You Don’t Mess Around with Oxen!

You Don’t Mess Around with Oxen!



The early settlers had various sorts of troubles. There have been various instances of how horses and cows which settlers in this district had brought with them from other parts of Canada or from the United States had suddenly taken it into their heads to leave their masters and return to their former homes, sometimes many miles away.

In the year 1832 an English officer and his wife came to the Peterborough district and settled on the banks of a small lake near Rice Lake. In the first year of their occupation they purchased a yoke of oxen from a farmer twenty miles away, from a farm which was largely cleared and the oxen which he sold had been mainly used in plowing and like occupations.

But when these oxen were taken to their new home, which was in the thick scrub of a “bush” farm. they were put at work chiefly in hauling logs. Their work was rough,  unpleasant and heavy.  Whether the oxen talked the matter over among themselves is of course not known, but it is on record that one night they left their bush home together.

Thinking they had merely wandered into the bush and would return at their pleasure. the ex-officer suspended his log hauling and waited. After a week had passed the ex-officer started a search for them, assisted by some of the nearest neighbours. Their tracks led to the banks of the little lake and there they ended. It was evident to the experienced neighbours that the oxen had either waded or swam across the lake.

A boat was secured and the lake crossed. The marks of the oxen were found on the opposite shore.Then the tracks were traced into the bush. To make a long story shorter, it is related that those oxen had travelled through thick bush, swampland, creeks and small lakes twenty miles to the farm of their former owner.

The wife of the officer, who in 1846 published on her Canadian experiences, wrote: “Oxen have been known to traverse a tract of wild country to a distance of 30 or 40 miles, going in a direct line to their former haunts by unknown paths, where memory could not avail them. In the dog we consider it is scent as well as memory that guides him to his far off home: but how is this conduct of the oxen to be accounted for? They returned home through the mazes of Interminable forest, where man with all his reason and knowledge would have been bewildered and lost.”



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.

  1. relatedreading

    Carleton Place Herald –Life in Lanark County

  2. “Naked and Afraid” in Lanark County –McIlquham’s Bridge #2

  3. William Millar, Farmer No. 14, 2nd Concession of Dalhousie 1820

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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