The Fires of 1897

The Fires of 1897

20013 06 20 Ste-E.JPG           The first Sainte Euphemie Church was built in 1886.


Searching for something else today I came across countless articles of brush fires. I wondered if there was a drought and nope, that was in 1891. The worst was the complete destruction of Casselman in 1897.

In 1897, the entire village of Casselman, including the church, was destroyed by fire

Casselman Fires

In July 1891, St. Euphémie Parish had its first great disaster: fire destroyed part of the village, the Casselman Lumber Co., and millions of feet of woodcut. A large number of workmen had to leave town in order to find work elsewhere. However, the fire transformed lots that had been only partly cleared until then into fertile prairies. Many new settlers came to Casselman to work its highly arable agricultural land.

On October 5, 1897, the Parish faced the greatest tragedy of its history: a terrible fire destroyed the entire Casselman area. Except for a very few homes, the village was reduced to ashes and its inhabitants were left homeless and lost all of their personal belongings. The Catholic church was completely destroyed save for the Holy Sacrament, which was rescued by the Vicar, Father Joseph-Hercule Touchette. Many families had to leave town due to the loss of all their belongings. However, strengthened by Father Touchette’s encouraging words as well as donations from many parts of Ontario and Quebec, those that remained took on the arduous task of rebuilding their community. Two days after the fire, a committee was formed to oversee the reconstruction of the Parish church.

In July 1919, the Parish again fell victim to a devastating fire. The buildings bordering the main street of the town were engulfed in flames, and almost everything was destroyed. Several tradesmen of the time lost a great part of their merchandise and equipment. Those who succeeded in saving part of their goods moved them into the church or the Town Hall. The church, the bank and the store of Damase Racine were saved thanks to the effective work of firemen from Ottawa. Within the following days, the townspeople courageously undertook the rebuilding of the main street.









Clipped from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle06 Oct 1897, WedPage 1



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal08 Oct 1897, FriPage 3






Clipped from The Ottawa Journal12 Oct 1897, TuePage 7


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal12 Oct 1897, TuePage 7


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal12 Oct 1897, TuePage 7



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal12 Oct 1897, TuePage 7



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 Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

When Crops Failed — Lanark County Went Manitoba Dreamin’

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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