A Town Founded by Women and Gossip

A Town Founded by Women and Gossip




A  young man wrote that in 1860 out of a total number of settlers of about 60 there were only six available women just down the road in Portland where he found work. So when a young settler decided to have himself a helpmate on his farm, he usually went back for a time to his old home like Carleton Place  and secured one. You see in Carleton Place they were missing men and had way too many women.

The first marriages here were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy. At that time marriages were arranged, as there was no other choice- you either married into the Willis family or the Moores in Carleton Place. As far as I know most of the same family lines are still walking up and down Bridge Street.. Having written about every “tom dick and McNeely” for years it sure seems like it to me.




In the 1870s it was reported in the Almonte Gazette that they could only count 6 available bachelors in Carleton Place with young George Hurdis married off the year before. George died at the age of 25 of April 19th 1899, so it seems the women of Carleton Place were taking its toll on the available men.There was in fact a debate at an event much like this on April 8, 1899 at the YMCA ball right here in the town hall that the local men said  a single life was way better than married life.

In  January  of 1970 the Ottawa Citizen wrote a scathing review of Howard Morton Brown’s Book Founded Upon a Rock. I believe they called it Not So Founded Upon a Rock.  and I quote–“Carleton Place’s 150 years of history is accurate, but incomplete; its photographs authentic, but most are lacking in names. Mr. Brown could have tapped many other sources than the ones he has used. He has neglected the social life of the town, and all the humorous characters and funny incidents. You should have gone to the Carleton Place women Mr. Brown, for their memories, and  photographs and tales”.
Which goes to show me that I have been right all the time that Carleton Place was not only founded upon rock but also by a lot of women and gossip. Gossip can be entertaining: occasionally, I’ve heard the most fascinating things about myself I never knew.




There was No Shortage of Wives in Carleton Place

It Wasn’t Raining Men in Carleton Place!

Women in Prison 1900s

Women Arrested for Wearing Pants?

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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