“Beards” of Bygone Days
Recalled by M. J. Shields
Carleton Place Canadian, 29 December, 1960
By Howard M. Brown
Random recollections of Myles J. Shields of Ottawa as supplied to H.M.B.
“Extemporaneously I am sending you a few items on local affairs that I recall and hope will be readable:
Long ago twilight brought out Harry Tetlock to light the switch and semaphore lamps on the CPR yard tracks. He was always smiling and walked fast. Jim Moore with brown beard and big clock in leather case went out to watch the lumber yard. Mr. Cram with white beard went to watch Gillies Woollen Mill.
In the day time Ned Carr, old tall and gaunt, was crossing guard at the foot of Bell street where the sawmill tracks crossed the CPR. In his prime he was, according to my father, a famous axeman.
George Tait had a market garden on Lake Avenue. He did not believe in trimming fruit trees. He said they had a hard enough time surviving in our climate. This theory has since been upheld by many fruit growers.
Maurice Burke, a cooper, made barrels across the street from where the post office now stands. His sister Julia taught school in the Public School for many years. We often heard the youngsters rhyming c-a-t CAT, r-a-t RAT, etc. She was burned to death in a fire as was Levi Brian’s wife.
Sam McLaren with a red beard was captain on the steamer, Carleton, which plied the Mississippi lakes and river in those days.
Alvin Livingston had a long, almost white beard and was town constable in the 1870’s.
Patrick (Peter) Struthers, post master, and his assistant Finlay McEwen, had rather thin light coloured beards. Peter had a farm on the 5th Line of Ramsay, operated by Jim Boyd.
William Goth, of Beckwith, from the breastbone up was entirely hidden in white whiskers, hair and eyebrows. All one could see was a purple nose and two twinkling blue eyes. He kept good horses and many a time passed the C.P.R. station, homeward bound, at a full gallop. Mr. Goth had a sense of humour and my mother, nee Margaret Holland, who was telegrapher in the post office, situated at that time, in the building across Bell Street from the Arcade, recalled a remark he made to her one time. It appears that Mr. Goth and David Findlay Sr. had a tussle in the post office and Mr. Findlay apparently got the worst of it. When Messrs Struthers and McEwen remonstrated with Mr. Goth, he threatened the whole staff, at which my mother burst out laughing. Mr. Goth turned and said to her; “Young lady, when I was young I used to laugh too, but, now that I am in an office of public trust I am above laughing.” John Goth, a son, was principal in the Town Hall school and his daughter, Miss Goth, taught in first grade.
Mr. Aitken, from Appleton way, used to leave town in the same style as Mr. Goth, his horses on the gallop down William Street, but they arrived at a more sedate pace on entering the town.
Dr. Howard, who claimed to have been descended from one of the original 13 Barons of England, was a big man, soft spoken, and used to relate to me about his turkey hunting trips in the U.S.A. He had a law suit with the Montreal Daily Star and lost. The Star published a pamphlet about him and distributed it to the householders of Carleton Place.
Andrew and Robert Bell were descendents of the famous clergyman William Bell; Andrew lived near Taylor’s big house and Robert lived at the end of main street bridge, where Dr. McFarlanes old residence stands. There is, or was, a stained window in St. James Anglican Church inscribed “To the Glory of God and the memory of Jane A. Bell”.
Peter Lake and his wife Susanna lived in the big stone house at the river at the end of the Town Line. He also had a beard and was Choir Master in Zion Church.
Abe Morphy Sr. was tall and blackbearded, he lived in the white house at the Town Line and 8th line. He was born in the yellow house that stood between the Gillies Mill flume canal and the C.P.R. subway.
Mr. Griegson, a stout husky type operated a farm on the 5th line of Ramsay. He always carried his buggy whip while in town and walked about 4 or 5 feet ahead of his wife. They would have a beer at Wilson’s hotel and then do their business. Mr. Griegson worked on the railway that was built across the Isthmus of Panama to prepare for the building of the great canal. I remember when he told my Grandfather Holland that he had worked there and what a surprise, because my grandfather had taken the first stationary steam engine down there. They had a terrible time, heat, flies, filthy water, fever and the late arrival of the relief ship. Every man in my grandfathers group of labourers died one after the other. He buried the last man just before the relief ship arrived. He said he paid a native two cents a day to follow him around swishing a bunch of palm leaves to chase flies and create a little breeze.
Mr. Hamilton, a painter, father of John R., a C.P.R. conductor was a veteran of the Crimean war as was my grand uncle who was a V.S. (Farrier Sgt. In army parlance); he was at the Charge of the Light Brigade, although not actually in the charge, took care of the horses. I have a tin-type of him in full uniform taken about 1850 in Dublin.
William Street, as I recall it, had its list of tragedies, perhaps, more so than any other street. A young Glover child was killed by being crushed under a lumber yard wagon; Billy Glover fatally injured sliding down the Spring Street hill; Bob Illingsworth shot in a bar room squabble; Miss Reynolds drowned; Mr. Summers had legs crushed in lumber yard; amputated twice but gangrene set in and he died. Mr. Quackenbush was run over by a lorrie the first day he worked in the lumber yard; he said he always had a premonition that he should not take a job there; around the turn of the century Abe Morphy Jr. drowned; Neil McDonald died from an overdose of sedative (I believe); Harry Clark fell down cellar; Proctor Moore fell in a C.P.R. culvert.
And I could go on, and on, but enough is enough.”
20-Foot Square Unmarked Grave in Riverside Park
The Carleton Place Canadian, 27 December, 1956
By Howard M. Brown
In Riverside Park there lies a little-known site which is of some interest in the town’s history. It is found at the extreme end of the town’s park, near Lake Avenue and close to the Mississippi River. This was a burial ground, where members of one of the first families of settlers of the town were laid in a now unmarked graveyard.
Discovery of this site some ten years ago was reported at a Parks Commission meeting, at which the suggestion was made that the area should be marked as a historical site by erection of a cairn. Pending the receipt of further particulars no action was taken. The Canadian subsequently found from the late Alex John Duff, Beckwith farmer, that he recalled this burial ground in his youth in the 1880s as being at that time a little cemetery about 15 or 20 feet square, a gravestone in which bore the name Catin Willis.
With the Morphys and the Moores, the Willises long were among the widely known earliest owners of farm land coming within the present boundaries of the town. It is well recorded that the whole central section of the present town was first located to the Morphy and the Moore families in 1819 as Crown grants of farm land; the part extending north of Lake Avenue to four of the Morphys, and three hundred acres at the south side of Lake Avenue to three of the Moores. William Moore is said to have aided in the founding of the town by opening its first blacksmith shop in 1820, the first year of settlement as a community. About the same time the first marriages here were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy. Well known descendants of these families continue to live in the town and district.
On a farm which reached the western end of Riverside Park George Willis, born about 1778, settled and raised his family. Other Willises coming from Ireland and settling near Morphy’s Falls between 1819 and 1821 were Henry, William, Thomas and Catin Willis. When the present Carleton Place Town Hall was built, the central building on its site, said to be the second dwelling built in the town, was the home of Mrs. William Morphy, daughter of George Willis, where she had lived to 1888 and the age of 85, a widow for over fifty years. The Bathurst Courier at Perth, reporting her husband’s death in August, 1837, said in part:
“Fatal Accident. On Friday afternoon last, William Morphy of Carleton Place, whilst on his way home from this place on horseback, in company with several others, met with an accident from the effect of which he died on Sunday morning last, under the following circumstances. Between this and Joseph Sharp’s tavern the deceased and another of the party were trying the speed of their horses when, on approaching Sharp’s house at a very rough part of the road, his horse fell and threw him off, by which he was placed under the animal. Severe wounds causing a contusion of the brain led to his death…….The deceased was a native of Ireland, and has left a wife and family to deplore his sudden death.”
Grandchildren of William Morphy and his wife Sarah Willis included William, Duncan and Robert McDiarmid, prominent Carleton Place merchants, sons of James McDiarmid, Carleton Place merchant, and his wife Jane Morphy.
George Willis Jr. (1820-1892) succeeded his father on the farm at the end of Lake Avenue (Conc. 11, lot 12) and there brought up a family long known in Carleton Place, including Richard, drowned while duck hunting in November 1893, and George E. Willis, photographer, musician and bandmaster, who died in Vancouver in 1940 at age 96 while living with his son Stephen T. Willis of Ottawa business college fame; William and John H. of Carleton Place, and daughters including Jane, wife of James Morphy Jr. the son of “King James” of the pioneer Morphy family.
The George Willis place on the river side during one period was the annual scene of colourful sights and stirring sounds on the 12th of July. It was a marshalling ground and headquarters for the great Orange parade, with the Willis boys of the third generation prominent among the performers in the bands. The names of George Willis, Senior and Junior, appear with sixty others on the roll of the Carleton Place Loyal Village Guards which mustered in 1837 and 1838 at the time of the Upper Canada Rebellion and “Patriot War,” and again with that of Catin Willis in the St. James Church monster petition of November 1846 for maintaining tenure of the Church’s clergy reserve land in Ramsay against claims of Hugh Bolton and others.
Catin Willis, born in Ireland in 1795, settled as a young man in Ramsay on the present northern outskirts of Carleton Place (con. 8, lot 2w) when that township was opened for settlement in 1821. He died there in 1869. His name appears as contributor to the Carleton Place fund for providing and operating a curfew bell in 1836. The Church Wardens of St. James Church here in 1845 were Catin Willis and James Rosamond, founder of the Rosamond textile manufacturing firm.
William, another of the first Willises here, took up land in the 4th concession of Beckwith (lot 18W) in 1820, securing his location in the usual way through the district settlement office and performing the settlement duties required for obtaining a patent to his land, which lay east of Franktown. Franktown, then usually referred to as The King’s Store at Beckwith, and later named possibly for its sponsor, Colonel Francis Cockburn, had already been approved for surveying into town lots, and had the taverns of Patrick Nowlan and Thomas Wickham for the accommodation of travellers, in addition to the government supply depot for the Beckwith settlers.
George Ramsay, Ninth Earl of Dalhousie and Governor General of British North America, made the Nowlan Inn his stopping place, accompanied by Colonel Cockburn, during a one day visit in 1820 in the course of a tour of inspection of the Perth, Beckwith and Richmond settlements.
Henry Willis landed from Ireland in the early summer of 1819 with his young family on the sailing ship Eolus, whose passengers included the families of Beckwith settlers Thomas Pierce, James Wall and William Jones. He first settled on the 2nd concession of Beckwith (lot 13W) near Franktown, and later moved to Carleton Place where he is found as a contributor to the 1836 curfew bell fund and on the roll of the Loyal Village Guards of 1838.
Henry was an unsuccessful 1838 petitioner with Captain Duncan Fisher for preferential purchase from the Crown of a farm lot extending near Indians Landing (con. 11, lot 11), adjoining the farms of George Willis and Captain Fisher. Those providing certificates of facts in support of this petition were Catin Willis, John Moore, William Willis, Greenwall Dixon, and Edward J. Boswell, Anglican “Missionary at Carleton Place.”
Thomas Willis is shown by Beldon’s Lanark County Atlas of 1880 to have been an inhabitant of the new village of Morphy’s Falls in its first year, and to have given his daughter in marriage then to John Morphy. John (b.1794, d.1860), another of the family of six sons and two daughters of Edmond Morphy, built his home for his bride at the east end of Mill Street on the present Bates & Innes lands. It stood there for over fifty years after his death, and last served as the watchman’s house of the Bates & Innes mill. The large family of John Morphy and his wife Mary Willis, raised in that pioneer home, included Abraham Morphy of Ramsay, near Carleton Place; and Elizabeth, Mrs. Richard Dulmage of Ramsay, who was born in 1821 as the first child born to the first settlers in Morphy’s Falls.
It is possible that further consideration will be given to providing the added note of interest and distinction to the town, and to its popular Riverside Park, which would be furnished by a cairn and tablet at the Park denoting some of the ancient origins of the town.
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.
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.