The Grand Old Lady of Smiths Falls




I cannot find a picture of Mrs. Boes anywhere — so I used a photo of her favourite church-St. Francis de Sales Church-1910


Perth Courier, October 25, 1936

Grand Old Lady of Lanark Dies

Mrs. Ellen Boes died in St. Frances General Hospital on Wednesday, October 16, little more than a month after she celebrated her 101st birthday.  Mrs. Boes, probably the oldest resident of the Ottawa District, had been confined to the hospital for about two months.

Born in Kitley Township September 12(?) 13(?), 1834, she had lived virtually her entire life in the immediate vicinity of Smith’s Falls, never venturing far from her place of birth.  She was formerly Ellen Berns, daughter of a pioneer settler of this district.  Her parents came from Ireland about 1830, responding to an appeal sent out by the British government of that day to the overcrowded and distressed British Isles for settlers to come to Canada, a new land of much promise, and accept land grants.

Mrs. Boes’ pioneer parents accepted their location in Kitley Township and there she was born.  After her marriage she resided in Montague Township and on the death of her husband about 27 years ago she came to Smith’s Falls making her home here ever since.

Blessed with a remarkable memory and a twinkling Irish wit, she was a brilliant conversationalist and on recent birthdays had entertained relatives and friends with interesting tales of long ago.  She could recall from first hand knowledge many events of interest in Canadian history and remembered vividly incidents in the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny.  She was 30 years of age before the consummation of the Confederation and lived under four British sovereigns.

Mrs. Boes had been privileged to witness great changes during the course of her life.  She saw the coming of the railways, the auto and the airplane.  She saw modern farm machinery make agriculture a comparatively simple and luxurious occupation compared to the old days when the pioneers of her childhood cleared the lands, sawed by hand, cut with a sickle, threshed with the flail, and had little or no market while even oxen were considered minor luxuries.

During her life and until her advanced age made even moderate activity impossible, she had been a regular attendant of St. Francis de Sales Church and in religion she was a devout Roman Catholic.

Loved and respected by her immediate relatives she was known to hundreds of others in this district through publicity given the celebration of her 100th birthday and news of the passing of Lanark’s “Grand Old Lady” occasions deep and lasting regret throughout this section of the Ottawa Valley.

Left to mourn her loss are two sons John and James Boes of Smith’s Falls and five daughters:  Mrs. W.R. Fursman of Marden, Manitoba; Mrs. George Marquette of Smith’s Falls; Mrs. J. Hennerty and Miss Annie Boes of Watertown, New York; Mrs. W.R. Carroll of Oil Cilty, Pa.; and two sisters—Mrs. Elizabeth Donovan of Toronto and Mrs. Jane Murphy of Jasper.  Eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren also survive.  The funeral was held on Friday morning from the residence of her son James Boes, 2 Maple Avenue to St. Francis de Sales Church and thence to the R.C. Cemetery.


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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