The Criminals of Carleton Place


I thought I would give a shout out today to those who led a life of crime in our fair town through the years. Here is what would land you in jail in the late 1800’s in Carleton Place.


Breach of indenture by leaving your master

Theft or larceny

Assault with an axe

Concealing birth of a child

Lack of bail


Mentally ill


If they couldn’t handle them in Carleton Place they would send them to Perth– and with that it was mostly “tramps sent in from Smiths Falls and Carleton Place”. The roster included such prisoners as a man charged with stealing a horse and buggy, and “a boy twelve years old, a boot-black and a very cunning youngster, awaiting trial for stealing a gold watch and fourteen dollars.”

Care of Lanark County’s nineteenth century aged indigent residents without family or other private means of support was provided by the available public shelter, the county jail.  There a few respectable elderly citizens without friends or money could be housed and fed and classed as vagrants.


The Grand Jurors for our Lady the Queen, have examined the jail and they find it in a very satisfactory state.  There are only two persons committed for crimes and these are of a comparatively trifling character.  We are glad to find there was only one insane person confined in the jail.  The rest are aged persons who have been committed under the Vagrancy Act.”

Of course it was noted that  Mr. Kellock who has filled the office of jailer for the last thirty years has resigned. Sometimes the cries of the insane echoed through the halls of the jail in the Carleton Place Town Hall. It was noted 1909 was a banner year with Robert Marten, John A McDonald, Edith Boyle, and Robert Turner charged with insanity and housed in that very jail until they could be transferred to the Brockville Insane Asylum. I imagine some were so troubled they would eye the steep pitched roof of slate and think of suicide. Did some of these lost souls return to their old cells after their deaths?

Brockville insane Asylum

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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