Six Women in Town but Lots of Logging

Six Women in Town but Lots of Logging

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Black and white photograph of women at Halladay Cemetery in Elgin, Ontario around 1910


When Mr. James Scannell, of Chelsea, went to Portland township with his parents in the year 1860, Portland was still almost a virgin wilderness. The township had not long been opened for settlement. Mr. Scannell’s father, John B. Scannell, had left the third line of Huntley and had gone into Portland to take advantage of the fine and cheap timber land which was there being offered to settlers.

Mr. James Scannell was fifteen years of age in 1860, and therefore old enough to be able to give an intelligent story of things as they were in Portland in 1860. At that time the roads were mere trails through the virgin forest and the settlers were few and far between. Over 85 per cent of the settlers were single men, who were “proving” their claims. Some of them were from Eastern Ontario, but most were from Western Ontario.

Mr. Scannell tells that in 1860 out of a total number of settlers of about 60 there were only six women. When a young settlers decided to take to himself a helpmate on his farm, he usually went back for a time to his old home and secured one. In Carleton Place they were missing men and had too many women.

The first settlers spent nearly all their time cutting the pine and oak off their farms and hauling them the nearest creeks, where the lumber jobbers took them off their hands. The creeks in question all fed into the Lievre river.

Mr. Scannell saw the beginnings and growth of the village of Portland. The start of the store and other enterprises of Wm. F. Bonsall and the erection of the churches. For fifteen years from 1860 Portland township did not know what a doctor looked like.

There was practically no ordinary illness, and when anyone happened to break their leg or arm there was always somebody in the settlement who could set the limb. If the injury happened to be serious the victim was hauled to Ottawa or Hull on a buck-board. In later years Mr. Scannell left Portland township and moved to Kirk’s Ferry, where he ran a grocery store. Still later he moved to Chelsea village, where he and Mrs. Scannell conducted a summer hotel for years.


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


There was No Shortage of Wives in Carleton Place

It Wasn’t Raining Men in Carleton Place!



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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