Did you Know Old Burnside has a Ghostly Horse?

Did you Know Old Burnside has a Ghostly Horse?


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James Wylie (1789-1854) was a merchant, Rideau Canal contractor, postmaster, farmer, county agricultural society president and builder of the Almonte residence Burnside.

Wylie who by 1849 was a legislative Councillor for Canada came to Perth in 1820 and opened a mercantile business. In 1822 he moved to Ramsay Township and built a log cabin, which was one of the first homesteads on the banks of the Mississippi. As a Scotsman he did not waste nary a thing and that original log cabin was incorporated as a dairy into Wylie’s second home, a huge Georgian home. That unique home which was built of stone has always been known as Old Burnside.

The stone from my home is from a quarry just outside of Almonte, but Old Burnside was lucky to have outcroppings on the 200 acre property and were utilized in and out. The dining room hearth which was originally the kitchen hearth has a base of 18 feet of rock flanked by butternut panellings. Slabs of rock were also used in the doorways. Gorgeous rooms and a foyer that has been changed many times look over a view  of the famous ‘burn’ rippling in cascades that tumbles into a cataract into the Mississippi.

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 06 May 1960, Fri,  Page 47


Legend is there is a ghost horse on the property whose hoof beats are heard on cold dark winter nights. Folklore says that a long time ago that very horse took cover in a passage way formed by the double wall and unable to turn around. The poor horse was trapped and ended up starving himself.

By 1848 the Wylie family had outgrown itself and built a larger home next door. His eldest son James Hamilton lived in the original home with his family and then later occupied by two of his sons, John and James. In 1912 it was rented out to well known Dr.and Mrs. MacIntosh Bell. Dr. Bell was a well known geologist and improved the grounds so much the home became a local showplace.

After Dr. Bell’s death the home was sold in 1934 to the Winslow-Spraggue family and then Mr and Mrs. Howard Campbell. The house is presently for sale.



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Sue Winslow-Spragge-The woman wearing the pearls is my grandmother, Lois Sybil Winslow-Spragge. She and her husband Edward were one of the people who owned Old Burnside.  The other woman is Linda Nilson-Rogers mother–Hilda. Those silver earrings were her favourites!



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Burnside gardens



Angie Arendt and her husband asks: My husband and I bought Old Burnside and are hopeful that in the coming years we will learn more of this house’s story and history. We have heard snippets and have a few old photos that we downloaded from the Almonte website. Other than that, though we don’t know much–
And gathering memories of the house from folks would be lovely! Thank you for the suggestion. We’ve heard some stories about how folks got married here or stayed here when it was a B&B. I’m hopeful we can gather up some of the older stories, too. Can you add anything?

 - Beechwood cemetery. WYLIE At Burnside. Almonte....

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Oct 1922, Wed,  Page 19


 - At Dr. and Mrs. J. A. Ruddick spent the...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Aug 1933, Tue,  Page 8

 - e - Mlat Itabel Green it th guest of saacuiussn...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  07 Aug 1934, Tue,  Page 8

 - 'Old'Burnside" in ; ALMONTE enn feet of...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  09 Jul 1960, Sat,  Page 24


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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  24 Feb 1953, Tue,  Page 20


The Menzies House

Who was the Almonte Ghost of 1886?

When Mr. Peanut was once King in Lanark County!

Remembering John Kerry from Almonte—By Karen Hirst

Memories of Almonte by the Commonfolk

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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