Memories of Days of Wood Piles Water Plugs and Bushwackers – Carleton Place Railroad

Memories of Days of Wood Piles  Water Plugs and Bushwackers – Carleton Place Railroad
The old train station says goodbye.. The plans for a new station at the Junction have been finished- They provide for a beautiful building, with a covered platform. The site arranged for is in the little triangle where the telegraph office is now languishes,though that may be changed.

Almonte Gazette November 11 1901– Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Carleton Junction Busy Spot In Days of Old Wood Burners Men Who Cut and Hauled Supplies for “Puffing Billies” (steam locomotives) Suffered Great Hardships. Memories of Days When Wood Piles and Water Plugs Lined the Old Brockville and Ottawa Railway. Were Some Fierce Encounters Between the Bush Whackers. ( bandits)

In one of his interesting and colorful series of stories relating to the old days in the neighborhood of Carleton Place, Mr. J. Sid Annable tells about the time in the early eighties when the district around the Junction Town was the center of operations for harvesting fuel to feed the little wood-burning engines that operated on the old Brockville and Ottawa Railway.

“Carleton Junction,” Mr. Annable writes, “was made the working center for the wood gathering operations for the Chalk River and Havelock divisions. The large round house located at the Junction housed the old wood-burners which were equipped with four driving wheels, two on each side. The fender, coupled to the engine, was constructed in much the same fashion as fenders are today. Built of steel with a capacity of up to ten thousand gallons of water, the center was made In a large U to hold the wood about fifteen cords ot four-foot sticks, mostly from the swamps and rough timber lands between Perth and Havelock.”

Every station on the line had Its water tower and wood yard for refuelling purposes. Those water plugs were all under the supervision of Road Master Tom Burgess and he was very proud of the pretty flower beds and shrubs around each station, for which he was personally responsible. Like the Shanties. It was Burgess job to see that the wood was harvested. In winter time he had hundreds of choppers cutting down the tamarack and hemlock trees which were under ten inches at the butt, trimming off the branches and cutting the wood into proper lengths.

After that the wood was hauled on sloops or bobsleighs out to the railway tracks where sidings were provided to hold hundreds of cars. These sidings were also used by trains passing in opposite directions. “The wood was piled as close to the rails as safety would permit. The bush whackers were paid so much a cord, after the wood was measured by the road master’s foreman. When the snow was gone and the winter cutting was finished, there were wood piles everywhere you looked along the main line.

“Then came the wood trains operating out of Carleton Junc tion. About ten crews were en gaged in this work five or six weeks every spring. Among the old time engineers who were at the throttles on the wood trains were Jack Carey, Joe Durecott and Jack Gallagher, all of whom have long since passed to the great beyond.

Some of the conductors I recall were Bill Flagg, Abe Chapman, Pat Caddington, Jack McDonald. Oake Brushe and Jack Laval. “These wood trains would pull twenty flat or box cars to the wood piles and the crew, working for ninety cents a day. would load the cars and ride them to their des tination where they would then engage in the task of unloading These men, with hands cut and bleeding and clothes torn to shreds, worked anywhere from ten to fifteen hours a day.

Today’s photo is of workers taking a break at the CPR Engine Repair Shops. Built in 1890 as a round house and repair shop for the Canadian Pacific Railway, it employed about 200 workers. After operations were moved to Smiths Falls, the building was purchased by the Canadian Cooperative Woolgrowers. Iron tracks from the turntable in the roundhouse were sold as scrap to help the war effort in 1940. Can you help us identify any of these men?–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Real Hardships. “The hardships these nomads of the bush endured to eke out a bare existence was little short of terrible. When they returned home each night they and their families would face mitts with leather of all kinds to protect their hands. Old Dan Tucker and Jim Miller, (read-Remembering a Shoemaker in Lanark Village–Thomas Wilson) the village shoemakers, often cut up calf skins in the shape of mitt fronts and sold them to the workers at twenty cents a pair. “Many fights and wrestling matches were staged at the wood yards and camps while the men were waiting for the trains to pick them up after the day’s work was done. Many a battle royal was started by bullies who always went around with chips on their shoulders. “The genial assistant superintendent, H. B. Spencer, earned for himself the international reputation of being the greatest authority on snow filling on the railways in winter time.

In his capacity as chief train despatches J. E. A. Robillard also was instrumental in preventing many a pile up of trains by his method of mapping out suitable meeting points. His able assistant. John Cole, was always on the Job at night. “Mr. Spencer left the employ of the C.P.R. in later years and assumed the management of the Hull Electric Railway. But his connection with that enterprise was of short duration; lt was not long before he was back on the old Job with the CP.R. “It was in 1885, I believe, that the railways turned to the use of soft coal as a fuel, and that was the finish of wood burning locomotives In this part ot Canada.”

1901– train station where Tim Horton’s is now on Coleman–Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

February 21 1908–The Canadian Pacific railway has taken out a writ asking for an injunction to restrain the town of Carleton Place from collecting $500 taxes from the company. The taxes are on the property occupied by the machine and repair shops of the company. In 1897, on January 1st, an arrangement was made exempting this property from taxation for ten years, and, if the council had power, for a period of fifteen years. The ten ten years are up and the town claims that it had no power to grant exemption for more than ten. years and accordingly now taxes should be collected. The railway company hold to the exemption for fifteen years. The writ was filed by Scott & ’Curie for the railway company. It will be entirely a friendly suit. Photo- Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce

Today’s Carleton Place historical fact
For anyone that does not think there was a water tower at Carleton Junction and the new water tower is out of place next to the new pavilion — here is proof there was.. This was by the old CPR Roundhouse/ Woolgrowers
Hi Linda,
The attached photo was taken in the back garden of my grandparents home on Moore Street and shows what I believe to be the original railway water tower to the right of of the CPR shops (now the Wool Growers warehouse). The round house and the turntable, would have been behind the water tower.
A standard CPR steel tower was subsequently located between the two diverging railway tracks, just south of the Franktown Road – one to Smiths Falls and the other to Almonte and points west. This tower I recall was painted black and provided water, via underground pipes to the standpipes which in turn provided water to the steam locomotives.
Going further back, I would assume that around 1863 when either the Brockville and Ottawa or the Canada Central railway’s station was near the town line, that some form of a water tower would have been there as well.
The children in the image were the then five children of William and Elizabeth Hawkins, my grandparents. Two more were to follow.
Hope this is helpful.
Bob Robert Hawkins-FeDuke

These tulips have been growing at 20 Emily St for about 50 years. They were planted by Willard Hawthorne when he lived there in the 1970’s. Willard lived to be over 100 with a good mind. He worked for the CPR in the Carleton Place roundhouse, repairing steam locomotives until he and that work moved to Montreal until his retirement. Mayor Brian Costello and councillor Bruce Sadler had lots of good stories about Willard. For many years Willard was the towns best pool player. He was one of my great tenants in that apartment. Bill Flint–Carole Flint
Photo of some unknown gentlemen at the CP train station from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum– about the same time… or early 1900s 

The Carleton Place Train Station 1991

Clippings from the Train Stations in Carleton Place

James Fanning– Robert Nolan– Train Accident

Did You Know About These Local Train Wrecks?

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

The Men That Road the Rails

The Mystery Streets of Carleton Place– Where was the First Train Station?

Memories of When Rail was King- Carleton Place

Tragedy and Suffering in Lanark County-Trains and Cellar Stairs

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway

The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place

What Happened on the CPR Railway Bridge?

Memories from Carleton Place–Llew Lloyd and Peter Iveson

So Which William Built the Carleton Place Railway Bridge

Perils of the Cows of Carleton Place or Where’s the Beefalo?

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

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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