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

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

Second Decade

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

Post Office Opened

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

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

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

Village Church

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

Gaelic Kirk

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

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

Road Commissioners

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

Resident Clergyman

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

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

Second Woollen Business

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

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

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

Early Morning Bell

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

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

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

The Home Guards

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

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

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

Invasion

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

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

Village Fairs

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

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

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Early Beckwith Settlers Included York Chasseur Men, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 21 February, 1957

This is the third in a series on early life in Beckwith Township prepared by the historian, Howard M. Brown.

 Settlement Day

Predominence in pioneer Beckwith of Scots “having the Gaelic” was limited by families coming from Ireland. These outnumbered annual arrivals from Scotland for several years after 1818, and within three or four years had brought a roughly equal division of numbers of the township’s farms between Irish Episcopelians and Scottish Presbyterians. The number from England remained small, mainly the demobilized war veterans.

A glance at one of the varied problems met by the administrators of settlement operations is permitted by a letter from the Earl of Bathurst, Secretary for the Colonies, to the Duke of Richmond who in the same year died here near the village previously named for him. Dated Downing Street, February 13, 1819, it refers to the undesirable reputation of men of a regiment of whom over twenty-five were offered land in 1819 in a section of Beckwith township between the two lower Mississippi Lakes and present Highway 29:

“My Lord,____The Prince Regent having been pleased to direct that the York Chasseurs should be disbanded in Lower Canada, the Regiment has been ordered from Jamaica for that purpose. On their arrival Your Grace will ascertain what number of the men are disposed to accept of Grants of Land in the Province, and will adopt the necessary measures for locating them in those parts of the Province best calculated for such a Settlement.

Your Grace is no doubt aware that the men composing this corps are to a great degree deserters and men otherwise of doubful character. It will be expedient therefore, in disbanding them in the Province, to prevent as far as possible the interference of the more ill-conducted individuals with the settlements already established.

The reports of the officers of the Corps will afford the means of distinguishing those who are most worthy of encouragement as settlers. With respect to the other it would certainly be more desirable that every facility should be given to their removal out of the Province. It is with this view that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury have made provision, in their minute of which an extract is enclosed, for a pecuniary payment in liew of their rations. Your Grace will see the necessity of not making such a payment except under a reasonable expectation that the persons receiving it will without delay take their departure.”

Some half dozen of these “most worthy” men out of the ranks of the York Chasseurs remained in Beckwith township, with locations along the present road from Highway 29 to and including Lake Park, at least long enough to qualify for patent grants. Two died before the end of their first three year term of occupation of their land.

A bright picture of local progress is painted by the Earl of Dalhousie, the succeeding Governor General and Commander in Chief of British North America, after his visit in 1820 to the new settlements. Writing in September from Sorel to Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, he says in part:

“Perth and Beckwith already shew what the whole of these townships severally will be, abounding in population and in produce. When I was there the harvest was getting in, and they all informed me that there was not a settler from Beckwith to Perth around them who might not have one half of his crop as surplus, after setting aside sufficient for his family and seed for next year. The people from Lanark, 1,200 going there, will afford a market for that surplus, and the money paid to them by order from Government will provide the funds. Thus these settlements will benefit each other.

The impediments in their way are the want of roads leading through them. I hope we may contrive to give some effectual assistance to this. But the serious evil appears to me to be the system of Crown and Clergy reserves. I cannot but think this an unwise plan. I do not however exactly know upon what views it has been adopted, and I should feel myself obliged to you to inform me ; as Cockburn has mentioned to me that he believes it to proceed from recommendation of yours in which the late Duke of Richmond concurred.

……In the wish to encourage these new settlements I gave 200 Pounds at Richmond to open the great line of road to Beckwith store, 200 Pounds at Perth to open also towards Beckwith, and 200 Pounds to clear it into the Lanark township from Perth, twelve miles if it being already fit for wagons in that direction. Next season I will repeat this, provided your Legislature shall vote us some efficient aid to that main line from Richmond landing place, at the falls of the Ottawa Chaudiere, to Kingston.”

A Case of Law Enforcement

The beginning of the local administration of justice in the district is shown in one of its settings by the following petition on the conviction of Patrick Nowlan, Beckwith innkeeper, at the future Franktown, addressed by the alleged offender to Sir Peregrine Maitland and dated Beckwith, October 16, 1820:

“Your petitioner, having been recommended by Colonel Burge to his late Excellency the Duke of Richmond, drew land agreeably thereto in the Township of Beckwith, and by his Excellency’s wishes took out a Tavern Licence for the accomodation of the public.

On his Excellency the Earl of Dalhousie’s way with Colonel Cockburn from Richmond to Perth his Excellency called at Petitioner’s place and stopped one day, and was well pleased with his accommodation.

Your petitioner’s neighbour Thomas Wickham, being a Tavern Keeper, through spite and malice watched his opportunity and seeing some people go to the King’s Store to draw some articles and they were getting some Liquor not agreeably to the Licence of Petitioner, he made Information that your Petitioner was selling Liquor as a Store Keeper and not as a Tavern Keeper. Consequently Petitioner has been fined twenty pounds, with costs.

A copy of George Brooks affidavit sworn at Perth on 23rd September 1820 states : George Brooks do swear he went on or about the 10th of September last for a grinding stone to Patrick Nowlan, Tavern Keeper being in charge of the King’s Store. He called for some spirits, when he got a half pint and drank in said house, and the said Patrick Nowlan filled a small jug of spirits and gave i to me in a small vessel for the nourishment of the men that was to carry the stone with me home, also which spirits he never charged me for. (signed) George Brooks.

John Rice, being sworn at Perth 23rd September 1820 states that the said John Rice and Thomas Barracklough, the postboy, being on their way from Richmond to Perth with the Post, called in at Patrick Nowlan’s Tavern, called for a quart of spirits, set down and rested ourselves, drank what we wished, and put the remainder in a Bottle for their Nourishment on the road to Perth.

Petitioner humbly solicits your Excellency may be humanely pleased to take his case into your favorable consideration and have the fine mitigated. Petitioner, having a numerous family to support, feels himself very much distressed to pay the fine as petitioner has layed out a great deal of money to accomodate the Public, as it is fifteen miles from any accommodation on any side of him. (signed) Patt Nowlan. P.S. Petitioner now has a Store Licence, also his Tavern Licence specifies to be consumed in his house.”

Accompanying official correspondence indicated that, following policy of the Inspector General, prosecutions had not been taken in the past under similar circumstances in neighbouring jurisdictions, and that, on being so advised, convicting magistrate Thom, Powell and MacMillen suspended an execution on the effects of the Beckwith innkeeper.