It Wasn’t Raining Men in Carleton Place!



Any time you travel under the C.P.R. Bridge to McArthur Island or down Princess Street, look to the left. That corner that is now occupied by the Town of Carleton Place Public Works Dept was once the Morphy homestead.The home “with a view” was later repaired, and became a white clapboard house. It was then turned over to the Bates and Innes nightwatchman. The homestead was dismantled in 1914. I have no idea why there is not some sort of historical plaque or reference to one of the founders first homes in that location.


The first marriages here were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy. The Willis family had also come from Ireland and settled near what is now Riverside Park. At that time marriages were arranged, as there was no other choice- you either married into the Willis family or the Moores in Carleton Place.  In those days girls as young as ten year old learned to weave the coverlets which would become part of their household equipment when they married a few years later. It was not unusual for a girl to be married at fourteen. In the 1870 it was reported in the Almonte Gazette that they could only count 6 available bachelors in Carleton Place with young George Hurdis married the year before. George died at the age of 25 of April 19th 1899, so it seems the women of Carleton Place were taking its toll on the available men. I bet they would have surely appreciated the dating sites now available on the internet.


Mary Eliza Morphy, first offspring of Morphys and the Moores, was the first white child born in Carleton Place in 1821.   Most Indians were fond of children, and as some lived in the portage area at the mill site Mary Eliza was the only white child that most of the band had ever seen. I am sure she was the biggest curiosity they ever struck in their lives. Mary Eliza was ever so lucky to find a husband (another arranged marriage) and married Richard Dulmage in 1845 and they had 7 children. 


Obituary from the Perth Courier

On Friday evening last, at the home of her son Alfred, of Ramsay, below Appleton, Mrs. Richard Dulmage(they spelled it Dalmage in the Perth Courier) passed quietly to rest at the ripe old age of 68 years. The deceased lady whose maiden name was Eliza Morphy, was a daughter of the late John Morphy, who in turn was one of six sons of the late Edward Morphy of Morphy’s Falls, now Carleton Place. The subject of this notice enjoyed the distinction of being the first white child born in the settlement and her parents resided in the old house which still stands between the railway track and the Gillies Woolen Mill, some years ago rebuilt and now occupied by the night watchman.

Mrs. Dulmage was a lady highly esteemed by those who knew her many estimable characteristics. She was a member of the Appleton Methodist Church and took a deep interest in all religious affairs. In 1845 she married Richard Dulmage who preceded her some 16 years ago since which time she has lived with her sons Alfred and Samuel. The other members of the family are: John of Almonte; Richard of Arnprior; and Mrs. H.S. Conn of Ottawa. Two are deceased, viz., Mrs. William West and William Dulmage, dentist. Abram Morphy of Ramsay was a brother of he deceased, also were Joshua of North Gower; John and Isaac of Pottsdam, New York; Mrs. Robert Wallace of Ottawa; Mrs. Brownlee of Kemptsville; and Mrs. Bradley of Manitoulin Island were sisters, all of whom were present at the funeral except the latter. There are three dead—Jacob, Joseph and Mrs. Gordon. Carleton Place Herald.

Author’s note- Isn’t it ironic that one of her sisters, a Mrs. Bradley, lived on Manitoulin Island- the same place where Manitoulin Chocolate Works now exists? Ironic don’t you think?

Photo- The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

From the Perth Courier 1869

The following is an old recipe for the choice of a wife and seems a good one:

As much of beauty as preserves affection

Of modest diffidence as claims protection

A docile mind sufficient to correction

A temper led by reason and reflection

And every passion kept in due subjection

Just faults enough to keep her from perfection

Find this, my friend, and then make your selection.

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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