A McDonalds Corners Love Story

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The biggest and bloodiest fight of all in Lanark County was the Caldwell and McLaren feud and the entire countryside became embroiled.  Signs of trouble began in 1850 and broke into open hostility in 1878 when the powerful lumber baron McLaren of Perth declared “No man but me has any right on this river.”Caldwell, of Lanark, another lumber baron, protested.

On March 6, 1884, the Privy Council in London sustained Caldwell’s counter claim  which established throughout the Empire the right of river usage via improvements of another party.  The judgment had far reaching consequences in gaining certain common rights of navigable streams for public and industrial use.

But some say there was a romance that joined the two families finally together…

The story goes that Ronald Grant who worked for James MacLaren was in love with Jessie McIlquham who was said to be the best dancer in Drummond. Jessie was the daughter of a very stern father named David McIlquham (“Mucklewham” as the Scots used to pronounce it) who was  one of the fierce Caldwell supporters. McIlquham refused to let Grant take a ‘bairn’ of his into holy wedlock. Instead of trying to encourage the father into letting him wed his daughter he became a radical “McLaren man”.

Jessie McIlquham was supposed to be at a local dance at McDonalds Corners that night in Decemeber and the tortured love-struck Grant knew he had to see her. So, he “taunted” his foreman by stating that if any McLaren employee did not show up to this dance they would be branded cowards by the Caldwell side.

Stung by such a suggestion the McLaren foreman declared “his lot” were afraid of nothing that walked, danced or fought on the Lanark line.  Down the road that night raced a sleigh filled with McLaren men to that McDonalds Corners  dance. Along with Ronald were many axe handles in case they needed them to defend themselves at the dance.

Young Grant had vowed to claim his quota of dances with young Jessie and win the right to marry her that December evening and he did. The McLaren and Caldwell ‘boys’ applauded when Ronald Grant was finally given the nod to wed Jessie McIlquham by her father that night at McDonalds Corners.

The personal feud faded and the families and followers reconciled upon the romance and the subsequent marriage between a fiercely loyal McLaren man and the daughter of a similarly fiercely loyal Caldwell man.  Caldwell and McLaren then became close friends and moved on to wider interests and illustrious careers.

And now you know the rest of the story….

 

 

historicalnotes

013940-10 Robert James FERGUSON, 26, farmer, of Bathurst Twp, s/o Duncan FERGUSON & Bella TOMLINSON; married Maggie Robson McILQUHAM, 24, Dressmaker, of Drummond, d/o David McILQUHAM & Margaret HUNTER; wit Florence WATTERS or WALTERS & Stuart FERGUSON, both no place given, 16 Nov 1910, Drummond

On the first concession we find the names of such well known pioneers as Dr. Thom, A. Fraser, J.T. and R.(?) James, Nathaniel and William Stedman, J. Hand and James Bell.  On the 2nd Concession (the part within the town of Perth)—Col. Taylor, Capt. Marshall, Greenly, Harris, Malloch, and Haggart and going eastward C.H. Sache, Henry J.T.&R, William StedmanR.(?) or N.(?) James and Thomas Hands (1855)  On Concession 3—R. Greenel, B. Glen, James and W. Morris, Sutton Frisell, J. McPhail, John Tatlock (1851), T. Doyle, Michael and John Foy (1853).  On Concession 4 Thomas Poole, J. Richmond, J. King (view the 1830(?) grant of the east half of Lot 12 in the museum), W. Morris, Hon. R. Matheson, T.M. Radenhurst.  On Concession 5 Martin Doyle (1853(?)), G. Richmond, Charles Devlin. On Concession 6, D. Macnee, D. Campbell, P. Campbell, T. Bothwell, W. Thompson, and James Codd (Code).  On Concession 7, D. Campbell, F. McIntyre, T. Whyte, P. Campbell (Beech Groove Lot 6, birth place of Archibald Campbell, Sr., and now owned by the Carr-Thompson family), McGarry, W. Shaw, J.&D. McLaren.  Concession 8, J. Balderson (of Balderson’s Corners), T.&J. Richardson, W. Fraser, T.&W. Stedman, W., M.J. & G. Gould, J. McLenaghan, and P. Sinclair.  Concession 9(?) (paper shows “IV” must be misprint) J. McIntyre, C. Campbell, J&W. Tullis, P. McIntyre, P. McTavish, (initial illegible) and N. McLanaghan, D. & J. Robertson.  Concession 10(?) J. Campbell, J. Cuthbertson, W. & J. McIlquham.  Concession 11 J. McIlquham, R. Matheson, Esq. (1846?)  Concession 12 L. Drysdale (1845?), Hon. Malcolm Cameron (East(?) Lot 9, Concession 12 and west ½(?) Lot 13, all dated 1845 and north of the Mississippi River

 

Related reading:

Your Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day

 

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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