SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTEEN

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.

THE PIONEERS:

 

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.

 

POLITICAL RIGHTS:

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK FIVE

As October is Canadian Women’s History month, I thought it would be interesting to write about a woman born & schooled in the Carleton Place area, who went ahead to make a significant contribution to the world.

Margaret Verne McNeely was such person.  Born in Beckwith Township, Lanark County on 13 August 1885, she was the daughter of James McNeely (1860-1948) and Margaret Jane Duff (1863-1930).  After completing her education at local schools in Beckwith and Carleton Place, she attended and graduated from University College at the University of Toronto in 1908.  In 1909 she became a missionary of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to China.

According to Ontario’s Archival Information Network, “from 1909 to 1914, supported by the Women’s Missionary Society, Verne assisted Rev. Donald MacGillivray of the North Honan Mission with compiling and editing the China Mission Year Book published by the Christian Literature Society.  From 1914 to 1917, Verne worked with the China Continuation Committee which developed into the National Christian Council of China.  In 1917 Verne accepted an invitation to work in a bookstore in Shanghai that specialized in the sale of English and Chinese books.  This bookstore eventually became the Kwang Hsueh Publishing House which had, by 1943, about one-third of its business in Chinese textbooks sponsored by the Nurses’ Association of China.  In 1923 Verne became the manager of the bookstore until the onset of the Second World War during which she spent two and a half years in a Japanese interment centre.  After the war she made her way to Nanking to assist the Secretary of the Nurses’ Association of China but returned to Canada in 1950, and made her home in Toronto, Ontario.”

Margaret Verne McNeely passed away on 28 Dec 1975 in Newmarket, Ontario, at the age of 90.

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

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

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

Franktown Inn Served As Church

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

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

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

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

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

Beckwith’s Anglican Church Founders

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

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

Government Store Became Church

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

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

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

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

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

County’s Oldest Stone Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gospel in Foreign Parts

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

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

District Landmark Destroyed

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

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

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

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

FARM IMPROVEMENTS

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

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

STIRRING LITTLE VILLAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTED

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

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

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

LOCAL MAGISTRATES

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

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

A GENERAL ELECTION

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

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

CHURCH DISSENTION

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

POWER LOOMS

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

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

WARDEN ELECTED

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

STOVE FOUNDRY

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

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

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

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

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

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

Morning Bell Once Rung Every Summer Day at 5 a.m., by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 30 June, 1960

A number of stories of the community activities of former citizens of the Carleton Place area have been gathered for the first time as a continuous annual record of local events.  Brief reviews of these typical events, extending from the town’s beginnings down to the times of the youth of many of Carleton Place’s present residents, will be published in a series of installments of which this is the second.

Second Decade

A brief view of the eighteen thirties, the second decade of community life at Carleton Place, shows that this area, like other sections of the province, was taking its first steps toward local government by townships.  This small and late political reform soon was followed by the seemingly unsuccessful armed rebellion against abuses of power of the province’s little ruling class or group, the Family Compact.  Queen Victoria began her reign of over sixty years while the consequent threat of border raids was arousing our local citizens to take steps for the defense of their new homeland.

Post Office Opened

1830 – Carleton Place in 1830 was added to the small number of communities in the province provided with a local post office.

Caleb S. Bellows, merchant, became the first postmaster here.  By one of the postal practices of long standing, the mounted mail courier carried a tin horn which he blew to announce his approach with the incoming mail.  An error by postal authorities is supposed to have been the cause of the local post office being designated Carleton Place instead of the then current name of Carlton Place. 

Among the 1830 newcomers here were Napoleon Lavallee (1802-1890), a legendary raconteur and sixty year resident who was a cooper and later a hotelkeeper, and the Rosamond family, James Rosamond (1804-1894) with a partner soon opened a wool carding and cloth dressing establishment and later a factory here with the first power looms in Eastern Ontario.

Village Church

1831- The first church in Carleton Place was built by the Methodists in 1831.  It was in the north side of the town at the Bridge Street site of the present Baptist Church, which also was built by the Methodist congregation.  The original church was a frame building forty by sixty feet in size, costing 200 pounds and seating about 250 persons.  Its use was granted both for public meetings and lectures and in various periods for also the services of other religious denominations.

Gaelic Kirk

1832 – The Carleton Place district’s second stone church building was that of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, built in 1832 and 1833 in the 7th concession of Beckwith.  Part of its walls still stand.  During the eighteen year term of its first minister, the Rev. John Smith, its services were conducted in both Gaelic and English.  Its first trustees were Peter Campbell, James McArthur (1767-1836), Findlay McEwen, Colin McLaren, Donald McLaren, Alexander Stewart (1792-1892) and John Scott.  Use of this church building was discontinued about 1870, services by its minister, the Rev. Walter Ross, being transferred to both the St. Andrew’s stone church building erected in the 1850’s at the corner of William and St. Paul Streets, Carleton Place, and a frame building of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church built at Franktown.

The building of the Rideau Canal was completed in this year, as an engineering work fully comparable for its time to that of the present St. Lawrence Seaway.

Road Commissioners

1833- Among commissioners chosen to supervise the spending of some 200 pounds of provincial grants for road repairs in the neighbourhood of Carleton Place, mainly in Beckwith township, were John Cameron, James Cram, Duncan Cram, William Davis, Thomas James, Phineas Low, John McDonell and Archibald McGregor, Robert Johnston, Donald Robertson, David Moffatt, Thomas Saunders, Stephen Tomlinson, James Bennie and William Drynan.

Resident Clergyman

1834 – The population of the present province of Ontario by 1834 had doubled in ten years to reach a total of 321,000.

The first resident clergyman at Carleton Place, the Rev. Edward Jukes Boswell, was appointed a church of England missionary here in December, 1833, and remained for ten years.  St. James Anglican church, a frame structure at the site of the present St. James Church on the corner of Bell and Edmund Streets, was built in 1834.  It remained in use for nearly fifty years and was replaced in 1881 by the present stone building of similar seating capacity.  An unkind comment on the earlier church after it was demolished described it as “one of those marvelous unshapely masses of windows and galleries of the early Canadian order of architecture, whose only excellence was that it was commodious.”

Second Woollen Business

1835- Allan McDonald  (1809-1886) came to Carleton Place in 1835, after two years in the woolen mill business in Innisville.  He built a custom carding and cloth dressing mill on the river bank here at the corner of Mill and Judson Streets, where woollen mill operations were continued for over 75 years.

The building of the first stone church in Ramsay township, still standing at the Auld Kirk cemetery, was completed in 1835.  Its Church of Scotland members included a number of residents of Carleton Place.  Its trustees in 1836 were James Wylie, James Wilson, John Lockhart, John Bennie and John Gemmill.  This congregation’s first resident minister, the Rev. John Fairbairn, came to Ramsay in 1833.  The first child baptized by him was John Fairbairn Cram, a later prominent resident of Carleton Place.  The church was succeeded by St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, later Bethany United, of Almonte.

Taxes in 1835 paid by township tax collectors to the district treasurer at Perth 108 pounds for Beckwith township and 10 pounds 7 shillings 13 pence for Ramsay township.  The district treasurer paid a bounty of 1 pound each for nineteen wolf scalps.

Early Morning Bell

1836 – A fund to pay for the ringing of a morning bell at Carleton Place, as a sort of community alarm clock corresponding to later factory whistles and bells, was raised by donations from some forty persons.  Among the contributors were Adam Beck, James and Robert Bell, Hugh Boulton, Joseph Bond, Rev. Edward J. Boswell, James Coleman, William Dougherty, Thomas Glendinning, Thomas and William Griffith, Paul and Peter Lavallee, John and William Morphy, John McEwen, Robert McLaren, John McLaughlin, John McRostie, Manny Nowlan, David Pattie, William Poole, James and Henry Rosamond, Henry Snedden, John Sumner, William Wallace, Catin and Henry Willis and John Wilson.  At a meeting called by Hugh Boulton, with James Rosamond as chairman, it was decided the bell should be rung daily at 5 a.m. in the months of May to August, and at 6 a.m. during the other eight months of each year.  A deduction was to be made from the bell ringer’s stipend for any time the bell was rung more than ten minutes late as timed by Robert Bell’s clock.

Township municipal officers were first chosen by election in 1836.  In Beckwith and Ramsay, as in other townships of similar populations, land owners chose three commissioners, an assessor, a collector of taxes, a clerk and overseers of highways and pound keepers.  Those elected for 1836 at a Ramsay township meeting were John Gemmill, John Dunlop and James Wilson, commissioners ; David Campbell, clerk ; Matthew McFarlane, assessor ; and Daniel Shipman, tax collector.

A district temperance society convention was held in February at the Carleton Place Methodist Chapel with the Rev. William Bell of Perth as chairman.  Delegates in attendance reported memberships of five of the local societies at numbers totaling more than a thousand persons. 

The Home Guards

1837 – On the outbreak of the Upper Canada Rebellion in December, 1837, home guard forces were organized in a number of communities, including Carleton Place.  At a meeting here, with Robert Bell as chairman, volunteer guards were enrolled for training and asked to arm and equip themselves at their own expense.  Among those enrolled, in addition to most of the names of 1836 mentioned above, were Peter Comrie, Daniel and Peter Cram, John Graham, Edmond Morphy Sr. and Jr., James, John, David and Thomas Morphy, Ewen McEwen, Allan McDonald, Jacob McFadden and several members of each of the Coleman, Dougherty, McLean and Willis families.  A number of weekly musters were held to drill on Bell Street during the early part of the winter.

The Lanark Emigrant Society settlers of 1821, after over fifteen years without a transferable title to their lands, were authorized to be granted their land patents in 1837, upon the British government deciding to relieve them of repayment of government settlement loans of 8 pounds per person – men, women and children – which had been made to each of these families.

On the death of King William IV, the proclamation of King William IV, the proclamation of Victoria as Queen was marked by ceremonies at the district’s centre at Perth.

Invasion

1838- Invasion near Prescott in November 1838, by United States, Canadian and other sympathizers with the cause of the Upper Canada Rebellion led to the summoning of militia of this district for service.  Seventy-five men of the Beckwith and Ramsay unit, the Third Regiment of Lanark Militia, were called up and mustered at Carleton Place under Captain Thomas Glendinning.  Before they could proceed further, word of the defeat of the invaders was received with orders dismissing the militia draft.

Six woollen mill operators met at Carleton Place in March, 1838, and agreed to restrict their credit terms for the custom carding of wool and dressing of homespun cloth.  They were James Rosamond of Carleton Place, Edward Bellamy of Bellamy’s Mills (now Clayton), Gavin Toshack of Bennie’s Corners (Indian River, Conc. 8, Ramsay), Elijah Boyce of Smiths Falls, Silas Warner of Merrickville and Isaiah Boyce of Ennisville.

Village Fairs

1839- Licensed inns at Carleton Place were operated by Manny Nowlan, Robert McLaren and Michael Murphy (1805-1884), father of James L. Murphy.  Those at and near Franktown were the inns of Patrick Nowlan, Peter McGregor, Widow Ann Burrows and Archibald Gillis.

Semi-annual village fairs, providing market days for “all kinds of Horn Cattle, Horses, Hogs, Sheep and Hawkers” were instituted at Carleton Place and Franktown under authority of government charters.  Petitions for their authorization were signed by about 125 residents of this area.  Names heading the Carleton Place petition were those of Rev. Edward J. Boswell, Robert Bell, merchant and postmaster, and James Rosamond, manufacturer.

Three Hour Sermon at Funerals Common in Good Old Days, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 18 April, 1957

Last week, the story of the founding of The Carleton Place Canadian was told. In this issue the writer goes on to tell of the editor’s writing style in the early days.

Local news items of the 1880’s and 1890’s, preserved in the late Victorian style of writing of William W. Cliff, first editor of the Canadian, include a record of minor events unlike any told in the personal columns of later day newspapers. An assorted selection of Editor Cliff’s writings has been gathered for second publication, purporting to picture the ordinary life of the town and the times as he saw it. Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town, title of Stephen Leacock’s leading work, perhaps might be applied suitably to some of the thumb-nail sketches of Mr. Cliff, who writes of the same class of subjects. The record here commences at the circus in the summer of 1885.

Shell Games at The Circus

The circus on Saturday was accompanied by a host of banditti who robbed the people right and left. The number who grabbed at the enticing shadows was legion. Some lost $5, some $10, others $15 and $20 ; one man lost $40. An Elder lost $5, a sexton $5. The losses of these innocents may be multiplied by four or five for rough conversion to present currency values. The circus itself was billed as “W. H. Harris Absolutely New World Famous Nickel-Plate Shows. Menagerie of Trained Wild animals and Congress of Celebrated Equestrain Stars. The only Umbrella-Eared Elephant. The largest and most savage den of Lions in captivity, entered and performed daily. The handsomest Royal Bengal Tigers on this continent, pulling against The only Male and Female Samson Horses and Elephants. M’lle. Dora, Wonderful Tatooed Fejee Island Cannibal. Performances at 2 and 8 p.m.”

Sermons at Funerals

In speaking of our article last week on delays at funerals, the undertaker enlarged upon it in the following illustration. A number of years ago there was a funeral at Ashton ; one Crozier had died. The day was of piercing strength noted at the Wilkie funeral ; the house small ; the attendance large ; the hour 11 a.m. The Minister who officiated considerately remarked that as the weather was so cold and the crowd outside so large he would say but a few words. His sermon lasted one solid hour. A brother Minister who was present arose and, after expressing deep sympathy for the shivering masses without and guaranteeing but a few words, spun a sermon two and a half hours in length! During his delivery one by one the outside public left and sought the genial hostlery nearby. All got drunk and were soon in a glorious fight, and at 3 o’clock none were left to escort the remains to the grave save the mourners and pall bearers.”

Return from the Riel Rebellion

At 3 o’clock Monday morning the 65th Regiment of Montreal dined at the Junction Restaurant. Shortly after 9 o’clock the 9th Regiment of Montreal steamed in, 330 of them. The Toronto Cavalry, a fine body of dilapidatedly clothed men, came in on Tuesday morning from Winnipeg. They had their horses and full equipment with them. The men expected to be in Toronto Tuesday night. They were still in Carleton Place Wednesday, waiting on repairs at the Maberley sink hole, which went down again Sunday after carrying freight trains all day.”

Battle Royal near Cloyne

It is reported that Mr. Caldwell’s men and those of Mr. McLaren (lumbermen) have had a battle royal somewhere near Cloyne. Both factions seem, in some places, to be always loaded and ready to go off at the touch of some secret spring. At Innisville however, a few days ago, we saw the men fraternizing and apparently pleased to be near each other. One of Mr. Caldwell’s men of Cloyne writes to say the recent reported collision between the Caldwell and McLaren men was a misconception. ‘Peace and unity prevail between us,’ he adds. The disturbance was between Mr. Caldwell’s men and the villagers.”

Morality on Toboggans (1886)

Stockholders in the Toboggan company, Messrs David and William Findlay, Robert Patterson, A. T. Hodge, R. J. E. Scott, C. B. Mansell, R. Riddle, J. A. Goth, and A. T. Taylor, entertained one of their number, Mr. Geen, to an oyster supper at Mr. Glover’s Monday evening. Mr. Geen was the projector of the sliding movement here and is now leaving. Each member of this club is obliged to pledge himself against the use of intoxicants before receiving the badge of membership. Profanity is also muzzled in like manner, thus preserving tobogganing against corrupting and debasing evils.”

Correction

To Mr. R. F. Oliver, entirely, does the credit belong for the harmony, mentioned last week, which characterizes the motion of the vast and intricate machinery in Mr. Brown’s new mill. No assistance whatever was supplied by Messrs. Goldie and McCullough of Galt.”

One of Colonel Playfair’s Speeches

In this issue we produce a speech delivered over thirty years ago in the House at Toronto by Colonel Playfair, the Member for South Lanark. It deals with the question of the location of Ottawa as the seat of Government. We are under obligation to Col. Playfair’s daughter, Mrs. Alex Hunter, now of Michigan, for these interesting reminiscences. The salient features of the Colonel when on his feet were fluency and enthusiasm. Mr. Bell informs us he frequently lost himself when addressing the House and, being also a local preacher of much renown, would address the Honourablees around him as ‘brother members’ and ‘my Christian brethern.’ Mr. Colin Sinclair revives for us a period when the Whigs of the age gave him their united strength. The Colonel and the late Archibald McArthur stood shoulder to shoulder. After the election all the Colonel’s old proclivities broke out in all their Tory excessiveness, and Mr. McArthur never forgave him.”

The Prophecy Fulfilled (1889)

About fifty years ago Mr. Robert Bell, who has reached the age of 78, predicted in a speech he delivered in a little old log cabin by the side of the river, where the as yet unorganized and ungrouped Presbyterians used to worship, that the people of Carleton Place would see with their own eyes the silk and tea products of the Empire of Japan passing through on their way to the markets of Europe. A couple of years ago he saw the first train of tea passing through Carleton Place. It is now so ordinary an event that the people cease to wonder.”

A Curious Gang

A curious gang came up from Almonte one night last week, a mother and two daughters, all drunk. They went off, thank Heaven, on the Brockville Train.”

First Elections as a Town

Dr. Preston sits on the throne of Carleton Place – a dignity of no inconsiderable magnitude. All the morning he and his fleet Kitty Freefoot were spinning around the Town starting out the voters. In the afternoon with a change of flyer his energy never lagged. Mr. Burgess was out all the live long day with a spanking team from the aristocratic stables at Orklan, and other teams and other friends spent the day in his service. After the result was known a number of the victors made speeches in triumphant tones in the Opera Hall.”

A Noted Man Gone

Mr. Lavallee at Rest. Napoleon Lavallee was born in the Province of Quebec Feb. 20, 1802. At fourteen years of age he left home and began to paddle his own canoe. He worked for the North West Fur Company that subsequently was swallowed up by the Hudson’s Bay Company, for whom Mr. Lavallee continued to operate. At that time most rapid of transits was accomplished by dog trains, and these the young adventurer handled with pride and skill. Leaving that country he made his way to Toronto, where he worked at his trade as a cooper, and then pushed on down the Mississippi as far as New Orleans.

At last he arrived in Ogdensburg and seemed to settle down. A gentleman there who was a friend of Mr. Bellows, then a merchant of many departments at Carleton Place and our first Postmaster, was asked if he knew a good cooper, and recommended the young Paul as ‘a steady honest fellow.’ The result was that Mr. Lavallee came to this spot, in the year 1830. He worked with fidelity for Mr. Bellows for many years and then set up for himself. He did a tremendous business all over this country, making tens of thousands of flour and pork barrells, butter tubs and like articles, chiefly with his own strong skilled hands, during a portion of this period occupying the office of Government Inspector of Pork.

Giving up his business he bought the Carleton House, built by James Bell, and ran it until his love of roving broke out furiously, and he made plans for a trip to California. He had married the Widow Paris, an amiable and athletic young woman. She had come to this country with her husband, Mungo Parks Paris, whose father was a friend of the famous African explorer, and along with them were his brothers John and James Paris, David Pattie and Adam Beck. It was the cholera year that they landed in Montreal, and young Paris died. The widow came on to Carleton Place with the others of the group, and in 1833 married Mr. Lavallee. When he resolved to go to California she and her son Hugh Paris accompanied him, as well as a young man who had been clerking for Mr. McArthur. They did not tarry long in California but pushed on through South America and finally wound up in Australia.

One day a mine caved in, and Hugh and the young clerk were smothered. Mrs. Lavallee could not endure to stay longer in that place of sorrow. They came back here much poorer, and the hotel business was resumed. Mr. Lavallee prospered and the Carleton House became too small. He erected a larger hotel, the Mississippi as it was when Mr. McIllquham bought it. Mr. Lavallee joined Rev. Mr. Fairbairn’s Church, 8th line Ramsay, largely through respect for his friend Mr. Robert Bell, who from the start was his guide, philosopher and friend, and managed for him for a period of sixty years all his financial operations. The personality of no citizen has been so marked as that of Mr. Lavallee. He had no claims to educational advantages, but measured everything and founded his decisions on merit always. He was famous for his powers of entertainment in the line of narratives from his own affluent experiences.

There were no children of the union, but through the years a number were adopted and well educated. The pallbearers were Col. John Summer, Abner Nichols, Walter McIllquham, James Gillies, John McDonald, and John F. Cram.”