Bill Jenkins- Riverman and Wedding Cake Maker?




Photo from Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Remember the story about William/ Bill Jenkins? If you don’t you can wander down to the bottom of this story and click on the link of another story a out him.


The “Ford” at Ferguson Falls was one of the toughest places on the Mississippi River.  Men fought for love, money, business and just for the enjoyment of brawling.  They fought in taverns, yard, village, street and even on floating rafts, old accounts say– and some even fought for love.

Before Bill Jenkins ran a grocery store on High Street in Carleton Place he was a foreman on the log drives coming down the Mississippi River. The boats they used were twenty feet long, four feet wide, and pointed at each end. A man stood in each end steering the boat using long ash paddles defying life as they rode over the strong waters.

Running the rapids was an exciting adventure which provided excitement for both boat man and on-lookers. The rapids at Ferguson’s Falls were particularly boisterous one day when the water was very high. Bill Jenkins was anxious to look his best as a certain young lady of the village of Ferguson Falls would be among the spectators.

So Bill put on his best white shirt even though people would talk– as a shanty man wearing a white shirt was really ‘putting on the dog’ as they used to say. The dapper logger cut one heck of a heroic figure as the boat plunged over and over through the great swells that day. But, as the crowds cheered three-quarters of the way down, Bill’s paddle broke and overboard he went into the Mississippi River.

At the foot of the rapids he swam ashore talking and mumbling to himself. Was his reputation damaged as well as the romance? No, not in the least, as everyone knew there was no river man more skilful and capable than Bill Jenkins- and word was that the young lady from Ferguson Falls soon became his wife.

Ferguson’s Falls was once a thriving village of 500 persons with three mills, three hotels, a post office, a tannery, a meat processing firm, wagon maker and a law authority. The town slowly decayed following the collapse of the timber trade and only the stories remain of the pioneer village and the vain-glorious poems and songs of Wilfred Lawrence Command– and of course the story of love struck Bill Jenkins.


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Before and After in Carleton Place–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum Posting


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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