The Barren Lands of Montague?



Photo–Robert Sample. Birth: abt 1842 – Ireland. Arrival: 1842. Residence: Township of Montague, Lanark, Ontario  Charles Dobie Collection


Thanks Tammy Marion for doing this.. Incredible work

This week I  posted a photo of a man on the Lanark  County Genealogical Society Facebook page wearing a badge from the Montague Corner Loyal Orange Lodge, Montague, Ont. “Unknown Presented to Robert J Sample”–( Let us know if you know the family.. (From the Charles Dobie Collection)

The township of Montague is one of the oldest and newest townships of Lanark County. It was surveyed, named and had the first settlers, but until 1842 they remained part of the adjoining district of Johnstown to the south which became part of Leeds and Grenville. The first farm to be occupied was by the Roger Stephens family but Stephens soon met his fate by drowning.

Roger Stevens, a former British secret agent during the American War of Independence originally from Vermont, settled on the boundary of Montague and Marlborough on the Rideau River. In 1790, Roger Stevens, the first settler on the Rideau River, built a cabin and cleared land on Lot 1 of Montague Township and the adjoining Lot 30 of Marlborough Township on the north shore of the Rideau River. Stevens built the first sawmill in the area at the location of the “Great Falls”, what was later to become Merrickville after William Merrick set up a grist mill in the village.  Had his life not been cut short by drowning in 1793, the same energy that prompted Stevens to build the first sawmill on the Rideau at the site of Merrickville, might have altered the pace at which the Stafford “leader and associate” settlement grew, 101 and possibly might have resonated in the settlement of Leeds and Lansdowne Rear.  Ontario, Canada- History of Leeds & Grenville from 1749 to 1879.”


It seems religious development spread a lot faster than being educated in Montague and the Baptist “good word” was spread by the two son-in-laws of Loyalist settler Rev. Jessie McIntyre. There had been some wonderful churches built around the areas of Burritt’s Rapids, Merrickville, Smith’s Falls and the Church of England  in Franktown– but these places of worship were just too far away for those who lived in Montague.

There were 4 Orange Lodges in the township all located north of the 3rd concession and the Irish were predominant. In 1865 they tried to shut the flow of liquour down but that only lasted 4 years, as it looks like the drinking Orangemen had their way with changing it. There was also dissension between the northern and southern part of Montague in all aspects (farmers were either rich or poor) and some how it became anti- Irish.

The lodges and society groups grew but, there was none other than the Montague Agricultural Society organized in 1860 with their annual exhibition at the Roseville Hall. Of course it was dominated by men from the southern concessions and the only thing all these groups really had in common was the male membership.

The townships population began to decline in 1860 and the 1918 directory of Montague Township is below:

Comment from Marilyn Lucas– Mr. Sample must have been going to a fellow Orangeman’s service, who had died. The badge was reversed to the black in memoriam for that. The Orange side for parades, meetings etc.–Glenn Sample lives in Montague. Lila McGonegal (Sample) & Fred Sample live in Smiths Falls. Their parents were Willard & Isobel Sample, I believe. They maybe related. Orange Lodge 190 was near where Glenn & Vivian Sample live in Montague.

Montague Township,
Lanark County, Ont.
1918 Directory–Click here–



In 1795 William Merrick a millwright from Massachusetts, set up a mill on the Rideau River at the site of the falls, and founded what is today the thriving community of Merrickville.


Robert Sample

Ontario Deaths and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947
Name Robert Sample
Event Type Death
Event Date 06 Aug 1928
Event Place Montague
Gender Male
Age 86
Birth Date 03 May 1842
Birthplace Ireland
Father’s Name James Sample
Mother’s Name Jennette Moore


13180-25 Sidney Howard CONLIN, 45, farmer, Montague twp., same, s/o George CONLIN, b. Montague twp & Sarah BROWN, married Myrtle Janetta Alberta SAMPLE, 41, Montague twp., same, d/o Robert SAMPLE, farmer, b. Ireland & Isabella Crawford MOORE, witn: James H. McCREARY of Smith Falls & Alice May DOUCETT of Carleton Place, 17 June 1925 at Montague, near Franktown


Other information in the record of Sidney Howard Conlin and Myrtle Janetta Alberta Sample from Ontario Marriages
Name Sidney Howard Conlin
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 17 Jun 1925
Event Place Montague, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Gender Male
Age 45
Birth Year (Estimated) 1880
Father’s Name George Conlin
Mother’s Name Sarah Brown
Spouse’s Name Myrtle Janetta Alberta Sample
Spouse’s Gender Female
Spouse’s Age 41
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1884
Spouse’s Father’s Name Robert Sample
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Isabella Crawford Moore


Perth Courier, Oct. 26, 1888

Mr. John Wood, Montague, has sold his farm of 100 acres to Hermon Loucks for $7,500.  This is considered one of the best farms if not the best, in the township.  By this purchase, Mr. Loucks has a solid block of land containing 450 acres which taken in all is one of the finest farms in Ontario.


Bathurst District Marriages 1843:

April 25 Thomas EDWARDS, Wolford, to Margaret MCQUAY, Montague. Wit: Walter Richey, William Hoster Jr.

February 25 Thomas CROZIER to Margaret BROWN both of Montague. Wit: E. Boyce, H.M. Boyce.



Perth Courier, Nov. 16, 1888

Roseville Notes:  We regret to learn that Peter Clark, Esq., for many years reeve of the township of Montague, and ex-Warden of the County of Lanark, has been indisposed of late but we are glad to learn that his early recovery is expected.  –Quite an excitement was caused by finding a basket containing a charge of dynamite and sufficient fuse to ignite the same in Mr. Clark’s field.  Many theories have been advanced as to the object of the owner of the same but probably mischief was intended.  With the reports of burglaries in Smith’s Falls, the discovery of this deadly compound in this locality has a decidedly suspicious bearing.

Perth Courier, July 27, 1894

Ferguson—Died, at Manitou, Manitoba, on Tuesday, 17th July, John Ferguson, formerly of Montague, aged 53.

Perth Courier, November 21, 1879

Kidd-Kidd—Married, at Smith’s Falls, on the 18th inst., by Rev. C. P. Emery, Mr. Thomas Kidd of Montague to Miss Jane Kidd of Beckwith.


Perth Courier, July 28, 1899

The Brockville Recorder of July 23 says:  “Miss Susan Gilhooly of Smith’s Falls died yesterday evening at 5:30 at the General Hospital here.  She was admitted to this institution some days ago suffering from an inward tumor.  She was the daughter of the late Jas. Gilhooly of the township of Montague, County Lanark, and was born there in 1846 being therefore 53 years of age at the time of her death.  She was a member of the Anglican church.  The remains were taken to Smith’s Falls this afternoon at 2:30 in charge of a brother of the deceased, for interment.”

Perth Courier, April 16, 1897

Smith’s Falls and Vicinity:  George Burrows, one of the original settlers in the barren lands of Montague, died at the age of 80.  He was an Irish Protestant.

Perth Courier, Sept. 9, 1870

Condie—Died, in Montague on the 28th July, Barbara, wife of Mr. Alex. Condie, in the 78th (?) year of her age.  The late Mrs. Condie was born in the village of Kenawa, Fifeshire, Scotland, and came to this country with her husband and family in the year 1828, settling in Montague shortly thereafter, where she resided until the time of her death.  Her descendants now living are seven sons and four daughters—out of a family of twelve. She is also survived by 6 (?) grandchildren and 19 (?) great grandchildren.  She was much respected in the neighborhood where she lived and her memory will be cherished by numerous friends and descendants she has left behind.  Her illness she bore with Christian fortitude and died in the blessed hope of a glorious immortality.

Perth Courier, Oct. 26, 1888

Sudden Death—I regret to inform the readers of the sudden death of Mrs. Conrie, wife of Mr. Alex Conrie, a worthy farmer residing in Montague, which sad event occurred last week.  The deceased lady went to bed, apparently in her ordinary good health, and lay talking to her husband previous to going to sleep.  During a pause in their conversation she moaned once or twice.  Mr. Conrie asked what was the matter but she returned no answer and he got up and struck a light only to find his beloved partner in life was no more.

Perth Courier, March 29, 1872

McPherson—Died, at Montague, County Lanark, Ontario, on the 22nd March, Elizabeth Menzies, wife of Donald McPherson a native of Glen Lynn, Scotland, in the 63rd year of her age.


A village on a Rideau Canal.
Nolans Corners:
Could have been Comries Corners in the Historical Atlas of Lanark County.
Shows in the Historical Atlas of Lanark County.
Seems to have undergone a name change since the publishing of the Historical Atlas of Lanark County in which the name Roseville appears. In 1827 it may have been called the Rose settlement.
Smiths Falls:
Was land granted in 1784 to Major Thomas Smyth, a British officer and veteran of the American revolutionary war. He took possession in 1823. By 1827 it was known as Wardsville after Abel Russell Ward who purchased the land. A road was built from here to the Bytown (Ottawa) road by the surveyor for the Rideau Canal. A road to Perth was also made and another linking it to the road to Brockville. The first store was opened in 1828. The land was surveyed for a townsite in 1829.





Lodge member–Photo from Jay Playfair’s album thanks to Laurie Yuill Middleville historian-

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.

3 responses »

  1. hi, rumor had it that Roger Stevens did not die in an innocent drowning but was possibly murdered… Off hand I can’t remember where I read this but it was suggested that a Merrick family member might have had something to do with it.


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