8 H.P. Ford Was Bought By Findlays – First Local Car
The Carleton Place Canadian, 15 September, 1960
By Howard Morton Brown
Some of the local events of fifty to sixty years ago in the Carleton Place area are recalled in the present section of a continued story summarizing the history of this town’s early days.
This was the time which saw both the heyday of the Empire on which the sun never set and the end of the Victorian era. It opened to the martial air of The British Grenadiers, with Canadian soldiers on active service in South Africa, and closed on a modern theme with such developments as the motor car and electricity on their way towards changing the ways of life of half the world.
In the first year of the present century Canadian soldiers, including several volunteers from Carleton Place, were in South Africa serving in the Boer War. Some of the present century’s great changes in living conditions had their start in these years. Electricity began to be used as a growing source of power instead of mainly for lighting and communication equipment. While annual local horse shows were being held the first automobiles appeared on the town’s streets. Business and social life began to have a greater resemblance to conditions of the present.
Among the towns of the Ottawa Valley, Carleton Place, with its population reduced to 4,000 at the opening of the century, had been outdistanced in size by the growth of Smiths Falls and Pembroke, each of which had attained a population of about 5,000. The brief views of local scenes and events which follow are based on news reports of the two Carleton Place weekly newspapers in the years from 1900 to 1909.
South African War
1900 – To supply serge for British army uniforms the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills.
Local talent presented the Temple of Fame, an historical pageant. The town had a day of enthusiastic celebrations when news of the Relief of Ladysmith came from South Africa.
Abner Nichols & Son brought their season’s log drive down the lake to their newly opened sawmill at the riverside on Flora Street; while two drives of logs, ties and telegraph poles were reaching the mill operated by Williams, Edwards & Company at the dam. A new branch of the Union Bank of Canada was in operation in Carleton Place, in addition to the longer established branch of the Bank of Ottawa.
The Carleton Place Canoe Club was reorganized as a racing association and joined the new international canoe association. A district grouping to include Ottawa, Brockville, Aylmer, Britannia and Carleton Place clubs was planned. This town’s club ordered its first war canoe.
Peter Salter bought and reopened the Carleton House, the oldest two storey stone building in the town. He renamed it the Leland Hotel.
Findlay’s Foundry Rebuilt
1901 – Findlay Brothers large new stove foundry of brick construction was built on land sold by the Canada Lumber Company.
The McDonald & Brown woolen mill at Mill and Judson Streets was continued in operation by John Brown on the retirement of John McDonald.
In the first local celebration of Labour Day the moulders and machinists unions held a sports day in Gillies Grove near the lower woollen mill, with football, baseball and lacrosse games and track and field events.
William H. Hooper, who had returned to Ottawa from the South African War, bought Charles C. Pelton’s Carleton Place photographic business.
A Carleton Place firemen’s demonstration was attended by the fire companies from Renfrew, Arnprior, Lanark, Perth and Smiths Falls, the Ottawa Nationals baseball team and the Perth Crescents lacrosse team. Among its other sports events in Gillies Grove were hose reel races, tug of war contests, a hub and hub race and tossing the caber. A parade included the fire brigades, decorated floats, and the Town Council and citizens in carriages. A massed band uniting the citizens’ brass and silver bands of Pembroke, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place marched through the town in an evening parade, playing The British Grenadiers. Officers of the Carleton Place band included leader Joseph McFadden and secretary James Edwards.
About sixty neighbours helped in the raising of a barn of forty feet height at the farm of John McArton in the sixth concession of Ramsay near Carleton Place.
With Robert C. Patterson, barrister, as mayor, the town bought a twelve ton $3,000 steam road roller.
Queen Victoria’s long and illustrious reign ended early in 1901 and Edward VII became King. At Ottawa the Duke and Duchess of York – the future King George V and Queen Mary – witnessed a war canoe race of Ontario and Quebec canoe clubs including Carleton Place. South African War service medals were presented and a statue of the late Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill.
1902 – The closed Carleton Place sawmills and upper Mississippi reserve dams of the Canada Lumber Company were bought by H. Brown & Sons for water conservation and power development uses.
The Canadian Canoe Association held its annual regatta at Lake Park during two days of high winds, with over two hundred visiting paddlers present from clubs of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Brockville. The mile course, from Nagle’s Shore to about the Lake Park steamer dock, was measured in the previous winter on the ice.
A railway bridge of steel construction on stone piers replaced the former railway bridge across the Mississippi at Carleton Place.
At the Queens and Leland hotel yards, agents were hiring teams of horses in December for winter work at Ottawa Valley lumber shanties.
Two Mills Closed
1903 – The Gillies and Hawthorne woollen mills – recently working on overtime hours with 192 employees, after six years of improvements under the ownership of Canada Woollen Mills Limited – were closed. The reason was stated to be loss of Canadian markets to British exporters of tweeds and worsteds. The company went into bankruptcy.
Twenty miles of toll roads were bought by Lanark County and freed of tolls.
For the killing of a foundry employee by stabbing during a week-end drunken quarrel, an elderly resident of Carleton Place was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a three year term of imprisonment in the Kingston penitentiary.
Carleton Place curlers, with William Baird and Dr. D. A. Muirhead as skips, won the Lanark County Curling League cup.
1904 – The Caldwell sawmill property between Lake Avenue and the river was bought by the town and, after consideration for industrial uses, was reserved for a town park.
Sir Wilfred Laurier addressed a Carleton Place meeting on behalf of T. B. Caldwell, successful North Lanark candidate for Parliament.
An eight horsepower Ford was bought by Findlay Brothers as the first automobile owned in Carleton Place. It was the local harbinger of great changes in transportation and in ways of life, comparable to the results of railway construction of fifty years earlier.
1905 – Carleton Place street lighting was improved under a ten year contract, with introduction of a year-round all night service and erection of 150 street lights to supplement the arc lamp system.
Use of the Town Park was opened by the visit of a three ring circus with a thirty cage menagerie, a twelfth of July celebration attended by 5,000 out of town visitors, and a lacrosse game between Renfrew and Carleton Place teams at the newly built grandstand and fenced athletic grounds.
1906 – A fire at Gillies Engine Foundry and Boat Works destroyed the stone building’s two top storeys and a number of completed motor launches. Work was resumed by some twenty employees.
A mica-splitting industry of the General Electric Company was being carried on in J. R. McDiarmid’s Newman Hall at the corner of Bridge and William Streets. Gardiner’s Creamery was built on Mill Street. Concrete sidewalks were being laid on many town streets.
Thousands of European immigrants were passing through Carleton Place weekly on their way to western Canada. An exhibition of moving pictures was held in the Town Hall by the Salvation Army in aid of its work for assistance of immigrants.
For causing the death of his brother in a drunken quarrel in a motor boat near Lake Park, a local resident pleaded guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
The first car fatality in Carleton Place occurred when Samuel A. Torrance’s automobile collided with a locomotive at the railway station crossing. One of his passengers was killed.
The first of a series of annual horse shows was held at the Town Park.
Bates & Innes Mill
1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill as a knitting mill. A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.
The Carleton Place Canoe Club won the Canadian war canoe championship and other races at the year’s Canadian Canoe Association meet, held at Montreal.
Mississippi lumbering continued on a reduced scale. A Lanark Era spring report said: – The Nichols drive on the Clyde parted company here with Charlie Hollinger’s logs at the Caldwell booms, and swept its way over the dam to await the coming of the Mississippi sawlogs. The gang folded their tents and rolled away up to Dalhousie Lake where the rear of the drive floats. It will take about two weeks to wash the mouth of the Clyde, and then the whole bunch will nose away over the Red Rock and on to Carleton Place. While going through Lanark some of the expert drivers did a few stunts for Lanark sightseers. Joe Griffiths ran the rapids on a cedar pole just big enough to make a streak on the water. The Hollinger logs were retained at the Caldwell mill, where they are now being rapidly manufactured into lumber.
Street Traffic Rides
1908 – A Bridge Street runaway accident took the life of Archibald McDonnell, aged 77, son of one of Beckwith township’s original few settlers of 1816.
Spring floods burst the old lumber company millpond dam and two flumes at Carleton Place. Users of Mississippi River water power united to plan the building of retaining dams at headwater locations.
George H. Findlay was mayor, W. E. Rand, M.A. was High School principal and principal of the public schools was Reg. Blaisdell.
1909 – Bates & Innes knitting mill, after making waterpower improvements, began running night and day with about 150 employees. The Hawthorne knitting mill was closed by reason of financial difficulties, and its operating company was reorganized as the Carleton Knitting Co. Ltd.
Construction of a hydro electric power plant was begun by H. Brown & Sons at the former site of the Canada Lumber Company mills, after several years of preparation of the riverbed including tailrace excavation and building of a concrete millpond dam.
A roller skating rink with a new skating floor was re-opened at the militia drill hall on the market square.
J. W. Bengough, noted Canadian cartoonist, entertained a Town Hall audience with his skill, making such sketches of local celebrities as Reeve William Pattie at his desk, Dr. J. J. McGregor extracting a horses’ tooth, Arthur Burgess in his automobile, William Miller in a horse deal, and Tom Bolger with his hotel bus at the railway depot.
Carleton Place First County Town – Lights
By Howard M. Brown
Carleton Place Canadian, 21 May, 1959
County’s First Hundred Years (Part 2)
Montague township, where settlement on the Rideau River began in 1790, is the oldest township in Lanark County.
Ninety persons were living in Montague township in 1802, according to a local census. Included were families of the name Arnold, Chester, Covell, Haskins, Hill, Hodgins, Jarvis, Merrick, McCrea, McIntyre, Nettleton, Nicholson, Stafford and Van Dusen. The Arnolds were Henry and Richard, sons of General Benedict Arnold; and Hannah Arnold, the sister of the General. John Arnold, born 1786, another of General Benedict Arnold’s sons, lived in Kitley township, Leeds County, where he is buried with members of his family in Leahy’s cemetery near Frankville. The nine Merricks named were the family of William Merrick, whose building of mills on the Rideau River in Montague township in the 1790’s originated the village of Merrickville.
Government and Industry
First Canal Transportation – Rideau Canal, 1832; Tay Canal, 1834.
First Township Officers – Elected in the early eighteen-twenties. An 1835 Act provided for officers including an assessor, a collector, a clerk and three commissioners with narrowly limited powers, together with overseers of highways and poundkeeprs, for each township of adequate population.
First Continuous Fall Fair – Bathurst District Agricultural Society, formed at Carleton Place, January, 1840.
First Member of Parliament of United Canada – Malcolm Cameron (1808-1876), elected 1841, defeated Sheriff John A. H. Powell, became cabinet minister in several administrations, member of Legislative Council, Queen’s Printer, and member of Parliament after Confederation. Re-established the County’s newspaper at Perth in 1834 under the name Bathurst Courier.
First Township Elections of District Councillors – January 1842, under an Act transferring regulatory duties from appointed magistrates of court of quarter sessions. This District’s area was changed by withdrawal in March 1842, of Carleton County’s present townships of Goulbourn, Newpean, March, Fitzroy, Torbolton and Huntley, and in 1845 by the entry of Montague, N. Elmsley and N. Burgess townships.
First Power Looms for Weaving Cloth – Installed in James Rosamond’s woolen factory, Carleton Place, 1846.
First Municipal Government as County – Came in 1850 under Municipal Institutions Act of 1849 which abolished district councils and placed county and other forms of municipal government on an enduring basis. First Warden of United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, 1850, was Robert Bell, M.P., Carleton Place.
First Incorporated Urban Community – Perth, as a town, September, 1850.
First Railway Transportation – The Brockville and Ottawa Railway, 1859, extending then from Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls to the Grand Trunk Railway at Brockville.
First Royal Visit – By Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, in 1860.
First Separate Government as County – The two United Counties separated in 1866, Perth remaining as county seat of Lanark. Warden, Daniel Galbraith of Ramsay township.
First Members of Dominion Parliament – North Lanark; Hon. William McDougall (1822-1905), minister of public works, later active in transfer of much of Canada’s north and west from Hudson’s Bay Company.
South Lanark: Alexander Morris (1826-1889), son of Hon. William Morris of Perth, and later a cabinet minister, chief justice and lieutenant governor.
First Canadian Senators – Hon. Roderick Matheson and Hon. Henry Graham, Perth merchants; Hon. James Shaw, Smiths Falls merchant.
First Members of Ontario Legislature – North Lanark: Daniel Galbraith (1813-1879), later M.P. for North Lanark, 1872 to 1879. South Lanark: William McNairn Shaw (1823-1869), barrister, born Ramsay township.
First Railway to Ottawa – 1870, from Carleton Place.
USE OF INVENTIONS
First Community and Long Distance Telephones:
Bell Telephone Company, 1885, including Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place and Almonte.
First Electric Lights Installed:
In mills including Peter McLaren’s Carleton Place lumber mills in early 1880’s; first community lighting service, Carleton Place, September, 1885.
First Roller Process Flour Mill: Carleton Place, February, 1886.
COUNTY CENTENNIAL YEAR
First Century of Settlement – 1890; hundredth anniversary of first settlement by a family of European racial origin in area of the present Lanark County, the first Ontario permanent settlement north and west of the Rideau River.
Some First Events: Lanark’s First 100 Years
By Howard Morton Brown
Carleton Place Canadian, 14 May, 1959
For the countless stories of personal, business and community adventure which were written long ago by the deeds of Lanark County’s pioneers, a framework may be found in a list of some of the County’s first events. The following brief listing of landmarks and outstanding events of the County’s first one hundred years of settlement is one of many similar selections which might be made from different viewpoints or differing bases of local emphasis.
The first settler in the county commonly has been said to have been William Merrick of Merrickville. The arrival of an earlier and first settler, Roger Stevens, is recorded in this list of Lanark County events. Official contemporary records of his coming as “the first who settled on the River Rideau”, places the start of the settlement of Lanark County within seven years of the first colonizing of the province by English-speaking people, made by Loyalists from the revolted British colonies.
First Family Settled – Roger Stevens from Vermont, an ensign in the King’s Rangers in the American Revolution; at S.E. corner of Montague township on the Rideau River, 1790, with wife and three children. His occupied land extended into Marlborough township. He joined with William and Stepehn Merrick in building a saw mill in Montague at Merrickville. His death by drowning in 1793 followed an Upper Canada Order in Council authorizing a grant to him of the site of this mill and of the future village of Merrickville.
First Land Grants – In the 1790’s in the area of Montague and later N. Elmsley and N. Burgess townships. These three townships until the 1840’s remained attached to the Leeds and Grenville (Johnstown ) District.
First Saw Mill and First Grist Mill – William Merrick’s at Merrickville in Montague township; saw mill 1793, grist mill 1803. He came from New York State to Leeds County in 1791.
First Sponsored Migration – from United Kingdom – About fifty Lowland Scottish families were granted farm sites in May, 1816, on the Scotch Line in Bathurst, Burgess and Elmsley townships near Perth, when a similar number of grants were made nearby to married and single demobilized British Soldiers of various nationalities.
First Large Scale Settlement – The seven years 1816 to 1822, when seven thousand persons, mainly from Scotland and Ireland, aided by army settlement supervision and supplies, began the great task of clearing land and establishing farms and villages throughout most of the county’s present area.
First Group Migration From Scottish Highlands – About fifty families from Perthshire in 1818 settled in Beckwith township near Carleton Place; they came inland by the Ottawa River route.
First Settlement of North Lanark – Assisted emigrations of 1820 and 1821 from Lanarkshire added some 2,500 persons to the county’s population, mainly in Dalhousie, Lanark and Ramsay townships.
First Group Migration from Southern Ireland – About seventy-five families, mainly from County Cork, were brought to the site of Almonte in 1823 and settled in Ramsay and neighbouring townships.
First Resident Clergymen – Officially recognized, Rev. William Bell, Presbyterian, 1817; Rev. Michael Harris, Anglican, 1819; both at Perth.
First Visit By Governor-in-Chief of Canada – by Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond in 1819.
First Member of Parliament – In 1820, William Morris (b.1786 d.1858), Scottish merchant at Perth, defeated Benjamin Delisle; became president of Executive Council of Canada, 1846.
First Steps towards Local Government – Establishment of the judicial District of Bathurst in 1822, with centre at Perth, to serve some local executive and judicial needs of an area comprising most of the present Lanark, Carleton and Renfrew counties.
First Naming as County of Lanark – In 1824, when the ten northerly townships of the present Lanark County (excluding Pakenham) and the then unsurveyed present Renfrew County became an electoral district named County of Lanark.
KNOWLEDGE AND VIOLENCE:
First Newspaper – The Independent Examiner, Perth, 1828, edited by John Stewart, school teacher, succeeded in 1832 by the Constitution and in 1834 by the present Perth Courier.
First Public Libraries – Dalhousie Public Library, near Watson’s Corners, 1828 (still in existence); and the Ramsay and Lanark Circulating Library near Clayton, 1829.
First (and only) Extensive Riots – The ‘Ballygiblin Riots’ Carleton Place and Almonte, 1824.
First Execution for Murder – Thomas Easby, of Drummond township, 1829; found to have killed his wife and four children, publicly hanged at Perth after rejection of defence of insanity.
First Recorded Pistol Duels – James Boulton and Thomas Radenhurst, Perth barristers, June, 1830; Colonel Alexander McMillan and Dr. Alexander Thom, both of Perth, the latter wounded, January, 1883; John Wilson and Robert Lyon, law students at Perth, the latter killed, June, 1883.
James E. Bennett: Early Carleton Place Butcher
By Mary Cook
The Carleton Place Canadian, 1987
James E. Bennett had no way of knowing that the small butcher shop he opened in the late 1800’s would see four generations of Bennett’s in the business before the final chapter closed on one of the best known butcher shops in the Ottawa Valley.
Old photographs show a wiry, golden haired man of moderate stature. He was born in Ferguson’s Falls in 1860, and came to Carleton Place as a child of 9, supposedly to take over his father’s blacksmith shop when he was old enough. The shop was located in the empty lot between the Valleytown apartments and the first stone house going west on High Street, which is now a private parking lot.
But young James had no intention of becoming a blacksmith. In an era when it was expected a son would follow in his father’s footsteps, young Bennett went off to be a herdsman for a well known businessman G. Arthur Burgess.
Around 1884, James E. Bennett decided being in business for himself would offer much more reward than looking after someone else’s cattle. And so the first Bennett’s Meat Market opened its doors. The store was located where Goofy’s Ice Cream parlor now stands. The spot was considered a prime location. Here some of the main businesses of the day were neighbors and a steady stream of people passed the shop each day.
He hired Charlie Devlin to help out and the two of them did all the work…and it was all done by hand in those days. One side of the shop held a large plank anchored just down from the ceiling. Huge meat hooks held beef quarters, where the lady of the house could come, look over the selection and make her choice. Hand saws prepared the meat, because electricity was yet to come to Carleton Place.
A two wheel cart, hauled by horse, carried a box with a lid on the back, and a step for the driver; from the cart, deliveries were made all over town.
James E. Bennett soon outgrew the small shop next to the bridge. An opportunity came up to move across and down the street, and the young businessman jumped at the chance. He took his three sons, Harry, Gordon and Austin, “Onnie” into the business with him. It was a location that was to see almost 70 years of continuous business by the next two generations of Bennett’s.
The store was a massive stone structure (unchanged today) that stood on the corner of Bridge and Bell Street. It was distinguished by a huge tea pot that hung from the corner of the store between the first and second storeys. The pot advertised Salada Tea, and one day in the 20’s when the town was celebrating Old Home Week, Ted and Jack Voyce climbed a ladder and painted the massive tea pot red commemorating the event. No one knows where the tea pot is today.
In the very early days, before Bennett’s built their first abattoir, the shop had to close down in the afternoons so that the butchers could travel the countryside buying their meat. They would arrive at the farms, strike a deal, slaughter what they had bought, and head back to town. The first abattoir was on the 7th line of Ramsay near the old lead mines, and almost back to back with the Anglican Cemetery.
In the winter time, the store also closed in the afternoon, but then it was time to haul ice from the Mississippi River. The shop had an ice box, and two ice houses held the year’s supply. Each day, ice had to be hauled into the shop to fill the ice box. The Bennett’s didn’t have that problem in the winter. The butcher shop was so cold the meat froze overnight, and stayed frozen all day.
All the Bennett’s, right from that first James E. who started the business in the 1800’s possessed a wonderful sense of humor. James’ grandson Bill, remembers a woman coming into the store for a quarter’s worth of cooked ham. It was a blistering hot day. Bill’s grandfather James looked her square in the eye and said, “Hell, lady I wouldn’t open the fridge door for a quarter on a day like this.” Apparently, the ice would melt as quick as you would look at it, and Bill says if his father was going to open the ice box door, it was going to be worth his while.
James E. Bennett built three houses in the Flora Street area. One of them is occupied by his grandson Bill and his wife Lois. Behind the house were stables where up to five horses were housed. They were used as delivery horses for the meat market, and they knew the routes as well as the men who drove them. One old horse, the story goes was so familiar with the routine of the business that when Findlay’s Foundry whistle blew at 12 noon, the horse headed for Flora Street with or without the driver. “You better be on that cart when the whistle went, or the horse went home without you”, was the saying of the day. In the morning a delivery man went door to door picking up order for meat. There were no telephones, and this was the way the business ran. The lady ordered from the delivery man, he rushed back to the store, filled the order and rushed back out to deliver it so she could cook it for the noon meal.
Ledgers of the day reflected the simple way of life and how business was carried on. Some entries carried only the first name of the customer, or it might simply state the last name and beside it how much was owed. It could read “Bells…12 cents”. The amounts were small, and when the account was paid, there was no receipt given. A simple pencil line through the entry showed the debt was cleared.
There was co-operation between the shops too. Sometimes a ‘debtor’ would leave a shop in a huff…invariably it was over a bill. Bill says, “someone would rush over to the other butcher shops and say Mrs. So and So left us and she owes .40 cents.
Well, he’d send the message back…’she won’t get a cent of credit from us until she pays the .40 cents.’ That’s how business was done in those days.”
As stated in a previous story, much business was carried on in a reciprocal manner. Bennett’s had agreements with at least two other merchants in town. Cameron’s blacksmith kept their horse shod, and Bennetts supplied their meat.
Once a month a tally was made to settle the difference. The same system worked with Nichols Mill. The mill supplied all the lumber Bennett’s needed, and the meat market filled the Nichols meat needs. Once a year, the two businesses would have a reckoning. The tallies were usually just a few dollars apart. They’d say, just forget it.
Wipe the slate clean and let’s start over again, Bill Says. After James died, his three sons took over the business. By the time the second world war broke out, Onnie was on his own as everyone who worked for him joined up, leaving no staff to run the store. Young Bill was taken out of school in Grade 11. He was to remain working alongside his father for more than 40 years.
Bill remembers the store he did chores in when he was just a little boy, long before he knew he would eventually be taken into the business. “There were meat counters all along the back. The floors were covered with sawdust. Barrels of pickles, herring and sauerkraut lined the walls, and we built a little booth for Dorothy Malloch. She was our cashier, and when you got your meat from the counter you took up a little slip of paper and paid Dorothy. Later Isobel Wylie and Ruth Ferguson joined the staff. A big stove sat in the centre of the floor, and boy did it got cold at night. And in the daytime, when the fire died down, we’d throw in a roll of wrapping paper if we ran out of wood. It was cheaper than wood, too. It didn’t give off much heat, but it kept burning all day long.”
The first electricity the store had was purchased from Art Burgess who built a small power plant east of the present Medical Centre on Lake Avenue. Burgess sold power to several industries and businesses before the town was hooked up to outside power. For the first time Bennett’s were to have electric refrigerators. It was perhaps the biggest improvement ever seen in the business.
As a young boy Bill always had a pony to the envy of all his friends. “But Dad had an ulterior motive in buying me a pony and cart. It was his way of initiating me into the business at an early age, because while everyone else was out playing, I was expected to use the pony and cart to deliver meat,” he says.
The business grew during the war. But the workload of looking after the rationing books was enormous. That job had to be done when the store was closed and the place was quiet. There was never enough butter and bacon to go around, and it was a “first come, first served system.”
Prices went up during the 40’s. They were a far cry from what they were in the early days of James E. Bennett, according to early ledgers. Two pounds of beef sold for .14 cents; two and a half pounds of steak for .23 cents, and pork chops and sausages for .12 cents a pound.
As the seventies came to a close, the Bennett’s Meat Market was approaching almost 100 years of continuous operation. Onnie was ready to call it quits. And so was Bill. The business was sold in 1978 ending an era unmatched by any other retail business in the town’s history.
James E. Bennett had established a reputation for honesty and service early in the game. It was carried on for three generations. The businessman left his mark politically as well. Like almost every other merchant he took his turn in municipal politics, holding the office of mayor from 1904-06. He set a pattern for what he expected the business to be…a service industry that met the needs of the town honestly. He probably expected his sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to carry on as long as they were able to do so, and in the same fashion. Had he lived, he would not have been disappointed. Today, the old stone building still serves as a meat market, as Danny Joly continues to meet the same high standards set by that original butcher more than 100 years ago. James E. Bennett would be pleased.
Ramsay Objected To Justice Meted in 1830’s, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 19 April, 1962
Resident magistrates and other municipal reforms were among the governmental needs seen by progressive residents of Ramsay township in the ninth year of the settlement of the township. These views of a Ramsay township gathering were sent to the Perth editor for publication.
Resolutions of a Public Meeting held in the Township of Ramsay on Monday the 4th January, 1830.
Resolved, 1st– That this meeting, viewing with alarm the manner in which they have been treated by his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for this District as far as concerns their Town Meetings, will petition His Excellency Sir John Colborne concerning the same.
2nd – That his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace are obliged by Law to grant a warrant for calling and holding our Town Meetings, and also a Constable to preside at the same.
3rd – That without said Warrant, a lawful intimation and a presiding Constable, our meetings are illegal, and of course our whole procedure at said meetings.
4th – That our present situation is not only unpleasant but disadvantageous, having neither overseers of roads, assessors, nor any office bearer whatever in the township.
5th – That some of our office bearers have been put to blush by those in authority, when applying to be installed in office, by being told they were not legally elected, as this town meeting was illegal.
6th – That the want of resident Magistrates in this township has and still does put us to great disadvantages in many respects, and the more particularly as concerns our office bearers, causing them to travel from home to Perth (no Magistrate being nearer) for the express purpose of being sworn into office, under the penalty inflicted by law, a distance of from twenty to thirty-five miles.
7th – That petitions formed on the basis of these Resolutions be drawn up and transmitted to the Hon. W. Morris Esq., M.P., to be by him presented to His Excellency Sir John Colborne on our behalf.
John Hutchinson, President ; William Wallace, Vice-president ; Committee : John Buchannan, James Bryson, Robert Carswell, Daniel Shipman, John Gemmill, Michael Corkery.
Needs of North Lanark
Public meetings of residents of North Lanark townships were held in January and March to consider the government’s claims for repayments of cash advances made in 1820 and 1821 to many of the settlers, and the civic disabilities of these settlers. Commenting on the first meeting of the year the Examiner editor wrote :
We understand that a meeting of the delegates from the four Townships, Ramsay, Lanark, Dalhousie and North Sherbrooke, will be held this day, the 22nd January, in the village of Lanark, for the purpose of taking into consideration the condition of the Society settlers, and the profriety of petitioning the House of Assembly to grant them all the civil privileges which our constitution bestows. Two persons deputed from each of these townships will attend.
We have received a communication from an esteemed friend pointing out some of the difficulties under which those labor who have not yet received their Deeds.
A further six years of struggle for responsible government were to pass before these numerous Scottish Emigrant Society settlers of 1820 and 1821 and the Irish assisted emigrants of 1823 were to receive their deeds and their voting rights.
Postscript of Military Administration
The last vestige of settlement assistance to North Lanark under military auspices and the approaching return to Scotland of the former settlement superintendent Colonel William Marshall were marked by a public dinner at Judson’s Hotel given in May, 1830, by “the Gentlemen of Perth and its environs, in order to express their high sense of Col. Marshall’s honorable character and many amiable qualities, and the regret they felt at his removal from this Colony.” In April the government’s sale of “The Government store house at Lanark with nearly two acres of ground attached, together with the outbuildings erected by Colonel Marshall” had been made by auction. It was followed by the purchaser’s advertisement in the Examiner:
To Let. The House and Premises in Lanark formerly occupied as a Government Store and lately fitted up as a retail store. From its central location and bordering on the river Clyde, it possesses advantages either as a private dwelling or for a person in business. Terms moderate, apply to W. Fraser, Esquire, Lanark, or at Perth at the subscriber. – April 27th, 1830. W. Fraser.
Perth Pictured in 1829
A parting editorial picture of Perth in the winter of 1829-30 is given in terms of praise and future promise in the Bathurst Independent Examiner.
Our merchants and operatives are all busily employed and seem to be flourishing. A complexity of rival interests has brought the price of all store goods to their proper level, so that the settlers do not, as many did formerly, travel a great distance to a neighbouring district to sell the surplus produce of their farms and to purchase articles for the use of their families. The stores are abundantly supplied with goods of the best quality, which several of our merchants import directly from the home market. The few stores in this town must, at the present time, contain nearly 20,000 pounds worth of goods.
A number of excellent houses have been built in the course of last summer ; some are making rapid progress to completion. The public buildings are neat and commodious. The houses of public worship for the different denominations (with the exception of the Methodist chapel, which is partly raised) are decent and comfortable, not to say elegant, considering the age of the place.
Although a large number of Half-Pay-Officers and Pensioners are settled in the town and its environs, whose habits are supposed to be of the most convivial kind, it has not been found necessary to establish….a temperance society. The industrious and respectable population live in the fullest enjoyment of harmony and sociality, notwithstanding that a few Lawyers have crept in among us.
80 Buildings Once Erected Here Within A Year’s Time, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 25 August, 1960
About seventy-five years ago, Carleton Place reached the speediest single period of its growth. The present instalment of a summary of events in the town’s youthful years tells briefly of some of the developments that were in the foreground seventy to eighty years ago. It reaches the period of the first childhood recollections of this district’s present elder citizens.
The selection of Carleton Place at his time by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as a divisional and repair shop point added a third main industry to growing textile and lumber businesses. Other principal manufacturing industries here, notably the making of stoves and machinery and grain milling, were all expanding. Revolutionary discoveries in telephone communication and electric lighting and in new types of industrial machines were being put into use in this area.
Building construction and the number of the community’s residents doubled within about five years. At the end of the decade, Carleton Place, with a population approaching only 4,500, was second in size to Ottawa alone in the Ottawa Valley. On the main line of the new railway to the west coast Carleton Place was the largest community between Montreal and Vancouver with the exception of Winnipeg. While the Carleton Place of later years may be found to have increased in wisdom and prosperity as measured by its way of life, its stature as rated by the conventional yardsticks of population and of total commercial activity has remained with relatively little change.
1880 – The idle Hawthorne woollen factory was bought by James Gillies of Carleton Place from its original owner Abraham Code at a reported price of $16,400.
A one hour strike fro a shorter working day by about fifty men at Peter McLaren’s sawmill was unsuccessful. Working hours continued at thirteen hours a day, from 6 a.m to 7 p.m., and twelve hours on Saturdays.
Lawsuits were under way between the rival sawmill owners here, Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren, based on McLaren’s efforts to exclusively control the passage of logs down the Mississippi at High Falls and other points.
The first annual regatta and sports day of the Carleton Place Boating Club was held at Carleton Park (Lake Park), featuring sailing, rowing and canoe races, the Perth band and baseball team, and oarsmen from Brockville and Ottawa. Its evening events on the river in Carleton Place were a promenade concert, an illuminated boat dispaly contest, fireworks and a balloon ascension. The Carleton Place brass band wearing new uniforms rode in a large carriage drawn by four horses to a concert and ball in Newman’s Hall which lasted until morning.
1881 – St. James Anglican Church was rebuilt, the present stone structure replacing a former frame building. The building contractors were William Moffatt and William Pattie. Chairman and secretary of the building committee were Colonel John Sumner and Dr. R. F. Preston. The Rev. G. J. Low succeeded the Rev. G. W. G. Grout before the building was completed.
John Gillies of Carleton Place bought the McArthur woollen mill at the present Bates & Innes site from its first owner Archibald McArthur. The reported price was 40,000. W. H. Wylie, lessee of the McArthur mill, bought the Hawthorne woollen mill from its new owner James Gillies at a price reported as $19,000.
Several parties of Indians were encamped late in the year at the east side of the town and frequented the streets daily. An Indian war dance was held at a local residence.
1882- A new railway station was built at the junction of the two lines here. Exemption from municipal taxation was granted for the C.P.R. workshops being moved to Carleton Place from Brockville and Prescott. Major James C. Poole (1826-1882), Herald editor, predicted the town was “about to enter upon an era of advancement and unparalleled prosperity.”
Boyd Caldwell & Sons river-men, when their log drive was blocked by Peter McLaren’s dam at the foot of Long Lake, cut a passage through the dam under claimed authority of the Ontario Legislature’s Rivers and Streams Act, which had been reenacted after its disallowance by the Dominion Government. The ten thousand logs reached the Carleton Place mill in good condition after having been delayed three years en route. Peter McLaren’s assertions of exclusive river rights which had been rejected by the Ontario Supreme Court were sustained by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Caldwell firm appealed to the Privy Council.
Sawdust had become a local furnace fuel, according to Mr. W. W. Cliff, Central Canadian publisher, who reported : Messrs. Wylie & Co. use about fifteen cartloads per day, the machine shop about four, and Mr. Findlay about one. The sawmills of course regard it as their staff of steam life.
1883 – The Bank of Ottawa opened a branch at Carleton Place, located on Bridge St. near Lake Avenue, opposite the Mississippi Hotel, with John A. Bangs as managaer.
The town’s leading hotel, the Mississippi, was sold to Walter McIlquham, formerly of Lanark, by Napoleon Lavallee at a price reported at $9,400.
In the Mississippi River strife between the two lumbermen whose principal mills were at Carleton Place, the Ontario Rivers and Streams Act was once more disallowed by the Dominion Government under Sir John A. MacDonald and was again introduced by the Ontario Government under Sir Oliver Mowat. The last disallowance held fifty thousand Caldwell logs in the upper Mississippi near Buckshot Lake and forced the Caldwell mill here to remain idle.
The James Poole estate sold the Carleton Place Herald, founded in 1850, to William H. Allen and Samual J. Allen ; and sold the family’s large stone residence at Bridge Street and the Town Line Road to David Gillies, son-in-law of James Poole. William H. Allen continued publication of the Herald for sixty years. David Gillies, original partner and later president of Gillies Brothers Limited of Braeside and member of the Quebec Legislature, maintained his home here until his death in 1926. Its site was the place of residence of six generations of the Poole family.
1884 – Carleton Place became a railway divisional point. A result was an expansion of the town’s population and of its commercial activities. A large railway station addition was undertaken.
The McLaren-Caldwell lumber litigation ended with a Privy Council judgement upholding the Caldwell claims for public rights for navigation of logs throughout the length of the Mississippi River.
To make way for the building of a new flour mill the John F. Cram tannery and wool plant was removed to Campbell Street after fourteen years of operation on Mill Street. Other building operations in addition to house construction included erection of the town’s Roman Catholic Church and a bridge by the Gillies Company at the lower falls. The Council Chamber of the Town Hall was vacated to provide additional classroom accommodation for the Town Hall School. A bylaw authorized the raising of $6,000 to buy a new fire engine for the Ocean Wave Fire Company.
Electric Lights and Telephones
1885 – A telephone system connecting eastern Ontario centres including Carleton Place was established by the Bell Telephone Company. Twenty telephones were installed in this town in the first year, all for business purposes.
A direct current electric lighting system was installed here by the Ball Electric Light Company of Toronto, including five street lights on Bridge Street. The generator was placed by the Gillies firm at the Central Machine Works. It was moved in the following year to a new waterpower installation opposite the west side of the Gillies woollen mill.
On Mill Street a four storey stone mill was built by Horace Brown, joined by a grain elevator to his former flour mill, and was equipped for the new roller process of flour milling.
Working hours for the winter season at the woollen mill of Gillies & Son & Company were from 7 a.m. to 6.15 p.m. with closing time one hour earlier on Saturdays.
1886 – The railway junction and divisional town of Carleton Place was a stopping point for the first through train of the C.P.R. to reach the west coast from Montreal.
The new tannery of John F. Cram and Donald Munroe was destroyed in a fire loss of over $10,000.
Abner Nichols’ planing mill was built at the corner of Lake Avenue and Bridge Street.
Indians who had camped for the winter at Franktown, selling baskets through the district, struck their tents and returned to the St. Regis Reserve.
The May 24th holiday was celebrated by a sports day at Allan’s Point (Lake Park). Its baseball score was Carleton Place Athletics 16, Renfrew 5 ; and a no score lacrosse game was played between Ottawa Metropolitans and Carleton Place. The practice field for the lacrosse and cricket clubs at this time was the picnic grounds of Gillies Grove below the woollen mill.
Canada Lumber Company
1887 – Peter McLaren sold his lumber mill properties at Carleton Place and upper Mississippi timber limits at a price reported as $900,000. The buyers, the McLarens of Buckingham and Edwards of Rockland, formed the Canada Lumber Company. It doubled the mills capacity, with Alexander H. Edwards (1848-1933) as manager here. Peter McLaren three years later was appointed to the Senate, and died at age 88 at Perth in 1919.
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church was built on its present Bridge Street site donated by James Gillies, the congregation vacating its previous location in the old stone church building still standing at the corner of William and St. Paul Streets.
A bridge of ironwork on stone piers replaced the wooden bridge across the Mississippi at Bridge Street. A brick and tile manufacturing yard, which operated for about fifteen years, was opened by William Taylor, hardware merchant. A large brick manufacturing business of William Willoughby, building contractor, continued in operation. The Herald office and plant moved to a new brick building at the south side of the site of the present Post Office. A Masonic Temple was built, and a considerable number of residential and other buildings.
Reduced railway fares were granted for the fifth annual musical convention and choral festival of the Carleton Place Mechanics Institute, held in the drill hall at the market square, with guest performers from Boston, Toronto and other points. The Institute’s officers included William Pattie, Dr. R. F. Robertson, Alex C. McLean and John A. Goth.