When the Past Comes A Haunting- Jessie Comrie

When the Past Comes A Haunting- Jessie Comrie



Photo- Linda Seccaspina


Sometimes the past seems to come visit me even though I am not looking for a particular subject. I have told the tale of journeys through the cemeteries where names stand out and I have to go look them up as soon as I get home. Crazy? Maybe- but there is no doubt sometime thing happened like that today!


In trying to finish a piece about David Armitage Gillies I went to my file of Gillies Funeral notices looking to see if I had anything on him. A small card seemed to fly into the air and fall on the ground. When I picked it up it was the 1928 funeral notice of Miss Jessie Comrie who died on September 2, 1928. The last name seemed to hit me in the face and I went back to my computer to see what I had on her.


*Jessie Comrie- Nurse to all the Muirhead children Death Notice–Mary Gillies Muirhead posted this note on this death card.–From the collection of Linda Seccaspina–The Lost Gilles Family Ephemera Rescued


St. Fillian’s Cemetery in Beckwith

Lo and behold she was the woman who had met her fate drowned in a flume in the Bates and Innes Mill. No explanation had been found as to the way the accident occurred although examination of the body revealed many scratches about the limbs. In the 1920s to the 1950s a proportion of female homicide victims were generally ignored for the most part. For months the citizens of Carleton Place gossiped about what might have happened to Miss Comrie as some could not believe that she took a misstep.


There had been no other description about her other than she was a lifelong resident of Carleton Place and was trained nurse and was on call that Sunday night. Jessie was to relieve a nurse at James McIntosh’s home and she was enroute there when she fell, or was pushed  into a flume from maybe an attempted robbery.

In finding her funeral card I was able to piece together why the card was among the Gillies/Mierhrad ephemera.  Jessie Comrie had helped bring some of the Muirhead children into the world in the red brick James Street home.  Jessie’s funeral took place 1:30 at the residence of her brother-in-law, Mr. Peter McDonald, Caldwell Street, Carleton Place and  on Wednesday afternoon, the 5th instant, at 1:30 o’clock and interment at 2 o’clock  in St. Fillian’s Cemetery in Beckwith.

A sister Mrs. *Peter McDonald is the only survivor of the family.




*5717-81 (Lanark Co): Peter McDONALD, 30, woolen manufacturer, Carleton Place, same, s/o Allan & Margaret, married Grace Morrison McARTHUR, 29, Beckwith twp., same, d/o Peter McARTHUR & Ann ANDERSON, witn: Daniel C. McARTHUR of Beckwith & John McDONALD of Carleton Place, 25 May 1881 at Beckwith twp


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.



Murder or Accident — Bates & Innes Flume

Tales of the Tombstones — The Crozier Children

Bitten by the Kissing Bug — A Shocking Conclusion to the Life of Carleton Place’s Daniel E. Sheppard

I’ve got a Ghost Rash… Telling Secrets from the Past??

A Carleton Place Tale to Send Shivers Up Your Arm — The Sad Tale of Margaret Violet King


The Lost Gilles Family Ephemera Rescued

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.

2 responses »

  1. Very interesting story! Wasn’t there a more recent murder of a woman down that way in the late 90’s?? She was a hairdresser in Town ( she had been my Mom’s). She was murdered and her husband was convicted for it! I don’t remember any details other than that but did see part of a Fifth Estate program about it.

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