The Witch of Plum Hollow- The Carleton Place Connection

The Witch of Plum Hollow- The Carleton Place Connection




In 1830, William Morphy deeded 1/13 of an acre of the land on 223 Bridge Street in Carleton Place. The James Bell house was probably built later on in the decade and
remained in the Bell family until 1870’s. The elder members of this family
emigrated from Scotland to Perth in 1817.

John, Robert, William, and James were among the sons of Reverend William Bell the first Presbyterian minister of the Perth district. Robert and John established the mercantile business in Carleton Place in association with the business of William and John in Perth, which had started the previous year. Robert owned the property in question from 1846-60.

According to Howard Brown, local historian, if one man were to be selected as the father or chief public figure of Carleton Place through its first generation of growth it would be
Robert Bell. He established himself as a merchant, mill owner, magistrate,
postmaster, and district council warden in Carleton Place. He was also elected in
1848 as a member of the legislative assembly of Canada for Lanark and Renfrew
Counties and was returned to the legislature for some fifteen years.

Later owners and residents at 233 Bridge Street were Newman, McDiarmid, and Union Bank Managers. According to  Marj Whyte, in her era, the stone house was usually occupied by a bank manager. In 1919, the Canadian Bank of Commerce bought this property and the house was occupied by the bank’s manager until 1941 when George Buchanan took over possession. Mr. Scoggie of the old Union Bank and Mr. Kent of the Bank of Commerce were a few of the residents. 

In 1951 Mr. And Mrs. Vernon McCarten, the daughter and son in law of George, bought
the house and property and carried on an insurance business. In 1997, the house was transferred to Barbara Couch. A rare Ginko tree sits on this property in the front and has an unusual story. Read more The McCarten House of Carleton Place.



Linda, the Witch of Plum Hollow had a Carleton Place connection! She was the grandmother of Amy Buchanan who was brought up in the brick house on the south corner of the Charles and Emily Street intersection. I have heard from good sources that the house is haunted!

Amy’s family ran the Buchanan Insurance Company and when she married Vern McCarten, it later became the Buchanan-McCarten Insurance Company. The family lived and ran the business from the lovely home on Bridge Street across from the end of High Street – now a real estate office. A well-known, community-minded family! Their children, Janet and Doug, live in the Toronto area, I believe, and if they read this, I hope they’ll correct anything I got wrong. Wendy LeBlanc



 - MOTHER BARNES. Sir: The article in "Ottawa... - a marker, but there is a move under way to...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 14 Nov 1945, Wed,
  3. Page 8

    Who was Mother Barnes? Find Out About the Witch of Plum Hollow April 7 Only 100 seats available!




    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.,



    An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

    My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

    A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

    The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

    Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

    Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

    Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

    The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

    Barnes Buchanans and McCarten Family Photos–Doug B. McCarten

    The Witches of Rochester Street

    Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

    The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

    The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

    The McCarten House of Carleton Place

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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