In May 28 of 1926 an article in the Ottawa Journal wrote that 13 year-old Henry Ashby from Ottawa reported that he was abducted by a strange man, gagged, bound and thrown into a strange car from the Westboro Public School.
Later the next day he telephoned his 17 year-old sister to say he was alive and well in Carleton Place. His parents had spent the day scouring the countryside for him to no avail. George Presley of Carleton Place, who was also a friend of the family, telephoned the parents and told him their son Henry was safe and sound at his home. Because there were no cellphones in the day the parents got some of the information mixed up, wires were crossed somehow thinking the boy was in Ashton.
At midnight the Ashby family finally arrived at Mr. Presley’s home to find Henry who welcomed them with open arms– but seemed somehow fearful of what might transpire. Presley explained he had found Henry on the road a short distance from Carleton Place so he picked him up, and had given him a good supper.
Henry could give no clear story of what had happened to him. He told his parents of being accosted by a man, put in ropes and taken for a long ride. He said he was carried into a shack and left alone there all night untied he said. In the morning he managed to escape from the shack which was a short distance from Carleton Place and telephoned his sister. The police and his parents wondered how he had telephoned home as he had no money and the call to his sister was not placed collect.
His father said that the boy must have had a lapse of memory and had been wandering around in a dream while he walked from Ottawa to Carleton Place. There were no marks of ropes on his ankles and wrists, and his “coaster” (wagon) was missing that he had ridden to school. His mother interjected that he must have fallen off his coaster, hit his head and had a concussion. His father placed little evidence in Henry’s story of being abducted, his father considered it practically impossible that boy could have walked the distance from Ottawa to Carleton Place.
So what happened and is there more to this story? There sure was– after running Henry’s name through newspaper archives I found this article from the day before May 27, 1926. It seems Henry was in a heap of trouble– but the question remains– how did he make the telephone call and get to Carleton Place? I guess we will never know, but years later after let it be known Henry Ashby had mended his ways and became involved with the Salvation Army in Ottawa.
Here is why he ran away… Maybe I would have too
May 27, 1926–Ottawa Journal
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