The Gypsy Tramps and Thieves of the 11th line of Beckwith Part 2




In the late 1800s the eleventh line of Beckwith, according to the local and national media, was “infested” with Gypsies and ragmen. This, however, was no new occurrence, as every summer for a great many years this had been their regular camping ground.

Every year the road in front of the S.S. #9 school was almost impassible on account of these camps, so that it was almost unsafe for children or woman to travel the road alone. The school had always been said to be situated in one of the richest sections of the county, so it was no surprise the gypsies hung around the area.

Considerable dissatisfaction was expressed at the Beckwlth council for allowing such a nuisance year after year on one of the most travelled roads in the township. Locals were angry that council was not taking any steps whatever to put a stop to it, or to prevent its reoccurrence  notwithstanding that it had been brought to their notice.

This was the only road by which the townspeople were able to get to the park with the consequence of these rough and dangerous people continually haunting the place. It was impossible for people to go unprotected to spend the afternoons at their park. In July of 1897 while a carpenter was at work repairing the school, some of the Gypsies entered the school yard and became very abusive, and even threatened to end his life. As he happened to have a sledge at hand, he picked this up and only in this way he escaped.

The next day a gentleman was set upon by these highway men and received very rough treatment at their hands. During the summer of 1897 the ragmen held the fort, and had load upon load of old filthy rags gathered up from every quarter and piled on the road. The neighbours near this plight complained that the health officers never seem to take into consideration that these rags were in all probability reeking with disease of every description and may as readily as not spread infection all through the place. Also the same year it was reported that Maggie Garland was assaulted by a tramp in the vicinity of the 10th and 11th line.


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 and The Tales of Almonte


Hobo’s and Tragedies in Beckwith

“Teachester” Munro and the S.S. No. 9 Beckwith 11th Line East School

Step Right Up- Here are Your Family Convictions-September, 1894

Gypsies Tramps and Thieves Part 1

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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