Smyth’s Falls Wardsville and Names

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Smyth’s Falls Wardsville and Names

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As long as there’s a canal lock in Smiths Falls, the town will not be allowed to forget its link with the historic Rldeau Canal. That canal was once a main artery that gave life blood to a little hamlet born in the wilderness. After the war of 1812 with the States, there had been talk of building a canal to connect the waters of Lake Ontario with the Ottawa River. A survey was made but it was abandoned. The actual building of the canal came as a great surprise to the few scattered inhabitants of this still thickly timbered area when work began in 1827.

The engineer in charge of building the locks at Sly’s Rapids was James Simpson, a young engineer of 26, who came from County of Londonderry, Ireland by way of Lockport, N.Y.

 

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When he came to Smyth’s Falls or Wardsville in 1827, the place had no roads leading to it. It was an entire wilderness with the exception of an old saw mill newly rigged up by Abel Russell Ward, for the purpose of sawing lumber to build with, and his own dwelling, a log house nearby. The sawmill had hardly commenced operations when, by order of Colonel By, the officer in charge of the entire works, he removed it to make way for a dam for the canal.

 

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Ward came with about 20 men and with teams and opened a road from Smyth’s Falls to the Bytown Road, a distance of eight miles, also roads towards Perth about nine miles, and improved a road toward Merrickville. A road to Dack’s Tavern, on the post route to Brockville and a road of five miles from the Falls to the Rose Settlement was also done by Ward and his men.

The opening up of these roads all leading to the town and the improvements made by Abel Russell Ward and the others who settled in, make Smiths Falls what it is today.

 

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James Simpson was an energetic man whose enterprise served as a stimulant and inspiration to the men among whom he laboured. After he got the canal commenced, he built grist mills, stores and other buildings to serve the new community. In Smiths Falls, at dawn, on May 25, 1832, canons on the canal bank barked a salute to “The Pumper,” the first boat to puff its way up the newly, completed waterway with a group of distinguished persons that included Colonel By.

It was in January, 1858, the year Canada switched from sterling to decimal currency, when the first train over the Canada Central Railway made its trial run from Brockville to Smyth’s Falls and Perth. If the canal brought a bundling boom to Smyth’s Falls, the coming of the railway gave the town further success. By 1885 Smiths Falls was made a divisional point on the CPR and in 1910 the CNR came through the town.

 

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Robert Hawkins, George Street North or “Bobbie” Hawking as the townsfolk affectionately call this venerable gentleman was born in Leeds County near Brockville in 1864 and learned the hardware business in Perth. Always keenly interested in community affairs and active in the Conservative Party, Mr. Hawkins served five years on town council and was chairman of the all-important finance committee during those critical years. Mr. Hawkins retired in 1941 after 54 years in the hardware business.

A local boy who made good in the field of commerce was Clark Keith. After achieving for himself a reputation as an outstanding electrical engineer, he became manager of the Windsor Public Utilities Commission that included the Motor City’s electric power service. Clark Keith was honoured when the-Ontario Hydro steam generating plant at Windsor was officially opened and named after him.

 

relatedreading

Smiths Falls Oldest Inhabitants Interviewed — 19 Nov 1877

It’s Smyth not Smith Falls?

Downtown Smiths Falls 1887

Dr. William Pratt — Murder of his Housekeeper in Smiths Falls

Entire Dam Above Smiths Falls Swept Away

  1. The Smiths Falls Storm of 1897

  2. The Storm of June 1899

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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