Bitten by the Kissing Bug — A Shocking Conclusion to the Life of Carleton Place’s Daniel E. Sheppard



July 25, 1899 Ottawa Journal

Last night telegraphic news came to our fair town of Carleton Place that Daniel E. Sheppard  B.A. that left some years ago to practice law at Gananoque has been bitten by a kissing bug. Mr. Sheppard was an assistant to the principal of Carleton Place High School, for a short period of time; a position which he filled with great ability. After a tenure of success he returned to his profession as a barrister, with an office in the old Bell Block. His friends sincerely trust that he may recover, and long retain the use of both of his eyes. One is reported to be in jeopardy from the sting of this venomous insect.



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 25 Jul 1899, Tue,
  3. Page 6


I thought this was an interesting article and I kept digging for a gravestone marker and I couldn’t find one. I think I should have stopped there, because what I found took my breath away. It seems that Daniel turned to drink or depression after he lost vision in one eye and committed some sort of crime. Because he was a barrister, and his brother was the mayor of Gananoque, he was allowed to stay at home until his trial. Unfortunately, Daniel could not deal with his life anymore. Because he committed suicide he is probably buried in an unmarked grave. Suicide in those days was considered a great act of despair. You never know what you are going to dig up when you do research, and this one is in my top ten list of tragedies and shock.

This information below was not in the local papers in 1905. I found the notice in The Winnipeg Free Press after many searches. It was obviously kept out of the local papers for a reason.

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Carbolic acid poisoning
Victorians linked cleanliness to ideas of morality and respectability – the idea that it was next to Godliness was deeply ingrained. The new science of microbes only intensified the Victorian preoccupation with tackling germs, which they now knew could lurk out of sight. Chemical cleaning products to eradicate dirt and disease were heavily advertised and highly effective, but their toxic ingredients, like carbolic acid, were contained in bottles and packages that were indistinguishable from other household products. Boxes of caustic soda and baking powder could easily be mistaken. In September 1888, the Aberdeen Evening Express reported that 13 people had been poisoned by carbolic acid in one incident – five died. Only in 1902 did the Pharmacy Act make it illegal for bottles of dangerous chemicals to be similar in shape to ordinary liquids.

His brother must have known someone at The Winnipeg Tribune. This was in 1906. He obviously quit or did not run again after his brother’s scandal.

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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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