he is reported to have preached to upwards of one hundred and fifty people, performed a marriage service and baptized fifteen children.  The first Anglican clergyman of the mission of Carleton Place, the Rev. Edward Jukes Boswell, received this appointment in December, 1833, as a “Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.”  Within a year a Carleton Place Anglican Church of substantial size (75 feet by 34 feet) was near completion of its construction at Bell and Edmund Streets.  Other Ottawa Valley pioneering Anglican clerics of the 1820’s were the Rev. Mr. Byrne at Richmond and the Rev. Amos Ainslie of Hull, the latter also conducting occasional services at points from Bytown to Pakenham and Ramsay.

The community of Franktown, which developed beside Beckwith’s historically notable Anglican Church, was one of the central points of the transportation of a part of the county’s winter shipments of goods to and from Ottawa and Brockville by bush road “trains.”  Soon it was outdistanced in growth by neighbouring villages having advantages of water power and of transportation by water and later by railway.  Numbering about a hundred persons by 1850, and 200 in 1870, Franktown’s residents, like those of other county villages of the time, included such trades and business people as innkeepers, tailors and merchants, blacksmiths, carpenters and sawmill workers, plasterers, masons and cabinetmakers, potash, soap and candle makers, broom makers, milliners and dressmakers, tanners, shoemakers and saddlers and regularly two doctors and one or two clergymen.

District Landmark Destroyed

Standing apart from the village’s several remaining most venerable buildings which have survived their busiest days, the old stone church continues to preserve its little-known high rank of age among Ontario’s few church buildings which have remained in use with few structural changes since the eighteen twenties.  A lamentable loss of a landmark of pioneer Presbyterianism of the Ottawa Valley has occurred in the recent destruction of the honoured stone walls of the Beckwith Seventh Line Gaelic Kirk of 1832 by a new owner.  This loss perhaps may lead to directing a wider deserved recognition to the historical standing of old St. James Church of Franktown, a remaining original monument to the founding fathers of this region of Ontario and to their religious faiths.

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.

Small Industries Numerous in Town 100 Years Ago, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 24 October, 1957

Six hundred adults and children lived in Carleton Place an even one hundred years ago, as estimated for a Canada business directory of November, 1857. Among its business and professional listings of some forty names, the village’s small industrial plants were the sawmill of Bell and Rosamond, Hugh Bolton’s grist mill, Sam Fuller’s foundry and machine shop, and Allan McDonald’s carding mill.

In the woodworking trades were Wm. Bell’s cabinet shop, John Graham’s and George McPherson’s carriage shops, the cooperage works of Edmund Burke and of Francis Lavallee, and carpenters including James Dunlop, Robert McLaren, John McLauchlin and George McLean. Representing the leather trades here in 1857 were the shoemaking businesses of Joseph Bond, Horatio Nelson Dorcherty, Wm. Moore, James Morphy, Wm. Neelin, the saddlery of A. R. Cameron and a tannery.

Fellow tradesmen carrying on metalworking businesses were blacksmiths James Duncan, Richard Gilhully, Duncan McGregor, Nathanial McNeely and tinsmith David Ward. The general retail stores were those of Campbell & Morphy (in which the post office located, at the corner of Bridge and Bell Streets), John Dewar, Archibald McArthur (corner of Bridge and Mill Streets), Wm. Peden and Tennant & Struthers.

Carleton Place’s merchant tailors of a century ago were Patrick Galvin, Colin Sinclair and Walter Scott ; innkeepers were Napoleon Lavallee and Robert Metcalf, and James McDiarmid was an auctioneer. Robert Bell, M.P.P., among his other business interests, had agencies for fire and life insurance and for marriage licences. Editor of the weekly Herald, James Poole, also was Clerk of the Division Court. Clergymen of the local churches were the Revs. R. Gregory Cox, Church of England ; W. Denion, Baptist ; Peter Gray, Presbyterian Free Church ; and John Howes, Wesleyan Methodist. The physician and surgeon was Dr. Wm. Wilson.

Neighbouring Towns

The larger centres near Carleton Place and their populations of ten decades ago as estimated for Lovell’s Canada Directory of 1857, were Mirickville 1000, Smiths Falls 1,500 and Perth 2.500. Neighbouring villages with populations as estimated at the same centennial date included Appleton 75, Clayton 130, Franktown 150, Ashton 200, Ennisville 200, Arnprior 250, Pakenham 300, Lanarak 350 and Almonte 500.

In Almonte were three sawmills, Shipman’s and Wylie’s grist mills, and McIntosh’s and Rosamond’s Woollen Mills, the latter newly moved from Carleton Place.

At and near Lanark were the Caldwell sawmills, the grist, saw and carding mills of John Gillies and of W. Drummond, and the Dobbie foundry. At Ennisville the growth of factory operations was centred on the Code cloth factory and James Ennis’ saw and grist mill.

Ashton had two sawmills, Franktown two medical doctors. The grist and saw mills at Clayton were owned by Edward Bellamy and the carding mill by Timothy Blair. Appleton had Peter and John F. Cram’s tannery, Joseph Teskey’s grist mill and Robert Teskey’s sawmill.

 In 1857 and continuing for many later decades, the manufacturing trades best represented in practically all centres of population in Lanark County, as elsewhere in the province, included also the blacksmiths, and the wagon makers, the tailors and shoemakers, the coopers and the cabinet makers. Payment for their goods and services might be made in produce or in cash. These classes of tradesmen and others all helped to provide locally for a great share of the average family needs.

Dollar and Cent Currency Adopted 100 Years Ago, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 17 October, 1957

Early days in Carleton Place 100 years ago, prepared by Howard M. Brown

DECIMAL CURRENCY

We publish in our advertising columns a notice from the banks of Canadaviz.

Bank of Montreal, Bank of North America, Bank of Upper Canada, City Bank, Quebec Bank, Gore Bank, La Banque du Peuple, Molson’s Bank, Bank of Toronto, Niagara District Bank. They announce their intention of adopting, after January 1st next, a decimal system of currency or dollars and cents in their accounts. The course is rendered necessary by the Act of the last session which makes it incumbent on the Government to use that currency in their books. The banks require their customers to draw their notes for discount, which are to fall due on and after January 1st, 1858, in dollars and cents and to have their cheque books, etc., for use after that date prepared conformably to the new regulations.

We publish the following letter on the need for this development. Sir: Canada with her 2 ½ or 3 million people presents the curious anomaly of a nation without a currency, the only approach to which are the coppers issued by the banks. One gets a handful of silver and on looking it over presents the appearance of the plunder of numismatic collection. I once found the following assortment in a handful so received – a Prussian Thaler, a Roman Paulo, a French Franc and half Franc, some Spanish, Mexican, Portugese and Sardinian pieces, one Swedish coin, a few English shillings, and various United States fractions of a dollar. The Province stands committed to the decimal system and sooner or later all commercial accounts will be so kept. I would suggest the postage stamps should carry their value marked in cents instead of pence. The banks might also be authorized to issue silver tokens representing 5, 10 and 25 cents. The disintegration of the British empire would not be hastened by granting the Canadians a decimal coinage.

 AGRICULTURAL PICNIC

In consequence of the inclemency of the weather the Pic Nic or Outdoor Soiree in connection with the United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew Agricultural Society is postponed to Tuesday, July 7th, when it will take place in Mrs. Thomas Morphy’s woods, Carleton Place, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Tickets 1s.3d each. Robert Bell, Secretary and Treasurer.

THE ORANGE WALK

So long back as we can remember it has been usual to make a fuss, kick up a dust and drink a little whiskey to wash it down, on the 12th of July, in commemoration of the battle of the Boyne. That memorable day happening on Sunday this year, the 13th was duly ushered in by the discharge of musketry and the roll of the Protestant drum. It was a scorching hot day but the Orange men, Orange women, Orange boys and Orange girls from all parts of the country met in our village and had a general parade. Upwards of 2,000 persons were present. All seemed to enjoy themselves most admirably until evening, when the assembly quietly broke up and several lodges returned to their respective homes.

LATE REV. WM. BELL

Died at Perth, on Sabbath morning, August 16th, 1857, the Rev. William Bell, A.M., the Minister of the first Presbyterian Church, in the 78th year of his age and the 41st of his ministry. He arrived at Perth as the minister of the first Presbyterian settlers in June 1817. He had the honor of being the first to preach the gospel in Lanark, Ramsay, Beckwith, Smiths Falls, and other places, besides Perth, at all of which there are now flourishing congregations.

BUILDING A TOWN HALL

A special meeting of the Municipal Council of the Township of Beckwith was held at Mr. Lavallee’s Hotel, Carleton Place, on Tuesday July 28th at 11 o’clock a.m., for the purpose of receiving tenders for the building of a Town Hall for the said township. Mr. Brice McNeely moved, seconded by John Roberts, that the Council do purchase a site or certain piece of ground for the purpose of erecting a Town Hall for the benefit of the Township of Beckwith said parcel of land being part of the east half of lot 14 in the 8th concession of Beckwith on the Franktown and Carleton Place road. The five tenders were opened as received from Neil Stewart, Robert Metcalfe, Robert McLaren, Peter Campbell and Wm. Rorrison. A contract was then entered into by the Council with the lowest tenderer, Neil Stewart and securities, for the building of a Town Hall for the sum of 119 pounds, 10 shillings, the job to be finished by January 1st, 1858.

INNISVILLE CHURCH

Proposals will be received until October 10th for plastering and shingling the Church of St. John, in the 12th concession of Lanark, and for building a small vestry room thereto. A. Code, James Cooke, George Crampton, church-wardens, committee. Carleton Place September 30th, 1857.

GRAND SQUIRREL HUNT

A grand squirrel hunt will take place at Carleton Place on Monday, October 19th, 1857. Parties wishing to attend the same can do so by leaving their names at the Post Office and paying the fee. Wm. Morphy, Secretary.

SCHOOL ON SATURDAYS

From the (Ottawa) Citizen. That hardly a half of the usual number of pupils attend on Saturdays is a powerful reason why the schools should be closed on that day. All Grammer Schools are closed on Saturdays. The children attending the Common Schools are certainly as much and even more in need of recreation than those attending the former, since they are generally younger. There are some who argue that since the parents toil six days so the child ought.

FINANCIAL CRASH

The financial panic in the States which has increased week after week since the first of September has culminated. It commenced by the breaking down of the Ohio Life Insurance Company in August. Then came the crash in the South and the West, the suspension of all the Pennsylvania, the Baltimore and the Washington Banks. Rhode Island followed next, and all over New England the doors were closed. New York City and State stood out to the last, but the failure of some of the heaviest mercantile houses has been followed by a total suspension of specie payments by the entire fifty-one banks of the City, and a solid column of leading merchants, manufacturers and publishers has been driven to the wall.

BECKWITH TOWN HALL

In going to Franktown yesterday we noticed that the Town Hall which was lately erected for this township is about completed. It is a good sized frame building situated in a fine airy place on the hill opposite the Free Church. We understand Mr. John Roberts was so liberal as to make the township a present of the site for the building.

 

 

 

 

Origin Of Villages Around Carleton Place Go Back 100 Years, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 07 March, 1957

Here is an unusually informative and interesting story of well known places such as Black’s Corners, Arklan, The Derry, Coocoo’s Nest, Dewar’s Cemetery, Gillies Corners, Glen Isle, Scotch Corners, Tennyson, etc ; written for the Canadian by Howard M. Brown, historian.

Origin of some place names in Beckwith

Beckwith Township, surveyed for settlement in 1816, was given at that time its present name. It is named in honour of Major General Sir Sidney Beckwith (1772-1831), Quartermaster General of the British forces in Canada, under whose direction the settlement of this district was conducted.

Sir Sidney Beckwith came to Canada in 1812 as Assistant Quartermaster General and took part in the War of 1812-14, after serving in India and under Sir John Moore in the Peninsular Wars. Origins of some of the place names in the township are locally well known. Origins of others seem to be unrecorded and possibly unknown. The township’s largest geographical feature, its principal river, has its first known Indian name Mishi-sippi, great or large river, revised to Mississippi.

 Carleton Place

The town of Carleton Place was formerly Carlton Place, the name provided by the first village postmaster in 1830 to replace Morphy’s Falls. It has a Scottish origin, being taken from the location of the same name in Glasgow. Carleton was a more familiar word in Canada, as the name of British Canada’s governor and defender, Sir Guy Carleton, and in the early 1850’s the recognized name of the community became changed gradually from Carlton Place to Carleton Place.

 Villages

The township’s present villages bear the names of Franktown, Ashton, (divided between Goulbourn and Beckwith), Prospect and Black’s Corners. Franktown, the oldest of these, appears in all likelihood to have been named for the christian name of Colonel Francis Cockburn, the senior administrative officer who worked enthusiastically in promoting the district settlement.

The name of Cockburn creek, between Franktown and Perth, also recalls his service to the district.

Ashton with Mount Pleasant and Summer’s Corners as earlier names, had its present name designated about 1840 when it received a post office with Colonel John Sumner, later a Carleton Place merchant, as postmaster. The name is said to have been proposed by him in recollection of the town of Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester.

Prospect, which once had a population of about one hundred, seems probably a descriptive name given when a post office was established there.

Black’s Corners

At Black’s Corners the township’s municipal affairs, which included those of Carleton Place, were transacted in 1858 for the first time in a building constructed and owned by the municipality. The Township hall that was built in the previous year, one hundred years ago, was the first municipal hall of Beckwith and Carleton Place.

The council previously had held its meeting in the principal hotels of Carleton Place and Franktown. Across the road from the township hall, Knox church had been built twelve years earlier as the first church in this immediate district of the Presbyterian church of Canada or Free Church.

In about this period the name Black’s Corners came into general use for this crossroads point near the centre of the township. Adjoining the new township hall was a piece of land which had been owned by John Black, after whom the little hamlet was named. Whether this was the J. Black who came in 1929 as one of the district’s first Methodist ministers has not been ascertained.

Arklan

Taking a few of the township’s place names as they come alphabetically, the location of Arklan, including an island with a small formerly utilized water power site near Carleton Place, was called successively Bailey’s Mills, Bredins Mills and Arklan Mills.

The former two names were those of its owners. The present name is derived from that of the county. George Bailey’s mill was established almost as early as Hugh Boulton’s at Carleton Place. Both mills are named on a district map of 1833. George Bailey Sr., an 1820 settler lived there for forty-five years, dying in 1865 at the age of 90.

The Bredin family then bought properties, within a few years turning their use over to others. The Bailey site served as a sawmill, and a times as a shingle mill and a planing mill, for lessees of the departed Bredins. It was bought by A. C. Burgess in 1887 and after improvements, was leased again as a sawmill. The name Arklan was provided by Mr. Burgess, who a little earlier had begun developing his model stock farm on the adjoining farm land. His brother, G. Arthur Burgess, mayor of Carleton Place in 1903 and 1921, and at times a stormy petrel in municipal affairs, installed a small hydro electric plant at Arklan in 1909 and for about a year supplied a part of the town’s power for electric lighting purposes, leasing his installations in 1912 to the town’s other supplier of electric power.

The Derry and The Coocoo’s Nest

The Derry, the name long held by school section number 6 in the middle eastern part of the township, is found to mean “the place of oaks”, the word “doire” of ancient inhabitants of the north of the British Isles. Its first settlers of 1818 were from Perthshire. In the late Dr. George E. Kidd’s book which tells in detail its subject “The Story of the Derry”, there is said to be a place in Perthshire of the same name. With the same meaning, it also was the first name of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The Coocoo’s Nest, long the name of the area in school section number 3 east of Franktown, while named after the cuckoo, a bird of note in literature and legend, does not seem to have its local origin recorded.

Dewar’s Cemetery

Dewar’s and Kennedy’s cemeteries, located together on the eighth concession road near Ashton, were named for the Kennedy and Dewar families who came there from Pershire in 1818, the Kennedys from the parish of Dull, and the Dewars from the parish of Comrie.

Kennedy’s cemetery, the older one, is on land located in 1818 by John Kennedy and later owned by Robert Kennedy, long noted in the distsrict for his skill with the bagpipes. Robert, who came there with his parents at the age of eight, moved to Ashton and died in 1900 at Carleton Place.

The site of Dewar’s Cemetery originally was one of the clergy reserve lots, with the farms of Archibald and Peter Dewar beside it, and on the opposite side those of Finley McEwen and Malcolm Dewar. Archibald Dewar jr. son of Peter, was reeve of Beckwith for many years and died in 1916.

The Dewar families for centuries had been the recognized hereditary guardians of the staff or crozier of St. Fillan. Traditions of St. Fillan who was venerated as early as the eighth or ninth century in Glen Dochart and Strathfillan in the present Perthshire, have an important place in ancient Christianity in Scotland.

The head of the saint’s crozier, of silver gilt with a smaller crozier head of bronze enclosed in it, is reported to have been brought by Archibald Dewar to Beckwith, where its powers remained highly regarded, and to have been transferred by his eldest son to its present location at the National Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Gillies Corners – Glen Isle

Gillies Corners, west of Franktown on the settlers first road between Perth and Beckwith, was the location of the inn of Archibald Gillis, who settled there in 1819 and maintained a licenced inn for a period including from the 1830’s to the 1850’s. Glen Isle, on the Mississippi near Carleton Place and about a square mile in area, is named for Captain Thomas Glendenning who in 1821 located on a grant of land including most of the part of the island lying in Beckwith Township.

A lieutenant retired on half pay from the 60th Regiment, he became a captain in the first local militia and is credited with an unenviable part in promoting the Ballygiblin fights of 1824. He also featured in a dispute with Daniel Shipman of Shipman’s Mills, now Almonte, regarding methods of raising a levy of the local militia in 1838 for possible service against the border raids which already had culminated near Prescott in the Battle of the Windmill. Captain Glendenning moved some time later to Chatham, where he continued to live in the 1850’s. The island has borne its present name for over 125 years.

 Smaller Streams

The Jock River, rising in Beckwith and flowing across the township through an extensive low-lying wooded area toward the outlet near Ottawa, was in 1818 named the Goodwood. This was the name of the Essex County estate owned in England by the Duke of Richmond, Governor General at the time. The name is preserved locally in that of the Goodwood Rural Telephone Company. The river’s early alternative name of Jacques prevailed and underwent a change of nationality to the present Jock.

King’s Creek, in the south-east side of the township near Prospect, was named for the family of John King who came there from Blair Atholl with the 1818 Perthshire emigrants. Lavallee’s Creek, now smaller than in the past, and extending from Highway 15 near Carleton Place to the Mississippi at Glen Isle, was named for Napoleon Lavellee, hotel keeper and colourful local figure from 1830 to 1890 at Carleton Place.

When the Rideau Canal was being planned one course for the canal given passing consideration included Cockburn Creek, McGibbon’s Creek and the lower Mississippi. McGibbon’s Creek, a small stream in the west side of the township passing through a considerable amount of flooded land, obtained its name from the McGibbon family which bought land nearby on the the 8th concession and lived there for several generations. Along the upper course several settlers took up land in the 7th concession in late 1816 as first permanent residents of the township.

 United Cemeteries,  Scotch Corners – Tennyson

St. Fillans, Maplewood and Pine Grove or Cram’s United cemeteries include land obtained by John Cram in 1818 on his arrival from Comrie in Perthshire. From St. Fillans in Perthshire came a large number of the settler’s arriving in that year. Scotch Corners, separated from the main part of the township by the Mississippi Lakes and containing the Scotch Corners cemetery, was named as being a predominantly Scottish farm settlement. It was occupied in 1822.

Tennyson, a crossroads point on the west border of the township, now consisting of two churches, a school and a cheese factory building, probably can be taken to have been named for the poet Lord Tennyson. The land at that point was first located in 1816 to two demobilized half-pay military officers who established their residences at Perth.

The part north of the 7th concession road was granted to Roderick Matheson and the opposite part to Ensign J. H. O’Brien formerly of the Newfoundland Fencibles. Lieutenant Roderick Matheson had been paymaster of the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles. He established himself as a successful merchant at Perth and became the Hon. Roderick Matheson, member of the appointed Legislative Council of Canada.