What was it Like Being German in Lanark County 1915?

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What was it Like Being German in Lanark County 1915?
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I come across stories that shock me all the time and this is one of them, but it’s history.
“I can tell you one thing,” said a Canadian farmer out of Lanark County to The Journal. “A Conservative won’t stand a ghost of a chance in this part of this riding at the next election, the majority of the Germans are so sore on the government for having sent Canadian troops to the front”.

I’m a Conservative myself,” he continued, “and I have been from end to end of the county quite recently, so I know what I’m talking about”. The Germans are quiet, so far as any demonstration goes, but deep down this antagonist feeling exists, and there are times when they don’t hesitate.

Conversation with an old country farmer in another portion of the area brought to light that fact that the British and French residents do believe that actual attempts have been made by certain Germans to accumulate stocks of arms and ammunition.

The case of a storekeep in a neighboring town was cited. A story was circulated that a “Frenchman” had accidentally discovered nineteen rifles in a case of hardware in the store. That story wound its way throughout the county, and The Journals Informant heard it from a dozen sources including from the original source. He questioned the German about it, and received a vigorous denial and said that if he could find the man who originated the yarn he would sue him. He was supplied with the name; but despite his threats of suit not a word has been heard of the matter, though some weeks have elapsed. “So you see.” remarked the farmer, “It looks as if there was something in the charge after all.”

An escort of Canadians went back to his farm with him, and ran up a Union Jack in front of the house. The flag still remains, though somewhat the worse for its winter’s wear

One of the larger farmers in Lanark County is one of the collectors for the Patriotic Fund in the district. He told The Journal that most of the German farmers had contributed small amounts, but that the collections were in cash this year, and the totals were not nearly so large as last, when grain was accepted. He expressed the opinion that such farmers had withdrawn money from the bank and had buried it until the end of the war in fear of confiscation.



Did You Know?
During the First World War, Germans in Canada were considered “enemy-aliens.” Over 8000 German Canadians were interned in camps. During this period, German language instruction was abolished and the German press was no longer allowed to publish in German.
German immigration to Canada resumed after the end of the War. Between 1915 and 1935, over 97 000 German speaking peoples arrived in Canada from Germany, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. It was not until 1950 that Canadian restrictions on German immigration were removed.
During this period Canada also took a more aggressive approach to recruit craftsmen from abroad. As a result of these changes, over 400 000 people migrated to Canada from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland between 1950 and 1970.

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

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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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