What Happened the Day the Circus Left Carleton Place



Page from the Chatterton House Hotel (Queens Hotel) in Carleton Place. Not sure if it was the popular Hargreaves Circus that came through town many times, but the signature belonged to one of the travelling shows. –  Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

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The Ottawa Free Press published a story the first week of August in 1907 about a mysterious disappearance of R. F. Blair the former manager of the Union Bank of Carleton Place. They reported that his body was found in a field near Perth on Tuesday the 16th. The Central Canadian says the Carleton Place papers knew about him all the time. Blair left Carleton Place the day the Hargreaves Circus was leaving town.


Officials of the Union Bank were in Carleton Place and intended to counsel him and remove him to a Quebec town. Blair suspected his dismal future and fled. His bicycle was found later at the Perth station unclaimed, and it was recognized as belonging to Blair. Mr. Blair is believed to be alive, and his wife and friends are waiting to hear from him.

Mr. Blair was never heard from after that day. Did he ride his bicycle along side the Hargreaves circus, leave it in Perth, and continue on with the circus?

A new branch of the Union Bank of Canada was in operation in Carleton Place in 1900, in addition to the longer established branch of the Bank of Ottawa. The current Royal Bank of Canada, originally the Union Bank of Canada, is constructed of concrete blocks fabricated to resemble stone. Traces of two styles of former lettering remain about the columns.

harThe Hargreaves Circus led by Thomas Hargreaves with his mud and Railroad Circus was out of Chester, Pa. until 1910. Circuses were the norm in those days causing great excitement in town when they came. Missing husbands were also the norm also in those days, as I found many classified ads of wives looking for their husbands and lamenting “since you’ve been gone”.


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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