Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works -Creepy Entertainment


wax works

This is an artotype made by Albert Bierstadt from one of his many Adirondack photographs of Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works . The image shows men and women posed on a makeshift stage in the parlor of the Prospect House in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. A number of well-dressed men and women sit in chairs facing the stage. 


Perth Courier, April 14, 1893

Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works will be on exhibit in the town hall, Perth, on Friday, 21st April.  Mrs. Jarley will be sustained by Miss McCabb of Portland, Maine, a distinguished amateur.  The various characters in the wax works will be impersonated by a well known amateur of this town.  The music will be furnished by the *Perth Harmonic Band which has generously given its services for the occasion.  During the evening Mrs. Downey will also give a clarinet solo.  Popular price of admission is 25 cents.  Reserved seats 35 cents.  Seats may be reserved in *Mr. Hart’s bookstore. 

The  next week according to the Almonte Gazette Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works exhibition was at the Neuman’s Hall in Carleton Place.


Performances of “wax works” like this play were popular during the mid nineteenth century, and were a precursor to modern cinema. Mrs. Jarley was the proprietor of a travelling wax works show which had displays of life-size figures made of wax and dressed as famous people. Local people impersonated the wax figures on stage to provide the 360 effect one might say.

Before being known as Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works it was known as Ferguson’s Wax Works, founded by that gentleman in 1832 or 1833. In the Twilight Zone episode “The New Exhibit” one of the curator’s is curator of murderers’ row in Ferguson’s Wax Museum. There were characters of King George III; Mr. Grimaldt, as clown; Mary, Queen of Scots, and even the “virgin maid” Queen Elizabeth.

I don’t know about you but I found this whole idea quite creepy, but it was a popular form of entertainment.


Carleton Place’s affiliation to John Hart’s Bookstore in Perth




The Perth Citizens Band has been in more or less continuous existence since 1852. It is now one of the oldest, and perhaps the very oldest, town band in Canada, a carryover from the nineteenth century when musical groups were an important part of the pionering community they entertained and served. For the most part comprised of amateur musicians, they were generally led by a professional who was not only trained in music, but was capable of giving instruction to others. This bandmaster would be the only bandsman paid for his service; the others received time off, free travel and other perks for providing entertainment on public occasions.

Over the years, the Band in Perth had different names: the Perth Brass Band, the St Patricks Band, The Fountain Engine Band, and the 42nd Battalion Band, for example. Sometimes, several bands co-existed in the same locale: the Harmonic Band and the Citizens Band, of the 1890s.

The success of any band was generally dependent upon being able to secure the services of a good leader, and paying him enough to keep him. Perth in its time attracted many exceptional bandmasters, beginning with the great Liberati, who started his spectacular North American career in Perth and Ottawa, and T. F. Jacobs, who came and went over the lifetime of several bands. A noted Canadian composer of band music spent a year leading the Perth band, and some stayed long enough to start orchestras and philharmonic societies. Most disppeared without a trace, to better paying jobs south, and west with new migration.

Perth survives, an anachronism in the the age of TV. It is now a Lanark County band, with its members drawn from a variety of neighbouring communities, such as Lanark and Smith’s Falls.

The Perth Citizens Band is engaged in compiling its 150 year history, and welcomes all contributions and leads, on old members, bandmasters, repertoire and venues. Please contact the historian Daphne Overhill at

From the Lanark County Genealogical Society


The old Perth Couriers can be read at the Archives Lanark

How To Contact Us

By Email at:

By Post to:

Archives Lanark
P.O. Box 512,
Ontario       K7H 3K4

Or visit the Archives at

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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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