Harper Lanark County—It Wasn’t the Harper Valley PTA







Author’s Note–HARPER, was  a post settlement in Lanark County, Ontario, 7 miles from Perth, on the C.P.R. It contains 1 Methodist church, school, telephone office, blacksmith shop, cheese factory, 2 stores and 1 private bank. Pop. 60  ...from Lovell’s 1906 Canada Gazetteer. The village was named after Joseph Harper w ho settled in the area.


Men waiting for their mail at the Harper Post Office–Photo from–Tay Valley Township–The Harper General Store c.1910. The building was bought by John Butler in 1877 for $340 and the store served the community until about 1970. From left in the photo are Gerald Cunningham, James Cavers, Bob Anderson, G.E. “Ned” Wilson, John Butler, Jack are and George Brownlee. Photo: The Perth Courier


Perth Courier, October 14, 1837

The Early Settlers of Harper by Everett Bowes, SS10, Bathurst

We will now take you back to the time of 1850.  About this time where the village is now situated it was covered with forest.  The emigrants from Ireland, Scotland and England came out and started a small settlement which they thought was well situated.  These early settlers were mostly tradesmen.  There were two blacksmith shops.  One was owned by Miles Leighton.  Kenneth Cameron is the present owner.  William McVeighconducted another blacksmith shop.  He was also noted as a “vet”.  His place of business was located on the present Ferguson farm.We pupils of SS10, Bathurst thought we would find out more about the early settlers of the village of Harper.  I wish to thank Patrick Tovey of Bathurst for the following information.

There were two hotels.  One was run by Miles Leighton and the other was next to our present school grounds.  It was operated by a Mr.Cole.

There were two cabinet makers by the name of Marguerite.  Henry Margurite lived at the present home of Mrs. Robert Ferguson.  James Marguerite lived where James Warrington is at present.  The Marguerites were of Swiss origin.

Tom Churchill had a small farm.  He also made barrels which were used as potash containers.  Mr. Kerne now lives on the farm.  Joseph Warren a former school teacher, conducted a general store and post office. William Keays now owns this property.  On the same land was a house where lived Mr. Harper, commonly known as “Daddy Harper”.  He was a former school master.  On the north corner of our school grounds was a log house owned by Mr. Wiste.  He was a shoe maker.  Across the road where Mr. Alden Watt now lives, Richard Darou conducted a butcher business.  Later a general store now owned by John Spaulding was built byJohn Butler.  The farm now owned by Gerald Cunningham was first cleared and settled by Mr. Fisher.  Two other men, both named Fisher also got Crown deeds for farms on the 7th Concessionlilne.  The home of Mr. Perkin was first settled by Mr. McNee.

A “grange” stood where our school is now.  This was operated by local residents who distributed grain and other things to those who desired it.  A library on a small scale was also here.

About the year 1885 a church was built by the Methodist congregation of the district.

Our present school was formerly located on land north of the village.  However, the location was not considered suitable for school grounds.  In 1920 it was moved to the present site.  The land was purchased from Eli Blackburn.

Related Reading:


This is a manuscript in the Perth Museum research files.
Transcribed by Charles Dobie.

The buried gold is not the only lost treasure in the Harper District. Back a good many years ago, my mother’s father, Lupton Wrathall, and his brother, George, paid a visit to the wise-woman at Plum Hollow, who told him that there was a silver mine on his farm, Lot 15 in the Sixth Concession of the Township of Bathurst. Either Mother Barnes was having an off-day, or Grandfather didn’t dig deep enough in the right place, for so far as I know, a silver mine has never been found in the district. I asked the Department of Mines about the possibility of silver being found in the area, and I was told that outcroppings of silver bearing rock might occur, but it was unlikely that it would be in a large enough quantity to make it worth while developing a deposit. The Geological Survey conducted in this area by J. Dugas of the Department of Mines, Ottawa, during the summers of 1948 and 1949, makes no reference to a silver deposit having been indicated on Lot 15, Concession VI, Bathurst Township.

 As most of you know, Walter Cameron‘s mother and my mother were sisters, so I asked Walter about the silver mine. He could tell me very little more about the story, except to say that our grandfather had never taken Mother Barnes seriously, and had made no great effort to find the mine. He recalled Uncle George and Uncle Archie Wrathall showing him the site of the mine, which was supposed to be on the face of the hill north of the barn, now long gone. Uncle Will Wrathall took more interest in the story than the other members of the family, but never got more than the exercise in payment for his efforts. LCGS read click

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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