Thank you to Rick’s wife Kathleen Finlayson for joining us together.
Text by Richard Finlayson
This all started with my 32 year old corporate attorney daughter visiting us this weekend. My 88 year-old mother, Gloria, had recently given me the Finlayson family portrait above which we believe was taken in 1917. That was a year that the Spanish flu was devastating North America and it allowed me to give my daughter a historical perspective and how it relates to Covid 19. She was to be married in Chicago in May but we have postponed the wedding to next year. I told her the stories of the people in the photo. Your home, Springside Hall in Carleton Place, was a prominent piece of May Raeburn’s (Finlayson) story.
(Editor’s note– there was a dry spell in 1913 only to have it finally rain on July 25, 1913 the day after the fire. On the 26th there was a hail storm but no damages recorded. “The dry spell has been broken”– Almonte Gazette July 1913 (see more in ‘history’)
My grandfather, Charles Mitchell Finlayson was born in 1898 and grew up on a farm in Lanark. He was the oldest of six children. He left the Finlayson family farm and attended the University of Toronto graduating from the Ontario College of Pharmacy in 1922. At that time his goal was to be a doctor but he needed to study an extra year and did not have the funds to complete that extra year. He immigrated to the United States after marrying my grandmother, Gladys Rogers, who was working as a piano teacher and model in Toronto. I actually have some of her work from a Toronto newspaper. She really was quite beautiful.
They had one child, my father, Charles Albert Finlayson who was born in 1930. Gladys Finlayson passed away in 1952 and my grandfather was heartbroken. I have always felt a deep spiritual connection to my grandfather who passed away in 1961 from a heart attack after running his own pharmacy (with a soda fountain) in Detroit,Michigan.
I am one of three brothers and my memory of our grandfather was one of him being incredibly kind and he loved playing with us and sneaking chocolate Kit Kat bars when our parents weren’t looking. When he passed away, my parents learned from his customers that for years (especially during the depression) he would nurse patients in the back of his store who couldn’t afford to see a doctor. He had actually set some broken bones and in his own way was an urban country doctor.
As a child I remember visiting Carleton Place at least four times. My parents had a small travel trailer and we would camp on the shores of the Mississippi River. We would rent a boat and fish during the day. The fishing there was always phenomenal and my brothers and I were always in competition to catch the biggest and the most perch.
Your home Springside Hall on Lake Ave. East was one that leaves a lifelong impression. In my mind it was a mansion. The fine woodworking and huge porch with the large front yard was awe-inspiring! My Aunt May was a very prim and proper woman and she had dinners in the formal dining room. She would serve with fine china and silver and linen napkins (serviettes?) Our mother would give us instructions on how to be gentlemen, something we were definitely not used to! To be honest, it felt like we were visiting the Queen and King of England. I remember there being a secret stairway that was almost like a tunnel ( more on that tomorrow). For a child that house would be an amazing place.
I am a very recently retired Captain for American Airlines. My very first flight for American took me to Ottawa and I was amazed that there is an intersection on a primary airway named Lanark. I could feel the spiritual connection every time I flew over that intersection knowing that all of my Finlayson relatives are there. Every flight out of Chicago for the next 33 years on my way to London or somewhere else in Europe brought the memories of Carleton Place.
In 2007 you ( Linda Seccaspina) and I came very close to meeting in person. I had taken a motorcycle trip of Ontario with a group of friends. We overnighted in Ottawa and my friends stayed up late in the Casino there. I got up early by myself and rode highway 7 in an attempt to find the cemetery where my relatives are all buried. My wife and I attended a family reunion in 1981 in Carleton Place and had visited the church where the cemetery was located. I could not find it. I stopped in a Mom and Pop gas station on the edge of town and filled my motorcycle. I asked the man who took my money if he knew of a church that is close by that had an adjoining cemetery . He said, “Yes, you passed one on the way in and it sits off the road at the top of the curve. Are you looking for a grave there?” I said, ” Yes, all of my relatives are buried there.” “Whats the last name?” I said Finlayson. He smiled and said,” Oh yes we know of them. That’s the right one.”
I was amazed that he knew of my family. It made me feel instantly at home. I rode over to the Boyds cemetery and visited with all the members of my family buried there. I sat there on a beautiful sunny day watching the butterflies flying around the headstones and I could feel their spirits. My great Uncle Edgar (my grandfather’s youngest brother) had been buried there in 1991. I sat there for an hour contemplating. I then got on my motorcycle and rode in to Carleton Place. It had changed so much since 1981. I was determined to find your home if it still existed.
I knew that finding the railroad track was key to my finding Springside Hall. I found the track and parked my Harley and started walking. When I found your home I gasped. It was the home but it looked so different from my memory, the architecturally correct addition you had built was amazing. Of course the limestone fencing threw me for a loop. I walked slowly around the perimeter taking in the home. I stood at the front gate and admired your English garden and the front of Aunt May’s old home. I hadn’t noticed you gardening and when you stood up it startled me as I could tell I probably startled you. I uttered a quick hello and kept walking. An tall American standing and staring at a house in motorcycle garb could be disconcerting at the least. I went back to my bike and rode past your house once more. I told my wife I was a bit angry at myself for not asking the woman in the garden if you knew of my Aunt May and Uncle George. I am thankful to know that you do.
Tomorrow!!!–The Case of the Disappearing Back Staircase — Springside Hall — Finlayson Series
I hope to find the location of their farm and would like to know if the home still exists. _ Rick Finlayson
I found the original farm was lost in a fire in a 1913 fire. Clippings below
Thanks to Rosemary Sarsfield historian and author of Clayton history-Whispers From the Past-Clayton Store, Millstreet Books in Almonte and from firstname.lastname@example.org of we found the farm
The one in Bowland’s cemetery would be my uncle Tom Finlayson. He was married to my father’s sister Annie Richards… I should know where they lived but will have to look it up. It was on the Old Perth Road but we were down there a couple of weeks ago and I could not see the old house. I actually was never there when I was young because my aunt was dead before I was born and I think Uncle Tom lived with one of his nephews. They only had one child Meda and she died when she was five.
So here is the land info:Charles and James Finlayson had WLot 8 Con 2 Ramsay and All of Lot !0 Con 2 There may have been two Charles, I am not sure, but Lot 10 went from Charles to James and then to Edgar who was unmarried. My uncle Tom was a brother of Edgar and Tom owned WLot 10 Con 3 Ramsay.–Thanks to Rosemary Sarsfield historian and author of Clayton history-Whispers From the Past-Clayton Store, Millstreet Books in Almonte and from email@example.com of we found the farm.
Lanark County, Ont.
Names are listed in the order published — most of them are in alphabetical order by first letter only, but some may be completely out of order. Please use the “Search” function of your browser to look for all occurrences of a name. Obvious errors have been noted at the end of the line [in square brackets], but numerals, especially “5” and “6”, are sometimes impossible to tell apart in the photocopies.
SCHEDULE OF POST OFFICES for RAMSAY TOWNSHIP 1. Almonte 2. Appleton 4. Blakeney 5. Clayton 6. Carleton Place NAME No P.O. DES. CON. LOT Aiken John 1 1 O 12 2 Aikenhead Matthew 2 1 O 9 10-11 Aitken James Jr. 3 1 O 12 2 Aitken James 4 2 O 11 1 Aitken Duncan 5 1 O 10 14 Allen William 6 1 O 8 15 Anderson Wm. 7 1 O 8 12 Andrews John 8 1 O 9 13 Armstrong Wm. 9 1 O 10 21 Armstrong John W. 10 1 T 6 24 Arthur Orel 11 4 O 11 26 Arthur Thos. S. 12 1 O 8 5 Arthur James M. 13 6 O 1 5 Arthur Wm. G. 14 1 O 10 24 Bain Daniel Jr. 15 1 O 3 16 Bain Daniel Sr. 16 1 O 4 16 Baird Robert M. 17 2 O 10 3 Barr Thomas 18 5 O 2 23 Barker James A. 19 4 O 10 25 Barker Robert 20 1 O 7 21 Barker Alex. 21 4 O 9 27 Bell Edgar 22 2 O 8 3 Bellamy John E. 23 5 O 2 23 Bickford W. H. 24 1 O 9 13 Bingham Oswald 25 4 O 10 26 Black John 26 2 O 10 3 Black Daniel J. 27 1 O 5 10 Blaney Walter 28 1 O 12 9 Boaz Charles 29 5 O 2 22 [name might be "Boes"] Bowes John 30 1 O 8 22 Bowes James 31 1 O 7 15 Bowes Thomas 32 1 O 7 11 Bowland H. M. 33 5 O 1 17 Bowland Wm. J. 34 6 O 3 1 Brydges Charles 35 1 O 12 10 Brydges Wllbert 36 1 O 12 12 Buchanan John A. 37 4 O 10 25 Buchanan G. W. 38 2 O 10 2 Bulger Justis 39 5 O 1 22 Burke Charles 40 1 O 8 19 Burns Wm. J. [?] 41 6 T 6 5 [possibly a second blotted initial] Camelon James 42 1 T 7 16 Camelon Arch 43 1 T 7 17 Camelon David 44 6 O 4 6 Camelon David 45 1 T 7 19 Camelon John 46 4 T 9 24 Cannon John 47 1 O 7 12 Carnochan Wm. 48 1 T 8 21 Carnohan Robert 49 6 O 3 7 Cavers Edgar 50 2 O 12 4 Chapman Joseph 51 1 O 8 6 Chapman George T. 52 6 O 8 4 Cochrane Alex. A. 53 1 T 7 22 Cochrane Peter 54 1 O 6 23 Cochrane Wm. L. 55 1 O 5 24 Code Matthew 56 6 O 2 7 Coleman Wm. 57 6 O 8 6 Colquhoun Arch 58 1 T 11 21 Corkery James 59 1 O 3 10 Coulter Charles 60 5 O 2 25 Cox Wm. 61 4 T 9 25 Cox W. H. 62 6 O 7 3 Craig Thos. Sr. 63 1 T 8 18 Craig Adams 64 1 O 10 11 Cunningham John 65 6 O 7 1 Curtis Thomas 66 6 T 1 6 Darling Fred A.C. 67 1 O 11 16 Devine Edward 68 6 O 9 2 Devine Hugh B. 69 6 O 7 7 Dezell James 70 6 O 1 1 Doherty Ernest 71 1 O 10 13 Donaldson David 72 6 T 7 4 Doucett Geo. H. 73 6 O 3 5 Dowdall Jas. E. 74 2 O 10 3 Dowdall Hiram 75 6 O 3 6 Dowdall Charles 76 6 O 2 3 Drummond Sam 77 1 O 12 9 Drynan James 78 1 O 9 7 Drynan John 79 1 O 10 15 Drynan Wm. J. 80 5 O 3 27 Drynan James 81 5 O 2 26 Duncan Edmund 82 1 O 11 10 Duncan Alex. S. 83 1 O 10 11 Duncan Wm. J. 84 1 O 11 9 Dunlop W. G. 85 1 O 1 16 Elliott Philip J. 86 1 O 1 13 Erskine John L. 87 5 O 1 23 Evans Richard 88 5 T 2 22 Evans Abraham 89 5 O 1 20 Fenlon John 90 4 O 10 25 Finlayson Thos. W. 91 1 O 2 8 Finlayson Chas. 92 1 O 2 10
James Finlayson was born on May 9 1866, in Ramsay Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada. Catherine was born on September 21 1867, in Drummond Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada.Charles had 5 siblings: Verna Agnes Finlayson, Thomas Albert Finlayson and 3 other siblings.
Charles married Gladys Irene Finlayson (born Rogers) on Wednesday January 14,1925, at age 26 in York, Ontario. Gladys was born in 1906, in Bristol, Somerset, England.They had one son: Charles A. Finlayson.
1087-25 Charles Mitchell FINLAYSON, 26, druggist, Ontario, 51 Harcourt Ave., s/o James FINLAYSON (b. Ont) & Catherine Agnes RUTTLE, married Gladys Irene ROGERS, 18, music teacher, England, 34 Wiley Ave., d/o Albert ROGERS (b. England) & Daisy Lydia TONKIN, witn: James R. GARVIN of 85 Boulton Ave & Evelyn UNDERWOOD of 20 Earlscourt Ave., 14 Jan 1925
8260-97 John M. FINLAYSON, 33, farmer, Ramsay twp., Drummond twp., s/o Charles FINLAYSON & Mary SMITH, married Maria A. RUTTLE, 33, Drummond, same, d/o Thomas RUTTLE & Lucinda MARTIN, witn: Charles FINLAYSON of Ramsay twp & Emma RUTTLE of Drummond, 28 April 1897 at Drummond twp
6638-95 (Lanark Co): James FINLAYSON, 29, farmer, Ramsay twp., same, s/o Charles & Mary, married Catherine RUTTLE, 28, Drummond, same, d/o Thomas & Lucinda, witn: John M. FINLAYSON of Almonte & Maria RUTTLE of Innisville, 23 Oct 1895 at Drummond twp
#006650-95 (Lanark Co): Thomas R. WATCHORN, 23, yeoman, Lanark twp., same, s/o Henry WATCHORN & Nancy TAYLOR, married Mary A. FINLAYSON, 16, Lanark twp., same, d/o William FINLAYSON & Amelia CUNNINGHAM, witn: Ethel CODE of Carleton Place & Charlie FINLAYSON of Ramsay twp., 13 Nov 1895 at Lanark twp
For more Finlayson’s click here
S.S. No. 14 Ramsay – Greig’s School
In 1826, a long builting was found on Rea’s lot. Early teachers, Mr. Huggart and Joseph Rea, lived in a house in Greig’s field. James Greig sold one quarter acre on the eighth line, Lot 10, Concession 7, Ramsay for $4.00 and a frame building was put up. Andrew Greig sold another quarter acre of land in 1878 to enlarge the school grounds. Mrs. Pearl McCann created history when she became the first married female teacher in 1942. When S.S. No. 5 only had 5 pupils, the Board decided to amalgamate the two schools from 1945-1947. In 1963, the school was destroyed by fire and students had to temporarily attend S.S. No. 2 Ramsay. On June 30, 1960, many former students and teachers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school. In 1970, pupils from S.S. No. 14 moved to Naismith Memorial in Almonte and the school property was sold to Edgar Finlayson for $4,500.
|Finlayson – Richards(10 September 1924)A charming wedding was solemnized at St. George’s church, Clayton, on Wednesday of this week, the ceremony taking place at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. At that hour, Mr. Thos. W. Finlayson, a prosperous young farmer of the 2nd line of Ramsay, led to the altar Miss Alice Annie Richards, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Richards, who reside a couple of miles or so from the groom’s home. Mr. H. E. Goode, of Ottawa, was groomsman, while Miss Rath, a cousin of the bride, gracefully performed the duties of bridesmaid. Rev. Robt. Turley, incumbent of the church, tied the Gordian knot in the presence of relatives of both families and a number of personal friends. At the conclusion of the ceremony an adjournment was made to the home of the bride’s parents, where a sumptuous wedding dinner awaited them, which was done full justice to. At the conclusion a couple of hours or so were spent in pleasant social intercourse, and later the newly wedded couple repaired to their home, accompanied by the goof wishes of the company for a long and prosperous voyage o’er the matrimonial sea. The gifts to the bride, who is popular with a large circle of friends, were numerous, many of them costly, and all of them useful. Since the above was place in type a Clayton correspondent sends the following additional particulars; The bride, who was tastefully dressed in white silk with an over dress of point d’esprit and white hat to match and carrying a bouquet of cream roses, entered the church leaning on the arm of her father. She was followed by her bridesmaid, Miss Mildred Rath, who wore a pretty dress of white batiste trimmed with lace and insertion and large leghorn hat, and carried a bouquet of pink roses. The groomsman was Mr. Goode of Ottawa. After the ceremony the bridal party and guests, which numbered about fifty, drove to the home of the bride’s parents, where a sumptuous dinner was served. A toast was proposed by Rev. R. Turley to which the groom replied. The bride’s going away dress was brown eoline with hat to match.|
On Saturday morning, Jan. 1st., the brittle thread of life which binds the soul and body were severed and death took from our midst dear little Anna Meda (Finlayson), only child of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Finlayson of Ramsay. She was only 5 years and 9 months old, and her sudden passing away was a tremendous shock to both parents and community, as she was just three days ill. She was a very bright, cheerful and cunning child, and a great favorite with those who knew her. Just before death she repeated every word of a little prayer her mother had taught her. The funeral took place Monday, Jan. 3rd, from her father’s residence to St. George’s cemetery. The service at the house was conducted by Rev. Mr. Merrilees and at the grave by Rev. Mr. Brunet. In spite of the inclemency of the weather there was a very large funeral over seventy carriages being in the cortege. The floral tributes were: Wreaths, from Mr. and Mrs. Finlayson, parents of deceased; spray, from Mr. and Mrs. Mack Richards, spray from Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Finlayson and James and Mack Richards, uncles of deceased. The sympathy of the community goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Finlayson in their bereavement. Tender Shepherd thou hast stilled, Now Thy little lamb’s brief weeping, Oh, how peaceful, pure and mild, In Thy loving arms ’tis sleeping, And no sign of anguish sore, Heaves that little bosom more.