Tag Archives: ballygiblin-riots

The Hidden Hideaway On Glen Isle


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It all began with a toast to the King that day in 1824 when the Irish decided they too would like to drink to the King inside Morris’s Tavern which was situated right next to the Carleton Place Town Hall where the fountain now sits.

Of course, the English were having none of that, and Captain Glendinning incited his now drunk militia to attack the Irish. The pub keeper, Alex Morris, knew something awful was going to concur, so he fled for his life to Perth. First the clubs and shillelaghs came out, and then muskets were added to the battle.

A war correspondent from Perth who witnessed the battle May 5 1824, said the walls and floors of the grogerry were literally awash with blood. Miraculously, there were many wounded but no fatalities. The battle raged down Mill Street, and in confusion Hugh Boulton the miller was taken as a hostage.

Eventually the Irish recrossed the Mississippi River in boats at the foot of Mill Street where the old stone mills of Bates and Innes sat. Glendinning as a war “super-hero” was given 400 acres of land on a mile long island near Carleton Place called Glen Isle. Glendinning built the three foot wall home in 1823 of river limestone and field stone. It contained two huge fireplaces and is one of the few houses of Upper Canada that still has a bunk bed built into the wall. The original hand hewn door is still in use being closed and locked with a great key.

The Irish searched high and low for Glendinning that day but each time they entered the house,  there sat just his wife who was apparently alone with her daughter. Each and every time Glendinning saw the Irish coming towards his home he hightailed it into a fireplace recess he had built into one of his fireplaces. One would think that the Captain knew he was going to get into trouble one day.

Glendinning’s wife was an English woman of upper crust status who ended up dying broken hearted in that lonely stone home in the middle of nowhere. Both she and her daughter Amelia are buried somewhere in the field beyond the barn. Their graves were once marked, but the iron railings have long disappeared. After they died, Glendinning left for parts unknown but his presence was still felt in the area as he was blamed for most of the shenanigans that caused the Ballygiblins riots.

Glendinning’s home still sits hidden down a small private road hidden among the trees on Glen Isle near Carleton Place. Years ago I was fortunate to see the outside–maybe one day I might see the interior. This house is on PRIVATE PROPERTY so please respect the owners wishes.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
24 Aug 1973, Fri  •  Page 40

Related reading

When the Fenians Came to Visit

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company
Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

Fenian Raid Sale– Get Yer Boots Before You Have to go Fight Again

Debunking the Stories My Family Told Me

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company

A Carleton Place Fenian Soldier’s Photo

Ballygiblin Riots in Carleton Place — Were We Bad to the Bone?

The Hidden Hideaway On Glen Isle

Samuel Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners

So About that Ballygiblin Sign…. Fourteen Years Later!

The Ballygiblinets Want Their Sign Back!


This was the sign that used to sit right on the edge of the main street bridge in honour of The Ballygiblin Riot. It has been missing for a number of years. According to Jennifer at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum the sign was thrown into the river- not sure who the culprits were– and probably lying at the bottom of the riverbed somewhere.



What about the sign below– now missing from the McArthur Woolen Mill after they put the crushed stone/rock in the front of the building?


Historic preservation is an integral part of any community. Cities small and large across the country have put in tremendous effort in the past few years to preserve certain aspects of their local community’s heritage. Have you ever seen the Findlay Foundry Memorial art work on the edge of the old Patterson’s Funeral Building/Proberts? Did you also know there is a cairn with a nice plaque on the site of the original building? (North side of High Street)


Or noticed the old horse watering areas?



Often, local governments are responsible for designating certain sites as historic landmarks. By doing so, they ensure a certain site will be left untouched for the next generation. Besides for it just being the right thing to do, it also helps build community, help to educate the public, and can actually boost an area’s tourism industry by providing visitors with more things to see and do. For this reason, old buildings and houses, interesting streets and parks, are now more than ever designated as historic landmarks, sometimes advertised with a great historic sign.


Every local tourism board should have a list onsite of area historic landmarks. And most importantly, every historic landmark should be clearly visible with the help of historic signs .Without a clearly recognizable sign, it can be difficult for locals and visitors alike to find a historic landmark. Especially when a site is tucked away in a neighborhood off a usual beaten path, anyone can miss them and that means all the effort behind preserving it for the public has basically been done for nothing.

Author’s Note-In June 11 1887 of The Toronto Daily Mail the Ballygiblin folk were called a name we had never heard before. “Ballygiblinets”.

Buy 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

What I Did on Beckwith Heritage Days – Alexander Stewart – Ballygiblin Heroe




Yes, I did go to Beckwith Heritage Days and took pictures, but I was really on a mission. When Tim Campbell told me how to get to the Kennedy Cemetery I was off like Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Sorry guys, but I really wanted to see the Archibald Dewar Relic monument in person. I just wanted to touch it. I know, I need to get a life!



There were lots of Stewarts in that cemetery and I took a random shot of a headstone. I hit the mother lode. Jean McGill’s book “A Pioneer History of the County of Lanark” pg 35 talks about Alexander Stewart being the last survivor of the Perthshire pioneers of 1818. She says that he died in 1892 – in his 100th year.  He had lived at Black’s Corners for 75 years and had been a farmer and merchant.  Apparently, he also made shingles by hand and was really fast at it.  He started out manufacturing potash. He was a reformer and a fearless Presbyterian.

Carol Bennett’s book “In Search of Lanark” says pretty much the same as above, but she says specifically that Sandy Stewart was “Merchant Sandy”. He had the first store in the area and had a large stone house built in the 1830s that was still occupied in 1982 (when the book was written).



The last survivor of Beckwith’s men of 1818 died in September 1892 in his 100th year. Alexander Stewart came up the Ottawa river and inland to Beckwith with parties of the group emigration to this township. He came from Blair Atholl, near Blair Castle in Perthshire, at age 25. On arrival he occupied a farm at Black’s Corners (con. 9, lot 14 E) where he lived for nearly seventy-five years as a farmer and merchant. The following portion of a local press report of his death concludes these notes on earliest Beckwith.

“Death of a Centenarian, Alexander Stewart of Beckwith, probably the last of the early Scotch settlers of the township, was born in Perthsire, Scotland, in October 1792. He came to this country in 1818 with the first settlers and took up land upon the farm where he had since lived. His brother John who died in 1874 accompanied him from the old land.

Three years after coming to this country Mr. Stewart was married to Miss Douglas,who came from the same part of Scotland. Nine children were born to them. Six are still living including …three at White Lake and Mrs. Wm. Young and Miss Betsy Stewart who resides on the homestead.

Mr. Stewart opened a store some forty years ago which has been running every since, but of late years only on a small scale. He received the cognomen of “Merchant Stewart”. He was a Reformer of the old school, and a Presbyterian.

He was most active in building the first church in Beckwith, at McArthur’s. For this building the deceased prepared the lumber with the old whip saw, and carted the other necessaries all the way from Richmond. Mr. Stewart also was very proficient in the manufacture of shingles, and could easily cut up with his hand knife three thousand a day.He manufactured potash as well.

In the troublous times of the Ballygiblins Mr. Stewart was one of those who opposed the marauding band. On one occasion he was on guard to watch a certain road, with orders to shoot down any of the dread band who might happen to pass.

It was the Sabbath day, and the old gentleman used to relate how he prayed that none of the “Giblans” might pass as he “wudna like to shoot them on the Sabbath day”.

He was also present at the final tussle at Shipman’s old place, when the leaders of the band were arrested and taken to Perth. The funeral took place on a Saturday afternoon to Kennedy’s cemetery and was one of the largest ever seen in the township.

As I spent a few hours going through the Kennedy Cemetery and the Dewar one across the dirt road I looked at the cattle eyeing me from across the field. They seemed to be wondering why anyone would spend so much time looking at gravestones. I just looked at them and said,

“Something about the way they moo attracts me like no udder.” Or something like that.


That’s Jayne and Gaby up there at Beckwith Heritage Days on Saturday from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.



Perth Courier, Jan. 18, 1889

Saturday last Mr. Alexander Stewart, 4th Line Beckwith, designated as “Big Sandy”, came to town to do business.  In returning, as a farmer on the 9th Line reports it, he undertook to light his pipe when the young and spirited team, feeling the loosened reins, began to run away.  Mr. Stewart leaned over the dashboard to pick up the reins and fell forward and down in front of the runners where he was dragged along till a boulder on the side loosened the king bolt and let away the animals.  He was found by the driver of the next vehicle to whom he said he was very much injured.  He was carried into Peter McDougall’s but objected to their sending for the doctor thinking he might recover.  He lingered on in great pain until Sunday morning when he died just before Dr. McEwen arrived who was called out of church for the purpose of seeing him.  The team ran a mile and a half where steaming and tired out they were caught by Messrs. McIlquham and Pressley who were emerging from the woods after a rabbit hunt.  Mr. Stewart was a farmer with a large business and family connections and his shocking death has sent sorrow throughout many homes both in this section and in Manitoba.

Ballygiblin Riots in Carleton Place — Were We Bad to the Bone?


My friend Dave Goodings told me yesterday that legend was:  Almonte folks are not supposed to associate with the Carleton Place Irish folks, and especially on St. Patrick’s Day.  As he said, “it’s something to do with us being Scottish, me thinks.” The 19th century magazines such as Punch Magazine have long bastardized the image of Irishmen. It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s been said that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.

My grandfather was a tenant farmer on the estate of The Beechers of Ballygiblin House, North Cork, Ireland where a mass immigration erupted from the area. We Ballygiblins did not settle in Bytown/Ottawa like some of the other Irish, but instead settled in Lanark County around the Mississippi River and in and around the towns of Perth, Innisville, Carleton Place (Morphys Falls) and Almonte( Shipmans Mills). As if there wasn’t enough of us, in 1823 another wave of Irish from County of Cork came to settle in Ramsay township, including locations near Carleton Place.

The Ballygiblin riots of 1824 began at a militia muster at Morphy’s Falls/Carleton Place, and were incited in part by objectionable conduct on the part of one of the local officers, Captain Glendinning. Sparked by local Protestant colonists in the Lanark military settlements who resented what they felt was the preferential treatment given to Robinson’s new Catholic arrivals. Hugh Bolton of Carleton Place was taken prisoner by drunken rioters during the riots. In a one-sided brief skirmish at Shipman’s Mills on the first day of fighting, several of the Irish settlers were wounded. What the hell difference does it make if it was left or right? There were good men hurt!

The affrays ended in a misguided raid on the Irish settlement headquarters at Almonte by a large force of militiamen and others, sponsored by district authorities of Perth. One of the Irish was killed by gunfire from one of the raiders.

At least 40 deaths in Bytown/Ottawa were attributed to shiner attacks and the Brockville Record called the shiners “demons in human shape”. In fact three shiners had been arrested in Perth for an attack on James Johnston, but a local gang of Irishmen broke in and rescued them. What’s the use of being Irish if the world doesn’t break your heart?

This group partially represented the beginning of the Shillelagh as a weapon in Ontario. It was nothing but a simple long slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden ‘sticks’ for fighting. In 1836 the Shiners became the terror of all the local lumbermen.

Better the staff than words, as the English language does not bring out the best in the Irish. The Irish court the English like a beautiful woman. They make it bray with donkey laughter. They hurl it at the sky like a paint pot full of rainbows, and then make it chant a dirge for man’s fate and man’s follies that is as mournful as misty spring rain crying over the fallow earth. I mean, there are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish, and those who wish they were.
“It’s Not so Bad Being Bad as an Irishman.”  After all–The quiet Irish are about as harmless as a powder magazine built over a match factory.

Quotes from JFK, Yeats, and Brendan Behan

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