Tag Archives: Carleton-Place-Museum

50 cents I ’m bid–Auctioneer Clayton Hands



Thomas Rutherford Clayton Hands ( Nov. 2, 1915 – Sept. 7, 1980) pursued a career in auctioneering. He established a livelihood in 1938. For 40 years Clayton called square dances and conducted auctions as well. During that time frame he married wife Reta and they had seven children (2 boys & 5 girls).

Reta was very busy looking after their children, phones and farm chores. When it came to auctioneering, Clayton had a strong voice that carried well outdoors as well as in buildings. He also possessed wit, charm and a personality that controlled large crowds. He acquired strengths in salesmanship and in the knowledge of articles and their values. He sold everything and anything – household effects, farm machinery, livestock, real estate, tools of the trades and so on.

On June 28, 1954, a documentary film “The Country Auctioneer” produced by the National Film Board, depicted Clayton Hands, a Canadian, in this interesting and important job.


Almonte Gazette-1954-Read the Gazette online here

NOVEL AUCTION SALE WILL BE STAGED HERE –It will be “50 cents I ’m bid, a dollar can I get” at the Almonte Community Centre on Friday evening, June 4th, when Clayton Hands gets going at the giant auction sale. The sale, as advertised elsewhere in this issue, is the first of its kind in Almonte and-is being held under the joint auspices of the Alexandra Club and the A lmonte Lions, in aid of the Dr. James Naismith Memorial Hospital Fund. According to report, these is a large and wonderful collection of furniture and furnishings which will go under the auctioneer’s hammer. Mr. Hands has generously donated his time and services | as auctioneer for this event and Mr. O. A. McPhail is also giving -his services gratis as clerk.

Almonte Gazette 1954-Read the Gazette online hereThe auction sale of second hand articles Hands had been dealing with was held in the Almonte Community Centre under auspices of the Alexandra and Lions Clubs on Friday night, in aid of the Naismith Memorial Hospital fund, drew a fairly large crowd and proved a success financially. Net proceeds amounted to $653.15, Mr. Clayton Hands of Perth acted as auctioneer for the occasion and he did a fine job.

Mr. Hands had conducted a similar sale in his home town in aid of the hospital there so he had the benefit of experience in this particular line He donated his services when approached by the President of the Alexandra Club some weeks ago, which was a generous gesture because the hospital here is not in Mr. Hands’ area.

There was a great deal of labor and time spent on arranging and organizing the sale. Persons living in town and th e surrounding rural district had to be canvassed for donations and articles contributed had to be conveyed to the rink over a period of several days. On the night of the sale there was an imposing array stacked along two sides and one end of the large building. There was almost everything conceivable from household equipment to small garden and farm machines. There were books, furniture, pictures, garden hose, lawn mowers, oil stoves, kitchen utensils, a well preserved organ that would play and had a walnut case, bird cages, drapes, and one utensil which used to be found in every bedroom, this one ornamented with a red ribbon tied in a bow around the handle.

In short, as auction sale bills often say—“and many other articles too numerous to mention.” The auctioneer started the sale sharp at eight o’clock and it did not end until around 12.30. During that time he -talked faster than most people could think and his clerk. Mr. O. A. McPhail, scribbled down the names of buyers and prices paid with the celerity of experience as only a man who knew nearly everyone in the crowd could do. He also donated his services free of charge and is deserving of thanks from the two Clubs which sponsored the sale and all well wishers of the hospital project.

The auctioneer started out at one end of the rink where the crowd gathered and, as he disposed of the stuff stacked along the wall there for some thirty feet, he would move along to another section. He followed this procedure until he finished the entrance end of the big arena, then went out to the centre where some large articles were stacked and some fine pictures were offered which had been painted by local artists and most of which had a reserve bid attached for protection.

After that he finished the other side of the rink and called it a night’—in reality, it was another day!  Mr. Hands is a witty, good natured man and he heeded all of it to keep things going on Friday night. This was the first sale of its kind held in Almonte and there were quite a few people who did not seem to understand that the object of the effort was charity, not to drive sharp bargains with the idea of getting something cheap that would be of great use.

Many of the articles sold—in fact most of them—were useful and quite a few of them with- some small defect could be repaired when purchased by a handy man or woman.  It is an obvious help at a sale of this kind if the auctioneer can look out over the upturned faces and call most of them by name. In that way he can work up a closer bond of union and can take liberties which creates fun that he would hesitate to risk when he doesn’t know the individuals. A fast worker as it was, he unloaded some articles on those he did know who couldn’t remember having given him a bid or even nodding their heads. Some women who were gossiping in the crowd and emphasizing what they said with gestures were caught in this way and paid cheerfully for some trifling article.

One local man who was a great prohibition worker in this community had two butter crocks unloaded onto him, the auctioneer who knew him for years remarking “So and so was never known to turn down a crock.” There were some quaint articles among the great array piled along the walls. One was a turnip seeder which was brought out from Ireland over a century ago. The frame and wheel were made of wood, the wheel being cut out of a solid plank. There were handles on the machine like a hand cultivator and a container for the seed which led down into a spout that routed out a furrow as the contraption was shoved along. It is presumed the pressure put on the spout opened a valve and let the seed run down. Many people got good bargains at the sale.

Bigamy–The Story of Ken and Anne and Debby and Cathy and…



Ken married Ann, had two children then Ann and then died shortly after  the birth of her second child.

Six months later Ken married Betty.  Betty raised the two children from first marriage, and had three more in the next ten years.  Betty died shortly after birth of her third.

Three months after Betty’s death, Ken married Cathy, and the five children were in that household, alas and suffered several still births.

Ken married Debbie four years after Betty died, and then told Cathy that she was not wanted, because she was a drunkard.

Within the week, Cathy had found Debbie and dumped the five on Debbie.  Cathy went to the police and had Ken arrested for bigamy.  Ken raised bail and discovered that Cathy had walked out on him, so he left the children with Debbie while he tried to figure out the bigamy issues.

Two months later Ken was tried, and a jury found him guilty of bigamy.  The judge deferred passing sentence, because Ken announced that he had discovered that Cathy was not a widow and that her husband (Lionel) was on his way to the court to provide proof of the marriage of Lionel and Cathy.  Lionel was delayed and did not return to the court until the next sitting.  Ken sat in the gaol waiting waiting. Debbie organised for the eldest child to marry, and she then dumped the remaining four on the newly wed couple.

Ken was released from gaol, but Debbie would not have him back. Lionel would not have Cathy back.  Ken moves in with his children who are living with their eldest sibling and spouse.

Within the year, Debbie marries someone else.  Debbie states she was a widow. The clergy was the same chap who had married Ken and Debbie, he was also the same chap who had married Ken and Cathy.  He was not the clergy who married Lionel and Cathy.

Ken’s next child marries, and so that newly married couple takes on the three youngest and Ken too, and they go on to have some 16 children themselves.

Ten years later, Ken’s three youngest are adults.  Ken marries again, this time a childless widow, Elaine. Ken makes a will leaving everything to Elaine.  Three weeks into this marriage, Cathy calls on Elaine and tells Elaine that she (Elaine) is not the lawful wife of Ken.  Cathy claims she is that lawful wife.  Elaine tells Cathy where to get off.

Cathy died three years later, and exhaustion is the cause on her death certificate. Interestingly, her death certificate is issued with her surname shown as Ken’s surname, and the informant was Lionel’s brother.

Ken was only ever charged with one count of bigamy.  No charges were ever laid in respect of Ken’s marriage to Elaine…  The Seven Year Rule applied in that instance.

Nine years later, Ken dies.   Debbie learns of his death from the newspaper announcement  and yearns for a part of his estate.  Elaine  and Debbie go to court.  Elaine wins, Debbie is admonished by the judge because in effect she is claiming that the children of her current marriage are illegitimate. Debbie is told to pay all the court costs, including Elaine’s.  The court rules that Debbie is the “de jure wife” and that Elaine is the “de facto wife”

Debbie appeals to the higher court.  The full bench hears the appeal.  They support the earlier judgement and again award costs to Elaine, and  the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court reiterates that Elaine is the ‘de facto wife’ while Debbie is the ‘de jure’ wife.   By this time, Queen Victoria was already well and truly a widow of many years.

Within two years of Ken’s death, Elaine dies.  Ken’s five children had all been given “their share” by Elaine, and then they abandoned Elaine. Debbie lived a long life and died many many years after.

The End or was it?

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Related stories

Did He or Didn’t He Commit Bigamy? Scoundrel Andrew Whitten

James Watson– Bigamy and Shoes

Begging Your Husband for Forgiveness? What? What? What?

Even if it’s Convenient — You Can’t Marry Your Sister in law

  1. Sixteen Wives– What Do You Get? Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

  2. I’m so Sick of that Same Old Love — Bigamous Relations in Lanark County

    James Watson– Bigamy and Shoes

    A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

    She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

    One Night in Almonte or Was it Carleton Place?

    Bigamists? How About the Much Married Woman? One for the Murdoch Mystery Files

  3. The Wedding of Stanley Alexander Jackson and Margaret Elizabeth Forbes

    The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 15- Code Family– Love and Runaway Marriages

    Odd Ironic Wedding Stories –Or it was Almost Lonely Valley

    Marriage Records Lanark County, Ontario, Canada– Names Names Names

    Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

    Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

    A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

    Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

    Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

    She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

    Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

    Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce

    Bigamy–The Story of Ken and Anne and Debby and Cathy and…

“Sale” Fairs — Crops and Sometimes Fair Damsels

If you are tracing your family tree in Lanark County visit:

The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Lanark Genealogical Society

Archives Lanark

North Lanark Regional Museum

Middleville Museum

Lanark Museum

Smiths Falls & District Historical Society

There Once was a Woman Named Mary Cool-Ass in Carleton Place



In July I wrote about the two horse troughs in Carleton Place and this week Joann Voyce told me a story about where one was originally located on Bridge Street just down from “the little yellow house”.  Joann said she and the other kids loved playing on that corner.


The little grey house on the corner belonged to a lady named Mary Coulas or Koulas. Actually in reality, she was commonly known as Mary Cool-Ass to the young kids in the neighbourhood. Most notably there was a wire fence on the empty corner with a steel pole sitting there waiting for trouble.

They used to swing around that corner by grabbing this pole. Those kids abused that pole so much they loosened it. Mary Cool-Ass wasn’t taking that lying down, so often that she had a pile of stones and cement placed around the base. She wanted to make sure it would not fall down. After she died that pole became known as Mary’s headstone to the kids who are now no longer kids, but remember it well.

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man


Today I was looking to find some more information on the Carleton Place daredevil Jerry Armstrong and I came across George Raeburn’s obituary. I live in the home that once belonged to George and May Raeburn on Lake Ave East and have written many stories about it.


Last year Blair White gave me a folk art oil painting that George Raeburn did of his home The Morphy Cram House/ High Diddle Day home. He had given it to Blair a good many years ago. When I die I want it to go back to the White family and have Blair’s son Ben look after it until he can pass it on. I met May Raeburn once and also met Burt when she passed on.


The far second floor room is still called Bert’s room, and George’s painting hangs with pride in my dining room. I never complained when the C.P.R. train once came down that track because Mrs. Raeburn once told me:

“Every time I hear that train I know it’s my families bread and butter coming down the track”.

October 13, 1977        George W. Raeburn – Obituary

George Williamson Raeburn died at Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital on October 13, 1977. Mr. Reaburn was born in Dalhousie Mills, Ontario on June 26, 1893. He first worked for the Bank of Ottawa and the Bank of Commerce at Parry Sound, Ontario and later at the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chesterville and Winchester and since 1938 at Carleton Place. In 1922 he married Lucinda May Finlayson of Almonte and they had one son Bert, presently in Yellowknife, NWT.      Mr. Reaburn was very active in the Chesterville United Churchand Zion-Memorial United Church of Carleton Place and was clerk of session for many years. His other interests included the Carleton Place Scout Group Committee and he was a driver for the Cancer Society. He was a member of Chesterville Lodge No. 302 A.F. and A.M. and was Worshipful Master in 1923. In Carleton Place he was active with St. John Lodge No. 64 and Maple Chapter No. 116 RAM. The service was held from the Barker Funeral Home, Carleton Place with interment in Boyd’s Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, May of Fairview Manor, a son Bert and daughter-in-law Marion of Yellowknife and two grandchildren Stephen and Sarah Leigh, also, of Yellowknife and by a brother-in-law, Edgar Findlayson of Carleton Place. Pallbearers were Andrew Dickey, Wilf Hogan, H. B. Montgomery, George Nobes, Renhart Springer and Stewart White. Honorary pallbearers were Lloyd Allen, Stewart Cavers, Hub Dopson, Jim Hammond, Mac MacCauley, Frank Moon, Mervyn Morris, Cecil Ruttle, Eric Simpson, Herb Sinclair and Earl Willows.

What’s in Your Home? — Weird Things in My House



Eons ago there was a dumb waiter in the old service kitchen in this wall. The service kitchen was a long extremely narrow room that made no sense. When you opened the over door, you either jumped over it, or stayed put. It was originally an area that complimented the summer kitchens that were on either side of the house at different periods of the home’s life. Both had been torn down when we bought the house in 1981 and we constructed the solarium on the Argyle Street side and a new kitchen on the Campbell Street side. When the master buzzed the downstairs help, everything went upstairs in the dumb waiter. The dumb waiter went up into the maids room so she could serve the family on the second floor.


There were two rooms built on to the home the Cram family era– servant’s quarters on the second floor along with the service kitchen below. Albert Cram was then the mayor of the town of Carleton Place when he bought the home and I imagine he entertained a lot. I think the Morphy’s (original owners) were no nonsense people, so the house ended where part of the present dining room is.


The wooden buzzer in the master bedroom, on the side of the bed, was still there when we moved in, but after the fire in 1995 the restoration company removed it. Even when they gutted the walls during the renovation-nothing was found except a playing card.

What is the strangest thing you have found in your home?

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?


Two days ago I posted the story about the hidden room in my basement. Local resident Nancy Green posted on Facebook she had the same thing and had poked a flashlight to see if she could find anything odd. Well now, It makes total sense what it is. It is located directly under the front verandah, and very common in older homes. It definitely used to be a cistern.

Cisterns were used for the collection of rain water, and were quite common at homes throughout the 19th century.  They can also be found at a few 18th century homes and some were built as late as the early 1940s.  Using the roof as a rain collection surface, gutters and downspouts delivered water to the cistern.



Most of them were a  large rectangular box located under a porch, with the porch floor being the cover.  Before the floor of the porch was replaced we used to have th remains of what was once a trap door. There were many folklore “rules” governing when and how water was to be collected if you wanted it to stay “sweet”. Built to catch rainwater, which was then used for domestic chores. Of course it became doomed by indoor plumbing.
The success of indoor plumbing initiated the demise of cisterns, which became white elephants with the abundant flow of water from kitchen and bathroom faucets. Cisterns were eventually filled with unwanted items, buried and forgotten and walled over like ours. The fact that cisterns have remained virtually undisturbed, in some instances for hundreds of years,  can we consider them archaeological finds?


Apparently some of them (not ours) are steeped in treasures, such as ceramics, coins, tintype photographs and food particles, that can tell archaeologists about what people of the time liked to buy and eat. You have to remember when my home was built in 1867 the local water probably smelled bad and people got sick. The early settlers associated rainwater with freshness and thought cisterns might be the long-term answer. So should we really consider these rooms archaeological finds? That’s hard to answer as I am sure in a few hundred years people will dig up tanning beds and think we used to fry people for punishment.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

The Power of the Mississippi River Dam in Carleton Place


1902 – The closed Carleton Place sawmills and upper Mississippi reserve dams of the Canada Lumber Company were bought by H. Brown & Sons for water conservation and power development uses.


In 1909 Construction of a hydro electric power plant was begun by H. Brown & Sons at the former site of the Canada Lumber Company mills, after several years of preparation of the riverbed including tailrace excavation and building of a concrete millpond dam.



In July of 1937 Carleton Place resident Lionel Bigras saved the life of 6-year-old Margaret Violet King, daughter of Mrs. Clifford King. Young Margaret fell into the Mississippi River near the hydro plant about 200 yards from the town bridge early in the afternoon. BIgras dived three times into 15 feet of water to bring the child to the surface. CPR was performed by Wilfrid Bigras, employee at the Hydro plant, a cousin of the rescuer. Doctors Johnson and James of Carleton Place took charge as soon as they arrived at the scene. The Carleton Place girl was brought to the Ottawa Civic hospital where she miraculously recovered from her experience. Sadly, her father Clifford King, had lost his life by drowning in the Mississippi Lake only a year previous. But sad to say, the story did not end there.


Photos from Google Image and The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Tara Gesner, our beloved reporter from The Carleton Place Canadian, has sent me a picture of the medal that Wilfred Bigras received that day for saving the Margaret King’s life. Linda Gesner, her mother-in-law, still has the medal. Wilfred Bigras was Tara’s husband’s great great grandfather.  Thank you Tara for showing this to me!

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Grandma Garrett is on Fire at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market


My Grandmother baked every single day of her life. I owe my fondness of sweets to her– which some days I don’t know if that is a good thing. But, when you can’t bake, or you just want to taste Grandma’s baking once again– head down to the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market. If you can get through the crowds-buy some goodies from Lynda at Grandma Garrett’s Kitchen. You just know that the goodies are all from the recipes that are keeping her Grandmother’s legacies alive. I will leave you with pictures. No words needed in this case.







As a child, my grandmother used to tell me all sorts of stories about the depression. Each morning she would make sandwiches for hungry people knocking on her door and her weathered screened veranda became a shelter for homeless people at night. Grammy would also take in needy families until they got on their feet. My grandfather once said that he just never knew who would be sitting across from him nightly at the dinner table.

One day she hired a homeless woman name Gladys who worked for her until she died. I was barely six years old when she passed, but I still remember her like yesterday. Gladys was an odd looking woman who tried to hide her chain smoking habit from my grandmother. She would talk up a storm while she worked with a vocabulary that young ears should have never heard.

Gladys ended up dying in her sleep in ‘the back room’ as it was called. After she died, my grandmother promptly labeled it ‘Gladys’s room’. When I was older and came home on weekends, that very room was where I slept. You have no idea how many times I thought I saw Gladys in the dark shadows scurrying around with her feather duster, and yes, still chain smoking. The room was always really cold, even in the summer, and it smelled oddly of apple crisp.

You see, Gladys could make anything out of everything. My grandmother was an apple hoarder for some reason, and always had a huge wooden barrel of apples in the shed. The top part of the bin held apples that were crisp and fresh, but, if you ventured to the bottom looking for a better apple, it was nothing but decaying fruit. So when Gladys made apple crisp she insisted on using the older apples, and worked her magic with them. Some how the odd cigarette ashes found in that crisp gave it that “je ne sais quoi” in added flavour. So as Martha Stewart might suggest alternatives I will personally add that cigarette ashes are optional in my well kept recipe and any of my apple recipes are not endorsed by the Surgeon General.

Grandma Garrett probably had her own secrets… but who cares when each bite is so delicious..

Lynda can also do office parties and special occasions- contact Lynda at 613-843-0054

“Shop The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market —- Because there is no place like home!”

Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

7 Beckwith St.
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 809-0660

830 am to 1230 am

Did I See your Mum Knitting at The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market?

Did You See the Blue Heron at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market?

Wonder Woman lives at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Why Shop at Farmers’ Markets and Remember Tupperware?

The Secret Lives of Pets – Tail Wagger Threads Now at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

The Big Buzz at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market — Get Bee-autiful!

Carleton Place Farmer’s Market Re-Invents the McGriddle

Are You Stuck in a Vegetable Rut? The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Before and After Swagger Snacks from The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

It’s Strawberry Time at The Farmer’s Market

A Fiesta in the Strawberry Patch at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Baby, I’m a Wantin’ Some Brown Dog Bakery — Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

A Fiesta in the Strawberry Patch at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Visit the Drama Free Zone Wall at The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Where to Go When You Don’t Have a Green Thumb — Two Fields Over at the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Put Your Chutney Where Your Mouth Is! — Carleton Place Farmers Market

Missy Moo’s Magical Hand Cream – Carleton Place Farmer’s Market

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

It’s The McNeely’s Baseball Team!



Marion Giles McNeely said: 

“Hey look, it’s the Mc Neely’s baseball team made up of all the McNeely brothers. They were the winningest baseball team around, no team ever beat them. They were the team to beat but no one could. Krista Lee from Apple Cheeks in Carleton Place is holding the picture with her grandfather in it.  There was 12 boys and 1 girl so they had enough for a team and spares.”

Knock it out of the park McNeely’s!


Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Another Demolished Building of Carleton Place –Gone Baby Gone!


I began to do a story on the local hotels and got side tracked when I saw these pictures of the former Snedden’s Central Hotel on Franktown Road in Carleton Place.

Thank you to Gaby from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum for getting these photos for me.


Picture 1 is a close up of Snedden’s Hotel.


Picture 2 shows the Canadian Coachman Hotel (Snedden’s Hotel) on the right as well as the building that was across from it that was torn down and now is SRC Music. Wait- What is that building across the street from the Central Hotel? I never knew it existed!


Let’s get a closer look!



So what happened to this building? Anyone know what it was? Why did it come down?


If you came out of Tim Horton’s and hung left today this is what you would see. Another beautiful building that left us!

Jennfier Fenwick Irwin said the building had a retail space on the first floor and apartments above. Thanks Jennifer!


Central Hotel Newspaper articles.



Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tillting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place