The Day the Appleton Bridge Collapsed



I remember reading about the Appleton bridge collapsing years ago in April, and every few weeks I would try and find the article. Yesterday looking for something else I finally found it.

There was once quite a popular road connection back and forth between Appleton and Ashton– where they say even a fat horse could make good time. Apparently the Presbyterians and the Methodists shared the same preacher and many people did the trek regularly.

In 1899 the bridge across the Mississippi River at Appleton was in disrepair and there were load advisories before the crossing. A  carriage load from Carleton Place consisting of Mr. John Lyons, wife and child, Mr. John Morphy, and wife, and Mr. Ab. Morphy, jr. drove down to Appleton with the object of attending the funeral of Mr. Morphy’s aunt, Mrs. Dulmage.

As they approached the bridge at Appleton they were warned that the structure was none too safe, and that it would be better to divide the load before driving across. This they did, Mr. and Mrs. John Morphy and the little boy and Mrs. Lyons getting out, the other two, Ab. Morphy and Mr. Lyons starting across with the carriage. On reaching the middle of the bridge, the structure gave away and allowed carriage, horses and all to drop into the stream below, which at present is much swollen with the spring freshets and very swift.

For a moment the carriage remained, stationary, as though on bottom, and Mr. Lyons throw off his great coat and unhitched one of the horses, by which time the animals became impatient and plunged which took them out of the eddy caused by the pier and threw them into the swift current. Morphy, who was a good swimmer, struck out for one of the small piers nearby and just about reached it when the timbers of the bridge struck him and he sank out of sight. He was seen a few minutes later below the falls by Miss Beckett, with a hand upraised, then sank out of sight. Lyons was carried down the stream with the current and over the falls, where a piece of timber struck him which he caught and clung to until rescued nearly half an hour later away down in the bay by Mr. A.E Teskey.

Mr. Lyons was almost exhausted when taken out and was at once conveyed to the home of Mr. J.A. Teskey, where restoratives were applied and medical aid was summoned He was very much chilled and received a tremendous nervous shock, besides the bruising he must have sustained in his fall and his passage over the falls and through the rapids, but was able to sit up in the afternoon and is almost fully restored the morning.  Carleton Place resident Abraham Morphy Jr. was carried to a watery grave on the way to a funeral and his body found 150 feet from the falls.
The following article is from the book “Bobier Ancestry” written by Lena Bobier.

Appleton Bridge


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.

One response »

  1. The land grant Concession 11 south east 1/2 lot 12 can be found in the Perth Military Settlement records Film c-2739 page 00515b dated Dec.2, 1922. Quarter Master returns of those who have completed their settlement duties dated 1825 Film c-2739 page 0015c.

    Upper Canada Land Petition search results Archives Canada
    Willis George Beckwith 1825 421 Perth Military Settlement
    68 68 RG 1 L3 C-2739


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