It is denied emphatically by Mrs. Jane Masterman, who is a great grandniece of the gentleman who was described in an article in the Ottawa Citizen as a Ramsay hermit (read-The Story of “Old Mitchell,” Who Lived Outside of Almonte. The story was reproduced in the Gazette of last week. Mr. Mitchell resided on a sixty acre farm near the Auld Kirk, on the 8th line of Ramsay and he was a bachelor.
He had not many friends but those he had came very close to him, for he was fond ot good company. Mr. Mitchell’s real name was Flannigan. His father was an Irish Roman Catholic and his mother was a Scotch woman named Mitchell. After he had grown to manhood Mr. Mitchell became a Protestant and took his mother’s name. He had only one month’s schooling says Masterman, but he caried on his own education with the help of his mother and became a very scholarly man. He seems to have been a good deal of a philosopher and read extensively. He was particularly fond of his Bible and he committed many passages, to memory.
There are many relatives of Mr. Mitchell in this part of the country. The Byrons are related to him. They all resent the imputations cast upon his memory. Mrs. Masterman describes him as “one of the grandest old men in the whole world,” and adds that he was never a hermit. There is an interesting connection with the Auld Kirk and Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Masterman. Mr. Mitchell attended that church, which congregation later moved to Almonte. It was St. Andrew’s church and was called the “Auld Kirk” because St. Andrew’s suffered the loss of a number of its members after the secession of 1843 from the church of Scotland.
The secessionists— it is needless to go into why they seceded— in Almonte , and the district formed the St. John’s Presbyterian Church, connected with the Free Church of Scotland. However the St. John’s members rejoined with St. Andrew’s a number of years ago. and the name St. Andrew’s was allowed to dron, and the church was called the “Almonte Presbyterian Church.” Mrs. Masterman’s husband, the late Thomas Masterman, was its faithful caretaker in his late years. After the last union of churches in 1925 the name of St. Andrew’s Church was changed to Bethany, by which name the original “Auld Kirk;’” congregation is known today.
St. John’s church was reopened by those who refused to go with the Presbyterian Church into the union, and so the situation today is exactly as it was three quarters of a century ago when Mr. Mitchell was in his prime. Mrs. Masterman says that the sand that went into the building ot a number of Almonte houses, such as P. C. MacGregor’s. Mr. W. ‘West’s, Mr. Harold Jamieson’s, and most of the buildings on Mill street came from Mr. Mitchell’s farm.