Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?




In December of 1915, the wife of a Beckwith farmer failed in her attempt to get alimony for domestic infelicity. I didn’t know what the infelicity meant so I looked it up and it means: something (such as a word or phrase) that is infelicitous or bottom line:  the quality or state of being unhappy; unhappiness. Okay she was really unhappy since they married on April 2 1912 in Carleton Place.

It seems James Thomas Drummond and his wife Selina (maiden name Fender or Fenders) were really unhappy and a court case for alimony lasted almost a complete day in the Supreme Court of Ontario because she was that miserable.


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Selina said her husband 37 year-old Thomas Drummond was a pain in the derriere and she was ruled in her own home by her husband and his mother.  Apparently, the conditions of their home were so unsanitary (livestock was mentioned) that her health had been endangered. The husband brought some of the local neighbours to testify at the court hearing as his witnesses. One of the them, Mrs. Robertson, said Selina was lying, and while she was nursing Mrs. Drummond she saw nothing of the sort. The aged witness said if anything it was Selina who had issues, and she would use profane language against her husband and was certainly not kind to him.

Counsel to 37 year-old Selina Drummond asked Mrs. Robertson why she had told Selina that her husband had killed his first wife and he was going to do his best to kill her. Mrs. Robertson became angry and said she had never said anything of the kind. At various times it was proven that similar to Bossin’ Billy of Beckwith that she would leave the home and go to her sister-in-laws to cry and complain about her husband. Judge Chute agreed that a placement or an addition of an extra bed in a bedroom was nothing to quarrel about. That bed would be his mothers of course.

The sister-in-law had turned on a dime in court it seems, saying only that Selina just wanted to boss her family around and her husband was nothing short of an angel. Both sister-in-law Mrs. Harrison and husband James Drummond denied that he not had pulled Selina around the yard by her hair. In fact, he said angrily, Selina disappeared sometimes for weeks on end and he had to send for the Carleton Place police to bring her home. He did admit however that he had sworn at her when she provoked him.

Judge Clute said it was one of the most disgusting cases he had heard because of the language and was ashamed he had to listen to both sides.  In searching the archives I can find no further records- only that Selina received no alimony as requested. Not even a gravestone of either of them.



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

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.




Selena Fender Or Fenders

Mentioned in the record of James Thomas Drummond and Selena Fender Or Fenders
Name James Thomas Drummond
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 02 Apr 1912
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Gender Male
Age 34
Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Father’s Name Russell Drummond
Mother’s Name Mary Elizabeth Lowe
Spouse’s Name Selena Fender Or Fenders
Spouse’s Gender Female
Spouse’s Age 34
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Spouse’s Father’s Name Andrew Lowe
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Sarah Jane Dowdall



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She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce


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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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