Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth




The years under Queen Victoria’s reign (from 1837 to 1901) saw fewer marriages arranged by families, and more romance between couples. Young people from both upper and lower classes had opportunities to mingle in a supposedly safe environment with members of the opposite sex. For upper class people that might mean the opera and coming out balls, for lower class members of society there would be dances put on by churches. You’d probably be chaperoned through all of these activities, which is kind of a downer, at least until you were engaged.

The bad stuff came after you got married, especially because, at least as far as women were concerned, you were stuck in it. So, you had to make really good decisions about who you were going to marry. And you’d have to make them early, because most women married between 18 and 23 and waiting longer might make you a spinster.

Elizabeth Drexel, an American heiress, married Harry Lehr in 1901. He was supposedly fun and charming and they had a great courtship. He proposed to her by saying, “You must have guessed I have been in love with you ever since that first evening. I know you don’t love me, but you are lonely, you need someone to take care of you.” So everything was fine until they were married, at which point he promptly announced to Elizabeth, “I married you because the only person on earth I love is my mother. I want above everything else to keep her in comfort. Your father’s fortune will enable me to do so. But there is a limit to sacrifice. I cannot condemn myself to the misery of playing the role of adoring lover for the rest of my life…. for God’s sake leave me alone. Do not come near me except when we are in public, or you will force me to repeat to you the brutal truth that you are actually repulsive to me.” She never divorced him, and lived with him, unsatisfied, for the next 28 years.


So I have written about the Schwerdtfeger spinster sisters from Carleton Place, and now I have found another set called The Armour Sisters of Perth. In the early 1900s they lived at 60 Drummond Street that is now apartments?. They were the daughters of Dr. John Armour an early Glen Tay Line settler. If you have any information about them please email me:




1911 Census of Canada
Home / 1911 / Ontario / Lanark South / 27 Perth / page 9 split view
Transcribed by: Bea Gosselin

10 101 Armour Mary F Head S Aug 1846 64
11 101 Armour Beatrice F Sister S Jul 1856 54
12 101 Armour Martha F Niece S Mar 1884 27

Armour—Died, at Perth on Sunday, Aug. 20,  1899 John Armour, aged 85–Perth Courier


On Sunday last, 20th inst., about midnight, death came to the family residence of John Armour, Sr., of this town and claimed as his own the honored head of the house at the ripe old age of 86 years.  The deceased had always been a man of robust constitution and only latterly felt that the four score years and more upon his head were giving warnings that the end was not far off.  Mr. Armour was born in Linnwood(?), Renfrewshire, Scotland on the 10th December, 1813 and came with his parents to this country in 1821 being then not 8 years old.  The family settled on the 3rd Concession Dalhousie near Lanark where they lived for many years and where his mother died, her last resting place being in the Lanark Village cemetery.  

The deceased was married to Miss Catharine McFarlane of Rosetta and settled on the 9th Line of North Burgess where he lived until he came to town to reside some ten years ago.  He was a man of sterling character and strict honesty and during his whole life he endeavored to succeed in doing to every man what he would like every man to do to him.  He inherited a large legacy left to him by a deceased relative in Scotland some years ago and his contribution to all religious, educational and charitable institutions were very liberal.  Nothing deserving of aid was ever passed by him when he was appealed to.  His widow and family of five sons and three daughters survive to mourn the loss of a kind and generous father and husband.  He had but one sister the late Mrs. George Richmond of Drummond.  The funeral on Wednesday was a very large one many from a distance coming in to attend the last rites of an old and respected friend.


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

Bertha Schwerdtfeger — Mother of the Carleton Place Schwerdtfeger Sisters

So was there Money Hidden in the Schwerdtfeger House?


P.C.I GYPSY CHOIR 1908. Sitting, left to right; Elanor Crosbie, Ronald Scott, Annie McNee, J. Campbell, Gertie Frizell, Coral Topping, H. Dowson, Mabel Lyon, Bill Topping, Arthena Spalding. Standing, left to right; Ed Code, Ethel Armour, W. Ewart, Minnie Balderson, Jack Hope, Annie Wilson, Harold Stone, Hattie Cameron. Perth Remembered

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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