The McDiarmid Brothers of Carleton Place and World War I

McDiarmid Brothers

We are so honoured and proud to share with you this local documentary prepared in 2007 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge produced by our summer student, Emma Kinsman. The video was presented and placed at the Perth Regional Historica Fair in 2007.

The video centers on the McDiarmid brothers of Carleton Place. Four of the six McDiarmid brothers enlisted in the First World War with only 1 returning home. Harold and Victor McDiarmid were killed at Vimy Ridge, and Arthur, who returned home to die after being exposed to poisonous gas.

Following the war, Mary McDiarmid and her only surviving veteran son, Leo, unveiled the Cenotaph in Carleton Place which was created to honour the town’s fallen sons.

Please watch Emma’s video at the site below:

 

 

 

Victoria School Was First Town Hall in 1872, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 11 Aug, 1960

The Carleton Place scene of the Eighteen Seventies is reviewed in the present section of a continued account. 

The larger industrial plants opened here in the Eighteen Seventies were the McArthur and Hawthorne Woollen Mills and the Gillies Machine Works.  Others included a lime kiln, which still remains in operation, and two planning mills.  As a village of 1,200 persons the municipality of Carleton Place was first incorporated in 1870.  A town hall was built and was converted within a few years to help meet the public school needs of an enlarged population.  A new high school remained unused during several years of municipal dispute.  A great fire destroyed a lumber yard stock valued at over $125,000.  A lengthy business depression placed severe limits on the country’s prosperity.  Western migration of the district’s sons continued, and began to reach the new province of Manitoba.

Building Boom

1870 – Carleton Place was first incorporated as a separate municipality by a county bylaw effective in November 1870.  Its future growth was assured when at the same time the Canada Central Railway line was opened for use between Ottawa and Carleton Place, connecting here with the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company’s tracks which extended from Brockville to Arnprior and Sand Point.

Building of the first stone structure of the present Bates and Innes Woollen Mill was begun by Archibald McArthur and was completed a year later.  The central building was five stories in height.  Other building construction included the present Central Public School on Bridge Street, later enlarged ; the present Queen’s Hotel, also later enlarged, built for Duncan McIntosh of Perth, father of the late Dr. Duncan H. McIntosh of Carleton Place ; and about fifty residences.  The Carleton Place grist and oatmeal mills were taken over from William Bredin by Horace Brown (1829-1891), in partnership with W. C. Caldwell of Lanark, and were further equipped to manufacture wheat flour.

In the Fenian Raids of 1870 the Carleton Place Rifle Company, which had become No. 5 Company, 41st Regiment, served on duty at Cornwall under Captain John Brown of Carleton Place, and numbered fifty-three of all ranks.  It included the regimental band under Bandmaster J. C. Bonner, proprietor of a local music store.  Lieut J. Jones Bell (1845-1931) of the Carleton Place Company was serving at this time in the Red River Rebellion expedition.

Local Elections

1871 – Elected officials of this newly incorporated community were chosen in January 1871.  Those elected were Reeve Robert Crampton, general merchant, and Councillors Patrick Galvin, tailor ; John Graham, wagon maker ; Dr. William Wilson, surgeon ; and William Kelly, innkeeper.  School trustees elected were James Gillies, lumber manufacturer ; William Taylor, hardware merchant ; William Bredin, mill owner ; Patrick Struthers, general merchant and postmaster ; and Allan McDonald, woollen manufacturer.  Other officers were James Poole, clerk ; James Gillies, treasurer ; James McDiarmid, assessor ; William Patterson, tax collector ; Joseph McDiarmid, assessor ; William Patterson, tax collector ; Joseph Bond, constable and road commissioner ; William Morphy and Brice McNeely Jr., pound keepers ; and Finlay McEwen and John Brown, auditors.

Town Hall

1872 – The first Carleton Place Town Hall was built on Edmund Street and opened in 1872.  On the ground floor of the two storey stone building was the council chamber, a jail and caretaker’s living quarters.  The second storey served as a hall for public gatherings.

James Docherty built the Moffatt planing mill on the former Fuller foundry property at the south shore of the river.  In the McArthur cloth factory (now Bates & Innes) ten new looms were added.  Napoleon Lavallee removed his hotel business to his large new stone building at the corner of Lake Avenue and Bridge Streets.

John G. Haggart (1836-1913), Perth miller, was elected member of Parliament for South Lanark.  He continued to hold that seat for a record period of forty-one years and was a member of several conservative cabinets.

 

 

Lumbering

1873 – A lumber industry change in 1873 was the sale by John Gillies to Peter McLaren of control of the Carleton Place sawmill and Mississippi timber limits of the Gillies and McLaren firm.  The Gillies interests of Carleton Place bought sawmills at Braeside, together with some 250 square miles of timber limits at a price reported as $195,000.

Gambling

1874 – Members of the Carleton Place Council were John Graham, reeve, and William Taylor, John F. Cram, Dr. William Wilson and James Morphy.  Public billiard and pool tables were prohibited.  The next year’s Council permitted their operation under municipal licence.  A press report stated the Council of Carleton Place have passed a by-law prohibiting the keeping of billiard, bagatelle and pigeon-hole tables for public resort in that village, under a penalty of not less than $25.  The reasons for this stringent step as set forth in the preamble to the bylaw are contained in the following paragraph :  As gambling is a vice of a very aggravated nature, which encourages drunkenness, profane swearing and frequently causes the ruin of both body and soul of those addicted to it, and not infrequently murder, it should therefore be discountenanced and suppressed within the Corporation of Carleton Place.

The famous P. T. Barnum’s Circus was billed to appear here.  Claiming such attractions as the only giraffes and captive sea lions in America, Fiji cannibals, a talking machine and over a thousand men and horses, its announcement said :

P. T. Barnum’s Great Travelling World Fair, Museum, Menagerie, Caravan Circus and Colossal Exposition of all Nations will pitch its Mighty Metropolis of twenty Centre Pole Pavilions at Carleton Place on Wednesday, July 15 and at Perth on Thursday, July 16.

New Growth

1874 – A volunteer fire brigade, the Ocean Wave Fire Company, was organized at Carleton Place.  The municipality bought a hand operated pumper fire engine for $1,000 and a $200 hose reel cart.  Members of the committee appointed by Council to organize the brigade were William Patterson, William Kelly, A. H. Tait, James Shilson and Abner Nichols.  The new brigade’s initiation to fire fighting was the McLachlan lumber mills fire at Arnprior.

In the first stages of a five year business depression two new industries were started here.  They came with the building of the three storey stone structure of the Gillies Machine Works on the north side of the river at the lower falls, and the opening of the four storey stone woollen factory of Abraham Code, M.P.P., later known as the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.  Mr. Code was a member of the Ontario Legislature for South Lanark from 1869 to 1879.

Famous Struggle

1875 – A ten year losing battle was begun by Peter McLaren (1831-1919), owner of the largest lumber mill at Carleton Place, for monopoly controls over the navigation of logs on the Mississippi River.  It was fought between the government of Ontario and the Dominion, by physical force between opposing gangs of men on the river, and in the courts of Canada and England.

In the opening rounds of 1875, men of the Stewart and Buck firm brought their drive down the river to the Ottawa after cutting a passage through a McLaren boom at the Ragged Chute in Palmerston, and a twenty foot gap through a closed McLaren dam at High Falls in North Sherbrooke.  Boyd Caldwell & Son, which later carried this famous struggle for public navigation rights to a successful conclusion, was then employing seventy-five men on a ten hour day at its Carleton Place mill managed by William Caldwell.

Our Volume One

1876 – This newspaper was founded in January 1876, under the sponsorship of William Bredin of Carleton Place, with William W. Cliff of Napanee as editor and publisher.  There were 1,800 persons living in Carleton Place.

When adverse winds delayed timber drives for several days in the lower Mississippi, some 24,000 sticks of square timber lay in the river between Appleton and Almonte at the end of June.  Owners were the Caldwell, McLaren, Mackie, Campbell and Buck & Stewart firms. 

A Saturday vacation starting date for the province’s public schools was advanced from July 15 to July 7.  The Minister of Education addressed a meeting of the county’s school teachers here.  Carleton Place had five public and two high school teachers.

 

Local Taxes

1877 – The McArthur woollen mill, equipped to operate by waterpower of the lower falls, was leased and reopened by William H. Wylie when the country’s business depression became less severe.

The six largest assessments for local taxes were those of the railway company, Peter McLaren, lumber manufactuer ; Archibald McArthur, woollen mill owner ; Boyd Caldwell, lumber manufacturer ; Abraham Code, M.P.P., woollen manufacturer ; and Horace Brown, grain miller.  A tax exemption for the machine works of Gillies, Beyer & Company continued in effect.  The tax rate was 14 ½ mills.

O’Brien’s Circus visited Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls, with its transportation provided by horses and two hundred mules.  Barnum’s Circus showed at Brockville and Ottawa.

High School

1878 – A separate High School of stone construction was built on High Street.  During the course of bitter and widespread disputes and litigation, based on a division of business and real estate interests between the north and south halves of the town, the new school, though much needed remained unused for nearly five years. 

A local option temperance statute of 1864 was brought into force in this area and retained for one year, prohibiting all sales of liquor in quantities of less than five gallons.

Alexander M. Gillies and Peter Peden, aged 21 and 24, were drowned in September while duck hunting at night near Black Point in the lower Mississippi Lake.

Great Fire

1879 – In continuance of prolonged controversy over the sites of the High School and Town Hall, the Town Hall on Edmund Street was converted in part into a public school, a step which brought a brief stage of physical violence followed by allegations of riot, assault and libel and a number of related court actions.

A planing mill was opened by Abner Nichols (1835-1905) on the riverside at Rosamond Street adjoining the Gillies Machine Works.  A lime kiln which continues in operation was built by Napoleon Lavallee, hotelkeeper, on his farm at the present site of Napoleon Street.  William Cameron acquired the business ten years later and operated it for many years.  With two local woollen mills remaining in operation, the closed Hawthorne Woollen Mill was offered for sale by Abraham Code.

A great fire destroyed over thirteen million feet of sawn lumber in the northern part of the Peter McLaren piling yards, together with a section of ties and rails of the Canada Central Railway.  The yards extended about three quarters of a mile along the railway line.  The lumber firm’s loss was recovered from $50,000 in insurance and $100,000 in damages paid when court decisions holding the railway company responsible were upheld five years later in England.  Fire engines and men came to Carleton Place from Almonte, Arnprior, Brockville, Smiths Falls and Ottawa, and hundreds of local helpers aided in saving lumber and checking the spread of the conflagration.

 

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Writer Tells How Mississippi Lake Shores, Bays Named, by Howard Morton Brown, The Carleton Place Canadian, August 13, 1939 & March 29, 1956

Some few years ago, The Canadian was privileged to publish a story by Howard M. Brown on how the various bays and islands on the chain of Mississippi lakes obtained their names.  The story was published in early spring, so we will repeat it for the benefit of many summer residents along the shores

It happens to be exactly 140 years ago since some of the province’s Indians of the nineteenth century were in sole possession of Lanark County, and all of Eastern Ontario, above a line a few miles north of the Rideau Lake and River.  In the rest of Ontario the white settlements were still further south.  That actually is no longer ago than the time of the grandparents of the last generation ahead of our senior generation of today.  Another thirty-five year before that time the whole of Ottawa except around a few military forts or fur trading posts was in the hands of the Indians.

One of the reasons for the settlement of this new section in Lanark County was to help relieve a post war depression in the British Isles.  The area was opened with a partial survey and first settlement of the three neighboring townships of Bathurst, Drummond and Beckwith in 1816.  Within less than ten years practically the supposedly tillable land in Lanark County and the north half of Carleton County except government reserves, had been occupied by settlers, including more than a few who had been encouraged to clear land which proved worthless for cultivation.  In the first year only about sixteen settlers got established as far north as the Mississippi or into any part of Beckwith Township.  When we get to the east shore of the Big Lake, and near Tennyson, I will mention a few of them,

The Indians dispossessed here were Mississaugas who were a subtribe of the large nation of Ojibways.  They had moved in from farther northwest after the Iroquois raids ended.  They were a tribe which made an unusually wide use of wild plants for food, harvesting and storing large quantities of wild rice for the winter. They knew how to make maple sugar and to prepare dried berries and fruits for winter use.  As hunters and fishermen they moved their camps about, by canoe in summer and by snowshoe and toboggan in winter.  Their main efforts in this area were directed to moose in the winter, beaver small game and fish including suckers, pickerel and pike, in the spring and summer, while after the fall rice harvest they speared the larger fish spawning along the shores of some of the lakes, lake trout, whitefish and sturgeon.  The Indian rights to this district were surrendered in a treaty made with the Mississaugas in 1819 at Kingston.

As the Indians were crowded out from the land on the north side of the Mississippi in the 1820’s, they gradually retreated northward and westward.  Their Mississauga descendants are on reserved lands in the Kawartha Lakes area now.  A few chose to stay near the new settlements in Lanark County, in areas not suitable for farming.  In the 1890’s those still living at points near Carleton Place included groups at McIIquham’s Bridge and at the Floating Bridge.  Big Joe Mitchell and Joe Baye were among the better known of the last local Indians.

John Cram left us the first settlers’ story of the Indians and the river here.

He was one of the nearest settlers to the river in this immediate vicinity.  He came with the emigration in 1818 of about 300 persons from Perthshire to Beckwith Township, and his land included the site of the United Cemeteries.  He left a story of finding the river by hearing the sound of a waterfall on a still day when he and a neighbor were clearing land together.  They agreed on an exploring expedition.  The next day, going along old Indian trails and new surveyors’ line they followed the sound until they reached the head of the falls, first viewing it from the present site of the Carleton Place Town Hall.  On arriving according to his story as last told by him over 75 years ago, they saw a tall Indian woman leave the shore and plunge across in the shallow water to the north side, where there was an Indian camp.  At that time and until the first dams were built, a long rapids extended above the falls here.  At the place between the present Ritchie mill and the powerhouse there still was a rocky tree-covered island less than a hundred years ago, as well as a falls.

The next year the Indian campground became part of the farmland grants of Edmond Morphy and his family, newly arrived from Littleton in Tipperary.  Four members of the family drew two township lots that became the centre of the town, from Lake Park Avenue to the township line.  At the same time (which was September 1819), William Moore and his sons William and John obtained 300 acres extending from the present Lake Avenue to the 11th line road, including the greater part of the present town area south of Lake Avenue.  The village had its start with the building of Hugh Boulton’s grist mill in 1820. Its future as a town was assured when the railway arrived some 40 years later in 1859.  The bigger sawmills began in the 1860’s.  Municipal incorporation as a village separate from Beckwith township, came in 1870 (village population 1,226) and new industries and a railway line to Ottawa.  The railway shops and further growth followed in the 80’s and 90’s with incorporation as a town of over 4,000 in 1890.  Then came the further expansion of the foundry and the textile mills, from the early 1900’s.

Passing over the story of the beginnings of the town and heading up the river, Manny’s Pier, the only restored pier of the lumbering days, is one of the first landmarks for our purpose.  It’s name has a settlers’ story to it.  The land along the north shore, from the Morphy’s to the mouth of the river, and running back to the town line road, was taken up in 1820 by six settlers.  One was David Moffatt, ancestor of the Moffatt’s of Carleton Place.  The next land east of the Moffatt’s was Manny Nowlan’s whose name we have in Manny’s Pier.

Manny Nowlan later owned the Morris Tavern where the long misrepresented Battle of the Ballygiblins of 1824 started.  This first inn of the new village was on Mill Street, next the river and immediately east of the present Public Utilities Commission Office.  At that time the north side of the river was still new farmland and forest.  There was no bridge and the river crossing was by boat.  The first few commercial buildings were on and around Mill Street. The first local road, which ran from the Road at Franktown and including the present Bridge Street, Carleton Place was authorized by the District Magistrate in 1823 and cleared in large part in 1824.  Through the last century this road then a township road retained its original name of the Mill Road.

On the east side of Manny Nowlan’s farm the land was occupied by two settlers who did not stay there long.  One was Thomas Burns.  They  were succeeded within about ten years as farmers on these two properties, by the second Peter Cram and John McRostie.  John McRostie’s original stone home, standing at the river bank at Flora Street on the east side what was his farm was built in about the 1830’s.

At the other end of the row of six farms was Nicholas Dixon whose name we have in Dixon’s Point at the mouth of the river.  Before passing Dixon’s Point we can look across to Indians Landing on the south shore.  Fred Hunter recalls that when he was a small boy, Indians still came there in the spring on their way down the Mississippi with their season’s furs loaded in their long canoes.

On the return trip they camped against Indians Landing, sometimes staying there for most of the summer.  Joe and Johnny Baye made their local headquarters there in the 1880’s and 90’s.  They sold boats including dugouts made of ash and basswood, and many of their axe handles and colored hampers and clothes baskets were sold in the stores of the town.  Joe Baye and his white wife also lived at the Floating Bridge on the Indian River in Ramsay.  He died in the Almonte hospital in 1928.

Below Indians Landing the land at the end of Lake Avenue was the 100 acre farm of George Willis, who came here in 1820 and was the great grandfather of Henry Willis.  His son, also named George, farmed there after him and raised a musically inclined family, including the third George who in his youth seems to have been the best known local musician of his time.  With his bagpipes and his fiddle he gave the Scots and Irish their favorite airs, according to the occasion from the Flowers of Edinburgh to the Reel of Tulloch, and from Rory O’More to the Boys of Kilkenny and Donnybrook Fair.  Around the time of the Fenian Raids he was a bandmaster of an early town band.

Above Indians Landing the farm running from the mouth of the river, to the eleventh line was the Fisher farm ; settled by Duncan Fisher in 1821, and the little point there was Fisher’s Point.  The farm was owned by Brice McNeely in later years and still remains with that family.

Crossing back to Dixon’s Point, Mr. Dixon was an Englishman who came in 1820 with a wife and seven children.  His farm where he lived for over forty years, and his stone house appear to have included part of what is now the Caldwell Lock End Ranch.  He had a potash works on the part facing the river, called Dixon’s Landing, opposite Indians Landing.  The trotting races held on the ice at Dixon’s Landing began as early as 1858.

The next stop in the Lower Lake is Nagle’s Shore now owned by the McDiarmid Estate.  Richard Nagle had lived his latter years at the present Caldwell Summer home until 1891.  His brother Patrick occupied the adjoining farm along the shore.  Nagle’s Shore was bought by William McDiarmid in 1900, including W. P. Nagle’s lakeshore residence.  This north shore, a regatta centre now and 75 years ago, came next to Lake Park for some years as the most popular place for this purpose.  One of a series of several annual regattas of the early 1880’s was held off Nagle’s Shore at a time when rowing races had caught the public fancy almost to the extent of football or World Series baseball now.  Ned Hanlen, famous world champion and world-travelled oarsman, brought the crowds to Carleton Place for two of these regattas, which drew competitors from such district rowing centres as Brockville, Prescott, and Ottawa.  Sponsered by the local Boating Club, these annual events wound up in the evening in the lower river with open air concerts, fireworks, and torchlight parades of decorated boats.  At one of them the added attraction, a balloon ascension, ended with a wind blowing the balloon into the river.

Along the northwest side from the Birch Point cottage shore to the upper corner of Kinch’s Bay the lake is in Ramsay Township.  The Hogsback Shore running from near the former Thackaberry farm towards McCreary’s Creek is of course named for the raised hogs back ridge along the water’s edge.  McCreary’s Creek, navigable for its first half mile takes its name from the well known McCreary family nearby where William McCreary settled in 1823.  His grandson, Hiram, was the local member of the Legislature in Premier Drury’s Farmer Government after the first World War.  The big bay itself with its wild rice and unusual deeper channels, is named for John Kinch, whose farm was between Mcreary’s and the upper side of the bay.  After his death in 1865 his son farmed there and the farm later became Bowland’s.

How Black Point got its name does not seem to be known.  It could well be that it was named Black Point from the early deaths by drowning here.  The first recorded drowning in the lake was that of a pioneer settler, John Code who was drowned near here in 1849.  The double drownings took place off this shore, Alex Gillies and Peter Peden in 1878, and Dick Willis and Noble Bennett in 1893.  All the drownings were from boats capsized in the rice.

Poole’s Point was called McCann’s Point for many years until the early 1900’s both names coming from the owners of the adjoining farmland.

Code’s Bay, the northwest side of the Second Lake, well filled with rice and sometimes with duck hunters, is another of the locations named for the first settlers as is Code’s Creek and Landing, John Code Sr., John Jr. and George Code, each drew farms with the Scotch Corners Settlement of about 12 farms in 1822.  George Code lived to 1890 and the age of 93.  Another long lived Scotch Corners resident was Wm. Henry Poole who died there at the age of 96 in 1928.  He was an enthusiastic hunter and trapper in his day as well as a farmer.

Coming into the third or Middle Lake King’s Bay, extending from above the Two Oaks cottage shore to the cottages of Squaw Point was named for Colin King of the 1822 Scotch Corners settlement.  The official names of the point at the Two Oaks Shore, and the island beside it commonly called Dinky Dooley, are King Point and King Island, according to the government map.

Aberdeen Island was bought and named in 1893 by Colin Sinclair, son of John Sinclair who came to Scotch Corners in 1822.  It was Colin Sinclair who started his Carleton Place tailoring business in the early 1850’s.  He also bought King Island.  The nickname Dinky Dooley was for Bell Saunders and Charlie Morphy who had a camp there.

The high and rocky Laurentian formation of much of the upper lake shores starts here.  (According to the geolist, this was a seashore in some distant age, as shown by the numerous fossils in the limestone on the other side of the lake.)

Squaw Point, one of the best known landmarks on the course, looks like a logical Indian campsite, with a lookout and a sheltered landing and we have it on the authority of Fred Hunter that that is what it was.  The depth of this part of the lake increases greatly and out of it near the middle rise the tops of the Two Crabs, the smallest islands in the lake.

Willis’ Landing is the next old northwest shore, headquarters.  The nearby island, separated from the mainland by a narrow, rock-sided channel was named Sinclair’s Island for the Sinclairs of Scotch Corners whose original farm was near here.  In the middle of the lake here is Green Island, which had that name before it was bought as a cottage site in 1915 by Mr. W. J. Hughes.