Tag Archives: bells corners

The Burnt Lands Part 3 – The Great Fire of 1870

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The Burnt Lands Part 3 – The Great Fire of 1870
CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Dec 1929, Sat  •  Page 2

Some nights I go to bed and worry about the Burnt Lands. Not much I can do personally, but I can keep people aware. It really needs to be protected better, and respected.

Burnt Lands Road is named for a fire that swept through the area more than a century ago. The road is on an alvar, a flat landscape also known as a limestone pavement, where soil is thin or non-existent. It is part of a rare and fragile ecosystem. Ottawa Gatineau Geo- heritage calls it “an outstanding example of this globally significant habitat.” The cracked and fractured limestone is dotted with stands of cedar, spruce, balsam fir and poplars. It supports some 82 breeding bird species, 48 butterfly species and 98 owlet moths and is home to a globally rare orchid called the ram’s head lady’s slipper. Some of the alvar is on private land. About 610 hectares of it has been designated an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

In 1986 Pat Taylorosa had a passion for the history and shapes of rocks returned to university to complete a study on the Burnt Lands of Almonte, an area famous for it’s great fire of 1870 and it’s many rare and unusual species of plants. Mrs Taylor, the mother of two young children, has a love o f geology that knows no bounds. Recently, she sat in her living room with the floor covered in geological maps and books, explaining the interesting facets of Almonte’s Burnt Lands. “The Great Fire ” of 1870 started at Pitch Hill, a few miles from Almonte and swept along throughout Huntley and March townships, consuming a great part of Carleton county.

Mr. Currie told how the combination of wind and fire, when it hit a tamarack swamp at Stittsville, threw whole trees into the air, with ashes and living flames hurled far and wide. read- CLICK HERE

The line cedar log fences for which the area was noted, acted as conductors. According to a report in an Ottawa paper of the day “ it was said that no horse could gallop as fast as those flames spread along the fences.” The air was on fire, presumably from combustible gasses gathered during the sweltering heat of the preceding weeks.

According to the information, people hid anywhere they could to escape the ravages of the flames. Hundreds spent the night submerged in the river at Bells Corners, which was the focus of the fire. It was said that people could read by the light 50 miles away, and the smoke was seen in upper New York state. About a dozen human lives were lost and a great deal of livestock.

After the fire The Almonte Gazette reported that a cow could be bought for four dollars, because there was not a trace of feed or grazing space left. Fires had been prevalent all that summer, and The Gazette didn’t report this one until a week later when it listed names of people and the losses they had suffered. The area was ripe for fire because of its topography; a thin layer of soil overlying limestone “ pavement” at the highest point on the landscape. This resulted in excellent drainage which left the plateau bone dry as the summer passed, it was August at the time of the fire, and the bush was like tinder. It was a natural for such a great fire.

Today, little has changed in the Burnt Lands area anymore, as farming is not possible with the thin layer of soil, but the trees still grow —-notably white pine, white cedar and white spruce. The Burnt Lands, like all of this area up to the Mississippi River was under the Champlain Sea until about 12,000 years ago, and according to Mrs Taylor, this accounts for the line of gravel pits extending along the edge o f Ramsay Township. These were beaches at one time: In these areas and in similar sand deposits are being discovered whale and seal bones and seashells. By 1870, of course, the sea had receded to it’s present location. ( read- Whale Sightings in Pakenham and Smiths Falls – Holy SeaWorld! and – Whale Sightings Outside Smiths Falls– Part 2)

The Burnt Lands has long been recognized as having a unique assemblage of plant life divided among the three types of habitat on the plateau. The areas mosaic the plateau. Communities of low pasture grass, open coniferous forests and bare limestone pavement are the most noticeable.

photo from–BURNT LANDS PROVINCIAL PARK click

The grassy meadows are perhaps the most interesting, according to Mrs. Taylor Richardson Philadelphia Witchgrass and dropseed which are found here are considered to be rare in the province of Ontario. In the early summer can be found the showy yellow balsam ragwort and later on the white flowers of the Uplant white aster can be spotted.

The limestone pavement habitat looks just as it sounds, with flat bare rock patches edged with mosses and miniature plants growing in the soil trapped in cracks. Here is found in spring the Early Saxifrage, which only lives for a day. Later, the tiny Rock Sandwort and attractive blue Harebell can be spotted.

Later on in the summer are many of the showy flowers called Hairy Beardtongue and the lovely blue Fringed Gentian. The open evergreen forests also have their share of rare and unusual plants with equally intriguing names. In May is the, rarely found in Canada, exotic, Ramshead Lady-slipper orchid and the showy red columbine. Pink gaywings and another orchid, the yellow lady-slipper can be found along with the hairy honey suckle and the rare Cooper’s Milkvetch which is known in Latin as “neglected star galaxy” (rough translation).

The area is a suitable habitat for small mammals and even some deer and is especially accessible for hiking.

With files from the Almonte Gazette 1985.

The Gazette didn’t report this one until a week later when it listed names of people and the losses they had suffered.
All Clippings ==August 1870– Almonte Gazette

Lanark County Hand Typed Notes –Burnt Lands

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

How Many Stitts of Stittsville Remain?

The Bush Fires of 1870 Perth Courier — Names Names and more Names of the Past

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

Ottawa Valley’s Great Fire of 1870

Firestorm

Part 1, Making Land

Also read–

Whale Sightings in Pakenham and Smiths Falls – Holy SeaWorld!

Whale Sightings Outside Smiths Falls– Part 2

The Mystery of the Masonic Rock – Pakenham

Born in Bells Corners-The Man Who Started Out to Become a Priest and Became a Train Robber – Anecdotes about Chris Evans and Daughter Eva

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Born in Bells Corners-The Man Who Started Out to Become a Priest and Became a Train Robber –  Anecdotes about Chris Evans and Daughter Eva

Old Ottawa And Bytown Pics

Blair Stannard  · 16h  · 

Ottawa – 1847 – Chris Evans , Outlaw, born in Bell’s Corners–this photo is after his capture at Stone Corral–Also read-GUNFIGHT AT THE STONE CORRAL: WILD WEST OUTLAW WAS FROM OTTAWA 2016- CLICK

BornFebruary 19, 1847
Bells Corners near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedFebruary 9, 1917 (aged 69)
PortlandOregon, USA

Christopher Evans was born on February 19, 1847, in Bell’s Corner, about twelve miles from Ottawa, Canada. His parents, Thomas and Mary Ann Evans, were both Irish natives who came to Canada separately. They married in Bell’s Corner in 1837 and together they had eight children, including Chris. In various newspaper reports it was said that Chris was studying to become a priest in Bells Corners. By 1866/7 Bells Corners was a post village with a population of 150 in the township of Nepean. The village had a daily mail, two stores, a school and a church which was used by the Church of England, Presbyterians, and Wesleyan Methodists. 

In the summer of 1863, at age sixteen, Chris left home and crossed the border into the United States. They say he *joined the Civil War but no official record of this exists, assuming because he joined under a false name. In 1870, Chris moved to Visalia, California, where he began working for a lawyer named Daggett who helped Evans educate himself. A few years later, he began working as a teamster, hauling lumber to and from the mills is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Soon after, Chris married Mary Jane “Molly” Byrd, a girl he met who ran an eating house along the road to the mills at a location known as Auckland, twenty-five miles northeast of Visalia. There, Chris and Molly Byrd married at her parents “Rattlesnake Ranch” on November 4, 1871. – Wikipedia.

Christopher Evans entered the United States at age 17 *because, as he once claimed, “the great struggle for freedom was going on and I left my home…to liberate the slave.” Newspapers painted a picture of Chris Evans as an enigmaand it was sais that he came to Tulare county in California from Bells Corners with just the blankets on his back.

He came to the West to work, he could do rough carpentering; knew how to handle horses and was generally someone that would be needed about a new community. He made no pretense to being anything more than a laborer, though the words he turned with just a shade of the Canadian twang were not such as wandering farm laborers or ordinarily used. So Chris Evans, the farm laborer, came to be a recognized as part of the communities between Fresno and Los Angeles.

Chris married Mary Jane “Molly” Byrd, a girl he met who ran an eating house along the road to the mills at a location known as Auckland, twenty-five miles northeast of Visalia. There, Chris and Molly Byrd married at her parents “Rattlesnake Ranch” on November 4, 1871

Chris, by this time a sturdy, middle-aged man, had established a character in the community. He was a solid man a man of sense and judgment, and his best friends were the Sontags, his future train robber partner.

Everybody knew how it was between his friend John Sontag and his daughter Eva. She was the oldest child a slender but strong slip of a girl with clear eyes and a resolute little mouth. The tall, quiet young man was waiting for her. The neighbors knew it and they waited, too, for a merry wedding of Chris Evans’ girl, for who in the town but liked the steady farmer! Eva married bachelor outlaw Sontag. Their union was brief because Sontag died later from his Stone Corral wounds.

Chris Evans-
Historical Crime Detective

One vice, and only one, could either Chris Evans or his son-in-law be charged with. They gambled, and gambled heavily. Still, they never went beyond their means, and with crisp bills settled their losses. Chris did not work much now. He had a timber claim and a mine up in the mountains, and these with the little orchard and what had to be done about the house and the barn took up all of his time. He and John and George were away at the mine when there was another robbery. It was at Cores and a railroad detective was shot through the throat There came a time when John and George wanted to visit their old home in the East. They had worked hard and were entitled to a holiday. George and John Sontag and Chris Evans went away from California.

George and John Sontag and Chris Evans eventually reappeared in California. The townspeople welcomed back the two young men and their older friend now a man of forty-five, a bit bent and bearded, but a sturdy man. There was some trouble about that settlement of the stable business at Modesto an unsatisfied note or something of that sort.

A man’s first duty is to his family, and Evans deeded over his timber claim and all else that he possessed. Mary, while John, like a true lover, made over all his little fortune to daughter Eva. So days went on. One morning a neighboring housewife pushed open the door of Evans’ cottage. John Sontag was within. At the opening of the door his hands went up and Eva and the rest laughed long at the joke. But the door opened once again that day and it wasn’t a neighbour. Chris was there then and no hands went up. Of the two officers who came one was left for dead and the other ran away, bleeding and scared. There had been another successful train robbery and out of the darkness of the night had shone the figure of steady, model Chris Evans, ribald and blasphemous, cruel and threatening.

And there came another night and Chris and John crept home to Mary and Eva, and again they were seen, and when the fight was done it changed into a victorious flight– a man lay writhing in the agonies of death in the stubble where Eva fed her chickens. And what did they do when father and son in law were following the sore wounded man to make his death a certainty? Why, they looked on and made no outcry. And when the Coroner and his jury considered above the murdered man, little Eva swore bravely against all the world and all possibility. And when she had told how two men had rushed into the house with drawn pistols upon father and lover she sat quite still looking at accusers and officers with her firm chin even firmer than usual and let the lawyers fire all the hard questions they had at her. And she never wavered a hair’s breath.

That is the kind of a girl John Sontag’s sweetheart was. Eva did everything she could to free her father to no avail. Mrs. Evans and her daughter Eva attracted attention in a play entitled “Evans and Sontag,” put on the stage for the dual purpose of creating sympathy for the bandits and securing money for Evans’ defense. She did theatre pieces all around the West to prove what a noble man her father was. On February 9, 1917, Eva was awakened in the middle of the night by a ringing phone. Her father the steady blonde- beared man who studied for the priesthood in Bells Corners was dead.

With files from

The San Francisco Examiner

This newspaper report says it was Chris’s wife, but it was really his daughter Eva. Molly was his wife’s name and Chris and his daughter Eva had a close relationship.

CLIPPED FROM
St. Joseph Saturday Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
30 Dec 1893, Sat  •  Page 4

Wikimedia Commons
File:Eva Evans(1893).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Eva broke them out of jail and married bachelor outlaw Sontag. Their union was brief because Sontag died from his Stone Corral wounds

Chris lost one eye and injured his hand in a shootout.. but the hand amputation was done in the Visalia jail-

CLIPPED FROMSt. Joseph Saturday HeraldSaint Joseph, Michigan30 Dec 1893, Sat  •  Page 4

CLIPPED FROMThe San Francisco ExaminerSan Francisco, California03 Dec 1914, Thu  •  Page 15

An Individual Opinion by Chris. Evans, Outlaw

CLIPPED FROM
The San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco, California
24 Jun 1894, Sun  •  Page 24

read-My MFA program at USC required a non-fiction book as well as a novel and a screenplay. I don’t remember who told me about Sontag and Evans but their story fascinated me. Basically, Chris Evans – a family man – and his buddy John Sontag became central California folk heroes by repeatedly robbing the hated Southern Pacific Railroad. The story everything – exciting robberies, a noble cause, escapes from jail, mountain communities aiding and abetting the outlaws and a shootout at the Stone Corral– CLICK HERE

Also read-GUNFIGHT AT THE STONE CORRAL: WILD WEST OUTLAW WAS FROM OTTAWA 2016- CLICK

The Story of Wild Bob Ferguson of Dalhousie Township

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 23- Code Family–Brother John — John Code Goes West

Going West — From Lanark County Names Names Names

Billy the Kidd’s Mistress — Roxy Theatre Time

The Tale of a Pirate named Bill Johnston

Did Anyone Find the Lost Barrel of Silver Coins That Lies at the Bottom of the Rideau Canal?

Murder on Maple Island

Stories from Ash Island

I’ve Got a Hex on You — Jaan Kolk and Linda Seccaspina –Historic Rabbit Hole Series

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I’ve Got a Hex on You — Jaan Kolk and Linda Seccaspina –Historic Rabbit Hole Series
The buildings, which are designed in a Gothic Revival style, officially opened on June 6, 1866, about a year before Canada’s Confederation. On February 3, 1916, a fire. … Confederation. On February 3, 1916, a fire destroyed all but the Library of Parliament. Reconstruction began later that year and was completed in 1927. When the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings was rebuilt in 1916, teams of horses hauled six-ton loads of Nepean sandstone blocks from a quarry near Bells Corners. Each team could make the roughly 30-km. round trip just once a day. LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA / PA-130624

Linda Seccaspina

A few weeks ago I wrote about Mrs. Lowney who lived near Bishop’s Quarry who was recorded in the Ottawa Daily Citizen that her cows would not give milk because someone working in Bishop’s Quarry had the “evil eye”. It seemed to be the norm on those days as those that hailed from Ireland in the 1800s brought over their beliefs in hexes and the dreaded evil eye.

Catherine Lowney, a widow, who lived near Bishop’s Quarry, attributed fear of the “evil eye” on her property because her cows would not give milk, even though it was the height of the milking season. Of course one would think there was a very logical explanation of the absence of milk from Mrs. Lowney’s cows, or was there?

At that period (1860s) stone for the Parliament Buildings was being quarried near Mrs. Lowney’s house and many strangers were employed in Bishop’s Quarry in Nepean. So when gossip starts you know that maybe thirsty strangers from the quarry sneaking into her farm and milking her cows would be a valid excuse. Of course she failed to see anything but some bewitching Hocus Pocus taking root in the neighbourhood. Her belief held firm that a certain neighbor or quarry worker possessed the “evil eye’ and was getting back at her for some imagined wrong. We all know how that goes.

Of course my interest wheel piqued to HOT and I began to wonder where the former Bishop’s Quarry was. As I searched for information I came across Bruce Deachman’s article in the Ottawa Citizen. Q is for Quarry: Forgotten, overgrown quarry provided the building blocks of Ottawa

Since I could find nothing about Bishop’s Quarry I somehow knew after reading his article that this forgotten Campbell’s Quarry in Nepean was one and the same. Campbells quarry closed in 1962, when the National Capital Commission expropriated the land for the Greenbelt. Situated right beside Highway 417, just west of Moodie Drive, lie overgrown remains of the former Bishop’s/Campbell’s Quarry that supplied building material for the Parliament Buildings, the Dominion Observatory and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

(We love comments and input–this from Tim Cartwright)

(Tim Cartwright Campbell’s quarry is not the site directly beside the 417. It still exists within the property of Natural Resources off of Haanel Dr. This is why they objected to having it reopened in more recent times.

So, just to make sure I wasn’t going in the wrong direction and steer my readers into reading a fish tale I contacted my historian friend Jaan Kolk. Actually it’s more of a Facebook ‘pity” PM that begins with: “JJJJJJJJAAAAAAAAn, can you help me please”?

Jaan Kolk

Yes Linda, it must be Bishop’s quarry to which Bruce Deachman refers. Henry Bishop owned 200 acres of farm land with a stone quarry: Lot 6, Conc. II OF. The 1879 Belden Atlas shows his house and “white sand stone quarry” on the south side of Corkstown Road, about midway between Moodie Drive and Eagleson. The Canadian County Digital Atlas Project gives the year settled as 1821.

The 1965 aerial photo layer at GeoOttawa shows the bright scars of what looks like quarrying on both sides of Corkstown Road about 2 km west of Moodie (halfway between Moodie and Eagleson.) Zoomed in, one can see a road along the strip stretching south. Google maps shows traces of the same features, and shows the pathway identified as Greenbelt Pathway W. / Trans-Canada Trail. I believe the Citizen photo is of the area in the woods where the trail bends south away from the Queensway. That was Henry Bishop’s quarry in 1861; the quarries north of Corkstown would have been Keefer’s. Campbell began operations on that extended sandstone ridge in 1916, and shut down when it was bought out by the NCC about 1962. I can’t say exactly where they were operating then; there appears to have been a second roadway into that general area from Hazeldean Road

Henry Bishop’s was not the only stone quarry in the area, and may not have been the biggest supplier of stone for the Parliament Buildings. In “The City Beyond”, Bruce Elliott writes: “In the spring of 1861 nearly a hundred quarrymen and stonecutters were boarding in and about Bells Corners. Henry Bishop boarded about 30 of the quarrymen who were working at Keefer’s quarry on the Corkstown Road. He also ran a tavern, which he came to regret because of the insobriety of some of the workmen.

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Jul 1960, Sat  •  Page 35

Nevertheless, his fine stone house was built with the profits. Maps show A. Keefer as part-owner of the lot on the north side of the Corkstown Road, directly across from Bishop’s. Elsewhere, Elliott notes that fine stone house (“Bishop’s Palace”) was built with stone from Bishop’s own quarry.

Here is an Apr. 30, 1966 Citizen note on the demolition of Bishop’s hotel for the Queensway -Jaan Kolk
Linda Seccaspina

Actually, it was recorded in the History of the Ottawa Valley that Mr. Henry, father of Mr. Bishop of Wellington Street had a fine place, Bishop’s Palace. Their sandstone quarries out which much of the ‘decoration’ of the parliament buildings of the city was produced was located between Courtney’s and Pollock’s.

The Irishmen like Henry Bishop’s family who founded Nepean’s Corkstown not long afterwards are believed to have started settling there as early as the 1840s. It became a substantial community, partly due to the flourishing quarry works established nearby that employed as many as 100 men at a time, and provided much of the fine Nepean sandstone used in the first Parliament Buildings.

These men had many hardships to deal with, and one of the first houses along the old Corkstown Road was soon turned into a tavern where the weary workers could raise their flagging spirits. Henry Bishop owned it, and his comfort station was known far and wide as the Bishop’s Palace.

The two-storey stone structure, built in 1861 was known before, the turn of the century as “Bishop’s Palace” when it served as an inn for travellers, area farmers and workers from nearby Nepean Sandstone Quarries.

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Here is Henry Bishop’s obituary from the Ottawa Journal, Nov. 2, 1901: (thanks to Jaan Kolk)

In April of 1966 National Capital Commission awarded a contract to Alfred Beaulne Construction for the demolition of Bishop’s Palace on the south side of Corkstown Road. It had also served as a private residence from the early 1900s until 1938 when it was acquired by NCC. News of impending demolition was greeted with “regrets and resignation’ ‘by Nepean Township Historical Society.

In an odd note, maybe there was a hex of some sort in that area near the quarry. Today, Campbell’s/ Bishop’s Quarry now sits abandoned, and years ago it stopped being able to provide sandstone. According to Deachman’s article on the abandoned Campbell/ Bishop’s Quarry-” repairs to the generally neglected stonework of the Museum of Nature required many tons of replacement sandstone (approximately five per cent of the museum’s stone had to be replaced), architect Barry Padolsky and the Department of Public Works attempted to have the quarry re-opened. Their efforts ultimately failed, however, when Natural Resources Canada objected, noting that the heavy machinery needed for the quarry would throw off the calibration of the instruments at their research laboratory adjacent to the quarry.” (Q is for Quarry)

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Oct 1966, Wed  •  Page 27

What was once a historical workplace for 100s of men now fades into the sandstone so to speak. So thanks to Jaan Kolk for his help– another historical area like the Pure Spring Ginger Ale water spring is documented for generations to come.

Pointing to the sandstone buildings around us, some of which had stood there for several hundreds of years, she commented on how old everything in Oxford looked. Can’t they afford anything new? she asked earnestly.”-In the Light of What We Know

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Dec 2018, Sat  •  Page A2
Henry Bishop

1880s- 
Legislature of the Province of Ontario

Descriptive Catalogue
of Ontario Minerals
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Henry Bishop–Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
05 Apr 1851, Sat  •  Page 2
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Henry Bishop mentioned.. Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Oct 1874, Tue  •  Page 4
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of interest to all because of the clipping above it…. Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Sep 1880, Mon  •  Page 4

Campbell's Quarry--Archie Campbell

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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Jan 1932, Sat  •  Page 13
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 May 1960, Sat  •  Page 44
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jul 1949, Fri  •  Page 15
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Sep 1959, Wed  •  Page 21

Q is for Quarry: Forgotten, overgrown quarry provided the building blocks of Ottawa

Particulars About Pure Spring Ginger Ale — Jaan Kolk and Linda Seccaspina Historic Rabbit Hole Series

A. Huckels & Co. -The Story of a Bottle- Thanks to Jaan Kolk

The Marvellous Jaan Kolk

Talking Through Your Hat? Jaan Kolk

So Where Was Caldwell Mills? Thanks Jaan Kolk

The Thrift Store Couple – More Information-Jaan Kolk

The House on the Hill — Up the 8th Line of Ramsay — Jaan Kolk Files

Britannia Boat House Doomed— April 1907 Ice Jam –Jaan Kolk Files

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign–Dr. Winters 154-160 Bridge Street Carleton Place –Jaan Kolk Files

Please take the Devil Out of Me? Rev. James Wilson of Lanark

Did You Know we Once Had a Grand Hotel? The Grand Central Hotel

The Cholera Epidemic of 1911

The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes

Benoit & Richardson Photo– a Mystery

Before there was Baker Bob’s There was The Almonte Bakery

Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?

Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files

THE STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE 8 YEAR-OLD McGILTON BOY

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THE STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE  8 YEAR-OLD McGILTON BOY

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One of the Most Baffling Mysteries of Eastern Canada

This is a story of the tragic and mysterious fate of the 8-year-old son of Thomas McGilton, of Ottawa, who was supposed to have been lost in the stoney swamp west of Bell’s Corners in the year 1870.  Thomas McGilton was a bootmaker, whose store  was on Mosgrove street, a well known and respected citizen.  One day in the early summer of 1870, during some sort of a celebration in Ottawa, his eight-year-old son disappeared.

A search began in Ottawa and as it proved fruitless and was widened to take in the roads out of the city. The only clue was found at Bell’s Corners, where the toll-gate keeper distinctly remembered seeing a few days previously: a boy of his age and appearance pass through the gate and turn up the road toward Richmond. At once a searching party of sympathetic villagers was organized. They travelled as far as Richmond, but neither sight nor sign of the boy could be had.

It occurred to some that the McGilton boy might have wandered into the great stoney swamp a couple of miles southwest of the village. It was decided to scour the swamp, and volunteers were called for. The whole male part of the village and scores of farmers turned out and the searchers kept growing till some fifty men and many boys were in the hunt. The search was kept up for days but without avail. Every bit of the dreary swamp was ransacked, but the boy was not found, nor was there the slightest indication that he had fallen a victim to wild animals of any sort of natives.

As a last resort, someone came to Ottawa and engaged a native woodsman who had a reputation as a guide and trapper. But he was not able to throw any light on the disappearance.  Sadly the searchers returned to their homes and confessed that they were beaten. Then a theory gained credence that the boy bad been picked up by some passing farmer and that he would be later returned to his home.

But whatever the facts of the disappearance were, the boy was never found. This became one of the most mysterious of the unexplained mysteries of Eastern Canada. It should be told that this happening  was just a couple of months prior to the great fire of 1870 which swept Bell’s Corners.

historicalnotes

1872 Deaths - from the Ottawa Free Press Thomas McGilton
Oct 19, John George, and on Oct 21, Arthur, the 2 youngest sons of Thomas MCGILTON(?) 
of Mosgrove Street.
Dec 7,  Mary Jane, 24, wife of William John JOYCE and daughter of Thomas MCGILTON.

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Clipped from

  1. Memphis Daily Appeal,
  2. 19 Aug 1870, Fri,
  3. First Edition,
  4. Page 1

The great fire of 1870– Leona Kidd
Ten died as flames swept 60-mile swath through Valley
By Kathy McPerson-Fox, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park
Kathy McPerson-Fox, who worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources at Murphy’s Point Park last summer, did a great deal of research through old Perth Couriers to dig out old stories of “The Great Fire”.
The following is an introduction by Kathy as well as stories about the fire written in 1870. During the summer of 1870, as a result of dry weather and high winds, a great fire swept through this region destroying land and property from Westport to Ottawa, a distance of approximately 60 miles.
Bells Corners and Ironsides, near Ottawa were completely devastated. An estimated ten people lost their lives.

The fire travelled along fences, corduroy roads and railway lines. During the peak of the fire in August, 1870, the great portion of the Canada Central Railway Line was on fire, with many station houses lost. North Burgess Township in which Murphy’s Point is situated, was one of the areas hardest hit by the fire. The absence of many softwoods throughout the hardwood stands is one loss that is evident today.

The Stony Swamp Conservation Area offers the greatest diversity of trails and activities, including: interpretive exhibits on geology and natural history; wetland boardwalks; a winter bird-feeding station; historic sites such as the Lime Kiln; and portions of the Rideau and Trans Canada trails.
Trails in the area include:
Bell Park, Bruce Pit, Jack Pine, Lime Kiln and Old Quarry trails.

Need “BLOOD-LETTING’? Head on Down to the Blacksmith!

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Need “BLOOD-LETTING’? Head on Down to the Blacksmith!

blacksmith2.jpg

 

Being “bled” by the village blacksmith was one of the ways in which the people of Bell’s Corners and the surrounding country used to keep well in the 1800s. Mr. Wm. Arnold narrates that when he was a boy in the 1860s Thomas Bowes, who kept a blacksmith shop about a mile and a halt up the road towards Hazeldean, had quite a reputation as a “blood letter” and people used to go to him from miles around.

Mr. Bowes did not profess to be a physician in the regular sense, but he did profess to be real handy in opening a vein in the arm and letting out superfluous of diseased blood.  It must not be understood that Mr. Bowes put his customers’ arms on the anvil and opened the vein with a two foot steel chisel. Not at all. Mr. Bowes, according to Mr. Arnold, owned some very fine lances such as the surgeons of the day used, and he handled them most expertly. Such was the word of the rest of the blacksmiths in all the counties.

Some said that if Thomas Bowes had had a college education he would have made a very excellent surgeon, as he had, despite his strength a very fine touch, and was very attentive binding up the arm and stopping the flow of blood after the necessary amount had been “let.”

Doctors ‘ were rather scarce in the area, and there was a shortage of leeches, and one had to go to Ottawa for “leeches.” As the reputation of Mr. Bowes as a blood-letter grew, fewer people went to Ottawa for leeches. It was a common thing in or around Bell’s Corners to hear one man say to another, “Where are you going?” and have the other reply, “Oh, up to Tom Bowes’ to get bled.”

Mr. Bowes’ services were mostly called into requisition in cases of bruises or other injuries which caused discoloration. But it often happened that men went to him when they merely felt out of sorts and when they reasoned that a little loss of blood would do them good.

In those days no one had heard of high blood pressure. Had such a thing been known, then it is quite possible that more would have gone to him for blood-letting on that account. Mr. Arnold says that Mr. Bowes, besides being a good blood-letter, was a good blacksmith and that he will long be remembered as one of the “Institutions” at the Bell’s Corners country.

 

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 Friday night October 5- FREE! Donations to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum would be appreciated–

AND it’s on!!! Explore the amusing and ghastly tales of old Carleton Place. Escape into the past as your offbeat guide Linda Seccaspina provides you with an eerie, educational, yet fun-filled adventure. Learn about many of Carleton Place’s historic figures and just like you they walk the dark streets of Carleton Place in search of nightly entertainment, yet, they don’t know that they themselves are the entertainment. Walkabout begins Friday night October 5 at 7 pm in front of Scott Reid’s Office–224 Bridge Street– the former Leland Hotel –and ends at the Grand Hotel. About one hour.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

  1. relatedreading

    The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

  2. The Curious World of Bill Bagg — The Gillies Blacksmith Shop

  3. Walter Cameron the Famous Blacksmith of Fallbrook

  4. The Blacksmiths of Lanark County

Clippings About Viking Helicopters

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Clippings About Viking Helicopters

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  29 Jun 1979, Fri,  [First Edition],  Page 1

Viking Helicopters moved close to Carleton Place, and into the grand old stone house, which was used as the office building and the hangars were nearby. After a number of years the stone house caught fire and the contents were destroyed. A couple of the “overnighters” narrowly escaped that night.

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Carleton Place Parade 1977 Viking Helicopters

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Carla Coker sent in this photo

This was a float by Viking Helicopters (complete with a helicopter)! My dad, Roy Coker, worked there. He was dressed as Klinger in one of my mom’s coats with gaudy costume jewellry and looked the part. Wish I had a photo of him!

Ross Johnson The helicopter on the float has history… it was the first commercially certified helicopter in the USA… 

 - CP photo Larry Camphaug, president of Ottawa's...

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

relatedreading

Chimneys and Black Boxes —Leigh Instruments

Remembering Industry in Carleton Place- Digital and Leigh Instruments

Bomb Scare in Carleton Place

It was Friday the 13th on Napoleon Street in Carleton Place