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

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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