Battle of Ridgeway : Commemoration on June 1st

At 11 a.m. on. June 1, soldiers from the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto and the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (The Rileys) will return to the ground where their regiments fought Canada’s first modern battle against an invading Irish-American Fenian insurgent army in the Battle of Ridgeway, near Fort Erie, on June 2, 1866.

For more information please follow the link below:

http://bulletnewsniagara.ca/index.php?p=Sections&id=1314

Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Carleton Place War Memorial: “Our Honoured Dead”

Veteran’s Names on Left Side:

J. G. Bennett –  James Gordon Bennett, WW II

J. Borland – Joseph Borland, WW II               

D. C. Cameron – Duncan Cedric Cameron, WW II

W. A. Costello – Wilson Adison Costello, WW II

J. F. Cranston – James Francis Cranston, WW II

W. Camelon – Wilmer Camelon, WW II

F. Dray – Frederick Albert Dray (Ryan), WW II

B. H. Dunphy – Boyne Hogan Dunphy, WW II

G. A. Elliott –  G. A. Elliott, WW II

M. Fieldhouse – Maurice Fieldhouse, WW II

H. J. Findlay – Hugh John Findlay, WW II

L. G. Scott – Lloyd George Scott, WW II

M. Forbes – Harry Malcolm Forbes, WW II

A. D. Garland – Douglas Haig Armour Garland, WWII

C. G. S. Hughes – Cyril Garnet Strong Hughes, WW II

W. R. Hughes – William Robert Hughes, WW II

R. D. Irvine – Robert David Irvine, WW II

R. G. James – Russell George James, WW II

F. E. Lancaster – Earl  Franklin Lancaster, WW II

G. Lewis – Gerald Lewis, WW II                    

W. Loney – William Melville Loney, WW II

D. C. Maxwell – David Chester Maxwell, WW II

F. Cavers – Robert Franklin Cavers, WW II

H. Murfitt – Harold Murfitt, WW II

Veteran’s Names on Right Side:

G. E. Morris – George Ernest Morris, WW II

R. E. McFarlane – Ross Edward McFarlane, WW II

J. H. McKittrick  – James Herbert McKittrick, WW II

R. J. O’Leary – Robert Joseph O’Leary, WW II

K. O’Meara – Kenneth Orval O’Meara, WW II

L. Patterson – Lorne Patterson, WW II

E. E. Porteous – Earl Ernest Porteous, WW I

W. A. Porterfield – Wilbert Andrew Porterfield, WW II

A. E. Prendergast –  Albert Edward Prendergast, WW II

A. E. Prime – Arthur Esmond Prime, WW II

J. W. Pye – James William Pye, WW II

W. H. Porter – William Henry Porter, WW II

E. E. Rathwell  – Edward Earl Rathwell, WW II

W. C. J. Reynolds – William Cyril Jeffrey Reynolds, WW II

H. S. Savage – Francis Herbert Savage, WW II

R. S. Stanzel – Ross Samuel Stanzel, WW II

H. Stark – Horace Garner Stark, WW II

H. A. Stokes – Harold Allan Stokes, WW II

D. A. Turner  – Dalton Arnold Turner, WW II

W. A. Valley – William Allen Valley, WW II

J. S. Warren –  James Snedden Warren, WW II

R. W. White – Raymond Wilbert White, WW II

B. Foxton – 1952 Korea

Veteran’s Names, Middle:

L. Campbell – William Lockhard Campbell, WW I

R. Borland –  Robert John Borland, WW 1

J. Hamilton –  John (aka Joseph) Hamilton, WW 1

N. McPhee – Neil John McPhee, WW 1

A. Simons – Arthur John Simons, WW 1

T. Cummings – Thomas Cummings, WW 1

H. Eastwood – Herbert John Eastwood, WW 1

R. Flegg – Thomas Reynolds Flegg, WW 1

H. McDiarmid – Harold William McDiarmid, WW 1

V. McDiarmid – Victor Lionel McDiarmid, WW 1

A. McDiarmid – Eugene Arthur McDiarmid, WW 1

W. J. Griffith – William John Griffith, WW 1

D. O’Donovan – Daniel O’Donovan, WW 1

C. O’Donovan – Cornelius O’Donovan, WW 1

P. Moore – Percy Moore, WW 1

L. Corr – John Leo Corr, WW 1

A. Robertson – Herbert Arnold Robertson, WW 1

S. Hamilton – Sydney Hamilton, WW 1

F. Fumerton – Frank Fumerton, WW 1

G. Fanning – George Davis Fanning, WW 1

Rev. J. H. Christie – Rev. John H. H. Christie, WW 1

E. Hockenhull – Joseph Edward Hockenhull, WW 1

A. McCaw – Archibald McMorine McCaw, WW 1

A. McPhee – A. McPhee, WW 1

W. Fraser – William Fraser, WW 1

P. Hughes – Percy Grenville Hughes, WW 1

W. Lewis – Walter Lewis, WW 1

J. R. Riddell – James Ross Riddell, WW 1

N. R. McPhail – Norman McPhail, WW 1

C. Reynolds -Thomas Reynolds, WW 1

F. Trotman – Frederick Gilbert Trotman, WW 1

W. Wright – William John Wright, WW 1

Wm. Tyre – William Tyrie, WW 1

C. Bryce – Cecil Elmas Bryce, WW 1

H. Dowdall – Herbert Dowdall, WW 1

A. Tufts – Arthur Zimmerman Tufts, WW 1

S. T. Edwards – Sterne Tighe Edwards, WW 1

F. Murphy – Frances Michael Murphy, WW 1

J. H. Brown – John Horace Brown, WW 1

R. Simpson – Ralph Patterson Simpson, WW 1

W. Peever – Wesley Albert Peever, WW 1

A. Moffatt – Allan Clyde Moffatt, WW 1

R. Kellough – William Roy Kellough, WW 1

H. Utman – Henry Utman, WW 1

D. C. Humphrey – David Charles Humphrey, WW 1

A. Houston – Arthur Norman Houston, WW 1.

R. E. McEachen – Rebecca Ellen McEachen, WW 1.

Carleton Place War Memorial, 2012

Carleton Place War Memorial, 2012

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK THIRTY-FIVE: CANADA’S CENTENNIAL (4)-Part Two of Three

Confederation’s Armed Defenders Recalled : Second Part

Carleton Place Canadian, 28 April, 1966

By Howard M. Brown

 

Carleton Place Volunteers

The company’s roll books list the men of the Carleton Place Rifle Company on active service at Brockville in 1866.  Service medals were worn long afterwards by many Fenian Raid veterans of this district, and their ultimate obituary notices recalled their response at this early time of homeland danger and attack.  There were fifty-seven of all ranks on the June active service roll of the Carleton Place Rifle company, including Captain James Poole, Lieutenant John Brown, Ensign Josiah Jones Bell, four sergeants, six corporals and a youthful bugler.  Since many descendants of this ‘noble fifty’, as they were termed on occasion in later years, now live in the Carleton Place area and other parts of Eastern Ontario, their names will be recalled here, with their occupations and approximate ages where these now have been found.

Captain Poole, then age 39, publisher of the Carleton Place Herald, may have become a familiar figure to regular readers of these occasional local history notes.  Lieutenant John Brown, age 32, succeeded his brother-in-law, Archibald McArthur in 1868 as head of the principal wholesale and retail merchandising business in Carleton Place and died ten years later.  Ensign Josiah Jones Bell, born in Carleton Place in 1845, a son of Robert Bell, who for some years was North Lanark’s member of the Canadian Legislative Assembly, had graduated from Queen’s University in 1864 and was that university’s oldest living graduate when he died at his Rockcliffe home in 1931, at age 86.  He was a journalist and, among other newspapers, a publisher of the Brockville Recorder.  Later he became an editor of publications of the Mines Department of Ottawa, and he maintained an active interest in early Canada including military history and Indian lore.  In the Red River Rebellion expedition to Fort Garry in 1870 under Garnet Wolseley,

Lieutenant Bell left Carleton Place to serve in Manitoba as an officer of the First Ontario Battalion of Rifles shortly before Fenian raiders assembled again in arms on the Quebec and Ontario border. 

William Morphy (1833-1873), sergeant, a son of local pioneer settlers William Morphy and Sarah Willis, had been treasurer of Beckwith township, including Carleton Place, and was a business real estate owner.  His stone residence, which he named Spring Side Hall, remains on Lake Avenue at Campbell Street.  Sergeant William H. Moore, then 39, ran a Carleton Place shoemaking business.  Sergeant Daniel McArthur, clerk, age 27, was a relative of Archibald McArthur, merchant and first owner of the town’s textile mill operated for over fifty years by the Bates & Innes firm.  Sergeant William Neelin (1828-1900), shoemaker, whose wife was pioneer John Morphy’s daughter Barbara, became a general merchant and real estate dealer.

The six corporals of the Carleton Place company serving during the 1866 raids included Robert Metcalf, age 32, a well known local hotel proprietor, and David McPherson and David McNab.  Corporal John M. Sinclair (1842-1926), then a medical student, born in Beckwith at Scotch Corners, was a doctor in Carleton Place for over thirty years.  Corporal James Kilpatrick, age 31, was a cooper, and Corporal William Patterson (1840-1908), was then a furniture maker and dealer and later also an undertaker, founder of the town’s present firm of that name.

The company’s fifteen year old buglar, Robert William Bell (1851-1923), a grandson of the Rev. William Bell of Perth, was the younger son of Robert Bell, the long-prominent Carleton Place figure in business and public affairs who was then the Inspector of Canal Revenues of the Canadian government.  Robert junior graduated as a medical doctor at McGill University in 1873 and practiced at Peterborough, where he was Lieut. Colonel of the 57th Battalion of militia.  His later professional career was in the administration of Ontario mental hospitals.  It was due to his aid, and to the sustained public honouring of these volunteers, that particulars of Carleton Place militia company roll books of Fenian Raid service were published in 1898 by Carleton Place Herald editor William H. Allen.  Its veterans of this area were parading then in Dominion Day celebrations.

There were forty-three privates in the ranks of the Carleton Place Rifle Company in its June, 1866, service on the St. Lawrence River front.  They included Maurice Burke (1839-1911), a cooper; Andrew Coleman, age 33, shoemaker; and James D. Coleman, 22, who already had been a soldier in the Union Army in the United States Civil War.  James Doherty Coleman, (1844-1919), of the Gillies lumber company at Carleton Place and Braeside and later a Manitoba senior employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, was the father of a family including C.P.R. president D. C. Coleman (1879-1956), E. H. Coleman, Canadian government deputy minister and ambassador; George T. Coleman, former Carleton Place mayor and senior railway official, and Mrs. A. R. Garson of Carleton Place. 

And then private William Cram, age 22, was a son of Duncan, Beckwith farmer.  William Dack was later a Carleton Place merchant.  John Doherty (1840-1891), son of William of Glen Isle, became a Beckwith farmer and operated a marble cutting and stone quarrying business.  William (‘Big Bill’) Duff, then age 25, ran his retail dairy and his lakeshore farm, which once included Lake Park, until his death in 1914.  William Enright, A. Adams, Peter Ferguson, Robert Fleming and Archibald Hamilton also were in the 1866 ranks.  William P. Gray, 26, was a painter, and John Henry (1838-1892), a Ramsay farmer near Carleton Place.  Ephriam Kilpatrick, age 18, was a cooper, as was Francis Lavallee.

Jacob Leslie (1835-1909), serving at age 31, was a furniture maker and undertaker.  His Carleton Place business was continued by his son George, who in turn was succeeded until 1951 by W. H. Matthews, a former mayor.  James Moore, 25, was a shoemaker and Archibald McCallum, 21, a sawmill worker, as was also Lachlan McCallum (1834-1915), who long was the captain of the big sawmill steamboat “The Enterprise.”  James McFadden, age 30, was a shoemaker; Drummond McNeely, 27, a carpenter; Nathaniel McNeely, 38, a blacksmith; and George McPherson, 26, a butcher and later a hotel-keeper.

Private James Moffatt, Absolem McCaffery, William McEwen, Alex. Romey, William Rorrison, Donald Stewart (‘Donald the Piper”), James Storie and David Williams were others of the Carleton Place ranks of ’66.  Private William Pattie, carpenter, building contractor and second mayor of Carleton Place, was then age 23; and William Rattray (1845-1894), Beckwith 11th Line farmer, was 21.  John Sumner, 17, was a son of John Sumner, merchant, who had been lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Carleton Battalion of the sedentary militia.  Patrick Tucker, 30, was long a Carleton Place shoemaker; and John Wilson, 19, was a son of Dr. William Wilson.

The Willis families were represented by four sons in the 1866 Fenian Raid defence service of the Carleton Place Rifle Company.  The youngest, Catin Willis, age 17, was a son of Catin Willis (1795-1869), pioneer Ramsay farmer near Carleton Place.  Richard Willis, 25, George E. Willis, 22, and James Willis, 21, were born on the farm of their father George Willis (1820-1892) at the west end of Lake Avenue.  George E. Willis, who lived until 1940 and the age of 96, was for some years a Carleton Place photographer.  Photographs made by him remain in many old family albums of this area.  (His son Stephen founded the Willis Business College in Ottawa.)  Richard, who was drowned in 1893 while duck hunting in the lower Mississippi Lake, was the father of the veteran Mississippi rivermen Henry and George Willis.  John Cavers, William Beck and William Cram, all of the Carleton Place area, returned from the United States in 1866 with Chicago’s  No.1Company of Volunteers for Canada to serve in their country’s defence.

To be continued…..

 

Sharing Memories, Week Thirty-Four: Canada’s Centennial (4)-Part One of Three

 

Confederation’s Armed Defenders Recalled : First Part

Carleton Place Canadian, 28 April, 1966

By Howard M. Brown

 

When agreement was being reached for the attainment of Canada’s Confederation, the borders of the present provinces of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were manned with Canadian and British forces prepared to repel invasion.  The strange enemy was the private army of the Fenian Brotherhood and its so-called Irish Republic of North America.  It was based in a northern United States flushed but worn by its Civil War success and lacking to this extreme degree in an attitude of friendship for Great Britain and Canada.

The Fenians and their followers quickly formed a misguided but large and reckless organization.  Their preparations had been carried out with the tolerance of the United States government during the term of office of one of that nation’s worst presidents.  Canada, by the Fenian plan, was to become Irish Fenian territory from which, with the aid of other nations, Ireland would be freed from England’s rule.  Then Canada might possibly be handed over to the United States. 

The Fenian Raids against Canada in 1866, renewed in 1870, came from a fertile soil for this mad scheme.  Calling their organization an Irish Republic, the American Fenian leaders and their delegates from most of the then existing states of the union met in Cincinnati in September, 1865, and adopted a paper constitution modeled on that of the United States.  Its active parts were its War Department and its Treasury.  Foot-loose soldiers trained in the Civil War were available by the thousand and not averse to conquest and plunder.  The tools and the spirit of war were in abundant supply.  With more able Fenian direction Canada might have paid dearly.

The main encounters of the 1866 Raids were in Welland County and in the Eastern Townships in the first week of June.  They were recalled in the first installment of this story of invasion dangers accompanying our Confederation, for which local and national Centennial celebrations now are being prepared.  The Eastern Ontario points considered most threatened were Cornwall, Prescott, Brockville and Kingston.  Some two thousand troops hastily placed at Cornwall included parts of two British regiments and militia of Cornwall, Argenteuil County, Kingston and Ottawa.

At Prescott a force of similar size included several companies of British troops and militia units of Hawkesbury, Belleville, Gananoque and the Ottawa area.  Two of the latter companies were those of Fitzroy and Pakenham.  Prescott’s Fort Wellington was strengthened and supplied with artillery reinforcements.  Kingston’s fortifications remained garrisoned by British troops.  Its district district militia units of rifles, infantry, artillery and cavalry went on active service standing.  With lighter forces of the Ottawa area the capital city of Ottawa also was garrisoned.

Brockville’s defences were provided by the rifle companies of Brockville, Carleton Place and Perth and the infantry companies of Almonte, Perth, Brockville and Gananoque, under Lieut. Colonel James Crawford.  A principal historical account of the Fenian Raids published in 1910 states:  “These companies were exceedingly efficient, and did great service in guarding the riverfront and railway communications at Brockville.  Col. Crawford and his troops received great praise from the Major-General for the very satisfactory manner in which they did their duty on these trying occasions.”  (John A. Macdonald, writer of the 1910 history of the Fenian Raids, served on the Niagara frontier in 1866 and 1870, founded and edited the Arnprior Chronicle, and was a captain of the 43rd Battalion, Ottawa and Carleton Rifles.)

Captain James Poole’s newspaper’s report of the departure of June 3 of the Carleton Place company for the front said in part:

“After having been on the alert for about twenty-four hours awaiting an order to proceed to the frontier, a hurried dispatch was received about midnight on Sunday that the volunteer companies of Carleton Place and Almonte should be ready in about an hour to repair to Brockville by a special train.  At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday the train arrived bringing the Almonte Company of Infantry under the command of Captain Gemmill.  The Carleton Place Rifle Company commanded by Captain Poole and Lieutenant Brown were in waiting, having been accompanied to the station by over a hundred of our citizens.  At the request of Captain Poole the Rev. J. A. Preston addressed the men.

It was a solemn and moving sight, the moonlight giving a dim view of the outline of the ranks and the friends and relatives moving to and fro as they took leave of those near and dear to them, discharging their duty to defend out hearths and homes against the invasion of a lawless band of marauders.  As the train left the station three hearty cheers from the citizens rang the air, lustily re-echoed by the true men whom we hope to welcome soon again.”

To be continued……

 

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

 

 War Clouds Menaced Confederation—Canada

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 14 April, 1966

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Invasion Threatened When Local Units Trained

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 31 March, 1966

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By mid-July it was announced:

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

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

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

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

(Totalling Almonte 107, Carleton Place 106).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Border Raids Promoted Confederation in Canada

By Howard Morton Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 17 March, 1966

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Main Attack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK EIGHTEEN

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.

Shanty Horses

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.

Town Park

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.

Street Lighting

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. 

Car Casualty

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.

Roller Skating

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.

 

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SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK ELEVEN

November 13th, 2012 marked the dedication ceremony for the A. Roy Brown memorial mural, at 220 Bridge Street in Carleton Place.  Funded by the Town of Carleton Place, this mural is an excellent depiction of the famous WWI battle between Captain A. Roy Brown and the famed Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.  The original art was provided by the renowned military artist, Mr. Stephen P. Quick, from a book by Lieutenant-Colonel David L. Bashow called ‘Knights of the air”.  The mural was painted by Ottawa artist Shaun McInnis, and completed in September 2012.

Arthur Roy Brown is the WWI flying ace officially credited with shooting down German pilot Manfred von Richtohofen over France, on April 21, 1918.  The Australians have always claimed that it was their ground gunners who were responsible for downing the Red Baron, but the evidence credits Brown with the deed.  There is a new book at the library, a two volume set, written by Alan D. Bennett, called “Captain Roy Brown: a true story of the Great War, 1914-1918,” that sheds more light on the life of A. Roy Brown, and in particular, on this famous battle.

Below are some pictures of the event, and of the mural as well, which I captured on 13 November, 2012.

A. Roy Brown mural, dedication ceremony, 13 November, 2012.

Mural artist, Shaun McInnis

John Nichols, husband of Carol Brown who is the neice of A. Roy Brown

Rob Probert, President of the Roy Brown Society, and master of ceremony

Scott Reid, MP

Follow this link to read the Ottawa Citizen report on the mural : http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Dave+Brown+Great+hero+found+downing+infamous+Baron/7567574/story.html

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK NINE

With Remembrance Day just around the corner, I began to compile some information about the names appearing on the Carleton Place War Memorial, which can easily be seen from the Library windows fronting on Memorial Park.  It occured to me that there was more to know about these veterans than just their names – important stories to be shared about people in this community who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

Upon comparing the names on the cenotaph with the names in Larry Gray’s two books, “We are the Dead,” about the WWI veterans, and “Fathers, Brothers, and Sons,” about the WWII veterans, all of whom sacrificed their lives in those wars, I made the appalling discovery that some names are missing from the memorial.

While nothing can make up for this oversight, except having their names inscribed thereon, I feel very fortunate that Larry Gray wrote both of his books about the Carleton Place men and women who died during those wars.  How else would anyone know about our ‘unknown soldiers,’ or the battles they fought in?

In light of this discovery, I will now tell you about the men, the ‘unknown soldiers’, whose names you do not see on the town cenotaph, but whose names and stories we now know – thanks to Larry Gray.  Hopefully the names will be added to the memorial in the future, and hopefully Larry Gray will not mind me using the information from his books to honour these particular people here.

Colin Duncan P. Sinclair

Colin was born June 2, 1897 at Oliver’s Ferry (Rideau Ferry, Ontario).  He was the eldest son of Rev. R. C. H. Sinclair.  When he enlisted with the 3rd University Company in Montreal in June 1915, he was an 18 year old student, having just graduated from the high school in Carleton Place.  He was 5’5” tall and weighed 122 pounds.

After a short training session in Canada, he sailed to England, arriving September 14, 1915. On November 30th he was transferred to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and joined them in the trenches in France on February 12, 1916.  Colin observed his 19th birthday in the trenches during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, which occurred in the Ypres Salient in Sanctuary Wood, June 2-13.  Four Hundred Patricia’s lost their lives in this battle.

By September 15, 1916, the PPCLI’s were in the Somme at Fabeck Graben.  During the battle for Flers Courcelette, Colin would have seen the British-invented tank used in warfare for the first time.

Colin distinguished himself in the assault on Vimy Ridge, and considered himself lucky to have survived this harrowing battle.  After fighting with the Patricia’s for a year and four months in France, he applied for his commission as an infantry officer.  On April 17, 1917, he was transferred to England to the Eastern Ontario Regiment depot in Seaford, where he completed his officer training and was made a temporary lieutant.

However, Colin had his sights set on flying and on October 30 was sent to the Royal Flying Corps School of Aeronautics at Reading for flight training as a pilot.  It was at the advanced training school at Stamford that his career in the air ended.  On March 17, 1918, at age 20, Colin Sinclair was accidentally killed at Bickers Fen, Donnington, Lincolnshire, as a result of an aeroplane crash.  He is buried in Stamford Cemetery, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.

Facts from “We Are The Dead”, by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones-Wellman

Ralph Patterson Simpson

While there is an R. Simpson engraved on the Carleton Place cenotaph, there were really two Simpson brothers using that initial.  I assume the R. Simpson on the memorial refers to Charles Ross Simpson, who was always referred to as Ross, and who died from his wounds on January 13th, 1921, at the Euclid Hall Hospital in Toronto.

I believe that it is his brother, Ralph Patterson Simpson, whose name does not appear on the cenotaph, as he didn’t die from his wounds until 1932, by which time all of the names had more than likely been engraved thereon.

The following is Ralph’s story:

Ralph was born in Carleton Place on April 10, 1895, the eldest son of William and Minnie Simpson.  When he joined the 42nd Regiment on March 6, 1915, he was twenty-one years old, 5’11” tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair.

Relatively soon, he was transferred to the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion in Ottawa.  He arrived overseas at Shorncliffe, England on July 4, 1915.  On August 25 he was drafted to France and the 2nd Battalion, which was already in the field.

On September 12, 1915, as the 2nd Battalion was marching into position for the attack on Courcelette, Ralph was wounded by a rifle bullet hitting his right thigh.  After convalescing in England he rejoined his Battalion in the field on November 17, 1917.

Ralph survived the rest of the war unscathed, and left for Canada on February 8, 1919, and was discharged from the army on March 3, 1919.  He lived out the rest of his short life in Carleton Place, dying at the age of thirty-six years, eleven months on March 5, 1932.  His death was deemed by military authorities to have been attributable to his war wound.

From “We Are The Dead” by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones-Wellman

Robert Franklyn Preston Abbott

Franklyn was born the only son and child of Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Abbott in Carleton Place on May 14, 1897.

In June 1916, he went to Toronto to the Curtiss Flying School, obtaining his pilot’s certificate on November 7, 1916.  The very same day he was enrolled in the Royal Navy Air Service as a probationary flight officer. 

By January 14, 1917, he was overseas and training at Chingford, England.  On June 21 he went to France and joined No. 3 Squadron at Dunkirk, where he most likely flew Scouts, and then Sopwith Camels, in support of the ground war.

On August 16, 1917, Franklyn was flying on patrol when he initiated a strafing attack on the German airdrome at Uytkerke.   According to The Almonte Gazette of October 5, 1917, “Flight Lieutenant Franklyn Abbott, who was wounded in the upper thigh….received his wound in the air, after dispatching some …. (enemy) planes).”  Franklyn spent time in hospitals in England before being sent home to Canada for rehabilitation.

As of April 15, 1918, Franklyn had returned to the war with No. 4 Squadron in Dunkirk, providing ground support and antisubmarine defence patrols.  By September, Franklyn was admitted to hospital in England suffering from tuberculosis.  He relinquished his commission due to ill health, going back to Canada to recuperate in April of 1919.

Franklyn Abbott died in the Kingston, Ontario, isolation hospital on March 25, 1932, from tuberculous meningitis, the effect of war service.

From “We Are The Dead”, by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones Wellman

William Andrew Fanning

William Andrew Fanning was born in Carleton Place on November 23, 1889, and was the son of Edward and Eliza Ann Fanning. 

When he enlisted with the Active Force on December 15, 1915, he already had six months service with the Composite Battalion of the 1st Regiment, Grenadier Guards of Canada, which became officially known as the 87th Canadian Infantry Battalion.  At that time he was twenty-six years old and stood 5’10” tall.

On April 23rd he sailed upon the Empress of Britain from Halifax to Liverpool, England, where he was transferred to the 11th Brigade, landing at Le Havre in France on August 12, 1916.

On June 26, 1917, William Fanning was confirmed in the permanent rank of lance corporal, and that same day was wounded by artillery shrapnel.  On June 29 he arrived at No. 35 General Hospital in Calaise where he was admitted “with a gunshot would (shrapnel) to the right thigh causing a compound fracture of the lower third of the femur (just above the knee).”

Arriving by ship at the Queen’s Military Hospital in Kingston on March 26, he was treated and declared “medically unfit for further service arising from wounds.”

He died on May 12, 1931, at the age of forty-one years.  His death was deemed, by the government, as “attributable to military service.”

 

Thomas James Gorrod

 Thomas Gorrod was overage when he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on October 19, 1915, at Kingston, Ontario.  He was born, educated, and married  in London, England, emigrating to Canada around 1902.  It is thought that his real birth date was sometime around 1865, making him actually fifty years old in 1915.  He was sent to the 80th Battalion, and was described as 5’4” tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

 Thomas was part of the 80th Battalion, which embarked aboard the S.S. Baltic for England and arrived in Liverpool on May 29, 1916. 

 On May 23, 1917, Thomas was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops at Purfleet in Essex, and finally, on June 19, 1917, he landed in France with the 10th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops.  They labored under the dreadful conditions of the Ypres Salient before Passchendaele, and carried out their work with remarkable speed.

 On August 17, 1917, Thomas Gorrod was promoted to the rank of corporal, but began to have trouble with his eyes.  During hospitalization for a corneal ulcer, his true age was discovered, and he was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force as overage and medically unfit on November 8, 1918.

 Thomas lived out the rest of his life in Carleton Place, and died on December 16, 1933.  In the edition of December 20, the Herald reported that:  “Thomas Gorrod, for many years an employee of the Findlay Stove foundry died in the hospital in Ottawa on Saturday, following a lengthy illness.”