So Who Did Live at 107 John Street? Here is Your Answer….

So Who Did Live at 107 John Street? Here is Your Answer….

Screenshot 2017-04-20 at 10

The Beginning…

“I was reading this morning about the Smyth’s 50th. I live at 107 John Street and believe it is the original Smyth house which was built in the early 1900’s. I purchased the house from Bill Blanche whom I believe was the son of George Blanche as I am led to believe the house was kept in the family until my purchase. I cannot confirm any of this as I do not have the research skills to verify.” Bill Russell Carleton Place–  read more here–107 John Street– The Smyths? Calling Out My Lifeline Please…


So if you want some clues or answers you contact the guys that know: our local community historians Blaine Cornell and Ray Paquette. You know the ‘cool guys’ from Carleton Place in the photo below.


This cool group took over the steps of the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1959!
Pictured are Blaine Cornell, Gary McLellan, Weldon Armour seated, Dave Gordon, Dale Costello, Bob Bigras, Gerald Griffith, Ray Paquette and Gordon Bassett.- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Blaine Cornell
I remember the Blance’s living there in the 50’s but have no memory of the Smyth family living at that address. Just for info: Bill went onto the Brampton area where he  became a school teacher.  He also played banjo in a well known blue grass group called *General Store (nominated for Juno awards). He is retired and now lives in the Allison Ont. area.

Ray Paquette
The house was owned by the Blance family in my youth. Bill and I, as well as Blaine Cornell, were in the army cadet band at the high school in the late 1950’s. During the period I was absent from Carleton Place I understand that Bill graduated from CPHS and moved on to Toronto while his family remained in the house.
The Blance Family lived in the downstairs apartment entered by the door on the left and for the life of me, I can’t remember who lived upstairs. Perhaps Blaine has more current information than me or Wayne Drummond, whose family lived on the corner of John and Frank Street at that time.
As for Tom Smyth, I seem to remember him living on Lake Avenue East in one of the three very similar homes on the south side of the street beginning at 264. Now, take what I have to say with the proverbial “grain of salt” because I was 13 at the time of his 50th wedding anniversary!
Author’s Note– Someone said the Moorheads/Muirheads? lived upstairs? 
Okay, so who originally lived in that house? Bill Russell seems to think a former mayor lived in it, but it wasn’t Mayor Thomas Smyth from the 50s– so who is it? Maybe instead of Smyth I need to research the Blances. Bingo– I hit the motherlode.
The original owner of the home was Mr. and Mrs. David Smythe. (add an “e” to that Smyth)  David Smythe was  a merchant and harness maker and had his business on Bridge Street.   Smythe was also the Mayor of Carleton Place in 1911 and again in 1917. David died in 1937 and his wife Jennie also died in the home at 107 John Street a little over 20 years later in 1953. (see obit below)


So what was the relationship between the Blances and the Smythes? Mrs. George Blance, Jean, was born a Smythe, and it seems likely that is why the family lived there as her mother was alone for many years after her husband died. That’s just what people did on those days.





Here is a pill box found in house prescribed to George and a ticket for a baking school held at the church that was supported by Mrs. Smythe! –Photo Bill Russell


Jean Smythe *married George Ronald Blance on the 4th of June 1940 in the Presbyterian Manse in Carleton Place. Seeing it was 5 years after her father died, I assume they moved right into the brick red house on John Street.

So Bill, yes your home was probably built in the early 1900’s as Mr. and Mrs David Smythe, the original owners, got *married in 1898. The bricks from your home I assume came from the brickyards down at the end of Lake Avenue East.  Not only a former Carleton Place mayor built and lived in your home– but a Juno nominee musician lived there too. Now that’s star power!!

Thanks to Ray and Blaine for sending  me down the river of mystery with some sort of paddle.


If anyone has any stories about this or anything else please send them to me.



David Smythe – 1871/1935

Mayor of Carleton Place – 1911-1917 – Merchant Harness maker.

David Smythe was born in 1870. He was Mayor of Carleton Place in 1911 and again in 1917. He was also a Merchant and Harness Maker and had his business on Bridge Street. David Smythe, of Ferguson and Smythe, harness makers, was elected for the first of seven yearly terms as mayor of Carleton Place. He died in 1934.  

*Marriage of David Smythe and Jennie Willis in Carleton Place
8392-98 David SMYTHE, 29, harness maker, Arnprior, Carleton Place, s/o John SMYTHE & Susan MORAN, married Jennie Helena WILLIS, 22, Carleton Place, same, d/o John Henry WILLIS & Sarah Ann WRIGHT, witn: George MORRISON & Margaret E. BURROWS, both of Carleton Place, 26 Jan 1898 at Carleton Place


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal05 Jan 1935, SatPage 12



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal29 Jun 1940, SatPage 10–Jean Smythe Blance’s wedding


Jean Smythe Blance’s Brother Desmond Smythe


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal05 Oct 1955, WedPage 24– Jean Smythe Blance’s brother Desmond death notice



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal04 Apr 1932, MonPage 8–Desmond married one of the Dunlop girls from Carleton Place

This glass baseball was found inside a wall of the addition on the house and the ginger ale sign was found in the eaves of the addition.  Photos–Bill Russell
Band Members
Bill Blance
Brian Riseborough
Helen Lewis
John Perkins
Norm Tellier
GENERAL STORE is a multi-award winning bluegrass band from Southern Ontario with a reputation for smooth 3 and 4 part vocal harmonies. The band excels at traditional as well as contemporary bluegrass music, including original material. Their repertoire is also rich with gospel music.
General Store was chosen ‘Bluegrass Gospel Band of the Year’ 5 years in a row at the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards, and now has been retired from this category. Additional awards have included ‘Most Promising Band’ in 2004, and two ‘Mandolin Player of the Year’ awards for instrumentalist Norm Tellier. And in 2007/08, the Arts Council of Brampton, Ontario (a city of 500,000) presented General Store with the prestigious Bloom Award for ‘Top Concert Performance by a Small Ensemble’.
In 2011, General Store released their 3rd CD ‘Phantom Train’, to add to their 2 previous releases ‘Open for Business’ and ‘More in Store’. All 3 CDs have received award nominations, and airplay all around the world.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

 Related Reading: 


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