A Town Called Barbodies–Port Elmsley 101




Port Elmsley:
Was originally called Barbadoes and then Pike’s Falls. The railway station in the Historical Atlas of Lanark County is named Pike’s Falls station

Perth Courier, May 15, 1947

The History of Port Elmsley

By Mrs. D. Clements, historical conservator of the Port Elmsley Women’s Institute

“Barbodies” is believed to have been the first name of this village.  But in 1843 it was referred to as Pike Falls and was no doubt a military settlement, Perth being the county seat, business was transacted there.  Council meetings were held in the school and sometimes in Smith’s Falls which was a small village at that time.  Later, a new township hall was built and on December 22, 1854 the council held their first meeting in the new hall.  At the time the reeve was J. Best and the counselors were H. Cullen and A. Couch.  A crude road ran from here to Perth  part of it plank.  It was kept up by statute labor and was very bad.  There were board walks in the village and between Pike Falls and Perth there were two toll gates one at Lester Polk’s side road and one at Richardson’s side road near Perth.  Charges for a team and wagon were five cents; for a man and horse three cents; for a man walking nothing.



Perth Remembered-*Graphite Mine


A good part of the land was covered by bush so of course there were lumber mills, one west of the river Tay near the Porritt Haouse (where Mrs. Long now resides) and one near the village.

From these mills a wooden roan was built to the point at the present cheese factory.  Here the lumber was loaded in barges which came up the river Tay and by canal drawn by oxen.  Lumber was also loaded at the point at Mr. Elliotts’ known today as J. Wood’s farm.

B.S. Snyder owned a grist mill at the point where the cement house now stands.  There were also locks here. B.S. Snyder’s was near or on the exact spot where later Mr. McConnol, who operated the graphite mill, built the cement block house.

Mr. Snyder’s home was quite a show place with lovely orchard and grape vines.  Incidentally, this house is still in use having been moved farther up the village.


Lonestar-Cheesefactory-Port-Elmsley-644x407 (1).jpg

Perth Remembere Lonestar-Cheesefactory-Port-Elmsley

There were two warehouses at the Elliott farm (later Judge Elliott) and supplies were drawn from here to Perth by team.  In the early days supplies were “backed” in.  Houses in the village were mostly made of logs and in 1851 there was one tavern in Pike Falls.  Later, there were two hotels and a post office and a blacksmith shop.  There were also two stores.

Mr. Porrit owned a shoddy mill on the upper side of the dam and opposite, in what is known today as the “old mill” was a very fine woolen mill, a graphite mill.

Skating was a great past time in the old days and Pike Falls has always been famed for its fish.  Older inhabitants tell of the days when hundreds came to fish at what is known today as “Lavender’s Point” and the “block dam”, many bringing their teams and wagons.  Fish were taken there by the wagon load.

Most of the settlers came from Ireland and many of their descendents still live here.  There are a few Scottish descendants of the early days.  Some of the old names are Best. Lavender, Findlay, Moore, Clements and others.



The first school was a log building just west of the village.  Later it was considered necessary to erect a new and larger school in a more central location.  Land was purchased on the east side of the village from a Mr. Shaw, who owned the farm and land where Mr. and Mrs. E.  Lavender now live.  A frame building was erected.  In the year 1872 this building was blown down by a terrible wind storm at that time the trustees were Henry Hunter and B.S. Snyder.  These men decided to build a stone school two stories high to accommodate two classes.  The contract was given to Robert Elliott of Perth and work was begun the following spring and in the meantime classes were conducted in the township hall by the teacher who were teaching when the school was blown down, Miss Barbara McPherson.

In the fall of 1873 the new school was opened with Miss Margaret O’Hara (later Dr. Margaret O’Hara of India) and Miss Marjory Robinson in charge.  This was the only year that both rooms were used.  In the early days as many as 120 pupils attended.  In the frame school Isobel and Rachel Elliott taught (sisters of Judge Elliott) and Nathaniel McLenaghan who later became a member of the provincial legislature.

At the first meeting in the new township hall it was agreed to allow church services to be held in the hall.  Later, Mr. Shaw gave a piece of land where the old Anglican graveyard is.  Here a church was built which was intended as a community church.  It was called the Anglican church and was built in 1860.  Rev. H. Campbell, who came from one of the islands off the coast of Scotland was instrumental in building St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in 1886.


The lovely little church which stands in the village today, St. James Anglican Church, was built in 1900.  Rev. Mr. Low organized the building of the church and there is a story of how when Rev. Mr. Low asked for donations to build the church, a small boy, when leaving the church after the service, gave Rev. Mr. Low ten cents.

As far back as 1858, the name Port Elmsley was being used, but the writer was not able to find out when the name was changed or the meaning of it.


In a statement defending his later plans to build a dam across the Tay, Port Elmsley mill-owner (and ostensible founder) Alexander Weatherhead described the pre-canal state of the Tay as a means of transport. The river in its natural state runs about the distance of a mile and a half a very strong rapid with twelve or fourteen inches depth of water, which is only in the month of April. The rapid is such that it is impossible to propel the lightest craft, even a bark canoe, in any way against it.

From Barbadoes To Port Elmsley— great photos


*The Graphite Mine- Perth Remembered

The mine was situated on the Rideau Ferry Road about three miles from the village. A mill was built at the mines, run by steam, but ore could not be successfully processed. In 1901-02 the Globe Refining Co. (an American company) took over the mine. They bought the woolen mill and installed close to $100,000 worth of machinery. Rinaldo McConnell was the manager of the mill. A dam was built above the mill, and remnants still remain. Much of the earth was stripped from village lots to build the dam. Thirty-five to fifty men and some ties more were employed. Teams of horses hauled the ore to the mill. Large stables were built and the company’s horses pastured on what is known as the Company Lot. The “Back Dam” is the remains of a dam built by the Graphite Co. The company bought much of the land in the village around 1908 and housing accommodations were provided for the employees. By 1924 the supply of graphite was petering out and it still could not be processed satisfactorily and was abandoned. Eventually beginning in 1930 and ending in 1936, all the graphite property and machinery were sold for taxes by the township.


A small post village situated in the Township of North Emsley, 
and County of Lanark. It contains an Episcopalian Chuich, is 
distant from Perth, the County Town, 6 miles, and its population 
is about 100. 

Allan, A., woollen factory 
Borrowman, David, waggon maker 
Frost & Wood, saw mill proprietors 
Sherwood^ Hamilton, saw mill proprietor

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

Dragstrip Girl was Playing on The Port Elmsley Screen — Passion in the Back Seat

What Was Playing at the Port Elmsley Drive in 1970?


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News


The Bomb Girls of Smiths Falls



1944-06-24– Photo-Heritage House Museum

During World War II Frost & Woods of Smiths Falls won a government contract to produce over 100,00 No. 36 hand grenades per month. For those of you who have no idea who Frost & Woods was, here is a brief synopsis:

For over 116 years they were known as one of the largest manufacturers of durable farm implements in Canada. In fact, the company was considered one of the most technology advanced firms of their time. So, it wasn’t a surprise that during the second world war they were awarded a contract to produce grenades as well as artillery shells and chests to hold ammunition. The factory also made the bolts and bushing for the Lancaster Bombers- and Frost & Wood was known as the largest producer of munitions in Eastern Ontario. What a lot of people don’t know is that most of these employees producing this ammunition were women.  

Canada introduced new initiatives during the second world war to improve wartime production levels, and one of these was an appeal to women to register for war service work. There were over 900,000 workers, male and female, in Canada’s factories in WWII when Canada’s population was only around 11 million. Most women took these jobs not only because their husbands were away at war, but because wages in munitions plants averaged more than those for traditional female jobs.

On September 10, 1939, when Canada followed Britain and declared war on Germany factories rapidly converted over to wartime industries. Cockshutt and Frost & Wood in Smiths Falls were no exception. The Canadian Government ordered the Cockshutt Plow Company to begin manufacturing equipment for the air force, while Frost & Wood converted to a munitions factory and employed over 1,200 people at the peak of wartime production. These women and men learned how to prime the number 36 grenade that some say resembled a pineapple. The reason the grenade was designed that way was so it would explode into many fragments.


Photo- Etsy


When assembling the grenade, a worker inserted a dynamite cap into a receptacle inside the grenade. The base could then be unscrewed, which was kept separate until ready for action. Inside was a small tube that had to be inserted into another part inside the body of the grenade. This small tube had a mixture of Foamite of Mercury inside, and was so unstable, even the heat from someone’s hand could cause it to explode. Once the base plate was screwed back on, it was then primed and ready.



Photo- Heritage House Museum


When the pin was pulled, a spring loaded mechanism inside would activate, creating the grenade to explode.Though Frost & Wood produced grenades and shell casings, the munitions were not filled with explosive powder in Smiths Falls and were often shipped empty to be filled later in the United Kingdom.They were lucky, as producing bombs and ammunition was extremely dangerous work. Small incorrect movements or misplacements of material could trigger accidental explosions.


January 24-1944-Photo- Heritage House Museum

Female industrial workers could not keep up with demand as the war progressed. The September 6, 1943, issue of Newsweek reported that 3.2 million new workers were needed for industry—primarily in munitions.  Former employees of Frost & Woods remember being able to walk in and pick whatever job they wanted to do.  Smiths Falls attracted many young employees to the area and during the war young Annie Barber moved to the area. Working out of the head office as a secretary, Barber remembers working in a room they called “The Blue Room” where the windows were painted over with blue paint because there were no curtains.


Photo–Heritage House Museum


Some of these unarmed grenades made at Frost & Woods were kept by employees at the time, and later passed down through their families. According to some their mothers never spoke much about what they did, as I am sure they were well aware of what they were making. Recognition for the value of their work has been a long time coming, but even now – despite all they faced – I am sure the surviving “bomb girls” never saw themselves as heroines because they were busy “doing their bit”  for their country. For all these reasons, the contribution of women workers in the military ammunition industry to the war effort was exemplary and their involvement in the defence of our country invaluable.

Today the horn of Frost & Woods no longer sounds at lunch time and at 5 pm as the company eventually closed in 1955 and later demolished to what the population remembers as: “every last brick”. But, the memories of the women and men who stepped up as local citizens still hangs in the air of where Frost & Woods once stood. The women came to work and took their lunch pail to a man’s job– as they all knew they could be something more, and they all were, right to the end.


With files and photos from Heritage House Museum Smiths Falls


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

Did Anyone Have Fun in Ashton? Part 2- The Fleming House





Yesterday I posted a story about Ashton (Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton? Ashton 101) and Marla Reid very graciously sent me some photos.

I lived in the Fleming house growing up in Ashton. Just a barn and The Carruthers then us. On the east side going north from the store. Have fun in Ashton??? Who didn’t?  I think it was the safest place to be raised. It was/is a family community who took/takes care of each other.

The Flemming House circa 1969-73 my parents bought it in the summer of ’69. It got cream siding after ’92 and the blue spruce had to be taken down in the mid ’90’s due to roots ruining the foundation.


The Fleming Home in the winter


Side view of the Fleming home and wee Marla on the porch.


Greater Ashton Community Association Winter Carnival ~ The GACA


Thank you Marla for sending these. I have very little on Ashton so this just made me smile. If you have pictures please send them and I will put them up.


Related reading

Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton? Ashton 101

Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton? Ashton 101




According to Wikipedia and other archives I researched yesterday; the first settler in Ashton was listed as John Sumner. This morning on the LCGS Facebook page– Jim Amy Kirkpatrick said that John Sumner was NOT the first settler in Ashton. *William McFadden, a veteran of the war of 1812-1814 settled on Lot1, W1/2, Concession 8 in about 1817 – years before John Sumner came to Canada. The Beckwith side was also settled at about the same time.

Well,  John Sumner became a merchant and chose to be near the Goodwood River, (now known as the Jock River) which gave the village the power it needed to establish a mill. Every single other town had a mill, so why shouldn’t Ashton?

The village’s former name was Mount Pleasant or Sumner’s Corners (after John Sumner) (c1840) and an outlet was established for mail in the area, but the post office did not officially open until July 6, 1851. I guess in that era you could have any job you choose and Sumner decided to become the postmaster.

Sumner was instrumental in naming the settlement, and there are two schools of thought regarding the same name. One group says Sumner named Ashton after his ancestral home at Ashton-under-Lyne in England, and the opposing group says it was so named because of his successful pot ashery establishment.

The Historical Atlas of Carleton County of 1879 refers to Ashton as ‘a smart little country village with many encouraging evidence of material prosperity and healthy improvement surrounded by many fair farms and not just a few fine ones’.


After 15 years of Sumner residing there, the village had reached 100 in population, with a few churches, and a school with an average attendance of about 40 pupils.  The Jock river’s name was changed after a Frenchman named Jacques drowned in that very same river in the early 19th century.

As I searched the newspaper archives I noticed there were few Ashton social notes in the Almonte Gazette or the Perth Courier. Sure there were births and deaths, but that was about it. I wondered why no one was reporting about socials and then figured no one had the time to do it- or maybe they were just content without having to blast something across the county.

In 1950– 115 acres of land was going for $5000 according to the Ottawa Journal. In the 70s the Ashton Feed Mill had a flea market and auction hall and Gerald Lepage was the auctioneer. A teacher could make herself a fine $1500 a year in 1954 teaching the local kids in SS #5 in Munster.


I did find something amusing in the March 22, 1969 Arizona Star that Richard Kidd from Ashton, Ontario won a World Book Atlas, but I am not upgrading my newspaper archives service to $19.99  a month to find out the details– so you can ask him personally. Or, was there another Richard Kidd in the area?




www.mcelroy.caWilliam McElroy watering his horse (and buggy) in the Jock River


Reg Delahunt from Ashton -Old Canadian Newspaper files- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Mrs. Lorne Robinson wins big bucks from CKOY


From Fuller’s Directory for 1866 and 1867

Ashton possesses a water power, and contains Episcopalian and Presbyterian Churches. Distant from Perth, the County Town, 23 miles.

Population about 125

Argue, George, tanner and currier

Church, Clarence, M.D.

Conn, James, general merchant

Cosier, James, waggon maker

Fanning, Daniel, hotel keeper

Fleming, James, boot and shoe maker

Glover, William, blacksmith

Kelly, Patrick, cabinet maker

Kenedy, Robert, grocer

Lamont, John, tailor

Lindsay, James, carpenter

McFarlane, Donald, hotel keeper

Moore, Hugh, tailor

Robinson, Donald, blacksmith

Robinson, Hugh, waggon maker

Shore, John W., J.P., carpenter and builder

Stewart, Benjamin, cabinet maker

Sumner, James, general merchant and postmaster

Torrance, Robert, blacksmith

Turner, John, carpenter


William McFadden– Bytown.net

October 18, 2006:

I came across your enquiry regarding William McFadden.  I am a decendent and 
have researched the family line up to the present day.  William McFadden was 
born in 1788, Tyrone Ireland.  He married an Ann Foster also of Tyrone.  
They had 8 children.  William died on Sept. 24, 1881 and is buried in Ashton, Ontario, Canada.  

There is information available in the Goulburn Achives and in the Atlas of 
Carleton County.

John Summner–

Start of High Street Carleton Place

On the Perth road, now High Street, a dozen of the village’s buildings of 1863 extended from Bridge Street along the north side of the road for a distance of about two blocks.  There was only one building on its south side, the large stone house torn down several years ago, at the corner of Water Street.  It was built in 1861 by John Sumner, merchant, who earlier at Ashton had been also a magistrate and Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Battalion.  Carleton Militia.

-Brenda Holtz added:
Hello there….I just wanted to let you know that Sylvie Pignal donated the wicket from the old post office from the Ashton General Store to the Goulbourn Museum at Stanly’s Corners just outside of Stittsville.

-Sadly, there is a plaque on the Jock River bridge attesting to the drowning of a young girl in 1998. Etched on the plaque are the words:

“May this river never claim another life”

Perth Courier, June 6, 1890

Stewart—Died, at Ashton on Thursday, 29th May Rev. James Stewart, aged 35.

Elsewhere in the same paper:

On Tuesday of last week word was received in town that Rev. James B. Stewart, Presbyterian minister of the congregation at Ashton and Appleton had died and the remains were interred in Elmwood Cemetery, Perth on Saturday afternoon.  The deceased was born in Scotland 35 years ago and was married about two years ago to Jennie McLaren of Perth, youngest daughter of the late B.(?) A. McLean who with one child survives him. Mr. Stewart was inducted in Ashton and Appleton only a year back and his early death is much deplored by his congregation.

Perth Courier, July 1, 1898

Mrs. Jessie Conn, relict of the late James Conn, died Wed., June 15 at the residence of her son Harvey, Moore St., Carleton Place.  Her maiden name was Jessie Stewart and she was a native of Scotland but has spent the last number of years in Ashton.  The funeral took place from her late residence in Ashton the following Friday afternoon and was largely attended.

Perth Courier, Oct. 13, 1898

Middleville:  Ed. McFarlane has left us.  He intends to open up a shop at Ashton

Perth Courier, January 1, 1869

Married, at Carleton Place on Christmas Day, by the Rev. L. Halcroft (?), Mr. E. Flander to Miss Emily Cosier of Ashton.

Perth Courier, Jan. 11, 1884

Cherry-Stewart—Married, at Ashton on the 27th Dec., by Rev. J. M. McAllister, Mr. William Wesley Cherry of Stittsville (?) to Miss Ellen Toshack (?) Stewart, eldest daughter of Mr. Neil Stewart of Ashton.

Carleton Place Herald, Feb. 24, 1903

An article ran in this paper concerning a dinner given in honor of the pastor, Rev. A.A. Scott, of Zion Church.  I thought maybe this would be a good place to present the information contained in this article on the history of this church, as obviously from the above, it was a great loss to the community when it burned down some years after this article ran.

The congregation was established in 1868.  At a meeting of the Presbytery held in Almonte, a requisition was received to which was attached 120 signatures, asking the Presbytery to constitute then a separate charge. In Perth, at a later meeting of the same Presbytery, (for at that time all this territory was covered by the Ottawa Presbytery), held on May 6, 1868, the request was granted and Zion congregation was established, being one of three – Black’s Corners, Ashton and Carleton Place – under one pastorate.

033605-26 Harold Scott BOBIER, 29, Farmer, Stittsville, Stittsville, s/o Albert BOBIER & Margaret Jane BOBIER; married Sarah Kathleen HAMILTON, 23, Secretary, Ashton, Ashton, d/o James John HAMILTON & Elizabeth Emma CRAIG; wit Nichola G. BRADLEY, Ashton & Ethel E. LEACH, Richmond, 23 Oct 1926, Goulbourn Twp

033610-26 Milton BOYLE, 46, Farmer, Munster, Ashton, s/o James BOYLE (b. Goulbourn Twp) & Annie CASSIDY; married Lucy May RICHARDS, 40, Wid, Carleton Place, Carleton Place, d/o John LOWE (b. Goulbourn Twp) & Annie McFADDEN; wit Lillian W. CLARKE, Bells Corners & E. Almina ACRES, Britannia, 20 Oct 1926, Britannia, Nepean twp

033623-26 Michael CORKERY, 62, Farmer, Wid, Ramsay Twp, Goulbourne Twp, s/o Dennis CORKERY (b. Almonte) & Margaret McGOVERN; married Catherine SULLIVAN, 45, Goulbourne Twp, Goulbourne Twp, d/o Daniel O. SULLIVAN (b. Goulbourne) & Margaret CONBOY; wit Albert FORREST, Ashton Station & Vera E. HAMILTON, Smiths Falls, 15 Sept 1926, Goulbourne

033643-26 William Hubert GARLAND, 25, Farmer, Dwyers Hill, Stittsville, s/o Edward W. GARLAND (b. Goulbourne) & Lavina BLEEKS; married Barbara TRIMBLE, 21, Munster, Ashton, d/o Andrew B. TREMBLE (b. Goulbourne) & Ellen Jane HILL; wit Elmer GARLAND & Mrs. Elmer GARLAND, both Richmond, 6 Nov 1926, Ashton

The Ashton General Store

April 6  2016

Dear friends and valued customers,

It is with great regret that we must inform you that, despite our best efforts to the contrary, the owner of the building in which our business, The Ashton General Store, is located has decided that we will have to close our doors for good on April 22nd, 2016. Somehow, the owner, the Estate of our dearly departed friend, Bill Patterson, has concluded that the value of an empty building is greater than a building containing our viable and vibrant business serving the community.

It is hard for us to express the sorrow we feel knowing that we will no longer have the privilege of greeting you in the mornings and wishing you the best day ever, or helping you deliver an important parcel for your grand-daughters’ birthday or, just chatting with a friend.

When we first bought the business in 2011, we had a vision that it should be a community space; a place where we could all gather and feel comfortable enjoying each other’s company. We and our family all regret the loss to our community more than any economic hardship we ourselves may suffer. Our thoughts are with you.

You will always be our Ashton family. We love you all!

Sincerely, Jean and Sylvie Pignal

Related reading

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

How to Make Santa’s Footprints– from Love on the Farm




Thanks to my friend Christine Terepora for sending me this. It’s from Love From The Farm

Santa’s Footprints
What you’ll need
Baking soda (aka bicarb soda)
Pair of boots
Baking tray (larger enough to fit Santa’s boots)
Water squirter
How you do it
Start with your baking soda and a baking tray or similar. There’s no particular ratio. Make sure that the tray is big enough to easily fit at least one boot at a time while your working on the footprints. Spray footprint, then press in the baking soda

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News



A Postcard to Caldwell’s Mills



$_57 (43).JPG

Sandy Caldwell built a mill in the 1800s that employed over 50 men- but it was burned down twice by fire in 1888 and 1929 and was rebuilt each time on the original cement piers. Having given what they say is the old college try, the mill finally closed down in 1979.The Campbell General Store opened in 1901 and dutifully served the town until 1935.  It has been documented that the Campbell General’s store was second to none with orders sent on the night train to Renfrew, with arrival of the items the very next morning. Now that is what you call service!

There was a Caldwell’s Mills post office that opened in 1883 but later in 1966 everything was moved to Clyde Forks. The railway station was nothing but an old box car with the undercarriage removed and seats bolted to the walls with an old box stove heating the place. On side was a waiting room and the other was reserved for freight. That incredible makeshift piece of architecture is a cottage somewhere in Lanark County. If anyone knows what happened to it– please let me know.


$_57 (62).JPG

– CLYDE FORKS  Lanark 1890s Caldwell Lumber Mill 


Perth Courier, June 3, 1870

The body of the unfortunate girl Margaret Tullis who it will be remembered was drowned in the Mississippi River in April, was found last Monday by some raftsmen not over 25 yards from the bridge off which she had fallen and about ten feet of water.  Her remains were interred in the Presbyterian burying grounds, Perth, on Tuesday following.

Another death by drowning in this neighborhood has just been related to us.  A French Canadian named Eustache Cardinell, late resident of Darling was the victim.  Deceased was in the employ of Abial(?) Marshall, Esq., of Darling, at Ramsay, driving saw logs down the Clyde and when about half way between Caldwell’s Mills and Bower’s old mill stand on Saturday last, he fell into the water and never reappeared on the surface alive.  The unfortunate man could not swim a stroke and he went down like a shot after the took the plunge.  His body was found the next day.  He leaves a widow and five children to lament his early demise.


$_57 (43).jpg



Genealogy Notes for Jane Paul:
Jane was living at Caldwell’s Mills at the time of her mother’s death in 1905.

Marriage Notes for Jane Paul and R. McEwen:
At the time of Jane’s wedding to R. McEwen, she was living at Caldwell’s Mills.


Related Reading:

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

Have you Ever Heard about Doran? Here Come da’ Judge!


Dorans Rapids

Today I saw mention of a small hamlet called Doran near  Perth. Even though I studied long and hard for the last Lanark County Genealogical Society Bus tour of 2015 somehow that name had escaped me. So as Janet Dowdall reminded me on Saturday I became obsessed  focused with finding out about the community.

Dorans Rapids is located on the Fall River in Lot 2, Concession 9, of the Bathurst Ward and these mills were owned at once owned Alvah Adams, son of Joshua Adams of Adamsville (Glen Tay). Later, they were owned by William Doran and the saw mill and grist mill became known as the Village of Doran. John Doran was also the postmaster of Doran in 1857 and became Warden of Lanark County from 1869-70.


The St. George Hotel had a direct relationship to the ececonomicc and social development of Perth. Constructed in 1830 by John Doran–Perth Remembered

William Doran advertised about the sawmill and grist mill in the Village of Doran in  November 1862 of the Perth Courier. He mentoned John was to let ‘his grist mill in the 9 Township of Bathurst, containing three run of stones, and one of the best Smut Machines in the Province. Also in that offer was his sawmill and two upright saws, one edging saw and shingle machine.  It was  said that both mills were new, well fitted up, and in good working order; and either or both would be leased to a respectable person.’

John Doran, became a stipendiary magistrate, registrar, and judge of the Division Court in the District of Nipissing, dates his birth at Perth, county of Lanark, Out., January 10, 1826. His parents were John Doran, senior, who came from Wexford, Ireland, alone, when quite young, and was a merchant at Perth; and Mary McGarry, who was from the county of West Meath, Ireland. His father died at Perth in 1850; his mother is still living, being in her 76th year.

Judge Doran was educated in the Perth grammar school; at an early age became a clerk in his father’s store, holding that situation for 14 years, and when the latter died, the son suceeded him, and had a successful business career, retiring at the end of a dozen years. While a resident of Perth, he took an active part in municipal matters and public enterprises; was for nineteen years in succession a member of the town council; was also reeve for several years, and was warden of the united counties of Lanark and Renfrew, in 1854 and in 1868, after the separation of these counties, was warden of Lanark. Few men have ever done more or better work in the municipalities of these counties while united, than Judge Doran. He was appointed magistrate in 1851.

In 1869 the Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald appointed him to the offices which he now holds, his residence being at Pembroke, county of Renfrew, since 1870. His courts are held quarterly, at Mattawa, a hundred miles from Pembroke.

The Judge is chairman of the Roman Catholic separate school trustees, and of the General Hospital committee, and was chairman of the building committee, when the Roman Catholic church, at Pembroke, was in the process of erection. He is a man of much public spirit, being at one time a director of the Brockville and Ottawa, now Canada Central railway. His politics are Reform, and he was an unsuccessful candidate, some years ago, for Parliament.

In 1867, the  Judge married Miss Mary Philomena Lynn, of Eganville, county of Renfrew, and they have four children living, and have buried one son. The Judge is a man of very kindly disposition, generous hearted and a warm friend of the poor.

DORAN from Fuller’s directory for 1866 and 1867 

A small post village situated in the Township of Bathurst, and 
County of Lanark, near the line of the Brockville and Ottawa 
Railway. It is distant from Perth, the County Town, 15 miles, 
and has a population of about 50. 

Crossen, James F., miller 
Doran, Michael, accountant 

Doran, William, postmaster, mill owner, and general merchant 
McDonald, Allan A., hotel keeper 
Thompson, James, shingle manufacturer 
Tucker, John, sawyer


On September 23, 1866 the United County was dissolved and the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew established as separate municipalities. Daniel Galbraith (1812-1879) was elected the first Warden of Lanark County. Perth continued to serve as the County Seat for Lanark. The Township Reeves comprising that first Lanark County Council were; Bathurst – William Lees (1821-1903) Beckwith – Patrick Struthers (1830-1927) Burgess – M. Stanley Dalhousie & Lavant – William Purdon (1804-1896) Drummond – Abraham Code (1828-1898) Elmsley – Duncan McGregor Lanark – James Affleck (1813-1893) Montague – John McGill Chambers (b.1805) Pakenham – Young Scott (1803-1880) Ramsay – Daniel Galbraith (1812-1879) Darling – Peter Guthrie (1826-1914) South Sherbrooke – Thomas Moore (1826-1887) Town of Perth – John Doran (b.1826) Smiths Falls – J.H. Gould Lanark Village – William Robertson (1823-1903)

Perth Courier, Jan. 19, 1872

We are glad to see the ever welcome face of our old townsman, John Doran, once more among us.  Mr. Doran brought his family with him from Pembroke and intends remaining here about a week before returning home

Perth Courier, August 30, 1872

On Sunday, 18th inst., 3 men started from the mill premise of William Doran, Esq., at Doran Village up the river for Maberly.  There men were named James Robertson and his brother who was lately arrived from Glasgow, Scotland, and Archibald Kane.  They proceeded up the river in a flat bottomed boat to Maberly, a distance of four miles.  The three men remained there all day Sunday until dark and during their stay they drank considerable liquor until all three were intoxicated, especially James Robertson.  At about dark, they started back to Doran, but not until Robertson (deceased) had to be helped into the boat so much was he under the influence of liquor.  They had proceeded down the river until within a short distance of Doran when through some misadventure the boat capsized and all three were thrown into the water.  The younger Robertson and Kan managed to reach the shore but James Robertson sank immediately and never rose again until the grappling hooks brought his lifeless body to the surface of the water.  The two man, after getting ashore, wandered about in the woods until about 2:00 Sunday morning when they came to the residence of the deceased and gave the alarm.  Immediate search was made for the body but not until nearly sundown was it recovered with the fatal bottle of whiskey in one of the coat pockets that must have helped to drag him down to the muddy bottom of the stream.  Mr. Doran with the assistance of the neighbors conveyed the body to its late home and washed and dressed it.  The funeral took place the next day to the burial ground on the 6th Line Bathurst.  Deceased was a miller by trade, having worked with Mr. Doran in that capacity for the past year.  Previous to that he had been employed in the Moffat Mill in Pembroke for nearly ten years.  He always bore a good character being industrious, kind and obliging in manner except when under the influence of liquor.  Deceased’s family is left in particular unfortunate circumstances there being a wife and seven small children the youngest only two months old—wholly unprovided for, to mourn his loss

Perth Courier, January 6, 1899

The saddest news we have to record this week is the death of our old townsman Judge William Doran of North Burgess which occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at his residence in that town.  His age was about 63 years. Judge Doran was born in the town of Perth and was the son of John Doran, native of County Wexford, Ireland.  The family was a large one and the boys unusually strong, hearty and vigorous and it is sad and also strange to realize that not one of the list of stalwart youths and then grown up men who were so well known in town and country 20 to 50 years ago are alive today.  Of these men two of them, John and William, rose to prominence as public men; both were Liberal candidates at parliamentary elections and both became judges of the Nipissing District by appointment of the Ontario government.

The Doran family were cousins of Messrs. William, Alexander, and Patrick McGarry of Drummond and the late Rev. Father Stafford of Lindsay, Tobias of Renfrew, Thomas of Lanark Township, Henry of Almonte and John of Perth (the last two deceased).  Judge William Doran married Miss McRae of Wolfe Island and leaves behind him his widow and a family of sons and daughters.  He also leaves one sister Maggie who is a nun in Hotel Dieu, Kingston.  Deceased owned a saw mill in Rokeby(?), S. Sherbrooke for some years and gave up that business to accept the judgeship of Nipissing District, a position which he filled with efficiency.  About 1878 he was chosen the Liberal candidate for S. Lanark for the Ontario legislature and made the best fight any Liberal ever made in this Conservative hive going to within 169 of victory.  His opponent was the late Abraham Code.  Judge Doran was a genial, whole hearted man.  He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perth Courier, August 5, 1870

Legarce-Hall—Married, at Doran’s Mills on the 19th July, by the Rev. Dr. Chisholm of Perth, Mr. Joseph Legarce to Miss Rose Ann Hall, both of Dalhousie

1852 Census of Canada
11 Doran, John Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 27 M
12 Doran, James Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 25 M
13 Doran, Wm Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 21 M
14 Doran, Michel Law Student Canada West Roman Catholic 18 M
15 Doran, Peter Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 17 M
16 Doran, Richard Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 15 M
17 Doran, Mary Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 12 F
18 Doran, Julia Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 11 F
19 Doran, Thomas Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 7 M
20 Doran, Margaret Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 5 F

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

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