Life in Lanark Village 1820 — Bad Roads Distilleries and Discontent!

Life in  Lanark Village 1820 — Bad Roads Distilleries and Discontent!


Lanark Village 1820

According to a few settlers tales the Village of Lanark was laid out the same way as Perth. However, it didn’t look like a town in appearance, but more like a rather thickly settled farming district. The Clyde River was much the same size as the Tay and it ran through town as the Tay did in Perth. The mighty Clyde drove the only mill in the area which was used to grind all sorts of grain.

When you arrived in town you would would mostly likely have been met by the miller who had emigrated from New Lanark in Scotland. His claim to fame was being the first person who had brought a European woman into the Village of Lanark! He would tell any new visitor that he was happy, and bring them around to his home to have a meal  or two with his children.

Apparently, all was not happy in that household, and under the same roof as the miller lived a very discontented  person. The miller’s wife was so unhappy that word around the county was that she was the only miserable person this side of Perth. I highly disagree with that statement after writing about the conditions the first settlers had to live with. But, miserable or not, she would “quick step” behind her husband to hear any news or gossip from any newcomer in town.

One thing you did not discuss with the miller’s wife was the deplorable conditions of the tradespeople in Britain at the time. You would never ever discuss how fortunate the settlers were to relocate to Lanark County instead of suffering the hardships of back home.

“Dinna say that; dinna pretend to tell me that this is better than hame. I wad sooner soof the causey in Scotland than stay here,” she would argue.

Local folks would argue with her that she would have a hard time getting meat to eat, or a job, and families were basically penniless back across the pond. The miller’s wife would agree with you on that point, but her greatest concern was buying clothes like those back in Scotland. She was a decent woman she said, so she needed decent clothes, and none the likes of what they sold in Perth. The disgruntled woman never seemed to understand that clothes back home were now harder to get than meat, and that she should consider herself fortunate that she was able to enjoy the fruits of the four local whiskey distilleries.

The area around Lanark Village had only one place of worship: a handsome Presbyterian Church with a lovely spire, all built of stone. The roads from Perth to Lanark for travelling preachers was clear for only two to three miles from Perth.  Not even the prayers by the clergy could help them on that road that was only broad enough for a wagon or a sleigh. It had sharp turns around a tree or a stump that sometimes were not feasible for man nor beast.  Once you spotted cleared land or a home  you had to wade through snow or water you to inquire if you were headed in the right direction or get lost.


The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jan 1938, Sat  •  Page 2

Going through the bush was done by mostly following the marks on trees and, yes those who got lost were frequent, but the blazed trees would take them to someone’s dwelling. Most times one would eat a meal or spend the night in some stranger’s home. You would not attempt these roads at night for they were dark save for a blaze in the scattered homes along the road–mostly owned by Scots. After a Sunday in the pulpit in the Village of Lanark most men of God deemed the roads fearful and their hands were sore holding on to the wagon. One has to wonder if difficult roads in those days led to beautiful locations, or heights of greatness.

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)


So What Did We Find Out About this Photo from Lanark Village?

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

Remembering a Shoemaker in Lanark Village–Thomas Wilson

Lanark Village News 1887–The $5 Wager and Other Things

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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