The Men That Rode the Rails


I am a frequenter of and saw this today.


I am searching my great grandfather Joseph St. Denis (locomotive engineer) of Carleton Place, born 1868?
He died 1905 terrible train accident. He was married to Bridget Girouard daughter of townsman and saw filer, Joe Girouard and Mary Delaney of Carleton Place.

Joseph and Bridget had 3 children
Francis – my grandfather

Any info would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Kelly St. Denis


That was in 2001 and in 2007 she also posted the newspaper reports about her Grandfather

Carleton Place Herald (newspaper) – Tuesday, Nov. 21, 1905.

(front page)

Locomotive Engineer Joseph St. Denis Squeezed to Death.

Another very sad accident occurred this morning on the Canadian Pacific Railway, by which, Engineer Joseph St. Denis, of this town, lost his life. Mr. St. Denis left Carleton Place this morning, about 7:45, after spending the night at home, taking a freight train to Smiths Falls.

Whilst crossing the switch in the yard at the later station, the engine left the rails and was like to upset after bumping on the ties for a distance, so the Driver Jumped to one side and the Fireman, Wm. Whyte, to the other. The engine was running toward the Driver’s side, so, St. Denis was caught by the wheels and had the breath virtually crushed out of him. He died instantly. His face and limbs bore no sign of injury. Whyte sprained an ankle in his fall. The accident occurred shortly before nine o’clock.

Mr. St. Denis was one of the best known Drivers on the division. A steady industrious man highly esteemed by his comrades and friends, and his tragic death is deeply deplored. He was married, his wife being a daughter of our townsman, Mr. Joe Girouard, and a family of three small children, one boy and two girls, with the widow, are left to mourn the loss of a fond parent and a devoted husband. The eldest child is nine years, the youngest three.

A deportation of drivers went out on the noon train, and will likely bring the remains back on the evening train. The sympathy of the whole town flows toward the bereaved.

Carleton Place Herald (newspaper) – Tuesday, Nov. 28, 1905.

A Large Funeral

Was that of driver St. Denis, last Friday morning. One hundred railway employees – as fine a body of men as you would wish to look at – headed the procession, whilst as many more walked behind the hearse, and there was a large number of carriages.

The Engineers, Firemen, Conductors and Trainmen were all represented. There were delegates from Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Montreal, Farnham and North Bay. Ottawa sent some forty men and ten women, the latter representing the Women’s Auxiliary of the B. of L. E. The floral tributes were numerous and included a wreath from Capital Lodge, B. of L. E.; a cross from the Engineers of Carleton Place; a wreath from the Firemen of Carleton Place; a broken wheel from B. of R.T. 527; a heart from the G.I.A. to B. of L. E. 213 and a wreath from Mississippi Lodge, A.O.U.W.

Among the mourners from a distance were the sisters of deceased with their husbands from Montreal; a sister-in-law and four children from Point St. Charles; and Mrs. Conley, another sister-in-law from North Bay




Joseph St. Denis (parents Vital and Mary Brosseau) – locomotive train engineer, born 1868 Carleton Place, killed by train November 21, 1905 at 37 years..
Married June 25 1895 Bridget Girouard (daughter of Carleton Place townsman Joe Girouard and Mary Delauraye)

3 children: Frances, Rose and Mary

Frances married Florence Johnson originally of North Shields England (daughter of Joseph and Florence Alice Robson

They only had one son Francis  (Kelly’s grandfather) and 2 daughters Mary and Rose. Bridget, now a widow with 3 young children remarried a Maurice Burke sometime after the accident which was November 1905 – and then this husband Maurice Burke died in 1910.

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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