The Almost Tragic Story of Robert Henry


2.24 KERR FAMILY PIC 1_0004.jpgA steamer tows St. Lawrence river skiffs. Kerr Family collection-Thousand Islands Life

Almonte Gazette-August 22, 1884

On Thursday of last week a young man named Robert Henry, of Carleton Place, had a very narrow escape from being drowned while with a pleasure party up Mississippi Lake. He, in company with a few other young men, was being towed in a small skiff behind the steamer. While standing in the stern of the skiff the latter gave a sadden lurch, and Henry fell overboard. In the excitement of the moment the skiff was not loosed from the steamer till, it was about a hundred yards from where he fell in.

Mr. Alex. Menzies, knowing that Henry could not swim, made his way back in the boat as quickly as possible, and arrived just in time to see the latter sink beneath the water for the third time. He saw that not a moment was to be lost, and bravely dove into the water after his companion.

It was a moment of terrible suspense to the onlookers, and a great sigh of relief was given when Menzies again appeared on the surface, bearing up the unconscious form of Henry, No time was lost getting both on board the steamer, and, restoratives, being applied, the all-but-drowned young man soon regained consciousness. Menzies exhibited great courage m risking, his life in the attempt to save that of his friend—courage of a stamp that is seldom seen.




Taken above the bridge in Carleton Place, Caver’s Planing Mill in background at right with tall smoke stack (since demolished) -Public Archives


Perth Courier, Sept. 26, 1884

Some weeks ago Alexander Menzies having an office in Messrs. Bower Bros. Drug Store, saved the life of a young man named Robert Henry by jumping into the Mississippi Lake near Carleton Place and rescuing him from a watery grave.

We learn form the Central Canadian that a substantial testimonial is to be given Mr. Menzies in the shape of a $40 medal bearing the following inscription:  “Presented to Alexander Menzies by the young men of Carleton Place in reward of his bravery in saving the life of Robert Henry on the Mississippi.”




Elizabeth McCallum and Alexander Menzies married on Wednesday, October 14, 1885 in Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario.

Perth Courier, May 29, 1896

Alexander Menzies has been away for a couple weeks having a growth removed from his face and had a successful operation performed.


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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