SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK TWENTY-FIVE

Life in Lumbermen’s Shanty on the Mississippi

Carleton Place Canadian, 14 March, 1963

By James Sidney Annable

 

(Contributed by H. Morton Brown)

Some scenes of the Ottawa Valley’s great square timber era have been preserved in a group of boyhood recollections of a native of Carleton Place, James Sidney Annable, continued here.

As a young boy Sid Annable left his home in Carleton Place to spend a winter in the early eighteen eighties as a cook’s helper at a Boyd Caldwell lumber camp in the forests of the upper Mississippi River district.  Over fifty years later he presented his version of his experiences, which follows here in a shortened form.  Allowance may need to be made in some respects for the long interval between the time of his youthful employment and his time in writing of it.

“I left home to go to the head waters of the Mississippi River as a cook’s flunkey in the shanty of Boyd Caldwell, Sr., pioneer lumberman with timber limits near Ompah.  We outfitted in Lanark village and travelled by wagons.  There were about thirty teams of horses.  The wagons were loaded with bob-sleighs and tools, along with provisions to feed seventy men that winter.  The foreman in charge, we shall call him Bob Price, was six feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds.

Wagons were loaded to capacity with flour, beans, black molasses, salt pork, sugar, tea etc.  The cook wagon was equipped with utensils and food already cooked to feed the crew of teamsters, axemen, roadmen, sawyers and river drivers.

At Lavant Station near Ompah our camp site was already staked out.  On our arrival at Snow Road the ice was on the inland lakes and creeks.  We arrived with a number of men sick with colds and sore feet.  Many of them had to cut brush roads.  At last the wagons arrived.

Building the Bush Camp

We lived in tents while the shanty was being built out of hemlock logs.  Trees were felled and axemen notched the ends and locked them on the corners, boring an augur hole through each tier and driving dowel pins of ash and hickory to hold the corners intact.  When the walls of the shanty were up and the plates were hewn out, rough timbers were placed on top of them.  Rafters were made out of tamarack and spruce tapered from eight inches at the butt to four inches on the top.  The pitch of the roof was about thirty degrees.

The roof was made by hewing out the centre of eight inch split logs with an adze.  They were placed alternately, first concave and the next convex, allowing the edges to lie down snug in the concave side.  This made the roof watertight and almost air tight when completed.  Ventilation was provided at the eaves, and by the big open chimney which carried off the smoke.

Around the south end of the shanty, bunks were constructed three tiers high and five feet wide, each to hold two men.  The beds were made soft by cutting cedar boughs and filling the bunks with them.  Each man had to make his own bed, the blankets being furnished.  Pillows were ‘out’ until flour sacks were empty.  They were filled with straw and in time everyone had his pillow.

The cookery was a log box about six feet wide and eighteen feet long, filled two-thirds full of sand.  Tamarack wood in six foot lengths would burn and crackle at both ends of this fireplace.  A post was set in the centre with iron bands, with loops for the large iron pipe that supported the cooking utensils over the fire.  When we were boiling spuds, beans and ‘sow belly’, the beans when boiled soft were placed in a two foot cast iron kettle with a cover which projected out over its edge.  These were buried in the hot sand and ashes overnight.  They were ready to serve for breakfast piping hot, flavored with blackstrap molasses, and with plenty of salt pork browned to a golden hue.

The bread was baked in the same way, the huge loaves coming out of the Dutch oven with crust on all sides.  They were cut in wedges.  At meal time each man took his tin plate and tea basin and knife and fork, and stood in line until the cook or the cook’s devil would help him with his food.  After each meal each man took care of his dishes and utensils and put them on the rack ready for the next chow time.

Days Work Done

When the day’s work was done and supper over, the boys, seated on the long benches that ran in front of the bunks, would enjoy themselves by playing euchre, pitch or old sledge for tobacco or any of the goods that were in the company’s van.  The men could have all the supplies they wanted as their credit was o.k. until spring.  There was always music galore, flutes, fiddles, mouth organs and jews harps.  Old shanty songs prevailed.  The old timers took delight in hanging it onto the tenderfoot, but it did not take long for the first-timer to learn his way about.  Wrangling and fighting were taboo.

Washing was usually the Sunday pastime.  This day was my hardest task.  It was up to me to see that plenty of hot water was in the big cauldron kettles and that the soap, which the cook made, was not wasted.

Fresh meat was seldom served in those days but there was plenty of wild game to be had.  With no shooting allowed we used to snare rabbits, and trap deer.

Partridge were plentiful and many a brace would come to camp, killed by the boys on the trail.  Venison was packed in snow and on Sundays we usually would have a feast.

Spring Drive Starts

Now spring was coming and the square timber that had been hewn by the broadaxe men on the banks of the river was slid down on the skidways, greased with pork rind, into the water.  Each stick would be sixteen inches square and thirty to forty feet long.  They were floated alongside each other and held together with swifters and rope sometimes made of the inner bark of the ash or elm.  They were formed into cribs of twelve sticks each.  If the streams were narrow the cribs were made narrower so they would float and not break apart.  When the drive was ready the cribs were polled by hand down to the big waters or lakes.  Then they were fastened together to cross the lake.  In the centre the cookery was located, and tents for the river drivers.

Carleton Place Paddlers Create Enviable Records, by Howard M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 09 August, 1962

Some recollections of regattas and racing accomplishments of former generations of paddlers of the Carleton Place Canoe Club are concluded in this number.  A previous installment told of the starting of the town’s long flourishing club and of the first Canadian Canoe Association contests at Brockville and Carleton Place.  The publishing of these stories coincides with an appeal for support and cash donations needed to assist this institution in continuing its record of athletic and recreational service for large numbers of the younger residents of the town.

Club Regatta

The Carleton Place Canoe Club in 1905 held what was said to be its first regatta for local competitors only.  Paddling honors were shared were shared with those of motor boating and other water sports.  The paddling events in addition to the green and the open singles, tandems and fours, were boys tandem, ladies tandem and mixed tandem races and two war canoe races, one a straightaway half mile, the other a half mile with turn.  Added with the great novelty of a motorboat race were a tub race, a crab race, a hurry-scurry, a swimming race and a gunwale race.

In the war canoe events the crew in the old canoe under captain Ab Keyworth won the straightaway half mile, and the new crew under Captain Jack Welsh the quarter mile and return.  First and second in the open single blade race were Archie McPhee and Archie Knox.  The judges were Walter McIlquham, George H. Findlay, Mr. Daniel A. Muirhead and W. M. Dunham.  Other officials included timekeepers Andrew Neilson and William J. Muirhead, clerk of course John Bennett, starter Walter H. Dummert and referee Robert Patterson.

Motorboat Race of 1905

The gasoline-powered motorboat was coming into its own.  Durably built, as by the Carleton Place boat works, on rounded seaworthy lines, later superseded in popularity by an elongated torpedo style , the inboard motorboat started its reign in a generation before the outboard marine engine had helped to lay the foundations of the present North American boating boom.

The Herald’s description of the scene at the Town Park and the motorboat race included:

“The club house and the old mill were decorated with flags and bunting.  A temporary platform was arranged on one of the old piers for the judges, whilst the Town Band furnished music from one of the galleries of the sawmill.  The river was covered with boats of all descriptions from steamers and launches to canoes.

In the race for gasoline launches seven were entered.  There are some ten or twelve of these handsome boats on the river, nearly all built at the Gillies launch works of this town.  Competitors in the race were the Alice, 5 h.p. – J. H. Gardiner ; the Ariel, 4 h.p. – R. Patterson ; the Marjorie, 4 h.p. – F. McDiarmid ; the Iolanthe, 4 h.p. – A. H. Edwards ; the Rose, 5 h.p. – W. J. Hammond ; the Zephyr, 3 h.p. – Cram and Burgess ; the Wawanessa, 3.5 h.p. – McAllister Brothers.

Within seconds from the gun fire all were under way.  The Ariel, Marjoire and Alice very soon forged ahead.  Mr. Cram in the Zephyr undertook to cut off a corner in the river channel and became entangled in the weeds and was out of it before reaching the lake.  The turning buoy was placed beyond Rocky Point, some three miles up the lake, and the Ariel was the first to show her nose around the flag.  In rounding the sunken rock at Lookout Point a foul was claimed against the Alice but was later withdrawn as her pilot was a little inexperienced with the channel and the foul was unintentional.

The silk trophy flag, donated by James Gillies, Esq., goes to Mr. Gardiner.  The time taken for the round trip was forty minutes.  Robert Patterson’s Ariel came in second.  Third place went to Fred McDiarmid in the Marjorie.  Much enthusiasm was shown by the spectators.  Each boat as she crossed the line was greeted with hearty cheers and waving handkerchiefs, and much whistle blowing from the excursion steamers and horn blasts from the smaller boats.

Commodore Harry Hicken and the officers of the club are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts.”

Great War Canoe Crews

A cheering crowd, a civic reception and a torchlight procession welcomed the Carleton Place paddlers two years later on their return from Montreal.  Competing successfully against larger clubs in the annual Canadian Canoe Association meet, they had won first positions in three events including the coveted half mile war canoe championship.  Photographs of the memorable half mile finish of 1907 made by Carleton Place photographer W. J. Hammond remain in existence.

The members of the winning crew were Carl Lamb, stroke, William Knox, Howard Morphy, Archie McCaw, John Hockenhull, M. Ryan, Wilfred Hunter, Fred Milliken, Andrew Dunlop, Gilbert Gordon, Mark Lamb, T. Winthrop, Neil McGregor, Andrew Robertson, and Ab. Keyworth, captain.

Canadian war canoe championships were won again by Carleton Place in 1920 and 1938.  The town club officials were hosts for the 1920 national regatta, held on the Lake Park course.  In the Northern Division eliminations a strong Carleton Place club had won the senior events including both war canoe races and the senior fours, on the Ottawa New Edinburgh Canoe Club’s home waters, when seven crews had contended for the half mile war canoe win and six for the mile.

Without the annual weed cutting which has been carried on for many years through the Mississippi Lakes Association of Carleton Place, weedy areas on the course hampered paddlers despite the best efforts of Mr. Willis, who had sought to clear it by dragging with the steamboat the Commodore.  The attendance at Lake Park was said to be the largest ever assembled for a regatta here.  On hand to furnish musical entertainment between races was the Regimental Band from Perth.

Race starts were standing starts from a row of logging booms extended at Lookout Point, lower extremity of the Lake Park peninsula and downstream end of the half mile course.  The senior fours winners were the Carleton Place crew of Ernie Halpenny, Allan Call, Gib Gordon and Herb Bennett.  Ottawa New Edinburgh and Toronto Balmy Beach were tied to lead in aggregate regatta points.

The Carleton Place half mile war canoe win was at a time of 3:17  Lake weeds robbed the outstanding Carleton Place paddlers of an additional war canoe trophy when in the mile race after a late start at the Nagle shore they ran into a mass of weeds on the favoured inside course, still ending a close second to Toronto Parkdale’s time of 6:41.  The paddlers of the great Carleton Place crew of 1920 were E. Halpenny, P. Dunlop, R. Munshaw, D. Findlay, A. Ashfield, E. Bennett, W. Phillips, L. Hockenhull, A. Call, H. Bennett, R. Waugh, W. Bush, C. Carr, H. Sinclair, and G. Gordon, Captain.

Now for over sixty years succeeding generations of Carleton Place paddlers have pursued the historic sport which in this country originated with North America’s first native citizens and is one of Canada’s few thriving exclusively amateur sports of today.  The town’s canoe club – like the Lakes Association’s recently suspended maintenance of the Mississippi waterways which the club uses – is a distinctive community asset which appears to merit, in the interests of the town and its residents, a wide measure of public backing, recognition and support.

Story of First Steam Boats On The Mississippi, by Howard M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 31 May 1962

One of the newer features of the Carleton Place area is the growth of its Vacationland of the Mississippi during the past few years.

It is a growth recorded in increases in numbers of summer homes bordering the Mississippi Lakes, and in the larger numbers of summer visitors seen each year on the township roads to lakeside sections and on the streets and in the stores of Carleton Place.

The multiplying numbers of boats on the lakes and the river tell the same story.  There now are probably larger numbers of motor-propelled craft afloat here in an average summer day than could be seen in the course of a year a generation ago.  Between this recent change in the face of the lakes and the countless years of the birch bark canoes of the Indians, there lies a time of little more than a hundred and twenty five years during which these local waterways have been used for transportation, for supplying food and water and water power, and for recreation.

The record of this intervening time since the beginning of agricultural settlement and commerce shows that the use of steam powered engines on these waters began with the development of the region’s lumbering industries.  It may be surprising to recall that the days of the steamboat lasted as long on our Mississippi as has the period of boats with gasoline engines.  Throughout the same times sailboats, canoes and rowing skiffs have been used in varying numbers and types.  Other water craft of such contrasting kinds as commercial barges and rowing shells for racing are now locally things of the past, as are the odd sailing catamarans at one time in limited vogue.

Steamboats of Romantic Names

Steamboats of romantic names and impressive size, most of them locally built, operated between Carleton Place and Innisville from the eighteen sixties to the nineteen twenties.  While serving mainly for industrial towing and incidentally for pleasure excursions, several of the larger ones were designed for paying their way by the carrying of passengers and goods.  That aim was attained only briefly, if at all, even in a time when summer roads remained bad and automobiles and trucks did not exist.

The first steamboat on the Canadian Mississippi was launched in the year of national confederation.  It was built here by John Craigie, who had opened a riverside shingle mill producing for the United States market with machinery of his own invention.  His boat, like the last steamer to be built and used here, was given the name of the river.  An announcement of August, 1867, said, “The little steamer Mississippi is now making regular trips between Carleton Place and Innisville, carrying freight and passengers.  Excursion parties desirous of seeing the lakes, or fishing, shooting ducks, gathering berries, etcetera, can have the use of the boat at reasonable charges.”

A larger steamboat was wanted for the ambitious plans of the Mississippi Navigation Company, incorporated two years later with an authorized capitalization of $100,000 to build locks at Innisville and Fergusons Falls and transport commodities expected to include sawn lumber and iron ore for rail shipment at Carleton Place.  Headed by James H. Dixon of Peterborough, the company’s local directors included Abraham Code, M.P.P., then of Innisville, John Craigie, Robert Bell and Robert Crampton.  The new steamer, the Enterprise, built here by John Craigie for the short lived navigation company, was launched in October, 1869.  James Poole, secretary treasurer of the company, said in May, 1870, in his Carleton Place Herald:

“The steamer Enterprise has now made several successful trips between Carleton Place and Ennisville.  We have not had time or opportunity, owing to the demolition of our old building and the erection of new premises, to avail ourselves of the pleasure.  We notice also several packages of freight leaving the steamer.  We believe that our spirited member, Mr. Code, is sending his manufactured cloth to Montreal by steamer via Carleton Place.  Soon also picnics and other social gatherings will be the order of the day.  When the locks at Ennisville and Fergusons Falls are built the property of our beautiful village will be a fixed fact.” 

The navigation scheme collapsed and in the spring of 1872 the Enterprise, in a neglected state of repair, was sold by auction.  The Enterprise operated on the lakes and river in the service of the lumber industry under the ownership of Peter McLaren and the Canada Lumber Company for about twenty-five years.  It was made available throughout those growing years of the town as an excursion steamer for many summer and social activities.

Other towing and excursion steamers were added on the lakes in the eighteen seventies and eighties.  Among them were the Witch Of The Wave, The Morning Star, the 43 foot Ripple, and the 30 foot Mayflower.  In the eighteen nineties there were added the Commodore, which was to see many years of service, the big 80 foot shallow draft paddle wheeler the Carleton, and the Lake Park hotel’s 40 foot Lillian B.  Smaller private steamboats included the Nellie, the Four Macs, the Lizzie, the Reta and the Carmelita.  After 1900, with several of the oldest steamboats no longer in use, the Nichols’ 26 foot tug, the Belle, was launched in 1903 and Mr. S. Cooke’s larger Mississippi in 1905.  The hulls and engines of both were built in Carleton Place by the John Gillies Estate Company, as were those of the lake’s largest steamboat, the Carleton.

Carleton Place Boat Builders

The leading Carleton Place builders of skiffs and other small boats of superior quality, starting in the eighteen seventies and continuing his individual craftsmanship for fifty years, was Adam Dunlop.  The John Gillies Boat Works, which began operating here in the eighteen eighties as a branch of the Gillies machine and engine manufacturing plant, produced boat engines and marine craft for national distribution for about twenty-five years.  The company’s master boat builder, J. S. Ferguson, before coming here already had taken exhibition prizes awarded at Quebec City and London, England, for boats of such variety as a thirty foot racing shell weighing only thirty four pounds and a Gaspe fishing boat.

For the Gillies firm Mr. J. S. Ferguson directed the making of vessels ranging from paddle wheeled steamboats to standard types of gasoline launches, and large and luxurious cabin boats finished in fine woods for shipment to such places as the St. Lawrence’s Thousand Islands, Montreal and western Canada.  At the time of the company’s plant fire of 1906 it had some twenty or more employees.  When this Gillies business was closed after the death of James Gillies, Frank Walton, former Gillies boat builder for many years, continued to build hulls for gasoline launches and other boats at Carleton Place.

MANY RAMSAY FAMILIES TOOK MISSISSIPPI ROUTE, By Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 04 May, 1961

A pioneer navigation of the Ottawa Valley’s Mississippi River was an expedition by a group of Scottish emigrants one hundred and forty years ago. In the traditions of some district families the Mississippi adventure of long ago seems to have been elevated to first place over the transatlantic sailing from Greenock as being the Mayflower voyage of the settlement of the township of Ramsay. That there were capable and daring river navigators among the settlers of Ramsay township in its first year is suggested by an October 1822 report of Colonel William Marshall, the North Lanark settlement superintendent, on a trip of exploration of the Mississippi River made then by him from the Clyde to the Ottawa. Listing the main falls and rapids encountered in Drummond, Beckwith and Ramsay townships and in the new surveys from there to the Ottawa River, he wrote, at a time when the building of the Rideau Canal was proposed and its route unsettled: “Notwithstanding these difficulties, a boat twenty-four feet long built by the settlers at Shepherds falls in Ramsay went from that place to Lachine in five days and returned in seven. The people in that quarter are in high spirits at the idea of the navigation passing that way to Montreal.”

Mississippi River Route

The first bold venture of Scottish settlers of Ramsay upon little-known local waterways was made in 1821 down the Clyde and Mississippi rivers from Lanark village to the falls at the site of Almonte. The boats, made of boards sawn at Lanark, proved fit to survive the rocks of the numerous rapids and the difficult portages of the excursion. The water borne explorers appear to have included Walter Black, James and Thomas Craig, John Downie, James Hart, Arthur Lang, John Lockhart, William Moir, John Neilson, William Paul, John Smith, John Steele, John Toshack and others. It seems that those undertaking boat building at Lanark probably also brought their families to Ramsay in the expedition by lake and river. As recalled by Arthur Lang’s eldest son, William Lang (1811-1902), their craft were “rough boats build by the men. A good many portages had to be made and it took some days to complete the trip. When coming down Mississippi Lake they stopped at an island, and while preparing a meal a big Indian hove into sight. Fear filled every heart. The late John Steele was equal to the occasion. He seized a huge loaf of bread and presented it to the Indian as an evidence of their friendly intentions. The peace offering was not accepted and the Indian passed by on his way to his camp on another part of the island, paying no attention to them. A night was spent on the north shore of the river above the falls at Carleton Place, beds being spread on the ground.” At the present location of the Almonte town hall shelters were made in wigwam style for use as a headquarters until all had completed the building of cabins on their lands.

Indians of the Mississippi

Five years earlier the native Indians had been in undisputed possession of the whole region of the unknown Mississippi. In the beginning of the surveys of the district, the first superintendent of locations in the Rideau Military Settlements had written in May, 1816, to the Lieutenant Governor’s secretary at York : “Having been informed by Indians and others that in the rear of the River Tay there was a much larger River which emptied into the Ottawa, I directed Mr. Groves about ten days since to follow the line between Townships No. 1 and 2 (Bathurst and Drummond) until he struck this river, which he did in front of the 11th concession. He reports it to be a fine river, and the land between this and it of an excellent quality.” The Indians of the Mississippi area are seen in a description of them by the Rev. William Bell, recorded within two months of his 1817 arrival at Perth : “In the afternoon two families of Indians in three canoes came down the river and pitched their tent upon the island in the middle of the village. They were the first I had seen since I came to the place. They had deer, muskrats and various kinds of fowls which they exposed for sale. The deer was small but they sold it at a dollar a quarter – the head with the horns at the same price. Their canoes were all of birch bark about eighteen feet long and three feet wide at the middle. They had in each canoe a capital fowling-piece and several spring traps for taking game and all the men were armed with the tomahawk. They had all black hair, brown complexions and active well-formed bodies. All of them even the children had silver ornaments in their ears.” (Five days later:) “While we were at breakfast the whole band of Indians with their baggage passed our house on their way to the Mississippi River ten miles distant. Each of the men carried a canoe on his head. The squaws were loaded with blankets, skins, kettles, tents etc., like as many asses.” Over the five year period before the pioneers of Ramsay had arrived settlers had located at points along the Mississippi from Morphys Falls and Mississippi Lake up to Dalhousie Lake. Sections still occupied by Indians included those at Mississippi Lake where as then noted by the Rev. William Bell, “some of the islands in the lake are still inhabited by Indians, whose hunting grounds are on the north side and who are far being pleased with the encroachments our settlers are making on their territories.”

80 Buildings Once Erected Here Within A Year’s Time, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 25 August, 1960

About seventy-five years ago, Carleton Place reached the speediest single period of its growth. The present instalment of a summary of events in the town’s youthful years tells briefly of some of the developments that were in the foreground seventy to eighty years ago. It reaches the period of the first childhood recollections of this district’s present elder citizens.

The selection of Carleton Place at his time by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as a divisional and repair shop point added a third main industry to growing textile and lumber businesses. Other principal manufacturing industries here, notably the making of stoves and machinery and grain milling, were all expanding. Revolutionary discoveries in telephone communication and electric lighting and in new types of industrial machines were being put into use in this area.

Building construction and the number of the community’s residents doubled within about five years. At the end of the decade, Carleton Place, with a population approaching only 4,500, was second in size to Ottawa alone in the Ottawa Valley. On the main line of the new railway to the west coast Carleton Place was the largest community between Montreal and Vancouver with the exception of Winnipeg. While the Carleton Place of later years may be found to have increased in wisdom and prosperity as measured by its way of life, its stature as rated by the conventional yardsticks of population and of total commercial activity has remained with relatively little change.

Working Hours

1880 – The idle Hawthorne woollen factory was bought by James Gillies of Carleton Place from its original owner Abraham Code at a reported price of $16,400.

A one hour strike fro a shorter working day by about fifty men at Peter McLaren’s sawmill was unsuccessful. Working hours continued at thirteen hours a day, from 6 a.m to 7 p.m., and twelve hours on Saturdays.

Lawsuits were under way between the rival sawmill owners here, Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren, based on McLaren’s efforts to exclusively control the passage of logs down the Mississippi at High Falls and other points.

The first annual regatta and sports day of the Carleton Place Boating Club was held at Carleton Park (Lake Park), featuring sailing, rowing and canoe races, the Perth band and baseball team, and oarsmen from Brockville and Ottawa. Its evening events on the river in Carleton Place were a promenade concert, an illuminated boat dispaly contest, fireworks and a balloon ascension. The Carleton Place brass band wearing new uniforms rode in a large carriage drawn by four horses to a concert and ball in Newman’s Hall which lasted until morning.

Indian Camp

1881 – St. James Anglican Church was rebuilt, the present stone structure replacing a former frame building. The building contractors were William Moffatt and William Pattie. Chairman and secretary of the building committee were Colonel John Sumner and Dr. R. F. Preston. The Rev. G. J. Low succeeded the Rev. G. W. G. Grout before the building was completed.

John Gillies of Carleton Place bought the McArthur woollen mill at the present Bates & Innes site from its first owner Archibald McArthur. The reported price was 40,000. W. H. Wylie, lessee of the McArthur mill, bought the Hawthorne woollen mill from its new owner James Gillies at a price reported as $19,000.

Several parties of Indians were encamped late in the year at the east side of the town and frequented the streets daily. An Indian war dance was held at a local residence.

Railway Shops

1882- A new railway station was built at the junction of the two lines here.  Exemption from municipal taxation was granted for the C.P.R. workshops being moved to Carleton Place from Brockville and Prescott.  Major James C. Poole (1826-1882), Herald editor, predicted the town was “about to enter upon an era of advancement and unparalleled prosperity.”

Boyd Caldwell & Sons river-men, when their log drive was blocked by Peter McLaren’s dam at the foot of Long Lake, cut a passage through the dam under claimed authority of the Ontario Legislature’s Rivers and Streams Act, which had been reenacted after its disallowance by the Dominion Government.  The ten thousand logs reached the Carleton Place mill in good condition after having been delayed three years en route.  Peter McLaren’s assertions of exclusive river rights which had been rejected by the Ontario Supreme Court were sustained by the Supreme Court of Canada.  The Caldwell firm appealed to the Privy Council.

Sawdust had become a local furnace fuel, according to Mr. W. W. Cliff, Central Canadian publisher, who reported :  Messrs. Wylie & Co. use about fifteen cartloads per day, the machine shop about four, and Mr. Findlay about one.  The sawmills of course regard it as their staff of steam life.

River Rights

1883 – The Bank of Ottawa opened a branch at Carleton Place, located on Bridge St. near Lake Avenue, opposite the Mississippi Hotel, with John A. Bangs as managaer.

The town’s leading hotel, the Mississippi, was sold to Walter McIlquham, formerly of Lanark, by Napoleon Lavallee at a price reported at $9,400.

In the Mississippi River strife between the two lumbermen whose principal mills were at Carleton Place, the Ontario Rivers and Streams Act was once more disallowed by the Dominion Government under Sir John A. MacDonald and was again introduced by the Ontario Government under Sir Oliver Mowat.  The last disallowance held fifty thousand Caldwell logs in the upper Mississippi near Buckshot Lake and forced the Caldwell mill here to remain idle.

The James Poole estate sold the Carleton Place Herald, founded in 1850, to William H. Allen and Samual J. Allen ; and sold the family’s large stone residence at Bridge Street and the Town Line Road to David Gillies, son-in-law of James Poole.  William H. Allen continued publication of the Herald for sixty years.  David Gillies, original partner and later president of Gillies Brothers Limited of Braeside and member of the Quebec Legislature, maintained his home here until his death in 1926.  Its site was the place of residence of six generations of the Poole family.

Divisional Point

1884 – Carleton Place became a railway divisional point.  A result was an expansion of the town’s population and of its commercial activities.  A large railway station addition was undertaken.

The McLaren-Caldwell lumber litigation ended with a Privy Council judgement upholding the Caldwell claims for public rights for navigation of logs throughout the length of the Mississippi River.

To make way for the building of a new flour mill the John F. Cram tannery and wool plant was removed to Campbell Street after fourteen years of operation on Mill Street.  Other building operations in addition to house construction included erection of the town’s Roman Catholic Church and a bridge by the Gillies Company at the lower falls.  The Council Chamber of the Town Hall was vacated to provide additional classroom accommodation for the Town Hall School.  A bylaw authorized the raising of $6,000 to buy a new fire engine for the Ocean Wave Fire Company. 

Electric Lights and Telephones

1885 – A telephone system connecting eastern Ontario centres including Carleton Place was established by the Bell Telephone Company.  Twenty telephones were installed in this town in the first year, all for business purposes.

A direct current electric lighting system was installed here by the Ball Electric Light Company of Toronto, including five street lights on Bridge Street.  The generator was placed by the Gillies firm at the Central Machine Works.  It was moved in the following year to a new waterpower installation opposite the west side of the Gillies woollen mill.

On Mill Street a four storey stone mill was built by Horace Brown, joined by a grain elevator to his former flour mill, and was equipped for the new roller process of flour milling.

Working hours for the winter season at the woollen mill of Gillies & Son & Company were from 7 a.m. to 6.15 p.m. with closing time one hour earlier on Saturdays.

Junction Town

1886 – The railway junction and divisional town of Carleton Place was a stopping point for the first through train of the C.P.R. to reach the west coast from Montreal.

The new tannery of John F. Cram and Donald Munroe was destroyed in a fire loss of over $10,000.

Abner Nichols’ planing mill was built at the corner of Lake Avenue and Bridge Street.

Indians who had camped for the winter at Franktown, selling baskets through the district, struck their tents and returned to the St. Regis Reserve.

The May 24th holiday was celebrated by a sports day at Allan’s Point (Lake Park).  Its baseball score was Carleton Place Athletics 16, Renfrew 5 ; and a no score lacrosse game was played between Ottawa Metropolitans and Carleton Place.  The practice field for the lacrosse and cricket clubs at this time was the picnic grounds of Gillies Grove below the woollen mill.

Canada Lumber Company

1887 – Peter McLaren sold his lumber mill properties at Carleton Place and upper Mississippi timber limits at a price reported as $900,000.  The buyers, the McLarens of Buckingham and Edwards of Rockland, formed the Canada Lumber Company.  It doubled the mills capacity, with Alexander H. Edwards (1848-1933) as manager here.  Peter McLaren three years later was appointed to the Senate, and died at age 88 at Perth in 1919. 

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church was built on its present Bridge Street site donated by James Gillies, the congregation vacating its previous location in the old stone church building still standing at the corner of William and St. Paul Streets.

A bridge of ironwork on stone piers replaced the wooden bridge across the Mississippi at Bridge Street.  A brick and tile manufacturing yard, which operated for about fifteen years, was opened by William Taylor, hardware merchant.  A large brick manufacturing business of William Willoughby, building contractor, continued in operation.  The Herald office and plant moved to a new brick building at the south side of the site of the present Post Office.  A Masonic Temple was built, and a considerable number of residential and other buildings.

Reduced railway fares were granted for the fifth annual musical convention and choral festival of the Carleton Place Mechanics Institute, held in the drill hall at the market square, with guest performers from Boston, Toronto and other points.  The Institute’s officers included William Pattie, Dr. R. F. Robertson, Alex C. McLean and John A. Goth.

Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Three Hour Sermon at Funerals Common in Good Old Days, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 18 April, 1957

Last week, the story of the founding of The Carleton Place Canadian was told. In this issue the writer goes on to tell of the editor’s writing style in the early days.

Local news items of the 1880’s and 1890’s, preserved in the late Victorian style of writing of William W. Cliff, first editor of the Canadian, include a record of minor events unlike any told in the personal columns of later day newspapers. An assorted selection of Editor Cliff’s writings has been gathered for second publication, purporting to picture the ordinary life of the town and the times as he saw it. Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town, title of Stephen Leacock’s leading work, perhaps might be applied suitably to some of the thumb-nail sketches of Mr. Cliff, who writes of the same class of subjects. The record here commences at the circus in the summer of 1885.

Shell Games at The Circus

The circus on Saturday was accompanied by a host of banditti who robbed the people right and left. The number who grabbed at the enticing shadows was legion. Some lost $5, some $10, others $15 and $20 ; one man lost $40. An Elder lost $5, a sexton $5. The losses of these innocents may be multiplied by four or five for rough conversion to present currency values. The circus itself was billed as “W. H. Harris Absolutely New World Famous Nickel-Plate Shows. Menagerie of Trained Wild animals and Congress of Celebrated Equestrain Stars. The only Umbrella-Eared Elephant. The largest and most savage den of Lions in captivity, entered and performed daily. The handsomest Royal Bengal Tigers on this continent, pulling against The only Male and Female Samson Horses and Elephants. M’lle. Dora, Wonderful Tatooed Fejee Island Cannibal. Performances at 2 and 8 p.m.”

Sermons at Funerals

In speaking of our article last week on delays at funerals, the undertaker enlarged upon it in the following illustration. A number of years ago there was a funeral at Ashton ; one Crozier had died. The day was of piercing strength noted at the Wilkie funeral ; the house small ; the attendance large ; the hour 11 a.m. The Minister who officiated considerately remarked that as the weather was so cold and the crowd outside so large he would say but a few words. His sermon lasted one solid hour. A brother Minister who was present arose and, after expressing deep sympathy for the shivering masses without and guaranteeing but a few words, spun a sermon two and a half hours in length! During his delivery one by one the outside public left and sought the genial hostlery nearby. All got drunk and were soon in a glorious fight, and at 3 o’clock none were left to escort the remains to the grave save the mourners and pall bearers.”

Return from the Riel Rebellion

At 3 o’clock Monday morning the 65th Regiment of Montreal dined at the Junction Restaurant. Shortly after 9 o’clock the 9th Regiment of Montreal steamed in, 330 of them. The Toronto Cavalry, a fine body of dilapidatedly clothed men, came in on Tuesday morning from Winnipeg. They had their horses and full equipment with them. The men expected to be in Toronto Tuesday night. They were still in Carleton Place Wednesday, waiting on repairs at the Maberley sink hole, which went down again Sunday after carrying freight trains all day.”

Battle Royal near Cloyne

It is reported that Mr. Caldwell’s men and those of Mr. McLaren (lumbermen) have had a battle royal somewhere near Cloyne. Both factions seem, in some places, to be always loaded and ready to go off at the touch of some secret spring. At Innisville however, a few days ago, we saw the men fraternizing and apparently pleased to be near each other. One of Mr. Caldwell’s men of Cloyne writes to say the recent reported collision between the Caldwell and McLaren men was a misconception. ‘Peace and unity prevail between us,’ he adds. The disturbance was between Mr. Caldwell’s men and the villagers.”

Morality on Toboggans (1886)

Stockholders in the Toboggan company, Messrs David and William Findlay, Robert Patterson, A. T. Hodge, R. J. E. Scott, C. B. Mansell, R. Riddle, J. A. Goth, and A. T. Taylor, entertained one of their number, Mr. Geen, to an oyster supper at Mr. Glover’s Monday evening. Mr. Geen was the projector of the sliding movement here and is now leaving. Each member of this club is obliged to pledge himself against the use of intoxicants before receiving the badge of membership. Profanity is also muzzled in like manner, thus preserving tobogganing against corrupting and debasing evils.”

Correction

To Mr. R. F. Oliver, entirely, does the credit belong for the harmony, mentioned last week, which characterizes the motion of the vast and intricate machinery in Mr. Brown’s new mill. No assistance whatever was supplied by Messrs. Goldie and McCullough of Galt.”

One of Colonel Playfair’s Speeches

In this issue we produce a speech delivered over thirty years ago in the House at Toronto by Colonel Playfair, the Member for South Lanark. It deals with the question of the location of Ottawa as the seat of Government. We are under obligation to Col. Playfair’s daughter, Mrs. Alex Hunter, now of Michigan, for these interesting reminiscences. The salient features of the Colonel when on his feet were fluency and enthusiasm. Mr. Bell informs us he frequently lost himself when addressing the House and, being also a local preacher of much renown, would address the Honourablees around him as ‘brother members’ and ‘my Christian brethern.’ Mr. Colin Sinclair revives for us a period when the Whigs of the age gave him their united strength. The Colonel and the late Archibald McArthur stood shoulder to shoulder. After the election all the Colonel’s old proclivities broke out in all their Tory excessiveness, and Mr. McArthur never forgave him.”

The Prophecy Fulfilled (1889)

About fifty years ago Mr. Robert Bell, who has reached the age of 78, predicted in a speech he delivered in a little old log cabin by the side of the river, where the as yet unorganized and ungrouped Presbyterians used to worship, that the people of Carleton Place would see with their own eyes the silk and tea products of the Empire of Japan passing through on their way to the markets of Europe. A couple of years ago he saw the first train of tea passing through Carleton Place. It is now so ordinary an event that the people cease to wonder.”

A Curious Gang

A curious gang came up from Almonte one night last week, a mother and two daughters, all drunk. They went off, thank Heaven, on the Brockville Train.”

First Elections as a Town

Dr. Preston sits on the throne of Carleton Place – a dignity of no inconsiderable magnitude. All the morning he and his fleet Kitty Freefoot were spinning around the Town starting out the voters. In the afternoon with a change of flyer his energy never lagged. Mr. Burgess was out all the live long day with a spanking team from the aristocratic stables at Orklan, and other teams and other friends spent the day in his service. After the result was known a number of the victors made speeches in triumphant tones in the Opera Hall.”

A Noted Man Gone

Mr. Lavallee at Rest. Napoleon Lavallee was born in the Province of Quebec Feb. 20, 1802. At fourteen years of age he left home and began to paddle his own canoe. He worked for the North West Fur Company that subsequently was swallowed up by the Hudson’s Bay Company, for whom Mr. Lavallee continued to operate. At that time most rapid of transits was accomplished by dog trains, and these the young adventurer handled with pride and skill. Leaving that country he made his way to Toronto, where he worked at his trade as a cooper, and then pushed on down the Mississippi as far as New Orleans.

At last he arrived in Ogdensburg and seemed to settle down. A gentleman there who was a friend of Mr. Bellows, then a merchant of many departments at Carleton Place and our first Postmaster, was asked if he knew a good cooper, and recommended the young Paul as ‘a steady honest fellow.’ The result was that Mr. Lavallee came to this spot, in the year 1830. He worked with fidelity for Mr. Bellows for many years and then set up for himself. He did a tremendous business all over this country, making tens of thousands of flour and pork barrells, butter tubs and like articles, chiefly with his own strong skilled hands, during a portion of this period occupying the office of Government Inspector of Pork.

Giving up his business he bought the Carleton House, built by James Bell, and ran it until his love of roving broke out furiously, and he made plans for a trip to California. He had married the Widow Paris, an amiable and athletic young woman. She had come to this country with her husband, Mungo Parks Paris, whose father was a friend of the famous African explorer, and along with them were his brothers John and James Paris, David Pattie and Adam Beck. It was the cholera year that they landed in Montreal, and young Paris died. The widow came on to Carleton Place with the others of the group, and in 1833 married Mr. Lavallee. When he resolved to go to California she and her son Hugh Paris accompanied him, as well as a young man who had been clerking for Mr. McArthur. They did not tarry long in California but pushed on through South America and finally wound up in Australia.

One day a mine caved in, and Hugh and the young clerk were smothered. Mrs. Lavallee could not endure to stay longer in that place of sorrow. They came back here much poorer, and the hotel business was resumed. Mr. Lavallee prospered and the Carleton House became too small. He erected a larger hotel, the Mississippi as it was when Mr. McIllquham bought it. Mr. Lavallee joined Rev. Mr. Fairbairn’s Church, 8th line Ramsay, largely through respect for his friend Mr. Robert Bell, who from the start was his guide, philosopher and friend, and managed for him for a period of sixty years all his financial operations. The personality of no citizen has been so marked as that of Mr. Lavallee. He had no claims to educational advantages, but measured everything and founded his decisions on merit always. He was famous for his powers of entertainment in the line of narratives from his own affluent experiences.

There were no children of the union, but through the years a number were adopted and well educated. The pallbearers were Col. John Summer, Abner Nichols, Walter McIllquham, James Gillies, John McDonald, and John F. Cram.”

 

 

Origin Of Villages Around Carleton Place Go Back 100 Years, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 07 March, 1957

Here is an unusually informative and interesting story of well known places such as Black’s Corners, Arklan, The Derry, Coocoo’s Nest, Dewar’s Cemetery, Gillies Corners, Glen Isle, Scotch Corners, Tennyson, etc ; written for the Canadian by Howard M. Brown, historian.

Origin of some place names in Beckwith

Beckwith Township, surveyed for settlement in 1816, was given at that time its present name. It is named in honour of Major General Sir Sidney Beckwith (1772-1831), Quartermaster General of the British forces in Canada, under whose direction the settlement of this district was conducted.

Sir Sidney Beckwith came to Canada in 1812 as Assistant Quartermaster General and took part in the War of 1812-14, after serving in India and under Sir John Moore in the Peninsular Wars. Origins of some of the place names in the township are locally well known. Origins of others seem to be unrecorded and possibly unknown. The township’s largest geographical feature, its principal river, has its first known Indian name Mishi-sippi, great or large river, revised to Mississippi.

 Carleton Place

The town of Carleton Place was formerly Carlton Place, the name provided by the first village postmaster in 1830 to replace Morphy’s Falls. It has a Scottish origin, being taken from the location of the same name in Glasgow. Carleton was a more familiar word in Canada, as the name of British Canada’s governor and defender, Sir Guy Carleton, and in the early 1850’s the recognized name of the community became changed gradually from Carlton Place to Carleton Place.

 Villages

The township’s present villages bear the names of Franktown, Ashton, (divided between Goulbourn and Beckwith), Prospect and Black’s Corners. Franktown, the oldest of these, appears in all likelihood to have been named for the christian name of Colonel Francis Cockburn, the senior administrative officer who worked enthusiastically in promoting the district settlement.

The name of Cockburn creek, between Franktown and Perth, also recalls his service to the district.

Ashton with Mount Pleasant and Summer’s Corners as earlier names, had its present name designated about 1840 when it received a post office with Colonel John Sumner, later a Carleton Place merchant, as postmaster. The name is said to have been proposed by him in recollection of the town of Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester.

Prospect, which once had a population of about one hundred, seems probably a descriptive name given when a post office was established there.

Black’s Corners

At Black’s Corners the township’s municipal affairs, which included those of Carleton Place, were transacted in 1858 for the first time in a building constructed and owned by the municipality. The Township hall that was built in the previous year, one hundred years ago, was the first municipal hall of Beckwith and Carleton Place.

The council previously had held its meeting in the principal hotels of Carleton Place and Franktown. Across the road from the township hall, Knox church had been built twelve years earlier as the first church in this immediate district of the Presbyterian church of Canada or Free Church.

In about this period the name Black’s Corners came into general use for this crossroads point near the centre of the township. Adjoining the new township hall was a piece of land which had been owned by John Black, after whom the little hamlet was named. Whether this was the J. Black who came in 1929 as one of the district’s first Methodist ministers has not been ascertained.

Arklan

Taking a few of the township’s place names as they come alphabetically, the location of Arklan, including an island with a small formerly utilized water power site near Carleton Place, was called successively Bailey’s Mills, Bredins Mills and Arklan Mills.

The former two names were those of its owners. The present name is derived from that of the county. George Bailey’s mill was established almost as early as Hugh Boulton’s at Carleton Place. Both mills are named on a district map of 1833. George Bailey Sr., an 1820 settler lived there for forty-five years, dying in 1865 at the age of 90.

The Bredin family then bought properties, within a few years turning their use over to others. The Bailey site served as a sawmill, and a times as a shingle mill and a planing mill, for lessees of the departed Bredins. It was bought by A. C. Burgess in 1887 and after improvements, was leased again as a sawmill. The name Arklan was provided by Mr. Burgess, who a little earlier had begun developing his model stock farm on the adjoining farm land. His brother, G. Arthur Burgess, mayor of Carleton Place in 1903 and 1921, and at times a stormy petrel in municipal affairs, installed a small hydro electric plant at Arklan in 1909 and for about a year supplied a part of the town’s power for electric lighting purposes, leasing his installations in 1912 to the town’s other supplier of electric power.

The Derry and The Coocoo’s Nest

The Derry, the name long held by school section number 6 in the middle eastern part of the township, is found to mean “the place of oaks”, the word “doire” of ancient inhabitants of the north of the British Isles. Its first settlers of 1818 were from Perthshire. In the late Dr. George E. Kidd’s book which tells in detail its subject “The Story of the Derry”, there is said to be a place in Perthshire of the same name. With the same meaning, it also was the first name of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The Coocoo’s Nest, long the name of the area in school section number 3 east of Franktown, while named after the cuckoo, a bird of note in literature and legend, does not seem to have its local origin recorded.

Dewar’s Cemetery

Dewar’s and Kennedy’s cemeteries, located together on the eighth concession road near Ashton, were named for the Kennedy and Dewar families who came there from Pershire in 1818, the Kennedys from the parish of Dull, and the Dewars from the parish of Comrie.

Kennedy’s cemetery, the older one, is on land located in 1818 by John Kennedy and later owned by Robert Kennedy, long noted in the distsrict for his skill with the bagpipes. Robert, who came there with his parents at the age of eight, moved to Ashton and died in 1900 at Carleton Place.

The site of Dewar’s Cemetery originally was one of the clergy reserve lots, with the farms of Archibald and Peter Dewar beside it, and on the opposite side those of Finley McEwen and Malcolm Dewar. Archibald Dewar jr. son of Peter, was reeve of Beckwith for many years and died in 1916.

The Dewar families for centuries had been the recognized hereditary guardians of the staff or crozier of St. Fillan. Traditions of St. Fillan who was venerated as early as the eighth or ninth century in Glen Dochart and Strathfillan in the present Perthshire, have an important place in ancient Christianity in Scotland.

The head of the saint’s crozier, of silver gilt with a smaller crozier head of bronze enclosed in it, is reported to have been brought by Archibald Dewar to Beckwith, where its powers remained highly regarded, and to have been transferred by his eldest son to its present location at the National Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Gillies Corners – Glen Isle

Gillies Corners, west of Franktown on the settlers first road between Perth and Beckwith, was the location of the inn of Archibald Gillis, who settled there in 1819 and maintained a licenced inn for a period including from the 1830’s to the 1850’s. Glen Isle, on the Mississippi near Carleton Place and about a square mile in area, is named for Captain Thomas Glendenning who in 1821 located on a grant of land including most of the part of the island lying in Beckwith Township.

A lieutenant retired on half pay from the 60th Regiment, he became a captain in the first local militia and is credited with an unenviable part in promoting the Ballygiblin fights of 1824. He also featured in a dispute with Daniel Shipman of Shipman’s Mills, now Almonte, regarding methods of raising a levy of the local militia in 1838 for possible service against the border raids which already had culminated near Prescott in the Battle of the Windmill. Captain Glendenning moved some time later to Chatham, where he continued to live in the 1850’s. The island has borne its present name for over 125 years.

 Smaller Streams

The Jock River, rising in Beckwith and flowing across the township through an extensive low-lying wooded area toward the outlet near Ottawa, was in 1818 named the Goodwood. This was the name of the Essex County estate owned in England by the Duke of Richmond, Governor General at the time. The name is preserved locally in that of the Goodwood Rural Telephone Company. The river’s early alternative name of Jacques prevailed and underwent a change of nationality to the present Jock.

King’s Creek, in the south-east side of the township near Prospect, was named for the family of John King who came there from Blair Atholl with the 1818 Perthshire emigrants. Lavallee’s Creek, now smaller than in the past, and extending from Highway 15 near Carleton Place to the Mississippi at Glen Isle, was named for Napoleon Lavellee, hotel keeper and colourful local figure from 1830 to 1890 at Carleton Place.

When the Rideau Canal was being planned one course for the canal given passing consideration included Cockburn Creek, McGibbon’s Creek and the lower Mississippi. McGibbon’s Creek, a small stream in the west side of the township passing through a considerable amount of flooded land, obtained its name from the McGibbon family which bought land nearby on the the 8th concession and lived there for several generations. Along the upper course several settlers took up land in the 7th concession in late 1816 as first permanent residents of the township.

 United Cemeteries,  Scotch Corners – Tennyson

St. Fillans, Maplewood and Pine Grove or Cram’s United cemeteries include land obtained by John Cram in 1818 on his arrival from Comrie in Perthshire. From St. Fillans in Perthshire came a large number of the settler’s arriving in that year. Scotch Corners, separated from the main part of the township by the Mississippi Lakes and containing the Scotch Corners cemetery, was named as being a predominantly Scottish farm settlement. It was occupied in 1822.

Tennyson, a crossroads point on the west border of the township, now consisting of two churches, a school and a cheese factory building, probably can be taken to have been named for the poet Lord Tennyson. The land at that point was first located in 1816 to two demobilized half-pay military officers who established their residences at Perth.

The part north of the 7th concession road was granted to Roderick Matheson and the opposite part to Ensign J. H. O’Brien formerly of the Newfoundland Fencibles. Lieutenant Roderick Matheson had been paymaster of the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles. He established himself as a successful merchant at Perth and became the Hon. Roderick Matheson, member of the appointed Legislative Council of Canada.

 

 

Eagles And Vultures Once Flew Around Mississippi Lake by Howard Brown, from the Carleton Place Canadian, December 22, 1955

“The Canadian is fortunate in receiving a number of articles from Howard Brown of Ottawa concerning early hunting and fishing stories around Carleton Place.  The series includes one on the first game club, deer hunting, bird protection, Mississippi fishing, the beaver, wildcat and lynx, introduction of pickerel to the Mississippi.  The first article follows:

 Hunting and Fishing Stories of our Grandfathers

Lanark and Renfrew counties, well supplied with woods, lakes and marshes, have a record as a favourite fishing and hunting district which antedates their first English speaking settlement.  Referring to the immediate neighbourhood of Carleton Place, William Bell, pioneer Lanark County pastor and an observant man if not an experienced fisher or hunter, wrote soon after his 1817 arrival at Perth:

“The Mississippi Lake, its length about 12 miles and its breadth varying from four miles to half a mile, affords an abundance of fish for the settlers in the neighbourhood, who kill them with spears in great numbers in the spring when ascending the river to spawn.  Some of the islands in the lake are still inhabited by Indians, whose hunting ground is on the north side and who are far from being pleased with the encroachments our settlers are making on their territories.

The animals most troublesome to the farmers are squirrels, brown and grey, equally destructive to crops both in fields and gardens.  They do most mischief in the spring by taking the seed up out of the ground.  I have seen a field of Indian corn entirely ruined by them so that it was necessary to plant it a second and even a third time.  The number killed by some farmers in a year almost exceeds belief.  There is another species called the black squirrel but it seems scarce, being seldom taken.

Of birds there are many kinds.  The principal are eagles, vultures, owls, night hawks, fish hawks, cranes, geese, wild ducks, partridges, snow birds, teal, wild pigeons, blackbirds, thrushes, larks and various other kinds.  The wood pigeons pass to the northward in the spring and return in the fall in immense numbers.  Great numbers of them are taken in nets, but they are more frequently shot, and are generally found to be fat and good eating.  When they happen to alight upon a field they scarcely leave a grain, if not disturbed.”

The story of these famous clouds of passenger pigeons, which usually frequented wooded regions rather than farmers’ fields and which, at 40 cents a pair, were still sold on the Ottawa market in the 1870’s, is well known.  After wanton whole sale killing they were exterminated from the continent to the last bird.  Some larger fur bearing animals, such as the marten and fisher, the lynx and the otter, soon retreated in these counties, like the Indians themselves, before the axe and the plough.

 First Game Protective Club:

 Forty years after the white man had settled in the local scene to dispossess the North American Indian, the second generation in this area, had begun to lessen the seeming abundance of some useful wild animals and birds to a point at which a local Game Protective Club was undertaking enforcement of existing legislation (19-20 Vic. C, 94) for their preservation.  An 1859 Carleton Place announcement gave notice that a sportsmen’s club, composed of persons resident in this and adjoining townships and prepared to prosecute and punish breaches of the game laws “exists in this village as some unseasonable slaughters of game may yet learn to their cost.  The Club has thought proper to offer a reward of $5 to be paid by the Treasurer of the club to any person giving such information as shall ensure the conviction of offenders.  The company have also employed a Lawyer to conduct their business and attend to the prosecution of all parties complained of without respect of persons.”

 The seasons of prohibited hunting still left a six months open deer and moose season from August to January, six months of grouse or partridge hunting from September to February, and gave no protection for waterfowl beyond an eleven week closed season from mid-April to the end of July for “Wild Swan, Goose, Duck of kinds known as Mallard, Grey Duck, Black Duck and all kinds of Teal.”

 An 1862 visitor observed: “There are few villages in the interior, off the main streams the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, that can rival Carleton Place in scenery and we know of few places where a day or two’s fun can be better appreciated than up on the Mississippi Lake.  In fact fishing and hunting has become almost an institution among the inhabitants and the fame of the Mississippi Pike and Ducks and we may add Deers or Dears, has reached distant sections of the Front.”

 The Game Protective Club, interested chiefly in increasing the deer population, became the Lanark and Renfrew Game Protection Society, as formally constituted at a March 1861 meeting of district deer hunters at Pakenham, home town of the then retired Andrew Dickson, prominent as a deer hunter as well as in Eastern Upper Canada public affairs. 

Cases of convictions for winter killing of deer in the closed season were cited at the Society’s meetings.  “A Law Abiding Hunter” wrote to the deer-hunting editor of the Carleton Place Herald at the end of the 1861-62 season:

 “It is estimated that upwards of 700 deers were butchered on the crust last winter and spring in the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, and that about 150 deer have been killed in these counties in the past year during the time allowed by law.  In settlements where liquor can be procured the most of the venison that the Indians kill is sold to procure whisky.  It is stated that one Indian, who stopped near Arnprior, killed no less than 90 deers on the crust last winter and spring – a crime.”

Early court records of deer hunting in the two counties were not limited to cases for deterring hunting out of season.  Others concerned appropriation of hounds or of the hunter’s quarry.  In an 1865 trial at Almonte dealing with an October deer hunt at White Lake, magistrates James Rosamond and John Menzies, after hearing many witnesses, dismissed a charge based on the information and complaint of a Pakenham resident to the effect that James Poole, W. Morphy and James Cram of Carleton Place “did with force of arms take and carry away one deer the property of John McManagle.”  The implication of the decision seemed to be that hunters stationed at a lakeshore in shooting and attempting to keep possession of deer which had been run out by another hunting party did so at their peril.

Remarkably large packs of dogs were maintained by some deer hunters.  Andrew Dickson, ex-sheriff of the United Counties and onetime warden of the Provincial penitentiary at Kingston, was once reported to be the owner of over thirty.  In the same period large numbers were kept by James Poole of Carleton Place.  A granddaughter’s account of Andrew Dickson’s last farewell to hunting and to his dogs is given in Senator Andrew Haydon’s Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst.

     The scene is in 1868 at the Dickson home in Pakenham :

“The last time I saw my grandfather was just a week before he died.  The dogs had broken out of their kennels and rushed into the house, Sport, the favourite, on the bed, the place of honor, earned by years of devotion, and the other dogs with noses resting on the quilt, and on the gray old plaid they had so often followed.  The tears ran down his face, but he beckoned to me.  I took the whistle, which I could hardly use for crying, I led the way to the kennel, but Sport would not come.”

     In the early 1880’s the district game supply and the hunting restrictions both continued to be generous to the hunter.  A pair of hunters are reported returning to Carleton Place from a five week deer hunt in which they shot forty deer, followed by an advertisement “Good Venison for Sale,”  James Presley opposite the Methodist Church, Carleton Place.  Moose in the Upper Ottawa were meeting a similar onslaught which they could less readily withstand.  A Carleton Place “Protect the Moose” editorial May 1887 said:

     “Steps are being taken to have the Governments enforce more stringently the laws for the protection of this noble game.  As an instance of the terrible slaughter of moose deer that has gone on in the Upper Ottawa this season, it is mentioned that Montreal man who hunted on the Mississippi River killed 27.  A Pembroke man killed 40.  It is computed that all the carcasses would weight 53,600 pounds.  The Montreal man killed his moose during the legal season, but his companion killed during month of March and is reported to be killing yet.”

     Restrictions following 1887 included in the case of deer a season limit of 3 to 5 per person depending on the size of the hunting party with a season opening November 15th.