Mrs. Chatterton, Prostitutes, and Things You Maybe Don’t Want to Hear

 Mrs. Chatterton, Prostitutes, and Things You Maybe Don’t Want to Hear


Perth Courier, March 31, 1882

Life Insurance—The late Mr. J. Chatterton of Carleton Place had taken out an endowment policy for $1,000, designating the payment of the sum should go to his little daughter Eva on his decease.  An order has been issued by the High Court for the payment of the sum as soon as the guardian of the child has been appointed.


Why did Mr. Chatterton make such a demand? Why wasn’t Mrs. Chatterton, her mother, mentioned? If you have read my stories you will remember that Mrs. Chatterton was owner of the Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place and also ran a ‘ladies of the night business’ on the side in the alleyway of the hotel. So it is no wonder that Mr. Chatteron found her an unfit mother.


The Victorian era was infamous for its prostitution. This may be due to the fact that some people believed that venereal diseases could be cured by sexual intercourse with children. This is why most prostitutes during this time were no other than children. A girl in the lower class, from ages 12 to 18, was paid 20 pounds; a girl in the middle class, of the same ages, was paid 100 pounds; and a girl of the upper class, 12 years old, was paid 400 pounds per job. This was way more money compared to a skilled worker of a normal job who only made about 62 pounds a year.

Since prostitutes made a large sum of money, it was the number one reason that women became prostitutes. Another reason women went into prostitution was because other jobs for women were limited and didn’t make nearly as much money. Prostitutes were more socially liberated than women in other classes. Prostitutes could also gather in pubs, meanwhile respected women could not.

Prostitution was not just good and lucrative, it was also very problematic. Although there were a number of prostitutes, there was still not enough to meet the demands. As a result, pimps, men who managed prostitutes, would go out and kidnap little girls to bring them into prostitution. Finally, there was the larger problem of venereal diseases.

A large majority of prostitutes had syphilis before they reached the age of 18. Soldiers and sailors in the army and navy were starting to get these diseases from the prostitutes which led to the Contagious Diseases Act. This law states as followed:

Should a member of a special force or a registered doctor believe that a woman was a common prostitute (a term left undefined), then he might lay such information before a Justice of the Peace who was then to summon the woman to a certified hospital established under the act for medical examination. Should she refuse, then the magistrate could order her to be taken to the hospital and there forcibly examined and if found, in either case, to be suffering from venereal disease, then she could be detained in a hospital for a period of up to three months. Resistance to examination or refusal to obey the hospital rules could be visited with one month’s imprisonment for the first offence and two months for any subsequent offence. They might, however, submit voluntarily to examination without a magistrate’s order, but if infected became liable for detention”

After this Act was enforced, women of this time formed the Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act. They tried to get the Contagious Diseases Acts repealed. Finally in 1886, these acts were repealed and were replaced with a new legislation. This legislation entitled the Criminal Law Amendment Act. These acts gave more protection to children from becoming prostitutes, made homosexuality a crime, and made the basis for prostitution to eventually become illegal.





Clipped from The Ottawa Journal20 Oct 1899, FriPage 4

widow (1).jpg

Chatterton House was located in what we now know as The Queen’s Hotel at 142 Bridge Street. Built in 1870 by Duncan McIntosh and operated as a hotel under the name of McIntosh House, it was bought in 1882 by the widow Mary J. Chatterton. By 1886 she has sold to Peter Salter, who ran it until about 1890. Photo-Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum

8413-98 (Lanark Co): Washington PARSONS, 54, widower, millwright, of Arnprior, s/o Elias S. PARSONS & blank HARRINGTON, married Margaret FLEMING, 41, of NY state, d/o William FLEMING & blank BEAT, witn: Howard SINCLAIR & Mary CHATTERTON, both of Carleton Place, 14 Nov 1898 at Carleton Place




Caroline G. Burgess (born Neelin), 1869 – 1915

Caroline G. Burgess was born in 1869, at birth place, to William Neelin and Barbara Neelin.
Caroline had 7 siblings: Mary Jane Chatterton, Eliza Neelin and 5 other siblings.
Caroline married Charles F. Burgess.
They had 2 sons: Basil S. Burgess and one other child.
Caroline passed away in 1915, at age 46.
Jeremiah F Chatterton and Mary J Neelin Married on Tuesday, November 4, 1873 in Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario.

MARY JANE4 NEELIN (BARBARA3MORPHY, JOHN2, EDMOND1) was born 1856, and died June 1920 in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada.She married JEREMIAH F. CHATTERTON.


i. EVA5 CHATTERTON, b. 1874


Eva married  James MacDougall

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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)




Hell on Wheels at Lady Chatterton’s Hotel in Carleton Place

Tales of the Chatteron House Corset — Queen’s Hotel in Carleton Place

The First Mosh Pits in Carleton Place — The Opera House of the Chatterton

What the Heck was Electric Soap? Chatterton House Hotel Registrar

House Hotel

John Sparrow’s Royal Parilion – Chatterton House Hotel Carleton Place

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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