Judge Senkler and the Almonte Fire Bug

Judge Senkler and the Almonte Fire Bug
List of Settlers and their Occupations c. 1879

Last Name First Name County Township Town Occupation Birthplace
Senkler  W.S.  Lanark  Drummond  Perth Judge, Lanark Co.  England




I never realized how much Judge Senkler was a force in Lanark County and how many crimes I had written about that he had presided over the court cases. I could not find a picture of him only Judge Senkler in Vancouver who he has no relation too. But, I did find these tidbits about him.

December 7, 1920

July 12 1895

His Honour Judge Senkler held division court her on Wednesday. There were  a dozen cases on the list, but there was little “fight” in most of them. Auctioneer Simpson sued W.F. Bishop for $100 commission for selling the latter’s farm. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff did not effect the sale. The judge  gave the plaintiff $50.

Perth Courier, Dec. 28, 1888

A young man named Holliday of Almonte was tried on Friday by Judge Senkler for breaking into Max Vineburg’s store in Almonte.  The evidence of a respectable witness who has turned Queen’s evidence resulted in Holliday being discharged.

Perth Courier, March 15, 1889

Mr. Michael Sullivan appeared before Judge Senkler on Tuesday last on the charge of assaulting Ambrose Love by stabbing.  He pled guilty and was sentenced to imprisonment in the county gaol for thirty days, sentence to commence upon conviction for any other felony or misdemeanor.

Perth Courier, April 12, 1889

Jaspar Vrooman, ex-Chief Constable in Smith’s Falls, was committed for trial last week on the charge of being instrumental in enabling another party to obtain goods under false pretenses, came up before his Honor Judge Senkler on Saturday and was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment in the common gaol at Perth.




Winnipeg Tribune July 14, 1894


Perth Courier, May 24, 1912

The social function of the season in Perth was an at home reception held on Tuesday evening by Judge and Mrs. Senkler, the occasion being the 50th anniversary of their wedding.  All their immediate family and relatives within distance were present and a large number of citizens from Perth and other towns in the county called to congratulate them.  It was a source of pleasure to all to find their host and hostess in good health and keen enjoyment of the event and the fond memories it called up of other days.  From the Bar of the county and court house officials, Mr. and Mrs. Senkler received a cabinet of sterling silver beautifully engraved.  The address accompanied it was read by E.G. Malloch, K.C., Crown Attorney.  The church, which both have served so long and faithfully, remembered the occasion and through its present officials of the parish bore its words of esteem and congratulations.  Among the out of town guests were:

Mr. and Mrs. B.E. Chaffey of Winnipeg

Mrs. Albert E. Senkler, St. Paul, Minnesota

Miss Malloch, Hamilton

Mr. and Mrs. E.S. Senkler of Bowmanville

Dr. and Mrs. Gardiner of Kingston

Miss Senkler, Judge and Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. W.T. Reynolds, Lt. Col. W.S. Buell of Brockville

Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Tett, Miss Tett, Dr. R.H. Preston, Newboro

Mr. and Mrs. B. Tett, Bedford Mills

Dr. and Mrs. Morgan Senkler of Westmount

Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Hart, Winnipeg

Dr. R.F. Preston, M.P.P., Carleton Place

Mr. T.B. Caldwell, ex M.P., B.A.C., Caldwell

Mrs. W.C. Caldwell, Lanark

In consideration of the event, one must not overlook the biography of Judge and Mrs. Senkler.  The judge is an Englishman by birth having been born in Doching, Norfolk County, England on 15th Jan., 1838. He as a son of Rev. Edmund John Senkler, M.A. of Cains College, Cambridge, a clergyman of the Church of England.  His mother was Eleanor Elizabeth Stevens, daughter of Rev. William Stevens, M.A., of Sedberg, Yorkshire, England.  The parents of Judge Senkler with their family of nine children came to Canada in May of 1843 locating in Quebec where for some time Rev. Mr. Senkler was a rector of the high school.  Later he moved to Sorel and in September of 1847 he moved to Brockville where he died on October 28, 1872.

Mrs. Senkler followed him to the grave on 16th March, 1873.  The education of Judge Senkler was the care of his father and the future judge commenced life in mercantile pursuits.  With the desire for law uppermost in his mind, he studied with Hon. A.N. Richards, the late Lt. Governor of British Columbia and also with the late Hon. Edward Blake.  He was admitted as solicitor during the Michaelmas term of 1860 and was called to the bar in Trinity term, 1861.  The judge began his practice in law in Brockville first with the late J.D. Buell then with Hon. A.N. Richards and lastly with his brother the late Edmund John Senkler (afterwards county judge at Lincoln) and continued in Brockville until December of 1873 when he was appointed Judge of the County Court and County of Lanark, succeeding Judge Malloch.

Then following this appointment others came:  on the 15th October, 1875, he was appointed Master in Chancery here by the judges of he court; on the 10th October, 1877, Referee of titles by the Judges of the Court of Chancery; on March 14, 1882 local judge of the High Court of Justice for Ontario; and on October 26, 1885 revising office for South Lanark by the MacDonald government.  Judge Senkler has taken an active interest in church, education and military matters.  He has helped to organize the Brockville light infantry attaining the rank of ensign.  True to the traditions of his house, he is a member of the Church of England and served as church warden in St. Peter’s Church, Brockville and St. James Church, Perth for several years.

For 31 years he has represented the Perth parish at synod and much to the regret of St. James Church, declined re-election at their last vestry meeting.  In educational matters, Judge Senkler has devoted much interest and energy.  He is a member of the Board of Education, first representing the county as Collegiate Trustee and since 1892 has been a public school trustee for the centre ward.  He was chairman in 1893 and 1894.  the judge is especially concerned with public school affairs.  His Honor served the town on the public library board being an appointee of the town council and for several years has been chairman.  The marriage of Judge and Mrs. Senkler took place on May 21, 1862 and was celebrated by the late Rev. Dr. Adamson in the Episcopal Cathedral in Quebec.  Mrs. Senkler is a daughter of the late Benjamin Tait of Newboro who at that time represented South Leeds in the Parliament of Canada and who sat for the same riding in the first parliament of Ontario.  The issue of this marriage was two daughters and one son.


May 27, 1899 page 1 Ottawa Journal


     “He gave her a drug which kept her in his power”

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Related Reading:

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

The Buck Lake Murderer

Have you Ever Heard about Doran? Here Come da’ Judge!



Photos of Judge Senkler thanks to

I am so pleased to know who he was and I read your article about him. I think he was about 58 when this photo was taken. I can’t seem to find anyone with that surname in the area, so I suppose the chances of finding descendants are vague.

Copies attached of front and back. Also the corner (bubbled with what I presume is old glue when the picture was changed) marking the studio name Bryant in Brockville (no relation 🙂). There is a bit more pencilled in on the back  – Aug. 96, a random number which may be price or size or house number, and a note to deliver Tuesday afternoon.. Carlene Bryant.

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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