Like Pakenham witches were said to be afoot in Montague Township. Apparently they were depriving the locals of their milk and butter in the summer, and god forbid they sucked off the maple sap in the Spring. Some of the farmers would boil and boil and not get one ounce of sugar from it and of course blame it on some of the mysterious women folk living near them.
Stories of seeing a man turn into snake near a Methodist praying site were the talk of the area. It was said that once he gazed into a woman’s eyes and she was lifted up and transported to Perth. Unlike the transporters of Star Trek she was supposedly whisked over the fields through the air. No word if she took the short or longer way.
At an early date there lived in the vicinity of Kilmarnock, on the north side of the Rideau River, a man by the name of Croutch, who claimed to have the gift of foresight. Many old and respected settlers believed implicitly that he received warnings of the approaching death of any person who resided in the settlement. According to the testimony of his wife, who bore the reputation of being a Christian woman, Croutch would frequently retire to bed, where in vain he would seek slumber; restless and uneasy, he would toss from side to side, at times groaning and muttering names of the departed. Do what he would to shake off the mysterious spell, in the end he was compelled to submit.
Rising, he would quickly dress himself, take his canoe and paddle across the river, where he declared he always found waiting a specteral funeral procession, which he would follow to the grave yard, where all the rites and ceremonies would be performed. Croutch having watched the ghostly mourners fade away would then return home would retire to rest and sink into a profound slumber.
It was always with the greatest difficulty that Mrs. Croutch could ever elicit from her husband the name of the party, whose death had been heralded. It is related of the late Samuel Rose that upon one occasion he was in the company of Croutch, in crossing a common both saw a light. Croutch exclaimed, Did you hear that cry ? No, replied Mr. Rose. Oh, said the fatalist, it was the cry of a child, the name of which he gave and in a few days the child breathed its last.
Upon another occasion he predicted the death of a man named Mclntyre. Colonel Hurd, of Burritt’s Rapids, informs us that he knew Croutch and that far and wide and that he was regarded with terror by the children, who had learned from their parents his supposed power of communing with the spirits of the departed.–From “History of Leeds & Grenville” by Thad. W.H. Leavitt, Recorder Press, Brockville, 1879, page 88 There is no doubt that Croutch became a legend in the township of Montague and he decided to leave the area in 1811, but the tales of Isiah Croutch were talked about for years.