How the Almonte Gazette was for many years the only link between certain pioneer settlers of Manitoba and the outside- world, is told by Mr. James McKelvey, who with his wife has been visiting relatives in this district before leaving on a trip to the old land.
Mr. McKelvey tells how the Gazette was the only newspaper which came into their district in these early days. His father was a faithful subscriber and a warm friend of the late Hon. W William Templeman. When the McKelvey family had faithfully perused the contents of the Gazette’s weekly budget of news it was passed on to the nearest neighbor.
A stream flowed between the two farms, and the neighbour was always on the alert for the first sign that the Gazette had fulfilled its mission on the McKelvey homestead. The creek could not always be forded and there was no boat so the McKelveys used to wrap the newspaper around a stone and fling it across the stream. Neighbor after neighbor read it for miles around and at the end it was so worn that the print was scarcely decipherable.
‘The district correspondence which appealed to the McKelvey family most was the Middleville news written over half a century ago, as it is now, by Mr. Archie Rankin. It was a strong link which bound them to their old home. Mr. McKelvey spoke affectionately of the message of cheer and friendship which the Gazette brought, to those people who in earlier days had gone forth to make a home for themselves in the wilderness.
It is doing the same today, in far places and every little scrap of news about the old home and the old friends and the old associations is eagerly read. Mr. McKelvey is a cousin of Mr. Robert Stead, the novelist, and on his visit here he was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Stead.
928, Friday November 9, The Almonte Gazette front page John Neilson Passes After A Brief Illness Was One of the Outstanding Citizens of Almonte for Many Years Was Born on the Pioneer Homestead of the Neilsons in Ramsay. He was 78 Years of Age. His Wife Died 22 Years Ago.
Almonte has lost a valued and honoured citizen, in the death of Mr John Neilson, who passed away on Sunday evening. His death was a great shock to the town and district, for he had been ill only a few days. Mr Neilson was one of the outstanding citizens of the town, and was held in the highest esteem by a very large circle of friends, both in town and throughout the surrounding district. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs James Neilson and was in his 79th year. Born in March 1850, in the old pioneer homestead on the 12th line Ramsay, where his grandfather, John Neilson, who came out from Scotland, settled there in the year 1820. Mr Neilson later moved to the 11th line Ramsay, where he successfully followed the occupation of farming for many years until he retired in 1916 and moved to Almonte, where he had since resided.
Active Church Worker In religion the late Mr Neilson was a staunch Presbyterian. he took an active part in church work, and was a member of the Board of Session for many years. At the time of church union he held the opposite view and adhered to the Continuing body of that denomination and was a member of the Session of that church, up to the time of his death. He was predeceased by his wife, Janet McIlquam, who died twenty-two years ago, in May 1906. He is survived by four sisters, Agnes, Mrs Wilkie, of Toronto, widow of the late Rev John Wilkie, formerly of Indore, India; Marion, Mrs David Forgie, of Cleveland, Ohio; and the Misses Sarah and Jessie, both of whom resided with him at the family home here. Two brothers Matthew and William, and two sisters, Margaret and Mary, died some years ago.
The Funeral The funeral took place on Tuesday from the family residence to the Presbyterian Church, and thence to the Auld Kirk Cemetery. Impressive services were conducted by the Rev W.H. McCracken, assisted by Rev George Thom. Mr McCracken made reference to the high character and staunch personality of the deceased elder, and there was a large congregation of mourners, many coming from long distances to pay a final tribute of respect and friendship. There were many floral offerings and messages of sympathy. The pallbearers were: Messrs Stanley Neilson, Montreal; James Neilson, Toronto; John Neilson, Welland; Robert Neilson, Ottawa; George McCallum, Carleton Place, all nephews of deceased, and Mr W. D. Aikenhead, of Pakenham. Contributor: Gary J Byron (49329383)
1900, Friday December 21, The Almonte Gazette page 9
The Late John Menzies The Registrar for North Lanark Succumbs to His Injuries – Sketch of His Career – An Active Citizen for 55 Years – Filled Many Public Positions. Contrary to the general expectations, Mr John Menzies, registrar for North Lanark, did not rally from the injuries he sustained by a fall on the ice here couple of weeks ago. He passed away last Monday at 6 p.m., at the home of his daughter, Mr J. L. Morris, Pembroke. The announcement of his death caused general and sincere sorrow in town, where Mr Menzies had spent fifty-five years of his life, and where his gentlemanly manners, courteous bearing, and his bright social characteristics endeared him to all who enjoyed the pleasure of his acquaintance. He was one of our landmarks – conspicuous figure in our social and business life – and he will be greatly missed.
After being taken to his daughter’s home Mr Menzies seemed to improve for a time, but it soon became apparent that he could not survive the complications that arose. he realized the fact, and met the issue with a strong faith and a cheerful mind. In the closing days, like many another of those who have passed the allotted spank, he was much with those of his boyhood – with his parents and the friends of his youth in bonnie Scotland. During the midnight hours of Sunday, in spite of his weakened condition he was heard distinctly reciting the twenty-third Psalm from beginning to end; and in his semiconscious moments the watchers recognized the words that told of the old-time friends. Mr Menzies suffered little physical pain, and was patient throughout. The funeral took place today (Thursday), the remains being brought by train to his residence here, where many took a last look at the familiar features. At two o’clock a service was held at the house, conducted by Rev Mr Hutcheon, pastor of St Andrew’s congregation, of which deceased was a member; and at its conclusion a large cortege, composed of people of al classes and creeds, followed the body to the grave. The late Mr Menzies was born April 6, 1822, in Little Dunkeld, Scotland, a village which is of historic interest in the famous Vale of Athol. It is almost within gunshot of Logie Rait, the birthplace of Hon Alexander Mackenzie.
Mr Menzies was one of six children, and worked on his father’s farm till he came to Canada in 1844 – over fifty-five years ago. After coming across the Atlantic he worked for a year in a store in Bastard township, Leeds county. He came to Almonte in 1845, and had been a resident of this place for fifty-five years. After coming to Almonte he entered the store of the late Mr John Gemmill (father of Lt- Col J.D. Gemmill). After six years’ service with Mr Gemmill he was taken into partnership, the firm being styled Gemmill & Menzies. About a year later Mr Gemmill died. Mr Menzies bought out the interest of the estate in the store, and continued the business in the same place till 1853, when he built a store and residence on Queen street and moved into it. Mr Menzies owned that property at the time of his death, and occupied part of it himself.
Mr Menzies continued the store in this building till 1863, and in 1864 was appointed registrar for the North Riding of Lanark, the position being left vacant by the resignation of Mr Ormond Jones (registrar at that time) to accept a similar position for Leeds county. Mr Jones was the first registrar appointed for North Lanark, but never lived here. He resided in Brockville, and the work was done by the late Matthew Anderson, deputy-registrar, who died in the year 1867. (A coincidence may be mentioned here, viz., that Miss Anderson, daughter of the above mentioned deputy-registrar, had been for some years and is still filling the position of deputy registrar.) Mr Menzies filled the position ever since 1864, and is said to have filled the office for a longer period than any other registrar in the province. In September, 1852, Mr Menzies married Miss Mary Agnes McFarlane, of Pakenham, sister of Mrs D. Fraser, of this town, of the late Mrs Brooks, of Brockville, and of the late Robert McFarlane, of Stratford, who was for many years the able representative of Perth county in the old Canadian parliament. Mrs Menzies died in March, 1888, leaving behind her, besides husband, three children – Dr J.B. Menzies of Lachute, Que; Mrs J.L. Morris (Minnie), of Pembroke, and Mr Robert Menzies, of Victoria, B.C.
In the fifties Mr Menzies was captain and adjutant of the old militia company – in the days when the company used to drill on the 8th line of Ramsay, near the old church, and at times in Almonte, which was at that time called “Waterford.” For a great many years Mr Menzies was an influential member of the Almonte school board, and was one of the most active in securing the establishment of the Almonte high school, which was opened in January, 1871. He was returning officer for North Lanark many times. He was justice of the peace for thirty years or more. He was a member of the Ramsay council for one year – before Almonte became a separate municipality. Mr Menzies was always a good businessman. He was president of the Ramsay Woolen Cloth Manufacturing Company, which was organized at a joint stock company in 1850, and was the first woolen factory in Almonte. In 1852, when the mill was nicely in operation, it was destroyed by fire. Mr Menzies was the first president of the North Lanark Agricultural Society, a position he held for two or three years, and was for many years on the board of directors. In recent years he filled the position of an auditor for the society. It will thus be seen that Mr Menzies served his day and generation in a great many capacities, and that his experiences in life were many and varied.
Possessed of a high degree of intelligence and an excellent education, he always took an intelligent and cautious view of all public matters. Blessed with a good memory, he was full of interesting reminiscences of the “good old days,” and found pleasure in relating them to his younger friends. In politics, before he was appointed to office, he was an active an influential member of the Liberal party. Mr Menzies was hale and hearty for a man 78 years of age, and but for the unfortunate accident he met with he would probably have reached the nineties. But he had gone to his reward, leaving memories of a pleasing personality and a genial cordiality which will not soon be forgotten.
This seventeen-room house—all rooms interlinked—was built in 1853 by John Menzies, a school trustee, township councillor, and registrar for North Lanark. Of the Anglo-Norman style, more commonly found in Quebec, the lower half was originally used for a workshop/store and the upstairs for family living quarters. In the 1920s, it was threatened with demolition, but was saved by a local druggist, Mr. Patterson.
Prof. Vernon, as is well known, is considered the greatest American authority on these subjects. He has devoted many years to research and In endeavoring to unearth and bring to light the hidden truths that he might be able t0 take his stand before the world on his theories and beliefs and prove his statemedisHe had ever before him the desire of being able to place the science on a level with the other sciences which are closely allied to the best Interests of humanity, and no exertion “Vas too arduous ; no expenditure of time or labor too great for his accomplishment.
He realized many years ago that the public hypnotist had the opportunity, If he would but seize It, of doing the greatest possible good by pre^wlng the people for the general use of suggestion by the physicians who dared not use It In their practice because of the superstition of the people, which was due to the fact that the subject had never been presented along the lines of truth. With this realization came the desire to make the attempt to give the masses the truth by means of public exhibition work. He had been traveling for a number of years, lecturing and giving demonstrations of the possibilities of the scientific value of these subjects, when he was induced to found such a college and accept the ruler of psychology. This Institution Is equipped to furnish the first and only reliable information ever offered to the American people, ‘treating the subjects wholly from a high educational standpoint.
The success which has crowned Prof. Vernon’s efforts, proves to us that literary and professional men appreciate the value of his earnest efforts to lift the veil of mystery which has been hanging over this valuable science, and to present In a simple form the results of his years of research. Prof. Vernon has had many years’ experience In teaching and demonstrating psychology, and has the faculty of expressing himself so clearly, that any man of ordinary Intelligence can easily comprehend his Instruction and become a proficient operator.
The science of psychology, mesmerism, hypnottam, or the force which has been designated by a dozen different men since the advent of man. It was the mental and not the material organization of man which was the Controlling influence, and today, it is fully demonstrated by the results that this is true, and that the mind of man Is the seat of all power emanating from the human body.
World War I veteran: Nursing Sister Canadian Medical Army Corps
Christina (Tena) May Stewart was born on May 25, 1881 in Almonte, Ontario.
She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1916 and enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) in November 1916. Nursing sister Stewart served in England and was posted to the Duchess of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow and Granville Canadian Special Hospital, Buxton. Her sister, Ethel Stewart (Class of 1915) also served during the war with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and with the CAMC.
In November 1918, nursing sister Stewart contracted bronchitis and pneumonia and was hospitalized for several months. She returned to Canada in March 1919 and was sent to the Gravenhurst Sanatorium in Gravenhurst, Ontario due to poor health. She died there on November 7, 1927 and was buried in the family plot in Almonte, Ontario on Armistice Day – November 1927
War Nurse Dies After Long Fight With Ill Health Miss Christena Stewart Was With Navel Forces In the Great War Served in the Mediterranean, In Egypt and Other Parts of War Zone, Her Health Broke Down Under the Strenuous Duties She Underwent.
Mr Alexander Stewart was called to the Military Hospital, London, on Saturday by the very serious illness of his sister, Miss Tena Stewart, R.N., who passed away on Monday afternoon about 3 o’clock. Miss Lizzie Stewart, of Toronto, accompanied by Misses Margaret Stewart of Montreal and Miss Mabel of Toronto, accompanied the body which arrived at home on Tuesday evening. The sympathy of the whole surrounding country goes out to Mr and Mrs Donald Stewart and family in the death of their eldest daughter, Christena May.
Daughter of the Farm Miss Stewart was born on the farm from which she was laid to rest. Although just in the prime of life, it falls to the lot of few people to see so much or so varied a life. Educated in the Public school at Appleton and at the High Schools of Almonte and Carleton Place and after teaching school for a few years she went to Winnipeg where she and her sister, Ethel, now Mrs Dr (Harvey) Wilkins Morley, trained in the Civic Hospital for the nursing profession. When the war broke, both volunteered for service and were accepted. Miss Tena was with the navel forces in the Mediterranean, in Egypt and other parts of the war zone. So strenuous did the life prove that it left her with a weakened constitution. Instead of being discharged when the war was over, she was sent to the sanatorium at Gravenhurst. From that time until her death she had been putting up a fight for life that was the wonder of all who met her. With a brave bright face and a courageous heart she faced the struggle with ill health, with never a showing of the white feather, faced it as she had faced her job in war time with a smile and a cheery word for all with whom she came in contact.
Seeking For Health During these years Miss Stewart had taken many a long hard trip in search of health. To Arizona and to Vancouver, she went, and only this summer she made the tiresome trip from Vancouver to Almonte. In the annals of Almonte and Ramsay Miss Stewart will find a high place, She lived a beautiful life and when her country was in the throes of war, she saw her duty and she did it. She made the supreme sacrifice. The immediate relatives to mourn her passing are her father and mother, her brother Alexander on the home farm, and three sisters, Mrs Dr Wilkins Morley, of the U.S.A., Miss Margaret in Montreal and Miss Mabel in Toronto.
The Almonte Gazette, Almonte, Ont., Friday 11 November 1927, page 1 _____
War Nurse Laid To Rest Veterans Bearing Remains Large Attendance of Mourners At Funeral of Miss C.M. Stewart Wreath From the Canadian Nursing Sister Was Afterwards Placed In the Hall of Fame at Ottawa On Armistice Day.
There was a very large attendance of mourners at the funeral of the late Miss Christena May Stewart, veteran nursing sister of the Great War, which took place on Thursday. As was stated in last week’s issue of the Gazette; Miss Stewart passed away at London, Ont, on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day after a constant struggle to regain her health since her return to Canada in April, 1919. There was a short service at the home of her parents, Mr and Mrs Donald Stewart, near Appleton, and the remains were taken to St John’s Presbyterian Church, where an impressive service was conducted by Rev W.H. McCracken, minister of the church, assisted by Rev J.M. Rutherford minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Interment was made in the family burying place in the Auld Kirk Cemetery. The pallbearers were six returned soldiers. Messrs W.R. Caldwell, George E. Scroggie, and J.L. Craig, of Carleton Place; Dr E.F. McGregor, Wilmer Campbell and Max Young, of Almonte. Among the many beautiful floral tributes were a blanket of flowers from the family and a wreath inscribed to her memory from the Canadian Nursing Sisters, which was placed on the Nursing Sister’s Tablet in the Hall of Fame, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, during the Armistice Day Service.
The Almonte Gazette, Almonte, Ont., Friday November 18, 1927, page 1
Note: Obituary articles contributed by Gary J. Byron, no. 49329383
Work is well on its way to demolish the stone bridge that was so much admired for a great many years as a masterpiece of the mason’s craftsmanship. It presented quite a problem to the contractors . It is understood they intend to remove as much of it as possible from each end on the surface and then drop the rest of it into the gorge from which the larger stones will have to be retrieved.
It is likely that destruction of this sturdy stone span will present about as much trouble as erection of the new single span which will have no mid- piers but only abutments at each end. As the stone bridge comes down it becomes more apparent that it never could have withstood the heavy traffic for very long even If it had been wide enough.
The Town Council’s chief headache in connection with the new bridge is described in the underlines beneath the cut that appears above. The Council has been criticized for not grappling with these problems sooner and for leaving it to the last minute as has been the case.
It is said that some members thought they could get a fair sum of money for the old residence, but they soon found out that this was not the case especially when contractors who looked at it agreed that it could not be moved. It is said that there is little money to be made into a ring down sturdy frame house as much of the lumber is destroyed for building purposes in the process.
Not much is known about the history of this house. It had little land around it. The backyard was close to the cliff that leads down to Cannon Falls . However, people who lived in it years ago said it was a comfortable dwelling. But with the cliff behind it and the highway at its front door, it was a poor place to bring up young children. How the Council is going to get this building out of the way by Oct. 2nd when it is now Sept. 24th is anyone ’s guess. Maybe the fairies will wave magic wands over it and say hocus- pocus you old house —jump into the Bay.
Frank BlakeleyWhen the stone from the bridge was being hauled away, my dad intercepted the dump trucks, and had the drivers drop their load of stone off the edge of our property on Hope St. for fill. On the way out, the drivers got a beer for their trouble.
Considerable excitement prevailed in Almonte, Monday night, when news spread that a young woman named Irene Joly of Wrightville, who was visiting her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Joly of Carleton Place, had disappeared from that town, early in the day, accompanied by her little cousins, Evelyn, five years and Joseph, 15 months.
It appeared that the young Wrightville woman, who is 22 years old, was wheeling the child in a baby carriage with the little girl trotting beside her when last seen in Carleton Place. When they did not return at noon the parents grew uneasy and communicated with the police. A search of the surrounding country failed to reveal the whereabouts of the waifs so the fire alarm was sounded in the neighboring town and a big search party was called. Seen In Almonte It was learned that an Almonte taxi driver had given the trio a lift into Almonte early in the afternoon, He did not know that they were lost and did not suspect anything amiss. They were later seen at the station, but there the trail ended.
Although search was given until the wanderers were located at the home of Hugh Kennedy of Huntley at eight o’clock a t night. They had been taken there by Ed. Kennedy, a brother, who found them near Appleton. A weird feature of the case is that the little girl must have walked 35 miles during the day and the children nearly perished with the cold. Carleton Place dispatches to city papers give no explanation of why the older woman started on her singular crusade.
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada30 Sep 1930, Tue • Page 13
Suffering from a mental affliction and believing she was going home, Irene Joly 22-year-old Hull girl, wandered more than 20 miles over the countryside here yesterday, wheeling a 15- monihs old cousin in a perambulator and leading a four-year-old cousin by the hand. All Carleton Place was in an uproar when the girl and children were missed yesterday morning.
They were found only last night after a search party of hundred joined by police authorities from this town. Almonte and other towns had combed the countryside for them. Irene Joly was staying at the homt of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Joly, of Carleton Place, and yesterday Jir. f-ine Evelyn. aged 4. and Irene was told to take them out on the street for a short distance only. When they were, eventually found the four-year-old child was exhausted from walking, and both she and the baby were blue in the face with cold and exposure.
The girl appeared to be none the worse for a tramp over miles of highway and country roads. They were located at the farm house of Hugh Kennedy at Huntley where they had been taken by a farmer. R. Stewart, who came across the trio near Appleton.
The parents of the children were immedtately communicated with and they, were told that the tots were none the worse for their experience. According to Chief of Poliee Brunette. Irene Joly had pushed the baby carriage almost 20 miles before the trio were located.
After searching along in creeks and under bridges they arrived in Almonte where they weewseen at the Almonte station about 2:30. After a thorough search of the town of Almonte, they proceeded down to search vacant houses and the woods along the road when a passerby on a motorcycle informed them that a party corresponding to the ones described had been seen on the 11th line of Ramsay .
From there they met the search parties from Carleton Place and the party again divided, some going towards Rosebank and others towards Blakeney and Corkery. Still following up clues they traced them to Hugh Kennedy’s home in Huntley where they found the children safe and sound receiving loving attention after a long travel in the cold and rain, Mr. Kennedy had picked the children up on the road about and, placing them in his auto, drove them to his from where he notified Chief Joseph Branett of Almonte. Mr. Joly was then advised that Chief Gordon Taber of Carieton Place, drove to the home of Mr. Kennedy and returned the weary wanderers to their home and mother, who was overjoyed at their safe return. Chief Irvine, with Constable McGregor and Kid Bryce, had covered 34 miles of road, searching carefully along the route.
Marie Philomène IrèneJoly
Racial or Tribal Origin:
1 Jun 1921
Residence Street or Township:
1021 Wellington St
Residence City, Town or Village:
Dalhousie Ward Ottawa
Residence Province or Territory:
Relation to Head of House:
Father Birth Place:
Mother Birth Place:
Can Speak English?:
Can Speak French?:
Months at School:
W. J. Spence
Victoria Ward (Part) – Polling Division No. 9 – Comprising all that part of Victoria Ward bounded as follows: On the north by Ladouceur and O’Mears Avenues; on the south by Wellington St., on the east by the C.P.R. property, and on the west by Finhey street
The worst fire that has occurred Almonte in many years broke out in the mill of the Campbell Woolen Company shortly before midnight on Monday evening. The mill was completely gutted, and Mr.. P. J. Campbell estimates his loss at $50,000, partly covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown.
It would seem to have started in a frame addition to the mill which was used for the storage of wood and coal. The blaze was first noticed by a young lady shortly before midnight. She immediately telephoned the alarm in. By that time, however, the fire had made considerable headway and the flames were shooting high into the air. It was just about 12 o ’clock when the siren awoke the sleeping town. The fire brigade was quickly on the scene but it was found it impossible to save the mill. By 3 a.m. the building was completely demolished.
The building was formerly owned by the Kirben Company, makers of furnaces. It was taken over about eleven years ago by Mr. P. J. Campbell who had for a number of years been operating asuccessful textile mill at. Blakeney. Mr. Campbell states that, he will not rebuild the Almonte factory. He has had offers from several towns to relocate and he is considering these. The loss of the Campbell mill to the Town of Almonte is a serious one. Although it had not been in very active operation of hue there were prospects of a busy season in the near future. The loss to the owners is also a serious one and the deepest sympathy is expressed for Mr. Campbell and his associates.
The former Campbell Woolen Mill building originally was built in 1872 as the Almonte Furniture Company by Messrs. Kirby and Bennett and was known locally as the KirBen Building. In September of 1876 The Almonte Furniture Factory had a large fire and the town wanted it to be rebuilt even if it was thought due to indifferent management and heavy loss the furniture factory would have to close down. The shares in the company were so low that shareholders were willing going to dispose them for 30 cents on the dollar- Read-The Sad Saga of The Almonte Furniture Factory
Darlene MacDonaldLocated at south east end if Water St. Next to C.P.R. tracksWhere Drynans was.Who knew
Allan StanleyGrowing up my father’s house was the last one on Water Street before the Campbell Mill, where my Grandfather was a night watchman at one time. The mill burned down under mysterious circumstances after the owners lost “water rights” access to the Mississippi river. There was a lot of suspicion regarding the final fire… just some gossip perhaps that I had heard from elders when I was young.
Recently, Marjorie Campbell, a resident of Almonte, donated a painting of the Campbell Woolen Mill to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. The picture was painted at the request of Marjorie Campbell by Mr. D. R. Faire in 1979 from a photograph taken in the 1920’s. It was a gift for her husband Donald M. Campbell whose father had owned the mill. The picture had, hung in Mrs. Campbell’s living room for many hears, but she felt the picture and the story of the Campbell Mill should be hanging in the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum as a reminder of when Almonte was the center of Woolen manufacturing in Canada. The Campbell Mill was located at ‘the south-east end of Water Street, next to the C.P.R. tracks, where Brian Drynan now has his automotive repair shop. It was the only local mill that was located away from the Mississippi River, the source of power for all early mills. It was one of the earliest mills driven by steam power.
Our Heritage By Gerry Wheatley
Campbell Wollen Co.
The building originally was built in 1872 as the Almonte Furniture Company by Messrs. Kirby and Bennett and was known locally as the KirBen Building. The factory operated for many years, then had financial problems. In 1887, James H. Wylie, who owned other mills in Almonte, installed a one set flannel mill in the building, added two more sets over the next two years, and called it the Elmdale Flannel Mills. In March, 1919, Mr. P. J. Campbell of the Blakeney Woolen Company purchased the Kir-Ben building and started moving the looms and other machinery from Blakeney to the KirBen building to produce flannels. In March, 1928, a Saturday fire heavily damaged the building. The Almonte Gazette. reported that “spontaneous combustion in the dryer room’ was suspected as the cause. “An alarm was I given and the fire brigade did effective work and succeeded in confining the blaze to one department.” The damage amounted to $12,000. Later in 1928, the picture of the Kir-Ben building was printed in The Almonte Gazette with the following report below it.“Campbell Woolen Company’s Mill at Almonte which was destroyed by fire in a Monday midnight conflagration. The loss is estimated by P. J. Campbell at $50,000, partially covered by insurance.” The Campbell Woolen Mill ceased operations, the remainder of the building was demolished i and the Company was closed a few years later. I wondered whether there was any evidence left of the old Campbell Mill so I drove down Water Street to Brian Drynan’s Garage. Brian had found considerable evidence of the Campbell Mill while building his garage, house and other structures. The railroad siding to the Mill is still in place. He found stone foundation walls; a six inch cast iron pipe from the river to the Mill, thought to bring water from the river; and two large concrete slabs, one now serving as a base for propane tanks. And bricks’ lots of bricks. Brian remembers the bricks had markings on them and was told they were made in Almonte. He will try to find some of the old bricks for the museum. I am not aware of a brick factory in Almonte.
Listen to the noise..During those years Almonte was known to travelers on the trains as The Woolen Town, because the Rosamond Woolen Company, the Old Red Knitting Company, the Penman Woolen Mill, Campbell’s Woolen Mill, the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill and Wm. Thoburn’s Woolen Mills all made the flat metallic clacking of the looms as familiar a sound of Almonte as the whistle of the CPR steam locomotive. (from roots.org)
Below is published an interesting story of Greig’s School, Eighth line of Ramsay, written by Miss Ruby Wilson, who has been the teacher there for the last eight years. Miss Wilson is retiring and the following tribute has been paid to her by the people of the section and the trustees, through the Board secretary: “Under Miss Wilson’s guidance the school has continued to be a real community centre for the people of the section who from time to time have found entertainment there. “Miss Wilson leaves with the goodwill and best wishes of the people of the section, who will miss her leadership in the social as well as the educational life of the community ”
In choosing a topic for this evening’s talk we wished to find one that would be of interest to all of us, old and young. The people of No. 14, Ramsay, have always taken a keen interest in the school, so what could be more interesting than a story of our school. In it are wrapped up the lives of its pupils, who have become, or will become, the men and women. Some are long since moved away to carry on their duties in far places, some have settled in this section here, to play their part in the plan of life.
Some have won fame and fortune, while others have followed in a more humble way the daily round of common tasks; but over all, the school has shed her influence. Few of us who are grown up can remember our history, geography or grammar lessons, but all unaware we were learning in these lessons some things that were far more lasting, and from our contact with our fellow pupils, and our teachers, were learning how to live with our fellowman. Isn’t that, after all, the great object of education?
The subjects studied in school are all a means to this end. Let us journey back to 1826. School was then held in a log building on the corner of Rea’s, very close to the road. Early teachers had a house where the lilacs still bloom, in Greig’s field, near where the Greig house stands. The first teachers were mostly superannuated men. There at one time a Mr. Haggard lived for three years. About 1854 Mr. Joseph Rea still kept school in this log building But in 1859 a need was felt for a new building. So the present site was chosen—one quarter acre, commencing on the 8th Concession line, the distance of 21 chains, from the post between lots 9 and 10. This land was purchased from Mr. James Greig for the magnificent sum of $4. A contract was given for a frame building, -the old log school was not moved.
This new school was opened in I860. With what feeling of justifiable pride we opened school in the new building, under the capable guidance of Mr. James Dunlop, at a salary of $176.50. For that year the credit was $361.35 and debts amounted to $366.31. Many teachers were to follow his footsteps, and each to play some part in building the history of this community. Time permits us but to mention as we pass the names of these and some of the highlights in the history. Mr. Joshua Tennant followed Mr. Dunlop, with a salary of $192 per annum for three years.
At this time the section boasted 161, old and young, of which the following were the active ones at the first I annual meeting. George Donahoc chairman; John Cannon, secretary; George O’Brien, James Greig, George Drynan, John (McIntyre, David Watson, John Mc Arton and Joseph Rea. It was quite allowable then to have a lengthy meeting, for 11 1-2 cords of wood, cost only $17 in those days.
Sunday School was held at No. 14 with Mr. James Yuill, Superintendent: John Paul, John Cummings and Miss Agnes Paul as teachers. We cannot estimate the good that was done by these Sunday meetings. They had prayer meetings also once every week. What tales the older people could tell of the weekly event, “Singing School.” Old and young in the countryside attended. Mr. Robert Watchorn was the teacher, and later Mr. Donald Robertson. How they must have enjoyed those nights, for it did serve as a fine meeting place for the youth of yesterday.
Our next teacher in 1864, was John McYule. In 1865-67 Patrick Foley kept the white school in order. During his time $5 was given for prize books. The inspector at this time was Rev. McMoran, minister at the stone church. Mr. Thomas McDermott who was teacher in 1868-69 had his own times with ninety on the roll, in winter. However salaries were some better, $240. Needless to say with such a number on the roll, he earned his money. Helen Me Arton, the present Mrs. Houston, Tyvan, Sask. writes:
“Lessons weren’t much bother and sums weren’t hard either. We had lots of time to play tic, tac, toe. We didn’t like when a map was rolled out, we learned plenty then. But, I tell you we were scared when we saw the inspector coming along.” Mr. George Thompson of Almonte, relates many interesting tales of playing “Fenian Raids” on Shipman’s Pond to the anxiety of teachers and raiders. These ended with the sad result of one boy being “knocked out.”
Games were often played in an old barn near the school. Here Mr. Jno. McArton, while crimping straws in the cogs of an old fanning machine, took an end off his thumb. In 1870 Mr. Robert Thomson was our master. During his regime new steps were built for the school. Next came Francis Haney and in 1872 Miss Anderson. It was then that the woodshed was built, the lumber was obtained from John McArton and W. Cannon. During these years the late Dr. R. Tait McKenzie’s father was an inspector. By 1874 this had become a popular and much sought after school, for there were 12 applications. Miss Janette Lindsay was chosen.
That year money was borrowed at 8 percent interest. Miss Carley stayed four months, followed by Alicia Thomas. It was then we got our first visitor’s book, and general register. The trustees, Peter McRostie, John McArton and Richard Thompson visited the school frequently, as did Mr. Slack, the Inspector. By this time the school boasted a small flagpole, Many times has the good old Union Jack, proudly flying, proclaimed to all that here was a small group of Canada’s loyal sons and daughters, learning to be better citizens of our fair Dominion and Empire. Miss Jane Houston who came in 1877 must have had quite a time with an average of 49. Many of these sat around on sticks of wood.
On the 23rd of Nov., 1878, the grounds were enlarged 1-4 acre. The land bought from Andrew Greig, was to be fenced by the section. R. Patterson, Almonte, was the lawyer. During Miss Houston’s time, by Inspector’s request, a well was bored by A. Stephenson, for $90. While Miss Kate Snedden was here in 1879, a log fence was put around the school with boards along. the front. At the annual meeting the trustees all voted against Township School Boards. Who says this is now a new idea. The Inspector at this time was Mr. Michell. During Bella Scott’s regime a new ash floor was laid. Next came Annie Baird, who owing to a sprained ankle had her sister Ellen, teach for three months. Miss Barbara Drynan who came
in 1887, left behind a lasting memory During her term she planted the spruce and some of the cedars along the front of the grounds.
The many scholars who have come here since, have had much reason to be grateful for these beautiful trees, which give us shade in summer and had helped to make our grounds more attractive. Wood was then $2.90 a cord. For the next three years 1890-91- 92, Miss Mary Wilson was our teacher. In this time we got a new gate and front fence and also the numeral frame. Several other names we pass over each with its own associations, many happy, some not so happy. When we remember the minutes of mortification we spent in the corner, or the tingling sensation of the hands after the application of a bit of rubber—wasn’t it the pride that was hurt most?
Miss Mama Fraser, Miss Moffat, Miss Clara Sadler, Miss Jessie Lindsay. For five years from 1896, Miss Lindsay guided the lives of Greig’s youth. A teacher’s chair, and window screens were important additions. The list of teachers grows, Miss Steele, Miss McKechnie, Miss Ethel Robertson, Hattie Caswell. By this time some of the school’s own pupils had graduated as teachers and Miss Daisy Eea returned in 1905 to guide the footsteps of her younger neighbors, at a salary of $250. In this year a new porch was built on the school by Mr. John Donaldson.
During a short absence of Miss Rea her sister Miss Bessie, supplied. Miss Buckingham, who came to us in 1907, remained only one year. Perhaps she found the barren field too cold, for outside windows were put on. Hats off to Miss Buckingham, we agree the drifts do pile high. In 1908 Miss N. McCrea had 12 on the roll, quite a difference in 40 years. Miss Addie Blackburn followed.
At the annual meeting in 1910 it was moved by Joseph Chapman, seconded by Wesley Rea, that the school be moved; and made comfortable. The contract for this was awarded to D. McCrea for $275. Miss Daisy Rea returned for another term. School problems must have been easily discussed, for in 1913 the annual meeting closed with Auld Lang Syne. Next came Lila Smith and Gertrude Ormrod. At the meeting in 1914, it was moved by Andrew Yuill and seconded by Joseph Chapman that the trustees have the grounds fenced with wire. This was done by W. C Gilmour.
No one will deny that this should be plenty of room for scholars to work off their superfluous energy, but just as soon as the fence was up the boys began to feel it would be far more fun playing “tag” or “deer” in Thompson’s bush, or skating on Ford’s pond. So to the present day some brave little soul is elected to go to the teacher and say “Please Miss may we go outside to play.”
How can a teacher refuse such a plea? People were beginning to fake a greater interest in. No. 14 as this was the first year of any mention, regarding School Fair Prize Money. .
“Greig’s’ ‘ still continued to send her sons and daughters to the High Schools and under Miss Annie Neilson, many passed. Mr. Froats was then Inspector. Miss C. E. Gardner came to us in 1917 and remained two years, during which time, window screens were procured, a very valuable piece of “furniture” especially in mosquito time.
In June 1918 the school was saddened by the loss of a much loved pupil, Sandy Chapman. Again a former pupil, Miss Marion Chapman, returned to guide 22 little souls along. Just to show how conditions had improved by that time, or how the cost of living had increased, Miss Waddell, who came for two years, received a $1,000 salary. While Miss Gardner was our teacher, under Mr. Spence as Inspector, a hardwood floor was laid, bought from A. F. Campbell, Arnprior, and laid by James Smith. At the same time an organ was bought from Mrs. Camelon. In 1924 Miss Kathleen Graham came to us, staying four years: Hot lunch had its real beginning then, a new coal oil stove with a warming oven being bought.
Hardwood prices had then reached $8 a cord with soft and cedar at $6, New equipment for school is surely a sign of progress, and if this is so we, of this section’ may rightly claim our share. New desks were installed in 1930 while Miss Elizabeth Martin was our teacher. They are still here in excellent condition. One or two of the lads managed to carve their names on the surface of the old ones, as a lasting reminder that they had a sharp jack knife, and a keen desire never to be forgotten. In the last few years our school has boasted of many improvements, including window’ boxes, free exercise books for all pupils and our wood shed made into a compact building, with a sliding door.
How glad we were a week ago, when rain came dripping through, that some thoughtful men had roofed at least half of our building with tin. Someone has said “It is false economy not to keep a building in proper repair.” As in a feast we have left the best of our last eight years, to the end. Every Wednesday morning Mr. Hector Dallimore very ably takes the class to pleasant “Songland.”
How delighted the pupils are, as you may judge from their earnest efforts this evening. In an account of this sort it is inevitable that much of interest must be omitted and perhaps some important events unrecorded. We beg of you all to forgive these omissions and mistakes, and we would be grateful for any additions from anyone for future references. We hope you have enjoyed these memories which this brief history has brought back. From messages we have received from early teachers we quote— “I shall never forget my pleasant days at Greig’s. Everyone was so willing and kind.” and again from Miss Rea, “After 25 years’ teaching in Ottawa. I have only happy, grateful memories of my old Ramsay home, I and of the old neighbors, among whom I lived and worked so long. “It is the spirit of co-operation and kindliness which has done so much to make this school the success it . is. Let us keep alive our love of this school, and be true to her message This is the word that year by year, While in her place the school is set Everyone of her sons must hear, And none that hears it dares forget This they all with a joyful mind, Bear through life life a torch in flame. And falling, fling to the host behind Play up! Play up! and play the game.
This is a list of teachers— 1860—James Dunlop, $176.50. 1861-63—Joshua Tennant, $192. 1864—John Yule. 1865-67—Patrick Folev. ‘ 1368-69—’Thomas McDermott, $240. 1870—Richard Thomson. 1871—Francis Haney. 1372-73—Miss Anderson. 1.374—Miss Janethe Lindsay. 1875-76—Miss Carley and Miss Alicia Thomas. 1877-79—Miss Jane Houston. 1380-82—Kate Snedden. 1883—Bella Scott. 1884-86—Annie Baird.
1887-89—Barbara Drynan. 1890-92—Mary Wilson. 1893—Martha Fraser. 1894—Kate Moffat. ‘895—Clara Sadler. 1896-1900—Jessie Lindsay. 1901-02—Edith McKechnie. 1903-04—Hattie. Caswell. 1905-07—Daisy Rea and Bessie Rea. 1907—Mildred Buckingham. 1908—Nora McCrea. 1909—10—Addie Blackburn. 1911-13—Daisy Rea. 1913-14—Lila Smith and Gertrude Ormrod. 1915-Gertrude Metcalfe and Mabel Smith. 1916-17—A. E. Neilson. 1917-20—C. E. Gardner. 1920-Marion Chapman. 1921-22—Bella Waddell, $1,000. 1922-24—C. E. Gardner. 1924-28—Kathleen Graham. 1928-30—Elizabeth Martin. 1930-38—Ruby Wilson.
The following are the secretaries: 1860-73—John Cannon. 1874—Joseph Rea. 1874-86—Peter McRostie. 1.887-94—John Watson. 1395-08—John Rea. 1903-16—Jacob Matthews. 1917-20—Robt. Tosh. 1921-38—Alton Matthews.
RAMSAY S.S. 11 Senior Room— i To Grade V III—Kenneth iFee, Muriel Fee H, Mack James H, Henry Collie. To Grade V II—Agnes Cavers, Arthur Dowdall, Lome Neilson H, Leo O’Brien, Pat O ’Brien H, Leonard Spinks, Nelson Syme. —Anna. M. Turner, Principal. Junior Room— -, To Grade VI—John Edwards, [Helen Fee K, Joyce Gladish, Carman ifames, Jean Kellough H. Doris Lowe,, Shirley Lowe, Keith Salisbury. I To Grade V—Maisie Edwards, May James H. To Grade III—Florence Kelloqgh H, Murray Webber. To Gradel II—Fred Edwards, Melville Fee, Margaret Hodgkinson, Elsie Lowe. —Iva M. Crawford, Teacher.
S. S. NO. 3 FITZROY Grade IX-Grade X —John Coady, John Hugh Lunney, Grade VII-Grade V III—Rita Coady. Grade VI-Grade VII—Mary Brown, Tommy ‘Lunney, Grant Greene, Cyril Greene. Grade V-Grade VI—Agnes Stewart, Monica Coady, Reuben Brown. Ina Stewart. Grade IV-Grade V—Donald Stewart, Edward Lunney, Ethel Stewart. Grade III-Grade IV— Maryalice Colton, Bernice Coady. Grade II-Grade III—Mary Lunney. Grade I-Grade II — Kenneth Greene, Betty Stewart, Olive Greene. Primer-Grade I—Willie Stewart* Jr. Primer-Sr. Primer— Edna Young, Jack Lalonde. Number on roll—23. Average attendance—22.2. —A. E. Moreton, Teacher.
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.