The Sad Tale of Rebecca Lett from Wilberforce

The Sad Tale of Rebecca Lett from Wilberforce


Photo from fotocommunity


November 18–1887

Seldom have we to chronicle such a ghostly find as fell to the lot of Master John McLellan, on Wednesday last. Rebecca Lett, daughter of Mr. B. Ralph Lett, of *Wilberforce, being of unsound mind, wandered away from her home about nine weeks ago, and although a constant search was kept up, nothing was ever seen of her until her body was found in the woods a short distance from the residence of her cousin, Mr. T. Lett.

The body was found face down, and appeared as if the deceased had tripped in crossing a log. It is supposed that the poor girl had been dead about six weeks, as the body was very much decomposed. It seems that Rebecca had a mania for wandering at this time of the year, and last fall was away six weeks, searching parties being on the lookout the whole time, but she managed to evade them, taking to hiding whenever her would-be rescuers came in sight.

She was enabled to keep body and soul together by milking a cow every night and feeding upon turnips and wheat. She was found deep in the comer of a turnip patch by one of the searchers. One of the cows came home regularly milked until about six weeks before her body was found in the woods. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Lett and his family.—Eganville Enterprise.




The last of the mine at Wilberforce



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Ontario Railway Stations. Wilberforce.

*Wilberforce is one of several towns located in the heart of the Haliburton Highlands, where tourists flock to enjoy the great outdoors and the many amenities available in town and in the region.Wilberforce was established as “Pusey,” a station on the Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa Railway (IB&O), and named for railway president Charles J. Pusey. This little railway had initially been built to carry iron ore from open pit mines in Irondale. With or without the railroad, Wilberforce was destined to become a settlement and is home to Ontario’s first Red Cross Outpost.

In the Township of Monmouth settlement commenced about the same date as in Glamorgan, and foremost among the early settlers must be mentioned the Ritchie family—Samuel, Robert, and Mitchell Ritchie being among the first to settle in Monmouth, and they all did well. Mr. Samuel Ritchie, in the course of time, opened a store, was successful in business, and being desirous of extending the field of enterprise, removed to Lindsay in the present year. Mitchell Ritchie built a saw-mill at the foot of Providence Lake, and is doing well. The Ritchie settlement is now large and prosperous, and the Ritchie’s have all comfortable houses. Mr. William Hadley was another of the early settlers, and he also has done well. He built a saw-mill on lot 4, concession 8, in 1882, and cut lumber for local purposes. There are two post-offices, Hotspur, of which Mr. Thomas Clark is postmaster, and Wilberforce, of which Mr. Riley is postmaster. There are no churches in the township, but clergymen occasionally visit it and perform services in private houses.

What was not mentioned was that Rebecca’s father had married again and she had a stepmother.  Her mother had died young and I wonder if she got the care she needed.

Rebecca Lett
Birthdate: 1857 (30)
Death: Died 1887
Immediate Family:
Daughter of Ralph Warren Lett and Phoebe Lett
Sister of Samuel Lett and Evan L Lett
Half sister of George W Lett and Ralph Warren Lett

Rebecca Lett abt 1857 Wilberforce, Renfrew, Ontario



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)



The Sad Tale of Alexander Gillies and Peter Peden

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

A Carleton Place Tale to Send Shivers Up Your Arm — The Sad Tale of Margaret Violet King

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

The Very Sad Tale of Cecil Cummings of Carleton Place

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – The Sad Song of Billy and Clementine Valentine

The Strange Disappearance of Bertha Sumner of Carleton Place


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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