Explain How Lanark County Townships Named (2), by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 16 Nov 1961

A series of brief sketches of the origins of the names of the townships of Lanark County is concluded in this second installment.  The names of the fourteen townships of this county perpetuate memories of days of hardship and heroism a century and a half ago.  They also honour notable persons who served then in peace and war in British North American Public Affairs.

Beginnings of North Lanark

Settlement in the north half of Lanark County was begun in 1820 by a large group emigration from southern Scotland and was continued by a similar and larger movement in 1821.  For the reception of these families and others the townships of Dalhousie, Lanark and Ramsay were surveyed and named in 1820 and North Sherbrooke  township also was made available.

Lanark on the Clyde

Lanark township, in which the village of Lanark was founded in 1820 as the chief centre and administrative base of the North Lanark settlements, thus gained its name before the County of Lanark was formed.  Most of the first North Lanark farm settlers came from the towns and countryside of Lanark County in the south of Scotland, including Glasgow, largest city of Scotland, and Lanark the county town of Lanarkshire.  The smaller communities which later were formed in the new township include Middleville, Hopetown and Brightside.

Sir George Ramsay The Earl of Dalhousie

The township of Ramsay, containing the town of Almonte and the villages of Appleton, Clayton and Blakeney, and the township of Dalhousie, location of communities including Watson’s Corners, McDonald’s Corners and Poland, both received names of the Governor in Chief of Canada of their time of settlement.  Sir George Ramsay (1770-1838), who became Baron Dalhousie and ninth Earl of the ancient Scottish earldom of Dalhousie, had been one of Wellington’s generals in the Napoleonic Wars.

He was Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1816 to 1819, Governor in Chief of Canada from 1820 to 1828 and Commander in Chief of India from 1829 to 1832.  He died at Dalhousie Castle near Edinburgh.

He visited the chief new settlements of Lanark County in 1820, and later became a patron for the opening of the Dalhousie Library in which some of his books still are preserved at Watson’s Corners.  During his term of office at Halifax he founded Dalhousie College.  At Quebec he established the Quebec Literary and Historical Society.  His son the Marquis and Tenth Earl of Dalhousie (1812-1860), a more distinguished administrator, was the last of several great governors general of India under the East India Company. 

Governor Sir John Coape Sherbrooke

South and North Sherbrooke townships, surveyed in about the year 1819, were named for General Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764-1830), whose name was given also to the city and county of Sherbrooke, Quebec.  After service for thirty-five years in the period of wars with France he was Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1811 to 1816.  In the War of 1812-14 he conducted the defence of that province with marked success.  He served as an able Governor in Chief of Canada for two years from 1816 to 1818, when he retired with failing health.  In North Sherbrooke the community of Elphin and the Mississipipi’s High Falls power generating site are located.  South Sherbrooke township, crossed by Canadian Pacific Railway lines and Provincial Highway No. 7, contains the village of Maberly and such summer resort localities as Silver Lake Park and Lake Davern.

The Northern Townships

The county’s northern townships of Pakenham, Darling and Lavant, the last in Lanark County to be surveyed for settlers, were named in or shortly before 1822 when their surveys, continued in the following year, were authorized.  The initial granting of farm land locations in these three townships was superintended by Bathurst District Land Board, of which Colonel James H. Powell of Perth was chairman, and was begun in 1823.

Lavant in Sussex and The Duke

Lavant township, situated in a terrain of hills and lakes in the northwest corner of the county and containing localities including Lavant , Clyde Forks and Flower Station, is one of a number of places in Canada named in honour of the Duke of Richmond.  He was Governor in Chief of Canada in 1818 and 1819.  The township received its name from the Lavant River and the village of Lavant, both near Goodwood House, the country seat in Sussex of the dukes of Richmond.

Charles Lennox, Fourth Duke of Richmond (1764-1819), had been a major general and a member of parliament.  After succeeding to the dukedom he served for six years as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  A ball given by him and his wife in Brussles almost on the eve of Waterloo gained lasting fame from being recalled in a poem by Lord Byron.  His dueling, noted in Senator Andrew Haydon’s  “Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst”, was marked by an affair of honour with a member of the royal family, the Duke of York.

The death of the Duke of Richmond, of hydrophobia some eight weeks after he had been bitten by a pet fox, occurred near Richmond on the Jock River, then known as the Goodwood River.  The duke and governor was on his return from an official visit to the Perth area, during which he had walked several miles in the course of an inspection of rural settlement on the Scotch Lint in Bathurst and Burgess and in Drummond and Elmsley townships.

Major General Darling

Darling township, in the hills to the east of Pakenham and north of Lanark township and containing localities including Tatlock, White and Marble Bluff, was named in 1822 for a military officer, Major General H. C. Darling.  He then was a colonel serving in a senior post at Quebec City as the military secretary to Canada’s governor general and commander in chief of the forces, the Earl of Dalhousie.

Sir Edward Pakenham and British valour

The township of Pakenham, centered on the village of Pakenham and including an area between White Lake and the Mississippi and Madawaska Rivers, was named for Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham (1778-1815), the British army commander of the Battle of New Orleans.  This heroic tragedy proved to be one of the greatest and most useless human slaughters ever to occur on United States soil.

Before news could arrive from Ghent of the signing two weeks earlier of the treaty ending the War of 1812-14, a British force including several thousands of veteran soldiers recently arrived from Europe under Sir Edward Pakenham attacked the prepared defence works of New Orleans held under Andrew Jackson, the later United States president.

Instead of the six hundred men who were sent to their deaths at the storied charge of Balaclava, six thousand men, reaching the swamps of the mouth of the Mississippi without mobile artillery and without even scaling ladders, were sent forward to the town.  When the brief and hopeless attempt was abandoned one out of every three soldiers of this large British force had fallen in the deadly fire which poured from behind the defenders’ barricades.  In this postscript to the war which assured Canada’s survival the brave commander had lost his life, as perhaps he would have wished, while riding on the front line to spur on the attack.

In the strange ways of false nationalistic propaganda the classic bravery of this British force was replaced by a picture of a craven retreat promoted in a “Hit Parade” song which was spread through this country from the United States a year or two ago and called “The Battle of New Orleans”.  This is the page of military valour in our country’s history, though hardly of tactical brilliance, which is commemorated in the name of the township and village of Pakenham.

Some of the stories wrapped in the names and histories of the quiet rural and village areas which form the townships of Lanark County may become better recognized in the county in the course of time.  Perhaps this will come when sufficient consideration is given merely to their more obvious uses for tourist trade promotion.  Their colourful legacy of names will remain in any event to offer to some members of present and future generations the inspiration of glimpses of great men, great deeds and great years in the times of the founding of our now vast and still struggling nation.

 

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Explain How Lanark County Townships Named, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 09 November, 1961

How did the townships of the County of Lanark get the names they bear?  And how far back in time must one go to reach the days when the native Indians heard the tall forests of these townships ring to the first axe blows of surveyors and British settlers?

When the townships of this area were grouped together long ago to form the present County of Lanark their names already were the same as today.  They had been given when they first were surveyed and opened for settlement in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  The origins of some, such as the Scottish names of Dalhousie and Lanark, remain well known.  The sources of others long have been forgotten locally and possibly are unknown to all of their present residents.

Investigation shows that nearly all of the fourteen townships of Lanark County were named in honour of greater or lesser British public and military figures of the time when this county was receiving its first large influx of settlers.  Among them are the names of some of the leading men of that day who were associated with Canadian and British North American public affairs.  Some wider local knowledge of the origins of these historic names seems worth preserving.  They are among the oldest existing place names in the county, with such exceptions as those of the Indian-named Mississippi and the French-named Rideau.  Together they form a permanent part of the record of the early inhabitation of this district by our forefathers.

Southern Townships First Settled

The townships of Montague, North Elmsley and North Burgess, on the northern borders of the waterways of the Rideau, are both the oldest and the newest townships of Lanark County.  They were the first named and surveyed and received the county’s first settlers, but until about 1845 they remained a part of the adjoining district to the south which became the united counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Admiral Montagu and the American Revolution

Montague, the southeastern corner extending east along the Rideau River from Smiths Falls to beyond Merrickville and north to within two miles of Franktown, is the oldest township in Lanark County in point of date of settlement, naming and time of survey.  Before it was named and surveyed in about the year 1797, the first farm land to be occupied north of the Rideau River was cleared and settled in 1790 by Roger Stevens and his family.

He had been an officer in one of the voluntarily enlisted corps of those American colonists who strove to preserve a British North America from revolution and who as migrating loyalists had shaped momentously the future of Canada. This Lanark County pioneer location became lot number one in Concession A of  Montague township, near the mouth of Rideau Creek.  Three years later Stevens had met his death by drowning and his Montague associate William Merrick had begun building the first mill in Lanark County at Merrickville.

The member of the prominent Montague family for whom the township was named appears to have been Admiral Sir George Montagu (1750-1829).  He had been a British naval captain in the American Revolutionary War.  At the outset of the war he had charge of blockading the ports of Marblehead and Salem.  He captured the Washington, the first war vessel sent to sea from the revolting colonies, and he covered the embarkation of the main British force removed from Boston to New York.  During the American Revolution and in earlier periods dating from 1748 his father John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), was first Lord of the Admiralty.

Chief Justice Elmsley

North Elmsley township was named for John Elmsley (1762-1805), Chief Justice of Upper Canada from 1796 to 1802, Speaker of this province’s Legislative Council in 1799 and Chief Justice of Lower Canada from 1802 until his early death.  His land ownership in Upper Canada was measured in thousands of acres, and he maintained residences at Quebec, York and Newark.  The home of one of his present descendants is in Lanark County at Appleton.

When the Canadian parliament buildings were destroyed in the Montreal riots of 1849 and Parliament began meeting for alternate periods of years at Toronto and Quebec, Elmsley Villa became the Toronto place of residence of the governor general Lord Elgin.  North Elmsley township extends south from Perth to Rideau Ferry and Smiths Falls to Rideau Ferry and Smiths Falls.  It contains the Tay Canal and is crossed by the highway running from Perth to Smiths Falls through Port Elmsley.

Bishop Burgess

North Burgess township borders the Rideau from North Elmsley west to the Narrows lock and bridge at the junction of the Big Rideau and Upper Rideau Lakes.  It extends north to the locally historic Scotch Line.  While sometimes said to have been named for a mythical Earl of Burgess, the township is recorded as having been given its name in honour of the Rev. Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury.  At Oxford University he had been a fellow student with Henry Addington (1757-1844), the late Viscount Sidmouth, English Prime Minister.  Allan’s Mills and Stanleyville are localities in North Burgess township.

North Elmsley and North Burgess townships were separated from their southern counterparts of the same names on the south side of the Rideau and were attached in 1845 to the jurisdiction which became the present Lanark County.  Before this division they were named in or about the year 1798 and were surveyed as townships at periods between 1800 and 1810.  Along their northern Scotch Line the first group of the county’s emigrants from Britain, natives of the south of Scotland, came to establish themselves as farmers in 1816.

Pioneers of 1816

Beckwith, Drummond and Bathurst townships, each named and initially surveyed in 1816, were the first townships of the county to be prepared for the opening of Lanark County for settlement by British emigrants and demobilized soldiers and sailors after the War of 1812-14 and the end of the long wars with France.  With South Sherbrooke they continued for nearly thirty years to form the southern extremity of the new district.  The fourth of the district’s new townships to be surveyed was Goulbourn, now part of Carleton County.

The Third Earl of Bathurst

Bathurst township, extending along the north side of the Scotch Line from Perth to Christie Lake and north to beyond Fallbrook was named for Henry Bathurst, Third Earl of Bathurst (1762-1834).  He was Secretary for War and the Colonies from 1812 to 1827, years which in Canada ran from the beginning of the War of 1812 to the start of the building of the Rideau Canal between Kingston and the site of Ottawa.  He had senior executive responsibility for the emigration and soldier settlement provisions which led to the founding of Lanark County.

The entire new district also was given his name.  It became later the counties of Lanark and Renfrew and a large part of the County of Carleton.  The earl of Bathurst entered the peerage as Baron Apsley and for several years was Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.  Other places in Canada bearing his name are the town of Bathurst in New Brunswick and the Arctic’s Bathurst Islands and Bathurst Inlet.

Canada’s Defender Sir Gordon Drummond

In Drummond township in 1816 Perth was established as the new district’s regional administrative centre.  Extending eastward on the upper Mississippi Lake to the location known as Tennyson, Drummond township contains the present smaller communities of Balderson, Ferguson’s Falls and Innisville.  Drummond is the only township in the county to be named for a native of Canada.  General Sir Gordon Drummond (1771-1854) was born in the city of Quebec.  In his British army career he served in the Netherlands, Egypt, Ireland, Canada and the West Indies before returning to Canada in 1813 to become second in command of the forces engaged in this county’s defence in the War of 1812-14.  His vigour and ability as a leader played a large part in turning the balance in British Canada’s second successful war of independence against the power of its southern neighbours.  After becoming the administrator of Upper Canada in 1813 he was wounded at the conclusive winning battle of Lundy’s Lane.  He was commander in chief and administrator of Lower and Upper Canada in 1815 and 1816 when the first large scale settlements of Lanark County were begun.  In Quebec his name was given to the city of Drummondville in the County of Drummond.

Sir Sidney Beckwith Directed Settlement

Beckwith township gained its first few settlers in 1816, when the township was named and partly surveyed.  It received its largest single group of early residents from Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands in 1818, and became the location of the town of Carleton Place on the Mississippi and the smaller communities of Prospect, Franktown and Black’s Corners.  The township was named for Major General Sir Sidney Beckwith (1772-1831).  Entering the army at the age of nineteen, Sir Sidney Beckwith served in India, under Sir John Moore in the Spanish Peninsula, and in North America in and after the War of 1812-14.  He became commander in chief at Bom in 1829 and died two years later in India.

As quartermaster general of the British forces in Canada when the first main settlements in this county and district were made, Sir Sidney Beckwith headed the branch of the army in Canada which from 1815 to 1823 issued supplies to the several thousands of emigrants who, together with groups of demobilized soldiers, began the conversion of this section of Ontario into an inhabited region.  Under the immediate direction of his military department from 1816 to 1822 the farm sites then being granted in the present County of Lanark and other nearby areas were assigned individually through local offices opened at Perth, Richmond and Lanark.