Dr. Hanly I Presume -“Since I have been in Almonte I have not averaged $1500.00 a year”

Dr. Hanly I Presume -“Since I have been in Almonte I have not averaged $1500.00 a year”

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The other original Almonte Doctor: John Frederick Hanly
by Linda Hanly Reid, May, 2009

The February 1927 Almonte Gazette article reads, “SUDDEN DEATH OF DR. HANLY LAST MONDAY –
Widely Known Medical Practitioner Passes As He Reaches His Home –
WAS VISITING PATIENTS – For Thirty-four Years He Was Prominent Citizen of Almonte.

Dr. JFH, widely known medical practitioner, died very suddenly on Monday afternoon as he stepped from  his cutter after returning home from visiting his patients. He was 58 years of age. His sudden passing stirred the community deeply.  For about a year he had not been in the best of health. Heart trouble was the cause. Early last summer he went to Toronto to seek the advice of specialists, and was warned that he would require to take the greatest care. For a little time he did very little work, but he soon abandoned the life of ease suggested to him and plunged again into the hard work in which he rejoiced.  

Graduate of Toronto – Dr. Hanly was a son of the late Dr. John Hanly, of Waubaushene on the Georgian Bay. He was a graduate of Toronto University, and for a time assisted his father in his extensive medical practice. It was a practice which involved arduous travel by land and water and often on snowshoes in winter. From boyhood up he was trained to feats of physical endurance. He became a skilful sailor, and preserved to the end a great love for the water.



December 1912

Last summer he spent a short time among the scenes of his boyhood and visited Midland, his aged mother and his brothers.  Came to Almonte – Thirty four years ago (1893) Dr. Hanly came to Almonte, (in 1893 Dr. John F. Hanly succeeded Dr. Johnston.  The first hospital in Almonte was instituted in the dwelling occupied by Dr. William Lockhart, of Ottawa Street, under the care of and through the cooperation of the late Dr. Lynch and Drs. Hanly, Metcalfe and Kelly), and throughout that long period he occupied a prominent position in the community. Despite the exacting nature of a large practice he devoted a large amount of his time to educational matters. For many years he was a member of the Almonte Board of Education, of which he had been chairman, and he was a prominent member of the Lanark County Educational Association.  



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 07 Mar 1927, Mon,
  3. Page 5

He was a scholarly man, and he loved good books. He took a deep interest in the Public Library and was associated with it for a long time as a member of the board. He was himself possessed of a carefully selected library.  

Medical Health Officer – Dr. Hanly was medical health officer for Almonte. There is no doubt that the strain and anxiety caused by the recent epidemics took a large toll of his strength. He was the local physician for the C.P.R.  He took an active interest in the affairs of his church and for many years was secretary of Bethany United congregation. He was frequently urged to allow himself to be appointed an elder of the church, but always refused.  In politicshe was a strong Liberal. He attended the last Liberal convention at Lanark Village to nominate a federal candidate, but he was unable to be present at the convention to nominate a provincial candidate. This was the first convention he missed in 26 years.

 Besides his wife and his widowed mother, he leaves two sons and a daughter to mourn his loss: Arthur, of New York, USA ;Lois, of Toronto; and Bruce at home. Two brothers, who reside at Midland, also survive him.  

Met With Accident – Seven or eight years ago Dr. Hanly met with a nasty accident. He was coming down the steps of the R. M. Hospital in winter after visiting his patients, when he slipped on the ice, and fell heavily. His head was badly cut.  

A Good Athlete – Dr. Hanly in his younger days was a good athlete, and was prominent in sport while a student at Toronto University. He was particularly fond of cricket, and played for many years with the Almonte Club. He was a good skater and a good oarsman. He took a deep interest in the local hockey team, and this was the first winter that he was unable to go to the rink to see a game.  

The Funeral – The funeral took place this Thursday afternoon from the family Residence on Country Street to the Auld Kirk Cemetery. There was a very large gathering of mourners, one of the largest seen here in recent years.  Rev. J. R. MacCrimmon, of Bethany United Church, conducted the service and the pallbearers were Messrs. T. J. Reid, Henry Brown, D. J. Dick, M. R. MacFarlane, W. West, and Adam Craig.  Relatives present included Dr. Hanly’s two sons, Arthur and Bruce, his daughter, Miss Lois Hanly; and his two brothers from Midland.  Among those from out of town were Mr. Robert Young, and Mrs. George Bennett, of Ottawa; Messrs. Robert Paterson, David Findlay, W. R. Caldwell, Dr. Downing and Dr. Johnston, of Carleton Place. There were many from the country round about. The members of the Board of Education and the town council were present in a body. The schools were closed in the afternoon and all the members of the teaching staff attended. The blinds of most of the places of business were drawn as the long funeral procession wended its way through town to the last resting place of the deceased physician.”

His Professional card read: “Dr. Hanly, Graduate of Toronto University Medical College.
Physician, Surgeon and Accoucheur.  Office corner of Richey and Bridge Streets, nearly
opposite Bank of Montreal. Telephone No. 80″ He had been home schooled by his father, Dr. John Hanly, and he wrote his college entrance exams in Orillia. His father had been a
teacher before becoming a medical doctor. His daughter, Lois would become a nurse, and sons Arthur (my grandfather) an electrical engineer and Bruce a civil engineer.

Here is a portion of a letter to his brother in Midland concerning family money matters:
“Almonte, Dec. 18th, 1920.

Dear Bruce,

Your letter to hand today and although it was welcome I can scarcely say that I was particularly glad to get this one. For one thing I am very hard up and in pain always. I have nearly sweated blood to save a dollar. My means along side of  yours and SC’s (his other brother) is almost pitiful. My personal clothing is almost a disgrace to me. Jennie is not much better. Bruce has not yet had a single dud of new goods on his back. My fur coat, an absolute necessity here, in winter for driving, is so shabby I only wear it at
night. My insurance is less than $4,000.00 today and I have to pay more than twice what I did at first.

I have never joined a curling club or a golf club since I came to Almonte. I was
not able to afford it. Jennie’s mother has stayed many years with us. The rest I earned at
hard laboring work. I would gladly have earned it all but father wished to take some trips and begged me to get through as soon as I could. Not many in Midland get through college before they are 22 years old but I did and from that day to now I have been at work and up till now. My holidays in the past 30 years have in all amounted to 6 weeks. Since I have been in Almonte I have not averaged $1500.00 a year. This is the Christmas season but Xmas gifts & I will be very much missing here this year. But I hope you will all have a happy Christmas and a prosperous & happy new year.

“Your loving brother, Jno. F. Hanly”  

He would die 7 years later, a year prior to his mothers death.

In 1891 he married Jane Elizabeth Kean (Jennie).  Following her husband’s death she wrote this letter to her mother-in-law:

“Almonte, Mar. 17/27.  

Dear Grandmother:-

I think I have put off writing to you for it does seem harder to do than any one else. I have just written Maggie. I know what you must be going through thinking of your dear boy gone. This is certainly a terrible terrible lonely home. It does not seem like home anymore without John. For as you know he has been around the house so much the last year and always so cheerful about his trouble. He certainly gave his life for others which is the greatest of all sacrifices.

He certainly left a lot of friends in this part. One lady that used to be a patient of his here wrote me from Paterson, New Jersey, USA ,and said the Editorial in the Gazette certainly described the Dr. It was on the inside of the front-page. We were so glad to see Bruce and Bird (his brothers). I only wish John could know they were here. Artie is back to work again, Lois is with me, Bruce is at school. He has his exams to get in June. I am able to sit down stairs and attend to people coming in. One leg and my heart is giving me considerable trouble so they will not let me go about. We have had some correspondence with a couple of Drs. but not much yet.

The ad will be in ‘The Globe for the next three Saturdays. If we do not manage to sell to a Doctor we will not get very much for the place … not very much anyway but a little more. Almonte has gone back so much. I had a letter from Lizzie (Riddel) Stevenson Yorkton, Saskatchewan I have had over 90 from all over. I just had to get small cards to answer them. I could not write notes to all. I do hope you will keep well. It is so much easier to get down than up. With love from all.

Jennie E. Hanly”

The June 28, 1951 Almonte Gazette stated, “Mrs. Hanly passed away at Port Colborne on Sunday, June 24, 1951 in her 83rd year. Among those from Almonte who were present at the Auld Kirk Cemetery were Dr. J. K. Kelly, Dr. J. F. Dunn and Mrs. Dunn, Miss Ishbel Guthrie and Dr. A. A. Metcalfe. Drs. Kelly, Dunn and Metcalfe were contemporaries of Mrs. Hanly’s husband, the late Dr. J. F. Hanly. Dr. Hanly’s office and residence was on Bridge Street where Mr. and Mrs. N. S. Lett now live.” Today that is 119 Bridge Street.  One of the large maple trees the Dr. planted at the front corner of the house recently came down.

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Doctor John Frederick HANLY and children, Almonte, Ontario, Canada
Article from the Almonte Gazette, Thursday, November 18, 1971

The Doctors of Almonte … In the First Half of the Century – John F. Hanly, M. D. 1868-1927 from John Dunn.

Although I arrived in Almonte only near the end of Doctor Hanly’s career, we had a very close association nonetheless. My memory of it is but the clouded vision, but I have no doubt of the truth of it, for I have on the very best authority – the word of my mother.

There were three of us present – my mother, Doctor Hanly and myself, the last to arrive.
The doctor’s smart slap on my upturned posterior brought forth the response magnificent, the first human cry.

With that he ushered me on the stage in the theatre of life, and kindled for me a small new flame from the embers of  humanity. It was a familiar role for Jno. F. Hanly, M. D., in Almonte and district.

He was born in 1868 at Waubaushene, Ontario, where his father, also Dr. John Hanly, was the community doctor. Waubaushene, of course, is an Ojibway Indian name for the town in a jewel-like setting on the lower end of Georgian Bay. It looks out to the 30,000 islands which form the domain of Manitou, the Indian’s paradise, and to Manitoulin Island, the largest gem in this sea of islands. It is the land of a thousand delights, the last camping ground in a place where summer never ends.

Georgian Bay at this place is highly indented, with innumerable outcrop pings of rock, deep harbours, and sandy foreshore. Pine and spruce girdle the forested islands and outline the mainland. Lumbering was the principal occupation in the last decades
of the nineteenth century, and Doctor Hanly had a small wood-burning steam launch for travel to the remote camp sites.

Winter travel, of course, was much more arduous, frequently requiring long hours on snowshoes through the forest and along the shoreline. The younger John would accompany his father on these trips, and it was undoubtedly due to this
experience that, with an average stature, he developed a very powerful physique with thick torso and upper limbs. Undoubtedly it was there also that he developed a deep love of nature which remained a characteristic of him throughout his life. For in the
country of Manitou a man is neither landsman nor sea man exclusively: he must be at home on either rock or wave, where he can tune in to nature’s rhythms and feel its pulse in the slap-slap of water on keelson and fairing, the rising of the sun, and the slanting moonlight seeping through the snow-burdened spruce.

Doctor Hanly’s father was of Irish descent , but his mother was Pennsylvania Dutch. One wonders. Was this alliance of races a presage of the future direction and growth of the new Canadian nation? Did it suggest the Canadians would not build on the single basis of race common to many nations of the Old World, but that we would become a blend of many racial characteristics? One wonders.

With his father, travelling to the remote settlements around Georgian Bay, the future doctor learned a love of medicine, too. It was only natural, therefore, that he should be inclined to follow in his father’s footsteps after completing high school training at Orillia. He enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and graduated at the age of 23. He returned to work with his father for a short time in that strenuous practice among the islands before moving to Almonte in 1893.

J. R. Booth, the great lumber baron, had just completed his railway from Ottawa to Parry Sound ( the line through Carp) to gain access to the remote white pine country, so that he could ship out the timber to Ottawa where it could be rafted and then floated down river to Montreal and to Wolfe’s Cove at Quebec. Dr. Hanly decided to ship out for the Ottawa Valley, too, and to settle in Almonte, or “Little Manchester” as it was called, because the names Rosamond, Thoburn , Penman, Caldwell, and Campbell made its fame worldwide in the textile trade, and its population of mill operatives, weavers, spinners, millwrights,
labourers, moulders, dyers, carters, teamsters, watchmen, stone cutters, blacksmiths, painters, fullers, carders, spinsters and widows made a population where a doctor’s knowledge, skills, and energies could be spent in rewarding service to all the
members of such an interesting community.

But, before he left, the doctor found even a third love, his greatest. Almost immediately after graduation he enlisted for life-time service in matrimony in the company of Jean Elizabeth Kean, who attended high school at Orillia at the same time as he did. They moved into residence in Almonte in the house on Bridge Street now occupied by
Mr. and Mrs. Winston MacIntosh and family. Three children were born to their family; Arthur, Bruce and Lois. Bruce, the only surviving member of the family, now resides in Montreal.


An age passes almost imperceptibly, its passing only noticed some time later by the absence of some familiar thing, or a change in some mark or symbol of the age. Three small things distinguished the age of Doctor Hanly’s 35 years of medical service to the people of Almonte and district. First, there was the matter of signature, and then
the matter of the cane, and finally, the matter of animals in town.

“Jno. F. Hanly”. That’s the way he signed his name. It was typical of the age, this fore shortening of the Christian name. Business and professional men in Almonte and elsewhere used the apostolic abbreviations, Jas., Jno., Matt., Bart., Chris., and their Prophetic counterparts, Sam., Lem., Dan., and even those of saintly kings, Geo., Chas., and Wm. Most of these abbreviations have some element of logic in their use. Except Jno.
Why John should be reduced to Jno. has always been a mystery to me. But there it was, a mark of the time.

Another mark of the age was the cane, the gentleman’s walking stick. Doctor Hanly liked to carry a cane when walking and he had quite a collection. He used a gold-headed cane for Sundays, but his favourite was an Irish blackthorn which his great friend and neighbour, Father W. E. Cavanagh of St. Mary’s brought to him following a trip the priest had made to the Holy Land of Ireland.

Howard Sadler vividly recalls another mark of the times: the numbers and locations of horses and cows in Almonte. He and his father were fortunate to be able to gather the manure for their market gardening operations. Doctor Hanly always drove a big horse, for the doctor weighted more than 225 pounds, and only a high, strong, rangy horse could handle the job of pulling cutter and driver of that weight through the heavy snows. But the doctor had a manure box which was higher than the usual also, for it had a close-fitting glass top, and the strength of its contents on a warm day sometimes upset the sparrows in the street.

Externally, the age was many other things than those small familiar items in the woollen town on the Mississippi: – it was the first C.P.R. transcontinental train leaving Place Viger station in Montreal at 8:00 p.m., passing through Almonte at midnight, and arriving splendidly in Winnipeg for the Dominion Day celebration on July 1st; – it was
Laurier’s defeat on the reciprocity issue in 1911; – it was the discovery of radium and X-rays by Madame Curie and Professor Roentgen; – it was the shock wave of telegrams in 1914-1918: “It is with deep, regret that we must inform you that your son, Private …. has been killed in action on the western Front”; – it was the discovery of insulin by Toronto doctors Best and Banting; – it was, in the words of Professor A. R. M. Lower of Queen’s
University. “that delicious hesitation between the ox-cart and the automobile.”

But, regardless of advances in medical science and technology, to the doctors in the community of Almonte and its surrounding district, the person was the most important thong alive. Shortly, after his arrival, Dr. Hanly was working with Dr. Lynch, Dr. Kelly and Dr. Metcalfe to establish a hospital where they could provide the best of
what nursing science and medical skill could bring to their people in need. Their efforts culminated in the founding of the Cottage Hospital in 1903, and the Rosamond Memorial Hospital, which was officially opened by the Governor-General, Earl Grey, on New Year’s Day, 1908.

The doctor’s day was predictable only in the announced hours for office calls. I have one of Dr. Hanly’s notes on his letterhead which gives the office hours as 8-10 a.m., 1-3 p.m., and 7-9 p.m. In between, of course, were house calls, hospital rounds, study and travel time. It made for a fulsome day.

After his death many of Doctor Hanly’s medical books came into my father’s medical library. In one of these Doctor Hanly had made a set of notes under the heading “Hygiene of pregnancy”. He listed a number of items from (a) to (j) , including Diet, Exercise, Rest, and Clothing, etc. One item, however, is listed with unusual emphasis: it’s (f) “Mental Condition”.

In return for his concern, the community rewarded the doctor with its co-operation, both for his own needs and for those of his patients. Dr. Hanly would never hesitate to phone a druggist at any hour of the night if a prescription had to be made up in a hurry. And in the case of calls to the country in bad winter weather (which usually meant
at night), he would simply tell the telephone operator where he had to go. She would then wake up all the farmers along the route, and they would get out with heavy teams and sleighs to break a trail on the unplowed roads so that the doctor’s horse and cutter could get through.

When we think of representative Canadian sights and sounds, we often think of the long, lonesome note of the C.P.R. train whistle piercing the frost-filled prairie night, and the clouds of steam coughed out on the night air from the bowels of the locomotive. But equally Canadian was the sight of the doctor in his cutter, with snorts of breath from
his horse’s nostrils polishing the frost-etched moonbeams, and the cutter bells jingling to the rhythmic clop-clop of the horse’s hooves.

Doctor Hanly had a deep well of learning which he kept constantly primed with an insatiable curiosity. His office held an unusual glass case filled with many of his father’s medical instruments, which were somewhat crude even for the sophisticated 1920’s. But it also had a microscope, various reagents, alcohol burners, in fact, much the appearance
of a small pathological laboratory.

It was quite natural than that he should be asked to provide some direction to the community’s cultural endeavours also. It fitted his temperament admirably, and he devoted many years to the Library Board, the Board of Education, and the
Lanark County Educational Association. I have a penny post card dated Dec. 5, 1910 addressed to “Dr. Hanly, Town” which announced a meeting of the Board of Education to be held in the Council Chambers on Tuesday evening, Dec. 6 at 8:00 p.m.
“for the transaction of general business.” The notice concludes with a cautionary injunction: “Any trustee who absents himself from the meetings of the Board for three consecutive months, without being authorized by resolution entered upon its minutes, shall, ipso facto, vacate his seat and the remaining trustees shall declare his seat vacant and forthwith order a new election.”
James McLeod, Secretary.

All the civic virtues, and the pride and honour which attend them, are summed up in that injunction.

It’s the small things, and in the simple ways that a community finds its own heroes and awards them its own marks of excellence. The ancient Greeks gave hero-status to those who showed exceptional bravery in protecting the city. But, in the development days of our Ontario communities, the protection of the physical health and well-being of
the citizens was a matter of heroic proportions. One of the ways the community recognizes this importance is in the naming of children after its heroes. Howard Sadler’s eldest son was such a one – well, almost.

Two days after he was born, Doctor Hanly, making his rounds, inquired if a name had been chosen for the record of birth.

“Yes, Bruce”, was the answer.

“Well, I am pleased” said the doctor, thinking the baby was to be named after his own son, Bruce Hanly. Howard and Mrs. Sadler didn’t have the nerve to explain that the night before the baby’s arrival, Mrs. Sadler had been reading a story in a penny dreadful in which the major character was a full-blown top-gallant knave named Bruce, and that that was the source of the chosen name.

After the “flu epidemic of 1919”, Dr. Hanly’s health began to suffer. It was simply overwork, and the heart muscles could no longer stand the strain. He went, in due course, to consult the heart specialists in Toronto who advised him that total rest for six months was the only therapy.

It was during this time of anxiety that he used to walk down to the end of Colborne Street in the summer evenings, taking all the children of the neighbourhood as escorts, and they would sit on the stone wall there, looking out on Spring Bush, and the sunset over Gemmill’s Bay. It was a place where the ancient Greek philosopher’s elements, fire, air, earth and water, seemed to fuse together. One simple rule prevailed: absolute silence for fifteen or twenty minutes, for it was that solemn time of day which in English is called “the gloaming”, and in French, “le crepuscule”. It was the moment of juncture between earth, sun and sky, when the softness of the air disturbed only by the silent swish of
crows making wing to the distant wood, the swollen fruited hour when the swarming sun homes in to its hive in the horizon, and the very trees moan in the stillness.

It was the time of the afterglow when the sun stops momentarily in its headlong rush, turns back before crossing the threshold into night, and, smiling, flings its colours out on the summer sky, sending out golden tendrils to tie up some herring-bone
scarps of summer cloud. It was September’s crepuscular madness, and the doctor and the children would sit on the wall, drinking it in, soaking in the splendid silence.

Torn between concern for himself and concern for others, the doctor’s dilemma, Jno. F. Hanly’s answer came easily to him. Others came first.

Then it happened, even as he knew it would. It was Monday the last day in February, 1927. He had stopped at M. R. MacFarlane’s drug store (now Wilf Snedden’s) about 11:00 a.m. He spoke to a number of people between there and the Post Office (Don Campbell
was one of them), and then he drove home with the horse and cutter. He stepped out of the cutter at the door, collapsed and died on the spot.


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 01 Mar 1927, Tue,
  3. Page 4

The word ran like grassfire along the pathways of Almonte.
“Doctor Hanly’s dead.”
“What’s that?”
“Doctor Hanly’s dead.”
“Oh no, I was talking to him only an hour ago.”
When a general dies, an army mourns. The regimental band, dressed in black, with muffled drums and muted clarinets, plays the Dead march from Saul, while comrades in slow march, with arms reversed, accompany the flag-draped coffin of their hero
strapped to an artillery caisson. The general’s horse, rider less, fully caparisoned, follows. At the sombre tomb, the firing party’s rifle volley barks out a clamour to admit the soldier-hero.

Almonte too mourned its loss. Its grief was open and deep. The funeral was held on Wednesday of that week. Schools were closed. The Mayor and Council, members of the Board of education, the Library Board, the Lanark County Educational Association, the
medical fraternity of Almonte and Carleton Place, the teaching staffs of the schools, all joined as the cortege wound its way from the house on Bridge Street to Bethany United Church for the service conducted by Rev. J. R. MacCrimmon. Pallbearers were
T. J. Reid, Henry Brown, D. J. Dick, M. R. McFarlane, W. West and Adam Craig.

Through the town the solemn procession went, down Mill Street, past Gemmill’s Bay Hill, and on to the pine-shrouded resting place in the Auld Kirk Cemetery. As the cortege passed all the blinds on places of business were drawn as a mark of respect. Men stood mute in their grief, silent as statues. Women wept openly. Thirty-five years he had spent among them, a comfort to the afflicted, a restorer of injured health to many, and to all a physician, friend and counsellor.

And so Jno. F. Hanly, M. D. passed over also, and came to the other side, where he found himself in the Enchanted Isles of the Blest, and where he found many old friends dwelling. And they greeted him warmly, welcoming him to their company,
because they said, his arrival had been so unexpected.

John Dunn – November, 1971- Almonte Gazette




 - April 1897



The Tragic Death of Dr. Mostyn Shocked the People of Almonte

Thomas Raines Almonte — US Confederate Soldier Mayor and Dentist– Biological Mystery!!!

Memories of Dr. A. A. Metcalfe of Almonte– Florence Watt

Constipation Guaranteed to be Cured in Almonte


Book of Annual Reports SS#6 Darling California

Book of Annual Reports SS#6 Darling California



SS#6 Darling—- Photos from Doris Blackburn/ Karen Black Chenier and you can buy local school books from Archives Lanark.–http://archiveslanark.ca/index.php





S.S. #5 White School White Community Hall

  1. Halls Mills School– Earl Munro –1968

  2. A Pakenham School Story from Ingram Scott

  3. The Things I did in School?—Tribute to Corey Sample

  4. The Blizzard of 1888– Three Heroic Teachers

    221 Facebook Shares!! Memories of Almonte update– Don Andrews and Mrs. Scholar

    Lanark East Teachers’ Institute 1930 Names Names Names

    The Trouble With Trying to be Normal– The Ottawa Normal School

    Ladies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898

    “Teachester” Munro and the S.S. No. 9 Beckwith 11th Line East School

    The Forgotten Clayton School House

    Be True to Your School–SS #15 Drummond

    Schools Out for the Summer in the County

    School Salaries of 1918

    Home Economic Winners Lanark County Names Names Names– Drummond Centre

    Lanark County Public School Results 1916 Names Names Names

    Scotch Corners Union S.S. #10 School Fire

    School’s Out at S.S. No. 14 in Carleton Place

    The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

    The Riot on Edmund Street –Schools in Carleton Place


S.S #1 Lavant Thurlow

We Don’t Live in Lanark County — We Live in Hallmark County

We Don’t Live in Lanark County — We  Live in Hallmark County

Some days I look at Steve and say that I wished we lived in one of those Hallmark movies, or even in the town of *Middleton where Cassie The Good Witch lives. I guess I didn’t realize it until Saturday that I really do live in the midst of Hallmark emotions and sights. If the Hallmark channel folks had come here Saturday, we could have created a whole movie for them. There would be no script needed trust me.

*Wendy Kennedy Middleville was originally named Middleton. Look no further! 😉



Carleton Place had their Pumpkinfest— To be honest, I have a hard time walking on uneven ground now since my fall so I sent Steve to investigate, and I did see it up closeup and was so happy. Kate Murray, Jessica Hansen & Amanda Blakeley Charania! So well done.. so well done.


Off to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum for their Vintage Sale today and picked up an old Captain Kangaroo and some other great things. Stay tuned– something coming up on October 27th that you should be aware of. And I got to see their Chamber of Commerce nomination sign today too. Congratulations!!


We were on our way to Clayton so we stopped for lunch at the North Market Cafe on Mill Street in Almonte. One amazing place and we had the fried green tomatoes and the pekoras and of course their  Nanaimo bars, which the flavour of the week was Pink Peppercorn.


Fried Green Tomatoes with corn relish and spicy crema

Look at the people we met there. People that do good for our community. Can you name them?


Then another smile came…


Then it was off to Rose Mary Sarsfield’s book event today. Rose Mary who also does  the Clayton History Page has been working a long time on this history book and this book can be bought now at the Clayton General Store or email Rose Mary at rose@sarsfield.ca or call 613-621-9300


Then we had to say adieu to the sunshine, the fall colours and the wonderful people.


I said to Steve on the way home:

” You know I miss Berkeley a lot, but today I realized this is where I belong”.

As Faith Hill once said: “I don’t want to sound like a Hallmark card, but to be able to wake up each day with food and shelter, that alone is good. Forget aging and the fact that my butt is becoming a little more familiar with my knees than my tailbone. If you are six feet above ground it’s a good day. So, give me more!”

You gave me so much more on Saturday Lanark County– more than I could handle so I had to share. Thank you.




The Seven Wonders of Lanark County

“The Mounties Will Arrest You if You Step on a Trillium”

Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

Me Vs. The Centre of the Universe?



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When I went to Cowansville High School I loved Public Speaking and thought it was the one thing I could do well in. In essence, I certainly wasn’t getting any gold stars for other things like Math. In Grade 8 they had a Public Speaking Contest and I decided to enter so I might add something decent to my scholarly reputation–I was wrong.


My Grandfather who was on the local School Board at the time warned me that he couldn’t help me as he was in charge of the judges- not that I asked for help anyways. I have always been a lone wolf and done things in my own way. I picked the subject of Ghosts as I have always been fascinated with the paranormal and thought others would be too. I was right, the speech went very well, and ended to thunderous applause. I was excited. I thought I had this in the bag–I was wrong.


I placed fourth, which I was happy with, as most of the students speaking were Seniors. However, when I got home my Grandfather sat me down and told me point blank what my issue was. Issue? I never thought I had an issue. I was wrong.

“Linda, you would have even placed lower except for the fact that your delivery was wonderful,” he said. “Your problem was that your subject was way too controversial”.

Controversial? So after that day I realized that I, Linda Knight Seccaspina, was controversial, and others seemed to know that. Not only did I dress differently than anyone else in school– I now had acquired the name tag of “controversial”. All these years I thought I was like everyone else had been blown wide open. I was part of the gang- wasn’t I? I was wrong.


For the last 55 years I have embraced the controversial part–no problem. I know at age 67.5 I will never change. But, a few weeks ago, since I have been running for town council, I learned that I have been labelled with a new word.  That word would be “polarizing”! This kind of baffled me as I thought only Warren Buffet, those in Televangelism, and telephone fundraisers were polarizing. I am now known around locally as not only the woman that documents daily history, but now also labelled “polarizing”. Apparently, it is now either: “absolutely love, or absolutely can’t-be-around-for-more-than-three-seconds Linda”.  In one nano second I can inspire both awe and revulsion? Wow, I had no idea. Again I thought that I was just one of the regular folks– I was wrong.


So for the last few weeks since the new awareness I have gone around repeating my new found word. In reality I don’t think I have many polarizing messages. It is just about being consistent over the years and wanting good to win over evil in anything I fight for. What you see is what you get–and there is nothing mysterious here, trust me.


It would be great if every single person we met fell in love with us and laughed at all of our jokes (or at least half of them would do for me). But as fantastic as that sounds, it’s unrealistic. No matter what you do (unless you do nothing), you just can’t please everyone. Being open and honest about what you like and doing the things that you like to do is the best way in life. To sum it all up in a nutshell–I guess I just vibrate at different frequencies. In all honesty, that is not bad at all. I just hope I don’t run out of batteries!




Remembering one of the “Tom Sawyer’s” Of Cowansville Quebec

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Ashes to Ashes and Spins of the Washing Machine

The Days of Smocking and Spanish Bar Cake

Been Caught Stealing– Bank of Montreal

Angry Mobs, Wolves and Bloodsuckers –Selby Lake

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Misty Glen Mountain Snow Bunny Hop

Music in the 60s- Memories of Herman’s Hermits

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

Groovy Hints on How to Catch and Keep a Boy – 60’s style

The Dreams of a Sugar Plum Fairy

I Was A Free Range Child

Scrapbook Photos of Cowansville

6 Seconds of Cowansville High School – Our Miss Phelps

The Benefits of Having a Large Human Chassis for Traction

Archie Guthrie’s Notes on Lanark Mines Hall’s Mills and Cheese 1993

Archie Guthrie’s Notes on Lanark Mines Hall’s Mills and Cheese 1993

Lorrie McCann and Dawn Jones were discussing the Tatlock Quarry on the  Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page in 2016. I will tell you I searched and searched for hours and could not find much. All I know is that work has carried on in the Tatlock Mines since 1900. Dawn mentioned Archie Guthrie– and so sad to say all I found is his obituary.

Update October 18, 2018- Found the notes in one of the school books that belonged to Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier


First mine mentioned was Clyde Forks Mine



Camille Wickwire—In Tatlock Quarry.


Dawn Jones A very interesting read. The cheese factory mentioned at the bottom of the article was known as Barr’s Corner, or Factory Corner or 5 corners. Closest intersection would be Tatlock Road and Darling Road, and Warks Road today.






Deed of Mines? Linda’s Mailbag — Amy De Ridder

Gold Mines and Disappearances

Is there Still Gold on Wellesley Island ?

Did Anyone Find the Lost Barrel of Silver Coins That Lies at the Bottom of the Rideau Canal?

What Happened to the Gold on the Ramsay 7th line?

Gold in Dem Dar Hills of Lanark

So What Happened to the Marble at the Tatlock Mine?

My Daddy was a Miner — was Yours?

The Mysterious Tatlock Mine

The Early Days of Working in the Ramsay Mine — Going Down Down Down

Looking for the Artist of this Carleton Place Painting-The Lime Kiln

A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Where Were the Miracle Salt Springs in Pakenham? I Love a Challenge!

Gold Mines and Disappearances

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series–Volume 16– Newman’s Hall

S.S #1 Lavant Thurlow

S.S #1 Lavant Thurlow







Image may contain: textThe school closed in February 1970 and the children were bussed to Maple Grove Central School in Lanark.

From the files Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier


Joann Voyce
My Grandfather John.G.Voyce attended this school in 1885, approximately, along with his sisters and step brothers and step sisters My family visited the building 10 years ago. It was, at that time, a Community Hall where we were well received and fed. A couple of original Voyce family school books, from that school, were donated to their library by our family. The original mortgage apparently was held by Hugh Natchbull Thurlow who was a step father to my grandfather and the log cabin where they lived was the Thurlow farm next to the school





S.S. #5 White School White Community Hall

  1. Halls Mills School– Earl Munro –1968

  2. A Pakenham School Story from Ingram Scott

  3. The Things I did in School?—Tribute to Corey Sample

  4. The Blizzard of 1888– Three Heroic Teachers

    221 Facebook Shares!! Memories of Almonte update– Don Andrews and Mrs. Scholar

    Lanark East Teachers’ Institute 1930 Names Names Names

    The Trouble With Trying to be Normal– The Ottawa Normal School

    Ladies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898

    “Teachester” Munro and the S.S. No. 9 Beckwith 11th Line East School

    The Forgotten Clayton School House

    Be True to Your School–SS #15 Drummond

    Schools Out for the Summer in the County

    School Salaries of 1918

    Home Economic Winners Lanark County Names Names Names– Drummond Centre

    Lanark County Public School Results 1916 Names Names Names

    Scotch Corners Union S.S. #10 School Fire

    School’s Out at S.S. No. 14 in Carleton Place

    The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

    The Riot on Edmund Street –Schools in Carleton Place

The Victorian Fasting Girls- Thanks to Dennis Riggs

The Victorian Fasting Girls-  Thanks to Dennis Riggs





Yesterday I mentioned The Victorian Fasting Girls. They were young girls who supposedly stopped eating for months and even years at a time, were somewhat of a phenomenon from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. 


Dennis Riggs commented on the Lanark County Genealogical Society yesterday –They would publicize it as means of capitalizing on it. Newspapers and others would pay for such, and the girls could become famous attractions that people would pay to see. Many were put on display, you could watch them not eat for anywhere from a nickel to fifty cents, depending on the social strata the family inhabited.

The base incentive being financial, circumstances that led people there were varied but tended to end in similar horrors. Some of the girls were starved to death, in one instance resulting in a conviction against the parents. One not-uncommon thread was that many fasting girls and young women were paralyzed or infirm due to accidents or illness. They were not able to be otherwise commodified by the family, unable to be married off, so were considered of diminished value.

Many medical personnel were complicit or in on it, claiming to have observed x person for x amount of time. Others were overzealous in their supposed pursuit of answers for the phenomenon. One of the children that were starved to death died during round-the-clock observation by doctors after her family claimed she existed without food for many months. She died in just 6 days when gaurded round-the-clock, as no one could surreptitiously feed her, and she refused to ask for food before lapsing into an unconscious state after a few days, dying a few days later.

While only famous cases are much remembered today, it’s speculated that there were many more than those, many who were not made famous but who were harmed or killed in the attempt to be recognized as a fasting girl.

There’s a book that makes a solid case for these being identifiable early examples of Anorexia Nervosa, which is entirely plausible even with all other known circumstances intact. Doubtless it may have been that incidents of children considered fasting girls began as children suffering and refusing food, swaying from reality only with claims that they lived.

And now I’ll stop typing out this horror story, coffee break is over.


Fasting girls” were a fad for a while. They were the talk of every newspaper – the stories of girls who, supposedly, could survive without food or water. For some reason, it was very fashionable to survive on nothing but air. These girls would pretend to eat nothing, widely publicize it for attention, and then stuff their faces in secret. Why? Probably just because people are weird. One popular case of this was the case of Mollie Fancher. According to the papers, she survived fourteen years without eating a thing.

When she was just 18, Brooklynite Mollie Fancher was the victim of a carriage accident that left her paralyzed. As she was exiting a carriage, her long skirt got caught on a hook. The carriage driver didn’t notice and dragged her for nearly a block before bystanders could get him to stop. A few months after the incident, Fancher confined herself to her bed and allegedly stopped eating for the next 16 years.

Observers claimed they never saw her consume food or drink, and at one point her stomach had “collapsed, so that by placing the hand in the cavity her spinal column could be felt.” She also went blind, but continued to produce intricate embroidery and detailed wax flowers. Oh yeah, Fancher also claimed to be clairvoyant. Doctors and spiritualists argued over whether “the Brooklyn Enigma” was a miracle or a fraud, but after a period of time it didn’t matter. By the late 1880s or early 1890s, she started eating in front of people again. Most of her other symptoms disappeared and she lived a rather unremarkable life until her non-starving-related death in 1916.


Across the pond from Mollie lived “the Welsh fasting girl,” Sarah Jacob. After suffering from convulsions sometime in 1866, Sarah began eating miniscule amounts of food and spent her days in bed, writing poems. Her parents claimed that she completely stopped eating as of October 10, 1867. Word spread quickly and Sarah became a celebrity, with newspapers writing about her and people traveling from across the country to witness this supposed little miracle. Accounts noted that they had never seen a girl who was such a picture of great health—her eyes were clear, her cheeks were rosy, and she even began to gain weight.

While some were inclined to believe that Sarah was miraculous, others believed that her parents were in on the whole scheme, secretly feeding her when the public was gone. Some thought that her sister passed her food when they kissed, like a mama bird. Eventually doctors asked to monitor Sarah around the clock, and whether they truly believed that their daughter was existing on air or were just unwilling to give up the ghost, Hannah and Evan Jacob allowed it. Six nurses were brought in to watch Sarah around the clock and were instructed to give Sarah food if she asked for it, but otherwise do nothing. Sarah refused to ask for food, and after four or five days, she lapsed into unconsciousness. She starved to death on December 12, 1869. An autopsy found the bones of a small bird or fish in her stomach, proving that she had been eating small amounts of food when no one was looking. Her parents were convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison.




Clipped from

  1. Cheshire Observer,
  2. 04 Mar 1876, Sat,
  3. Page 3
  4.  -

    Clipped from

    1. The Ottawa Journal,
    2. 31 Jan 1887, Mon,
    3. Page 1 -

      Clipped from

      1. The Winnipeg Tribune,
      2. 22 Sep 1913, Mon,
      3. Page 7 -

        Clipped from

        1. Ottawa Daily Citizen,
        2. 14 May 1889, Tue,
        3. Page 3 -

          Clipped from

          1. Ottawa Daily Citizen,
          2. 14 Sep 1875, Tue,
          3. Page 2



          4. And Suddenly I Became Sad for NO Reason at All….

          5. What Becomes of a Broken Heart?