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.

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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.

The Morphys, Moores, and Willises of Carleton Place

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 lain 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.

Early Journalism Provided Doubtful Living, by H. M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 05 April, 1962

Journalism in Lanark and the Ottawa River counties had its birth in the now distant year of 1828.  The Bathurst Independent Examiner at that time began to be published weekly in the twelve year old community of Perth.  It appears to have been the first newspaper in the province to be located at an inland point north of the original Loyalist settlements which forty-five years earlier had been started along the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers and eastern Lake Ontario.

The Examiner after continuing for four years was re-established by William Tully as the British Constitution.  Mr. Tully had been a Perth mill owner and was a fighting Irishman of many controversies.  Under the banner of the British Constitution Perth’s newspaper survived for a year or less.  About a year intervened before it reappeared in 1834, with the same printing press, as the Bathurst Courier under the management of Malcolm Cameron.  Rising as a reformer in the sphere of provincial political affairs, he became the Hon. Malcolm Cameron in whose honour a commemorative plaque was erected several years ago in Perth by the Ontario Historical Sites Board.

Already there were about thirty newspapers in the province in the early eighteen thirties.  Those east of Kingston in 1833, in addition to the Perth weekly, were the Brockville Recorder and one other at Brockville, the Observer at Cornwall and the Grenville Gazette at Prescott.  Several years later Bytown gained its first weekly news publication in 1836.  In the Perth newspaper’s first year as the Courier it was called the Bathurst Courier and Ottawa Gazette.  For the next ten years it used the name Bathurst Courier and Ottawa General Advertiser.  Then it adopted its present title of the Perth Courier.

First Editors

The Rev. William Bell in his diary noted the arrival of Mr. Stewart’s printing press in Perth in March of 1828, “the first instrument of the kind that ever came to the place.”  John Stewart, founder and first editor of the pioneer Perth Independent Examiner, was the schoolmaster of the district’s fully state-supported public school, receiving for that service a salary of one hundred pounds form the provincial government.  Before the end of its first year the Examiner claimed to have 521 subscribers.

It had subscription agents at twenty-seven points from Hamilton east to Montreal.  Agents at nearby points were Manny Nowlan, innkeeper at Carleton Place ; John A. Murdoch, postmaster at Lanark ; John Toshack at Ramsay, William Stewart at Bytown and James Burke at Richmond ; Thomas Read at the March settlement, Mr. Ballantine at Merrickville, James Maitland, postmaster at Kilmarnock ; and J. B. Rutley at “Rideau Settlement,” probably Smiths Falls.

The Examiner’s later editor was Francis Henry Cumming.  He had been a British army officer of the 104th Regiment in the War of 1812-14 and an officer of the first militia regiment at Perth, and one of the early Commissioners of the Peace of this district.  He became the original editor of the Brockville Gazette in 1828, and returned to Perth within three years to acquire and undertake the editorial duties of the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

The remaining original record of this trail-blazing newspaper of the district, the parent or first incarnation of the venerable Perth Courier, appears to consist now of only about one third of the weekly numbers issued in its second year.  With much of the staple fare of today’s weekly press, the Examiner was spiced from time to time by serving as a forum for a few of the acrimonious public or personal local feuds which were a popular pastime of that period.

The top news sensation of the Examiner’s second year came in the luridly presented details of a murder trial and a public hanging which took place in front of the Perth jail, its final event a Roman holiday for the people of the town and adjacent areas, at which “the concourse of spectators was immensely large.”

Struggle For Existence

A struggle for journalistic existence was claimed before long in the Examiner editor’s pleas for subscription payments.  Some of John Stewart’s five hundred subscribers seemed to have failed to pay their annual fifteen shillings, either in cash or in kind.  At the first of January in 1830, traditional time for the settling of debts, the editor made this forthright demand:

To Our Patrons.  We want our payment for the Examiner, and we must have it ; for we can do no longer without it.  When our Agents distribute the papers, they will please ask every mother’s son of a subscriber for his cash, and all kinds of grain will be received at this office, at the market price, from our friends in the adjoining townships.  Since the commencement of our establishment we have sunk above 600 pounds in it, and (will it be believed?) we have not yet received enough to pay our Foreman’s wages.

Two weeks later he added:

Wanted.  Wheat, Corn, Rye, Barley, Oats, Pork or Cash, in payment for the Examiner.  Last year we did not press any one for payment, as we knew the failure of crops was the sole reason of the farmer not paying us.  This reason no longer exists.  All the appeals which we made for payment, since the new crops came in, have been hitherto disregarded.  The sleighing time has now come on, and payment we must have in one way or another.  Our patrons, we trust, will have no excuse.

Finally two months later came a further appeal:

Acknowledgments.  Since the winter set in we have received from our Patrons 15 bushels of oats, 7 of wheat and about as much cash as would pay for one week’s boarding for our workmen.  Our total receipts since the first of Dec. are not sufficient to cover the cost of one week’s publication.  Now if our friends mean to bring us anything they had better set about it in reality, and avail themselves of the very first dash of sleighing, as the season is far advanced, time is precious, and we cannot wait for payments till next winter.

Hard Times

Similar straits of tradesmen and businessmen and their local creditors, practically all working with little capital, are shown in such reports as those of sheriff’s seizures of property to enforce payments.  These were coupled with the ever-present further sanction of the power of confining defaulting debtors to a primitive jail.  These are some examples for the year of the calls upon debtors in the neighbourhood of Perth and Carleton Place.

Notice is hereby given to all indebted to Mr. Thomas Wickham to make payment of all debts by notes of hand or book account on or before the 10th of January, 1830, or their accounts, notes of hand, etc. will be given to a man of business for collection.  To save expence, they will do well to settle, as Mr. Thomas Wickham is not to suffer imprisonment the ensuing year, as he has done this year, in order to save others. – Perth, December 28th, 1830.

Notice.  All those indebted to the subscriber by note or book account are hereby notified that unless they make immediate payment the papers shall be put in the hands of one or the other of the three Perth doctors who are celebrated for blistering.  Charles Stuart, Booven-Hall, Beckwith.

Notice.  The Subscriber, having lately been tickled by a Limb of the Law, will be under the necessity of amusing those indebted to him in a similar manner, unless they will within ten days settle their accounts.  – Perth, 17th February, 1830.  John Lee, Tanner.

Sheriff’s Sale.  By virtue of two writs…..against the lands and tenements of Hugh Boulton, one at the suit of George L. Bellows, another at the suit of Richard Coleman; – Also by virtue of a writ…..at the suit of Daniel McMartin Esq., I have taken into execution as belonging to the said Hugh Boulton a plot of land in the east half of Lot No. 14 in the 12th Concession of Beckwith, containing about four acres, on which are erected a grist mill, saw mill, distillery etc., which I shall expose for sale at the Court house in Perth on Saturday the 19th of June next, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, to the highest bidder for Cash…..J. H. Powell, Sheriff, by J. A. H. Powell, D’y Sheriff.  Perth March 18th, 1830.

Subject to such temporary vicissitudes, the founder of the first mills of Carleton Place retained his industrial properties and water power rights here until he sold those on the north side of the Mississippi in 1850 to Alexander McLaren.  Those on the south side of the river, including his grist mill, oatmeal mill and stone residence, were sold some eight years after his death to Henry Bredin in 1866, by his son Hugh Boulton, Junior.  The Bredins in turn sold them a few years later to Horace Brown.

Carleton Place Business Changes

The opening of the first substantial retail merchandizing business in Carleton Place was advertised by this brief announcement which appeared in the Examiner for a number of weeks.

New Store.  The Subscriber begs leave to inform the inhabitants of Beckwith, Ramsay and the adjoining Townships that he has commenced business at Murphys Falls, on the Mississippi River, with a general assortment of goods suitable for that part of the country, which he will dispose of, on the most reasonable terms, for ready payment.  – August 8th, 1829.  Robert Bell.

Soon after a “commodious Distillery” in Carleton Place was being offered for sale by its first owner, with this notice in the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

Notice.  That commodious Distillery situated at Carleton Place, lately erected by the subscriber will be sold at public auction on Tuesday the 3rd day of November next, at the hour of 2 o’clock p.m., if not previously disposed of at private sale.  Terms of payment will be made easy to the purchaser. – Carleton Place, 13th Sept. 1829.  C. J. Bellows.

Other brief glimpses of the times of 1829 and 1830 from the pages of this district’s first newspaper will follow in a final installment.

No art can conquer the people alone – the people are conquered by an ideal of life upheld by authority. – William Butler Yeats.

Many Town Streets Named After Settlers 140 Years Ago, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 23 June, 1960

An asset which the Ontario government and a number of Ontario communities have begun to exploit to greater public advantage in recent years is one which costs relatively little to the taxpayer. It is the publicizing of district history, both as an asset of local value and as a magnet to the tourist.

As one of the longest occupied parts of the province, Eastern Ontario is generously supplied with undeveloped historical attractions for vacationists. The Lanark County area is one which within a few years will pass its one hundred and fiftieth year of settlement. In 1960 this town itself will have completed one hundred and forty years of its life as a community.

The Canadian has arranged to provide for its readers a series of reviews summarizing typical local events of Carleton Place’s first one hundred years. Both for its local interest and as a basis for a possible search of the area’s older sites or events for those most capable of being developed as lures for vacation tourists, the selected annals will seek to recapture some impressions of the town’s earlier public and its people of past generations. This first record of its kind for this area has been prepared by Howard M. Brown of Ottawa, a former resident of Carleton Place who has contributed a number of the Canadian’s local history stories. It will be published in about ten installments.

The present opening installment mentions some of the occurrences of the first decade of settlement in the community founded here and in the two townships which provided its location.

 

Settlers Arrive

The persons who first built permanent homes at Carleton Place were the families of two emigrants, Edmond Morphy and William Moore. The time was at the half-way mark of an eight year period in which most of the land of Lanark County and of adjoining parts of Carleton County was surveyed and granted for occupation by British emigrants and demobilized soldiers. Three main government settlement offices to serve the area were opened at Perth in 1816, at Richmond in 1818 and at Lanark in1820. For its first fifty years Carleton Place, now extending also into Ramsay township, remained without separate incorporation and was a part of the township of Beckwith for all municipal purposes.

Nomadic native Indians continued to hunt, trap and fish at some of their favoured sites in the neighbourhood of the early settlers. Later generations of Indians camped nearby from time to time as sellers of their furs or handicraft products. The nightly howling of wolves or of an occasional prowling lynx could be heard at times near farm clearings or at the village borders, providing a disturbing serenade for timid persons and owners of unprotected young livestock. These and other reminders of the not far distant wilderness remained during many years of pioneer life here.

The Moore and Morphy land grants of 1819 included the greater part of the present built up area of the town of Carleton Place. The Moore farmsteads (located to William and his sons William and John) extended on both sides of Moore Street and the Franktown Road from Lake Avenue south to Highway 15. In width they ran west from Park Avenue to about Caldwell Street. The Morphy area (granted to Edmond and his sons, William, John and James) occupied the central part of the town from Lake Avenue north to the Town Line Road, and extended along both sides of the river from about the downstream or eastern side of the town’s present limits to Hawthorne Avenue and Moffatt Street. Town streets which appear to be named for members of the Morphy family include William, George, Morphy, James, Edmund, Thomas and Franklin Streets. Other Beckwith settlers of 1819 to 1822 whose 100 acre farm grants extended within the town’s present limits were Robert Johnston, James Nash, Thomas Burns, Philip Bayne, Manny Nowlan and George Willis.

 

Birth of the Town

1820 – the birth of the town came about a year after the first farm clearings were made upon its site. It came in the year 1820, when the construction of a grist mill and saw mill and the local business activities of several tradesmen began. These forgotten first local business men in addition to Hugh Boulton are recorded as being William Moore, blacksmith ; one Robert Barnett, cooper – said to have begun that once essential local trade carried on later by such pioneer townsmen as Napoleon Lavallee and Edmond and Maurice Burke – ; and Alexander Morris, innkeeper and trader, whose Mill Street tavern was operated by Manny Nowlan after the 1829 death of its first owner.

 

The new district gained its first member of parliament in 1820. William Morris of Perth was elected by the vote of a majority of the 250 settlers who had been enfranchised by the issue of the patents for their land grants. The numbers of adult male settlers within the principal township of the new district in 1820 were, in round numbers, Bathurst 400, Drummond 350, Beckwith 300 and Goulbourn 300.

 

Ramsay Township Opened

1821 – Settlement to the north of the infant community of Morphy’s Falls followed when the government in 1821 opened Ramsay township for occupation by part of a large group emigration of Lanarkshire weavers and other Scottish and Irish emigrants. Among them, those taking land near the site of Carleton Place in 1821 included John and Donald McLean, William Hamilton (1794-1882), John McArton, John McQuarrie, Hugh McMillan, John McLaughlin, John Griffith (1749-1852, died age 103), and William and Stuart Houston. Proceeding toward Appleton there were William Wilson, Caton Willis (1795-1869), Thomas Patterson, James Wilkie (1791-1862), Robert and William Baird, Robert Struthers, John Fummerton and others. Among many other Ramsay township settlers of 1821 were those of such family names as Bryson (including the later Hon. George Bryson, then age 6), Bain, Beatie, Black, Carswell, Chapman, Drynan, Duncan, Dunlop, Gemmill and Gilmour ; Kirkpatrick, Lang, Lowrie, Mansell, Moir, McDonald, McFarlane, McGregor, McPherson and Neilson ; Pollock, Robertson, Smith, Snedden, Steele, Stevenson, Stewart, Warren, Wallce, Yuill and Young. The journey to Ramsay township from the North Lanark settlement depot at Lanark village was made by some of the 1821 settlers by boat down the Clyde

 

Militia and Clergy

1822- A militia regiment of eligible settlers of Beckwith and Ramsay townships was formed in 1822. Its first officers, commissioned under authority of the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, included senior officers of the Perth area and Ramsay township residents William Baird (Appleton), James Smart (9th concession) and William Toshack (Bennie’s Corners). Beckwith township settlers among its captains, lieutenants and ensigns in 1822 were Thomas Glendinning (Glen Isle), John Cram (1795-1881), Robert Ferguson, Duncan Fisher (11th conc.), William Moore (Carleton Place), Dr. George Nesbitt (Franktown), Israel Webster (1st conc.), and junior officers John Dewar. Alex Dewar Jr., Daniel Ferguson Jr., John Fulford, Peter McDougall, Peter McGregor, John Nesbitt and Manny Nowlan.

 

The Rev. Dr. George Buchanan (1761-1835), Presbyterian minister and medical doctor, came with a large family in 1822 as the first resident clergyman for the township of Beckwith and Carleton Place. A log building centrally located in the 7th concession served as his church. At Franktown occasional Church of England services were conducted by the Rev. Michael Harris of Perth, at first in a tavern and after 1822 in the government warehouse, until a church was built and a resident Anglican missionary, the Rev. Richard Hart, came in 1829.

 

Irish Emigration

1823 – a second notable addition to settlement in Ramsay township, including locations near Carleton Place, was made by a southern Ireland group migration in 1823. They came chiefly from the County of Cork. Selection of these settlers in Ireland was superintended by Peter Robinson (1785-1838), Upper Canada government official, who accompanied the emigrants to Ramsay township and remained here for a time to arrange their establishment. Their inland journey from Prescott was by way of Franktown and Carleton Place to their settlement depot set up at the site of Almonte. Among many others were the Thompson, Teskey, Dulmage, Corkery, Foley, O’Brien, Haley, Nagle and Young families. One of the group, Francis W. K. Jessop, later of Perth, was for some time a brewer, distiller and early land owner at Carleton Place.

Casualties among local settlers in 1823 included John Hays, an Irish immigrant carried over the falls here while attempting to cross the river by canoe ; and James Craig and Crawford Gunn, Scottish settlers killed while felling trees at their Ramsay township farmsites.

 

The Ballygiblins

1824- The Ballygiblin riots of 1824, named for the Cork County place of origin of some of the Irish newcomers of the previous year, were a series of public disturbances given widespread and sensational publicity in Canada and reported in newspapers in the United Kingdom. The riots began at a militia muster at Carleton Place, and were incited in part by objectionable conduct on the part of one of the local officers, Captain Glendinning. In a one-sided shooting episode in the first day of fighting here, several of the Irish settlers were wounded. The affrays ended in a misguided raid on the Irish settlement headquarters at Almonte by a large force of militiamen and others, sponsored by district authorities of Perth. One of the Irish was killed by gunfire of the raiders.

At this time the population of the present province of Ontario had reached a total of only 150,000. This area was its northern fringe of established settlement.

 

Schools and Stores

1825- A school house at Carleton Place is said to have been established in 1825 near the corner of Bridge Street and the Town Line Road, with James Kent as teacher. Legislative provision for schools for the district was made by the provincial Parliament in 1823.

Caleb Strong Bellows (1806-1863) came to Carleton Place in 1825, opening a general retail store in the former public premises of William Loucks. Its location was on Bridge Street opposite the present Town Hall. His shop also was licenced in 1825 to sell spirituous liquors, as was the nearby Mill Street inn of Alexander Morris.

 

Inland Waterway

1826- The building of the Rideau Canal provided a welcome infusion of currency in the local economy, employing contractors and a number of workmen of this district over a six year period. Among the contractors was James Wylie (1789-1854), Almonte merchant, later a member of the Legislative Council of Canada. A village to be called Bytown was established near the mouth of the Rideau River in 1826 to serve the building of the canal.

 

Churches and Distilleries

1827- In Franktown the building of the stone structure of St. James Anglican Church, still in use as such, was begun with the assistance of government gifts of money and land.

Caleb S. Bellows in 1827 built a distillery at Carleton Place, operated for a few years by Francis Jessop and later by others. James McArthur (1767-1836) also was a licenced distiller in 1827. His Beckwith township distillery was located in the 7th concession at his farm near the Presbyterian church, where the same business was continued through the eighteen thirties and forties by Peter McArthur (1803-1884).

 

Leading Townsman

1828- Robert Bell (1807-1894), a resident of Carleton Place for sixty-five years and a leading pioneer figure of the town and district in public and business life, came in 1828 or 1829 to Carleton Place from Perth. He first established a general mercantile business here with the assistance of his younger brother James and in association with the new business of William and John Bell, merchants of Perth. Before Confederation he served for some thirteen years as a member of Parliament. James Bell (1817-1904) continued in business in Carleton Place until becoming County Registrar in 1851.

The district gained its first weekly newspaper in 1828 when the Bathurst Independent Examiner, predecessor of the Perth Courier, began publication. In this year there was a failure of the wheat crop, a serious event for many families.

 

Carleton Place

1829- The name Carleton Place came into use about 1829 as a new name for this community, until then known as Morphy’s Falls and often misnamed Murphy’s Falls. The new name was taken from Carleton Place, a location in the city of Glasgow.

The Ramsay and Lanark Circulating Library, the first community library in this immediate neighbourhood and the second in the county, was formed in 1829 by farmers of the area between Carleton Place and Clayton. It continued in operation for over twenty-five years.

In the tenth year of settlement at Carleton Place the teachers of the 120 children attending the Beckwith township’s four schools, including the village schools at Franktown and Carleton Place, were John Griffith, James Kent, Daniel McFarlane and Alexander Miller. In Ramsay township, with four schools and 105 pupils, the teachers of 1829 were David Campbell, Arthur Lang, Finlay Sinclair and John Young.

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

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

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

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

Municipal Affairs, 1887

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

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

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

Mills and Foundries

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

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

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

Moffatt Company

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

Brown & Son

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

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

Findlay Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Slave Owner Became Wife of Carleton Place Distiller by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 14 March, 1957

Business and industrial activity in Carleton Place, when viewed over the years of the community’s life, may be seen to have traced a normal pattern. Periods of expansion have been followed by times of little change ; years of reduced business activity have been succeeded by years of renewed growth.

The greatest early period of growth took place in the 1870’s and 1880’s beginning in the year of Confederation. A more than threefold increase in population, to 4,200 accompanied it. With the town’s population remaining relatively constant through the early 1950’s at some 4,500, a glance seventy years back to a year of the expansive 1880’s may permit some degree of comparison with life in the same area today.

A description of the town’s business and public institutions of 70 years ago has been found in a special number of the Carleton Place Herald of 1887. A few details of the scantily recorded first years of the community are included as its introduction, probably provided tot he young editor, William H. Allen, by the erudite and elderly Robert Bell.

Mr. Bell, former Member of the Legislative for Lanark and Renfrew and later for North Lanark before Confederation, and Dominion Inspector of Canal Revenues, was a leader in the town’s affairs for most of the period from 1830 until his death here at age 86 in 1894.

He was a son of the pioneering Rev. William Bell of Perth, whose children included Rev. Andrew Bell, William and John Bell, prominent early merchants of Perth and Carleton Place, Robert Bell, M.P.P. ; Isabella, wife of Judge J. G. Malloch of Perth ; James Bell, once of Carleton Place and one time banker and County Registsrar at Perth ; and Rev. George Bell, first Canadian-born graduate of Queen’s University and Registrar and Librarian of that university. In much abridged form the 1887 story follows:

 

A Brief History of Carleton Place – Its Manufacturing Industries, Its Advantages and its Population. December 1887:

About seventy years ago Edmond Morphy, with his wife and two daughters and his six sons, John, William, James, David, Edmond and Thomas, became (in 1819) the first settlers in the forests that then grew upon the site we now occupy. They owned 400 acres of land, lots 14 and 15 in the 12th concession of Beckwith, skirting the banks of the Mississippi River. The river was at that time, in the part that now divides the town, a long stretch of rapids, since changed by the construction of dams to a tolerably placid stream of fair depth in about half our corporation limits, and terminating in a more abrupt and higher succession of falls and shorter stretch of rapids.

Morphy’s Falls and Bolton’s Mills:

A few other settlers shortly afterwards joined those mentioned. Until 1830 the river at this point and the settlement or hamlet shared in common the name of Morphy’s Falls. IN 1830 Caleb Bellows, the postmaster, proposed a change in name, and Carlton Place became the recognized designation, changed about twenty years later to Carleton Place. It is supposed that the village was named after Carlton Place, a location in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 1820 a mill site was purchased by a Mr. Coleman, who in turn disposed of it to Hugh Boulton, who built a grist mill. Its site was where Mr. Horace Brown’s oat mill now stands, (corner of Mill and

Beckwith Streets, since converted as McGregor’s Automobile Body Shop). The first millstone ever used here abouts was made by Hugh Boulton, and the identical millstone now lies down by Miller Brown’s storehouse.

By the terms of his purchase from the Morphy’s of the mill site, Mr. Boulton was to have the mill running by a certain date. He found that he had miscalculated, and that he could not import a stone and have it delivered in time to fulfil his contract. He went up the lake somewhere about ‘Buchanan’s place’ and obtained a large piece of granite and made the stone himself, thus triumphing over difficulties and starting his mill on time. At about the same time a saw mill, on a small scale, was built just on the opposite side by Mr. Boulton.

A few houses were also erected in 1820, the Morphy brothers being among the builders. William Moore opened his blacksmith shop, and Robert Barnst embarked embarked in his trade as a cooper. A general store, an inn and a potash factory were opened at the close of the same year by Alexander Morris. The general store and hotel shared the same roof.

The building stood flush to the river bank on the second lot on Mill Street below Bridge Street. Two years later another store was opened by John (or William) Loucks. The first merchant to open a store really worthy of the name, having a general assortment of merchandise unmixed with offshoot enterprise, was Caleb S. Bellows. His place of business was on the site occupied by James L. Murphy’s Riverside Store, at the southwest corner of the Bridge Street bridge.

Francis Jessop, Distiller:

In the time of Mr. Bellow’s activity there were two distilleries in operation for several years. One of these was owned by Mr. Bellows and was situated where the Canada Lumber Company’s large mill now stands, near the north end of the dam. The other was owned by Francis W. K. Jessop and was nearby, just below the present site of McNeely’s tannery at, Mr. MacKay’s bakery premises on Bell Street. This Mr. Jessop, who also had a brewery in connection with his distillery, was an eccentric individual with strange ideas in many matters of everyday life, and with personal habits radically discordant to the general mind.

He had his abode in a corner of the distillery building. His bed chamber surpassed any ordinary ‘bachelor’s hall,’ strange and fantastic evidence being borne of a dearth of a woman’s care. He was an easy-going genius, and had his good sides. He was the first man in these parts to wear a beard and moustache, and after a length of time others were led to adopt the same habit in those times a novelty.

About Mr. Jessop’s marriage, later on, there was a thread of romance. He had in England a brother who was a captain in the British army. This brother’s wife had a sister who was rather cultured and, moreover, rich. She was a slave-owner, and all her environments were those of ease, independence, affluence.

Somehow a pen and paper courtship sprang up between the distiller at Morphy’s Falls and this lady of wealth. The result was that, although no other means of acquaintance had ever existed between them, the distiller induced the fair writer to break off all her home ties and come to him at Morphy’s Falls. The change in circumstances was a sweeping one after she became Mrs. Jessop ; from ease and luxury in England to a home in these backwoods, in a little log house on the river just about where now stands the blacksmith shop of the Canada Lumber Company.

Battle of the Ballygiblins :

From the Weekly Register, a paper printed in York, the 1823 and 1824 volumes of which are among Mr. Robert Bell’s archives, we extract the following :

Two press reports on the Ballygiblin Riots of 1824 follow, coloured by the Perth correspondent to the disadvantage of the Irish minority faction ; and referring to the opening militia brawl at the Morris tavern on Mill Street here and the ensuing turbulent week of encounters in the neighbourhood of Carleton Place and Almonte ; featured by renewed fighting, marches, counter marches, gunfire, casualties and arrests. The verdict of the government inquiry reflected little credit on the one-sided and inflammatory conduct of military and civil authorities of the local district who were involved.After the first troubles mentioned, a decisive struggle took place just out of town on the clergy reserve in Ramsay, to the right hand side of the road, towards the lead mine. The set-to was spoken of as the Battle of the Ballygiblins.”

 

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.

 

 

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

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

 Hunting and Fishing Stories of our Grandfathers

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

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

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

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

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

 First Game Protective Club:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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