After an Hour’s Hard Work with Pails all the Danger was Over…





It was a Sunday night on February 27 in 1874 about half past ten o’clock when the stable in the rear of *Mr. Telesphore Turgeon’s shop, and belonging to Mr. Jas. Forgie, was discovered to be on fire. It had, when first observed, gained too much headway to be subdued, and the efforts of the people were put forth to save the adjacent buildings.  Fortunately the night was calm, and after an hour’s hard work with pails all the danger was over.

The new engine was brought on the ground quickly as possible, but on account of the valves being frozen no one could get it to work until the danger was past. A small engine from Messrs. Elliott, Routh & Sheard’s mill, which was brought up alter the failure of the village engine and it did good work in extinguishing the flames. The credit, however, of saving Mr. Forgie’s building, and probably many others, is due to the those who worked so vigorously with pails. Two horses, belonging to Mr. Simpson were lost, the fire having made such rapid headway it became impossible to get them out.


So What Went Wrong with the Fire according to the Almonte Gazette in 1874?

Failure of the engine to work on account of valves being frozen. The people have not forgotten the old Almonte way of disputing a fire—two lines of men to nearest water and plenty of pails, while many preferred to stand with their hands in their pockets, yet people generally worked well; even one of our clergymen was seen in the ranks busily passing pails. Has this fire occured in the summer it would have been serious.

The arrival of a small engine from Elliott, Routh & Sheard’s, immediately got to work and W. H. W ylie with Babcock with a fire extinguisher. Finally the village engine got to work and finished the thing. Council should at once find a suitable location for the engine and a competitent caretaker to make sure the engine is always working.



*More about Mr.Turgeon from AlmonteIn June 1868 daughters Margaret and Elizabeth Varin aged fourteen and nine respectively and their four year old nephew Eusebe Turgeon drowned when the boat they were in was swept over the falls in Almonte.



Clara Varin Turgeon and her husband had six children while living in Almonte where Telesphore was a barber. In the 1880s the family moved to upper Minnesota in the area between Duluth and Minneapolis. In 1894 Telesphore lost his life in the huge Hinkley forest fire that killed over 500 people. Clare and the children survived and lived
on in Minnesota. 




March 1, 2015:

Hello Al,

Sometime ago you were very helpful to me in providing information about a tragic triple drowning of three children of the Varin family in Almonte on June 11, 1868.  

This summer past I went on a short “genealogy field trip” to Almonte and visited Old St Mary’s Cemetary (sic) on the SE corner
of Concession 12 and March Road where the children are buried.

I attach a picture of the gravestone and copy of the inscription on the stone.

This was a very poignant find.

… Joe Courtright



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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s