Tragedy at Prescott — Beneath the Stains of Time…




Photo from —Antique Maps and PrintsPrescott Ontario from Ogdensburg Harbour. BARTLETT old print 1842


February 14,1874-Almonte Gazette


A gentleman from Prescott informs an evening contemporary of fearful tragedy which took place in the neighbourhood of this town on Thursday night last. It appears that during the day the Walsh Brothers took an active part in the elections, knocking about and drinking a great deal. They both stayed together until midnight when they left a tavern– one going toward Ogdensburg across the river, and the other directing his step towards the country. Not really knowing his direction he continued walking until he found himself getting so very cold that he dreaded being frozen.

The younger Walsh brother then turned off into the woods to a farmer’s house to which he hoped to gain admission. He rapped at the door, but the farmer refused to let him in thinking that he was a burglar on a midnight prowl. He begged repeatedly for admission, if only for a few moments, that he might warm himself and go home. The farmer, however, hesitated in his determination not to admit him, even with the poor drunkard’s pitiful wails.

The almost frozen man sat down for a few moments beside the house, but the cold began to encroach upon him so he attempted to break the window, hoping by that means to get into the house. The farmer, whose heart seemed to be hard indeed, did not appreciate this proceeding, and called to the poor fellow to desist.

He did not, however, and instead redoubled his efforts. The farmer then went for his gun, and returning to the window took deliberate aim and shot the poor fellow through the neck. He fell back and possibly would have been allowed to die but for the advent to the scene of a third party, who was alarmed by the report of the gun.The wounded man was taken into the house, and medical aid immediately procured, but recovery was scarcely possible.

The other brother started out to cross over the frozen river to Ogdensburg, but his adventure was not so tragic as that of his poor brother. After he left the tavern at the hour above mentioned, be was not seen again that night.  The next morning, however, he was picked up on the ice by a person crossing over with a team. He was taken back to Prescott, where it was ascertained that his legs and arms had been frozen to his body. The man was almost speechless with the cold, and his appearance was that of a corpse.

Medical aid was of course called in without delay, and everything possible was done to prevent serious consequences, but it was thought he cannot possibly survive. Such then is the fate of those two young men, and it should be remembered that the said tragedy is attributable to the drinking of whiskey and nothing else.


Author’s Note-

The name of the young man was George Walsh who was found by a Mr. McKay about mile from town with both his legs frozen on the ice. He was in critical state and I cannot find any other mention of him.

The other brother (no first name) who was trying to break into the house of a Mr. Newberry. When told to go out he used threatening language at Newberry, whereupon Newberry shot at Walsh, lodging several shots in his neck. There were not much hope for his recovery.

In even through hours of searching I could find no further  mention of their names anywhere.

God rest their souls full of broken thoughts…


February 13, 1874-Almonte Gazette

On Tuesday afternoon a horse and sleigh crossed the St. Lawrence at Brockville

Feb 27 1874-Almonte Gazette

The Pembroke Standard grumbles because the ice is-‘too thin.”


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

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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