Woollen Mill Party
In view of the claim that a people and its times often are best reflected in its songs, a Christmas Eve supper party given by the Rosamonds to their employees of 1863 may be worth recalling. Its chairman was Thomas Watchorn, formerly of Carleton Place and later of Lanark and Merrickville.
A song by a member of the party was given between each toast after the supper, ending with the glee club’s Christmas carols at midnight. The offerings of Mr. Hepworth, the principal performer, included: The Cottage by the Sea, Dearest Mary, Little Tailor, The Factory Bell, A Merry Ploughboy, A Kish of Black Turf, Young Ramble Away, Stunnin’ Pair o’Legs, and The Sailor’s Grave.
Mr. Lowe offered Hard Times Come Again No More ; Mr. Douglas gave I’ll Marry Both Girls Bye and Bye, and J. Dornegan The Wedding of Ballyporeen. The Irish wit *George Bond contributed I’ll Never Get Drunk Again. Did you know that George Bond, born in Carleton Place in 1837, was still singing in a celebration of his hundredth birthday by relatives and friends at his home in the Clyde Hotel in Lanark in 1937, when he “concluded the happy event by singing, in a fine clear tenor voice, When Billie Brown and I Slid Down Old Cram’s Cellar Door.”)
For the Christmas party of the men of the Almonte woollen mill, in the time of local recruiting and Canadian defense preparations which accompanied the progress of the United States Civil War, a fitting conclusion with the national anthem was guest Dr. William Mostyn’s The Banner of Old England.
Within Almonte Rosamond behaved in the traditional manner of local patriarchs. He was active in municipal affairs, as a township councillor and reeve and in the 1880s as mayor of Almonte; in addition, he was chairman of the Board of Education. He donated to the town a hospital, named after himself, supported St Paul’s Church (Anglican), and was involved in a plan to conserve the upper waters of the Mississippi. Toward his factory workers he could be benign, treating them to Christmas parties, sponsoring a choir, and providing them with a “spacious croquet lawn.” In return, he expected and generally received their support for his ventures into politics. Dictionary of Canadian Biography
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