Bennie’s Comers was once one of a few of the smaller villages of the Ottawa district which was honoured by a visit from the Prince of Wales (King Edward) in 1860–and the Corners did itself proud on that occasion. It will be recalled that the Prince on the occasion of his visit here in 1860 sailed up the Ottawa river to Fitzroy Harbor, then to Arnprior where he stayed over night with Mr. McLachlin, the lumberman, and the following day drove to Almonte by way of Bennie’s Comers, and from Almonte took the Canada Central Railway on his way back.
Almonte was the terminus of the railway at the time. When Bennie’s Corners heard that the Prince was coming that way they all rose to the occasion. It decided to show that the hamlet was just as loyal as Arnprior or Almonte was. The farmers combined with the villagers and erected a large wooden arch, which they covered with evergreens, flags and loyal mottoes. All the houses were also decorated.
The Prince’s party, when they left Arnprior consisted of about 20 vehicles owned by Arnprior people. Neither the Prince nor his escort had expected any demonstration between Arnprior and Almonte and when they saw the elaborate preparations the little village had they were greatly surprised and pleased.
The villagers gave the Prince a great welcome as he drove through the Corners. Bennie’s Corners was a live little village in the 1860s. It began in the 1840s by John Bennie, but the cities and big towns later killed It. In 1860 when the Prince passed through, the village was a live business centre. The merchants and other business people were: Alex Leishman. merchant, who had succeeded John Bennie. Mr. Leishman did a big business with the lumbermen.
In the winter the village used to be picturesque with shantymen’s garbs, coloured tuques and sashes and wool coats. There was also William Phillips, blacksmith, John Phillips, wagon maker. Geo. Huckell. made-to-order boots: Alex. Snedden. hotel keeper and farmer. Mr. Snedden used to supply the raw grain and camp feed to Mattawa in the winter. He had four sons, William, James, Alexander and David.
Stephen Young, who made what was known as “pot barley” for soup. The barley was hulled. Grabell Tashac ran a carding mill and farmed and he was known as a one armed man. Alex Peters, was an old Paisley weaver, and know his weaving. James Snedden supplied the lumbermen and was known as “Banker Jimmy” because he was always “well fixed” financially.
John Baird kept a general store, ran a flour mill and sent supplies to the lumbermen. Mr. Baird was known as a very exact and honest man. When he weighed goods they were weighed to the fraction of an ounce and he never gave more nor less. Mr. Baird later went to Almonte and ran a woollen mill there.
John McCormack ran a tailor shop and Cooper Shop John Glover, operated a Cooper shop, and made firkins and pork barrels. There was no church at Bennies Comers, but in the sixties, the Cameronians used to hold services In the village school house as the nearest church was 4 miles from, the village. Bennie’s Comers once aimed to rival Almonte in the race for business supremacy, but lost out, as Almonte was on the railway.
With files from the Ottawa Citizen 1933
The small hamlet of Bennie’s Corners appeared on the scene of the eighteen thirties, adjoined on the Indian River by Toshack’s carding mill and Baird’s grist mill. The Baird mill, now known as the Mill of Kintail, has been preserved by a private owner for public historical uses and as a residence.
Linda Nilson-Rogers What a lovely spot to raise kids! Bill Harnos was my farm neighbour, on the property to the right of this pic, down the road, on the farm this schoolhouse was on were John and Dorothy Delaurier. Down the road to the left were Clare and Oney Syme. We built a house on the right on a 25 acre plot that ran to the next concession. Neighbours that end were Jack and Marguerite Harvison. At the end of our road was the farm of Louis and Peg Irwin, with their highland cattle.
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.