Before the Schwerdtfeger Sisters – There was Aunt Sophia



Most of this afternoon was spent looking for anything on Sophia Mayhew the aunt of the famous Schwerdtfeger sisters, and sister to Bertha after I found her church card. Adeline Mayhew, as she was known, was a local dress maker and milliner in the late 1800’s. The Pakenham Business Directory of 1875 lists “The Misses Mayhew” shop run by Sophia and her sister Adeline on Graham Street.

In 1879 the sisters moved to Carleton Place and set up shop on Bridge Street, as noted in the Carleton Place Directory listing: “Mayhew, Miss Adeline (S. & A. Mayhew)”.


Where the As Good As New Store is in Carleton Place- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Sophia died in 1887, but Adeline, along with her sister Bertha, continued to run the millinery shop until 1900. Adeline lived with Bertha, her husband Henry Schwerdtfeger and their two daughters at their home on Lake Avenue West until her death. Many of her personal belongings and hat making supplies are in the collection of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum. Files- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


The will of Sophia Mayhew– she left everything to her sister Adeline..Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


The only thing I found out was that Sophia was born in 1841 and died in 1887 which makes her a young 46 years-old when she passed. So what could she had died from?  The fifth cholera pandemic was in its last strains in Lanark County and I wonder if she passed from this. One thing is for certain– she kept her Methodist card up!

Sophia Mayhew

Canada Census, 1871
Name Sophia Mayhew
Gender Female
Age 30
Birth Year (Estimated) 1841
Birthplace O
Nationality Scotch
Religion Epis Methodist
Event Place 02, Pakenham c, North Lanark 80, Ontario
Page Number 3
House Number 7
Affiliate Film Number C-10019

She was also a witnesss in 1886 for two of her friends in Drummond Township

6110-86 Abijah CODE, 26, trader, Drummond, Beckwith, s/o John & Marietta, married Melvina Sophia SMYTHE, 22, Drummond, Carleton Place, d/o John & Elizabeth, witn: Sophia MAYHEW & Annie R. BROWN, both of Carleton Place, 5 April 1886 at Carleton Place


Her sister Bertha Mayhew Schwerdtfeger
Canada Census, 1871
Name Bertha Mayhew
Gender Female
Age 7
Birth Year (Estimated) 1864
Birthplace O
Nationality Scotch
Religion Epis Methodist
Event Place 02, Pakenham c, North Lanark 80, Ontario
Page Number 3
House Number 7
Affiliate Film Number C-10019

Buried in Cemetery United+ (Pine Grove, Maple Wood, St. Fillan’s)
Note In Loving Memory Of, Bretha Mayhew, Wife Of Henry Norman Schwerdtfeger, Aug.10,1865-Nov.5,1939, Dearly Beloved Father, Henry Norman Schwerdtfeger, Sept.28,1864-June,8,1945, Their Infant Son, Their Daughters, Gladys Adeline, Feb.5,1900 – Oct.16,1922, Hazel Mae, June,25,1902 – Mar.11,1988

Related Reading

So was there Money Hidden in the Schwerdtfeger House?

The Schwerdtfegerisms of Tobacco and Gambling

Bertha Schwerdtfeger — Mother of the Carleton Place Schwerdtfeger Sisters

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

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

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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