In the 1860s tarring and feathering was a regular pastime which people who liked to get a “kick” out of things use to like to indulge in. Mrs. Thomas Good told about a notable tarring and feathering which took place in Ashton when she was a little girl in the 1860s.
It appears that a certain resident of the village was accused by his neighbours of ill treating his family to a point which was made a public matter rather than private interest. The accused man was warned several times, “tipped off” as it were, as to what would happen if he persisted In his line of conduct, but the “tips” did not have the desired effect, it was claimed.
Then one fine summer day when the young men gathered, as usual, around one of the village grocery stores, one of the youths suggested that a coat of tar and feathers might make the alleged culprit sit up and take notice. The idea was in great favour and plans were laid to administer the punishment.
Tar and feathers and a suitable fence rail were quietly procured and the intended action was kept from the older people for fear they would attempt to stop It. Then one evening after supper band of about twenty husky young men visited the man’s house with a pail of hot tar and a bag of feathers, took him out and despite the pleadings of his family stripped him and gave him a coat of tar and feathers.
Then, placing him on a fence rail, they paraded him up and down through the village. Mrs. Good said she could remember that procession as if it were but yesterday. Despite the man’s cries and threats, none of the elders attempted to interfere. The procession was kept up till dark in the presence of the whole village. Then the vigilance committee dumped the victim at his own door and left him to his own devices, after warning him that if he did not reform the dose would be repeated.
The Interesting part of this story, according to Mrs. Good, is that the victim did reform. It might have been that the victim would have left the village after the incident, but he did not and lived the affair down. The victim has been long dead, and none of his descendants live in Ashton anymore.
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.