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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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.