The Love Story of the Lanark County Brakeman



Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario


I found this anonymous story and had to share it. A brakeman in the service of the railway that ran through Lanark County fell between two cars of a moving train, the merciless wheels crushing off both legs. The unfortunate man was removed to a comfortable place and being told by the attending surgeon that he could not survive the injury, he was asked if he wished to send any message to his family.

He replied that he would not die until his wife could come to him and the surgeon shook his head in a doubting manner. The bleeding helpless but conscious brakeman, knowing that every one despaired of his life, again assured them this time more determinedly than before, that he would foil the plans of his master, Death, until his wife in person could receive his farewell.



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lindaseccaspina – Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

When one of the superintendents received telegraphic advice of the accident and the dying man’s wish, he ordered his most experienced and courageous engineer to attach his locomotive to a coach and bring his wife to the side of her husband. In ten minutes from the time the order was given the train had the wife on board even though the night was stormy.


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Perth Remembered

The Superintendent stood at the back of the telegraph operator, and in flashes of electricity ordered all trains on to side tracks. Through the darkness and the storm the “special” whirled upon its mission of devotion and love. The villagers who hovered around the depot stoves at way stations on winter nights crowded out upon the platforms and stood in respectful silence as the mighty locomotive dazed both sight and hearing for an instant only.

Steel rails vibrated under wheels and the engineer knew that God and a good road-bed were in his favour. As he backed his driving-wheels at the station his engine seemed as proudly conscious of victory as does the race-horse when leading under the wire. The brakeman had kept his word. Husband and wife embraced. Bystanders, blinded by pitying tears, left the two alone for a moment, only a moment. For with the kiss and the farewell the brakeman closed his eyes and died.


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


A McDonalds Corners Love Story

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

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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