Carleton Place Canadian
12 May, 1966
By Howard Morton Brown
The companies of the 42nd Battalion from Perth, Smiths Falls, Almonte, Fitzroy and Landsdowne all were at Brockville within twenty-four hours. No. 4 Company of Fitzroy, under Captain Allan Fraser, with the greatest distance to travel, mustered at Kinburn, moving from there by wagon to Pakenham and by rail to Brockville. Captain John A. Macdonald’s history of the Fenian Raids states:
“The Forty Second did very great service in protecting the railway docks and other points of landing at Brockville, besides patrolling the river banks as far east as Maitland, thus keeping up a chain of communication with the garrison at Prescott. Several ‘scares’ occurred during the time they were on service, which caused sleepless nights, but by their vigilance the Fenians were deterred from making an attack.”
At Prescott, opposite which a large body of Fenians had gathered at Ogdensburg, seven hundred and fifty officers and men were placed under Lieut. Colonel Jackson, Brigade Major of the 8th Brigade Division. The greatest probability of attack from Fenians assembled at Malone was deemed to be on Cornwall. The Cornwall command was placed with Lieut. Colonel Atcherly, Deputy Adjutant General of Military District No. 4. Here the 59th Battalion was mustered, joined by the 41st Battalion by steamboat from Brockville with its Pakenham, Carleton Place, Perth, Merrickville, Brockville and Gananoque companies and accompanied by its Carleton Place battalion band. A valuable corps of about sixty mounted scouts was gathered, and an armed steamer patrolled the river. Here as at other Ontario points the Fenians failed to venture across the water in the face of the defences mounted for their reception. Fenians at Buffalo who had gathered from several states, intending to cross the river after a successful outcome of the Quebec frontier operations, soon returned to their homes and the Fenian Raids of 1870 were at an end.
On Guard Against The Fenians
The 41st Battalion’s Carleton Place No. 5 Company and Band serving at Cornwall totalled fifty-three officers and men, under Captain John Brown and Ensign David McPherson. Its lieutenant, J. Jones Bell, had left earlier in the month to become an officer of the Ontario Battalion in the expedition to quell the Red River Rebellion. No. 5 Company non-commissioned officers were Sergeants Robert W. Bell, Ephriam Kilpatrick and Robert Metcalf; Corporals James Moore, A. Hume, William Patterson and William Rattray, and Bandmaster J. C. Bonner. Of the forty-three privates in the Carleton Place Company and Band on active service at Cornwall no more than three had been with the company in its Brockville service in 1866. They were George McPherson, George Willis and Richard Willis, all of the regimental band.
Among other No. 5 Company privates from the Carleton Place area serving at Cornwall during the 1870 raids were Samuel Crampton, Frank Boyle, Alex and John Drynan, David Henry, James Irvine, Henry Metcalf, William Moffatt, David Moffatt, blacksmith, and David Moffatt, carpenter, William Munro, George Morphy, William Murray, Daniel McDougall, Brice McNeely, Jerome McNeely and Thomas McNeely, Charles Patterson, William Pittard, William Poole, John Rattray, Duncan Stewart, W. S. Watson, and Alex Wilson.
David Moffatt (1848-1926), carpenter, a private of age 22 during the 1870 raids, became a building contractor and planning mill operator with his brother Samuel, later of Renfrew, and was the father of William, Howard and Lloyd Moffatt. His father James (1819-1901) lived then in the stone house remaining on the riverside beyond the end of High Street, where David Moffatt senior in 1820 had become one of the early farm settlers of the vicinity of Carleton Place. Daniel McDougall and later his son Norman were farmers on Glen Isle. Charles Patterson was then age 19 and a cabinetmaker with William Patterson. William W. Pittard (1850-1938), who was a printer with the Carleton Place Herald, founded in 1882 the Almonte Times, which he published until his retirement. Unmarried, he died at age 88 in a fire in his Almonte home. During the First World War he was mayor of Almonte. William Poole, age 21, was the eldest son of the Herald publisher. John Rattray, 21, and Corporal William Rattray, 25, were sons of William Rattray (1812-1898), Beckwith 11th Line farmer who came there with his parents in 1822.
Bandmaster J. C. Bonner recently had opened a shop selling musical instruments and stationery on Bridge Street near Bell Street, and advertised his services as “Band Master, Teacher of Piano, Melodeon, Organ, Voice, Thorough Bass and Harmony, Violin, etcetera.” Sergeant Robert Metcalf, hotel-keeper, and Corporal William Patterson, cabinetmaker, were the other non-commissioned officers of the battalion’s Carleton Place band at Cornwall. Other band members included Privates Joseph H. Bond, 30, tinsmith; William Glover, 33, blacksmith; James Morphy, 27, butcher; and James Munro, 39, carpenter; also Alex. McLean, 19, carpenter; John McLean, 25, store clerk; George McPherson, 30, later hotelkeeper; and Franklin Teskey, 29, later a town councillor, son of Appleton miller Joseph Teskey. Privates George E. Willis, 26, photographer, Richard Willis, 29, and William Willis, 22, sons of Lake Avenue West farmer George Willis; and Joseph Wilson, 27, later hotelkeeper and Alex. Wilson, 20, sons of Dr. William Wilson, completed the 1870 roll of band musicians of the 41st Battalion in its short period of active service at Cornwall.
At the collapse of the Fenian campaign the Canadian militia forces were released from duty, in most cases within ten days of their last service postings, receiving an official statement of the “gratitude and admiration of their Queen and country”. Reporting on the repulses of the “cut throats in green”, Major Poole wrote: “The military officers who had an opportunity of observing the conduct of the volunteers speak in enthusiastic terms of their endurance, courage and discipline”. In Carleton Place a victory ball and supper “in a style not to be surpassed” was held for the volunteers in the stone building on the corner of Bridge and High Streets which was then William Kelly’s British Hotel.
Veterans who had seen active service in Ontario in 1866 or 1870 became entitled eventually to provincial grants of 160 acres of Crown lands. Service medals, some of which survive as family heirlooms, bear the receiver’s name and rank, a portrait of the queen and a design representing Canada, with a clasp carrying the words Fenian Raid 1866, or 1870. Eighteen veterans of the Fenian Raids marched at Carleton Place thirty years later, together with Andrew Dunlop, Crimean War medallist, in an impressive parade and reception held in November, 1900, on the return of Alex. C. Cram from the South African War. Some twenty-five veterans of the Raids who had served with the Carleton Place company and still were residents of the town included Maurice Burke, John Burke, William Beck, John Cavers, William Glover, David Moffatt, James Munro, David McPherson, Patrick Tucker, William Pattie and William Patterson.
Militia appointments of commissioned officers of No. 5 Company, Carleton Place, 41st Brockville Battalion of Rifles, made three years after the 1870 Fenian Raids, were Lieutenant Robert W. Bell as Captain, replacing David McPherson, resigned; Joseph Cram as Lieutenant, and George Gillies as Ensign replacing William Poole, deceased. Joseph McKay, son of James McKay, Bell Street baker, rose in his long militia service here from lieutenant of No. 5 Company in the late 1870’s to lieutenant colonel of his regiment at the turn of the century. Rifle Ranges at Carleton Place were constructed during Lieut. Colonel McKay’s command. Carleton Place No. 5 Company in the 1890’s had become No. 2 Company of the 42nd Lanark and Renfrew Regiment, which it remained in the years up to the opening of the First World War. In August 1914, its first twelve volunteers for overseas active service left Carleton Place, commanded by Captain William H. Hooper. They were sergeants Horace Brown, James McGill and George New; privates Robert Borland, Lochart Campbell, Leonard Halsey, Joseph Hamilton, Harry McLaren, Neil McPhee, Ernest Reynolds and Arthur Simons; and their captain, Will Hooper.
When Canada’s accomplishments of the past and promise of the future are being recognized in the Centennial of Confederation, and honours paid to its defenders and servants of peace and war, the military volunteers who were ready to offer their lives in the confederation decade will have a secure place among those worthy of remembrance.
These Photos are courtesy of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Thanks Jennifer!