Tag Archives: boats

Fear of the Life Aquatic by Linda Knight Seccaspina

Fear of the Life Aquatic by Linda Knight Seccaspina

Oakland Ferry- San Francisco 1880

Fear of the Life Aquatic by Linda Knight Seccaspina

One hot summer day when I was 6 my mother spoke some wise words while we stood on the edge of the dock at Selby Lake in Quebec. Bernice Ethylene Knight warned me over and over not to stare at the water as she prophesied that I would fall in. While everyone was enjoying their picnic lunch I immediately returned to the edge of that dock to test her theory.

Like a flying duck making a fell swoop into the water I fell in head first. That was the day I nearly drowned and water and “boating” became a fearful enemy. When I turned 60  ten years ago, I felt I should finally throw caution to the wind. 

Oakland, California- July 2012

I walked slowly down the planked path to the dock as the seagulls flew over me with mocking cries. They could smell my fear and taunted me as I approached the dock. I could feel my stomach inching up into my throat and it felt like the church picnic at Haven Isles in the 60’s all over again. Walking across the small plank that was hooked to the dock reminded me of the swinging bridge across the river at that annual picnic at the popular Townships location. If this thing swayed like that Haven Isles bridge Linda was going to be glued to the dock in fear forever.

Seldom late for anything I arrive 37 minutes ahead of schedule to make sure I am on time to possibly die. I call my friend and leave a message that if the ferry starts going down— please pick up my call and not let it go to message.  I decide to stick my identification that I have placed in a plastic bag inside my sports bra so if the boat goes down they can identify my body quickly.

I watch the elderly tourists getting onto the Potomac; fondly known as The Floating White House. The boat was originally called the USCG Cutter Electra in 1934. I watch as they pull anchor and gaze at the waving occupants that I feel might not make it across the bay.

We all proceed on to the ferry like a funeral march, and I glance at the sign that states that if the above alarm goes off to man your stations.  Where actually is my station I ask the steward as he silently motions me to go upstairs to the second deck. Watching from above I see a child below grasping a floater. He too is unsure of his fate and I silently berate myself for not bringing a floater.

We approach Treasure Island and the water begins to get rougher. An elderly man from the old 187th Airbourne assures me everything will be fine and begins to tell me stories from WWII. The fear has now been replaced by similar droning words that I have been told dozens of times by my late grandfather. 

I am amazed at how little that holds up the Bay Bridge and realize that the bridge will fall on us if an earthquake should immediately occur.  I wonder if the captain is slowing down just to scare us as there is most certainly no backed up traffic in these waters.

Attempting to get the perfect shot of the bridge I fall on the slippery deck as the captain increases his speed. Thankfully my nightmare does not occur and Linda does not do a fatal

swan dive over the edge. The passengers are impressed as I lay there and take a picture of the under belly of the Bay Bridge. There is no way I could have gotten this angle standing up.

The captain now assumes his ferry is a speed boat and we bounce off the crests of the waves that make the nearby sailboats heave up and down. I  suddenly question whether I should immediately go in and hit the bar.

I see Pier 39 in the distance and wonder how people swim from that pier to Alcatraz Island everyday. Neighbouring passengers tell me there are dolphins in this part of the bay and I immediately think of Flipper and how he helped drowning people.

Getting off the ferry I am immediately greeted by The Silver Man whose real name is Evan. I notice the large bucket he has for the exiting passengers like myself.  My stomach silently asks what form of payment he wants. I am proud that I faced my fear head on and know that if I ever win a cruise — it is going to the first person that wants it.

Architecture Stories: The Voodoo Madam – Mary Ellen Pleasant

The Lady Who Sang the Blues-Time Travel

We Are No Longer in Gnome Man’s Land — Do You Gnome What I am Saying?

Painting the Memories with Written Word –Linda Knight Seccaspina

Can-Am Boating Almonte Laurie LaDouceur

Can-Am Boating  Almonte Laurie LaDouceur

Thanks to Laurie Ladouceur for sending this. I can find few memories of the boating gang in Almonte. Could you please leave some memories?

This is a pic of some guys that use to race boats at almonte beach— one is my grandfather and another one is Leonard Smithson- Laurie Ladouceur

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jul 1977, Mon  •  Page 21
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jul 1977, Mon  •  Page 17
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Apr 1972, Sat  •  Page 30
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jul 1977, Mon  •  Page 21

Update on The Gamblins — Evan Gamblin

Read–The Man that Brought “Canada” Back to Carleton Place – Bill Bagg

Shipman & Acme Engines Clippings and Notations

Bill Gamblin and the Skiff

It was the Boathouse that Went On and On….

Bob Sadler’s Boat Rides –Mary Cook News Archives 1982
Building the Bradley Boat House

The Carleton Place Riverside Park Booth Etc. Etc.

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

Was a Boldt Castle Boathouse Once in our Midst? See the Home of the Daphne!

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 5



The facts below are from the flyer passed out on January 1: Carleton Place-A Valley Town at Confederation 1867 by the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. I have personally added some extra tidbits under the facts. I have to apologize I really got carried away with this one.




Photo–Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce “The Ripple”



Carleton Place July 31, 1885 from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage MuseumW.H. Wylie’s steam yacht “The Ripple(43′ keel, 10′ beam) at Hawthorne 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


Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage MuseumFact–The first steamboat was launched on the Mississippi River and made regular trips on the Mississippi between Carleton Place and Innisville.

In the  1880’s to 1900, steamers were produced, and built built right in Carleton Place. They included the” Witch of the Wave” , “ The  Morning Star” , “ the Ripple” and the” Mayflower”. Read more here at Heritage Carleton Place.



Photo–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum—These Carleton Place citizens of the 1890’s are lined up on the Lake Park dock waiting to board the steamship “Carleton”. It ran regular trips between Lake Park Lodge on Mississippi Lake and the town docks located near the Hawthorne Mill at the end of Charles Street. 
Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–This photo was taken in 1905 by Howard Edwards and shows a young couple strolling west along the river’s edge, towards the present day boat launch. Note the steamer in the water, also heading West – perhaps to Lake Park or Innisville.
Photo–Heritage Carleton PlaceThe Steamboat ‘ Carleton’
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Mississippi River, Carleton Place, Ont.
Warwick Bros & Rutter, Limited
Picture, 1910–Virtual Reference Library
The Carleton which was a 80 foot long shallow paddle wheeler graced the Mississippi for many years. Sam McLaren who was known for his red beard was captain on the steamer, and it went up and down the Mississippi lakes and river. Read more here at Heritage Carleton Place.
McCullough’s Landing was another of the Carleton Place steamer excursion destinations. One of its biggest gatherings was a political rally in 1896, just before a hard-fought federal election. The lake’s biggest steamer, the Carleton, provided the transportation in loads of around 200 per trip, at a return fare of 25 cents.
The Enterprise, a paddle wheeler which could carry a hundred passengers, travelled the lake for twenty-five years in the service of the McLaren Mill and the Canada Lumber Co. Under the intentions of its builders, its regular run would have been between Lanark Village, Playfairville and Carleton Place. That was the route that gained some historic standing in the story of the Mississippi when a number of the first Ramsay township settlers reached their new homes in 1821 by travelling down the Clyde and Mississippi by water from Lanark Village to the site of Almonte.
In 1907 as an indication of the change at Lake Park, the steamer ‘Lillian B’ belonging to the Queen Royal Hotel, was replaced with a bus line as the regular passenger service and later was beached in the Hotel Bay. A view of this abandoned forty foot steam craft about the year 1910 with her ribs lying open to the elements may serve as a picture of the end of one era on the lake, still carrying its earliest Indian name of the Lake of the Big River, and the start of another era a little more like our own.-Howard Morton Brown
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tue, Sep 15, 1896 – Page 6



Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum—Mississippi River Days featured a flotilla of decorated boats in 1991.

Did you know that Lake Park Hotel even sported a race track, and some of the horses were transported from Carleton Place via the grand old steamers of the day? Read more here: Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario


Did you know an 18 year-old named Bertha Sumner was last seen knocking on the Cram’s door around 4 pm and later seen on the bridge watching a new steamer being launched? What happened to her? Read more here..The Strange Disappearance of Bertha Sumner of Carleton Place


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Photo- Linda Seccaspina


Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum Fact–In 1867 our Carleton Place Postmaster Patrick Struthers was in his third term as Beckwith reeve. In just three years Carleton Place would be incorporated as a separate municipal body. 

Patrick Struthers (1830-1907) was a merchant and later magistrate and was in charge of the local post office for over forty-five years.  On April 1, 1860 Postmaster Patrick Struthers took charge and the post office was in three different locations. It was first on Bridge and Bell and then in 1870’s he moved it across the bridge to the NE corner of Bridge and Franklin.  In 1891 the Post Office was moved for the third time under Struthers’ charge. It had moved out of a private business to a government building for the first time and the government building is  the red sandstone building at 81 Bridge Street.

Patrick (Peter) Struthers, and his assistant Finlay McEwen, were known for their rather thin light coloured beards. I searched the 1901 census for him and according to a genealogy forum on ancestry.ca the reason he was difficult to find on the census was because he was living with his new wife (Ann Chambers was his first), Margaret’s, mother.The Beckwith municipal council elected for 1865 was: Patrick Struthers, reeve, and Archibald McArthur, Donald Carmichael, George Kidd and Alexander Ferguson.



                             Ceceila Stuart Struthers McMullen with two of her children


Ceceila Stuart from England was adopted by Patrick Struthers of Carleton Place when she came to Canada with her family in 1870. Susan Stewart and her sister Cecilia (1868-1925) were daughters of John Joseph Stewart, born in London, England ~ 1844.

Mr. Stewart and his young family immigrated to Canada ~ 1871, but Mrs. Stewart died on the way over and was buried at sea. Upon arrival Mr. Stewart, newly widowed, with two young children, no home and no job, was obliged to find his children homes.

Cecilia was “adopted” by Patrick Struthers, the postmaster in Carleton Place, but is listed in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 Census as Cecilia Stewart. Her sister Susan is remembered to have been adopted “elsewhere” and “went west”. West, to the people of Lanark County at this time could have meant the Grey/Bruce area of Ontario, or the Prairie Provinces or the Dakotas.

Mr. Stewart settled in Toronto, re-married in 1874 and had a second family. He maintained contact with his daughter *Cecilia and was known to her children. He died in Long Branch (west end of Toronto) in 1920.

This is probably way more than you wanted to know–but I could have written a lot more:)

Who worked for the post office the longest in Lanark County? Clue– it was a local postmaster–read here: Who Worked for the Post Office the Longest in Lanark County?


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Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Added November 20 2017-

 This photo of the McMullen family recently surfaced in our files. Can anyone tell us about them? They appear to be up at the lake – see the steamer in the background to the right?

Perth Courier, April 1, 1892

The Carleton Place Herald of 29th March says:  “On Thursday last Miss Margaret Struthers, daughter of the late Robert Struthers of Ramsay and sister of Patrick Struthers, Esq., postmaster, Mrs. Duncan Miller of town and William Struthers of Appleton, passed away after suffering from a severe illness for some time past.  The deceased has lived with her brother for a number of years and was well known in town.  She was 54 years of age.  Hers is the first death in the family of 12 children in 42 years.

Perth Courier, March 22, 1889

Among the new magistrates newly appointed by the Ontario government are Messrs. John F. Cram, Patrick Struthers and William H. Wylie all of Carleton Place.  The latter gentleman is a strong Conservative.

Perth Courier, Feb. 21, 1896

A nephew of Patrick Struthers of Carleton Place was killed at Oil City, Pennsylvania a short time ago while working at his trade as a carpenter and Mrs. Struthers left for Oil City on getting the news.

Perth Courier –July 9 1897

On Friday last a man named John O’Connell was brought in from Carleton Place by Chief Wilson and committed for trial by P. Struthers, J.P. charged with stealing a $5 bill and a silver watch guard from one James Scott in the Mississippi Hotel on the 28th ult. He denies the charge and has asked for a trial without jury and before the county judge.

Peter Struthers, for the past quarter century postmaster at Carleton Place, is enjoying his first visit to Manitoba. The Pilot Mound Sentinel says: “Mr. Struthers is accompanied by his sister Mrs. Miller, who is visiting her daughter, Mrs. Edward Cavers of Gowanscroft.”

Perth Courier, Nov. 25, 1892

The Carleton Place Herald records the death of Mrs. Patrick Struthers wife of postmaster Peter Struthers of that town at the age of 77 years.  Her death took place at Toronto on the 18th inst.  Her maiden name was Ann Chambers and she was first married to William Moffat of Carleton Place who met an accidental death in California in 1852(?) during the gold fever there.  Mrs. Isaac Cram of Montague and Mrs. Joseph Cram of Beckwith are daughters of hers by that marriage.  In December of 1860 she married Mr. Struthers.  She had been in poor health for the past 20 years.



*Cecilia Stewart, adopted daughter of Patrick Struthers married John Mcmullen and had 6 children. She passed away on 21 Feb 1925 in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada.  Her husband John was born in Pinhey S Point March Township Carleton, Ontario, Canada on 20 Oct 1856 to George Mcmullen and Margaret Tubman. He passed away on 3 Mar 1939 in New Jersey, USA.

I found one of their sons, *George Patrick Mcmullen, who was born in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada on 13 Dec 1892. George Patrick married *Annie Fern Cooke, born in Beckwith  August 6, 1892, and they had a *son J. McMullen.


*February 3, 1971            J. McMullen Dies Merrickville

  1. J.McMullen passed away on Wednesday, February 3, 1971, at Smiths Falls, following a short illness. He was 46 years of age. Born in Merrickville, July 29,1924, he was a son of George Patrick McMullen and his wife, Anne Fern Cooke, who survive and were formerly of this area. He received his education at Merrickville Public School and Albert College, Belleville, Ont. He had served with the Royal Canadian Navy from 1939 – 1945 and had been employed as a lineman with the construction department of Canada. He attended the Merrickville United Church and was a member of Merrickville Lodge A. F.& A.M., No. 55, G.R.C. and Maitland Chapter R. A. M . , No. 68 at Kemptville, Ont. Besides his wife, the former Margaret Isabell Buchanan, and his parents, he is survived by a daughter, Patricia Gail and a son William George, both at home. The funeral was held in the Chapel of the Lannin Funeral Rome, Smiths Falls, on Saturday, February 6, at 2 p.m., with Rev. Harold Kempling officiating. Interment will be in South Gower Cemetery in the spring. The pallbearers were Messrs. John Bruce, Bill Smith, Gordon Knapp, Thomas McKibbon, Arthur Heroux and Gordon Whaley.


Anne Fern <i>Cooke</i> McMullen


Birth: Aug. 4, 1893
Ontario, Canada
Death: May 20, 1982
Ontario, Canada

Born in Scotch Corners, Beckwith Township, Lanark County, Ontario. Died in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Married George Patrick McMullen on June 23, 1920.Family links:
Seeley Cooke (1855 – 1933)
Rebecca Chamney (1859 – 1940)Spouse:
George Patrick McMullen (1892 – 1972)*Sibling:
Chamney Edward Cooke (1889 – 1972)*
Anne Fern Cooke McMullen (1893 – 1982)

Related Reading-

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 15oth-part 1

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 2

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 3

Facts You Might Not Know About Carleton Place for our 150th Birthday – Part 4

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun