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

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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