For Who the Gate Tolls

For Who the Gate Tolls



After nearly two weeks of suffering in a local hospital. Mr. Thomas Morgan, toll gate keeper at Bell’s Corners who was injured on August 1919 died last night, and his body , was removed to Rogers and Barney’s undertaking parlors. The late Mr. Morgan was getting along well, but on Tuesday took a relapse, and passed away last night at about 7:40.

On August 30 the late Mr. Morgan, while collecting toll from a  passing auto, was jammed against the porch of the toll gate house and had both legs fractured. He was collecting toll from N. Gilbert, of Ottawa, about 10:30 on the night of Saturday, August 10, and it is said, the standing auto had its head lights on full. Another automobile, driven by Thomas Nesbitt, Beckwith township, Lanark county, was travelling along the same road in the opposite direction. Nesbitt says he became dazzled by the strong lights, but turned to pass the standing car and. ran into the toll gate porch and pinned Mr. Morgan against the wall. The other car drove off without the occupant leaving its number or name.

Mr. Nesbitt gave every assistance and left the number of his car, but not his name. He was found in a short time, and was left at liberty on depositing 2,000 bail. He is to appear in the county court on Tuesday. The late Mr. Morgan was 69 years of age, and was born at South March. For the last eight years he had been toll gate keeper at Bell’s Corners, and had become well known and popular throughout the district. Besides his widow, be is survived by one brother, Alfred, South March, and six sisters, Mrs. Wm. Kennedy, 120 Spruce street; Mrs. R. Gilchrist, Mrs. J. Stanley, Stanley’s Corners: and the Misses Jane, Victoria and Francis Morgan, South March.

Coroner Craig was notified last night, and. will open an inquest this morning at 9 o’clock, at Rogers and Burney’s undertaking parlors. The inquest will be adjourned, and it is probable that it will be resumed next Tuesday night The funeral will take place from his late residence, at Bell’s Corners, to Stanley’s Corners cemetery.


To finance the early roads the Government and private firms collected tolls. The tollkeeper system began to retire in 1896.

The toll gates in Upper Canada are very convenient, especially in preserving the health of the keepers in winter. The house is of two stories, and in the top one is a small window, from which the custos could look out; a broad shed extends across the road, and the gate slides in grooves like a portcullis, the keeper having a winch inside his house to raise and lower it. He has also a ladle, with a long stick, to receive his toll, and a small hole to pass. it through. Thus, instead of having at night to descend into the cold, or even to open a window, he looks through the glass when a traveller appears, poles out his ladle through the hole, and raising his gate lets him pass. In Lower Canada the common English toll gate is still used, to the constant killing, I should think, of the unhappy keepers if they do not rather refrain levying toll at night…The toll for the one we passed was twopence only for our one-horse vehicle.


The Toll Gates of Lanark County on Roads that Were Not Fit for Corpses

For Whom the Toll Gates Tolled– Revised

Armstrong’s Corners: Cross Roads of History

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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