Suicides and Crime Genealogy–Know Your Burial Procedure

Suicides and Crime Genealogy–Know Your Burial Procedure


Photo by Robert McDonald- St. James Cemetery Walk


Some times it gets frustrating not finding church records or headstones for those searching their families genealogy. If one of your ancestors took a dram of Carbolic Acid or Paris Green, or charged with a felony, chances are you will have great difficulty in finding them.

Church law on suicides has never been as simple as many make out, in most cases it fell on the the locals to decide whether the body could be buried in the churchyard or not and indeed whether he would perform the funeral service in the church at the grave or not at all.

In the St, James Anglican Church cemetery in Carleton Place there are bodies buried on the outside of the fence near the road as they had been charged with a crime or committed suicide. The responsibility of deciding in what case the exceptions be made was once thrown upon the clergyman who had cure of all the souls in the parish where the suicide is to be buried.

In the year 1823 it was enacted that the body of a suicide should be buried privately between the hours of nine and twelve at night, with no religious ceremony. In 1882 this law was altered where every penalty was removed except that internment could not be solemnised by a burial service, and the body may now be committed to the earth at any time, and with such rites or prayers as those in charge of the funeral think fit or may be able to procure. It was now lawful for these to be buried in consecrated ground, although without the benefit of a religious service. It also brought to an end the tradition of driving a stake through the body and throwing lime over it.

Before 1880 no body could be buried in consecrated ground except with the service of the Church, which the incumbent of the parish or a person authorized by him was bound to perform; but the canons and prayer-book refused the use of the office for excommunicated persons, for some grievous and notorious crime, and no person able to testify of his repentance, unbaptized persons, and persons against whom a verdict of felony had been found. .




At a burial in a cemetery (as opposed to churchyards) there would have been the usual burial service (always assuming that there were mourners there to attend of course). It wouldn’t have been any different to any other funeral really, and the grave could have been in either consecrated or unconsecrated ground.

Not all ground in a cemetery is consecrated because if you think about it logically, there are burials for all different sorts of religions and creeds and it would not do for a Muslim for example to be buried in consecrated ground, or someone of the Jewish faith to be interred in such ground. These faiths usually have their own sections within cemetery grounds.

Deaths by suicide are eventually registered in the normal way however as the death is “unexpected” it will be reported to the Coroner and he will hold an inquest. If such a death occurred in your family in the past there should be some record within the coroner’s office – but not sure how long they keep the records – not all coroners keep them since the year dot!!



From - The Dominion Annual Register For the Twentieth Year of the Canadian
Union 1886.  Edited by Harry James Morgan.






Clipped from The Pittsburgh Press,  16 Jul 1911, Sun,  Page 2



Believe it or Not!!!-

Clipped from The Brandon Sun,  08 Jul 1975, Tue,  Page 12


Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  24 Sep 1915, Fri,  Page 9


Clipped from The Coffeyville Daily Journal,  02 Jan 1897, Sat,  Page 2


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)



Twitching or Grave Dousing– Our Haunted Heritage

The Sad Lives of Young Mothers and Children in Early Carleton Place

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

Tales of the Tombstones — The Crozier Children




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Hit By Lightning

Hit By Lightning


Most of those that got hit by lightning lived in rural areas, and many were farmers. Why then are people not fried by bolts in increasing numbers? The answer, in part, is plumbing and tractors– how about that…

In the 1890s, lightning most commonly killed people asleep on their beds inside their homes like Henry Crampton in Scotch Corners. That doesn’t happen anymore. If lightning strikes a home now, there’s enough wiring and plumbing for the electricity to ground out.

Did you know that in the 1920s, only 1 percent of homes in the U.S. had electricity and plumbing? By the 1930s, Canada had developed codes regulating both, and as more buildings followed those regulations they became safer. Since the 1950s, nearly all homes in the U.S. have both electricity and plumbing, and consequently very few getting hit by lightening.

But this is the first time I have ever heard that someone was tattooed by lightening.


Clipped from The Coffeyville Daily Journal,  02 Jan 1897, Sat,  Page 2

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  29 Jul 1898, Fri,  Page 1



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


Killed by Lightening– Martin Rachfort

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

Lightening Strikes Again –The Storm of 1972

The Day The Wizard of Oz Came to Carleton Place


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Bingo Winner 1950

Bingo Winner 1950


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 12 Sep 1950, Tue, Page 28

Anyone remember this?

Sandy France–-I think the car was an Austin A40. We kept in in our garage until the day of the bingo.I was nine years old at the time.

Thanks Sandy!!

In 1947 the Austin A40 Devon and Dorset marked the first new post-war car to come from Longbridge. The former had either a four-door body or Countryman estate car, while the latter was a two-door saloon. All models seated four or five passengers and had an engine that drove the rear wheels. The Dorset ceased production in 1948 but the Devon continued to be built until 1952 in saloon form and until 1956 as a Countryman and sold for about $6855.68 in 1950.

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?





Doug B. McCarten— Were you aware Linda Seccaspina that the two funeral homes in Carleton  Place had political leanings?? It was an unspoken practice, but all Conservatives were buried from the Kelly Funeral Home and all Liberals went to Alan Barker!! I guess there were either no NDP people in Carleton Place, or they were sent elsewhere?? It was also said that you could have a “Pig” running as the Conservative candidate and still win the race in Lanark County! HAHAHAHA! It was likely true at the time!

Ted Hurdis I would have thought it was the other way around ? Pretty sure the Conservatives went to Barkers.

Carol Ethridge Both my parents were die-hard Conservatives and both were buried from Barkers

Doug B. McCarten Ted Hurdis not on your life! My Mom and Dad would never have gone to Barkers otherwise being the good Liberals that they were!

Doug B. McCarten Carol Ethridge after Kelly’s was gone?

Carol Ethridge Doug B. McCarten – my father was in 1977 but I’m pretty sure my grandmother was at Barker’s and that would have been around 1967 or so.

Norma Ford Carol Ethridge both our Grandparents were buried from Barkers but the others were from Fleming’s. I think it had more to do with service although I am probably wrong.

Carol Ethridge Norma Ford my memory is shot….what was the name of the other funeral home on Lake Ave….I swear every wake I went to as a child was at Barker’s. Jimmy’s was the first I went to not at Barkers

Llew Lloyd I always thought it was the Anglicans who used Flemings.

Donna McFarlane-ED and Doris Fleming were neighbours of my parents when my parents lived on the corner of Frank and Lake Avenue. I always remember Mom talking about how compassionate both were after the funeral of my sister in 1940 at 2 months and my brother in 1944 at a year and a half. Ed also ran the ambulance.

Norma Ford– Agreed, Mr. & Mrs. Fleming were super nice people. I also remember your Grandfather Harold and his wife Cora. Harold was a super nice guy as well. Vaguely remember your Dad. Hughes store was a great little store, sold Melo (spelling ?) Roll ice cream, loved it.

Jayne Graham My dad grew up in the house across the street from the funeral home (Cam Hughes.. parents were Harold and Cora Hughes who had the Southend Food Market on the same street). My dad drove the hearse for a short period of time. Ed and Doris remained close family friends with Doris travelling to London for my wedding in 1989. . They were lovely people

Ann Stearns Rawson When I mentioned Barker’s to my parents a long time ago, they said NEVER, As they were staunch Conservatives, now I know why!

Norma Ford Carol Ethridge 1st Fleming’s, then Kerry’s. Kerry’s I believe was where Jim, Mom & Dad funerals were held.

authorsnote)For the first time I don’t think I have anything to add to this. I am gobsmacked. LOL


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979


Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

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So What is Up With Roy Brown Park?

So What is Up With Roy Brown Park?

CPMM_trail2___Gallery.jpg 2015

First trail in Roy Brown Park officially open

Rob Probert posted this November 14th, 2017 


Roy Watson asked:

Rob – query about Roy Brown Park. is publicity on the back burner? Has the park been officially opened? Seems it was skipped on 1 July? I walk/bike along there and it is a great route, the dog park is getting minimal use though but I see the additional route along the river is almost completed. So my query is, why isn’t this park part of Remembrance Ceremonies.

There are remembrance plaques for Passendale and Vimy which are constantly in the news. Maybe we should consider at least wreath laying at these plaques and given that they are within walking distance of the CPHS, three public schools and the Navy League (Sea Cadets) surprised they cannot incorporate visits to this park. I would think that local sea cadets could visit and provide wreaths during this period or for that matter air force cadets from Smiths Falls (i.e., Roy Brown WW1). Perhaps a little late this year but consideration for future ceremonies.

So, what is going on with Roy Brown park and why are so few of us enjoying it???? Of note; during the last open house I went to the Moore house and asked about the official opening and the person on the desk didn’t even know there was a park or where it was. I had to point it out on the map ! Roy Watson


Rob Probert replies: 

These are all good points raised by Roy. Neither I, nor the Roy Brown Society are in charge of this project but I think I can provide some useful info.

The original formal opening was scheduled for July 1st. That day was a complete washout, as was much of the summer. Invited guests were present and it was unfortunate. I do believe that the parks and rec staff who are in charge of this park and the development decided that they may as well try to complete the rest of the trail development scheduled for this year. I know the conversation of another formal opening has been discussed and perhaps an opportunity was in fact lost in this Nov. 11.
It could have been a suitable date. Unfortunately none of the Roy Brown family were available and work has still been ongoing.  In any case, on behalf of the Roy Brown Society, I did, along with the town’s parks dept. and the staff of Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum collaborate to name the trails and come up with the images and wording on the entrance pavilions’ info panels. I do agree that publicity and constant information should be developed.

I have some other simple ideas that I think would make the historical part of the park resonate. These ideas are not yet presented so I won’t go into detail now. I think the suggestions of a wreath laying at this time of year is a great suggestion, especially as more people begin to use the park.

The Roy Brown Society is somewhat focused at the moment on a project to build a commemorative statue of Roy Brown. It will be paced beside the Moore House. There is already close to $75,000.00 in cash and supporting services committed to the project and about another $100,000.00 needed.

As to the staff at the Moore House visitor center I can’t comment specifically but will reach out to make sure that they are better informed.

I hope this helps a bit with your thought, Again all good points and ideas.

“You Fight Your Own Battles- I will Fight Mine”– Dan Miller of the Queen’s Hotel

“You Fight Your Own Battles- I will Fight Mine”– Dan Miller of the Queen’s Hotel


danm (1).jpg

Saturday afternoon I scoured newspaper archives while watching Christmas movies on the W channel reading all about the fight between Dan Miller who owned the Queen’s Hotel and the town of Carleton Place.  I had written briefly about it before-(Dan Miller of the Queen’s Hotel vs the Town of Carleton Place), but had no idea that it went back and forth the way it did until I saw it in print.

It was basically a story about a stubborn man who thought he was right, and just felt more tax money would equal higher prices and less business. Being a former business owner I get it, but it just reminded me that things don’t change no matter what year it is.

There was no doubt in my mind that both sides attempted to draw in their fair share of the townsfolk’s opinions into their squabble and a vicious “he said, she said” ensued. Instead of working together they fought viciously against each other, and really who won? These back and forth newspaper clippings are worth reading, if not to instill in us that we need not to “threaten old widows” nor “board up our buildings” but all just try and get along. Dan Miller died 8 years later  on the 19th of June 1957 in a farm field in Ramsay Township at the age of 74. He is still a person on my list I would have liked to meet as I will always admire people with convictions.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  06 Aug 1949, Sat,  Page 1

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  18 Aug 1949, Thu,  Page 4

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  31 Aug 1949, Wed,  Page 1


Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  01 Sep 1949, Thu,  Page 8


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  01 Sep 1949, Thu,  Page 4


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  08 Sep 1949, Thu,  Page 1

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Sep 1949, Fri,  Page 3

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  01 Nov 1949, Tue,  Page 14


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Nov 1949, Thu,  Page 38


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)



Dan Miller of the Queen’s Hotel vs the Town of Carleton Place

Carleton Place Folk Art from the Queen’s Hotel –The Millers


Part 1- Tales of the Chatteron House Corset — Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place- can be found here.

Part 2- Hell on Wheels at Lady Chatterton’s Hotel in Carleton Place– can be found here.

Part 3- I Will Take Some Opium to Go Please —The “Drug Dispensary” at the Chatterton House Hotel

Part 4- Chatterton House Hotel Registrar- George Hurdis -1884

Part 5-What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar

Part 6-The First Mosh Pits in Carleton Place — The Opera House of the Chatterton House Hotel

Part 7-All the President’s Men — Backroom Dealings in Carleton Place?

Part 8- Who Was John Boland? Chatterton House/Queen’s Hotel Registry — The Burgess Family Dynasty

Part 9-What Happens Behind The Queen’s Hotel Stays Behind the Queen’s Hotel

part 10-John Sparrow’s Royal Parilion – Chatterton House Hotel Carleton Place

part 11-The Rules of the Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place

part 12 –He Did What? Tales of the Queen’s Hotel

The Sultans of Swing at The Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place

Things That Disappear in Carleton Place — Elgin Street and The Queen’s Hotel Sign

The Mystery Murals of The Queen’s and Mississippi Hotel


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Samuel Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners

Samuel  Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners