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

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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