Lanark County “Bad Girls”– Bank Street 1873

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January 31 1873- Almonte Gazette— An Ottawa correspondent sends us the following: Two young ladies from Almonte, selling hair work, arrived in this city last week, and took board in a respectable boarding house on Bank street, not wishing to put up at an hotel. After enjoying the beautiful scenery of the city, and every attention from the mistress, they left, promising to return to dinner, but have not been heard of since. The fun of it is they left without settling their board bill.

 

 

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A lady identified as Miss Skead wearing a costume and holding a small bow, Ottawa, Canada, February 1876

When a woman deviated from the Victorian construction of the ideal woman, she was stigmatized and labelled. The fallen woman was viewed as a moral menace, a contagion. Insanity evolved into not only a medical explanation for bizarre behaviour, but also a legal explanation for criminal behaviour. Finally, the habitual woman criminal and the infanticidal mother were seen as unnatural. Regardless of the crime committed, female criminals were ostracized and removed from ‘respectable’ society– even in Almonte I am presuming.

 

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Mrs. G.W. Wickstead in costume as Britannia, Ottawa, Canada, February 1876.

There was the ideal Victorian society that existed in Victorian minds, and the reality of poverty, passion, and criminal sensation that existed in the streets. Women accused of wrongdoing held a special fascination for the Victorians. Their blend of passion, eroticism, and danger served to spark the Victorian imagination. The woman of the nineteenth century occupied a position of duality within Victorian culture. She was either Madonna or Magdalene, pure or ruined, familiar or 3 foreign. Within this cultural construct, the criminal woman was defined largely by her departure from the ideal Victorian woman who was passionless, chaste, innocent, submissive and self-sacrificing. 

 

 

Related Reading

“Wenches” in Almonte??

Donna Summer Last Dance at 63

 

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

 

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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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