Ramsay Barn Fire-Why Were the Tracks on Fire?

Ramsay Barn Fire-Why Were the Tracks on Fire?




Carleton Place Herald February 1917

Barns Burned in Ramsay

A red glow in the northern sky last Friday night gave indication of a large fire in the of direction, of Almonte. Information later gave the details of the destruction of the barns of Mr. T . S . Arthur, on the 9th line of Ramsay, on the former Hawkins farm.

From what can be learned the fire originated from the C .P .R . tracks. Mr. Arthur was out an hour before and as he thought, already had extinguished a fire on the track. It is now thought that the sparks had got to the buildings before the fire was extinguished and were smouldering for some time. In the  barns were a number of implements, so that the loss will be quite a heavy one, and much sympathy is expressed for the owner for his loss.

So why were the tracks on fire?

When the cold hits, it isn’t the trains that have trouble. It’s the switches that direct the cars between tracks that freeze, and when a switch fails, it can compromise an entire line. To keep the switches functioning, some railways still use the centuries-old method of burning kerosene or natural gas to keep everything running.

Yes, there are more civilized methods now, like hot air blowers that clear debris, but in an era of self-driving cars and other modern marvels, simply using fire to melt ice has a quaint retro feel to it and in some places they still do it.





 In 1821 another group of emigrants arrived from the British Isles. Along the 9th line where Highway 29 now runs, the following took up 100 acres each John Donaghue, Thomas and Robert Mansell, William Lummox, Catin Willis and William Hawkins. On the first, second and third concessions of Ramsay were Thomas Forster, Alex Leary, James Smith, Fred DeLisle, Patrick McDermott, Arthur Nugent, George Blackburn, Stephen Young, Charles Sterne, William Chapman, John McKerecher. Along the sixth line settled John and Donald Joseph McLean, Joseph Hewitt, and John Dobson. Late in the summer of  1821 the Lanark Society sponsored settlers began arriving in Ramsay. —click here..


Just got a comment on the Ramsay Barn Fire-Why Were the Tracks on Fire? from Robert Hawkins-Feduke…
Thanks again Linda, and by the way, under historical notes, the Hawkins farm (Wexford Farm), settled by William Hawkins, in 1821 is still in the family, 196 years! How cool is that?


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  18 Jul 1904, Mon,  Page 1




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.




He Fired the Barn! The Orphans of Carleton Place

Strange Coincidences– The Duncan Fire

The Bush Fires of Darling Township

Henry Lang and His Lanark County Magic Barn?

Let’s Raise a Barn

So What are the Mysterious “diamond cross” cut-outs seen on barns in Lanark County?



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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?


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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.

3 responses »

  1. Thanks again Linda, and by the way, under historical notes, the Hawkins farm (Wexford Farm), settled by William Hawkins, in 1821 is still in the family, 196 years!


  2. Hi Linda, There seems to be some discrepancy here. Your story says the former Hawkins farm on the 9th line. That was in 1917 but the note says the Hawkins farm, settled in 1821, is still in the family 196 years later.


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