Tag Archives: carleton place herald

Carleton Place Herald –Life in Lanark County

Carleton Place Herald –Life in Lanark County

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Looking down Hopetown road… Photo from Laurie Yuill


Life in Lanark County as I have said before was not easy. Their big day was New Years day and included a “first footin”,–which was a tour of neighbour’s homesteads on the snow-drifted concession lines. Then they quaffed each other in almost a competition style drinking home brew liquor, and danced to the mad music of the fiddles. The Carleton Place Herald of 100 years ago wrote about the harshness of the Lanark County frontier.  Life was raw in our villages, but they managed to eat three times a day, but there was little of what we would call “fancy food”.

In the issue of December 1954 the Carleton Place Herald, with Editor Jamie Poole ran  a column about the old Bytown markets in the 1800s. Our Upper and Lower Town merchants were then offering flour extra superfine, at 2 shillings per cwt. and Editor Poole did not hesitate to state that even this was too high even for a Christmas dinner.



No date– Photo from Laurie Yuill.. Hopetown Road


Oxen were being sold at a price that was around 25 pounds, and these creatures were the much needed farm tractors of one hundred or so years ago.  In the same Issue George Blyth of Carleton Place, had opened a new store and his advertisement was captioned: “The Golden, Age”. Maybe he was right at that as he offered the ladies plaids (for the proud beauties of the Scotch Line); and black lace veils (for the coy ones in crinolines) and mysterious chemises and corsets as woman’s figures needed no false build-up in those days.

In Renfrew the Bathurst Courier records: “There was a concert in the Grammar School House of Renfrew, the proceeds going towards the public library”. The Lanark Instrumental Club gave much help and a few got drunk and the whole school auditorium had a general row. Otherwise all was fine that day in the town of Renfrew.

They had their traffic problems as I have written about, as the roads were not “black top” and the vehicles were not high powered automobiles in those days. They just requested that all buggy drivers attach bells to their harnesses and keep right and share the road with all oncoming horse traffic.

In spite of their issues they managed to attend the many lectures of the Mechanics Institutes around the county and attend husking bees, barn raisings and quilting parties. And so– they lived without televisions, telephones and automobile transmissions. But, there were no fears of nuclear war or cold war bunkers, as they used those for root cellars. They were smart.



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 and The Tales of Almonte

  1. relatedreading

One of the First Settlers of Drummond from the Massacre at Culloden

Some Cold Hard Facts- First Tailor in Ramsay and a Cow Without a Bell

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

Ramsay Settlers 101

Beckwith –Settlers — Sir Robert the Bruce— and Migrating Turtles

What is the Biggest Change in Your Lifetime? Ramsay 1979

Ramsay Settlers 101

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?

The Cholera Epidemic of 1911

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4


Pickwick’s Gossip Columns of The Grog Shops — Truth was Truth and Sin was Sin

Pickwick’s Gossip Columns of The Grog Shops — Truth was Truth and Sin was Sin




A Grog Shop was a  saloon of bar room especially a cheap one. But,  it was there you found 9/10th of  the local population. But, it was also there that the local newspaper found its best gossip.

 - i. OTTAWA VALLEY DAYS 21 upright To- To- and 22...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  13 Dec 1952, Sat,  Page 24


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

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.


Tavern Licenses of Lanark County — names names names

Fake News or Just a Bad Fight? Shocking Cannibalism–Tales from the Tavern

Be Very Proud Carleton Place — Postcards and Booze

Memories of the Carleton Place LCBO

Nothing But the Cooler Left in Carleton Place

82 Bottles of Booze on the Wall – 82 Bottles of Booze

The Big Beer Store Heist in Carleton Place

Was the McNeely Bridge Funded on “Drinkin’ Fines”?

You Can’t Touch This?…Taking the Vanilla Out of History

You Can’t Touch This?…Taking the Vanilla Out of History

If anyone has not caught on I became obsessed with documenting those that had passed so they could be remembered for future generations a few years ago.

Do we think that serious textual stories are better, more “literary,”  whereas something lighter fare is for the under educated? If so, then we have a problem. Today’s generations are not interested in facts, and to get them or a lot of other folks to read about history it has to be interesting. I don’t know about you but reading traditional text really doesn’t inspire me to want to know more, so I decided to take the ‘vanilla’ out of history. I mean what would you rather read–

“A faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died.”

Well, maybe that is a terrible example–but today, one of the younger generation would ‘text’ that sentence something like this:

“Hey! That man just %^&* out his internal organs and I will never eat Pigs In A Blanket again”.

What about the local lad who was so popular that the crowd at one of our local fairs threw so many various items at him out of adoration that he died of asphyxiation? What will you remember? Pie Winners? I don’t think so. But, interesting tidbits helps you remember the rest of the story.



Of course we all remember Brothel Bertie  (King Edward the VII) who probably exercised his prowess around the local area. When he visited in 1860 he might have ended dying from bow chicka wow wow when he had a drink at Bennie’s Corners if a certain lady from the Metcalfe farm had caught his eye. I don’t know about you, but reading about those “old community spirits” keeps my interests up and makes me want to know more.

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby
All right stop, Collaborate and listen

On the 18th of 1897 Carleton Place was advertising for someone to introduce military drills and exercise in the public schools. For $600 a year the individual they hired was to instill serious discipline into the local school child. It was mentioned that 15 minutes a day would increase the brain function from all that sitting sideways and slouching forward that a normal child does during the day.

Really? Really?

As Maestro Fresh Wes once said: “Let my backbone slide!”



The Central Canadian newspaper wanted the school system to hire Joseph McKay, son of James McKay, Carleton Place Bell Street baker for the position. He rose in his long militia service here from lieutenant of No. 5 Company in the late 1870’s  to lieutenant colonel of his regiment at the turn of the century. The Rifle Ranges at Carleton Place were constructed during Lieut. Colonel McKay’s command and the newspaper said it would be hard to find a more efficient man for the position.



Tiffany Nixon in front of the “50 Shades of Grey’ apparatus at Hamsa Yoga in Carleton Place.


So what did I immediately think of when I read this? All I could see was the yoga trainers at Hamsa Yoga  next to the  Ginger Cafe . God only knows that I have embarrassed poor Tiffany Nixon enough calling them her ’50 shades of grey’ section on numerous occasions.

So what else did I remember when I read the newspaper article?

I saw Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Mackay who had risen to Major by that point in time looking something like Black Jack Jonathan Randall from the hit TV show Outlander instructing those Carleton Place children with a snap of his crop.

I don’t think there is a “chance in Inverness” that I will ever forget this story now–nor will you.

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby
All right stop, Collaborate and listen


Black Jack Jonathan Randall- Outlander with a little photoshop

Newspapers seemed to control our local towns and it wasn’t hard to sway the townsfolk into some sort of rabble rousing. Take in point some fine fowl, over 325 to be exact, that resided in Appleton belonging to the Herald’s Mr. Sam Allen. The joke was that Mr. Allen’s chickens were so well esteemed they had taken their fair share of prizes at the Almonte Fair. In fact too much so– as there were a few dozen articles about his chickens!

The “opposite side” joked that maybe a visit to “the Appleton hood” by some could relieve him of some of his fair feathered friends. Was this a warning to Mr. Allen that his poultry should enter the KFC Witness Protection Plan? Or, was it to be soon a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner for all in Lanark County? In everything– the rooster, human or fowl made and still makes the most news. It has been proven many times in the Almonte Gazette and the Carleton Place Herald. Trust me!

Anything less than the best is a felony
Love it or leave it, You better gain way
You better hit bull’s eye, The kid don’t play..



February 6 1920, Almonte Gazette

Many cisterns in Almonte are now dry and there is water famine in many country places. Also the long dry cold winter has been serious for those residents of Almonte who depend upon rain water for their domestic supply as many cisterns have gone dry. Others have burst and the water is being teamed from the river to many of our homes.

How do you convey to today’s generation how important these cisterns were to basic human needs in years gone by? Heck, I didn’t even know what one was until a year ago. How do you get someone to remember what they were?


Van you take do you take the vanilla out hard facts to a generation who says: “I’m cleaning out my car today in case someone needs 27 empty water bottles”.

Easy– Without a cistern and water they would have had no coffee. I guarantee you everyone will remember that now. No cisterns= no double double.

I could be wrong, but history argues that taking the vanilla out of writing will always be in fashion. How many of these local stories have you remembered?

Let Me Entertain You!



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

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.

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby Lyrics- Vanilla Ice



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Nov 1897, Mon,  [First Edition],  Page 2


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  07 Oct 1899, Sat,  Page 6


Cisterns I Have Known

Taking Sexy Back with Brothel Bertie aka Edward the VII

Maybe We Should Film Oak Island in Carleton Place? The Day the Money Disappeared

Early Newspapers- Accident of John Devlin

Early Newspapers- Accident of John Devlin



Newspaperman 1860



September 2 1898-Almonte Gazette


Terrible Accident Occurred on the C.P.R. track here last Saturday night (August 28). John Devlin, the seventeen-year-old son of Mr. James Devlin, Carleton Place, in company with a couple of younger boys, was stealing a ride from the junction town to Almonte on what is known as the *“blind baggage” of the Winnipeg express, and while the train was speeding along opposite the Church street crossing, about two hundred yards from the station, young Devlin jumped off between the tracks and, according to some boys who were eyewitnesses, he bounded back with his head across the track.

A wheel passing over his head, smashing the skull and crushing the lower part of his face into a pulp. Death must have been instantaneous. The probability is that deceased never knew what happened him. A couple of his toes were also cut off. The face presented a horrible sight, and was totally unrecognizable. Some young men identified the unfortunate young man by his clothing. Coroner Burns was soon on the scene, and communicated with the relatives and the railway authorities with as little delay as possible, but the ‘body remained on the ground for some time before authority was given for its -removal, the decision in the interval being that no inquest was necessary.

Undertaker Donaldson then took the body to his “ morgue,” where it was dressed and coffined, after which, at the request of two brothers of deceased, he drove it to the home at Carleton Place, whence the funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, to St. James’ church and cemetery, and was very largely attended.

The Herald says: “ Deceased was an employee in the Hawthorne woolen mill, a weaver, and was a steady and industrious young man. The parents and brothers and sisters have the sympathy of the whole town in their sudden and heavy bereavement. He was 17 year old.



St. James Anglican Cemetery – Block A-to-J,
230 – 8th Concession of Ramsay Twp, Carleton Place
Lanark County


Why would anyone publish anything this graphic?

Once upon a time, newspapers were a primary source of information. In the early 1800s, newspaper publishing bore little resemblance to the business it is today. Most newspapers had a small circulation, and were staffed by a very small number of workers. Division of labor in the newspaper publishing process – news gathering and reporting, editing, and printing–was uncommon, though it became more so as the period progressed. Even in the larger, urban newspapers, the owner of the paper would usually serve as the reporter and editor. Apprentices often assisted with printing and delivery.

Their principal function was not necessarily to inform, but to make money for the publisher, which they did by selling copies of the paper to readers and selling advertisements to businesses. Nineteenth century newspapers, unlike urban papers in our own multimedia universe, often carried very detailed coverage of a much broader range of activities – lengthy transcriptions of evidence given in court, for example, or the minute by minute happenings of a municipal council meeting, or an accident similar to the above newspaper article. The hunger for news and the lack of well-researched stories often meant that rumour and hearsay were published as fact. Then, as now, sensational stories helped sell newspapers, and checking the facts did not always take priority. So don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers:)



*blind baggage
:  a railway baggage, express, or postal car that has no door or opening at one end




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal11 Oct 1929, FriPage 22



When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Local Newspapers–Yellow Journalism

What Happens When Newspapers Finally Die and the Internet Reaches Capacity?

Dr.Preston Was in the House — The Case of the Severed Foot

This Ram was Ten Yards Long Sir and His Horns Reached the Sky

This Ram was Ten Yards Long Sir and His Horns Reached the Sky


November 10 1871–Almonte Gazette

A three-year ewe by Mr. John Gilmour,  the local butcher was just killed and dressed and weighed over 147- lbs. Considering that the average weight is about 80 lbs., this specimen of a dead giant sheep ls worthy of a special mention in our paper. It was reared on the farm of Andrew Cochrane, of Ramsay, and was of the Leicester variety.The sheep apparently was as ‘large as the famous *Derby Ram whose praises are sung in story. Cochrane’s ewe has supplied our citizens with “chops” and “roasts” on Tuesday last.



 April 2 1897–Almonte Gazette

Smith’s Falls is bound to outdo Carleton Place. The news tells of a freak owned by Mr. J . H. Gould—a calf with five legs, four ears and three eyes. Four of the legs are where nature intended they should be, and the fifth is growing just near the root of the tail. The ears are placed where they should be, but two on each side, and the additional eye is just behind one set of ears.


March 28 1873–Almonte Gazette

On the 16th a ewe belonging to Mr. John Sutherland, 7th concession of Ramsay gave birth to a ram lamb having six legs—all perfectly developed. The lamb is of unusual size and very woolly. The two extra legs protrude from the front shoulder, one of them being turned backwards. A large number of people have visited Mr. Sutherland’s farm to see this modem wonder, and have expressed their astonishment at such an unusual freak of nature.

April 30, 1897-Smiths Falls Recorder

A cow belonging to Mr. John McLeod, Smith’s Falls, gave birth to a calf with two heads.

April 2 1897–Carleton Place Herald

Dr. McGregor, of Carleton Place has secured a freak—a calf with two distinct heads and two necks. He will have it taken care of by Pete and Jimmy Garvin who did a  lot of taxidermy on High Street. See also-Shades of The Godfather in Dr. Preston’s Office in Carleton Place

April 30 1897-Almonte Gazette

Mr. John Lindsay, of Blakeney, has a Plymouth Rock hen that laid an egg for the Almonte Gazette competition that measures 7×84 inches —and it wasn’t a good day for laying, either. She is understood to be reserving herself for even a greater effort. The egg can be seen on the editor’s desk.

1873-Almonte Gazette

Mr.William *Devlin, of Perth, blacksmith, has in his possession a young eagle caught in a trap in Drummond township, about two months ago, by his brother, Samuel Devlin. The bird measures, seven feet from tip to tip, and is still vigorously growing. When caught it was manoeuvring around the carcass of a horse, whose attractions were too powerful to be withstood by the bird of liberty, even with an ugly looking trap placed in a leading position in the middle of the equine remains


*Derby Ram The Derby Ram or As I was Going to Derby is a traditional tall tale English folk song (Roud 126) that tells the story of a ram of gargantuan proportions and the difficulties involved in butchering, tanning, and otherwise processing its carcass.

Perth Courier, March 21, 1890

*Devlin–On Wednesday last the remains of Mr. William Devlin, Sr., of Drummond were brought to Perth and interred in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Rev. Father O’Donohue conducting the burial service.  The late Mr. Dodds died at the age of 94 years having been born in the town of Castlebar, County May, Ireland about the year 1790.  He came to Canada in 1821 settling at once in the Township of Drummond.  He had a family of 9 children, 6 of whom with his aged widow survive him.  Mr. Devlin was a man of sterling character and a firm Liberal.  He had many connections in Drummond, Perth and other parts of this section of Ontario and being widely known in the locality his funeral was a very large one.  The infirmities of old age were aggravated by an attack of La Grippe which was the immediate cause of his death.


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

Related reading

Shades of The Godfather in Dr. Preston’s Office in Carleton Place

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?



Photo from Almonte.com

Almonte Gazette 1871


You will obliged by inserting the following in the Almonte Gazette. Having seen a letter by Mr. “O” of the Carleton Place Herald— first to the employers of the No. 1 Mill  and secondly in the interest of the workpeople. I think it should not pass unnoticed.


Mr. “O” says that girls have been placed to work as mules in one of the mills, and undoubtedly-he means instead of the boys, to save expense. This is positively an untruth, but suppose it had been true, where is the wrong; every man is justifiable in running any business as cheap as he can, as long as his proceedings are just and honest.

Again Mr. “O” says in the Herald— the girls have been worked nearly 14 hours per day. This only occurred once, and then by the girls’ request, and if this had not been the case, we think it quite out of place at this time when shortness of water has caused such delay, to mention the working of one quarter of a day overtime as a means used by the employers to find a living out of the poor.

Again Mr. “O”  refers to the fine of one dollar, deducted from the boys’ wages for absenting themselves from work without permission, and says that in some cases it amounted to nearly three day’s pay-(including the half day’s time lost).

This of course is another way whereby the rich live at the expense of the poor. Does Mr. ‘‘O” suppose that if a lad neglects his work for one half day, that three days’ pay makes up the loss, if the machine he runs stops one-half day, is not invariably the next process injured, and the third and fourth and so on; through the whole mill the delay is felt and the goods late in market and perhaps thrown on the sellers hands.

Where is the common reason of the thing, or the foolish parent who would encourage his children to pursue such a course?  Nothing but ‘‘ill will,” I think, could have induced M r. “O ” to. write such a letter. First, he tried the editor of the Almonte Gazette, but with an invisible success, and then came out in his true colours, manifesting a fair share of the avaricious spirit he speaks so much about, and resembling, in a slight degree, the principles of the Societe Internationale, as mentioned in the Almonte Gazette and injurious to the working classes of Almonte, generally.

How can the employees attempt to ask any favours of their employers, when such treatment is practised upon them, as to be publicly exposed and to have statements made in reference to them-which- is wholly untrue in a public newspaper, it is unnecessary. to ask to which side does the avaricious spirit belong, but does it not rather suggest to us how liable we are to err, and how many of us are there who have not committed actions and found the silent rebuke of conscience a sufficient punishment, and what we have done in haste we, have grieved over at our leisure.

Much more might be said, but we would be sorry to lie too personal or severe in our remarks: rather let us examine ourselves and see first if there is not a beam in our own eye to be removed, before we attempt to”take the note from our brother’s eye”, and if not let us so walk that the light reflected from our good deeds which shall show others the way wherein they should go.

“The D”

Author’s Note- So why was there such a furor? Why was Mr. O’s letter printed in the Carleton Place Herald and not the Almonte Gazette?  Did Carleton Place still had bitter grapes about Rosamond leaving Carleton Place in 1866 for Almonte? Towards the close of their lease with  Mr. Boulton in Carleton Place Rosamond wanted to buy or rent the water power. The owner Mr. McLaren of Beckwith would do neither and the town council of Carleton Place was on the side of McLaren. Rosamond left Carleton Place in a huff for Almonte and it appears the media battle began. This letter was  obviously written by someone with great education and an instigator to be sure.





The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is located in the annex of the former Rosamond Woolen Company in Almonte, Ontario. History click here

August 11 1871– Almonte Gazette- The employees of No. 1 mill had a gala day, on Saturday, their employers giving them a free trip to Ottawa. Two years ago they were treated with a trip to Brockville ; and last year they were taken up ‘the Ottawa as far as Portage-du-Fort. The excursion party consisted of about 350 persons, and was composed principally of the operatives of the firm, their relatives and a few invited guests.

Upon arriving in Ottawa they walked from the railway station to the Parliament buildings, and here, through the kindness of the Hon. Alex. Morris, they were shown every attention, and were taken through the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker’s Room, Library, Senate Chamber, and other places of interest about the buildings. Many of the excursionists visited the Chaudiere, the mills, factories, and other sights worth seeing in the capital, and altogether a most pleasant day was spent in ‘‘ doing” Ottawa. All present enjoyed themselves with the trip; and nothing occurred to mar the general pleasure.


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


Related reading:

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

Weird and Thrilling Concert in Carleton Place? The Fisk Jubilee Singers of Tennessee University




Jubilee singers, Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn.

In Honour of Black History Month

Shouting Soprano

The Jubilee Singers of Tennessee University under the auspices of the Carleton Place Mechanics’ Institute, in one of their Weird and Thrilling Concerts.  Plantation Melodies in the true Southern Style.  Miss Piollie Johnson, The Great Shouting Soprano.  Admission 25c, 35c, children 15c.  Tickets at MacLean’s Book Store.

September 1883 Carleton Place Herald

“The wild melodies of these emancipated slaves touched the fount of tears and grey-haired men wept like little children”.



Photo –Family Tree Circles

A singing class organized by George L. White, 1838-1895, gave the first of a series of public concerts in spring 1867. Eleven singers toured Ohio as `a band of Negro minstrels’ in 1871. Originally known as the Fisk Free Coloured School, Fisk University was established in 1865 to educate newly freed slaves.

The Fisk University Jubilee Singers was the first group to publicly perform the songs of slaves and they shared them with the world. When the Fisk Jubilee Singers first performed in the late 1800s, they sang ballads and patriotic anthems; it was their director, George White, who suggested that they sing the songs of their ancestors.

The group was hesitant at first to expose this sacred music but agreed to add a few spirituals to their program. The music was well-received, often moving audiences to tears. With their performances, the Jubilee Singers were able to keep alive these songs of the past and reveal the emotions and strong faith of the African American slave.



The Fisk Jubilee Singers on. Tour Early 1900-Photo AfriGeneas

They broke racial barriers in the U.S. and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained Kings and Queens in Europe. At the same time, they raised money in support of their beloved school.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers continue the tradition of singing the Negro spiritual around the world. This allows the ensemble to share this rich culture globally, while preserving this unique music.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 08 May 1893, Mon, Page 6



Photo January 1900 CP Herald
Found by Josh Greer- and property of Lisa Occomore and Brad Occomore of Valley Granite & Tile.)


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