SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK NINETEEN

 

 “Beards” of Bygone Days

Recalled by M. J. Shields

Carleton Place Canadian, 29 December, 1960

By Howard M. Brown

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

90 Black Bass In Less Than 2 Hours Once Caught, by Howard M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 14 June, 1962

In the early days of Carleton Place’s Vacationland of the Mississippi, most of the tenting lakeside vacation dwellers seem to have taken only a casual interest of the frying pan in the excellent fishing that was available.  Their numbers included few duck hunters, though the duck hunting season then started in mid-August.

Very large catches of fish and bags of ducks by other town and district fishermen and hunters were reported, and earlier the similar wholesale shooting of now extinct passenger pigeons.  The harvests of fish and ducks by some went to the town’s food markets and restaurants, then a legal selling operation.  Occasional notes in the local newspapers told of catches of fish in what were considered newsworthy quantities and sizes.

Fish Stories

Of the larger game fish, black bass were prominent in reported catches, before an apparent increase or dominance in numbers of pike and the later introduction of pickerel.  Introductions of whitefish and lake trout in the Mississippi Lakes in the eighteen eighties were unsuccessful.  The whitefish experiment was made in 1884, year of the formation of the “Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society.”  On May 1st this newspaper reported:

“Through the active agency of Mr. Joseph Jamieson, M.P., about 300,000 fry of the white fish species were deposited in the lakes here last Saturday.  The fry came in three large tin cans from Ottawa and in charge of an expert.  The Morning Star was chosen, and accompanying the expert were Deputy Reeve William Pattie, Thomas L. Nagle, Joseph Wilson, and William Bell.  The first can was emptied into a quiet cove near Squaw Point, the second off the Landing at Prettie’s Island, and the third in the channel reaching into the Big Lake.  In three years maturity will be reached and propagation set in ; and the fish grow and increase to between eight and twelve pounds.”

According to our fishing news note of early September of the same year, “Mr. Sid Anable and son Hiram went off in a skiff Friday morning last at 3 a.m., reached the mouth of the Innisville river at 6, and fished from 6 to 9 a.m., catching 37 black bass, five pike, and sixty rock bass.  On one side of the boat they caught minnows for bait.  On the other side the rods had not a moment’s rest.”  Several weeks earlier in a record catch, as reported in the Carleton Place Herald, “The Messrs. Anable last Friday caught ninety five black bass in the Innisville branch in less than two hours.  Among them were some very heavy black bass.”

Fish from large catches sampled by local newsmen were fairly sure of receiving public mention.  A corrected report of an August 1890 outing, previously misprinted in this column, said in part: “One morning last week a party composed of Rev. Father O’Rourke, Maurice Burke and the old standby Sid Anable in five hours landed sixty of the finest black bass we have ever had the opportunity of tasting.  The fish weighed on an average three pounds each.”

A similar news note of the following July stated:  “Mr. S. J. McLaren caught thrity-two fine black bass up near the Big Lake lasts Thursday.  The previous Friday he made a haul of forty-two.”

The Perth Courier a decade later reported in July, 1903:

“There has been some excellent fishing in the Mississippi waters at Carleton Place this season.  Many good catches of black bass and pike have been reported.  Among them, John Butts and James Umpherson frequently bring down from fifty to sixty fine fish in a morning’s catch.”

Duck Shooting in the Eighties

Down from the eighteen eighties came samples of similar news stories of the abundance of ducks on the Mississippi Lakes.

An October 1883 account said:

“A party of Ottawa gentlemen were out duck shooting on the Mississippi last week and succeeded in bagging no less than one hundred and forty of them.  Mr. Hugh Moore of Carleton Place, who was one of the party, shot a fine deer at Squaw Point near Wylie & Company’s shanty, for which the Ottawa men gave him eight dollars.”

According to a late August report of the following year, “Messrs. Glover had a very successful duck hunt last week.  One day they killed forty-six.  The C.P.R. restaurant took four dozen of the luscious fowl.”

Present Lake Problems

This last series of brief glimpses of activities on the Mississippi of over fifty years ago in recent numbers of The Canadian has been designed to recall a few more of the many ways in which these waters continued to serve from the first years of settlement as one of the leading natural assets of the Carleton Place area.  The decades of large scale lumbering and of industries based on local waterpower were followed by the rise of hydro-electric power and a decline in industrial uses of the lakes and river here.  Now the Mississippi from Carleton Place to Innisville serves in the role of a recreational area which is attracting growing numbers of some thousands of seasonal residents and visitors yearly.

The future quality of this latest phase of development of the lakes, and the trend of its value to Carleton Place and to the adjoining townships, can be expected to depend in part on whether land and water use in this recreational region receives the community guidance and assistance needed.  Such needs, as seen by some observers, include improvements in lot and building restrictions, and the promotion and application of policies to prevent unsanitary or offensive conditions, game law and traffic misconduct, and water pollution, among others.

Improvements and precautions of varying degrees of adequacy have been provided in some such respects in recent years under township, provincial and national government auspices, and at the instance of several lake community associations and by the Mississippi Lakes Association of Carleton Place.

Lakes A Town Asset

The Mississippi Lakes Association is a pioneering illustration of how our water recreational resources may be maintained and improved in the interests of the town.

In an earlier age, an incidental effect of the towing of great rafts of logs down the Mississippi Lakes to Carleton Place appears to have been the prevention of excessive waterweed growths over wide areas.  After the ending of nearly a century of rafting on these waters, rank growths of underwater weeds gradually spread, choking navigation and speeding the growth of mud shoals by slowing the normal flow.  In this way a large part of the lakes and river here was being progressively ruined for boating, swimming and the most popular types of fishing.

Now for nearly 20 years weed cutting machines have been operated by the Mississippi Lakes Association of Carleton Place.  Initiated by public-spirited citizens including the founding president, Mr. E. H. Ritchie, and bought and maintained by voluntary public support, these machines, together with other activities of the association, have been instrumental in keeping a large lake and river area in good usable condition.

The erection of additional scores of summer cottages of lengthening seasonal use and the occupation of an increasing number of year-round residences on the lake shores has followed this checking of the lakes’ deterioration.  Among the yearly products of this continued lake maintenance and development are additions to the volume of business of local merchandising and service trades, with the prospect of a continuing contribution of useful proportions to the population and general business and tax revenues of this area.

These gains can remain only if the lakes remain a desirable summer resort region.  The principal attraction inducing most of the lakeside summer visitors and residents of today to come here and to buy and continue to occupy property here is a readily accessible lake with water which has been kept fit for swimming and fishing and boating, activities of newly soaring national popularity.  A lake shrunken in usefulness and attraction by wide spreading weed beds, and with future boating by newcomers and others endangered by unmarked rocks, submerged piers and shoals, would not meet this modern test.  In that case many summer residents, both owners and tenants, soon would go elsewhere.  Such business benefits, instead of increasing, would decline accordingly.

It would be a greater loss to the town than appears to be generally recognized if insufficient assistance for this Lakes Association work were to lead to the eventual abandoning of our waterways near and in the town to their approaching weedy stagnation of fifteen or twenty years ago.

The Association’s prime mover and president since its founding, Mr. E. H. Ritchie, indicated a year ago his intention of asking to be replaced, after his many years of vigorous and successful direction of this Association’s activities.  The Mississippi Lakes Association at present is in urgent need of more Carleton Place members who are willing to give some of their time and ability in the spring and summer seasons to its particular community services, by helping in the management of the association’s work and annual membership fund collection campaigns on the lakeshore roads and in the town.

An enthusiastic response to this need and opportunity will ensure against a decline and ultimate loss of a large part of the water vacationland for which Carleton Place now serves as the headquarters.

Early Journalism Provided Doubtful Living, by H. M. Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 05 April, 1962

Journalism in Lanark and the Ottawa River counties had its birth in the now distant year of 1828.  The Bathurst Independent Examiner at that time began to be published weekly in the twelve year old community of Perth.  It appears to have been the first newspaper in the province to be located at an inland point north of the original Loyalist settlements which forty-five years earlier had been started along the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers and eastern Lake Ontario.

The Examiner after continuing for four years was re-established by William Tully as the British Constitution.  Mr. Tully had been a Perth mill owner and was a fighting Irishman of many controversies.  Under the banner of the British Constitution Perth’s newspaper survived for a year or less.  About a year intervened before it reappeared in 1834, with the same printing press, as the Bathurst Courier under the management of Malcolm Cameron.  Rising as a reformer in the sphere of provincial political affairs, he became the Hon. Malcolm Cameron in whose honour a commemorative plaque was erected several years ago in Perth by the Ontario Historical Sites Board.

Already there were about thirty newspapers in the province in the early eighteen thirties.  Those east of Kingston in 1833, in addition to the Perth weekly, were the Brockville Recorder and one other at Brockville, the Observer at Cornwall and the Grenville Gazette at Prescott.  Several years later Bytown gained its first weekly news publication in 1836.  In the Perth newspaper’s first year as the Courier it was called the Bathurst Courier and Ottawa Gazette.  For the next ten years it used the name Bathurst Courier and Ottawa General Advertiser.  Then it adopted its present title of the Perth Courier.

First Editors

The Rev. William Bell in his diary noted the arrival of Mr. Stewart’s printing press in Perth in March of 1828, “the first instrument of the kind that ever came to the place.”  John Stewart, founder and first editor of the pioneer Perth Independent Examiner, was the schoolmaster of the district’s fully state-supported public school, receiving for that service a salary of one hundred pounds form the provincial government.  Before the end of its first year the Examiner claimed to have 521 subscribers.

It had subscription agents at twenty-seven points from Hamilton east to Montreal.  Agents at nearby points were Manny Nowlan, innkeeper at Carleton Place ; John A. Murdoch, postmaster at Lanark ; John Toshack at Ramsay, William Stewart at Bytown and James Burke at Richmond ; Thomas Read at the March settlement, Mr. Ballantine at Merrickville, James Maitland, postmaster at Kilmarnock ; and J. B. Rutley at “Rideau Settlement,” probably Smiths Falls.

The Examiner’s later editor was Francis Henry Cumming.  He had been a British army officer of the 104th Regiment in the War of 1812-14 and an officer of the first militia regiment at Perth, and one of the early Commissioners of the Peace of this district.  He became the original editor of the Brockville Gazette in 1828, and returned to Perth within three years to acquire and undertake the editorial duties of the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

The remaining original record of this trail-blazing newspaper of the district, the parent or first incarnation of the venerable Perth Courier, appears to consist now of only about one third of the weekly numbers issued in its second year.  With much of the staple fare of today’s weekly press, the Examiner was spiced from time to time by serving as a forum for a few of the acrimonious public or personal local feuds which were a popular pastime of that period.

The top news sensation of the Examiner’s second year came in the luridly presented details of a murder trial and a public hanging which took place in front of the Perth jail, its final event a Roman holiday for the people of the town and adjacent areas, at which “the concourse of spectators was immensely large.”

Struggle For Existence

A struggle for journalistic existence was claimed before long in the Examiner editor’s pleas for subscription payments.  Some of John Stewart’s five hundred subscribers seemed to have failed to pay their annual fifteen shillings, either in cash or in kind.  At the first of January in 1830, traditional time for the settling of debts, the editor made this forthright demand:

To Our Patrons.  We want our payment for the Examiner, and we must have it ; for we can do no longer without it.  When our Agents distribute the papers, they will please ask every mother’s son of a subscriber for his cash, and all kinds of grain will be received at this office, at the market price, from our friends in the adjoining townships.  Since the commencement of our establishment we have sunk above 600 pounds in it, and (will it be believed?) we have not yet received enough to pay our Foreman’s wages.

Two weeks later he added:

Wanted.  Wheat, Corn, Rye, Barley, Oats, Pork or Cash, in payment for the Examiner.  Last year we did not press any one for payment, as we knew the failure of crops was the sole reason of the farmer not paying us.  This reason no longer exists.  All the appeals which we made for payment, since the new crops came in, have been hitherto disregarded.  The sleighing time has now come on, and payment we must have in one way or another.  Our patrons, we trust, will have no excuse.

Finally two months later came a further appeal:

Acknowledgments.  Since the winter set in we have received from our Patrons 15 bushels of oats, 7 of wheat and about as much cash as would pay for one week’s boarding for our workmen.  Our total receipts since the first of Dec. are not sufficient to cover the cost of one week’s publication.  Now if our friends mean to bring us anything they had better set about it in reality, and avail themselves of the very first dash of sleighing, as the season is far advanced, time is precious, and we cannot wait for payments till next winter.

Hard Times

Similar straits of tradesmen and businessmen and their local creditors, practically all working with little capital, are shown in such reports as those of sheriff’s seizures of property to enforce payments.  These were coupled with the ever-present further sanction of the power of confining defaulting debtors to a primitive jail.  These are some examples for the year of the calls upon debtors in the neighbourhood of Perth and Carleton Place.

Notice is hereby given to all indebted to Mr. Thomas Wickham to make payment of all debts by notes of hand or book account on or before the 10th of January, 1830, or their accounts, notes of hand, etc. will be given to a man of business for collection.  To save expence, they will do well to settle, as Mr. Thomas Wickham is not to suffer imprisonment the ensuing year, as he has done this year, in order to save others. – Perth, December 28th, 1830.

Notice.  All those indebted to the subscriber by note or book account are hereby notified that unless they make immediate payment the papers shall be put in the hands of one or the other of the three Perth doctors who are celebrated for blistering.  Charles Stuart, Booven-Hall, Beckwith.

Notice.  The Subscriber, having lately been tickled by a Limb of the Law, will be under the necessity of amusing those indebted to him in a similar manner, unless they will within ten days settle their accounts.  – Perth, 17th February, 1830.  John Lee, Tanner.

Sheriff’s Sale.  By virtue of two writs…..against the lands and tenements of Hugh Boulton, one at the suit of George L. Bellows, another at the suit of Richard Coleman; – Also by virtue of a writ…..at the suit of Daniel McMartin Esq., I have taken into execution as belonging to the said Hugh Boulton a plot of land in the east half of Lot No. 14 in the 12th Concession of Beckwith, containing about four acres, on which are erected a grist mill, saw mill, distillery etc., which I shall expose for sale at the Court house in Perth on Saturday the 19th of June next, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, to the highest bidder for Cash…..J. H. Powell, Sheriff, by J. A. H. Powell, D’y Sheriff.  Perth March 18th, 1830.

Subject to such temporary vicissitudes, the founder of the first mills of Carleton Place retained his industrial properties and water power rights here until he sold those on the north side of the Mississippi in 1850 to Alexander McLaren.  Those on the south side of the river, including his grist mill, oatmeal mill and stone residence, were sold some eight years after his death to Henry Bredin in 1866, by his son Hugh Boulton, Junior.  The Bredins in turn sold them a few years later to Horace Brown.

Carleton Place Business Changes

The opening of the first substantial retail merchandizing business in Carleton Place was advertised by this brief announcement which appeared in the Examiner for a number of weeks.

New Store.  The Subscriber begs leave to inform the inhabitants of Beckwith, Ramsay and the adjoining Townships that he has commenced business at Murphys Falls, on the Mississippi River, with a general assortment of goods suitable for that part of the country, which he will dispose of, on the most reasonable terms, for ready payment.  – August 8th, 1829.  Robert Bell.

Soon after a “commodious Distillery” in Carleton Place was being offered for sale by its first owner, with this notice in the Bathurst Independent Examiner.

Notice.  That commodious Distillery situated at Carleton Place, lately erected by the subscriber will be sold at public auction on Tuesday the 3rd day of November next, at the hour of 2 o’clock p.m., if not previously disposed of at private sale.  Terms of payment will be made easy to the purchaser. – Carleton Place, 13th Sept. 1829.  C. J. Bellows.

Other brief glimpses of the times of 1829 and 1830 from the pages of this district’s first newspaper will follow in a final installment.

No art can conquer the people alone – the people are conquered by an ideal of life upheld by authority. – William Butler Yeats.

Ducks Nearly Unlimited, Indian Relics Plentiful, by Howard Horton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 17 August, 1961

This is the second of three articles recalling hunting and fishing activities of many years ago in the Carleton Place area.

A century ago in the Eastern Ontario paradise for hunters and fishermen which extended throughout the then united counties of Lanark and Renfrew, locally organized action already was under way to protect wild animals from wasteful destruction.  Its first supporters, as mentioned in the preceding instalment of these stories, were a few foresighted hunters and other leading citizens of Carleton Place, Pakenham and Almonte. 

Later, with a spreading realization of the economic and esthetic benefits to be gained by men from his protection of wild birds and animals, there came a gradual revulsion against wanton slaughter in the forests, fields and lakes.  Among the victims, the long-extinct passenger pigeon still was shot here in numbers in the early 1880’s, as shown by reports of partridge and pigeon hunting in the townships bordering the Mississippi Lake.

First Finds of Indian Relics

Of the native Indians who a hundred and fifty years ago had been almost the sole inhabitants of the Lanark and Renfrew area, only a few stragglers still remained seventy-five years ago in Lanark County.  One of district’s first residents to record his interest in the excavated relics of the reign of the Indian hunter was Andrew Bell, a son of the Rev. William Bell of Perth.  In the early settlement days here he wrote in a letter:

“All the country hereabouts has evidently been once inhabited by the Indians, and for a vast number of years too.  The remains of fires, with the bones and horns of deers round them, have often been found several inches under the black mound. .. A large pot made of burnt clay and highly ornamented was lately found near the banks of the Mississippi, under a large maple tree, probably two or three hundred years old.  Stone axes have been found in different parts of the settlement.  Skeletons of Indians have been several times found, where they had died suddenly or had been killed by accident in the woods.  One was found in a reclining posture with its back against a hillock, and a rough-made stone tobacco pipe lying beside it.”

Another Pioneer Conservation Society

The wild life conservation movement in this district had expanded by the 1880’s to the arousing of organized local support for a wiser harvesting of most of the usual products of rod, gun, spear, trap and net, and for protection of other obviously harmless or beneficial wild creatures.  Carleton Place Herald editor James Poole in an editorial of nearly a hundred years ago already had claimed any man who would shoot a robin or other songbird would be capable of robbing his grandmother or of committing any other crime or rascality.

An organization in Carleton Place with these newer ideas for the conservation of practically all main forms of wild life was formed in 1884.  Under the title of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society it continued to operate for some years.  Original officers of the group were William Pattie, president ; Jim Bothwell, vice president ; Walter Kibbee, secretary-treasurer, and committee members John Cavers, Tom Glover, John Moore, Jim Morphy and Jim Presley ; elected at a May meeting in the old fire hall on Bridge Street, when a constitution drawn up by Robert Bell was adopted.  Other members pledged to support the rules of this pioneering wild life protective society were William Beck, Peter Cram, Jim Dunlop, John Flett, David Gillies, Charlie Glover, Tom Hilliard, Archie Knox and Tom Leaver ; Hugh McCormick, William McDiarmid, Hiram McFadden, Jim McFadden, Jim McGregor, George McPherson, William Neelin, Robert Patterson and William Patterson ; Dr. Robert F. Preston, Alex Sibbitt, William Taylor, William Whalen, Will R. Williamson, Alex Wilson and Joe Wilson.  Out of town sportsmen among the first members were Duncan Campbell, John Gemmill, D. G. MacDonnell and Tom Mitcheson, all of Almonte ; Jim Rogers of Montreal and R. W. Stevens of Ottawa.

At this time fishing on Sundays was illegal here as well as hunting on Sundays.  Only about five of these men were said to be still living in 1928 when a story recalling the formation of the Carleton Place wild life protective society of 1884 was published.

A social event sponsored by the Society in its first year was a steamboat excursion to the present Lake Park, then noted as “the old Regatta Grounds.”  The “Morning Star” and her two barges, with a number of skiffs in tow, carried three hundred people to the picnic ; which featured a rifle shooting competition, a baseball game, tug of war and track events, croquet, boating, and dancing to the exhilarating airs of the Willis bagpipes.

Game Law Enforcement

Two unfortunate Indians were among those who felt the first punitive effects of the new society’s protective activity.  This local story was published in October of 1884:

“Last Wednesday two Indians from St. Regis were about to pack up and leave their camp between Appleton and Almonte, on the Mississippi River, when a representative of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society appeared on the spot and confiscated a number of muskrat skins.

The fellows had been warned by the Society to desist trapping the animals until November.  The two offenders were brought to Carleton Place.  They had in their possession 126 muskrat skins, one mink skin and one raccoon skin.  The taking of the latter is not an offence.  The poor fellows were in most destitute circumstances.

The magistrate inflicted a fine of $10 and costs and the skins were confiscated.  They doubtless intended to do the river above Carleton Place at once, as has been their annual custom.  The Protective Society is extending its influence very rapidly in all directions from Carleton Place, having a good representative membership in many points at a distance.”

Duck Shooting Toll

Ducks in the 1890’s remained abundant and were shot by the hundreds by the most experienced hunters.  An 1890 published report of two Carleton Place duck hunters’ successes gave totals early in the season of 200 birds for one and 272 for the other, with one shooting 154 ducks in three days in a northerly expedition.  Heavy tolls by the relatively small numbers of hunters seemed to make little impression on the duck population.

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.”

Dollar and Cent Currency Adopted 100 Years Ago, by Howard Morton Brown, Carleton Place Canadian, 17 October, 1957

Early days in Carleton Place 100 years ago, prepared by Howard M. Brown

DECIMAL CURRENCY

We publish in our advertising columns a notice from the banks of Canadaviz.

Bank of Montreal, Bank of North America, Bank of Upper Canada, City Bank, Quebec Bank, Gore Bank, La Banque du Peuple, Molson’s Bank, Bank of Toronto, Niagara District Bank. They announce their intention of adopting, after January 1st next, a decimal system of currency or dollars and cents in their accounts. The course is rendered necessary by the Act of the last session which makes it incumbent on the Government to use that currency in their books. The banks require their customers to draw their notes for discount, which are to fall due on and after January 1st, 1858, in dollars and cents and to have their cheque books, etc., for use after that date prepared conformably to the new regulations.

We publish the following letter on the need for this development. Sir: Canada with her 2 ½ or 3 million people presents the curious anomaly of a nation without a currency, the only approach to which are the coppers issued by the banks. One gets a handful of silver and on looking it over presents the appearance of the plunder of numismatic collection. I once found the following assortment in a handful so received – a Prussian Thaler, a Roman Paulo, a French Franc and half Franc, some Spanish, Mexican, Portugese and Sardinian pieces, one Swedish coin, a few English shillings, and various United States fractions of a dollar. The Province stands committed to the decimal system and sooner or later all commercial accounts will be so kept. I would suggest the postage stamps should carry their value marked in cents instead of pence. The banks might also be authorized to issue silver tokens representing 5, 10 and 25 cents. The disintegration of the British empire would not be hastened by granting the Canadians a decimal coinage.

 AGRICULTURAL PICNIC

In consequence of the inclemency of the weather the Pic Nic or Outdoor Soiree in connection with the United Counties of Lanark and Renfrew Agricultural Society is postponed to Tuesday, July 7th, when it will take place in Mrs. Thomas Morphy’s woods, Carleton Place, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Tickets 1s.3d each. Robert Bell, Secretary and Treasurer.

THE ORANGE WALK

So long back as we can remember it has been usual to make a fuss, kick up a dust and drink a little whiskey to wash it down, on the 12th of July, in commemoration of the battle of the Boyne. That memorable day happening on Sunday this year, the 13th was duly ushered in by the discharge of musketry and the roll of the Protestant drum. It was a scorching hot day but the Orange men, Orange women, Orange boys and Orange girls from all parts of the country met in our village and had a general parade. Upwards of 2,000 persons were present. All seemed to enjoy themselves most admirably until evening, when the assembly quietly broke up and several lodges returned to their respective homes.

LATE REV. WM. BELL

Died at Perth, on Sabbath morning, August 16th, 1857, the Rev. William Bell, A.M., the Minister of the first Presbyterian Church, in the 78th year of his age and the 41st of his ministry. He arrived at Perth as the minister of the first Presbyterian settlers in June 1817. He had the honor of being the first to preach the gospel in Lanark, Ramsay, Beckwith, Smiths Falls, and other places, besides Perth, at all of which there are now flourishing congregations.

BUILDING A TOWN HALL

A special meeting of the Municipal Council of the Township of Beckwith was held at Mr. Lavallee’s Hotel, Carleton Place, on Tuesday July 28th at 11 o’clock a.m., for the purpose of receiving tenders for the building of a Town Hall for the said township. Mr. Brice McNeely moved, seconded by John Roberts, that the Council do purchase a site or certain piece of ground for the purpose of erecting a Town Hall for the benefit of the Township of Beckwith said parcel of land being part of the east half of lot 14 in the 8th concession of Beckwith on the Franktown and Carleton Place road. The five tenders were opened as received from Neil Stewart, Robert Metcalfe, Robert McLaren, Peter Campbell and Wm. Rorrison. A contract was then entered into by the Council with the lowest tenderer, Neil Stewart and securities, for the building of a Town Hall for the sum of 119 pounds, 10 shillings, the job to be finished by January 1st, 1858.

INNISVILLE CHURCH

Proposals will be received until October 10th for plastering and shingling the Church of St. John, in the 12th concession of Lanark, and for building a small vestry room thereto. A. Code, James Cooke, George Crampton, church-wardens, committee. Carleton Place September 30th, 1857.

GRAND SQUIRREL HUNT

A grand squirrel hunt will take place at Carleton Place on Monday, October 19th, 1857. Parties wishing to attend the same can do so by leaving their names at the Post Office and paying the fee. Wm. Morphy, Secretary.

SCHOOL ON SATURDAYS

From the (Ottawa) Citizen. That hardly a half of the usual number of pupils attend on Saturdays is a powerful reason why the schools should be closed on that day. All Grammer Schools are closed on Saturdays. The children attending the Common Schools are certainly as much and even more in need of recreation than those attending the former, since they are generally younger. There are some who argue that since the parents toil six days so the child ought.

FINANCIAL CRASH

The financial panic in the States which has increased week after week since the first of September has culminated. It commenced by the breaking down of the Ohio Life Insurance Company in August. Then came the crash in the South and the West, the suspension of all the Pennsylvania, the Baltimore and the Washington Banks. Rhode Island followed next, and all over New England the doors were closed. New York City and State stood out to the last, but the failure of some of the heaviest mercantile houses has been followed by a total suspension of specie payments by the entire fifty-one banks of the City, and a solid column of leading merchants, manufacturers and publishers has been driven to the wall.

BECKWITH TOWN HALL

In going to Franktown yesterday we noticed that the Town Hall which was lately erected for this township is about completed. It is a good sized frame building situated in a fine airy place on the hill opposite the Free Church. We understand Mr. John Roberts was so liberal as to make the township a present of the site for the building.