Tag Archives: carleton place and beckwith museum

Don’t Have a Cow Man!– Tales from Squaw Point



Dinky Dooley Island– Mississippi Lake- 1907- Frank Robertson standing in doorway at right- -Photo from theCarleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Coming into the third or Middle Lake King’s Bay in Mississippi Lake, extending from above the *Two Oaks cottage shore to the cottages of Squaw Point was named for Colin King of the 1822 Scotch Corners settlement.  The official names of the point at the Two Oaks Shore, and the island beside it commonly called Dinky Dooley, are King Point and King Island, according to the government map.

Squaw Point, one of the best known landmarks on the course, looks like a logical Indian campsite, with a lookout and a sheltered landing and we have it on the authority of Fred Hunter that that is what it was.  The depth of this part of the lake increases greatly and out of it near the middle rise the tops of the Two Crabs, the smallest islands in the lake.

When Charlie Morphy and Dinky Saunders (the original Dinky Dooley) had a tent pitched on Squaw Point. Coming in from a morning shoot they were astounded to see a cow with its head under the tent flap.

Dinky said,

“Give it a crack Charlie!”

Charlie picked up a stick and smacked it one.

You can probably guess what happened. The animal went through the canvas tent ripping it to shreds and carried the remnants away on his horns.  We have no idea if the aftermath was filled with lurid language– we just know that all is not butter that comes from a cow.

Chrissie Lancaster- I am pretty sure it was called Twin Oaks not Two Oaks.

Tales from Dinky Dooley Island

The Laird of Pretty Island

The Phantom Light on Mississippi Lake

The Cottages of Mississippi Lake — Carleton Place Ontario

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

CPHS Students Declare War on Mississippi Lake – 1973

For Whom the Toll Gates Tolled– Revised


In the fall I wrote a small piece for my blog, but this has been revised and it’s new and improved as they say in the Cereal Box family.:)


The old saying is: “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. That quote might not fit the bill if you had to endure our local roads in the 1800’s.  Roads, for longer than people could remember, were nothing more than dirt tracks that turned into mud in the winter and baked rock hard in the summer. Either way, movement along these ‘roads’ was difficult, and at certain times of the year, practically impossible–especially in Montague Township. Farmers suffered terribly due to bad road conditions. They were forced to maintain the roads that were adjacent to their property, by crushing stones and grading the roadway. If you didn’t agree to do this, there could be serious fines imposed.

Port Elmsley’s official name in the very beginning was “Barbodies” and in 1843 referred to as Pike Falls.  A crude road ran from their small military settlement to Perth, and part of it was made out of planks. It was kept up by forced labour and in extremely bad condition. Between Pike Falls and Perth there were two toll gates: one at Lester Polk’s side road, and one at Richardson’s side road near Perth.

The Perth Road was surveyed in 1852 in order to encourage settlement of the isolated areas lying between Kingston and Perth. Though passable over its 50-mile length as a winter road by early 1855, the road was still largely incomplete by 1859-60. Lawsuits resulted in the disposal of its property at sheriffs’ sales, and the maintenance of the road was taken over in 1874 by the provincial Crown Lands Department.


This is the “Toll Gate House” located just south of the Village of Lanark on Hwy # 511.

They say the road to success is always under construction. The local governments decided that implementing a toll was a way to raise money to achieve better road conditions. Toll gates were established in which people and carriages had to pass before continuing on their journey. The public was given the opportunity to invest in these road companies. Any group of men with a minimum of 5 people could form a joint company as long as they built a minimum of two miles of road. There could be a toll gate every five miles, and the charge was a penny per mile with a half penny extra for animals. Most of the roads were laid with pine blanks, with most of the planks coming from the John Gillies sawmill.

As you can well imagine people began to object having to pay tolls.  Charges rose, and the costs for a team and wagon were now five cents; for a man and horse three cents; for anyone walking, there was no charge. But, if you went to church, or were a man of uniform, you could forgo all means of payment. Some braver souls would take a chance and jump over the toll gate to avoid paying fees. To lessen the chance of this happening, those managing the toll booths erected spikes at the top of the gates. In some parts of the area the toll gates were so unpopular, that they were destroyed by fire after dark.


Photo– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

As the public grew angrier throughout the counties The Lanark Era newspaper jumped into the fray, and informed the public in print where the secret non- paying roads were. By 1856 people had enough and refused to pay because the road planks were rotting away. Word up and down the line was that the roads had become so bad even the transportation of corpses couldn’t make it to their destinations. In 1904 tolls ceased to exist as the maintenance of the road was taken over by the county.

Screenshot 2017-06-09 at 11.jpg

The Days of the Loosey Cigarette, Slinky and Mailing a Letter



Photo from the files of the Carleton Place Canadian –Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-originally came from the Shane Edwards family.

Back in the 1950s my Father could go to any store and buy a single cigarette for a penny or three. It was specifically aimed (at that time) at low earners and children, and my Father who realized he shouldn’t be smoking so much. Some of the local Carleton Place grocers used to break a pack of cigarettes and retail them to the local lads. This was a break as a penny was real money in those days.

But it might interest you to know that in that same year you could have purchased a gallon of gasoline for 20 cents.

And if you thought that the price of fuel was worth writing about, you could have sent the information along in a letter for 3 cents in 1950.

By 1951 the price of postage and gas hadn’t changed, but most everything else had.

And if inflation got you down, you could kill yourself affordably by overeating. A 14 ounce can of Hershey’s Syrup was 17 cents, sliced bacon went for 69 cents a pound, and bread was only 16 cents.

If you survived your eating binge in 1951 but were still distraught, there was still no need to pinch pennies while planning your demise.


Photo from the files of the Carleton Place Canadian –Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-originally came from the Shane Edwards family.

You could buy a 10-pack of Gillette Blue Blades for 49 cents

For the less stressed and clearer thinking individuals of the 50’s there were bargains aplenty.

In 1953 a typical house went for around $17,400. You could even brag about your new home to all of your friends via mail without breaking your budget. Postage was still 3 cents.

T-bone steak was 95 cents a pound in 1954. Journalists of the day reported excited carnivores corresponding with one another in unprecedented numbers due to the fact that letters still cost only 3 cents to mail.

The big economic news of 1955 was that a stamp cost only 3 cents. And since most people wrote with only one hand at a time, many busied their other digits with a Slinky they purchased for 88 cents.

Others stepped away from their desks long enough to ogle the girl next door, looking resplendent her nylon hose ($1.00) as she went off to work toting her Mickey Mouse Lunchbox (88 cents).

By 1956 the average American was making around $2.14 an hour (enough to buy 71 stamps with change to spare).

And if they needed transportation to the post office they could choose from a variety of Ford automobiles that cost under $1,800.

Bread was 19 cents a loaf in 1957. And milk was going for about $1.00 a gallon.

“But how much was postage?” you may ask.

Well, my friends, in 1957, it was a mere 3 cents to drop a letter in the slot.

Then came darkness for purveyors of penmanship in 1958 when he price of postage soared to an astounding 4 cents per standard letter, prompting millions to say, “Who cares?” as they munched on 4 cents a pound celery and looked toward the future.


Photo from the files of the Carleton Place Canadian –Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum-originally came from the Shane Edwards family.

We’re going to jump ahead a few years to 1954 and go to go to the store for some Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. This delicious breakfast cereal was invented by the Kellogg brothers in 1894 and an 8-ounce box cost 25 cents in the ’50s. You could have bought four boxes for a dollar.

If you wanted some steak and eggs or fruit to go with your cereal in the ’50s, here’s an estimate of what your dollar would have purchased:

  • One pound Porterhouse steak = 95 cents

  • Two dozen eggs = 98 cents

  • Twenty-four grapefruit = $1.00

  • Three pounds coffee = $1.11

    Those were the days my friend!


Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works -Creepy Entertainment


wax works

This is an artotype made by Albert Bierstadt from one of his many Adirondack photographs of Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works . The image shows men and women posed on a makeshift stage in the parlor of the Prospect House in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. A number of well-dressed men and women sit in chairs facing the stage. 


Perth Courier, April 14, 1893

Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works will be on exhibit in the town hall, Perth, on Friday, 21st April.  Mrs. Jarley will be sustained by Miss McCabb of Portland, Maine, a distinguished amateur.  The various characters in the wax works will be impersonated by a well known amateur of this town.  The music will be furnished by the *Perth Harmonic Band which has generously given its services for the occasion.  During the evening Mrs. Downey will also give a clarinet solo.  Popular price of admission is 25 cents.  Reserved seats 35 cents.  Seats may be reserved in *Mr. Hart’s bookstore. 

The  next week according to the Almonte Gazette Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works exhibition was at the Neuman’s Hall in Carleton Place.


Performances of “wax works” like this play were popular during the mid nineteenth century, and were a precursor to modern cinema. Mrs. Jarley was the proprietor of a travelling wax works show which had displays of life-size figures made of wax and dressed as famous people. Local people impersonated the wax figures on stage to provide the 360 effect one might say.

Before being known as Mrs. Jarley’s Wax Works it was known as Ferguson’s Wax Works, founded by that gentleman in 1832 or 1833. In the Twilight Zone episode “The New Exhibit” one of the curator’s is curator of murderers’ row in Ferguson’s Wax Museum. There were characters of King George III; Mr. Grimaldt, as clown; Mary, Queen of Scots, and even the “virgin maid” Queen Elizabeth.

I don’t know about you but I found this whole idea quite creepy, but it was a popular form of entertainment.


Carleton Place’s affiliation to John Hart’s Bookstore in Perth




The Perth Citizens Band has been in more or less continuous existence since 1852. It is now one of the oldest, and perhaps the very oldest, town band in Canada, a carryover from the nineteenth century when musical groups were an important part of the pionering community they entertained and served. For the most part comprised of amateur musicians, they were generally led by a professional who was not only trained in music, but was capable of giving instruction to others. This bandmaster would be the only bandsman paid for his service; the others received time off, free travel and other perks for providing entertainment on public occasions.

Over the years, the Band in Perth had different names: the Perth Brass Band, the St Patricks Band, The Fountain Engine Band, and the 42nd Battalion Band, for example. Sometimes, several bands co-existed in the same locale: the Harmonic Band and the Citizens Band, of the 1890s.

The success of any band was generally dependent upon being able to secure the services of a good leader, and paying him enough to keep him. Perth in its time attracted many exceptional bandmasters, beginning with the great Liberati, who started his spectacular North American career in Perth and Ottawa, and T. F. Jacobs, who came and went over the lifetime of several bands. A noted Canadian composer of band music spent a year leading the Perth band, and some stayed long enough to start orchestras and philharmonic societies. Most disppeared without a trace, to better paying jobs south, and west with new migration.

Perth survives, an anachronism in the the age of TV. It is now a Lanark County band, with its members drawn from a variety of neighbouring communities, such as Lanark and Smith’s Falls.

The Perth Citizens Band is engaged in compiling its 150 year history, and welcomes all contributions and leads, on old members, bandmasters, repertoire and venues. Please contact the historian Daphne Overhill at over@superaje.com.

From the Lanark County Genealogical Society


The old Perth Couriers can be read at the Archives Lanark

How To Contact Us

By Email at:


By Post to:

Archives Lanark
P.O. Box 512,
Ontario       K7H 3K4

Or visit the Archives at

1920 Concession 7 Rd,
Drummond Centre

Beautiful Minds at Ladies Who Lunch


The Ladies Who Lunch event will be held June 6th at the Carleton Place Town Hall at noon. It will be slightly different than a usual LWL as two off sites will be offered to only those that attend the lunch. A special scarf will grant you access to both sites after the tea. You have already read about Springside Hall and the other location will be The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum right around the corner on Edmund Street. There you will find complimentary tarot card readings and the brand new 2015 Museum Display called “They Left Their Mark” complete with live mannequin models. In the far room there will also be a special display from the young artists called Without Exception: Exceptional Art from Beautiful Minds.


Without Exception: Exceptional Art from Beautiful Minds celebrated it’s 5th annual Vernissage at the Mill of Kintail in Almonte last year. The opening was a celebration of artworks created by 37 high school students with special needs from the CDSBEO. The Without Exception program has been gaining popularity since its creation and has been shared with school boards across Canada.

In an effort to share the joy of this program, 100% of the profits from the sale of items such as prints, note cards, mugs, t-shirts, canvas bags and now prints on canvas are donated to the Good Samaritan Trust Fund. Christopher Drake is one of the artists and I am proud to say that I have watched him blossom through the years to become the wonderful and talented person he is today. Christopher made his town proud when he received the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from Princess Anne in 2014.


        While we try to teach our children all about life, in the end it is they that teach us what life is all about.

Why should we care about Museums?

Talk to any one that works for a Museum, and find out how they fund it.  It’s like running across a bed of nails. Many of the Museums in Ottawa are funded by the government or city. However, operating budgets of Museums like Carleton Place and Almonte are pretty bare-bones. These people don’t do this job for themselves….they do it for you. Without your support they may have to close! Jennifer Fenwick Irwin is the curator of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum and to describe her in a few words would be a “one woman show”.

Come and visit the Museum after the ladies Who Lunch Tea!