The Bush Fires of Darling Township

The Bush Fires of Darling Township




October 1897

The bush fires were everywhere in the year 1897 due to a period of dry weather. I read lots of accounts of numerous fires in the Ottawa Valley as well as on the Quebec side. It was truly a perilous year.


October 1897

Bush fires have been raging in Darling for nearly two weeks and are doing considerable damage. The fire started on the south side of the river on the boundary line between Lavant and Darling. It originated from a haymaker’s fire which was supposed to have been quenched but was smouldering underground.

It has already extended over an area of six square miles, destroying four hundred acres of wooded land belonging to the Merchants Bank, Perth, and the timber limits of Messrs. J. & J. Herron and T. B. Caldwell. Mr. Larocque, who lives on that side of the river, has lost one stack of hay and Mr. J. A. McFarlane has had great fears of his, though he has so far been able to save it.

On the north side of the river Messrs. J. & J. Herron’s lots on the boundary line have been completely destroyed. Mr. John Stewart, of Waba, who lost his shanties and equipment some time ago by incendiary fires, has been, further victimized by the destruction  of the best of his limits lying along  the boundary line by ares of a similar j origin.

Our informant was an eyewitness of the struggle which *Mr. Thos. Elliott had to save his property  on Thursday last. His premises were completely surrounded by fire and it was only by the most careful watching that the fire was kept under control. Fire was first noticed in a pile of corn husks about forty feet from the house. Immediately after this was extinguished fire was noticed right at the door of the barn. Hardly was the second blaze subdued before fire was again noticed beneath a sloop a few feet from the barn.

While fighting the fires a spark alighted on *Mrs. Elliott’s shoulder and before she was aware of it, it had burned a large hole through her clothing. Mr. Jno. Caldwell, of Darling, had much difficulty in saving the building on his lower lot and despite the best efforts of those fighting the fires three stacks of his hay were consumed. Four or five hundred acres of land belonging to Mr. Jno. Murray, jr., were swept over by the fire and on Friday night four or five acres of the line fence between Messrs. W . C. Craig and P. Foy were destroyed.

On Sunday fire broke out near Boyle’s bridge and was spreading rapidly. The heavy rain, however, should check the progress of the fire and bring relief to the anxiety of those whose property was threatened



*005220-76 Thomas ELLIOT, wid, 28, Perth, Darling, s/o Thomas and Rose ELLIOT, married Ellen Elmiyra MOFFAT, 23, Lanark, Darling, d/o John and Jane MOFFAT, witn: William McKINLEY of Lanark, 14 April 1876 in Lanark



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  12 Oct 1897, Tue,  Page 7


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  12 Oct 1897, Tue,  Page 7

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.


The Fires of 1897

Smiths Falls Fire-Coghlan & Moag

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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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