Down by The Mississippi River with The Jessops


There were two distilleries in operation in Carleton Place for several years. One of these was owned by Mr. Caleb Bellows and was situated where the Canada Lumber Company’s large mill once stood, near the north end of the dam.


Photo–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

The other was owned by Francis W. K. Jessop and was nearby, just down from the present site of the Gastropub (formerly McNeely’s tannery). If you look at the left hand side of the picture it was located on Mr. MacKay’s bakery premises on Bell Street.

Mr. Jessop, who also had a brewery in connection with his distillery, was an eccentric individual with strange ideas in many matters of everyday life, and said to have many radical personal habits.

He lived in one of the corners of the distillery building and was an easy-going genius, and had his good sides. Jessop was the first man in these parts to wear a beard and moustache, and after a length of time others decided if it was good enough for Jessop it was good enough for them.

He had a brother in England who was a captain in the British army. This brother’s wife had a sister who was rather cultured and, better yet she was rich.  Do we also need to know she was also a slave owner in the UK? Somehow a pen and paper courtship sprang up between the distiller at Morphy’s Falls and this lady of wealth. The result was that, although no other means of acquaintance had ever existed between them, the distiller induced the fair writer to break off all her home ties and come to him at Morphy’s Falls. Almost like a modern day internet romance once could say.


The Carleton Place Herald 1856-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

The change in circumstances was a sweeping one after she became Mrs. Jessop; from ease and luxury in England to a home in these backwoods, in a little log house on the river. I found this ad in one of the old Carleton Place papers from 1856. It was obvious Mr. Jessop had seen his last drop of drink and she was selling the property.  The original Carleton Place train station stood half-way between William Street and Town Line. (It was Town Line then not Townline) With that information in hand Mrs. Jessop was indeed selling the Bell Street property down by the Mississippi River.

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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