Where was Prestonvale?



Photos-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–As part of “Discover Drummond Day”, we were asked to loan a wedding dress for an exhibit at Prestonvale United Church in Drummond Township. This taffeta dress was worn by Sarah Jane Hillis at her wedding to Joseph Moulton. Their wedding took place in this church on September 14, 1887. How nice to bring the dress back for a visit! Happy 200th Anniversary Drummond North Elmsley!!

Does not show by name in the Historical Atlas of Lanark County but there are two churches close to the site.



1199 Prestonvale Road (former Prestonvale United Church) 1866-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Perth Courier, November 9, 1961

Armstrong’s Corners:  Cross Roads of History

If you have been driving on the Lanark road during the past year you will have seen the number of attractive homes springing up at the junction of the 6th Concession of Bathurst and Drummond townships but you may not know that this little village is rising on the site of a settlement almost as old as Perth itself.  The Drummond Hotel once stood on the property now owned by Don Campbell while Clark Devlin farms the land cleared by Jimmie Armstrong, a farmer and blacksmith who gave his name to this little cross roads hamlet.

Nature was the deciding factor that located this early centre on the Lanark road.  The black ash swamp on the north side of Ferguson’s hill blocked the northward traffic on the town line between the townships of Bathurst and Drummond and forced the early settlers to turn to the right and follow the high land along the south shore of the swamp to a narrow point between the 7th and 8th Concessions of Drummond where it was an easy matter to cross tot eh north shore and continue on to the Mississippi river where a ferry was operated for a number of years at a point north of the R.H. McIlquham farm.

Many of the first settlers in the townships of Lanark and Dalhousie followed this road and Andrew tells in his book “Pioneer Sketches of the District of Bathurst” about the pioneers who built rafts on the Clyde and Mississippi rivers and floated down to Murphy’s Falls, Apple Tree Falls, and Shipman’s Falls to settle in the north part of the county.  In later years the road from Armstrong’s Corners was extended to Prestonvale, Ferguson’s Falls, Boyd’s Settlement, on past the Wolves Groves to Shipman’s Falls, now Almonte. 


14316871_10154280131971886_2054158576494310384_nPhoto- Linda Seccaspina –just outside of Drummond


In his diary, Rev. William Bell, first Presbyterian minister in Perth, speaks of Armstrong’s Corners, the hotel, the blacksmith shop, and the first winter road across the black ash swamp.  He also reports the serious accident he experienced during February, 1857.  Driving a borrowed horse and cutter to Lanark, the horse ran away while going down the steep hill at Stanley’s and struck a stump with such violence as to break the shafts from the cutter.  Mr. Bell was thrown against the stump, cutting his scalp.  He reported in his diary that four men rushed from Mr. Armstrong’s blacksmith shop and carried him into the house where his wound was dressed by Mr. McNichol and Mr. Armstrong lent him new shafts and harness which enabled him to drive back to Perth.

When the present road to Lanark was opened complete with toll gates, the lower road was used less and less while the hotel, blacksmith shop and Armstrong’s Corner faded into the past.  Now we see history repeating itself as the new hamlet rises.  The diaries and journals of Rev. William Bell are in the care of the Douglas Library at Queen’s University, Kingston.  Rev. Bell helped to found this institution and his son Rev. George Bell, L.L.D., was the first student entered upon the books of Queen’s on March 7, 1842.  Later Dr. George Bell served as a professor at Queens’ and was named a trustee and later still, the registrar of the University.

Ryerson Press of Toronto published a book in 1947 “The Man Austere—Rev. William Bell—Parson and Pioneer” by L. Skelton which tells of Mr. Bell’s early years in Scotland and his life at Perth and in early Canada from 1817 to the time of his death forty years later.  A copy of this work is in the Perth Library and new copies still may be available from the publisher.  With Canada’s centennial coming in 1967 it is more important than ever that we should remember and retain records of this district’s past.



All photos-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Taffeta dress worn by Sarah Jane Hillis at her wedding to Joseph Moulton.-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum




Perth Courier, Oct. 30, 1931

Drummond Centre United Church, 50th Anniversary and Golden Jubilee

A brief history of the congregation:  Drummond Centre community was largely settled by pioneers from Scotland over 100 years ago—their spiritual interests were not forgotten and they realized the need of God in their life.  The following extract was read and prepared by the late James Shaw at the 40th anniversary and taken from the local paper of October 14, 1920:  In the pioneer days in Drummond township many of the early settlers had to travel a considerable distance to Knox Church in Perth.  As many of these settlers had come from Scotland, a land where the ordinances of Divine Grace were faithfully attended, the people felt that they must have in their own community some visible sign of Jehovah’s presence.  To this end Mr. Duncan McLaren, an elder of Knox Church, Perth, was chosen to appeal to the Brockville Presbytery to form a congregation.  After some discussion, the Brockville Presbytery granted the request and steps were taken to form a congregation in connection with Balderson; an outshoot from St. Andrew’s Perth.

In 1877 Mission Fields were formed in the congregations with J.K. Baillie, as the first missionary who remained among us for two summers.  Mr. Baillie was followed by John Geddes, who labored for a year and a half after which he returned from Scotland.

The two missions were established—one congregation in the summer of 1880 (illegible word) Rev. J.G. Stuart as minister who was inducted into the charge in October, 1880.  His salary was $400 supplemented by $200 from the mission board.  During his ministry of over 9 years he endeared himself to the congregation especially in the Sabbath School and among the young.  In December of 1889 he resigned being called to St. Mark’s Church, Toronto.

A few months afterwards a call was extended to Rev. J.S. McIlraith of Montreal College and in the spring of 1890 he was inducted.  He labored among us for almost 21 years doing faithful work especial visiting the sick and aged.  He resigned in the summer of 1911 and was followed by Rev. J.G. Greig.


PrestonvaleSchool2 (1).jpgPrestonvale School SS #16–Photo from DNE Township


Rev. J.G. Greig was inducted in the autumn of 1911 and ministered to us for almost 8 years.  He too gave us practical and faithful sermons which if we lived out in our daily lives would make us more Christian like in character.  In autumn of 1919 Mr. Greig accepted a call to Valleyfield, Quebec.  At the close of his ministry the missionary giving amounted to $1,722, there being a gradual increase in the giving from the congregation to the present date.  After being several months without a missionary, a call was extended to Rev. G.C. Treanor and accepted trusting that the ministry will be as successful as those who preceded him.

In the fall of 1922 Mr. Treanor retired having accepted a call to Arthur and Goodville in the Saugeen Presbytery.

In March, 1923 a unanimous call was given to Rev. R.A. McRae, B.A., a recent graduate of the Montreal Presbyterian College.  He was ordained and inducted in the Balderson church in March, 1923.  He did faithful and conscientious work and resigned in 1927 and is now laboring in Minden, Ontario.

Rev. C.M. Currie, M.A., B.D. then became pastor and did faithful work until he resigned in 1930 in order that he might pursue a post graduate course in New College in Edinburgh, Scotland for his Ph.D. degree.  Before leaving for Scotland, he married Edith McTavish of Balderson.  Recently, he has been called and accepted the call to be assistant minister of Cannorgate Church of Edinburgh, Scotland.  In the summer of 1930, Rev. Thomas McNaught, B.D. of White Lake, became pastor and he was inducted on the evening of July 4, 1930.

A few items might be mentioned regarding the Drummond Centre Church.  The organizers of the church in Drummond were Messrs. Duncan McLaren, James Shaw and James Stewart.  Mr. Stewart deeded the land for the church.  Rev. William Burns of Knox Church, Perth, conducted the opening services and preached.  The first preacher in the church was the late Mr. Adam Young, followed by the late Mr. Wesley Clarke and he in turn was succeeded by Mr. D.A. McLaren and later by Mr. William McFarlane, now of Prestonvale.

The elders now at Drummond are Messrs. William McLaren, Dan Malloch, J.B. Miller and Wilbert Lewis and the managers are Messrs. Homer Shaw, James McLaren and William McNaughton


Perth Courier, October 23, 1896

Prestonvale:  It is our sad duty this week to chronicle the sudden death of Robert McFarlane of the 10th line, a young man well thought of and very popular with those who knew him.  About two or three weeks ago he was complaining of a severe cold which rapidly developed into congestion of the brain from which he died on Friday morning last although attended by two skillful physicians of Lanark who struggled hard to save him.  He was buried in the cemetery here on Sunday, the funeral being attended by a large number of friends who mourn his loss.  His mother, Mrs. William McFarlane has also been ill for some days.


Photo by Darrell


Perth Courier, November 20, 1896

The death is announced of Mrs. Thomas Bright (nee Catharine Waugh) of Prestonvale, Drummond, at the age of 92.  She was born in County Sligo, Ireland coming to Canada in 1822 with her parents and settling near Prestonvale.  Her husband was Thomas Bright who for a time was a British soldier and served in the Crimea.  She left no children but lived with her nephew Thomas Waugh.


Perth Courier, Nov. 27, 1896

Bright—Died, at Prestonvale on Thursday, Nov. 12, Catharine Waugh Bright, relict of the late Thomas Bright, aged 92.


On Monday morning November 10, the spirit of John Horricks of 9th Concession Drummond took its flight to the better world.  His body was released from all earthly cares by a complication of heart disease and other troubles.  Deceased was but 56 years of age and was born and brought up within a mile of the place of his death.  He was a good neighbor and highly respected by all who knew him.  He leaves a wife and family of eight:  Maggie J. (Mrs. J. Murphy), Charlotte A. (Mrs. T. Brydges)(?) in Carleton Place; Christina (Mrs. A. Moore); Mary E. (Mrs. Alexander Moore); and William, in Westmeath; Ophelia (Mrs. Andrew Sym) on the Scotch Line; John E., of Perth; and Joseph on the homestead.  All the family except Joseph the youngest, are married.  The funeral took place this morning at 10:30 from his late residence to the cemetery at Prestonvale.  Mr. T. McGuire of Carleton Place conducted the funeral service.



Photo by Darrell


CARLETON PLACE  Oct. 11(Special), – Following an illness of about three weeks the death occurred at her home in Prestonvale on Saturday, Oct. 7, of Christena McLaren Tullis, wife of Edward Haley, in her 73rd year. Mrs. Haley had been in poor health for some time but was only confined to bed for three weeks previous to her death. A daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Tullis, she was born in Drummond, in 1872, and following her marriage in 1895, they took up residence in their farm home in Prestonvale, where they had since resided. Mrs. Haley was a highly esteemed resident of the community and took a deep interest in the various social activities as well as in the Anglican Church of which she was a devout member. Besides her husband, she is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Howard Trail, of Lanark; Mrs. Ed. James, of Union Hall; Mrs, Allan Livingstone, of Perth, and Mrs. Elmer Couch. of Prestonvale,  and two sisters, Miss Margaret Tullis and Mrs. Harry McFarlane, and  two brothers, John Tullis, and Matthew Tullis, and seven grandchildren, Helen, Harold and Mary James, Keith and Christena Livingstone, Ronald and Karen Couch. Largely, attended by friends and relatives from Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth, Cobden, Lanark, Carleton Place, Ramsay, and other points, the funeral took place from her late home Tuesday afternoon to Prestonvale cemetery for interment. Rev. D. F. Weegar, rector of St. George’s Anglican Church. Clayton, officiated at the home and  graveside.

Prestonvale Burials

+Robert Ferguson b. Abt 1808, Scotland, m. 1 Jul 1844, First
|     |    Presbyterian Church, Perth, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, d. 29 Aug 1880,
|     |    Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, bur. 1880, Prestonvale, Lanark,


Margaret Elizabeth Ferguson b. 15 Jun 1860, Drummond, Lanark,
|     |  |    Ontario, Canada, d. 15 Dec 1952, Ontario, Canada, bur. 1952,
|     |  |    Prestonvale, Lanark, Ontario, Canada


Alexander Ferguson b. 1 Mar 1849, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario,
|     |  |    Canada, d. 28 Apr 1899, Ontario, Canada, bur. Prestonvale,
|     |  |    Lanark, Ontario, Canada


Richard Walker Horricks b. 7 Oct 1856, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario,
|     |       Canada, m. 10 Oct 1883, Presbyterian Church, Perth, Lanark,
|     |       Ontario, Canada, d. 18 Jan 1914, Prestonvale, Lanark, Ontaro


Malcolm McNaughton III b. 1830, Sterlingshire County, Scotland, d. 9
|     |    Jan 1903, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, bur. 12 Jan 1903,
|     |    Prestonvale Cemetery, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada

Charlotte Horricks b. 2 Mar 1836, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada,
|     |    m. 1856, d. 17 Jan 1914, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, bur. 20
|     |    Jan 1914, Prestonvale Cemetery, Drummond, Lanark, Ontario, Canada,





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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