Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3


Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2


The David of London was the last ship to sail, and it was the smallest. She carried 364 passengers, and among them was 22 year-old James Watt and his 18 year old wife Margaret soon to be residents of Carleton Place. There was also their  6 month old son John, and James’s father and his wife Marion, both in their 50s.

Twenty-eight hours after sailing they encountered the first of many severe storms. There was no way anyone could walk the deck and cook on the pots erected for the specific purpose of cooking. The storm had knocked them all over. No meals could be made, so they had to exist on mixed meal and molasses as a substitute. With little food and the continuing storms for 9 days, they all became very weak.  Add to the fact that the weather became cold with the onslaught of the storms, and you can imagine what the hold of the boat was like with over crowding.

The cold weather continued for the whole journey until they finally approached the mouth of  St. Lawrence River where it suddenlychanged. It became so hot that everyone nearly suffocated from the smell and heat below deck. Consequently, a lot of them made their way to the deck and slept there. Every favourable day the Captain ordered all his passengers to bring up their clothes and air them out. The sick were also ordered above deck as the Captain was afraid some infectious fever might get among them.

Only four births took place during the passage, but four children died.  One of them was young John Watt, not even a year old. Another child fell from the deck into the hold and broke his arm. Had he not fallen on top of someone on his way down he too would have become a casualty.


The move down the St. Lawrence was difficult and slow going, and they had to cast anchor many times. They finally arrived at Quebec City on June 25, 37 days later from their departure. There everyone debarked the ship and they were processed through Customs House and inspected by a surgeon. They were instructed to return to ship that night. The next morning at 6 am theybegan to move all their luggage on board a steamboat where they finally left Quebec City at 11 pm that night. That night it rained and a tremendous storm of thunder and lightening came on. It was the worst storm of the voyage, and the rain was heavy. The greater part of the night all 400 passengers were obliged to sit on the deck all night. Most everyone was drenched and had to remain in their wet clothes and let them dry on their backs.

They had no alternatives, no access to their trunks, and all the food was spoiled with bread being reduced to dough. In this state they finally reached the port of Montreal. Now they had to remove their luggage once again and load it up into wagons. Those who could not walk rode on top until they got to Lachine, which was 10 miles away. There they camped out for four days until they were instructed to board flat bottomed boats. Soon they would be going through the Lachine Rapids.


With Files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

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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