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.”

 

 

Advertisements

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

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

 Hunting and Fishing Stories of our Grandfathers

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

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

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

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

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

 First Game Protective Club:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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