Step Right Up- Here are Your Family Convictions-September, 1894





Perth being the seat of Bathurst District the town was given a courthouse and jail. Opening in 1821, The original building was two storeys high with the courtroom on the second floor and five cells on the main floor along with the jailer’s two room apartment. The cells were often filled with brawling Irish loggers from the Ottawa River. The building was rebuilt in 1841 following a fire. A provincial inspection in 1862 counted 27 inmates including 16 women. Charges ranged from murder and assault, to vagrancy and concealing the birth of a child. The most common offence was found to be “breach of indentureship” by leaving one’s master. On may 23, 1851, Francis Beare, who was convicted of killing William Barry was hanged in front of a crowd that was assembled in front of the courthouse. Five executions were carried out here but few inmates in the Perth jail were there for criminal acts. Most were housed there for shelter for vagrancy until the House of Industry or Refuge (Perth Community Care Centre) was built in 1903. –Perth Remembered

A generation later a similar number of Lanark county occupants of the jail at Perth, mostly “tramps sent in from Smiths Falls and Carleton Place”, included such prisoners as a man charged with stealing a horse and buggy, and “a boy twelve years old, a boot-black and a very cunning youngster, awaiting trial for stealing a gold watch and fourteen dollars.” (July 1898).

Perth Courier, October 6, 1876

Death in Goal—Last Wednesday an old woman named Sela Klyne, confined in the Perth Gaol for vagrancy was found dead on the cell floor in a pool of blood.  Her death was caused by the rupture of some kind of abscess in the lungs or throat.

Return of Convictions for the quarter Ending 11th September, 1894

Nonpayment of Wages:

Patrick Burke, $14.50

Assault on Margaret and George Poole:  David Love, $5


William Leclair, $1

John McEwen, $5

Joseph Waler, $1

Larry Byrnes, $2

Beach of the Liquor Act:

John Gemmell, $20

Selling Liquor During Prohibited Hours

David Dowlin, $20.00

Emma Hunter, $25.00

William J. Leach, $25.00

Peter P. Soulter(?), $25.00

James Lee, $25.00

Assault and Battery:

A.R.G. Peden, $5


Nathaniel Brownlee, $1

Shouting at Insectivorous Birds:

  1. J. Scott, $1

Wantonly and Cruelly Beating and Abusing Two Calves

George Easton, Jr., $1


David Patton, $2.00

Allowing Sheep to Wander on the Street:

J.Jones, $2

Grossly Insulting Language:

A Shalt, $1

Drunk and Disorderly:

John Black and Patrick Hogan, $3 each


James Ayer, six months in gaol

Catharine Kelly, six months in gaol

Rosanna Jamieson, six months in gaol

Grace Martin, six months in gaol


Thomas McMahon, Jr., committed to gaol


Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-Early version of our jail cell window by M.J. Lancaster… which is on the outer back wall of the museum


Related Reading

Breach of the Town Bylaws and Other Convictions.. Sept. 11 1888

Justice of the Peace Convictions for the County of Lanark–July 17, 1885

Assault Abusive Language and Bridget McNee

The Notorious Bridget McGee of Perth

Down at the Old Perth Gaol

Justice of the Peace Convictions for the County of Lanark–Dec. 13, 1898-Who Do You Know?

Auctionering Without a License and Pigs on the Loose

Going to the Chapel –Drummond Whalen and Johnson of Carleton Place

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” in Lanark County

Jailhouse Rock in Lanark County Part 2

The Drunken Desperados of Carleton Place

The Young Offenders of Lanark County


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 and now in The Townships Sun


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s