The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 21- Code Family–Franktown Past and Present Reverend John May

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 21- Code Family–Franktown Past and Present Reverend John May


This poem about Franktown was glued into the journal of Thomas Alfred Code (1920s)

Franktown Past and Present

A Poetic Panorama Of Rich and Exuberant Fancy by Rev. John May, M.A. (1834-1913), 


Near Franktown I first saw the light,

And Franktown still is my delight,

Yes,though its sliding down the hill,

The dear place, I still love it still,

Unrivalled spot to muse and think,

And make demands on printer’s ink,

Concocting simple easy rhymes,

Descriptive of the olden times.

This village saw a lively rush,

When Ottawa was still a bush,

Two highways intersected here:

Stage coaches crossed from far and near,

Discharging passengers and freight,

Flourishing stores kept open late,

Two fine hotels aglow with light,

Were vocal far into the night.

With song and glee and rustic dance,

Toned with ‘scrap” or two perchance,

A jolly frolic place as yet,

For then the village still was wet.

Two or three lively business men

Made tidy little fortunes then.

Labourers had enough to do:

Good wages for their labour too.

Mechanics, artisans and such

Hard work enough if not too much.

The tailor stitched with all his might;

The cooper thumped his barrel tight:

The brisk shoemaker pegged away,

More than a dozen hours of the day.

All were busy then as bees,

Until the railway banished these.

The engine crushed the Village legs,

Much as the housewife mashes eggs,

And left it moaning night to death,

With feeble pulse and gasping breath.

O for the golden days of yore!

The Church was crowded to the door,

Two doctors fired their dead shot pills,

Full 50 miles, at mortal ills,

The great Van Ambergh brought his show,

To Franktown. sixty years ago.

The Ring–Behold it as you pass,

Sodded, and coated o’er with grass!

He halted at no other town:

All mustered here to see the clown,

The lion. elephant, chimpanzee,

And lots of other things that tickle fancy,

As for fairs on village green,

This match could nowhere else be seen,

One deafening din of bullock roar,

Buyers and sellers by the score,

Fat rolls of money right and left,

None stolen– rare indeed was the sight,

Here a wild fellow travelling “tight”

And yelling “Howld Me” or I’ll fight!

Another striding to and fro,

With chip on shoulder–don’t you know!

Yonder a maniac raves and rants,

With nothing on him save his pants!

Elsewhere uplifted fists abound,

A wild mob seething round and round,

Meanwhile away from row and noise,

Apples are sold to girls and boys,

One big one for a penny or two,

If rather small for one to do.

The buyer settles and departs:

Settlers go home with joyous hearts,

And swollen pockets. Night settles in.

And ends the fair, the fight, the din.

Those days are gone.

Those days are fled,

Poor dear old Franktown hangs her head.

Not hers the fault, her sons are grand,

Her daughters best in all the land!

Yet she droops and fades away,

Sad contrast to her early day.

No Amburgh now unfolds his tent,

No tavern rings with merriment.

No stage coach blows its rousing horn:

The fair of all its splendours shorn,

The tailor, cooper, cobbler gone.

Two doctors? No! Not even one,

In the still necessary store,

One customer for ten of yore,

The streets are silent as the grave:

The whole place darksome as a cave.

The houses stand; but on the street,

You’re startled if a face you meet!

The Agent now avoids the place:

Seldom a stranger shows his face:

The traveller likes it not a bit–

No place to eat, or sleep, or sit!

No provender for man or beast.

Where once* was spread a ducal feast!

Wayfarers give it the ‘go-by”,

For Franktown, once so wet is now dry.

A place of placid sweet repose,

What a retreat ‘twoud be for those’

Unnerved by hustling city din,

On wrecked on bestial seas of sin!

The monk bevowed to silence keep,

The sluggard, wed to sloth and sleep,

The hustler in his mad pursuit

Or gain, or other Dead Sea fruit,

The worried, fretted, restless man,

Dwindling existence to a span:

All, whirling furious and fast

Like leaves in a November blast:-

Come, one and all, and sit with me,

Beneath this spreading basswood tree;

And rest, and sleep, and happy be!

For, be it clearly understood

This wild oat place, at last, is good.



*The Duke of Richmond slept a night and had his meal at the old Burrows hotel on his way from Perth to Richmond. Read The Haunted Canoe from the Jock River and The Franktown Inn

Franktown was nailed to the glade, and though it never reached the glory painted by the noble imperialists. It has never forgotten that Van Amberg’s Circus bivouacked there one day because both Perth and Carleton Place were too small affairs to entertain so massive an establishment.  It was probably also on the same trek when the Duke of Richmond was bitten by his pet fox and rabies developed and he slipped away and was drowned in the river as he sought to quench is burning thirst. Well that’s what the fox said.  Read –How Franktown Got Its Name and  Meanwhile Back in Lanark Village


Franktown Historical Fact


Indians who had camped for the winter at Franktown, selling baskets through the district, struck their tents and returned to the St. Regis Reserve


Carleton Place Herald, Feb. 10, 1903–Presbyterian Church of Franktown

Mrs. Jas. L. McArthur presented a Bible and Mrs. Allan Cameron three plush chairs for the pulpit platform.  The speakers of the evening were Rev. Dr. Crombie and Rev. Mr. Cooke of Smith’s Falls, Rev. John May of Franktown, Rev. Paul Pergau of Franktown and Revs. Woodside and Scott of Carleton Place

Sunday, September 23, 2012″…And Franktown Still is My Delight” – A Sermon for the 190th Anniversary Celebration of St. James’ Anglican Church, Franktown, ON


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 27 Dec 1930, Sat,
  3. Page 2

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.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


The Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters – —Part 1

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 2– Perth Mill

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 3– Genealogy Ennis

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4b – Innisville — Coopers and “Whipping the Cat” 1860-1870

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4c – Innisville — Henry York and Johnny Code

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4d – Innisville — “How We did Hoe it Down”!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4e – Innisville — ‘Neighbours Furnished one Another with Fire’

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 5- Code Family– “Hawthorn Mill was a Failure, and the Same Bad Luck has Followed for at Least 50 Years”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 6- Code Family– “Almost everything of an industry trial character had vanished in Innisville in 1882”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 7- Code Family–“Thank God, no member of my family has disgraced me or the name!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 8- Code Family– “We got a wool sack and put him inside and took him to the bridge”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 9- Code Family –“I had much trouble in saving myself from becoming a first class liar”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 10- Code Family – I conjured to myself: “You will know me later!” And Peter McLaren did.

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 11- Code Family –“I continued with bull dog tenacity for 12 years without salary”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 12- Code Family–“Had I the course to go over again I would evade outside responsibilities beyond my share, even if it cost more”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 13- Code Family–S. S. No. 17 Drummond, Innisville

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 14- Code Family–Letters from Mother Elizabeth Hicks

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 15- Code Family– Love and Runaway Marriages

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 16- Code Family-“The fish would shoot back and forth and at time hit their legs causing them to fall”


The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 17- Code Family–“A reaper with the sickle and danced all night”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 18- Code Family–Family Records from the Family Bible

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 19- Code Family–“Michell was never known to have any money, excepting at or after tax sales”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 20- Code Family–“Whither Are We Drifting?”– The Perth Public School

When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?








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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