So Where is that Gnarled Oak in Beckwith?


Last week I wrote about the Gnarled Oak of Beckwith Township and how it was important as a landmark to Old Kirk of Beckwith that is no longer with us. The stone church was built in 1832, replacing a log church building. It served the first two Canadian generations of the first large settlement of Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlanders in the district of Upper Canada north of the Rideau River. Beckwith Councillor Tim Campbell who lives in the  Beckwith Manse  wondered where this black oak was.

It has been noted that the parishioners would use an oak tree near the church  to steady themselves while they put their shoes back on before entering the stone church called “The Kirk of the Cross Keys”.  The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Today I took several hours to see what I could come up with. In 1955 Harry J. Walker, a local writer for The Ottawa Journal accompanied by Lanark County historian Howard Brown went searching for an old dead end road known to a long dead generation as Cross Keys between the 6th and 7th concessions of Beckwith. That road runs easterly for a mile and then comes to a dead end.

Harry wrote: “Across from a gnarled black oak the walls of the historic church walls that had stood for over 135 years stood bleak in the November light. Under the shade of that oak they once rested and put on their home made boots that they had used to wade across the swale” (fording the swamp of the Jock River).

While individual black oak trees generally have a lifespan between 100 and 200 years the tree or what remained was still standing in 1955– maybe the stump still exists?

I will leave this to Tim and see what he finds out–stay tuned!




Photo from The Lanark County Genealogical Society-Jayne Munro Ouimet


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 Gnarled Beckwith Oak


Update on The Manse in Beckwith

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine


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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