1860’s Saw Considerable Building in Carleton Place, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 04 August, 1960

Life in the Eighteen Sixties in Carleton Place is recalled in the present fifth installment of a series of annals reviewing events in the first hundred years of this community and its surrounding district.

The location of Carleton Place at a waterfall on one of the larger tributaries of the Ottawa River and on one of Eastern Ontario’s first railways proved in the Eighteen Sixties to place this community in a position of some advantage in the lumber economy of the Ottawa Valley.  A number of new industrial firms were established here.  Among them were two sawmills and a foundry each of which grew to become a substantial employer of capital and labour and a leading industry of the town.

Prince of Wales

1860 – Archibald McArthur (1816-1884), reeve and prominent wholesale and retail merchant, enlarged his business premises here by building a store of stone construction in 1860 near the corner of Bridge and Mill Streets.

The young Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, viewed Carleton Place while travelling by coach and railway through Lanark and Leeds Counties in the course of a tour of Canada.

Patrick Struthers (1830-1907), merchant and later magistrate, became postmaster of Carleton Place.  He continued in charge of the local post office for over forty-five years.

New Saw Mill

1861 – A steam-powered sawmill was built in the area of the present Riverside Park on the south bank of the river.  The old Muirhead sawmill, which was located near the present electric power plant, was leased and reopened by Robert Gray.

Brice McNeely Jr. (1831-1920) began a forty year period of operating the long established tannery.  The town bridge across the Mississippi was rebuilt.

Findlays Foundry

1862 – In the infancy of the town’s present leading industry, a new foundry was opened on the Perth Road, now High Street, by David Findlay (1835-1890) for the manufacture of stoves, ploughs and other castings.

Canadian military preparations were begun in view of risks of the United States Civil War leading to war between Britain and the United States.  At Carleton Place a volunteer rifle company, with newspaper editor James Poole as its captain, was equipped to take the place of the townships former militia regiment.  A new infantry company was formed at Almonte. 

In a match at the Almonte exhibition grounds between the Carleton Place and Almonte cricket clubs, the Almonte club’s resplendent uniforms featured white caps, pink shirts and white pantaloons.

Militia Training

1863 – The Ramsay lead mine at Carleton Place resumed operation.  A woollen mill at Appleton built by Robert Teskey (1803-1892) was opened under the management of his son John Adam Teskey (1837-1908) and son-in-law William Bredin.

In a target shooting competition at Carleton Place between the local Rifle Company and the Almonte Infantry Company, the rifle company appeared in its new uniforms with green tunics, grey pants with red facings, and dark belts.  The infantry uniforms had scarlet tunics, grey pants and white belts.  The impressive headpiece of both companies’ uniforms was an ornamented cap known as a shako.

Railway Extension

1864 – The Brockville & Ottawa Railway Company’s line was extended and opened from Almonte to Arnprior, providing rail transportation between the St. Lawrence River and Grand Trunk Railway at Brockville and the Ottawa River at Sand Point.  George Lowe became the station master at Carleton Place.

Temperance Movement

1865 – A temperance society known as Temple No. 122 of the Independent Order of Good Templars, was formed at Carleton Place to oppose the sale of alcoholic beverages.  A proposal to apply a local option Temperance Act to Beckwith township including Carleton Place was rejected by a majority of thirty votes.

The Beckwith municipal council elected for 1865 was Patrick Struthers, reeve, and Archibald McArthur, Donald Carmichael, George Kidd and Alexander Ferguson.

Gillies & McLaren

1866 – This town’s first large scale business had its start in 1866 with the opening of the Gillies & McLaren lumber mill with thirty employees.  James Gillies (1840-1909) came as its manager.  Five years later John Gillies (1811-1888), who had founded the firm in Lanark township, removed to Carleton Place.  Both remained here for life and were leaders in the town’s industrial growth.  James Gillies for over thirty five years was head of the later widespread lumbering operations of Gillies Brothers, a position occupied from 1914 to 1926 by his brother David Gillies (1849-1926) of Carleton Place.

A shingle mill also began business here in 1866, managed by John Craigie.  He was the builder of the town’s first two steamboats, the Mississippi and the Enterprise.  The local grist and oatmeal mills were bought by Henry Bredin from Hugh Boulton Jr.  They continued to be operated by James Greig (1806-1884), who ran these mills from 1862 to 1868 after the death of Hugh Boulton Sr., founder of this first industry of the community.

The union of Lanark and Renfrew Counties was ended in 1866 by the establishment of a separate Renfrew County council and administration.

Fenian Raids

Raids from the United States upon border points were made in 1866 by groups known as Fenians, whose professed objective was political independence for Ireland.  The Carleton Place and Almonte volunteer companies were dispatched to Brockville in June.  Captain of the Almonte company was James D. Gemmill.  Total of all ranks serving from Carleton Place numbered fifty-seven.  Under local officers Captain James C. Poole, Lieut. John Brown and Ensign J. Jones Bell, they included such Carleton Place and township family names as Burke, Coleman, Cram, Dack, Docherty, Duff, Enright, Ferguson, Fleming, Hamilton, Kilpatrick, Leslie, Lavallee, Moffatt, Moore, Morphy, and McArthur, McCaffrey, McCallum, McEwen, McFadden, McNab, McNeely and McPherson, Neelin, Patterson, Pattie, Rattray, Sinclair, Stewart, Sumner, Williams, Willis and Wilson.

Volunteers from these and other Lanark County areas served also in the Fenian Raids of 1870.  Drill halls built in 1866 at county centres including Perth, Carleton Place and Almonte were used for many years.  The Carleton Place drill shed was at the market square between Beckwith and Judson Streets, at the present site of the skating rink.  Almonte’s military quarters were combined with the North Lanark Agricultural Society’s main exhibition building then being erected.

 

Confederation

1867 – Canadian confederation was hailed in Carleton Place by a day of celebration which extended from a sunrise cannon salute to an evening of torchlight processions and fireworks.  There were speeches by the clergy,  a military parade with rifles firing, a costume carnival and sports events featuring novelty races.

A new sawmill was built by the Gillies & McLaren firm to employ up to a hundred men.  At Arklan Island a smaller sawmill was built by William Bredin.  Erection of a large frame building on Mill Street for use as a woollen cloth factory was begun by Allan McDonald.  The Allan McDonald foundry was reopened by John Grant and operated for four years, producing stoves, ploughs, ploughpoints and other castings.  A local house construction boom was under way.  Daniel Galbraith (1813-1879) of Ramsay township was elected to the Ontario Legislature of North Lanark.  He represented this constituency in the House of Commons from the following election until his death in 1879.

Another Railway

1868 – Building of the Canada Central Railway between Ottawa and Carleton Place was begun and was completed two years later.  In ceremonies marking the start of construction, held at the Carleton Place end of the line and attended by Richard W. Scott, Q.C., M.P.P., of Ottawa, the sod turning ritual was performed by the Rev. J. H. Preston of St. James Church, Carleton Place.

Caldwell Sawmill

1869 – This towns second large sawmill business was started by Boyd Caldwell (1818-1888) and managed by his son William Caldwell.  It operated for twenty-two years on the site of the present Riverside Park.

An enlarged stone grist mill building was erected by William Bredin on Mill Street, together with buildings occupied in the following year by Joseph Cram as a planing mill and by John F. Cram as a tannery.  A stone church building for the Zion Presbyterian congregation was built at the church’s present Albert and Beckwith Street location.

The Mississippi Navigation Company was incorporated to build locks at Innisville and Ferguson’s Falls and open navigation from Lanark and Playfairville to Carleton Place.  Its directors were James H. Dixon of Peterborough, Abraham Code, M.P.P. (then owning mills at Ferguson’s Falls) and Robert Bell, John Craigie and Robert Crampton of Carleton Place.  The company’s brief existence ended with the building of a steamboat, The Enterprise.  Bought by the Gillies & McLaren firm , The Enterprise plied the Mississippi Lakes for about twenty-five years in the service of the lumber industry and provided transportation for many of the town’s public events of bygone summer days.

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Hugh Boat Excursions Once High Life On Lakes, By Howard M. Brown, The Carleton Place Canadian, 12 April, 1956

This is the third and last installment of Howard M. Brown’s story of how various spots on the Mississippi Lakes received their names. This story tells of the return trip from Innisville section.

Starting back to Carleton Place by way of the south and east side and going past Mud Lake, called McEwen’s Bay on the government maps for the McEwen’s who farmed near its south shore, with McCoy Creek as its main outlet, and McIntyre Creek flowing in there from the south, then Grasshopper Point, McCreary’s Landing and McCullough’s Landing, some six farms are passed which were settled on or within a mile of the south side of the Big Lake before 1820.

Reaching Flintoff’s Bay and the east shore, we are at the location of the first settlers here on the Mississippi Lakes. Here in the southeast corner of the Big Lake and along the present road from there towards Tennyson, eight farms were taken up and occupied in the late fall of 1816, in the first year of the Rideau Military Settlement of Lanark County. Three were McNaughtons, two were Robertsons, two were Hunters’ and one was a Flintoff. Ahead of them by three months but farther from the lake was an Irish ex-serviceman, Moses Goodman, a half mile in from the mouth of McIntyre Creek. This little group of Scots, Irish and English, could be said to be then pioneering the northwest fringe of colonization of the province.

Flintoff’s Bay was the terminus of one of the earliest freight routes to the village of Carleton Place. Shipments came from Montreal by way of Brockville and Perth (and probably later by way of the Rideau Canal and Perth) to Flintoff Bay, and from there by barge captained by Mr. Dougherty to a wharf in the river at Bridge Street. John Flintoff was one of the first local lumbermen of some prominence and was drowned by falling off a Quebec steamer in the lower St. Lawrence in 1851.

Another drowning of this group of settlers was that of the pioneer Donald McNaughton in 1860, while going bathing in the lake at age 67 in the middle of June. McCullough’s Landing was another of the Carleton Place steamer excursion destinations. One of its biggest gatherings was a political rally in 1896, just before a hard-fought federal election. The lake’s biggest steamer, the Carleton, provided the transportation in loads of around 200 per trip, at a return fare of 25 cents.

Heading for the Middle Lake and Beckwith Township again, Pine Point and the cottages of McNaughton’s Shore are passed in the Big Lake, and the red-buoyed submerged rocks around Sand, Loon and the Burnt Islands. After the Blacks Bay cottage shore is Hunter’s Bay formerly called Buchanan’s for its nearby farm owners. The west side of Hunter’s Bay is probably the place where Hugh Boulton quarried stone for his first millstone, the town’s first piece of industrial equipment.

The rows of cottages along the east side of the Middle Lake are next – Shail’s, the Coleman High Bank and Petrie’s Shores, served by a good paved road. Here in the 7th Concession, not far from the lake and within a mile or two of Tennyson are three of the first seven farms settled in Beckwith Township. Two were granted in late 1816 to McDonnells and one to an O’Neill. They were joined within a few months by Duncan McNaughton Sr., of the McNaughton connection farther up the lake. Of about twenty-five Beckwith Township farms still in the family name under which they were first occupied before 1820, this McNaughton Farm in the 7th Concession was the first settled. The McDonnells, Roman Catholic Highlanders from Inverness, retained their original location for two or three generations. The son of one of them, at age of 77, was killed in a runaway accident on Bridge Street, Carleton Place in 1908.

Farther down the Middle Lake, Morris’ Island is named for the family of Joseph Morris who settled on the lakeshore there opposite Squaw Point in 1821. The next lakeshore farm, at McGibbon’s Point, was John McGibbon’s home for sixty years, and was owned by three generations of the family.

McGibbon’s Creek is notable as having given the lower Mississippi a passing chance of being part of the Rideau Canal. One of the routes considered for the canal would have carried it from the lower end of the Rideau Lake across the low land drained by Cockburn Creek into the Rideau and by McGibbon’s Creek into the Mississippi. The canal would have continued down the Mississippi and the Ottawa by a series of locks like those built on the route selected. In 1824 the Mississippi route was rejected, and two years later construction started down the Rideau.

The lake’s other canal story is one of nearly fifty years later. It went as far as incorporation by the Legislature of the Mississippi Navigation Company in 1809, with the authorized capital of $100,000, to build locks at Innisville and Ferguson’s Falls and carry on a shipping business. The chief freight was expected to be sawn lumber and iron ore, which was to be towed by barge to Carleton Place, and to go from here by rail to American markets. The steamer, the Enterprise, was built for this purpose, and then the lock-building scheme was abandoned.

The Enterprise, a paddle wheeler which could carry a hundred passengers, travelled the lake for twenty-five years in the service of the McLaren Mill and the Canada Lumber Co. Under the intentions of its builders, its regular run would have been between Lanark Village, Playfairville and Carleton Place. That was the route that gained some historic standing in the story of the Mississippi when a number of the first Ramsay township settlers reached their new homes in 1821 by travelling down the Clyde and Mississippi by water from Lanark Village to the site of Almonte.

Returning to the lakeshore of the Second Lake, below the canal to the Ottawa that was never built, the 10th line cottashore was settled by Peter and Archie McGregor, who farmed there from 1819. After two generations of McGregors it was owned and sold by George Thackaberry in the 1880’s. At that time its sand beaches had already become a favorite campground. After it became McNeely’s, a gathering was held there in 1919, postponed on account of the War, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the settling of the township.

Hay’s Shore at the foot of the Second Lake, was James Duff’s farm from about the 1840’s. His son William (Big Bill Duff), who started the Lakeshore Dairy’s retail business, died ther in 1914, followed in 1916 by his wife, a daughter of one of the original Morphy settlers of Morphy’s Falls. Excluding cottage areas sold, it has remained since 1918 with the Hay Family.

Brown’s Point, the upper end of Lake Park, formerly was called Round Rocky Point, after the long favored duck hunting Rocky Point beside it across the Hotel Bay.

The point at the lower end of Lake Park has had the name of Lookout Point for many years, and alternatively has been called Hammond’s Point and McRostie’s Point after cottage owners of the past fifty years. The bay and mainland shore behind it have been called Duff’s Bay and Duff’s Shore for the other William Duff and his family (Little Bill Duff) who lived there from the 1840’s.

Lake Park itself, which we can make the last port of call on our round trip, has been a summer resort centre of one kind or another for about a hundred years. As Allan’s Point, later sometimes called the Regatta Grounds and Carleton Park, and finally as Lake park, it served for most that time as a community park for many of the town’s bigger lakeside events of the summer season.

It was never owned by an Allan and who the Allan was of Allan’s Point does not seem to be know. As early as 1860, an old news story tells of a Carleton Place Masonic picnic at Allan’s Point, with 150 people taken there from the village in small boats described as canoes, and itemizes an impressive list of the food and beverages.

In another Allan’s Point outing of the same period the expedition of small boats is described as being led by a drum, the bagpipes and a Union Jack. Most of these gatherings seem to have ended with dancing to the bagpipes and the fiddle, said as this early time to be dancing on the green. For a generation or two when bigger sports day picnics were the order of the day, this was one of the favorite places for the annual picnics of the fire brigade, the railwaymen, the other industries, the churches and some of the numerous clubs and societies.

The first regattas with outside competitors seem to have been the Carleton Boating Club races at Allan’s Point in 1880 and 1881. In addition to races for single and double rowing shells, they included canoe races and races for standard sailboats and catamarans. After Allan’s Point had been a family tenting centre for some years the first small two-storey building planned for use as a summer hotel was put up in 1887. The name Lake Park came partly from its purchase as a publicly owned picnic and regatta part for the town being under consideration when it was bought in 1892 by a local syndicate at the start of a period of about fifteen years as a very lively commercial summer resort. The Carleton, the queen of the lakes, an 80 by 16 food side wheeler was build here by the Gillies Boat works for the Lake Park Company and launced in 1893, carrying life preservers for 200 passengers. As part of the opening celebrations that year, the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards rode up from Ottawa with their dress uniforms and dazzling metal helmets, and put on a Dominion Day musical ride with forty horses, before a gathering of two thousand people at the newly christened Lake Park. Pete Salter’s often crowded four storey hotel was built a little later and a race track, band and dance pavilions, new steamboat docks and a picnic dining room to seat several hundred at a time. Team track and water sports, fireworks displays over the water, even circus acts were put on to bring the Ottawa Valley summer crowds in by railway and steamer. A small start had been made earlier on a proposed lakeshore driveway from Lake Avenue to Allan’s Point, but at this time a serious effort was even made to promote an electric railway from the 11th line C.P.R. crossing to Lake Park. Another scheme started was the digging of a waterway behind the Park from the Lower Lake to the Second Lake.

The first canoe club at Carleton Place called the Ottawa Valley Canoe Association was formed in 1893, and its first regatta was held that year at Lake Park. It included single, double, and novelty races in practically all of which W. J. “Baldy” Welsh’s boat came in first.

Within about fifteen years the high life at Lake Park was fairly well finished and soon after it settled down as an ordinary summer cottage community. One of the reasons for the change was claimed to be township local option, which did not arrive in the town itself until 1916. In 1907 as an indication of the change at Lake Park, the steamer ‘Lillian B’ belonging to the Park’s Queen Royal Hotel, was replaced with a bus line as the regular passenger service and later was beached in the Hotel Bay. A view of this abandoned forty foot steam craft about the year 1910 with her ribs lying open to the elements may serve as a picture of the end of one era on the lake, still carrying its earliest Indian name of the Lake of the Big River, and the start of another era a little more like our own.