Tag Archives: Archives Lanark

School’s Out at S.S. No. 14 in Carleton Place


The S.S. No. 14 Beckwith Highway 7, Carleton Place





Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Chances are if you are old enough to remember, the old school house which still stands on the four corners at the edge of Carleton Place closed in 1966. This is where Annie Duff went to primary school, and it is fondly known as Maple Grove.

On February 1 1878 the trustees met and agreed to purchase half an acre on Moore’s corner for a grand total of $30. Tenders for building the school were placed in the Carleton Place Herald for three weeks and the Moffat Brothers were chosen to build the building for $556.00. An additional log and bunk fence was added the next year for a whopping price of $40.


Photos from Lanark Archives

They next hired a teacher for $200 a year, and the 30 pupils from the area began to attend school. They decided they could not drill a well for water until the full debt was paid off so water was brought in from J. C. Elliot’s. They decided to paint the inside in 1888 for a cost of $58.39.

In 1906 if you were an outsider and wanted to attend Maple Grove School 50 cents had to be handed over to the teacher each month– but in 1912, your luck ran out for attending if you were a non-resident. Most kids brought their own lunch but in 1932 hot lunch equipment was purchased and used in the wintertime.


Photos from Lanark Archives

I got another note yesterday about SS14 
“Just sharing clipping when my brothers-in-law John and Robert Wylie were young’ins.. The name Brenda Condie should say Beverly Condie..she is our foster sister and lives near us in BC”

In 1934 stucco was applied to the building, the foundation repaired, and the porch built. The water closets were replaced with toilets in 1937, and a piano was bought for $40. School life continued in the little white schoolhouse until 1966 when the pupils werefinally bused to Caldwell School. The school was sold for $2250 and then flipped the next year for $5000.

The first teacher recorded was May A Doyle (1878-1879) and the last was Mrs. Jean Hollinger (1962-1966)






Beverley J Wylie just sent this in SS14 Carleton Place

You can purchase several rural school house books from Archives Lanark.. There are also many other book choices-please check them out.



Related Reading:

The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

The Riot on Edmund Street –Schools in Carleton Place

The Female Artist from Carleton Place That Never Went Viral


Remember The Super-Sized Family?


The picture below is not of the biggest family in Lanark County. This is a family that I babysat in the 60s, went to school with, and their parents were friends of my family in Cowansville, Quebec. Because St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, I salute this wonderful Irish family as their parents worked hard to raise them.

Dover Family 1960s



Dover Family 2014


Large families used to be common when I grew up and were very much the norm in Quebec as they were in Lanark County.  In Quebec at one time falling birth rates were a hot subject on the agenda of the Quebec government.

Traditionally, large families had been a source of pride to French Canadians and in particular to conservative, nationalist intellectuals. As a result, Catholic opinion leaders like the journalist Henri Bourassa and the Jesuit Louis Lalande began to exhort Quebec women to do their patriotic and religious duty and resist the temptation to limit family size for what they would have considered the ‘selfish’ reasons.

To some, especially in this day and age, being part of a large family may sound like a harsh and unwelcoming environment, but most of these kids probably  recall every second with warmth and a smile on their faces. A shared experience which, I’m fairly sure, each member of the Dover family would remember as fondly as I do. I bet they would agree about the fact that when 3 of them were misbehaving, 1 would be a complete angel!!!


This was the Easy Winner as they called it at the Perth Fair. No date but I assume it is the 50s.- Perth Courier

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Drynan, Almonte R.R. No. 1 and their ten children, who won the prize for the largest family attending the Perth Fair. The children are; Elizabeth, 18; Marian, 16; Keith, 14; Leonard, 12; Brian, 10; Bobby, 9; Dorothy, 8; Carl, 7; Linda, 6; and Shirley, 3. The family is accompanied by Mr. Spencer Church of Calabogie (oldest person).

Spencer Church, 106 Makes His First Visit

Spencer Church, 106 years of age poses for picture with his 6 year old great granddaughter at the Perth Fair last Monday.


Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark


Dawn Jones– My grandmother Mary had 22 children (3 sets of twins) and raised 14 of them to adulthood. The Drynan family portrayed here in the article is also my extended family. My aunt Joy is married to Keith Drynan who was only 14 in this picture.

John Morrow--I remember when Spencer Church died (a little over a month after my 8th birthday). We didn’t have home delivery of the Ottawa papers (Journal or Citizen) at the time, so we picked it up from one of the local newsstands. I’m not sure now if Mom and Dad trusted me to pick it up myself or if I accompanied one of them to do so, but I remember the front-page headline saying he had died at 110 or 111. I also remember hearing comments about an ongoing debate between him and Jane Crawford “Jannie” or “Grannie” Majaury over who was older. My own research has found Jannie Majaury was the older of the two and they were both fudging about their ages. She claimed to have been born in 1851, but early census records and her marriage record would indicate 1855. Her brother John Crawford was married to my great-grandaunt Sarah “Jane” Wark, and her great-grandson Kenneth James Whyte 1923-1987 was married to my aunt Beatrice Morrow. Both Aunt Beatrice and my grandmother Agnes Napier Morrow (Sarah Jane’s niece) told me, 25 years apart, that her common name was Jannie, not Jennie as widely believed.

  • Name: Spencer Church
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1 JUN 1856 in Calabogie, Renfrew Co., Ontario
  • Death: 17 FEB 1961 in Calabogie, Renfrew Co., Ontario
  • Burial: 1966 Hillcrest Cemetery, Calabogie, Ontario
  • Census: 1861 Subdistrict: Bagot & Blythfield, RENFREW (South/Sud), ONTARIO
  • Census: 1901 Subdistrict: Bagot & Blythfield, RENFREW (South/Sud), ONTARIO
  • Census: 1911 Subdistrict: Bagot & Blythfield, RENFREW (South/Sud), ONTARIO
  • Reference Number: 123
  • Note:

    Marriage record says he was methodist. Purported to have lived to be 111 years old (Oldest person in Canada at one time, although it is likely he was only 106 see note below.) Spencer was only four foot 9 inches tall (see pictures in FTM scrapbook). There were 11 children born, but daughter Mary Elizabeth died in infancy (1913).




Did You Ever See the Monster of Otty Lake?




Photo from Perth Remembered

Otty Lake, just 6 km from Perth, Ontario, was and still is a great place for anglers to land that monster fish. Chances are if you grew up in Lanark County you knew Otty was a most mysterious body of water. In fact, if Robert Service had been a camper out on the shores of Otty Lake many years ago we might well believe he had it in mind when he wrote the following well known lines:

“We have seen strange sights “ ’Neath the Northern Lights, “But the strangest we ever did see “Was one night on a barge “On Lake Lemarge “They cremated Sam McGee.”

Some figure it was probably a dying Esox Lucius, or what is known around this are as your basic Northern Pike “coming to the surface to get as much air as it can,” says an eminent authority on the frightening monster seen recently in Otty Lake by Ken Erwin and his family. The body of this strange marine animal is some four feet long with a very prominent nose and the head resembling that of a dog. It was first seen last week by the children who were on shore. When they saw it they threw stones and the monster promptly dived out of sight.



Last Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Erwin were on the lake at the upper end when Mrs. Erwin noticed this strange being floating on the surface. She called her husband’s attention to it but by the time he had turned the boat around, the monster had dived and was out of sight. Apparently there are other strange sights around Otty Lake.

There seems to be a skunk whose only means of livelihood is water, for the simple reason that a bottle, stuck over his head, cannot permit his eating food. To obtain water, the skunk dips his head in the water, fills the jar and then tips it upward, drinking the water issuing out. If it were not for the undoubted respectability and sobriety of the campers around Otty Lake we might have our doubts about the monster and, as for the skunk, that is just about out of this world.

There used to be a monster on Bennett’s Lake in Bathurst Township, and a strange thing about it is that the only eye witnesses who testified about seeing it were gentlemen who had been fishing up there and who had been addicted to the bottle—not the kind of bottle that is said to have adorned the skunk’s head. We don’t recall that the Bennett’s Lake monster ever was captured— it just seemed to disappear many years ago. Maybe it found some underground channel through which it was able to make its way to Otty Lake. That theory is worth considering especially in view of the antics of the skunk


With files from the Perth Courier Archives

Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark


Photo from Perth Remembered

Could this possibly be the same Fur Covered Trout that we all saw in James Brothers Hardware Store window for many years. Was said to be caught in the Big Rideau. It was a big tourist draw and as a youngster, had me believe that this rare creature had indeed existed for there it was mounted and on display for all to see. Wonder if this fancy work of taxidermy, (probably the work of Dawson Girdwood’s amazing talent), survived and where is it now?





Photo from Perth Remembered

Read all about The James Brothers Perth Ontario



The Buchanan Scrapbook–Perth Water Tank used to keep the dust down on the town streets, manufactured by James & Reid. Photo: Perth Museum

Follow the Crowd by John A. McKenty, 2000, is a book about the James Brothers’ enterprises in Perth. From a bookseller’s summary,

For over 80 years, James Brothers Hardware stood as the retail centre of historic downtown Perth, Ontario. Crowds from town and country alike flocked there for their every need, while from their open offices on the mezzanine above the first floor, George and Lawrence James and later George’s son, Alan, and grandson, George, oversaw a mercantile enterprise that included not only the store, but a machine shop, a foundry, a Chevrolet dealership, a Ford dealership, two automotive garages, various woodlots, a bulk fuel oil business, a coal business, a snow fence factory, a billboard service and the local arena

Storage room at James Brothers

Perth Remembered

January 25, 2019  · JAMES BROTHERS FOUNDRYPhoto taken outside James Brother’s Foundry 1910. Shown here are W. Bates and D. Mayall on a cart with a shipment of sleighs from James Brothers bound for Montreal by train. Black and white photo colourized by David Bromley.

Old Photos are Worth a Thousand Words– McDonald- Lancaster


Family pictures, no matter who or what they are can give us an insight to the past. The backgrounds of photos especially give us a great glimpse to once was. Photographic images serve as powerful records of people, events, and places. They evoke ideas or emotions in ways that words alone cannot.

The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum is always looking for photos for their archives to help keep the past of Carleton Place alive.

Lanark Archives  looks for information to research family roots and to learn more about where their ancestors lived. Local historians and genealogists, families, church groups and school children use the Archives.

Every picture tells a story


The following is a few pictures from the gallery of old photographs of the McDonald family.

Every research project has a starting point, and in this case, that point begins with Alfred McDonald and his wife Esther Lancaster. On their website, you’ll learn more about their story and other related branches of the family.


If you are looking for other family history documents or information, please visit The McDonalds website.


John Joseph Lancaster (center) – Carleton Place – 1914

162453444.LSVBRpuNJohn Joseph Lancaster with Graham Lusher – in Carleton Place – undated





 John Lancaster in Carleton Place in 1918 – father of Esther Lancaster (McDonald)


Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps


I have written about immigration to Lanark County on many an occasion and will put some of the links at the end of the story. I found this piece this morning and thought I would share. 

Is it boring? Well, I didn’t think so– but I will tell you this. Take a ride down this Lanark County history road and tell someone about it tomorrow. I dare you









(Pages 146 – 151)


Immediately after the War of 1812 (to which period belongs the beginning of settlement in Lanark County), the military and civic officials in Canada, the half-pay officers and other educated British settlers, seem to have been obsessed (not unnaturally) with fear and dislike of the Americans. The travellers of the time constantly held up to ridicule and obloquy American manners and American morality, but this distrust did not deter “Yankee” pioneers from flocking into the country, from making, as individuals, as much as possible of it their own, nor from doing it good service by their experience of similar conditions of life.
As was mentioned previously, the Rideau Canal owed its inception to this chronic suspicion of our neighbours, and, of course, it was always in the thoughts of the actual constructors of the work. Possibly, therefore, their accounts of the Yankees, in Lanark and elsewhere, may not have been quite free from prejudice.

There are, however, some interesting pages concerning Lanark County in a book, published about 1828, by John McTaggart, clerk of the works on the canal, who was sent through the country to make careful surveys and reports, and from his pages one can glean many a picture of the state of the district through which the canal was to pass. Of course, his first interest is in the river, vexed in its course by rapids or plunging madly over great ledges of rock, but he gives some glimpses of the scattered settlers and their doings.

Hinting now and then at the lonely beauty of the wilderness, he paints the land, upon the whole, in somewhat forbidding colours. He tells of long stretches of swamp where, by actual measurement, the black mud was over three feet in depth. These dread morasses were the haunt, as canal-workers and settlers alike found to their cost, of fever and ague. They were the haunt, too, of all manner of noxious stinging and biting insects — which tortured all the workers at their patient measuring and surveying. In the spring the thickly growing forests were strangely vocal with wild pigeons innumerable, sometimes flying in flocks of “five acres” in extent.



Photo from County Lanark Tourism

Swamps and dense woods must have had a subduing effect on their few human inhabitants, for McTaggart mentions “a melancholy peculiar to Canada.” The notion scarcely suits with our twentieth-century conception of our young country, nor does it seem altogether to accord with the idea one gets of the man himself, who, amidst the manifold difficulties of his canal-building, was so eager and enthusiastic as to be dreaming strange dreams of a “grand canal” across the northern half of the North American continent, through a “notch” in the Rockies to the waters of the Pacific, upon which he saw visions of a city of Nookta as large as the metropolis of the Empire itself.

But McTaggart was not always in the clouds. He could grow eloquent in dispraise of the “cheap and nasty” whisky made in every little hamlet from bad potatoes and other refuse, to the great detriment of the health, morals, and fortunes of the people.


At that time distilleries seemed to be regarded as only second in importance to grist mills and sawmills, which were generally built by the aristocrats amongst the pioneers, or “settlers of eminence,” as McTaggart calls them. Of course, many of the energetic settlers also took to keeping the tiny village stores, which had to cater for the wants of a very miscellaneous population. For instance, in headgear, it was customary for them to keep “white hats for Yankees, black hats for Irish, and Kilmarnock bonnets for Canadians.”

As it might be guessed from its Scottish name, Lanark township was largely settled by Scotch — many of them Glasgow weavers; and in that day, when means of communication throughout the country were so deficient, any settlers might count themselves fortunate if within reach of neighbours whose upbringing and modes of thought bore some resemblance to their own.


Photo- The County of LanarkThe Township of Lanark Highlands
In Lanark, on the grounds of the town hall on the east side of George Street (Road 511)
just south of Clarence Street

In the year 1816 the townships of Bathurst, Drummond, and Beckwith (like the neighbouring township of Goulbourn in Carleton County) were settled to a considerable extent by discharged soldiers, some of whom had been, it is said, “with Abercrombie in Egypt, with Wellington and Sir John Moore in Spain, with Cornwallis in America,” but the greater part had seen service in 1812, when Canada was the battlefield. At a very great expense, the British Government — partly to strengthen the Colony from the military point of view — “tried to make these old soldiers and their families as comfortable as possible. . . . They chose their locations without expense, and each man received, according to his rank, from one hundred to five hundred acres.

They were also supplied with all necessary implements of husbandry, and tools for building purposes; also cooking utensils and blankets, with one year’s provisions for each man, woman, and child.” Some of the ex-solders of this “Perth settlement” did well. Others stayed only as long as the distribution of rations continued, or until they could obtain some trifle for their lands. By the middle of the century it was said that scarcely one soldier-settler in fifty had remained for good; but by that time Irish and English immigrants had filled up the deserted holdings.
In 1815 proclamations had been issued in Britain inviting civilians also, under certain conditions, to become settlers in Upper or Lower Canada, as they might choose, though the exact location was left to the Government; and some of the Perth settlement pioneers were gathered in this way.

According to Robert Gourlay, that industrious hunter-out of abuses, the good intentions of the Government were, in part, frustrated by the carelessness and bad conduct of its accredited agents. As a beginning, the new-comers, unused to axe-work, were obliged to cut a road twenty miles long through the wooded wilderness before they could reach the principal place of settlement, and, arriving there, found the surveying of their lands only beginning. Sometimes, too, the promised rations were stopped for very slight reasons.

The county town of Perth was laid out by the Government in 1816, on an island in the Tay River, which was afterwards rendered navigable for small vessels to the Rideau Canal by a private company. Sixty years ago Perth was a clean, thriving little place of nearly 2000 inhabitants. Its attractiveness was due largely to its river and its many stone buildings. Its population has nearly doubled since then, but it has been outstripped by its younger rival, Smith’s Falls. Originally, by the way, the progress of this latter place was, it is said, much hindered by the cupidity of its owners, who asked as much as £250 for quarter-acre lots in the business section of the village.


Of course in the early days there were many squatters in the county, who, going into the wilderness in advance of the surveyors, built their shanties and made their little clearings, trusting to the authorities to give due consideration to their claims whenever the country should be opened formally to settlement.

McTaggart tells that, in the winter of 1827, when, going with his men through the woods in a part of Lanark County which he believed to be absolutely unsettled, he came on the track of a sleigh — a sight almost as astonishing, under the circumstances, as was the footprint to Robinson Crusoe on his desolate island. Following the track, the party came to a clearing of about seven acres, in the midst of which “a neat little log house sat smoking.” Its master, in a voice trembling with emotion at the unusual sight of strangers, asked them to “Come ben!” Accepting the invitation, they entered to find “a snug little cabin,” a wife, three children, some sleek grey cats, and a good dog. “Having broached the rum jug” (not the simplest courtesy was then complete without strong drink), they all sat down to listen to their host’s story.

A plain working man, Peter Armstrong by name, from Hawick, in Scotland, he had managed, fifteen years earlier, to save enough to come to Canada; had “fought up the water St. Lawrence to a place they ca’d Perth, and there finding nought to do — nae country work” — (one wonders what they did in that pioneer hamlet, if not country work!) — “he just went afar into the heart of the wild woods with his axe, dog and gun, and, after looking about, fixed on the place where we found him for his abode in this world.

“Year by year, he wrought away all by himself — read the Bible every Sabbath day — made a journey to Perth twice a year and bought wee needfuls; at last got a house, and sleigh, and cleared about five acres.” Having good health, “spring-water plenty just aside him,” and no lack of firewood, he lived well enough for five long solitary years, on “what he caught, shot, gathered or grew. All at once, on one of his visits to Perth, whom should he meet but Tibby Patterson, who was the byre-woman at the laird of Branksome’s, where he was once a herd lad. Far frae hame in a wild land,” with few friends, they were drawn to each other at once. So they were married by one of the irregular weddings of those days when parsons were so far to seek — and for nine years they had lived happily, deep in the great woods. But McTaggart wondered less at their content than at the grumblings of others whom he met in his wanderings, who would neither leave the woods and “fight for an honest living and cheerful society, nor yet be at peace in them.”


Did you know Mormon missionaries were a common sight in Ontario during the 1830s and 1840s. Of the original Scottish settlers in Lanark, 17 families converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon)

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

The Doctor is In! George Griffith of Carleton Place


Perth Courier, May 5, 1882


Carleton Place—Prisoners for Kingston

Last Friday four prisoners were at the Carleton Place Junction under the charge of Sheriff Sweetland of Ottawa and Constable Gordon and Bailiff McGuire who were taking the quartet to the Kingston Penitentiary.  Their names and crimes are:  Griffith, for bigamy; James, incendiaries; Green and Fitzsimmons, thievery.  The latter were laced together at the wrists and ankles and the former ditto.


George Griffith is a doctor and an intelligent man and made a fair speech to the jury.  He had lived for many years with his wife by whom he had several children, one daughter 18 years of age.  In his defense he stated he knew not what he was about when getting married and held that on that account his marriage was illegal and that he was justified in marrying  Miss Goodall.

The fact of his living so many years with his first wife and of lately seeking a divorce in New York was ample evidence of his conviction and the genuiness of the marriage.  The judge was quite severe on the doctor for so clearly bringing ruin into a responsible family and sentenced him to three years.  His first wife was present at the trial.


You can read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

Carleton Place Wins Prizes for their Wool!



Perth Courier, Sept. 17, 1880


Mr. W. H. Wylie, Carleton Place, received a special prize at the Toronto Exposition for the woolen shawls made at his factory. Messrs Boyd Caldwell and Son, Lanark, took first prize for Canadian Scotch tweed, and first prize for Cashmere at the Exposition.

Prizes for Woolen Goods—Among those manufacturers in Lanark County who carried off prizes at the Toronto Exposition now being held are:  Gold medal, for the Woolen Company at Almonte; and also Messrs Boyd Caldwell and Son, Lanark; and Mr. William H. Wylie of Carleton Place.


Historical Notes on Carleton Place Woolen Mills- from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and The Perth Courier–Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

Perth Courier, November 19, 1880

Mr. James Gillies, purchaser of the Code Woolen Factory, Carleton Place, was in town on Monday.

Perth Courier, August 5, 1881

Retiring—We are sorry to learn that ill health has compelled Mr. James Gillies of the Carleton Place Woolen Mills (Code’s) and the Braeside Saw Mill, to retire from business until has system recuperates. He offers his woolen factory for sale.

1900 – To supply serge for British army uniforms the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills.

1903 – The Gillies and Hawthorne woollen mills – recently working on overtime hours with 192 employees, after six years of improvements under the ownership of Canada Woollen Mills Limited – were closed.  The reason was stated to be loss of Canadian markets to British exporters of tweeds and worsteds.  The company went into bankruptcy.

1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill as a knitting mill.  A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

1909 – Bates & Innes knitting mill, after making waterpower improvements, began running night and day with about 150 employees.  The Hawthorne knitting mill was closed by reason of financial difficulties, and its operating company was reorganized as the Carleton Knitting Co. Ltd.



Ring Those Bells in Carleton Place– Wylie’s Woolen Mill


“Carleton Place July 31, 1885 from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

W.H. Wylie’s steam yacht “The Ripple”

(43′ keel, 10′ beam)

at Hawthore Woolen Mill, then operated

by W.H. Wylie.


Possibly W.H. Wylie sitting on fore rail.

On Fore Rail – A.R.G. Peden (Town Clerk)

Left on upper deck: Jim Burnie


Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

Seeking Assistance from Lanark County Citizens




Tuesday February 9th 2016

Media release from Archives Lanark and The Lanark County Genealogy Society

Janet Gosier is looking for photos of JAMES REID (1812-1881) and MARY EASTON (1817-1906) and their children to complete a book called “Canada 150 Series” through Library and Archives Canada. Copies of old portraits and/or good black and white snapshots.

Their children were: Mary REID/James GIBSON Alex REID/Lillias WATT Janet REID/Robert DUNCAN Thomas REID/Margaret DUNCAN Violet REID/William DUNCAN James REID Jr./Mary CURRIE Mathew REID/Annie BARRIE John Hay REID/Sarah A. GIBSON Francis REID/Jane M. PARK Ann REID/John STEWART

If you have any pictures or info please do email her at GenealogyStudies@gmail.com for this wonderful project.

Thank you


Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?



Photo from Almonte.com


Perth Courier, May 6, 1881

Almonte Sensation

Missing—Why Did He Leave?

The town of Almonte was in a state of excitement Tuesday owing to the rather mysterious disappearance of Mr. Samuel Shaard of the woolen manufacturing firm of Shaard and Thoburn, running a #3 woolen factory.  Mr. Shaard was known as a steady and industrious man.  He was formerly of the firm Elliott, Shaard & Co. but a short time ago he withdrew and with Mr. W. Thoburn rented the factory known as #3 and continued in business.  Everything was progressing favorably so far as can be learned and no reason could be assigned for the absence of the gentleman.

It is thought he may have been drowned in the river and parties rowed along the banks of the river in search of some clue which might lead to the justification of this suspicion but nothing was found, yet preparations were about being made to dredge the bed of the stream when it was learned from Conductor Chapman, who arrived on the afternoon train that Mr. Shaard had crossed the river at Brockville, having taken the cars at Carleton Place the evening before.

Mr. Chapman stated that the mining man seemed to be in a depressed mental condition and that he sat alone in one of the cars and had the ticket pretty well rubbed to pieces by the time the conductor reached him.  It seems that Mr. Shaard walked from Almonte to Carleton Place, avoiding people on the way.  The belief is held that the man may have become insane, which would account for his departure.

July11-2010 - Thoburn Mill


Google image


The Millstone reported in 2012 that a rumour has long been whispered in Almonte that Shaard’s body lies somewhere in the cement work of the Thoburn Mill! So what do we know about the Thoburn Mill?

“In any event, a Chancery Sale was held in April,1882 resulting in William Thoburn acquiring full and sole ownership of all assets including “The uninterrupted use and flow of the water of the South Branch of the Mississippi River”


Fire again destroyed the mill in 1918 but Thoburn rebuilt, still relying on the Mississippi’s waterpower to continue to drive the turbines and machinery. The Mill continued to operate as a woollen manufacturer until 1956. It was particularly well-known for its grey flannel. While the turbines and other mechanisms for driving the machinery were removed from the mill in the 1950’s, some parts remain on view in the gardens of the Thoburn Mill building.

After its close as a woollen mill in 1956, the Thoburn building saw many incarnations from business centre to antique dealership to computer manufacture. Then in 2000, a group of local entrepreneurs recognized the opportunity to create a new, exciting and unique space and began the redevelopment of what is now the spectacular Thoburn Mill Condominium. The condominium was registered in 2009 and is now home to 23 apartment residences and small businesses”.Millstone News

I wonder if any of the condo owners have seen the ghost of one Samuel Shaard?


Perth Courier, June 3, 1881

There is no news yet of Mr. Shaard, who disappeared from Almonte a few weeks ago.  Mr. Shaard is number three who have disappeared from Almonte within a few years.  Number one had been a clerk in Greig’s Drug Store; and number 2 was a man named Shaw, a druggist, a brother of the present day deputy reeve of Drummond.



Historic Photo Album of Almonte

Read the Perth Courier here

Read the Almonte Gazette here

The Uni-Bomber of Carleton Place? Didn’t I Blow Your Mind?




Over a decade ago a Lanark inspector was shot and I thought it was an isolated case. Not likely around these parts pardner.

Perth Courier, April 11, 1884

A dynamiter has written a letter to the Carleton Place assessor in which he threatens to blow that official skywards.

The document was embellished with a skull and crossbones and other ghastly reminders of immediate mortality.

So what is an assessor? That would be an individual who is a local government official who estimates the value of real property within a city, town, or village’s boundaries. This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills.

There was no mention of death in the next issues of the Courier or the Almonte Gazette, so I assume things were worked out some way or another.

Was this shades before the time of my hero Dan Miller of the Queen’s Hotel who also fought with the town of Carleton Place assessor? I do believe my favourite Carleton Place folk hero Harold Kettles was around at that time. Maybe he could have hooked Dan up with some dynamite?


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 21 Nov 1906, Wed,
  3. Page 5