Category Archives: animal stories

The Deacon Murder—Away Back in Clarendon and Miller

The Deacon Murder—Away Back in Clarendon and Miller


What separates Away Back in Clarendon and Miller from other historical accounts, is the delight Armstrong took in storytelling. He peppers the drier historical accounts with some ripping yarns.

The prime example of this is his account of the Deacon murder. As the story goes, in about 1870, Thomas Deacon, who lived on the Mud Lake Road, became enamoured with a Miss VanKoughnet. Mr. Deacon had a wife, however. Although his wife was ill, she was recovering, but then she suddenly died. Neighbours became suspicious when Thomas Deacon arrived at the funeral with Miss VanKoughnet. As the casket was being lowered, George Monds called a halt to the proceedings. Deacon was grabbed and placed under guard. Eventually it was revealed that Mrs. Deacon died of strychnine poisoning, and Deacon was convicted of her murder at the courthouse in Harrowsmith, after much testimony from various neighbours. Deacon was hanged for his crime.

The story eventually became the subject of a ballad, which is reproduced in the book. On several occasions the ballad repeats a line that reveals certain prejudices of the time, and twas by a foolish serving girl that he was led astray




From Clarendon and Miller Archives.


Charlie Armstrong was born in Mountain Grove, Ontario, on September 27, 1908. He moved to Plevna in Clarendon and Miller in 1911. In 1928, he left for business college and a 30-year career in the Air Force. He continued in life insurance and real estate before finally retiring to devote himself to his Plevna retreat. Away Back in Clarendon and Miller was the first of several manuscripts that kept him busy when he wasn’t gardening, or hunting, or fishing or just relaxing with a book and his beloved pipe. He died in July 2003.




Found on Amazon Canada

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)




The Buck Lake Murderer

The Saylor Store on Snow Road (McLaren Depot)

Margaret Closs Lanark and Snow Road- Genealogy

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

The old Cornucopia Lodge on Snow Road

A History of Snow Road & McLaren’s Depot

Mississippi Station?

Google the Poodle and the Groomer


Google, the Standard Poodle emailed me last week and wondered if I wanted the lowdown on his upcoming grooming appointment. Since the horrendous winter was over, he thought it was time for a new look. After consulting with “his people”, Gayle and Ted MacDonald, we agreed to meet at Diana’s Pet Grooming. At first he wasn’t sure what her location was, as her postal code is Almonte, her phone number is Carleton Place, yet she lives in Appleton.

With all that confusion over, I made my way in a snow squall to Diana’s location. When I got there Google hadn’t showed up yet, so I had a chance to have a nice chat with Diana. I wanted to make sure she was as good as Google said. Would she make him more regal than he claimed he already was? One can never be too careful what you hear from a poodle these days–you just have to get the information first hand. Poodle gossip is just plain notorious!

Diana began her journey grooming pets when she was but a young lass looking after her parent’s dogs. Her father owned a gas station in Cochrane, Ontario, and one single night defined her journey as a professional groomer. A station wagon showed up with a family and all their belongings in tow. They didn’t have money for gas, and her Dad wasn’t quite sure what to do about the situation. Out of the car window a pair of hands handed him a tiny poodle in exchange for some gas. From that day on Diana groomed that poodle until her mother discovered she had turned the new family pet into a circus poodle. With that her Mother marched her and the dog down to the local groomers, and she began interning on weekends so no other dog would look like a fancy dog from the Ed Sullivan Show ever again.

Google had told me that Diana had great patience with dogs, and had even calmly weathered a horrible experience at a local animal hospital. It seems the groomer had gently placed a tiny Lhasa Apso’s head in the head noose to hold her steady. That little wee dog made an impression on Diana for the rest of her life. The dog grabbed on to her wrist with his teeth and held firm. There was no way he was letting go. So Diana had the vet sedate the dog who was still hanging on to her wrist. It was only after the dog was sedated that the dog’s toothy grip broke free.

The “Standard” almost “Regal” Poodle also told me that Diana has no favourites, no matter how he has tried to suck up. Some say “thank you” to her, and some say,”I want to get the heck out!” But they eventually learn the grooming routine, and she loves them all.

It was at that very point that Google showed up. I was already warned he was a french kisser, and leans against you with the intent of a notorious low talker. He was supposed to weigh 60 pounds, but actually comes in at a “lapdog” weight of 80. He really has no preference with “his people”, but makes sure at least one of them knows the world does indeed revolve around him. After all this Poodle has “Standards” and that’s why Diana is his groomer.

Before we left, he told me I had to meet Roxy the Poi. This small dog was rescued off the streets of Hawaii, and there is no doubt he hit the lottery when Diana found him. Instead of bringing home souvenirs and a Hawaiian shirt, Diana gave him a new home in Canada.

When we left Google reminded me that Poodles rule the world. After all, what is really left in life some days? That’s right caffeine and a poodle.


Diana’s Pet Grooming

Distributor of Raw Dog Food

Aids Shelley Dickie’s Cat and Kitten rescue when she can Cause 4 Paws

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble