Lawsuits in Carleton Place — The Collapse of the Appleton Bridge



In May I wrote a story about the Appleton Bridge collapsing in 1899. I swear I think about it each time I cross that bridge knowing full well it could never happen today. Abraham Lincoln Morphy was born in 1864 and married at age 23 to Rebbecca Conn. He had 6 children: Hugh Franklin Morphy, Norman A Morphy and 4 others. Abe was the son of Abraham Sr. Of Ramsay and a brakeman for the C.P.R. He passed away in 1899 at age 35, drowning in the Mississippi River below the Appleton Falls

In 1899 in the Almonte Gazette it was noted that the Appleton Bridge had been built in the year 1858 by Mr. Jerry Sullivan and his late brother of Appleton. The bridge was renewed in part once or twice. In 1898 the plank was relayed, and to all appearance was above board. But after the disaster of Abraham Morphy it revealed the bridge was nothing but a mass of decayed timbers.

From the Carleton Place Herald 1899:

The Funeral has been fixed for tomorrow afternoon, at 3 o’clock, to Cram’s cemetery. It will be attended by the members of the A.O.U.W and the Railway Trainmen. Both the horses were drowned, and the carriage is a wreck. They belonged to Mr. John Campbell, liveryman, of this town. During the afternoon a number of the C.P.R. trainmen went down to Appleton to aid in the search for the body. Mr. J.R. Hamilton, in a conversation with Miss Mattie Beckett, ascertained about the spot where Mr. Morphy was last seen by her with his hand raised as he went down for the last time. He with Frank Towsley, took a boat and went directly to the spot, grappling with the body at once on reaching it. One of the horses was seen floating through Almonte late in the afternoon yesterday. An Inquest had been demanded, and is in progress this afternoon as we go to press. The Coroner’s Jury Being a Verdict of Culpable Negligence….

On the 28th of November 1899  the lawsuit went to court. No mention of the outcome




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  24 Apr 1899, Mon,  Page 6



United+ (Pine Grove, Maple Wood, St. Fillan’s) Cemetery
Lanark Co./Reg./Dist., Ontario
Entered Into Rest
Abraham L. Morphy
Ae.35,Yrs.12 Dys.
His Wife
Rebbecca Conn
Grale M.
Dau. Of Al. & Rebecca Morphy
1897,Ae.8 Mos. 3 Ds.
Weep Not they are not Gone —


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  19 Apr 1899, Wed,  Page 7


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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