The Henry Ashby Story-Left in a Shack Without Food? Putting the Mystery Together




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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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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