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