Heritage House and Their “Wards”

Heritage House and Their “Wards”


Photo- Linda Seccaspina



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal14 May 1980,



In 1980 an old frame house near Old Sly’s Lock was going to be renovated and turned into a world class museum called Heritage House. Not everyone believed in the project, and some thought it should be located closer to town and more accessible to those on foot. Of course there was the fact that the structure was frame and not stone like the stone mill that was in disrepair at the time. Many thought attention should be made to stone and not frame. In the end the old mid century home sold for the sum of $13,500 and the property was Crown land administered by Parks Canada.



Photo- Linda Seccaspina


The frame building that had suffered a fire and neglect still had  a lot of historical value as it was once inhabited by Truman Russell Ward, his wife Annabelle Chambers and their two children. Truman was the son of  Able Russell Ward founder of the town of Smiths Falls. Anabelle’s Dad Captain McGill Chambers had donated the land and original building to the Smith’s Falls Hospital and the land to St. Francis Roman Catholic Church.

The house had many mysteries which were: hidden walled over fireplaces, a built in bake oven, and an unusual glass pattern in the casement windows. Plans were called to restore eight rooms in 1860s fashion and a rotating display room in the upper floor of the shed with the bottom floor housing a gift shop. Parks Canada plans at the time called for vegetable garden and an apple orchard.

If you have not visited this museum — you are missing a real historical treat.




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal07 Sep 1977, Wed[Second Edition]Page 3



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal22 Jul 1980, TueValley EditionPage 3


Abel Russell Ward was the first resident of Smith Falls in 1826 or 1827, building a log house on what became Beckwith Street, close to the site of the canal locks soon to be built. When the Rideau Canal was first being constructed, and early settlement of Smiths Falls had begun, the two largest landholders in the area were Abel Russell Ward and William Simpson. Both of these men set aside plots of land for their own private cemeteries. When the settlers living in Smiths Falls needed a place to bury their dead, they would often approach Ward or Simpson, requesting space in their private burial grounds. CLICK HERE FOR MORE


Able Russell Ward – one of the founders of Smiths Falls. I am told that this headstone, which sits in the area to the left of the office, has the letters UEL (United Empire Loyalist) on the stone. I am also told that United Empire Loyalists were people who in some way participated in the War of Independence in 1776. Historians tell me that there is no way that Mr. Ward could have been a member of UEL as he wasn’t born until 20 years later! Though he may well be the child or grandchild of a member.

Lavenia Mirrick, the wife of Able Russell Ward. Directly related to those who founded Merrickville and also the person behind the names Lavenia Street and Merrick Street. Also of note, Able Street, Russell Street, and the fact that at one time, a part of Smiths Falls was named Wardsville.


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)


                  Heritage House Museum

General Information

A visit to Heritage House includes a tour of 8 period rooms furnished to depict the lifestyle of the times. The Museum’s unique mirror-image facades, indoor brick bake oven and two-story privy preserve an atmosphere of the past in the once derelict house. Enjoy a picnic near our gardens or take a short stroll through parkland to the Rideau Canal and Old Sly’s Lockstation. Presented year round are changing exhibitions and art shows, a variety of special events, workshops and school and children’s programs. Also available are meeting space rentals, gift shop and a Victorian setting for wedding ceremonies and photographs.

11 Old Sly’s Rd,
Smiths Falls, Ontario, K7A 3M3


2017 Hours:

Spring         May 13 – 31:  

  Weekends, 10 am – 5 pm

Summer     June 1 – October 31:     

Wed, Fri, & Sun, 10 am – 5 pm,

Thurs & Sat 12 pm – 8 pm

Fall             November 1 – December 22:     

Thursdays 12 pm– 8 pm, Fri & Sat 10 am – 5 pm

Appointments Welcome Year Round!


Adults $4.50
Senior $4.00
Youth (6-18) $3.50
Phone: 613-283-6311

Email: heritagehouse@smithsfalls.ca



sm_heritage house_375317.JPG


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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