SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-THREE

Making Charcoal in Pits Once Town Attraction

Carleton Place Canadian, 28 February, 1963

By Howard Morton Brown

 

Some tales of Mississippi lumbering and timber driving and of life in Carleton Place at the height of its sawmill days will be recalled in this and following installments of the Canadians old time views.

Written by James Sidney Annable and published in the Ottawa Citizen about twenty-five years ago, they tell of shanty and river life and of boyhood pranks and adventures of the eighteen eighties.  Sid Annable, born in 1871, was a younger son of John Sidney Annable of Carleton Place.  He left Carleton Place in his youth, returning only as a visitor, but kept up his interest in the activities of this town until his death in 1959 in Toronto.

His story retold this week is of scenes around the charcoal pits operated in Carleton Place by Alex. Hunter.

Alexander Hunter, father of the late Fred Hunter, was a blacksmith and axe maker of great skill.  He came here from Lanark village at the age of 36 to do the smith work in connection with the Boyd Caldwell and Sons sawmill when it was being built in 1869.  For many years he carried on his trade on Mill street.  He died here by drowning in December 1910.

This is Sid Annable’s story:

“In 1881 and 1882 charcoal was made by Sandy Hunter, a blacksmith in Carleton Place, first for his own use in his blacksmith shop to shrink the wagon tires on the wood felloes of the large six foot wheels of the dump carts used by the Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren lumber firms.  His sons Alex and Lorenzo Hunter followed in their father’s footsteps and continued this enterprise from a commercial standpoint for some time.

Charcoal formerly was made in large quantities by cutting down trees and piling the logs in pyramids or moulds, covering them with earth and sod and restricting the draught of air so as to keep the logs from burning completely to ashes.  This required much labor and it was necessary to watch the pits night and day.  Just as soon as the earth and sod would dry out and the smoke and gas show forth through the moulds, the men would place boards with cleats on the pits so they could cover up the air holes with wet earth and green sod.

LENGTHY PROCESS

Alex Hunter contracted with the Caldwell firm to take all the sawmill refuse, slabs and ‘buttons’, and he disposed of them to the people in the village.  The heavy or thick slabs he piled up on the banks of the Mississippi until he had enough for their charcoal pits.  These pits were formed by cutting long elm saplings, eight inches at the butt, three inches at the top and eighteen feet long.  With these they built a frame in tent formation, leaving a door opening at earth end so the watchers could see if there was any daylight showing through them.

Inside this green framework they piled the slabs on their end and placed the ends called buttons against the standing slabs.  They continually placed the green wet pine and hemlock until the thickness of the pits would be form eight to twelve feet.  Those moulds, as I remember them, were one hundred feet long.

When the wood was all in formation, earth was piled over, about twelve inches thick, then grass sod was cut in squares and laid on top of the clay.  The ends of the pits would be in conformity with the sides.  This resembled the igloo the Eskimos live in around the Arctic Circle.  When the pits were completed the fire was started from many places, all from the undersides of the pits.  Great care was exercised in watching the fires so they would burn simultaneously.

BONFIRE ENTERTAINMENT

The village folk were on hand every night to watch.  Many potato roasts and roasted ears of corn were enjoyed by the young set, night after night, until the pits were ready to be drawn and the charcoal cooled off.  Old time dances with Dick Willis performing on the fiddle gave the young folk much merriment.

Old Paul Lavallee, the proprietor of the Mississippi Hotel, often amused himself with other old cronies – Pat Gavin, Tom Nagle, Jim Nolan, Tom Buckeye Lynch, Pat Tucker, Bill Patterson, Alex Wilson, and my dad – who listened to the Little Napoleon tell his stories while they watched the men climb up and down, plugging the air holes as the fire burst through the sod.

 

CHARCOAL SALES

Thousands of bushels of the shining black blocks and logs were ready to be sold.  Blacksmiths from the surrounding towns – Smiths Falls, Perth, Almonte and Ottawa – were on hand to purchase the salt bags holding two bushels each, which were sold for fifty cents each on the cash and carry basis.

Sandy Hunter, with a mustache like the handlebars of the bicycle of today, was in his usual good humor, taking in the cash as long as there were customers in sight.  The balance of the pit products was stored in the old barn where his son Alex Hunter had his livery stable, at the rear of the old Metcafe property (between Bridge and Water Streets).

His son Alex Hunter had a large livery stable in the village with many horses known by such names as Swayback Charlie, Black Rat-tail, and Old Buckskin.  He made the horses work night and day, drawing wood in the daytime and human freight at night.  He was the same tall, sandy-haired horseman who owned and drove Little Vic at the ice meets in Ottawa with Nellie Sharper.  Later he operated the former Metcalfe House, which he bought from Joe Wilson.  He owned a hotel in Ottawa afterwards, on George Street down on the market square, the Grand Central Hotel.

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SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-TWO

Obituary: Canadian penny, 1858-2013

From CBC News, 04 Feb 2013

“Penny, Canadian — Passed away peacefully on Feb. 4, 2013, when the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing the copper-coloured coin.

The penny’s demise had been anticipated since March 29, 2012, when federal Finance Minister James Flaherty announced in the budget that his government had decided to phase out the smallest denomination of Canada’s currency.

The Canadian penny traces its origins to 1858, when the then-province of Canada adopted the decimal system for its currency. Initially, it was struck at the Royal Mint in Great Britain. That penny had Queen Victoria on the obverse (or “heads”) side and a vine of maple leaves on the reverse (or “tails”) side.

Dominion of Canada coins were first issued in 1870, but the penny, then made from bronze, didn’t join the family until 1876.

Penny production moved to Canada in 1908, when the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint opened. Countess Grey, the wife of Canada’s governor general at the time, struck the first penny at the mint’s official opening on Jan. 2. Until 1997, the penny’s composition was at least 95.5 per cent copper.

From 1920 to 1936, the reverse side design featured two maple leaves, but that changed in 1937, when the current maple twig design was adopted. The design was the work of English artist George Edward Kruger Gray, whose initials, KG, appear to the lower right of the maple twig.

For Canada’s centennial year, 1967, the penny’s reverse design featured a rock dove. Since 1858, there have been five different designs used on the reverse side, including a period between 1911 and 1920 when the original vine design was augmented with the word “Canada.” The obverse side has always featured a likeness of the reigning monarch.

From 1982 until 1996, the shape of the penny was 12-sided rather than round.

In 1997, the penny’s composition changed to 98.4 per cent zinc, with the rest copper plating. Since 2000, its composition has been 94 per cent steel.

The year 2006 was a significant one for the Canadian penny, as it reached peak production. More than 1.26 billion pennies were minted that year. The last penny was minted in Winnipeg on May 4, 2012.

The cause of death for the penny was likely the drop in its purchasing power, as inflation took its toll. An 1870 penny would be worth about 31 cents today, adjusted for inflation. In its last year, one penny was costing the government 1.6 cents to produce. With the penny’s passing, the government expects to save $11 million a year.

The Canadian penny is pre-deceased by the Australian (1911-1964), New Zealand (1940-1989) and Irish (1928-2000) pennies. It is survived by the American penny (1793- ) and the British penny, its royal and ancient ancestor, which dates back to the seventh century.

The penny will be missed by the other members of the Canadian coinage system, which are now expected to be more in demand. It will also be mourned by the 28 per cent of Canadian adults who told the Angus Reid polling firm in January 2013 that they disagree with the government’s decision to take the penny out of circulation.

Canadians with pennies to spare are asked to call at banks and other financial institutions so that their pennies may be taken out of circulation and the metals recycled. But those who are not quite ready to bid farewell to the dearly departed coin can continue using them — although not all businesses may accept them.

That is up to individual businesses to decide, but the government recommends rounding the total bill to the nearest .05 or .10. The penny will retain its value indefinitely.

In lieu of flowers, donations of pennies may be made to Canadian charities.”

In Carleton Place, the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum has made it known that it would be happy to accept donations of pennies.

I’d love to hear what your stories are about the penny.  Just use the comment section below. 

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-ONE

Let it snow!

I wonder how the first immigrants to this area said that in Gaelic?  Gaelic was the language of choice when they arrived in 1816 and well into the mid-50’s, but by the mid-1880’s only a handful of people would be speaking Gaelic in this area. English became the language of choice.  Below is an article dealing with the origins of the Ottawa Valley Twang (which we call the Lanark County Twang), and the ethnic diversity of the Ottawa area, by Gavin Taylor from centretownnewsonline.ca.  Centretown News is produced in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which has been studying this in their linguistics department.

I wonder if anyone in the Carleton Place-Beckwith-Mississippi Mills area has any handwritten correspondence in Gaelic from the 1800’s?  Now that would be a memory to share!

History has sewn a colourful ethnic quilt

By Gavin Taylor from centretownnewsonline.ca

If you ever find yourself in a small Ottawa Valley town, don’t be surprised if you hear echoes of Ireland in the voices of old folks.

“Let’s give’er a go,” they might tell you in a brogue as thick as corn soup.

“Let’s go up the line by shank’s mare; I think this way is better n’r that one.”

The distinctive Ottawa Valley twang, with its twisted vowels and idiosyncratic expressions, is a reminder that the culture of the region was shaped by several waves of immigrants who settled in the valley during the 19th century.

More than half the people who lived in the Ottawa Valley in the mid-1800s were immigrants

By comparison, only 18 per cent of Canadians were born abroad in 2001 — the highest proportion of immigrants since the 1930s, but small potatoes compared with the massive immigration levels of 150 years ago.

Since the 1970s, researchers at Carleton University have been recording the varieties of English spoken in the valley.

The researchers have so far identified several old-world dialects rooted in Scottish, as well as traces of American English, German, Scots Gaelic, and a Polish dialect known as Kashubian.

But the most important source of valley speech is Ireland.

“In rural areas, there was a sea of Irish-influenced English, with little islands of other groups,” says Ian Pringle, a Carleton University linguistics professor who helped lead the project.

From the 1820s to the 1880s, English-speaking migrants to the valley were overwhelmingly Irish: in some townships, as much as 90 per cent of the residents traced their ancestry to Ireland.

The first census after Confederation showed that the Irish were the largest ethnic group in Ottawa, representing almost 39 per cent of the total population. By comparison, the proportion of Irish in cities such as Boston, New York and Montreal hovered around 25 per cent for most of the nineteenth century.

Bruce Elliott, a Carleton professor who heads the university’s Centre for the History of Migration, says that most English-speaking migrations to Ontario during this period came from the Celtic fringe of the British Isles.

“In some rural areas of the valley, English were as rare as hens’ teeth,” he says.Before 1815, most of the migrants to the valley were Scottish. By the 1820s, Irish families — typically “poor-to-middling farmers” who crossed the Atlantic in search of land — had become the largest immigrant group in the region.

There was also a steady migration of French-Canadians to the valley in the 19th century, chiefly from parishes west of Montreal. Elliott says French migrants typically worked in lumber camps in the winter and cultivated garden plots along the riverside during the summer.

Philemon Wright, the entrepreneur who oversaw the construction of the Rideau Canal in Hull, hired French-Canadian labourers instead of the Irish because he thought they were more “docile” workers, Elliot says.

French and Irish Catholics in Ottawa were clustered in Lowertown in the late 19th century — early Irish immigrants to the region were largely Protestant, but the number of Catholic migrants grew steadily over the course of the century.

A handful of smaller ethnic groups also settled in the city in the late nineteenth century, most of them finding a niche in Ottawa’s retail trades.

Several families from southern Italy found a home in the Preston Street area — then a suburb — and one Greek person in Ottawa was recorded in the 1871 census. A number of African-Canadians worked as street vendors at the turn of the century. Moses Bilsky, the first Jewish resident of Ottawa, arrived in 1857, and the first synagogue in the city was built in 1892.

Migration to the Ottawa region tended to be “ethnically and religiously biased” at this time, says John Taylor, a Carleton University history professor, who has written extensively about Ottawa history.

Immigrants tended to be clustered into ethnically and religiously homogeneous groups that were fleeing economic or political hardship in Europe. But in the early 20th century, Taylor says, the character of immigration began to change.

The lumber industry — the magnet that drew migrants to Ottawa in its early years — fell into a slow and steady decline after the First World War. At the same time, the public service expanded rapidly: the number of government workers in Ottawa grew from about 1,000 in 1900 to over 30,000 by the end of the Second World War.

The public service tended to attract educated professionals from other parts of Canada.

“They were professional people moving toward economic opportunity, not away from political hardship,” Taylor says.

One of the consequences of this migration was that the ethnic character of Ottawa became increasingly similar to the rest of the country — by the 1940s, Irish-Canadians represented less than one-sixth of the city’s population.

The “Valley twang” that inflected rural speech in nearby areas virtually disappeared in the city, as public service workers increasingly spoke a standard version of Canadian English.

While some government workers remained clustered in ethnically and religiously homogeneous neighbourhoods, high-ranking public servants tended to move to Sandy Hill regardless of their ethnic background, Taylor says.

The growth of the civil service has slowed since the 1970s, but the high-tech sector has continued to draw educated professionals to the city. Like civil servants, computer engineers are migrants who come to the city for economic reasons and who tend not to cluster in ethnic neighbourhoods.

But since the 1970s, Taylor says, a new wave of immigration has been patterned along ethnic lines.

As Canada’s immigration and refugee laws were liberalized, families fleeing ethnic or political strife came to Ottawa in increasing numbers. Thousands of Lebanese have migrated to Ottawa since 1975, when a bloody civil war began in their country. Since then, Vietnamese, Sri Lankans, Somalis, and other groups escaping persecution and war have made their homes in Ottawa.

The result, Taylor says, is that Ottawa is more ethnically diverse than ever before: English remains the most commonly spoken language in the city, but allophones outnumbered francophones in the 2001 census.

The history of these successive migrations—Irish migrants in search of lands, public servants in search of a career, and Asians and Africans in search of freedom—has made Ottawa a patchwork of distinctive neighbourhoods, some based on social class and others on ethnic identity.

“We really do have a community of communities here, more than in other places,” Taylor says.

Thanks to centretownnewsonline.ca

Centretown News is produced in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY

Clearing Bush First Task of Early Settlers

Carleton Place Canadian, 08 June, 1961

By Howard M. Brown

 

One of the many family sagas of emigration to Ramsay township was that of the McDonald family which, after investigating other locations, chose land in the tenth concession of Ramsay north of the falls of Almonte.  Long-lived members of this family included the father, John McDonald of the Isle of Mull, who came in 1821 with his wife, three sons and several daughters, and lived in Ramsay till he reached his hundredth year in 1857.  His son Neil at the age of 100 had the distinction of living in three centuries before his death in 1901 at his Ramsay homestead.

Emigration Adventures

 

Sailing from Oban in the Western Highlands in June 1821 on a ship bearing the later Canadian Pacific Steamships name The Duchess of Richmond, the McDonald family came up the St. Lawrence from Quebec to Montreal by steamship.  From Lachine they travelled by boat up the Ottawa to Point Fortune where they failed to find suitable land.  Going then by Durham boat to Prescott, their intention of reaching York was changed by a meeting with friends which led them to the five year old village of Perth and the new village of Lanark.  After examining and refusing to accept land still available in Lanark and Dalhousie townships, the McDonalds rented a farm site from Duncan McNaughton in Drummond township near Mississippi Lake.  In a winter’s work with primitive tools they cleared the trees from about twelve acres and, with hoes and sickles for the planting and harvest amongst the stumps, gained a first crop of corn and potatoes and a little wheat and oats.

Continuing down along the Mississippi in the next summer, two of the sons selected four hundred acres for the four male members of the family in the tenth and eleventh concessions of Ramsay several miles north of the Ramsay falls.  They cleared their first acre there, put in a crop of potatoes and built a shanty.  That winter Neil with his sister Flora remained at the cabin in Ramsay to cut down trees.  They had to carry hay for two miles on their backs for their cow.

Rugged Pioneer Days

 

At the Mississippi Lake farm in Drummond in the first fall, all of the family except the parents and one son had become ill with a fever.  About two years later two of the three sons, Donald and Lachlan, died of its effects.  Their bodies are reported to have been carried twenty-two miles from the farm in Drummond on the shoulders of friends for burial at the family farm in Ramsay.  The rest of the family moved there from Drummond in the following May, bringing three cows and two pigs.  Within another year a daughter had died in Ramsay and two daughters were married, Flora marrying Duncan McNaughton and remaining on the farm in Drummond.  John McDonald still had funds of almost £200 when he moved to Ramsay.  He bought a barrel of flour in June of 1824 at Boulton’s mill at Morphy’s Falls, which he and his remaining son Neil carried over a twelve mile return journey from Carleton Place to the farm.  Seeking to buy a yoke of oxen and some sheep, the son travelled with “Big Neil McKillop”, for fifteen days in December of 1822 going as far as Cornwall.  A flock of sheep was obtained in 1825 when the supply of clothing brought from Scotland was almost worn out.  Neil McDonald became a great hunter of the game which abounded in the district.

At the age of 34 Neil McDonald married Flora McLean of Ramsay.  Their children included Lachlan, who remained on the homestead and later lived in Almonte, and Mrs. James Cowan and Mrs. Alexander Bayne, both of Carleton Place, who reached the respective ages of 91 and 94.  Grandsons of the centenarian Neil McDonald included Neil McDonald, Carleton Place high school teacher from 1890 to 1913, the Rev. John A. McDonald and R. L. McDonald, Almonte public school principal.

A large section within the area of Ramsay township made rapid progress.  Only twenty years after the first Ramsay settler had cut the first tree on his land, and still in the days before there was a railway in the province, a visitor was able to report that the township was “well-settled, very prosperous, and can boast a goodly number of practical farmers, men of extensive reading and sound knowledge.  Its appearance plainly proves this by the number of schools and churches within its range which are erected and in progress of erection.  The great number of substantial stone houses erected and being put up speaks more favorably than words of its growing prosperity.”

Aided by its villages of Ramsayville, Bennie’s Corners, Snedden’s, Appletree Falls and Bellamy’s Mills and by Carleton Pace on its borders, with their stores, inns, tradesmen’s shops, sawmills and gristmills, Ramsay township had made an early start in sharing the growth of Canada.

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK NINETEEN

 

 “Beards” of Bygone Days

Recalled by M. J. Shields

Carleton Place Canadian, 29 December, 1960

By Howard M. Brown

 

Random recollections of Myles J. Shields of Ottawa as supplied to H.M.B.

“Extemporaneously I am sending you a few items on local affairs that I recall and hope will be readable:

Long ago twilight brought out Harry Tetlock to light the switch and semaphore lamps on the CPR yard tracks.  He was always smiling and walked fast.  Jim Moore with brown beard and big clock in leather case went out to watch the lumber yard.  Mr. Cram with white beard went to watch Gillies Woollen Mill.

In the day time Ned Carr, old tall and gaunt, was crossing guard at the foot of Bell street where the sawmill tracks crossed the CPR.  In his prime he was, according to my father, a famous axeman. 

George Tait had a market garden on Lake Avenue.  He did not believe in trimming fruit trees.  He said they had a hard enough time surviving in our climate.  This theory has since been upheld by many fruit growers.

Maurice Burke, a cooper, made barrels across the street from where the post office now stands.  His sister Julia taught school in the Public School for many years.  We often heard the youngsters rhyming c-a-t  CAT, r-a-t RAT, etc.  She was burned to death in a fire as was Levi Brian’s wife.

Sam McLaren with a red beard was captain on the steamer, Carleton, which plied the Mississippi lakes and river in those days.

Alvin Livingston had a long, almost white beard and was town constable in the 1870’s.

Patrick (Peter) Struthers, post master, and his assistant Finlay McEwen, had rather thin light coloured beards.  Peter had a farm on the 5th Line of Ramsay, operated by Jim Boyd.

William Goth, of Beckwith, from the breastbone up was entirely hidden in white whiskers, hair and eyebrows.  All one could see was a purple nose and two twinkling blue eyes.  He kept good horses and many a time passed the C.P.R. station, homeward bound, at a full gallop.  Mr. Goth had a sense of humour and my mother, nee Margaret Holland, who was telegrapher in the post office, situated at that time, in the building across Bell Street from the Arcade, recalled a remark he made to her one time.  It appears that Mr. Goth and David Findlay Sr. had a tussle in the post office and Mr. Findlay apparently got the worst of it.  When Messrs Struthers and McEwen remonstrated with Mr. Goth, he threatened the whole staff, at which my mother burst out laughing.  Mr. Goth turned and said to her; “Young lady, when I was young I used to laugh too, but, now that I am in an office of public trust I am above laughing.”  John Goth, a son, was principal in the Town Hall school and his daughter, Miss Goth, taught in first grade.

Mr. Aitken, from Appleton way, used to leave town in the same style as Mr. Goth, his horses on the gallop down William Street, but they arrived at a more sedate pace on entering the town.

Dr. Howard, who claimed to have been descended from one of the original 13 Barons of England, was a big man, soft spoken, and used to relate to me about his turkey hunting trips in the U.S.A.  He had a law suit with the Montreal Daily Star and lost.  The Star published a pamphlet about him and distributed it to the householders of Carleton Place.

Andrew and Robert Bell were descendents of the famous clergyman William Bell; Andrew lived near Taylor’s big house and Robert lived at the end of main street bridge, where Dr. McFarlanes old residence stands.  There is, or was, a stained window in St. James Anglican Church inscribed “To the Glory of God and the memory of Jane A. Bell”.

Peter Lake and his wife Susanna lived in the big stone house at the river at the end of the Town Line.  He also had a beard and was Choir Master in Zion Church.

Abe Morphy Sr. was tall and blackbearded, he lived in the white house at the Town Line and 8th line.  He was born in the yellow house that stood between the Gillies Mill flume canal and the C.P.R. subway.

Mr. Griegson, a stout husky type operated a farm on the 5th line of Ramsay.  He always carried his buggy whip while in town and walked about 4 or 5 feet ahead of his wife.  They would have a beer at Wilson’s hotel and then do their business.  Mr. Griegson worked on the railway that was built across the Isthmus of Panama to prepare for the building of the great canal.  I remember when he told my Grandfather Holland that he had worked there and what a surprise, because my grandfather had taken the first stationary steam engine down there.  They had a terrible time, heat, flies, filthy water, fever and the late arrival of the relief ship.  Every man in my grandfathers group of labourers died one after the other.  He buried the last man just before the relief ship arrived.  He said he paid a native two cents a day to follow him around swishing a bunch of palm leaves to chase flies and create a little breeze.

Mr. Hamilton, a painter, father of John R., a C.P.R. conductor was a veteran of the Crimean war as was my grand uncle who was a V.S. (Farrier Sgt. In army parlance); he was at the Charge of the Light Brigade, although not actually in the charge, took care of the horses.  I have a tin-type of him in full uniform taken about 1850 in Dublin.

William Street, as I recall it, had its list of tragedies, perhaps, more so than any other street.  A young Glover child was killed by being crushed under a lumber yard wagon; Billy Glover fatally injured sliding down the Spring Street hill; Bob Illingsworth shot in a bar room squabble; Miss Reynolds drowned; Mr. Summers had legs crushed in lumber yard; amputated twice but gangrene set in and he died.  Mr. Quackenbush was run over by a lorrie the first day he worked in the lumber yard; he said he always had a premonition that he should not take a job there; around the turn of the century Abe Morphy Jr. drowned; Neil McDonald died from an overdose of sedative (I believe); Harry Clark fell down cellar; Proctor Moore fell in a C.P.R. culvert.

And I could go on, and on, but enough is enough.”

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 SEVENTEEN

The Carleton Place Herald, January 8, 1879

Article by James Poole, owner & editor

 

Scientific Progress, Year 1878

The past year has been, in many respects, the most remarkable of modern times.  The historic tableau may be described in post Raphaelitic parlance as a “nocturne in black and gold,” charged with a brighter tint of hope and deeper gloom of utter darkness than the combined genius of Turner and Whistler ever painted, or the erratic pen of Ruskin ever characterized.  How many brilliant promises belied at the critical moment, how many confident anticipations swept away, by the remorseless logic of history.  Saluted at its birth by a volcanic roar of artillery from the passes of Etropole Balkans, where Muscovite and Muslem were ringing down the curtain upon the lurid drama of the “Indpendence and Integrity of the Ottoman Empire:, the year closes amid the deepest intricacies of the “Great Asian Mystery” now being enacted amid the everlasting snows of the Hindu-Kush, the pathless wastes of the “Roof of the World” and the shifting sands of the Kixil Kum (Kyzyl Kum).  The interpreters of prophetic visions still have

Ample room and verge enough

The characters of hell to trace

Upon their premillennial canvas, and they would do well to keep their lamps trimmed and burning, for the dawn of peace is not yet come.

But while the political annals of the year are writ large with battle, murder and sudden death, the scientific record stands written in letters of living light.  No future chance or change in human event can rob this passing year of the glory of being one of the greatest epoch-making crises in man’s knowledge of nature – a Promethean moment richly fraught with “the wonders that shall be,” the marvels of the present, the axioms of the coming hour.  In no other seas of human activity is it truer than in the deepest gulfs of physical speculation that “there is a tide in the affairs of men.”  Every really great discovery is reached almost simultaneously by isolated workers separated by thousands of miles.  These earnest searchers are like so many athletes swiftly speeding toward a common goal, which the most fortunate gains but a moment before the slowest of his competitors.

At the very outset of the past year the world of science was assembled on the judges’ stand, counting seconds in the race between Pictet and Cailletet for liquefying the last of the gases, and thus experimentally proving the unity of nature and the continuity between the solid, liquid and gaseous domains.  Cailletet had scored the first round by liquefying oxyen and carbonic oxide as early as December 2, 1877, but being then a candidate for election to a seat in the Academy of Science he magnamiously refrained from announcing his success and consigned the account of his discovery to a sealed packet, which was opened at the academic session of December 24.  Strange to relate, M. Raoul Pictet, of Geneva, announced by letter at that meeting the same result achieved by entirely different processes.  Scarcely had the wandering savans found time to announce to the public this double triumph when M. Cailletet, on the last day of the year, accomplished the liquefaction of hydrogen, nitrogen and atmospheric air, and, pressing closely upon him M. Pictet swept to the goal January 11, definitely establishing the sequence of the “constants of nature” by the solidification of hydrogen.  It was found to be a metal, thereby brilliantly justifying the conclusion first reached forty years ago by the veteran chemist, J. B. Dumas, who had the honor, as president of a leading scientific society, to receive the first telegraphic announcement from M. Pictet, and to make known to his associates at Paris this grand discovery on the very day it was made at Geneva.

Results such as these would suffice to make the year 1878 forever memorable in the annals of science, but only the first page had yet been written.  In the same month of December, 1877, when Cailletet and Pictet were winning their first laurels in Paris and Geneva, Thomas Alva Edison rode into New York one morning from Menlo Park with a queer brass cylinder under his arm, and astonished the ‘Scientific American’ with the brazen-faced assertion that “Mary had a little lamb.”  The phonograph had sprung, unheralded upon the world, and so incredible was the scientific fact thus revealed that several weeks elapsed before it was generally credited.  Although the full-fledged discovery of the phonograph pertains to 1877, the whole of its development, and world-wide renown belong to 1878 and it is assuredly not the least of its many titles to perpetual remembrance that “the Wizard of Menlo Park” then first assumed a recognized position as a factor to civilization.  Of Edison’s manifold other and curious inventions – the megaphone, the phonomotor, and the aerophone – we have no need now to speak, though in other times they would rank high among the curiosities of science.  But there are three other achievements of his genius which distinctly call for mention among the wonders of the year – the improved carbon telephone, the tasimeter, and the electric lamp.  Other workers have inscribed their names upon Fame’s eternal bead-roll with similar titles, and it would be unjust not to recognize the great merit of Professor Hughes in the discovery of the microphone, of Professor Graham Bell in perfecting his telephone, of Mr. Sterns in “duplexing” the Atlantic cable, of Professor Alfred M. Mayer in his illustrations of the atomic theory by floating magnets, of Sir J. D. Hooker and Paul Bert in their discoveries in vegetable chemistry, of Count Du Moncel in his ingenious development of the phonograph into a condensateur chantant, of Lewis Swift and Professor Watson in their discovery of intra-Mercurial planets, of Professor Wilde Newlands and others in their ingenious classifications of the elements by periodic laws, and of Loutin, Repiaff, Jablochkoff, Werdermann, Sawyer, Hommer and Gary in their important, but not yet fully realized, applications of electric forces.

The crowning discovery of the year, however, if the half that has been claimed should prove true; will belong neither to Pictet, Cailletet, Edison, Hughes, Watson nor Swift, but to the eminent English astronomer and spectroscopist, Mr. J. Norman Lockyer, who visited America in July last for the observation of the great solar eclipse.  His discovery is nothing less than that all the sixty-four so-called ‘elements’ are condensations or modifications by the interaction of the cosmic forces upon a single primitive matter, which, so far as this earth is concerned, seems to be hydrogen, but which, in the solar ? is found to be four times lighter than hydrogen.  Of course men are already speaking of this discovery as if it were synonymous with alchemy or the transmutation of metals.

In one sense they are right, but not in the most important meanings connected with those expressions.  It may be found possible to reduce gold and other precious metals and ? to their primitive calcium or hydrogen, but it may be positively stated that it will never be possible to make gold from hydrogen or calcium.  The reason is the same as in the parallel case of reducing fuel to ashes.  To destroy is easy; to reconstruct from the same or similar materials is impossible.  Above all, one of the factors in the formation of metals is unlimited duration of time for the play of the cosmic forces, and until the new alchemists can control that factor their efforts will be useless.  It is too early to predict the range of Mr. Lockyer’s discovery; but granting all the facts which he claims, he has but demonstrated experimentally an idea which is perfectly familiar to modern chemists.  It is highly probable that Mr. Lockyer’s conclusions are well founded and that they will revolutionize the formal teaching of chemistry, but they cannot change the facts as they have always existed.  Meanwile the scientific world is becoming impatient for the record of Mr. Lockyer’s experiments – not for his conclusions, for those they can draw as well as he.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK SIXTEEN

The Carleton Place Herald, December 25, 1878

Article by the editor, James Poole

This newspaper belonged to Robert Bell, Esq.

 

Christmas

 

Christmas Day again! And with it comes to all the welcome wish, “A Merry Christmas.”  And merry it will be, for with each succeeding year it grows more genial, and with every anniversary it reaches a wider range.  The cheer of Christmas covers every creed; the holiday breathes the all-embracing religion of humanity that hallows home and makes the fireside happy.  There is no heart so hard, no home so humble that does not feel something of the sweet and softening influence of the person.  The chimes ring now with a more silvery sound, and the cricket chirps more cheerily on the hearth.  The lively streets, the shop windows all aglow with gifts, the markets and stalls teeming with good cheer and green wreaths everywhere, have presaged the pleasures of the festival.  The brief bright holiday period beginning with Christmas, always seems not only to condense an immense amount of pleasure in the present but to invest a large fund of happiness for the future.  The whole world starts fresh again from a new standpoint.  The miseries and misfortunes of the past year seem smaller. Great griefs are lessened.  Braver feelings surmount surmount broken fortunes.  Youth expands with hope.  Age is young again with brought-back memories.

This is indeed, the season of green wreaths and greener memories, of ind words and kindlier deeds.  Centuries before the actual day which Christians of all creeds now celebrate, the prophet and the poet sang of the future when the twined box and pine should “beautify the sanctuary,” as is fulfilled, and will be in all coming time.  And he whom the day especially commemorates came as a little child, and so Christmas ever since comes for children.  But not alone for the little ones of our own households, or for our families or immediate friends, should the genial time teem with gifts, good words and hearty cheer – something of these should reach out now to the helpless and the homeless, the sick and suffering, the naked and needy children of our common father.  If we open our door, and churches and close our hearts we shall fail to hear and to heed the good words of the season.

No influence should be allowed to stand between us and the opportunity which Christmas affords of shaking off for a time our everyday selfishness, and for a brief space thinking and acting for others.  Our daily lives are quite sufficiently crowded with our individual interests to make us thankful to be forced out of ourselves and into a region of a broader human thought, feeling and activity.  Do not forget Christmas then; do now set aside its claims; do not think of it as merely the representative of a religious event or pious dogma.  To all it means the celebration of the festival of a sacrificial love, a lessening of the bonds of self, a cementing of the bonds that bind us to the larger family.

Let the plum-pudding and the roast turkey flourish, then, not because of themselves they are better now than at any other time, but because they represent the peace and good will, the hospitality and fraternity, which at this season should be cherished towards all men and women.  Fill the children’s stockings or decorate the beautiful Christmas tree with liberal hands, for Christmas may come to you no more, and you would not miss the golden opportunity afforded you for adding your mite to the sum of human happiness before the present has gone into the past to return no more.

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK FIFTEEN

Christmas ‘Snapshots’ From The Carleton Place Herald, 1878-1880

 

 LAKE FROZEN – 1878

Although late in the season, it is only about a week ago that Jack Frost succeeded in laying a coating of ice over the Mississippi Lake.  We have not heard of any teams attempting to cross on the ice yet.

 JUMPING ON SLEIGHS – 1878

We observe that the youth of this place, since the commencement of sleighing, are indulging in the dangerous practice of jumping on sleighs while going at a rapid pace.  We would offer a word of advice to them to cease this habit, before it becomes our unpleasant duty to chronicle the occurrence of a serious accident to some of them by it.

 CHRISTMAS DAY – 1880

Christmas Day was observed here by everyone, all the places of business were closed and service was held in St. James’ Church at 11 a.m.  A shooting match for turkeys, deer etc., was held in the afternoon, a good number participating, but very poor shooting was made.

 CHRISTMAS TREE – 1880

On Thursday evening last an entertainment was held in Zion Church under the auspices of the Sunday School Scholars.  The programme consisted solely of songs, after which – the many prizes which bedecked the Christmas Tree were distributed among the Sunday School children.

 FIREMAN’S BALL – 1880

On Wednesday evening last the members of the Ocean Wave Fire Co., held a grand ball in Newman’s Hall.  We believe a large number were present, who indulged in dancing to an unlimited extent.  An excellent supper was served at the Wilson House.

The following ads are all from the December 1880 edition of the Carleton Place Herald:

Christmas 1880-Book store ad

Christmas 1880-Book store ad

Golden Lion Store-1880 Ad

Golden Lion Store-1880 Ad

Xmas 1880-Ad-3

 

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK FOURTEEN

Carleton Place First County Town – Lights

By Howard M. Brown

Carleton Place Canadian, 21 May, 1959

 

County’s First Hundred Years (Part 2)

Montague township, where settlement on the Rideau River began in 1790, is the oldest township in Lanark County.

Ninety persons were living in Montague township in 1802, according to a local census.  Included were families of the name Arnold, Chester, Covell, Haskins, Hill, Hodgins, Jarvis, Merrick, McCrea, McIntyre, Nettleton, Nicholson, Stafford and Van Dusen.  The Arnolds were Henry and Richard, sons of General Benedict Arnold; and Hannah Arnold, the sister of the General.  John Arnold, born 1786, another of General Benedict Arnold’s sons, lived in Kitley township, Leeds County, where he is buried with members of his family in Leahy’s cemetery near Frankville.  The nine Merricks named were the family of William Merrick, whose building of mills on the Rideau River in Montague township in the 1790’s originated the village of Merrickville.

Government and Industry

 

First Canal Transportation – Rideau Canal, 1832; Tay Canal, 1834.

First Township Officers – Elected in the early eighteen-twenties.  An 1835 Act provided for officers including an assessor, a collector, a clerk and three commissioners with narrowly limited powers, together with overseers of highways and poundkeeprs, for each township of adequate population.

First Continuous Fall Fair  – Bathurst District Agricultural Society, formed at Carleton Place, January, 1840.

First Member of Parliament of United Canada – Malcolm Cameron (1808-1876), elected 1841, defeated Sheriff John A. H. Powell, became cabinet minister in several administrations, member of Legislative Council, Queen’s Printer, and member of Parliament after Confederation.  Re-established the County’s newspaper at Perth in 1834 under the name Bathurst Courier.

First Township Elections of District Councillors – January 1842, under an Act transferring regulatory duties from appointed magistrates of court of quarter sessions.  This District’s area was changed by withdrawal in March 1842, of Carleton County’s present townships of Goulbourn, Newpean, March, Fitzroy, Torbolton and Huntley, and in 1845 by the entry of Montague, N. Elmsley and N. Burgess townships.

First Power Looms for Weaving Cloth – Installed in James Rosamond’s woolen factory, Carleton Place, 1846.

First Municipal Government as County – Came in 1850 under Municipal Institutions Act of 1849 which abolished district councils and placed county and other forms of municipal government on an enduring basis.  First Warden of United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, 1850, was Robert Bell, M.P., Carleton Place.

First Incorporated Urban Community – Perth, as a town, September, 1850.

First Railway Transportation – The Brockville and Ottawa Railway, 1859, extending then from Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls to the Grand Trunk  Railway at Brockville.

First Royal Visit – By Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, in 1860.

First Separate Government as County – The two United Counties separated in 1866, Perth remaining as county seat of Lanark.  Warden, Daniel Galbraith of Ramsay township.

CONFEDERATION

 

First Members of Dominion Parliament – North Lanark; Hon. William McDougall (1822-1905), minister of public works, later active in transfer of much of Canada’s north and west from Hudson’s Bay Company. 

South Lanark:  Alexander Morris (1826-1889), son of Hon. William Morris of Perth, and later a cabinet minister, chief justice and lieutenant governor.

First Canadian Senators – Hon. Roderick Matheson and Hon. Henry Graham, Perth merchants; Hon. James Shaw, Smiths Falls merchant.

First Members of Ontario Legislature – North Lanark: Daniel Galbraith (1813-1879), later M.P. for North Lanark, 1872 to 1879.  South Lanark:  William McNairn Shaw (1823-1869), barrister, born Ramsay township.

First Railway to Ottawa – 1870, from Carleton Place.

 

USE OF INVENTIONS

 

First Community and Long Distance Telephones:

Bell Telephone Company, 1885, including Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place and Almonte.

First Electric Lights Installed:

In mills including Peter McLaren’s Carleton Place lumber mills in early 1880’s; first community lighting service, Carleton Place, September, 1885.

First Roller Process Flour Mill:  Carleton Place, February, 1886.

COUNTY CENTENNIAL YEAR

 

First Century of Settlement – 1890; hundredth anniversary of first settlement by a family of European racial origin in area of the present Lanark County, the first Ontario permanent settlement north and west of the Rideau River.