Documents Showing the Establishment of The Carlton Place Library Association & Mechanics Institute-1846

Translation of the Establishment of the Carlton Place Library Association & Mechanics Institute in 1846:

 “At a public meeting held pursuant to notice at Carlton* Place in the office of Messrs. R. Bell & Co. on the evening of the 7th March, 1846.  Robt. Bell Esq. was called to the chair.  David Lawson appointed secretary.

Resolved that a Committee of three be appointed to draft a constitution for a public library.

Resolved that R. Bell Esq. & Messrs. J. A. Gemmel & David Cram form the above Committee.

Resolved that a public meeting be called on Saturday the 14th Inst. At 7 o’clock p.m. when the Committee will report proceedings.

D. Lawson, Secretary

At a public meeting held pursuant to notice at Carlton Place in office of Messrs. R. Bell & Co on the evening of the 14th March 1846.

Proposed that the Committee read their report.  R. Bell Esq. proceeded to read the following report.

 

Report

Rules and regulations of the Carlton Place Library Association & Mechanics Institute:

This society shall be called the Carlton Place Library Association & Mechanics Institute; and its object shall be the establishment and management of a public library, the acquisition of suitable apparatus in connection with the Mechanics Institute, and a supply of lectures on useful & interesting subjects.”

*Please note that Carleton was spelled without the ‘e’ in this document.

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Published in: on November 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What Were They Reading? : Ida Moore, Moore House Ghost, and the Library

What was Ida Moore, who some say is the ghost of Moore House in Carleton Place, reading in March of 1897?

From a record book currently on display at the Carleton Place Public Library,  which, I swear,  just happened to fall open to this page, we see that Miss Ida Moore borrowed book number 503, which was the “Story of Antony Grace,” by George Manville Fenn.

It was released in 1888 and according to Internet Archive:

“The Story of Antony Grace” is a pleasantly written English novel which minutely describes the life and adventures of a lad early left an orphan and supposed to be penniless. The plot is somewhat conventional, involving considerable persecution and brutality, which is, however, overbalanced by the kindness and generosity of Antony’s humble friends, and the story ends happily with the punishment of the vicious and the happiness of the virtuous. The style is excellent and the story entertaining.”

You too can read what Ida read in 1897, as the book is readily available online!

Stay tuned for more in this series, “What were they reading?”, as we shed more interesting insights into Carleton Place ancestors by peeking at what library books were on their night stands.  We may even still have some of them, and if we do, I will post a picture!

The Library & Ida Moore

The Library & Ida Moore

JANET BARIL’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Retirement Poster

Published in: on October 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A HISTORY OF THE CARLETON PLACE PUBLIC LIBRARY

A History of the Carleton Place Public Library

In honour of Janet Baril’s Retirement, Head Librarian 1984-2013

Starting in 1829, the Ramsay and Lanark Circulation Library originally served the townspeople of Carleton Place.  It had over 500 volumes, and was located in the Anglican Church which stood at Lot 16, 1st Con. Ramsay, opposite the Union Hall and schoolhouse.

Our present library began on March 14, 1846, as a Subscription Library with 65 original members.  The entry fee was 2 shillings and the yearly fee was 5 shillings.  The subscription list continued until 1850.  By 1851, the Carleton Place library was operating out of the school house on Bridge Street, later Central School, which became the site of the post office.  Some pages are missing until a partial list appears in 1864 when the record ends.

The officers and directors of the Carleton Place Library and Mechanics’ Institute for 1851 were:

President:  James Duncan (blacksmith); Vice President:  William Peden (merchant); Treasurer:  Robert Bell, M.P.P. ; Secretary:  David Lawson (store clerk, postmaster) ; Librarian:  Johnston Neilson (schoolmaster) ; Directors:  George Dunnet (merchant), Duncan McGregor, James C. Poole (newspaper publisher), Thomas Patterson (Ramsay farmer), John McCarton (Ramsay farmer).

April 5, 1865:  “The Carleton Place Library will be open on Monday next, and on the first Monday of every month hereafter.  Person wishing to read can on payment of .25 cent per quarter of a year.”

Interest in the library seemed to have dwindled until 1883 with the formation of the Carleton Place Mechanics Institute.  The object of this Association was to:  “establish a reading room and library, procure suitable apartments (sic) and deliver courses or lectures on useful and interesting subjects, as well as supply its members with the means of instruction in Arts, Sciences, Literature and General knowledge.”  They housed the library wherever there was an empty building, or an individual would take it to their home.  The Mechanics Institute looked after the library until 1895, when legislation was passed in Ontario whereby the Mechanics Institute became the Public Library, free of subscription dues.  The Town by-law taking over the Library was not passed in its’ complete form until January, 1897.  Upon completion of the Town Hall in that year, the Public Library began its’ long stay there.  At this time the book collection was 2,458 volumes, and the number of books taken out during the year was 4,418. 

In 1897, the Art Loan Exhibit, an exhibit of Lanark and Renfrew’s social and natural history was put together by the library at the Opera Hall in the new Town Hall.

Information from 1956 shows that “At present there are about 1,000 borrowers, approximately 8,000 volumes to choose from, and a yearly and growing circulation of over 20,000…on the library tables there is an excellent range of daily papers as well as periodicals of Canadian, English and U.S. origin, which can be read in the quiet and well-lighted main room…the library is housed in the town hall main floor, a central and convenient place for its users…”

In 1966 the Eastern Ontario Regional Library System was set up.  This allowed for a pooling of book resources and interests of all Public Libraries in the ten counties of Eastern Ontario. 

In 1970 the new library was built on land donated by the Town and funded by private individuals.  It measured 3200 sq. ft., four times the size of the Town Hall library.  Once again, in 1979, the Library needed more space and was expanded to double its’ size.

Then in September, 1986, the Library was vandalized and set on fire, destroying the adult fiction collection and causing water and smoke damage to the rest of the collection.  The library was moved to temporary quarters in the Mews Professional Building on Lansdowne Avenue, until the library was rebuilt and the fire damage cleaned up.  The Library returned to its’ home in February, 1987, with an official opening on May 23, 1987.

In 1994, the Library held 35,569 volumes and 93,040 volumes circulated during the year.  Also, 910 volumes were loaned to other libraries in Ontario and 966 volumes were borrowed from them.

Computerization came to the library in 1992 in the form of an automated system.  No more card catalogues, or hand-written patron library cards.  The future had arrived!

As a millennium project, the library underwent a massive renovation starting in

June 1999, and ending in February 2000.  At that time, the large Barbara Walsh meeting room on the east side of the building was turned into a much needed larger children’s area, with a new and smaller Barbara Walsh room added to the front of the building.  Glass fronted offices were added close to the new circulation desk, along with public internet access terminals and storage areas.  A local history/microfilm room was located near the Beckwith Street side of the building.

In December 2010, the library began to provide access to e-books through  Southern Ontario Library Service, for all Carleton Place and area patrons.  Ancestry Library Edition also became available early in 2011 for local family history buffs.

Statistics from 2011 show the Library holding approximately 63,000 items, with 108,280 circulating throughout the year.  As well, patrons borrowed approximately 2,440 e-books, and Ancestry Library Edition saw approximately 11,691 research hits.  Also, 1,273 volumes were loaned to other libraries in Ontario and 1,245 volumes were borrowed from them.

Librarians:

 David Lawson          1846-1851

Johnston Neilson    1851-1887

Peter McRostie       1887-1909

Emma McRostie     1909-1941

Louise Elliott           1941-1960

Barbara Walsh        1960-1984

Janet Baril                1984-2013

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTY-THREE : Canada’s Centennial (3)

 

 War Clouds Menaced Confederation—Canada

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 14 April, 1966

 

In the last year of the founding of the Dominion of Canada, storm clouds surrounded the disturbed Canadian springtime of 1866.  To our forefathers of the towns and farms of the present provinces of Ontario and Quebec, rallying to the defence of their southern border, these storm signals gave new practical weight to the merits of forming a federal union with the provinces of their Atlantic neighbours.

Preserved among the remaining vivid Eastern Ontario pictures of Canada’s spirit of 1866 are the news and editorial columns of the Carleton Place weekly newspaper of that day.  They reflect the indignation and confidence of a province bracing itself to meet the threat of guerrilla attacks which might be made with the tolerance or tacit consent of United States authorities.  The generally similar view shown in newspapers and public attitudes in the future first Dominion of Canada in that troubled time is illustrated by such statements as these, made in this district’s widely circulated Carleton Place Herald:

“It appears almost incredible that the Fenian operations should have been allowed to be carried on in the States to so great a length as they have been.  But at latest reports the Washington authorities seem very little inclined to check their operations, and seem rather amused at the trouble, danger and expense to which the British provinces are subjected.  Mr. Seward (United States Secretary of State), may have to laugh on the other side of his mouth before the American government is done with Fenianism, its consequences and its responsibilities.”

“Prejudiced, although unfairly so, as the Americans are against us, we have but little to hope for or expect from their goodwill to us.  Indeed, without their countenance and support the present state of things could not have existed.  But in their own circumstances we have a reasonable guarantee that they will, if they have not already gone too far, stop the movement.  They know well too that the very first effect of a war with John Bull would be the total and irreparable loss of the fruits of their four years’ struggle with the South, with national bankruptcy and a long train of other evils.  We must not shut our eyes to the fact that if unhappily a war should take place with the United States, Britain and her colonies would suffer severely in the struggle.”

“At Ottawa during the past week guards have been placed at night on the armoury, the banks and the Railway Depot.  The city has a martial appearance.  Bugles are sounding, and the tramp of armed men is becoming familiar to our ears.  The number of volunteers in the city must now be over five hundred men.  There may be no actual necessity for this but it is better to be sure than sorry.

Large reinforcements from England are expected here shortly.  At present we have about ten thousand regulars in Canada, besides eleven thousand volunteers on duty.  Then there are at least fifteen thousand fully armed and ready at a moment’s notice, another eight thousand militia could soon be made available.  The Government has had an immense number of offers of veterans and others who are well drilled.”

A visitor’s impressions of the Carleton Place Rifle Company during its March, 1866 first call to arms were given in the Brockville Recorder, whose writer said:

“We learn from a gentleman who was travelling on the Brockville & Ottawa Railway that on Friday last a company of volunteers, fine looking men under Captain Poole, made their appearance at the Carleton Place railway station in full uniform, guns and bayonets in first best style.  Indeed a gentleman present said he never saw a better looking company of men, or arms better kept.  The company was led by the good old Scotch bag pipes and drum, well played.  The Captain and officers may be proud of their men.  If the interests of the country require it, this company will give a good account of themselves.  When the train started three cheers were given for the Queen, and three more for the Carleton Place volunteers.”

A brigade and divisional muster and review was held at this time (March 23 and 24) at Montreal.  Its proceedings, as reported by Captain Poole in the Carleton Place Herald, included imposition of a severe sentence of a court martial, later greatly reduced, for an unfortunate corporal of the Carleton Place Rifle Company:

“On Friday last, the Militia Brigade mustered at the City Hall in Montreal.  The sentence of the Court Martial on two of the volunteers belonging to the Shefford Light Infantry Company was read by the Assistant Adjutant General, George Smith.  The charge against the men was simply one of gross insubordination, and they were sentenced to sixty days imprisonment without hard labor.”

“On Saturday there was a ‘Grand Divisional Field Day’ of the whole garrison, regulars and volunteers.  The First Brigade, on the left, consisted of H. R. Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade, the 25th.  King’s Own Borderers and the 30th Regiment.  The Second Brigade was composed of the Volunteer Militia, under command of Colonel Dyde, Brigadier.  The inspecting officer was Lieut. General Sir John Michel (then commanding Her Majesty’s forces in North America).”

“In Colonel Dyde’s staff we noticed Lieut. Colonel George Smith, A.A.G.  After the inspection the route of march was then taken up.  Each regiment was preceded by its band.  On completing a lengthy march by way of the following streets…., the regulars proceeded to the barracks and the volunteers turned into Craig Street at the French Square.”

“The volunteers then marched up to the Victoria Square, where the Brigade was drawn up in square of close column and the proceedings and sentence of a Court Martial on Corporal Patrick Tucker of the Carleton Place (C.W.) Rifles were read by Assistant Adjutant General George Smith.  The offence proved in this case was gross insubordination.  The sentence of the Court was ninety days imprisonment, the first and last seven days with hard labour.  At the conclusion of this unpleasant part of the day’s proceedings, the several corps marched off to their armories and dispersed.”

The thanks of Carleton Place to its volunteers at the end of their March service was offered at an oyster supper for the Rifle Company, held within the stone walls of William Kelly’s British Hotel at the corner of Bridge and High Streets, in an evening of songs and speeches.  One erring member of the Company, found after this event to have ‘persisted in wearing his uniform clothes for days together and even sleeping in them’, was fined five dollars with an alternative of ten days in jail.

Expectations of further dangers, which soon were to come, called for continued preparation and frontier watchfulness in the interval between March and June.  In their local prediction in the Carleton Place Herald three months before the June abortive invasion our chronicle Captain Poole wrote, in part:

“By recent orders from Headquarters the several companies relieved from active duty are required to assemble for drill twice a week, for which the non-commissioned officers and men are to receive each the sum of fifty cents for each drill:  the commissioned officers, nothing.  Until further orders the Carleton Place Rifle Company will assemble on Wednesdays and Saturdays at four o’clock.”

“The country is threatened with invasion by a reckless horde of robbers and scoundrels.  The danger may possibly be postponed but there is little doubt  that before many weeks it will come to the hard pinch, and we trust every volunteer will show himself to be A Man And A Soldier, and ‘rally round the flag’ in defence of his country and his home.”

The strains created by an aggressive United States and the threats from irregular forces within its borders were giving their unintended impetus to the union of the Province of Canada with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, then in its final stages of negotiation.  This was the Herald forecast:

“The idea of Confederation is making rapid strides in the Lower Provinces.  The prospect of ultimate success now amounts to almost a certainty.  The ‘blue noses’ are beginning to regard Canadians as friends and neighbours and are almost inclined to cultivate a closer relationship.  Canadian capital and enterprise would, it is believed, give a powerful stimulus to the progress of New Brunswick and the other colonies.  Again, the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty showed, too clearly to be misunderstood, the necessity of commercial union between the Provinces.  The feeling was made stronger by the avowed annexationist doctrines of some American politicians, and their supposed sympathy with the Fenian movement.  The demonstrations of the latter Order on the frontier, with their statements that they were determined to frustrate the Confederation scheme, sever the Colonies from Britain and erect them into a Republic, also have had their effect.”

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTY-TWO : Canada’s Centennial (2)

 

Invasion Threatened When Local Units Trained

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 31 March, 1966

 

Fifty years before Canadian volunteer soldiers began to leave their home towns in 1914 for overseas service, men equally prepared to risk their lives for Canada were forming the first active service military units of many Canadian towns.  Their fortunately brief defence service was in the years of the Fenian Raids of the 1860’s, when the last armed invasions of Canada came to challenge our national Confederation.

Among these defenders were more than fifty men of the Carleton Place Rifle Company.  The Carleton Place Rifle Company was formed at the start of the first expansion of a trained and permanent volunteer militia of the old Province of Canada, made to meet the risk of possible war between the United States and Great Britain at the outset of the American Civil War.  Like those of neighbouring localities and others throughout the province, it replaced a venerable succession of local but normally untrained and unarmed companies of the original sedentary militia.  A view of the participation of this community, then an unincorporated village, in Canada’s first major development of its own military forces is given in the pages of the locally published weekly newspapers of that day.

When war threats and consequent militia expansion came in 1862, local demand led to the formation of the first trained and equipped militia company to be based at Carleton Place.  In January of that year, in the words of the local Herald editor:

“At a meeting of some of the inhabitants of Carleton Place and vicinity, held at Lavallee’s Hotel on Saturday evening last, it was unanimously resolved that: – ‘In view of the unsettled state of affairs between the British and American governments and the possibility of war, it is expedient that a rifle company should be formed in this village and neighbourhood, to aid in the defence of their country.’

A muster roll was then opened and signed by those present at the meeting.  Several others have since added their names, making in all upwards of sixty.”

This number, including some young men of nearby farms, appears to equal nearly half of the total number of men of ages 18 to 40 living then in Carleton Place.

The gazetting of the Carleton Place Volunteer Militia Rifle Company came in December, 1862, with James Poole as captain and John Brown as lieutenant.  Within a month it was equipped and undertaking military training.  The Perth Courier in December stated:

“Volunteer Rifle Companies are organizing in all parts of the country.  In Carleton Place a Company has been Gazetted under Capt. Poole.  The volunteer movement if properly encouraged will soon result in twenty or thirty thousand well disciplined men.  Let it be made imperative on every Militia officer to be well drilled, and Canada would soon have her militia on a footing that would be ready for all emergencies.  At present the supply of Drill Instructors is sadly inadequate.”

The newly authorized company was first paraded in greatcoat uniforms on New Year’s Day, when its captain, news editor James Poole, wrote:

“According to notice given, the members of this company assembled in front of the ‘Herald’ office on the morning of New Year’s Day.  After being dressed in the coats and accoutrements forwarded by the Government from Quebec, they were drilled by Robert Bell, Jr., nephew of Robert Bell, Esq., M.P.P. for the North Riding.  They paraded the streets several times, and from the manner of performing the drill, dictated by their youthful teacher for the time, have given great promise of future utility, should any unfortunate occasion arise.”

By mid-July it was announced:

“In a few days the new clothing will be ready for distribution, and Carleton Place will be able to turn out one of the best looking Rifle Companies in Canada.  The Company will continue to drill as usual every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.”

Another summer notice stressed the need for target practice, as judged by the captain of the Carleton Place Company, who published the names and scores of marksmanship of each of some sixty militiamen:

“A rifle shooting match was held near this village on Saturday last, the 15th instant, between the Carleton Place Rifle Company and the Infantry Company from Almonte.  The Riflemen were requested to be in uniform at the armoury at six o’clock in readiness to march to the station to meet the Almonters. 

The Riflemen were uniformed in the regular Rifle dress – dark green tunics and grey pants, with red facings, dark belts and shakos to match.  The Infantry wore the scarlet tunics, gray pants, white belts and shakos trimmed to suit.  The shooting was conducted under the able management of Sergt. Cantlin.  The shooting on both sides was bad, and much below the average, there being but a few men in either company sufficiently practiced with the rifle.  The following is the score of points…”

(Totalling Almonte 107, Carleton Place 106).

A mid-winter inspection of these two companies in February, 1864, as reported by Captain Poole, showed the required drilling which lay ahead:

“The Almonte Infantry and Carleton Place Rifle Companies were inspected on Saturday last by Lt. Col. Earle of the Grenadier Guards, accompanied by Brigade Major Montgomery.  The attendance of both companies was much below what it should have been – The Almonte Company mustering only 27 including officers, and the Carleton Place Company 43.  The Colonel was well pleased with the condition of the arms and accoutrements of the men; but did not compliment them very highly on their proficiency in drill, which was owing to their very irregular attendance during the fall and winter.”

The American Civil War ended in the spring of the following year.  Within six months the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States was building its resources for its expected conquest of Canada, and in November, Canadian troops were posted for several months duty at border points from Prescott to Sarnia.

In Lanark County, contracts for erecting drill halls were let early in 1866 at Carleton Place and Almonte.  Construction of the Carleton Place armoury was aided by the promise of a £50 grant by the municipality.  It was built by William Pattie on the Beckwith Street site of the recently demolished skating rink bordering the park which then was the village market square.  Supported by its hand hewn beams, it remained a useful memorial of the perils of the 1860’s until destroyed in the town’s great fire of 1910.  Its use was granted at times for other community purposes ranging from the Beckwith Agricultural Society’s exhibitions of the 1860’s and the ambitious annual choral and musical festivals of the 1880’s to a series of Bishop R. C. Horner’s Hornerite revival meetings.  Almonte’s armoury was built for the combined purposes of the militia and the exhibitions of the North Lanark Agricultural Society.

When Fenian preparations in March had indicated they then might be about to attack, and ten thousand Canadian volunteers had been called for duty, no invasion occurred, although two minor ones were attempted.  Captain Poole’s Carleton Place newspaper reports of this time said:

“The rumors of a Fenian invasion have created a great stir through the country.  The volunteers are called for service and have responded nobly.  In our own village the company is filled up and is drilling three times a day.  The men are billeted on the inhabitants and have orders to be ready at a moments notice.”

Postponement came in two weeks, when it was reported (March 28) that:

“The prospect of a Fenian invasion of Canada is so far distant that the government feels justified in disbanding a portion of the volunteer force.  An order for the disbanding of the Carleton Place Rifle Company was received on Monday evening.  The bugle was sounded, and in a few minutes the whole company were at their posts.  They naturally thought that marching orders had been received, and were rather disappointed.

The new drill shed is to be completed by the first of September.  We would again express our gratification at the manner in which the company have conducted themselves while under arms.”

Forces on each side of the international boundary continued to prepare for a coming encounter.  Other views of the Canadian preparations will follow in the next section of this story of the times of Confederation.

Will Future Genealogists Be Able To Read Hand-written Records?

 

Ever wonder if writing in longhand is obsolete?  Many of today’s children and young adults cannot read handwriting.  Many schools in the area have eliminated cursive outright, as students use laptops and tablets to record class notes. 

An interesting article on handwriting appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, 25 June, 2013.  It is written by Andrew Coyne and is titled, “Putting words down on paper: How we write affects what we write.” 

In this article he explores the difference between typing and writing in long hand: “You’re using different parts of the brain.  Typing is file retrieval, remembering where a letter is.  With handwriting, you create the letters anew each time, using much more complex motor skills…..it seems to engage the more intuitive, right-brain aspects of cognition.  Tapping into your intuition is a critical part of writing, or indeed of thinking.”

So, have a read,   

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/travel/Putting+words+down+paper+write+affects+what+write/8572600/story.html

and then get out your pen and paper and start writing.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTY-ONE : Canada History Week, July 1-7, 2013 : Canada’s Centennial (1)

Border Raids Promoted Confederation in Canada

By Howard Morton Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 17 March, 1966

 

Community preparations for Confederation Centennial Celebrations are on the way throughout Canada.  They have begun already to reflect a new degree of the energy and self-respect gained by every nation which honours its great men and their deeds, and by every district and community which shows a sense of pride in its past accomplishments and a confidence in its future.

The uniting of Canada from the Atlantic to the West, and then to the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans, was not heralded only by the wise plans of our elected representatives, bewhiskered and top-hatted, meeting a century ago in sessions of hard bargaining and minor ceremony.  It came first from urgent needs of the town and country people of Ontario and Quebec, and those of the Atlantic provinces.  Their most pressing needs had become those of sheer self-preservation in a time of increasing difficulty.  The way out was seen at last to be a joining of British North American colonies into a confederation having the strength and will to survive and grow.  The amazing transformation which was to appear across much of the northern half of North America in the short space of one hundred years remained undreamed in the land which was to become second in geographical size to only the present union of Russia and second in material standards of living to only its United States southern neighbour.

The most dramatic of the pressures which rallied public unity and led to the forming of the infant federal union was one which came particularly close to home in this part of Canada.  It was a threat of long standing which reached its final stage in the last attacks to be made on our borders by armed forces of an enemy.  Canadian preparations and United States vaccilation reduced these last American-based assaults upon Canada to the proportions of guerrilla raids, made in the year before Confederation and renewed four years later.  They were met and repelled by our own volunteer soldiers, backed and aided by British troops.  These exploratory tests, launched with the ill-concealed encouragement of United States advocates of northern expansion, hastened and strengthened the Confederation which molded Canada into a nation united from its outset by fires of adversity.

The attempted Canadian invasions of 1866 and 1870 remain well remembered in local traditions in Ontario and Quebec as the now remote Fenian Raids.  Their backgrounds lay in the destructive horrors of the United States Civil War, which in 1861 introduced a decade of crisis in Canada.  Northern United States attitudes and conduct on the high seas, coupled with the needs of trade, brought immediate critical relations between Great Britain and the United States and the first large scale organization of a trained Canadian volunteer militia.

Apprehension remained at the end of the American Civil War in 1865 that restless Northern elements might turn to the harassment of their Canadian and other British colonial neighbours.  The move from the United States soon came.  It centered in an organization calling itself the Fenian Brotherhood, formed to promote by force the separation of Ireland from Great Britain.  Members of this Irish separatist group in the United States were joined at the end of the Civil War by thousands of demobilized Irish Americans and other unsettled adventurers ready for further military action.

Their leaders late in 1865 put in motion ambitious plans for raising a private army of sufficient strength to conquer and subvert at least a part of the adjoining British colonies.  They arrogantly claimed that, after conversion of these supposedly downtrodden colonies into a free Irish republic, their Irish Canada with the aid of other nations would drive the British eventually by force of arms from the motherland of Ireland.

The president of the United States was the deplorable and later impeached Andrew Johnson of Tennessee.  United States government authorities appeared to ignore and failed to stop the arming and drilling of thousands of American Fenian recruits at points extending from New Brunswick’s borders to the Niagara and western river frontiers of Canada.  Our Canadian government late in 1865 assigned volunteer militia units to several months of winter guard duty at Prescott, Niagara, Windsor and Sarnia.  The Brockville Rifle Company also served on night guard at Brockville from December until the first general call to the frontier in the following March.  A year earlier it had been one of the units of the forces guarding western points from Amherstburg to Sarnia, to prevent any repetition of a secretly planned Confederate raid from the Canadian side such as had been made on St. Albans, Vermont.

The Fenian forces gathered and were armed in the spring of 1866 at border mustering centres including Calais and Eastport in Maine, St. Albans and other places in northern Vermont, and in upper New York State at Malone, Potsdam and Ogdensburg and Cape Vincent, Oswego and Rochester.  Western and southern Fenian contingents arrived at Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Erie and Buffalo.  When a New Brunswick Fenian foray was blocked by both British and United States naval and military intervention, a three-pronged campaign against Canada was prepared.  One force was to enter at Fort Erie and cut canal and railway communications.  One was to cross at Prescott with Ottawa as its objective.  The third hoped to advance through the Eastern Townships on Montreal.

The Canadian government of the united present provinces of Ontario and Quebec had introduced an urgent militia bill when the early border stresses of the Civil War appeared.  It was designed to provide for a trained force of 50,000 men, raised by selective service if necessary, as compared to a number of not more than five thousand volunteers covered by the initial Canadian military training law of 1855.  The government was defeated on this conscription issue of 1862 but militia expansion began.  A similar act was passed at a later stage of the American war.  Voluntary enlistments and Fenian defeats made it unnecessary to invoke its provisions of compulsion for the balloted enrolments, which were initiated but not enforced.

Defence action in 1866 began against threatened March attacks which failed to materialize.  Ten thousand volunteers were called up at militia centres throughout the area of Ontario and Quebec, then in its last year as the Province of Canada.  The greater part of this number was dispatched to guard the united province’s long and vulnerable southern approaches.  Fourteen thousand men had responded to the call.  Among those alerted for action were seven Lanark and Leeds companies forming a provisional battalion under Major James Crawford of Brockville.  It was composed of the rifle and infantry companies of both Perth and Brockville, the Carleton Place Rifle Company under Captain James C. Poole, the Almonte Infantry Company under Captain James D. Gemmill, and the Gananoque Rifle Company.  Severe cold and several weeks of frosty Canadian guard and drilling duties postponed the Fenian invasion.

The Main Attack

The main attack came three months later when an advance contingent of more than one thousand Fenians, led by their general John O’Neill, crossed the Niagara River by boat from Buffalo and entered Canada at the first of June near Fort Erie.  They were met the next day by a slightly larger force of Canadian militiamen.  In the Battle of Ridgeway and in a Fort Erie engagement, Canadian casualties were about ten killed and forty wounded.  Among those of the ranks of the Queen’s Own Rifles killed in the action at Ridgeway was John H. Mewburn, university student, age 21, only son of Harrison C. Mewburn who at this time was headmaster of the Carleton Place grammar school.  With losses close to twice the Canadian number and with laggard American military prevention of their reinforcement, the Fenians withdrew across the river.

From Vermont about one thousand of the Fenians who had gathered at St. Albans entered the Eastern Townships on June 4.  Until effective Canadian forces reached the area, they plundered the neighbourhood of Frelighsburg, Pigeon Hill, and St. Armand for several days.  With slight losses they withdrew due to lack of reinforcements.  After the launching of these unsuccessful Canadian raids, American authorities tardily disarmed and dispersed the main border forces of these invaders, and charged and released on bail a number of their leaders. 

The thrust of the third prong of Fenian attack, intended along the St. Lawrence front between Kingston and Cornwall, failed to develop when all troops available in the area of Eastern Ontario were placed on active service to oppose it.  Militia companies and units of British regiments joined in the defence of Kingston, Prescott and Cornwall, in all about three thousand at Kingston, two thousand at Prescott and two thousand at Cornwall.  Brockville river front and railway communications were protected by the provisional battalion which already had been called up in March, formed of the Brockville, Perth, Carleton Place, Almonte and Gananoque companies.  Most of the Canadian militia at the end of the 1866 Fenian Raids was released after about three weeks’ active service.  The remainder continued on guard duty for periods up to six months.

United States authorities provided railway transportation for some thousands of the Fenian forces to their home towns from points including Buffalo, Malone and St. Albans.  A July resolution passed by the House of Representatives reflected United States attitudes by recommending suspension of proceedings in the United States courts on all charges against Fenians wherever possible and sought release of Canada’s Fenian prisoners who had been captured in their unprovoked armed assaults upon this province. 

The prisoners captured at Fort Erie were removed to Toronto where on preliminary inquiry about forty were discharged and deported.  Trials of forty remanded prisoners opened in Toronto in October before Mr. Justice John Wilson and a jury, and continued until January.  The judge, a native of Lanark County, had himself in his youth been tried as a principal in the fatal Wilson-Lyons duel at Perth.  Half of these accused were acquitted.  The remainder, convicted of high treason in the case of British subjects and the rest under a law passed for such cases during the Canadian Rebellion period, were sentenced to be hanged.  After several of the convictions were appealed unsuccessfully, the sentences all were commuted to varying terms of imprisonment in Portsmouth Penitentiary at Kingston, and within a few years the last had been released.  Three of six convicted Missiquoi County Fenian prisoners also had been sentenced to be hanged, when  fourteen had been tried at Sweetsburg.

One of the Canadian estimates of this time of stress was that of Captain James Poole in his Carleton Place Herald.  While advocating moderation in punishment of the captured “dastard Fenian foes”, he declared in retrospect:

“Brother Jonathan has had his eye on Canada for a long time past, and though we read much about ‘friendly relations’ they exist only on paper.  Both the American government and Press have done all they could, with safety to themselves, to encourage the Fenians in an attack on Canada.  Had they not been afraid of a growl from the British Lion they would have done more.”

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTY

Late W. J. Welsh Recalls Story of Fire Department

By Howard Morton Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 04 July, 1963

 

Some fire department recollections from the early days of Carleton Place are concluded in this installment.  It recounts the late W. J. Welsh’s memories of some locally famed firemen, of firemen’s annual picnics and balls of more than half a century ago, and of the origins of the town’s present fire company and its predecessor during his childhood.

The Ocean Wave Fire Company was established under its present name by the Carleton Place municipal council in 1875.  Jack Welsh, widely known as “Baldy”, the grand old man of Canadian competitive paddling, died in Carleton Place in 1957 at the age of 96.  His story which follows was written by him in 1917 and was first published in this newspaper:

“What a flood of pleasant memories the name of this fine fire fighting force revives.  To those who know it in its splendor today a short sketch of its origin and early days might be of interest.  While I will not try to confine myself strictly to data, the nearness of it will suffice.

About the years 1868 or ’69, the need of some better means of fire protection than the bucket brigade was apparent and with that end in view a meeting of the village was called to discuss the matter.  The meeting was called to order by the late James Poole, editor of the Herald and captain of the volunteer company at that time.

It was held on the street near Glover’s carriage shop, and the chairman’s rostrum was the corner of the log fence where now stands the English church rectory.  A fire company was formed with Mr. Poole as captain, but they had no engine.  At that time, Robert Bell, who was a great lover of flowers, had a small hand engine or more properly a pump which he used for watering his garden.

He offered them this.  While it was a first class article for its purpose and there is no record of it being a failure at a fire, we will judge that it was a success.

Old Members

Among the members of the company at the time were:  W. Patterson, Alex. Wilson, William Glover, J. S. Nolan, William Rogers, William Pattie, J. R. Galvin, Nathaniel McNeely and others.

A larger engine was purchased as the brigade became more efficient and the need grew greater.  This was the ‘Defiance,” the first engine purchased by the village.  It was a hand engine, commonly called a man-killer.  Next was purchased the original Ocean Wave, also a hand engine but the most powerful of its kind at that time.

It required 40 men to work it, but when it was going it was a fire fighter.  It would throw a stream of water over Zion church spire, a feat our streamers are not capable of today.  In order to give the engine a fair trial and initiate the firemen into the proper working of it the Renfrew fire brigade were invited down.

They were a large fine-looking body of men.  The trial took place on the bridge and as the husky firemen forced the breaks to the cry of “Heave Her Down,” the stream rose towards the sky and the dam at the same time which caused the late James L. Murphy to exclaim with rapture, “The Ocean Wave.”  From that day so well remembered the Ocean Wave was christened.

The late William Patterson was the next captain, followed by the late T. L. Nagle, D. Moffatt, Thomas Lever, James Warren, Alex. McLaren and Wm. McIlquham.  The hand engine gave way to the steamer and the “Sir John” was purchased and still another steamer was added.  Now with a first class waterworks system, Mort. Brown’s and the Hawthorn factory auxiliary power, we stand as second to none as a well equipped town.

A chief engineer was attached to the brigade in the person of the late James Shilson whose mechanical ability was a wonder.  The company made a wise selection.  He was followed by the late James Doherty.  The next chief, Mr. McIlquham, brought the company up to a high state of efficiency and what Billy can’t accomplish in the way of fire-fighting with the Ocean Waves would be a shame to tell.  As a mechanic of man-power he had no superior.

Steamboat Picnics

While firemen have built up a company they did not forget the social side of life.  Years ago the firemen’s picnic was the event of the season.  It was held on Pretty’s Island, and the date was fixed to correspond with the ripening of John McCann’s corn – his contribution to the feast, as that was a big item on the bill of fare.

The steamer Enterprise was donated free by Senator McLaren.  He also gave a substantial cash donation to purchase groceries and the said groceries to be purchased at Sibbitt’s.

One fireman was hiding a basket containing a bottle of ‘milk,’ under a clump of bushes at the water’s edge when smash came a rock over the bush and when he got the water out of his eyes the bottle was gone.

While the women spread the table cloths on the ground and were emptying the well-filled baskets, the corn and tea were bubbling in the boilers sending forth an appetizing odor that could be felt over at Shail’s Settlement.

A glance at the names of the committee in charge of the picnic is enough to convince the most skeptical that a better day’s outing could not be held – such names as the late Sid Anable, Bill Whalen, Bill Patterson, Joe Wilson, Alex. Wilson, Oliver Virtue.  Wylie’s barge was towed along for a dancing platform for the home trip and with the late George and Dick Willis playing the fiddles – it was not called an orchestra in those days – such foot-inspiring music was produced by these two musicians as has never been equaled.

Annual Ball

The annual ball was another event that was looked forward to as the ball of the season.  Started years ago in Newman’s hall, it outgrew that.  The first record I can find is 1882.  Then the old town hall and Pattie’s hall were each used until the present town hall was built.  Supper was served in the different hotels until they secured their present quarters and with their own outfit have served as many as 600 visitors from all over the country.

McGillicuddy’s orchestra, of Ottawa, – some class in those days – furnished the music.  A comparison of the program in those days is worthy of notice.  It consisted of a Grand March, Cotillion Quadrille and Varsuvienne.  And to see them hit the floor, yea, couldn’t they dance.

I have lately seen three generations of the same family dancing at one time, the grandmother having attended the first annual ball.  Of late years Valentine’s orchestra, of Ottawa, and the Hulme Family, of Prescott, have furnished music.  While the profits have varied from a small sum to hundreds of dollars, with their usual generosity, they were able last year to give $50 to the Red Cross.  The athletic and gladitorial side of the brigade was not neglected during these years as the numerous victories of fleet footed hose reel and giant tug-of-war teams testify competing in every town from Pembroke to Brockville.

They proved their mettle.  When you think of a team of such men as Chief McIlquham, Adam Pretty, John Morris, Chief Wilson, James Loftus, William Hurdis, Tom Johnston, Jim Rogers, Alex. Wilson, John D. Taylor, John Willis, John Dolan and the late James Warren, it was easy to understand why they were victors.

Time has laid its hand heavily in the ranks of the company and very few remain in 1917.  The old spirit created years ago and which has made a single success of this valuable asset to our town, still remains and when the last trumpet calls and each man has received his reward we will find them not sitting “around the fire” but basking in that celestial light – the reward of all who have been good and faithful firemen.”

Baldy

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-NINE

Carleton Place’s Great Fire Occurred in 1910

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 27 June, 1963

 

Stories of former days in the long and distinguished record of the Ocean Wave Fire Company of Carleton Place, founded in 1875, are continued in this instalment.

It recalls the years of the eighteen eighties, and this town’s perilous fire of 1910, in the times when steam fire engines and equipment were raced to the scene of action by galloping fire horses.

Officers of the Ocean Wave Fire Company in the early eighteen eighties were William Patterson, captain; George Warren, first lieutenant; George Crawford, second lieutenant; John R. Galvin, secretary; William Rogers, treasurer; and John Flett, company engineer.  The grants of the Carleton Place Council to the fire company at that time were $200 a year.  The company usually had about 25 or 30 members; 35 was the membership attending its annual meeting in 1882.  Leaders of the ld days subsequently included Tom Nagle, Dave Moffatt, Tom Lever, Jim Warren, Alex McLaren and the great Billy McIlquham.

After the years of the hand pumpers, the purchase of a steam fire engine finally was authorized by an 1884 bylaw to raise $6,000 for this purpose.  A brick fire hall, still standing, had been built on Bridge Street at the end of William Street.  Several large tanks were situated at points distant from the river to serve as fire engine water reservoirs.

The new fire engine was unable to save the inflammable new tannery and wool pulling plant of John F. Cram and Donald Munro, burned in 1886 with a fire loss of $10,000.  Spectacular fire in the town of the nineties included the destruction of the  Moffatt & Cavers shingle mill and most of the firm’s planning mill, and two losses of groups of Bridge Street retail shops.  The plant and office of this newspaper, then named the Central Canadian and located at the corner of Bridge and Elgin Streets, were consumed by fire forty years ago.

Keen public interest and pride was taken not only in the speed and skill of the Ocean Wave firemen but also in the horses which drew the fire fighting equipment of a generation ago.  A glimpse of one of many similar races to smaller fires is given in a Carleton Place Herald report of a 1910 fire which threatened to destroy St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Appleton several weeks before the great Carleton Place fire disaster of that year:

“The town team, driven by James Walters, took the big fire engine to Appleton – four miles – on Saturday night in the dark in thirty-five minutes, and there were four men on the engine.  Mr. J. M. Brown, with one horse, took a load of firemen and a hose cart down in half an hour, and signaled for water thirty-seven minutes after leaving the hall here.”

As in the country’s other larger towns and cities of fifty years ago, the pounding gallop to a Carleton Place fire by great teams of horses, drawing heavy brass-stacked fire engines belching their smoke and fire, and clanging and rattling hook and ladder wagons manned with firemen, brought a never to be forgotten wave of excitement to young and old alike.  To youthful onlookers it was a latter-day Roman chariot race, in a vital and perhaps desperate cause.

Battle Against Disaster

This town’s greatest fire came in mid May of 1910, and rode to its crescendo on the peak of a heavy gale.  It came about the time predicted for the reappearance of Halley’s Comet.  Some when half-awakening to its glare, thought they were viewing the light of the comet.  Within four hours after midnight about thirty buildings were destroyed, most of them residences.  Property losses in 1910 values were estimated at over $150,000.  Through heroic work by the town fire department, the Canadian Pacific Railway fire force and Almonte firemen with their fire engine, aided by the courageous and frantic efforts of householders and others, a greater part of the south and east sides of the town was saved from equal devastation. 

The fire started on Bridge Street in a pair of retail stores at Albert Street, from a cause not known.  Fanned by a high southwest wind it swept an area equaling about two blocks, centred  in the Albert, Beckwith, Judson and Franklin Streets section.  The block bounded by these four streets was reduced completely to ashes and ruin.

Zion Presbyterian Church, valued at over $35,000 with its additions and renovations of the previous two years was wholly destroyed.  Other public and church buildings bunred down, in addition to retail stores, were the curling rink, the militia drill shed, the Masonic Temple and St. Andrew’s and Zion church manses.

A total loss at the residence of Mrs. James Gillies, on the site at Franklin and Judson Streets where fire had struck over thirty years earlier, was set at $18.000.  For some time the fire illuminated the windswept night sky to an extent at which in Almonte and more distant points a newspaper could be read in its light.

The Action

These were some of the tactical incidents and sidelights of this fire of over fifty years ago, as told by William H. Allen in the Carleton Place Herald:

“The first water supply came from the new engine, which played two good streams from the bridge.  The old fire engine also played two streams from the bridge but gave out early in the fight, the lift being too much for her.  Two streams were laid from Brown’s, one from the pump at the light station and one from the grist mill.  Another stream came from Mr. Nichols planning mill and still another from the Bates & Innes mill, to which the C.P.R. brigade attached their hose and held the fire from spreading across the tracks.

Early in the night Mayor Albert Cram telephoned Almonte for aid.  Our neighbour at great risk sent over their fire engine and a squad of men, the run being made over at a mile a minute rate by a locomotive and a flat car with Howard Moffatt at the throttle.  The Almonte engine, was placed on Judson Street.  As all the own hose were in service one of Brown’s pumps had to be cut off to give sufficient hose to the Almonte engine, which was placed below Brown’s mill.  It did excellent service for some hours.

Away over the track the tower of Bates & Innes mill took fire and was saved after a hard fight.  Many houses on William Street were covered with embers, but the careful work of the owners prevented any outbreak.  Half a mile further the granary and driveshed of Mr. Herbert Morphy took fire and was swept, the barns nearby being saved with difficulty.

The firemen had a desperate fight with Zion Church manse.  Here there would have been no hope for the wooden houses adjoining, and the Methodist parsonage and church and the Brown mills with dwellings would all have been in line.

The uniforms and arms of the volunteers were removed from the drill shed, but some blank ammunition kept up a mournful fusillade when the fire reached it.  The only thing standing in the block bounded by Beckwith, Albert, Judson and Franklin streets is a lattice-work in the rear of Mrs. Gillies home.

Norman McNabb got caught in the bellrope when sounding the alarm from Zion Church.  He had a narrow escape from strangling and has a sore neck.  We regret to observe that there were thieves among the crowd, and many articles were afterwards lost that had been saved from the flames.”

Reminiscences of former generations of the men of the Ocean Wave Fire Company at work and in their lighter moments at play, as written about 50 years ago by the great, old sportsman W. J. ‘Baldy’ Welsh, will conclude the present group of stories of that memorable era of the town’s fire fighters.