The Liquor Inspectors that Not Ought to Be





1875 Almonte Tavern License from



December 1 1871-Almonte Gazette— We referred in our last issue to the case of Mr. Henry Stafford, who was charged selling liquor without a license. It was brought up before the magistrates on Tuesday last, and Mr. Stafford was convicted and fined in $20 and costs. Mr. Stafford, acting under the advice of counsel, declines paying the fine, and will allow the prosecutors to seize and sell his *property if they are so inclined, to recover the amounts. Mr. Andrew Kenney, another shop-keeper, appeared on Thursday on the same charge.


The Smith Falls Record News of 21 Feb. 1889 reported: “The Ontario Government have appointed Mr. John McCann of Perth to be license commissioner in the stead of Mr. Samuel Garrett, resigned.” Later that year, an editorial in the Perth Courier of 8 Nov. 1889 noted, “John McCann of Perth has been appointed License Inspector for S. Lanark in place of Henry Stafford, who retired.

Mr. McCann has therefore resigned his position as one of the License Commissioners. The fact that Mr. Stafford is no longer License Inspector will give great satisfaction to the Temperance business in the riding. We have every hope Mr. McCann will do his duty with vigor and zeal. More of Henry Stafford here-Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage


Drink was made easy to get, was one problem: grocers in bowler hats sold it from carts; wandering vendors carried casks of it — on yokes, like milk-maids-on to the works; most landladies sold it — it was almost the only way they could cope with high rents, bad debts, and the household bills — and neither big fines nor police raids could stop illegal liquor sales in the huts.

The temperance movement advocated the use of alcohol in moderation, whereas the more radical teetotal movement favoured “total” abstention from alcohol. The temperance movement was led by middle-class social reformers and philanthropists who wanted to manage an unruly working class. They tried to convince working men to spend their wages on clothes, food, and middle-class comforts such as furniture and watches, rather than on beer or spirits. Temperance rhetoric and narratives argued that spending money on alcohol would only lead to one’s own ruin and the ruin of one’s family.


Drunkenness was only visible when it took place in public; and only certain classes of people drank in pubs or went about drunk. Drunkenness itself was not a crime, but public drunkenness could become a petty crime or nuisance when supplemented by bad behavior: working people and the poor were often jailed for “drunkenness and disorderliness” or “drunkenness and riotousness.” Since the middle class tended to drink privately, it developed the idea that drunkenness was visible only in social celebration – hence the poor seemed to be having too much fun.


Related reading:

*Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

More About the Eccentric Stafford Family in Almonte

Shebeens and Shebangs of Lanark County

Be Very Proud Carleton Place — Postcards and Booze


Drinking in the Rain — Hand Me the Booze and Watch Me Get Fabulous— Photos of Carleton Place

82 Bottles of Booze on the Wall – 82 Bottles of Booze

He Said-and– He Said! Oh Let the Song of Words Play!

Drunk and Disorderly in Lanark County

Are You Sure that Isn’t Fusel Oil?

Did You Know Where Happy Valley was in Carleton Place?

Not Happy in Happy Valley? Head up to the French Line for some Sweet Marie

Is There a Secret Tunnel in Carleton Place?

Did you Know that Temperance Drinks Are all the Rage Now?

Reckless at Ottway Lake

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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