The Watts Bros Seed Company Lanark Village


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Watt Bros. Seed Company, Lanark,Ontario~1934


The Watt Brothers began their business either in the beginning 0f the 1900s, or the very latter part of the 1800s. They were growers and dealers in nursery stock, seeds and supplies of every description. They also offered the local farmers an opportunity to make money off the trees from their farms without injuring the trees. ( I think that meant not cutting them down)


From the looks of it they specialized mostly in trees ( early arborists) and were in the market for all kinds of forest trees seeds, and important growers of *ginseng. They were on of the few I can tell at the time that had a mail order business and shipped to all parts of Canada. They were noted as being the envy of all Ontario in everything they grew and sold.




Few people had either greenhouses in which to germinate seeds or cold frames in which to harden plants off. Those who did either grew exotic vegetables such as tomatoes because there was a market for them, or vegetables for show, nurtured and cosseted from seed specially bought for the purpose.

Potato sets and seeds such as parsnips grew away quickly.  Vegetables such as cabbages could either be swapped as young plants grown from seed by a neighbour for later produce, or bought as bare-root plants wrapped in newspaper from the market. People grew plants as seasonally as they ate them.


This is the Thomas Watt & Son stove display at the Middleville Fair.

Fruit needed to be plentiful and not fiddly to use – this meant rhubarb, gooseberries, and apples either scrumped, shared, bartered or grown. Fruit pies are today no longer a regular part of a meal, but for many they were an essential and cheap filling food. Food was energy. Suet rendered from pig for puddings, crappings (similar to scratchings), fat bacon, dripping on bread, fruit pies and oatcakes were cheap to fill people up.

There is no record when Watt Bros closed. If you know anything please let us know.

Perth Courier, April 27, 1860

The spring ploughing match came off on the 18th inst., on the farm of W.O. Buell, Esq.  Six ploughs entered, four of them iron ploughs.  We notice Marley’s Iron Plough and one made in Perth by Mr. Rutherford. Three of the iron ploughs took premiums and one of Cox’s make took another at the match.  The first prize was awarded to John McCullom who used the Rutherford Iron Plough.  We understand he holds a medal received at a ploughing match in Scotland.  The second prize was awarded to James Cameron, Scotch Line—iron plough.  The third prize went to James Buchan—Marley’s plough and the fourth to David Watson, Cox’s wooden plough.  The ploughing was excellent and a credit to the society.  The day was beautiful and there were some 200 people present who enjoyed the exhibition very much.  The ploughmen, judges and others were entertained at the farm house for lunch by the proprietor.  The judges were Messrs. James Stewart, Hugh McIntyre and Peter Stewart.

We are glad to know that our farmers are paying attention to the root crop.  In the neighborhood of Perth more carrot, turnip and mangold wurtzell seed is now sold in one year than formerly used in ten years.  The purple top Swede is one of the most favored varieties.  We have been told of a Swede raised on the farm of John Donald, Esq., Reeve of Dalhousie, which is ahead so are as we know.  When peeled with the tops on, one weighed 26.5 pounds and when trimmed and allowed to dry the net weight was 25.5 pounds.  This turnip was perfect in form and round throughout.  By the application of a liquid manure the size and weight can be increased and we trust some of our farmers will produce turnips like Mr. Donald’s for exhibition at the Fall Show of our agricultural society.  The business done in the winter at the 9th Line Dalhousie is worthy of note.  Owing to the extensive lumbering operations beyond we are told as many as fifty sleighs on a day will congregate and that the 9th Line farms have found a market there.  We notice in passing a sign hung out “Oysters and Lobsters” at Thomas Scott’s, 9th Line.  Old Dalhousie, as far as prosperity and population is concerned, is nobly holding her own, notwithstanding the emigration westward.


Our great, great grandfather Alexander Watt, born 1789. Died in Lanark County 1881. Stuart McIntosh




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

Related reading

*The Lanark Ginseng Company?

Village of Lanark Business Directory 1886– 1887

Remembering the Carleton Place CPR Gardens

Are You Ready for Spring? Carleton Place and District Horticultural Society is!



The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
25 Sep 1912, Wed  •  Page 1
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
08 Jul 1908, Wed  •  Page 1

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.

2 responses »

  1. How fascinating Linda. I clicked on the Ginseng post and a Mett Watt is listed. Makes one wonder if he had his green thumb in both businesses 😉


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