Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!




Photo from www.bytown.net

Did you know that among the pioneers, great difficulty was  had for many years. The consummation of courtship was impossible in those days with only the *Rev. Dr. Stuart being the only regular clergy man from the Lower Province line to Kingston.
The eager bridal parites were compelled to wait for months, and in some cases for years, before the golden opportunity presented itself. To obviate this difficulty,in many instances,magistrates, colonels, majors, adjutants and surgeons consented to perform the
ceremony. By the Act of 1783, these irregular marriages were confirmed. The practice yet in vogue in rural sections, of keeping intending marriages a secret, no doubt, in a measure, grew out of the system of posting up notices of the intention of personsto marry.

The notices were frequently attached to trees by the roadside, and taken down by the parties most interested. Public opinion rapidly changed in favor of conferring the right to marry upon ministers of all denominations, and in 1798 an Act was passed, which made it lawful for the minister of any congregation professing to be a member of the Church of Scotland, the Lutheran Church, or a Calvinist Church, to marry according to the rites of
such church.

By a clause of this Act, the clergyman was compelled to appear at the Quarter Sessions,
prove his office, and take the oath of allegiance. It will be observed that, by this Act, the Methodists and some other denominations were treated with contempt by the authorities at that time ruling the Province. An obvious right was withheld, and a grave injustice done to a body well deserving of recognition.

In some instances the ministers were not disposed to quietly submit to the unjust law.
Elder Ryan and the Rev. Mr. Smith, Ryan s son-in-law, both performed the ceremony. Ryan was in consequence banished from the Province, but was pardoned. Smith stood his trial, acted as his ownlawyer, and got free.

Justice was at last done by the Act of 1831, which, in addition to the churches
before named, made it lawful for the remaining orthodox denominations to solemnize matrimony, after having obtained certificates from the Quarter Sessions.In May, 1814, the Government appointed five persons in the Province to issue marriage licenses,the point in Eastern Canada being Cornwall.





Marriage Certificates from the Lanark County Genealogical Society Page–

Marriage Certificates

The certificates have been submitted by website users or from the Perth Museum Archives.


Memorial Tiles: Rev. John Stuart

Perth Courier, November, 1933

The following is from the Pilot Mound, Manitoba, Sentinel, Mrs. Stewart having been the former Miss Marjory McIntyre of Balderson before her marriage to Mr. D. A. Stewart.  “Golden wedding bells chimed in Copperfield on Sunday, Oct. 8 when a highly esteemed pioneer couple Mr. and Mrs. D.A. Stewart celebrated their 50th anniversary of their wedding day at home with their family.  Harry and Kathleen received the congratulations of many friends who called during the day.  On October 8, 1883, D.A. Stewart married Marjorie McIntyre in Winnipeg.  They took the train to Manitou and completed their journey by horse and buggy to the farm close by the (illegible word) Mound.  When they arrived, threshing was in progress on the next acre and the gang halted to give a royal salute with full whistle honors to the bride and groom.  Since that happy day, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have lived on the same farm; a fine pine tree grove planted by Mr. Stewart surrounds an avenue leading to their home.  Both have played important parts in the up building of this district since the pioneer days.  Mr. Stewart is a graduate in Applied Science and Arts of McGill and taught school as a young man in the east.  On coming west he entered actively into political life and as a Liberal candidate successful contested Lisgar in a memorable contest – in which the defeated aspirants included the late R.L. Richardson and represented Lisgar in the Federal House.  He has always been keenly and actively interested in education and municipal matters and for many years was inspector of schools; he is still secretary-treasurer of his own school district, Copperfield, he was for some time clerk of Louise municipality.  Mrs. Stewart despite some infirmities, is a bright, cheerful little lady, possessing a remarkable memory of happenings of early years.

Perth Courier, July 19, 1940

On Wednesday of last week Mr. and Mrs. George Garrett of Doranville, pioneer residents of that district, quietly celebrated the 68th anniversary of their marriage.  It was on July 10, 1872 that Mr. Garrett, who was the fourth son of the late George Garrett and Mary Greer of Silver Lake, took as a bride Jane Johnston, daughter of Robert Johnston and Ellen Greer of (illegible, maybe Oso?).  (note, last names as printed of the mothers are both Greer).  At that time there were only two or three houses at Sharbot Lake and no church there.  The minister who performed the ceremony was a Methodist circuit rider from Maberly.  Recalling these early days, Mr. Garrett stated “I had built a little cabin back in the bush north of Zealand and not far from the farm now occupied by Jim McCord.  The neighbors were good in those days and they gave me a lot of help in building my first home.”  To this clearing in the woods, the young couple repaired.  They did not have much in the way of worldly goods but stout hearts and a willingness to work were valuable assets.  Mr. Garrett owned an ox team but most of his work was with the axe.  “I was young and strong” he said “and could work all day without ever tiring.  I was always chopping wood to make potash for cash.  We had lots of hard work but there was always plenty to eat and we were as happy as kings.”  The little log cabin became too small for the growing family and a larger house was built in which Mr. and Mrs. Garrett raised their family of three sons and five daughters. After their family had grown up they sold their farm and retired to Sharbot Lake where Mr. Garrett was employed on the C.P.R. section.  “When we were pioneering”, Mr. Garrett said, “game was plentiful.  I saw lots of bear and deer and at night the wolves used to howl.”  Mr. Garrett, who is 91 years of age, is still rugged and active.  Mrs. Garrett is 90 and was able to do all her own work until last October when she was badly injured in a fall.  Since that time she has been in poor health.  Six  sons and daughters are still living including Thomas of Sydenham; Robert of Leamington; George of Zealand; Mrs. Robert Armstrong of Zealand; Mrs. Charles Gordon of Sharbot Lake; and Mrs. Acheson(?) of Detroit.  Mrs. Viola Moore of Lombardy who died last month was a daughter while another daughter Mrs. Ellen McCord, died 23 years ago.


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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