They Lived and Died in Lanark County



Horse Drawn Carriage in front of Victoria Hall (now part of the Great War Memorial) Downtown Heritage Perth


Back in the 1800s doctors had to deal with a number of health problems that we remain all too familiar with, conditions like cancer, diabetes, angina, burns, asthma, and epilepsy. At the same time, however, they also had to contend with deaths caused by such things as apoplexy (a syndrome of fainting spells), spontaneous combustion (especially of “brandy-drinking men and women”), drinking cold water (your guess is as good as mine), and near-misses from cannonballs (yes, seriously – they believed that the close contact could shatter bones and even cause blindness).

On CBC Radio today I heard one of the storytellers today say, “they just died in the old days-everyone died.” And that they did. Here are just a few obituaries.



Perth Courier, July 3, 1896

Wrathall—Died, in Bathurst on Wednesday, July 1, Samuel Bailey(?) Wrathall aged 30 years and 3 months.

Jamieson—Died, at Osnabruck Centre, Ontario, on Thursday, June 25, Evelyn Baker Jamieson, wife of Dr. David Jamieson.  (no age)

McKenzie—Died, at Wabashaw, Minn., Isabella Campbell McKenzie, wife of the late Roderick McKenzie and daughter of the late Patrick Campbell of Bathurst, aged 71.

McLenahan—Died, at Drummond, on June 26, Eliza Jane McLenahan, eldest and only daughter of John McLenahan, aged 36




On Tuesday afternoon last Ella J. McLenaghan, only daughter of John McLenaghan, passed away suddenly from apoplexy. About 4:00 the deceased was making ready the tea when she suddenly took a severe pain in the head and sitting down asked for a drink of water.  It was observed that she was ill and assistance was at once obtained but in vain and at 11:00 her spirit took its flight.  Miss McLenaghan was a sister to Messrs Charles and Robert McLenaghan of Carleton Place.  She was the eldest of the family and had lived all her life on the farm with her parents.  She was a lady of high moral character and much esteemed by her numerous friends and acquaintances.  This was evidenced by the very large funeral on Saturday where 120 carriages were in the procession.  The interment took place at Elmwood Cemetery in Perth.  Deceased was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Balderson but in the absence of the pastor, Rev. A.H. Scott of Perth officiated.  Four brothers of the deceased were the pallbearers viz:  Charles, Robert, John and William.  The aged parents, both of whom are in their 85th year, are bowed down with grief.  Carleton Place Herald, June 30


Perth Courier, July 10, 1896

North Elmsley:  A gloom was cast over the vicinity on Sunday morning, July 5, by the news of the death of Jane Burns, formerly of Beckwith, beloved wife of Jas. Huddleston.  Deceased had been ill since last Autumn; at first she thought it was only a slight cold and as her health continued failing medical aid was summoned but it seemed to be of no avail.  She was well liked by her many friends and acquaintances as she was a good neighbor helping each one as far as she was able.  She was also a loving wife and an affectionate mother. She leaves behind her a husband and large family all of whom were by her bedside when she departed except John and James who are in the States.  Her funeral, which took place on Tuesday at 10:00 to the Methodist Cemetery was very largely attended by her sorrowing friends and acquaintances.


Perth Courier, July 24, 1896

Watson’s Corners:  It becomes our painful duty this week to chronicle the death of Mrs. Peter Cumming, who passed away on Monday evening, July 13.  Deceased whose maiden name was Margaret Muir was born at Kirkfield a suburb of Lanark on the Clyde, Scotland, on July 12, 1814 and came to Canada with her parents in 1820 settling on the farm now owned by J.A. Craig.  On the 1st April, 1836 she was married to Peter Cumming, she had six children, five of whom survive her.  Her husband died in 1886 a few months after they celebrated their Golden Wedding.  The father of the deceased was Jas. Muir who was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, Lanark.  The deceased’s children went there regularly for many years on foot and she was a consistent member of this church from her girlhood until the infirmities of old age prevented her from assembling with God’s people.  For the past three years the deceased has been a confirmed invalid tenderly cared for by her son and family.  The subject of this sketch was one of a family of nine, four of whom survive her; the youngest of whom is over 70 years of age.  Thus one by one the early pioneers are being removed from among us; those who braved the many hardships of the early settlers and carved out for themselves and children in the then wilds of Lanark County.  Deceased was a very intelligent and highly respectable citizen of this section and will long be remembered by those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.  The funeral on Wednesday the 15th inst., was very large.  Rev. J.A. Leitch preached the funeral sermon after which the remains were interred in the village cemetery there to await the judgment morning.


Perth Courier, Aug. 14, 1896

The Central Canadian of August 13 says:  “John Ebbs, one of the oldest settlers of the Scotch Corners area, Drummond, passed away Friday morning at the age of 85(“) 86(?) years after an illness of 18 months borne with patience.  Deceased was born in Wicklow, Ireland in 1810 and came to Canada with his wife and three children in 1843. He settled on the Scotch Corners and lived there until the time of his death.  His wife died 21 years ago leaving him with seven children of whom these survive:  William and John, Mrs. Charles Gardiner and Mrs. Thomas Cooke.  With the last the old gentleman lived for the past two years.  The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon to St. John’s Church, Innisville.  The pallbearers were six of his grandsons.”



Perth Courier, Aug. 21, 1896

Althorpe:  Last Friday morning Mr. Frank Allan with some friends started to pick berries and about noon he became ill.  He started to the house of Alexander Menzies and on reaching the house was much worse so a doctor was sent for.  But cholera had set in and he died on Sunday morning.  Mrs. Allan and daughter were with him until the end.On Friday last Francis Allan of Harvey Street, East Ward, went out to S. Sherbrooke with friends to pick thimbleberries.  He did not feel very well before he started and on arrival there was seized with Canadian Cholera at the home of his cousin Mr. Menzies which rapidly developed into a serious illness.  Dr. Kellock of Perth was sent for but on his arrival the unfortunate man was beyond hope and although everything was done for his relief he expired on Sunday morning.  At the time of his death he was 48 years old.  Fourteen years ago he lost an arm in a threshing machine accident.  Though he tried to continue farming after this he was greatly handicapped by the loss of the limb and some time ago gave up the farm.  He took the local agency for the Singer Sewing Machine two or three years ago and followed this occupation until his death.  His wife was a Miss Kean of the Scotch Line who with several children survive him.  Deceased was a good citizen and a general favorite having no enemies.  He was a Presbyterian.

On Monday, the neighbors were startled by the news that Henry Marguerat, Harper, Bathurst, had committed suicide that morning and the facts confirming the rumor were soon in everybody’s mouth.  For some months, Mrs. Marguerat, his wife, had been lying sick with cancer of the stomach and deceased had been sitting up and attending her until mind and body were completely worn out.  Added to this, his daughter had died a few months ago and by this time the poor man’s mental and physical faculties were pretty well unstrung and he became weak in body and depressed in spirit.  Three sisters of his wife were waiting on her on Monday morning she being so far gone in sickness and suffering as to be unconscious.  Mr. Marguerat was in his room at the time and a partition was the only thing that separated him from his sisters-in-law, his wife or son.  Finding himself alone, he placed the muzzle of a revolver close to his head and pulled the trigger, his death being instantaneous.  The noise of the explosion was heard but it was muffled by the closeness of the muzzle to his head so that none in the home suspected that a fire arm had gone off.  It was only when the smell of gun powder invaded the room that they thought of the cause and when they went to his room, he was sitting dead with the weapon close by. Happily, his wife was unconscious and neither then nor yet got the terrible tidings.  Her demise is expected any day.  The remains of the deceased were buried at Elmwood Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.  Mr. Marguerat was a native of Switzerland and was a resident of Bathurst for many years.  He married a daughter of John Oatway of this town and farmed on a small scale making a specialty of grape culture.  He belonged to the “Brethren” as did his wife and family.  The father of the deceased was the first person buried in Elmwood Cemetery here.

The Carleton Place Herald records the death last Friday of Mrs. Hawkins, mother of Mrs. George E. Fife, after but 24 hours of illness from inflammation.  Her husband was the late Esau Hawkins, who died in Lanark many years ago.  Mrs. Hawkins was born in Whitlow, Ireland in 1812 and was among the early settlers of Dalhousie.

Perth Courier, Sept. 4, 1896

Duncan McLaren, an old resident of Drummond, died at his home on the 7th Concession Tuesday morning from inflammation following old age, aged 82.  He was born in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland and came to Canada with his parents in the year 1818, the family settling first in the village of Bytown, destined afterwards to become the capital of the Dominion.  The father, whose name was Neil McLaren, was a plasterer by trade and worked for the founder of Hull and Ottawa, the late Philemon Wright.  While in his employ, he put on the first coat of plaster on lath(?) that was ever done in the infant village.  The family later removed to Bathrust and then to Scotch Corners, Beckwith and finally the subject of this sketch bought the farm on which he died and settled on it.  He married first a sister of Donald MacPhail who lived only about a year after and then Janet Moir(?) Mair(?) of Ramsay who died a few years ago and they had a family of three children:  William, now on the farm; Mrs. McNaughton (deceased) and Miss Christina at home.  Mr. McLaren was a staunch Presbyterian and for many years was an elder in Knox Church, Perth and afterwards in the Drummond Church and altogether was a good man and a model citizen.  He was a Liberal in politics.

Perth Courier, Oct. 9, 1896

On Thursday, Joseph Sloan of the town, was drawing a load of potatoes down the 3rd Line Bathurst and when opposite Patrick Brady’s, took up a passenger coming to town.  When in the act of adjusting a seat on the load for her, he fell off the load and suffered an injury to the spine.  He became paralyzed from the waist down and dies on Saturday.  He was sixty years of age.  He was born in Ireland and came to Canada over 30 years ago.

Want to see more? Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

Related reading

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The Nurses of Carleton Place

The Abandoned Smiths Falls Hospital 2011

1980 Statistics for The Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital

Remember Polio?

Smallpox in Carleton Place — Did You Know?

The Great White Plague

Chuck Norris Does Live in Carleton Place—Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) Auxiliary

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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