Carleton Place in the 1850s

Carleton Place in the 1850s


“Carleton Place Herald editor James Poole in an editorial of nearly a hundred years ago already had claimed any man who would shoot a robin or other songbird would be capable of robbing his grandmother or of committing any other crime or rascality”.


When James C. Poole published ‘The Herald” in the Carleton Place of the 1850s there was “blood on the moon”; the earth was “heavy with new wars”; the people were despairing of colonial unity and jealous of “local rights”; and every township had the “railroad fever” though “plank roads” were connecting the hamlets.



Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Mar 1850, Sat  •  Page 2



download (18)


There was no radio to blare wondrous products on the public, but the advertising columns urged the claims of cherry and lung-wort to cure consumption. The ladies endured agony in wasp-waisted stays while the other hussies applied “East India Hair Dye “to turn grey hair to dark brown or bright jet black”. Incidentally, bald-headed Romeos were even then anxious about their top thatch and were vigorously using “Agor’s Turkish Balm” to stop dandruff.


Screenshot 2020-05-03 at 12.57.52


Altogether it was an interesting world, the inhabitants did not live under the stresses and strains and sacrifices of global war. Editor Poole founded his paper in Carleton Place first as the “Lanark Herald”, in September, 1850, and later, in May, 1851 as the ‘”Carleton Herald”. In that age of intense personal journalism, it certainly reflected the individuality of its editor.

“A new railway station was built at the junction of the two lines here.  Exemption from municipal taxation was granted for the C.P.R. workshops being moved to Carleton Place from Brockville and Prescott.  Major James C. Poole (1826-1882), Herald editor, predicted the town was “about to enter upon an era of advancement and unparalleled prosperity.”

This four-page paper carried an abundance of world and local news with a pungent  glaring editorial. The writer gleaned some interesting information on a cross section of life and customs as reflected in Editor Poole’s columns: Emphasis on Reading.

Education and cultivation of the mind were of major importance is evidenced by a notice in an issue of 1851 whereby the privileges of the Carleton Place Library Association- and Mechanics’ Institute were extended “to persons from Franktown, Innisville and Bellamy  (Clayton) on payment of subscription and punctual return of books”. The library was then located in the schoolhouse with J. Neilson, the teacher, as librarian.

School matters were adequately reported in “The Herald”, and we find the irrepressible Dugald C. McNab (famous dominee of.Place Editor World in Flux Burnstown and one time tary to Chief McNab) breaking into the news. On August 15, 1851, he held a meeting of teachers at Joseph Warren’s school-house on the 12th Concession of Lanark “for the purpose ‘of mental improvement”. That same month he assisted at the formation of the Teachers’ Institute of Lanark and Renfrew with William Still, as president, and himself as secretary.

In November of that year, Dugald C. McNab demonstrated his new system of education at the Burnstown model school “with visitors present from Aylmer, Drummond, Renfrew and the High-Falls of the Madawaska”. Politically, the county faced a series of elections, and the major issues (as debated hotly at meetings in the district) were the secularization of the clergy reserves, abolition of rectories, elective franchise, equalization of representation, law reform, retrenchment (now we have a multitude of “voices” proclaiming security for all from the cradle to the grave!).



Franktown Road in Carleton Place- see the carriages and a stagecoach on your left. Photo from the Edwards family collection at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum– read more The Last Stagecoach Driver in Lanark County

District development was featured in items of 1851 which noted that the “Royal Mail Line of Stages” left Wilson’s Hotel, Brockville, daily at noon for Addison, Kitley, Smiths Falls and Perth,  with the fare to Perth 10 shillings.

Following a report In the issue of October 7, 1852, of the annual fair of the Lanark and Renfrew Agricultural Society at Carleton Place, there is a small item noting the death of the Duke of Wellington. So much for the appraisal of news values! That year, incidentally, was recorded as being one of the mildest ever known in Canada. Plowing was still being. done on December 1.

There were two rather noteworthy advertisements carried during the year 1851. In one. Professor J. Case Dunham proclaimed himself as an instructor in the art of penmanship.  The second modest notice by Jerome Bateman, BA, announced “Superior Daguerreotype Likenesses”. There must have been competition in this field of early, portrait photography for in an issue of February 1853, we find  E. Spencer .”prepared to execute better daguerreotypes than ever before”.

Russia was the threat among the nations then, and Editor Poole’s foreign news featured the Crimean War. Local patriotism expressed itself in a series of meetings. Horton township, it is recorded, passed a bylaw to raise a fund for the widows and orphans of British soldiers by levying a farthing on every pound of rateable property in the township. Such was the momentous world of Editor Poole.


“The James Poole estate sold the Carleton Place Herald, founded in 1850, to William H. Allen and Samual J. Allen ; and sold the family’s large stone residence at Bridge Street and the Town Line Road to David Gillies, son-in-law of James Poole.  William H. Allen continued publication of the Herald for sixty years.  David Gillies, original partner and later president of Gillies Brothers Limited of Braeside and member of the Quebec Legislature, maintained his home here until his death in 1926.  Its site was the place of residence of six generations of the Poole family”.




The Wives of James Poole Carleton Place

Snippets of the Illustrious James Poole

The Donneybrooks of Carleton Place-Number 3

The Loyal Village Guards of Carleton Place

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s