Tag Archives: 1906 fire

Survivors of the 1906 Fire– Mr. William Edward Scott Tom Comba — What Happened to Them?

The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
22 Sep 1906, Sat  •  Page 1

Tom/ Thomas Comba did not die in the fire in 1906 but strangely enough he died in a blast in Pakenham in 1930.

Boiler Explosion  Results In Death – Thomas Comba, Victim of Pakenham Blast, Has Relatives Here. – Special to The Journal. (1930) – ALMONTE, Ont., March 10 – Thomas W. Comba, stationary engineer, of Pakenham, met a tragic death today when be lost his life through an explosion in the boiler room of the sawmill of Needham and Snedden. He was 65 years of age. Mr. Comba was in the boiler room alone at noon when the boiler burst and the escaping steam enveloped him. The force of the explosion closed the doors, but he smashed the windows and some men on the outside pulled him through. He was taken to Dr. Buttles office, but be was so severely scalded that he was rushed to Rosamond Memorial Hospital, at Almonte, here everything possible was done to save him, but he died in half an hour after being admitted to the institution. Mr. Comba retained consciousness to the end was able to tell how the accident occurred. At one time engaged in bridge building with the C. P. R., he had spent his latter years in charge of the in Pakenham sawmill. He was widely known and highly regarded. He leaves a widow and a large family of sons and daughters. Also surviving are his mother, Mrs. Cornelius Comba of Ottawa and six brothers, John A., and Hugh W., of Winnipeg; Cornelius W., of Killarney, Man.; Herbert, Gordon F. and W. Allen Comba of Ottawa and two sisters, Miss Caroline Comba of Ottawa and Mrs. Walter Pickering of Detroit. The funeral will be held on Wednesday. The coroner, Dr. A. A. Metcalfe of Almonte has decided that inquest will be held

W. E. Scott




Almonte lost one of its most prominent citizens on Wednesday morning (July 21, 1954) in the death of William Edward Scott,  which occurred at his home on Elgin Street following an illness of several months. He had enjoyed phenomenally good health up to the latter part of 1953, and it was often remarked of him that he was one of the best preserved men in town for his age.

Born on a farm on the second line of Ramsay near Union Hall, a son of William Scott and Mary Jan Kemp, Mr. Scott was educated in the country school near his home and at Almonte High School. While a young man he went to Toronto where he worked with an undertaking firm until 1904 when he purchased the business from the late L W shipman which he carried on ever since.

50th Business Anniversary

Having taken stock, Mr. Scott reopened the store to the public on May 4th, 1904, and it was from that day that he really dated his connection with the business life on Almonte, celebrating anniversaries from time to time as the long period of years unfolded until he came to his 50th in May of this year. By that time he was in indifferent health and was confined to his home with Mr. R. A. Goodison, an experienced furniture dealer and embalmer, in charge at the store.

In the long period that has elapsed Mr. Scott was singularly successful in his own business and in municipal affairs. His first venture in public life was when he was elected as a trustee to the public school board, soon after coming here. He then migrated to the Electric Light Commission, as it was know at that time, and in 1911 became reeve. His career in the County Council was brilliant. He was an able representative of the town and when his colleagues raised him  to the warden-ship in 1916 he filled that high office with ability and distinction.

Elected to Mayoralty

Having fulfilled his ambitions on the county council, Mr. Scott sought and was elected to the mayoralty of Almonte in 1918 and again in 1921 and 1924.  It was during his last term that the present generating plant was constructed.

After that Mr. Scott retired to private life for a considerable time. As he often said to his friends he did not expect to come back. Bur in 1943 he was prevailed upon to seek the mayoralty once again, together with a slate of colleagues of whom he approved. He continued to hold office until 1946 when he retired again. This time in spite of pressure brought to bear on him from time to time he adhered to his decision not to re-enter public life.

He Wrought Well

During his time in the Council as Mayor, many progressive steps were taken that will live long in the memory of those fellow citizens who were old enough to appreciate them and who appreciated him.  The late Mr. Scott had great administrative ability, was a good speaker and was blessed with a fine appearance. He had an alert manner, a springy step and gave the impression of being capable and able to grasp a subject without much exertion. He always felt it was rather a unique distinction to have been mayor of the town when World Ward One ended and again when World War Two was concluded.

Had Many Interests

He was a member of Mississippi Lodge, AF & AM and a past master; also a member of Granite Chapter. He belonged to the Presbyterian Church up to the time of union and later to the United Church. He was interested in many forms of sport. These included hockey, which he always supported, golf which he played in late years, curling and fishing. He was one of the charter members of the Pickerel Point Fishing Club and up to a few years ago enjoyed going to White Lake for a holiday.

Taken all around Ed, as he was known to so many, was an outstanding citizen of the town who will be sadly missed in many ways.

In 1906, Mr. Scott married the late Effie Helen James who predeceased him in December 1931. A daughter and son survive in this first family, namely, Marjorie (Mrs. C R MacDowall), Carleton Place and Allan, an Ottawa South druggist. In 1938, he married Loretta Foy of Almonte who survives him together with three children: Judith, Robert and Kevin.

Mr. Scott was one of a family of six-two brothers and four sisters. Of these only three sisters survive, namely Mrs. John Robertson, (Jean) of Edmonton; Mrs. Robert Young, (Lucinda) of Almonte and Mrs. William Banning, (Addie) of Carleton Place. He was predeceased by one sister, Mrs. Frank Alexander (Minnie) and by a brother John A Scott of Toronto

The funeral was held from the family residence, Elgin Street, Friday July 23, 1954  with Rev J Ray Anderson conducting the service.

The following acted as honourary pallbearers: Edward James, W A James, John Lindsay, R J France, George Hourigan, D W Snedden, E P Coady, James Abram, William Anderson, James Connery, D K Fraser, Lorne James, Louis Peterson, William Shaver.

Active pallbearers were nephews: Roy Robertson, Ernest Robertson Robert A Young, John E Young, Kenneth Scott and Morley K Alexander .

Ruins Fire 1906 almonte.com

22 Sep 1906

A fire, the most disastrous In the history of the town, broke out here this morning about 4 o’clock, and before it was brought under control laid waste eight of our finest stores” and four residences, inflicting a loss of $125,000, with Insurance amounting to $75,000. The fire, which was of mysterious origin, started in the back sheds of W. E. Scott and W. E. West, Mill street, the main thoroughfare of the town, and involved the destruction of the following places:

H. H. Cole’s brick departmental store, boots, shoes and clothing; Fulton Timmins, gentlemen’s furnishings, brick store, nearly all covered by insurance, owned by T. R. White; W. E. Scott, furniture dealer, frame building, owned by T. W. Shipman.

Miss Cairns’ fancy work store, owned by T. W. Shipman; M. R. MacFarlane’s drug store, brick, everything lost except show-case and books, owned by Elizabeth Paterson; W. West’s general store, one of the largest in town, owned by Geo. Paterson; W. Belton & Co., general store, owned by Jas. H. Wylle; Miss Clement, millinery store. read- Miss Clement’s Hat Studio Almonte

Ruins Fire 1906 From Farm Street almonte. com

On Farm Street following residences were burned: John Slison, tenant of Elizabeth Paterson; Sidney Lawlar and William Lockhart, tenants of J. K. Cole, and John Hartnett. tenant of T. R. While. The town is without waterworks, but a powerful engine pumped up water from the river and did effective work being reinforced shortly after 5 o’clock by the arrival of the Carleton Place engine and fire brigade. Other streams used were two from Wylle’s woollen mills, one from the Anchor Knitting mill, one from Young Bros, foundry. and one from the Almonte Knitting Mill.

A charming antique photograph of a crowd of men in hats and suits examining a steam fire engine, smoke bellowing out of its chimney. The mount is labeled “J. Townend, Almonte” and “Almonte” is written on the back. The mount is a dark green.
It appears that this is the Button steam fire engine purchased by the town of Almonte, Ontario in 1885 and may well be its initial exhibition to the populace.
A news clipping of the Almonte Fire Brigade standing outside the Town Fire Hall doors with their steam fire engine circa 1885 notes the town bought their first steam fire engine from the Button Fire Engine Company of Waterford, New York for $2850 in “New York funds.” The engine weighed about 4000 pounds without water or fuel. It served this town until 1930. The fire engine in this cabinet photo appears to match both the news clipping as well as a modern photograph of an 1885 Button steam fire engine held by the Boothbay,(Maine) Railway Museum.
Old photographs the town has on line show an old log bridge that may be this location.
James Robert Townsend was Almonte’s first photographer, according to his obituary. Census records indicate he was born in Yorkshire, England May 1, 1856, immigrating to Canada as a youngster. He died in 1942. Other examples of his work that I have found referenced are studio shots of individuals and families

Suggested Reading

1906 — Business Block is a Smouldering Block of Ruins– More Fires of Almonte

Almonte Fire 1903

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

The Almonte Fire of 1909

The Almonte Fire 1909– Bank Manager Badly Injured

lmonte Fire of Nolan’s and Wylie’s Stable

The Almonte Fire 1955– Almonte United Church

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

Miss Eva Denault- Almonte 1911 Fire Heroine

Photo from Joy Sadler Baetz-Dad Norman Sadler owned and operated NT Sadler Ltd out on Highway 29 in Almonte–