Tag Archives: alcohol

Getting Rid of the Demon Rum- “Flies Flew Drunkenly Away”

Getting Rid of the Demon Rum- “Flies Flew Drunkenly Away”


I haven’t touched a drop of liquor in 48 years, and I’m not going to start now,” he said. But at one time, he admitted, he drank so much whisky he perspired grain alcohol. “When I was a young man out west. I used to be the first person in the bars in the morning and the last on to leave at night.” It got so bad that flies, landing briefly on his person, flew drunkenly away’ after the contact.

His companions were even afraid to light matches near him. “I came to Lanark about 49 years ago with so much alcohol in my system I never thought I’d get it out. But I took the cure from Dr. Frank A. Munroe, and within five weeks I couldn’t even take a shot of scotch, drowned in water. Financed by his mother, he bought the recipe for the cure from Dr. Munroe and started up in business here. Since then, thousands of people have paraded their delirium treatments through his front parlour.

Patients have floated in on an alcoholic cloud, and walked out with their feet treading the narrow path of sobriety. “In 95 per cent, of the cases. I’ve made complete cures,” he said. “A few of the men have slipped, but not many.” Some of his patients vibrated like tuning forks when they started to take the cure. They shook so much. Mr. McKay had to back them up against a wall and tie them with towels to give them a drink. It was hard work, because most of them were trying to lick an army of pink demons and purple dinosaurs at the same time.

“I’ve seen some bad cases.” he admitted, “but the women were the worst. They were terrible.” He shook his head sadly, but didn’t elaborate. While he said drinking is on the increase, his business has fallen off terrifically. Instead of financing a cure, people are spending their money on drink. Twenty years ago he had as many as five or six new patients a day. but now all the drunks do is weave past his door.

In 48 years residence Mr. McKay has found time to do more than just fight Demon Rum. He is also busy in the community. You can’t advertise your own business too much, in the opinion of Mr. McKay. He has personally presented his “Drunkenness Is a Curable Disease” cards to many local town councils of which he said had no interest at all in a cure.

Also read

Drunk and Disorderly in Lanark County

Her Father Was a Local Drunkard

They Tried to Make Me go to Rehab

Did you Know that Temperance Drinks Are all the Rage Now?

Middleville 1938 and Things

The Reasoning of the Liquidly Exuberant Wobbly Boots of Carleton Place


I have written a few stories on the drinking festivities in Carleton Place in the 1800’s- but it was like that everywhere. To raise a convivial glass with friends and family neither needed nor waited for any excuse. Most physicians believed alcohol could cure the sick, strengthen the weak, enliven the aged, and generally make the world a better place. They tippled, toasted, sipped, slurped, quaffed, and guzzled from dawn to dark.


Most of the heads of household began the day with a pick-me-up and ended it with a put-me-down. They also might enjoy a midmorning whistle wetter, a luncheon libation, an afternoon accompaniment, and a supper snort. If circumstances allowed, they could ease the day with several rounds at a tavern.

You have to remember that they thought that alcohol was healthful. It kept people warm, aided digestion, and increased strength. They took a shot of whiskey for colic and laryngitis. Hot brandy punch addressed cholera. Rum-soaked cherries helped with a cold. Pregnant women and women in labor received a shot to ease their discomfort. Heck, the British Navy gave their sailors a shot first thing in the morning.


Water, on the other hand, could sometimes make you sick. Even if there was plenty of fresh, unspoiled water, some got sick and sometimes died by drinking from polluted sources until they created piped water supplies. But I tip my glass to them all. If no one drank a lot of these stories I write would have never happened. After all, no great story ever came out of someone eating a salad!

yes2Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place