Tag Archives: cats

The Secret of the Widow’s House

The Secret of the Widow’s House




Gary Box commented on my story called So Who Lived at 410 Franktown Road? yesterday and I was immediately interested.

“This is a wonderful but sad story…..it is one of my favourite homes when I visit Carleton Place. We used to call it the “Widow’s House” when we were kids. It should be made a Historic Site!”

Okay, you don’t give Linda short answers as she wants to know more. So I asked why and Gary responded:

“If I remember correctly, there was a white “Widow’s Peek” on top of the house which is no longer there. Remember, I was quite young (about 10) and someone told me a story about a Widow who used to walk around the Widow’s Peek at night in the moonlight—very scary. Obviously it was just a story but the Widow’s House stuck as a nickname.”

Now I looked at the picture and could see immediately where that a * “Widow’s Peak” was definitely on that home. Then I went and looked at that small square roof line and sure enough there is trim there where probably a small Widow’s Peak existed.  I had written about a wandering soul in  Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay,  but what about Carleton Place? So, because it is October– here is my first local fictional ghost story of the season dedicated to Gary Box.




                  The Secret of the Widow’s House


If you wander down Franktown Road some dark evening, chances are you will see what some say is the ghost of a woman who is wandering around the property of 410 Franktown Road. Many women and children in the area have been said to have seen her heavily draped in black and are terror stricken of coming out of their homes after 9 o’clock at night.

*Henry Graham that lives near by thinks if he gets within grabbing distance of the ghost something will happen. The local women are praying earnestly that the ghost falls into his clutches because until she is caught they cannot go to quilting parties, and other diversions. Many of the women also complain of being deprived of going down to the train station to see the last evening express train come in because of the spirit of the wandering widow.

Th ghost is said to haunt the area on a nightly basis and if you go near the property the first thing a person feels is a cold clammy sensation and hears a distant tinkling bell. When Mr. Graham first felt the ghost he turned around and said he saw the ghost of a woman in black from head to toe. He tipped his hat and stepped forward to it and she suddenly disappeared. Mr. Graham guesses he has seen ten women this week rushing for home on Franktown Road nervous about hearing that tinkling bell.

Those were troublesome times back in that dark period of our town’s life some said. There was no doubt that 410 Franktown Road had always had been haunted according to the townsfolk. If you stood there and looked at the property in the dead of night you would hear funny noises—uncanny noises, that would make you think of ghosts and hobgoblins. What causes them nobody knows. It could be mice, or the passing of a breeze under worn out eaves. Who knows?

One cold night in November some young local lads sat down in front of the house and formed a half circle. One recalled shivering each time they heard the clatter of  any shingle that rattled on the Widow’s Peak. At about 9 o’clock their conversation stopped, and in the silence of the night they heard a strange sound. Suddenly they could hear each others heartbeats and fear tugged at their very souls.

“It’s the widow’s ghost!” they cried, and with a clear distinctness they heard a small faint bell. They sat motionless for a few seconds, and again they heard the tinkling sound. One of the boys insisted that they heard her groan, but the others insisted it was nothing more than the sobbing of a restless wind. The bell jingled again and the sound began to partake of the dark and unknown. But, the boys did not run helter-skelter from the building –they remained a shivering trembling crew, determined to become heroes and solve the mystery.

The boys said they became aware of a heavy passing body- yet nothing was visible to their eyes–nothing but dark empty space. One of them picked up a large stone and threw it.  The crash of a stone through the window most certainly awoke anyone in the house and instantly they heard an ungodly cry. They ran to their respective homes after that not caring if they ever found out about the Widow’s Peak Ghost.

The next morning they returned to the scene of the crime and in the gray light of the early dawn there was no sight of anything unusual only a broken window–and that was done by them, not by a ghost. They no longer heard the ghostly tinkling bell, and it wasn’t until two years later when the mystery was explained. One day on passing by the home one of the boys encountered an old man sitting outside with a half grown cat in his lap. The lad admired the cat, and the old man agreed he was lovely, but mentioned that the boy would have loved his other cat better.

“Other cat?” The boy asked. The elderly gentleman nodded and replied that his former cat was a fine gray cat, and one dark night a few years ago he found him deceased by the front door. A stone had hit his head hard and the little silver bell he wore on is neck was also rusty-coloured with blood.

I like to believe that there are ghosts everywhere, but really, what was the moral of this story? Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings– so do cats, whether they want them or not.



*Henry Graham-fictional character although Grahams did live in the area according to the 1905 Carleton Place Census.


Widow’s Peaks-No idea what size or style sat on top of 410 Franktown Road– but Gary Box said it was white.


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The Bascule Bridge of Smiths Falls — A Ghost Story

 Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

The Love Story of the Lanark County Brakeman

True Ghost Stories–Who was the Burgess Ghost?

The Shadow People of Lake Ave East

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

The Ghosts of the Mill of Kintail

Love, Lanark Legends and Ghosts

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – Minecraft Story of the Lake Memphremagog Monster

I’ve got a Ghost Rash… Telling Secrets from the Past??

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Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–


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Digital Equipment of Canada- The Cat on the Payroll

Digital Equipment of Canada- The Cat on the Payroll


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October 4th 1972- Ottawa Journal


In 1972 a brand new Digital Equipment factory opened in Kanata, but in their old plant in Carleton Place unemployment rose by one. In their old Carleton Place plant Mr. Doyle said that the biggest issue in that old mill was mice. To relieve the issue a motion was made to place mouse traps all over the plant– and when I say all over, I mean even desk drawers, the problem was that bad.



Photo from the Carleton Place Canadian files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


In reality it wasn’t such a good idea. One day when Mr. Doyle was having a very important meeting a mousetrap went off in the bottom of his desk drawer. Unhappy after that incident the maintenance man was hauled in and told to try and fix this issue. So the maintenance man thought about the problem for a spell and then a light bulb went off. The next day a cat was brought in to save the day, and save the day he did.

There was no doubt that the cat was efficient, but when the company moved the cat was phased out although it was said he still had run of the mill. As. Mr. Doyle said: they were probably the only company in Canada that had a cat on the payroll. No word was the cat’s severance pay was.







Norma Ford- A pay cheque from Digital Equipment of Canada from 1970. It was the one and only pay cheque that my Mother had ever received. She was a stay at home Mom for all her married life (58 years) except for these two weeks. Dad had told her that she didn’t know what it was like to work “out” so she had to prove him wrong and got a job at Digital. There was lots of complaining about meals, washing and of course the house was not kept immaculate and it proved too much, she resigned BUT she had earned a pay cheque and HAD a job besides housewife. I think the “housewife” job was harder than the working out.

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.



Remembering Industry in Carleton Place- Digital and Leigh Instruments

Bomb Scare in Carleton Place

Somewhere in Ashton-The Ashton Curmudgeon

When Cats Attack! Better Adopt Today!

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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?


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Somewhere in Ashton-The Ashton Curmudgeon




Photo Linda Seccaspina 2013


I took this photo a few years ago and thought it was lost with 100s of other local photos of the area. Then- I clicked on one of my photos on Pinterest and it had about 30 others and this was one of them. So I asked on The Tales of Carleton Place if anyone knew about this cat.

Jim Amy Kirkpatrick came forth with some great information which I thank him for.

“The cat was made by the late Henry Darvell a.k.a. ‘The Ashton Curmudgeon’. Henry was also the creator or the gourd head creations some 10 years ago. The resident of the house had several cats.

He wanted to label the sculpture ‘the cat house’ but was persuaded that it would not be appropriate. We lived across the street for 15 years and had many encounters with Henry. The cat is located on the north side of Flewellyn Road just across from the Anglican Church and rectory”.

Henry was a father, husband, grandfather, friend, neighbour, gardener, outdoors man, engineer, self-declared curmudgeon. Born March 26, 1931, in Glasgow, Scotland. Died July 27, 2007, in Carleton Place, Ontario, of heart failure, aged 76.

So anyone that has a name like the The Ashton Curmudgeon’  there has to have a story right? Well Henry Darvell does, and after digging I found a story from The Globe and Mail that was written by SHAYNA WATSON, ROB JENNINGS AND GILES DARVELL in January of 2007


(Shayna Watson and Rob Jennings are Henry’s friends, and Giles Darvell is his eldest son)

It is fitting that Henry, born in Scotland and raised in England, would find himself in a Canadian hamlet of 100 people most famous for its pub. He claimed status as the Ashton Village Curmudgeon with a self-published book by that name. The book was atlas, architectural document and love song to the village and life he adored.

He left Ashton, near Ottawa, adorned with sculptures made of gourds, daffodils, trees, garden gates with sunflower designs and unlikely connections between people.

Henry cultivated relationships. He was married twice, first for 26 years to Betty, with whom he had three children – Giles, Karen and Tim (Henry Darvell was married to his first wife, Betty, for 30 years) and then for 20 years to Susan, who predeceased him in 2003.

Susan and Henry found great joy in their large garden. Henry designed and built additions to his barn and home. He traded lumber for copper and began building fountains; this gave way to gourd sculptures and then to painting and life drawing.

Henry accommodated, though didn’t give in to, his failing health. He had cardiomyopathy.

Henry enjoyed drinks at the Ashton Pub on darts night, ice cream at the General Store, a good meal and the perfume of a beautiful flower.

Behind his big gruff exterior was a gentle man who easily fell under the spell of small children, delicate garden creatures and the promise of seeds.

He spoke with great pride of his children and grandchildren. His friends were a group of people as eclectic as his interests. The extent of his social circle was evident at his 70th birthday party – toddlers, retired farmers, academics and artists joined the celebration.

Although he was unable to walk more than a block or two, Henry headed for Mexico with his dog and camper van. This was preceded by trips to northwestern Ontario, Yukon and James Bay, and followed by a trip to Newfoundland.

In the later stages of his illness, he complained that he was “dying too bloody slowly,” but Henry lived independently until a few days before his death, in his home surrounded by Dougal, his canine companion, sports on the telly and a book by his side.

When he died, he left an ambitious five-foot canvas with the beginnings of a farm scene, gourds partly carved, fish to feed, plants to tend and frogs to show to visiting children. These were the signs of hope and the love of life that desired one more day.

Author’s Note- That day when I stopped to take the picture of the cat I knew someone special had done this. Over the years I kept looking at the photo and wondering and now it has come 360. You were a special man Henry Darvell and I wish I had known you. Sometimes it’s just hard to be a square peg in a round hole, but I think every person has their own identity and beauty. If we were all the same, it would be boring.


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Photo-Goulburn Historical Society

“Looking through the Reference Boxes of Goulbourn material now located in the Local History section of the Stittsville Library, I came across this treasure. It’s a beautiful little booklet entitled “The Ashton Village Curmudgeon.” It was written and illustrated by Henry Darvell and it has beautifully detailed coloured drawings of Ashton buildings and tells a simple and personal story of Ashton. You can go and see it for yourself. It’s not a circulating book but it’s worth a look just to admire Henry’s beautiful drawings” Goulburn Township Historical Society 2012

Goulbourn Township Historical Society Facebook page- click here..

NEWSLETTER: The GTHS newsletter, The Goulbourn News, is published quarterly and sent to all members free of charge. You can help the GTHS keep costs down by having your copy be sent to you via e-mail. METHODS OF PAYMENT: Cash, or Cheque made payable to the “Goulbourn Township Historical Society”. Please mail to: Goulbourn Township Historical Society PO Box 621, 2060 Huntley Road Stittsville, ON, Canada K2S 1A7

DARVELL, Henry S. Peacefully at the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital on July 27, 2007 at the age of 76 years. Beloved husband of the late Susan Darvell. Loving father of Giles and wife Laura of Ottawa, Karen of Moose Creek, and Tim of Delta B.C. Fondly remembered by grandsons Brian Darvell (Tanya) and Alex Darvell. Also remembered by his first wife, mother of Giles, Karen & Tim – Betty Darvell. After serving in the British Merchant Navy, Henry became a Professional Civil Engineer in England. His career then brought him to Canada where he worked on both private and public sector projects in Montreal, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

His lifelong passion for gardening turned into a second profession, working as a Horticulturalist until retirement. The family wish to extend their genuine appreciation to Dr. Walker and the nursing staff of the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital. They are also thankful to dear friend Brian Jarman for his care and support over the past number of months.

 Private cremation will take place at Pinecrest Crematorium. Reflecting Henry’s passion for plants and flowers, the family welcomes floral tributes, or donations may be made to the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital.

Related reading

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton? Ashton 101

Did Anyone Have Fun in Ashton? Part 2- The Fleming House




The Tale of the Mysterious Lake Ave East Cat


Steve’s voice on the third floor became excited yesterday as he screamed,


“Something with a tail just walked by the door here.”


I immediately panicked as I hoped it wasn’t a squirrel or a raccoon. We have a varied amount of wildlife on this old property that call my home “their home”. After hearing those words my blood pressure shot up a notch or two.


“I’ll go get the trap!” I said frantically hoping that it was still in the garage. (Please note it is just a catch and release trap)


Sure enough it was still there, so I hauled it upstairs along with a bag of peanuts. If it was a squirrel it should be an easy task– but how in the heck did anything get in here. We had been gone for the weekend, but maybe whatever it was had entered the house when the garage door opened. One thing was for sure–if I saw poop– I  could pretty well figure out what it was.


So peanuts laid out in a trail we sat back to wait. If the peanuts didn’t scare IT maybe the zombies playing Twister would. Hours went by and nothing. Not a tail– not a noise–not a darn thing. Steve began to vacuum the second floor TV room -yes the same room our neighbours watch (see story here) and all of a sudden this “grey being” ran by me and it had a long tail.


“It’s a cat!” we both screamed in unison.


We couldn’t figure out if it had gone downstairs–or where it went.  I emphatically said (being Miss-Know-it-All) that I would have heard it if it had. So one by one bedroom rooms were shut off and the vacuum entered. I manned the first floor with a mop-in-hand after shutting first floor doors and opening the front door that somehow had opened –it never ever opens. Nothing.


When all was clear on the second floor we began our search on the Main floor. I opened the solarium door and bingo– there was the tabby cat that frequents our yard, and the very same cat that I once questioned about his possible role in eating baby chipmunk Pip. We looked at each other eye to eye and he said,




I screamed, “Stevvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve”!


If I was a normal person I would have gone in and tried to catch him, but I am deathly allergic to cats. So Steve went into the “battlezone” and came out tenderly holding the cat and talking softly to it. If it was a perfect world he would own a 100 cats- I on the other hand would stop breathing.  Unfortunately, it’s  just that kind of world. So, released on the front lawn the cat never budged-and instead he rolled around in the grass and lay in the sunlight. He was in no hurry to get home.


So the mystery remains– whose cat was it, and how the heck did he get in? I got my answer this morning. It was Tommy Tonic’s cat from just down the street. He wrote:
Hi Linda,

I see my kitty Michael did a break and enter in at your home today..so sorry 😞 He is safe and sound now and thanks so much for posting on Facebook on the Carleton Place Social Scene.  I couldn’t believe that I was scrolling down and then there is a picture of Michael.   Michael likes to go and visit Kim & Kev and their cats, so I guess he took a side tour of your place–thanks again.


If cats could talk they wouldn’t– so what went on in my home stays in my home with Michael— As for me–well, I’m not a cat am I ?:)




Steve and Michael a few months ago in our yard


Related reading

Just Another Day in Fawlty Towers

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 Romantic Cat “Tail” of Selma and Rogue



Please play while reading….


I wrote this very true “cat tail” in March of 2009 after reading daily emails from a good friend of mine about the cats she loves. This blog is dedicated to everyone that helps animals and above all to true love and to Rogue and Selma who were indeed two very real cats from Phoenix, Arizona.


Once upon a time in Phoenix Arizona, there was a very kind lady who looked after cats. There were outdoor cats, inside cats, and cats that just lived wherever they could. Every day the sun shone brightly and it was very very hot. It was a hard life for the outdoor feral cats trying to make it on their own.

Rogue was the most handsome cat of her feral cat crew. Every night he snuck in through the kitchen “kitty door”, climbed on top of her bedroom bureau, and stared at himself in the mirror. Then he would lick his paw, swish it over his head and smile at his reflection. The kind lady loved Rogue and wanted him to stay indoors where it was cool with her other cats but Rogue was Rogue. He had decided in his own kitty mind that he belonged to no one.


One day it became so unbearably hot that Rogue decided to sit next to the kind lady’s home under the bushes where his feral friend Goldie sometimes sat. His furry yellow pal had a friend sitting next to him and he introduced his companion to Rogue. Rogue looked up slowly with those sly dark eyes of his and saw Goldie’s friend. She completely took his breath away. Her name was Selma and Rogue fell in love with her right at that very second in time.


From that moment on Selma and Rogue were inseparable. They watched the sun rise, and then watched it go down. When the hot noon sun struck Rogue and Selma would sit in the back seat of the kind lady’s Jeep that she purposely left open for them. Days and weeks went by and they never left each other’s side. Selma was Rogue’s Juliet and he would never let anything harm her. Selma became pregnant with “kitty child” and Rogue was even more dutiful as time progressed.

He would go out scouting for food daily but at dusk you could see Rogue scale the tall fences to find her and stay by her side. The kind lady would go out every day and make sure Selma was out of the sun and that she was okay. Unbeknownst to anyone, Rogue would sit on top of some hidden fence protecting Selma through his watchful eyes.


When the kittens came, Rogue was there for his beloved more than any human could be. This love they had for each other was bigger than life itself. He would nestle beside her some nights while she nursed their kittens and sing ‘Nessun Dorma’ to them in his wee kitty voice.  He had learned the song after listening to the kind lady’s music and now it was a song just for them. It was his way to express his profound and everlasting love for her.


One day the kind lady took their kittens to the vet to make sure they were okay and then found them loving homes. Rogue and Selma were heartbroken, but things had changed over the weeks. Rogue had become ill, and try as the kind lady might, they could not save Rogue. No one spoke about it for weeks. No one ever wanted to speak about it. Rogue had died and Selma was beside herself. Selma had lost her Romeo.

The kind lady tried hard to make Selma come inside but Selma was afraid to share her love again lest it disappear like Rogue. Selma was not herself anymore. She had lost the only kitty she had ever loved and would never ever have that kind of love again. A few weeks later Selma became pregnant with ‘kitty child’ once again and the father disappeared faster than the sun disappearing at night. Goldie the cat tried to persuade her to let the kind lady love and take care of her but she was just too afraid.


One day it was as hot as hot can be and Selma was very pregnant and giving up. Was life worth living without Rogue? She saw a small basket and crawled inside and with that the kind lady scooped her up and brought her inside. Her old friend Goldie came in that night and told her she had nothing to worry about, but Selma laid there with sad eyes and gave birth to her kittens.

Selma had three kittens that night. Identical twins and one other male that was so oddly marked the nice lady called him Toon. New life crept into Selma watching these kittens cuddle around her and she knew Rogue’s love was all around them. Goldie became her protector that night and they talked about Rogue and his life. Nothing could ever bring Rogue back but they would both remember him forever.


Months have passed now and Selma is just fine living with the kind lady and yes, Goldie is still by her side. Sometimes, just as the sun goes down they swear they can see the dark shadow of one fine looking cat sitting on the fence. If they listen carefully they can hear a small voice singing “Nessun Dorma” into the warm night air. They both know in their hearts that it is Rogue and he will forever be singing his love on that fence to Selma, his Juliet.


Dedicated to Anne B and just to let everyone know that as of today in 2016, Selma, Toon and Goldie still live on.


Can You Help Shelley Tomorrow?



Can you Help Tomorrow?

Is anyone able to help pack up clothes tomorrow start time 9-4 for Dickie’s Cause 4 Paws Rescue.
Any amount of time will be so helpful. 
Message me please. I’m in dire need of help for tomorrow. 
This is to make money for the rescue. We are moving a whole store into storage.
I need at least 5 helpers , oh please. 
I know it’s hot and boring but you’ll help save lives.
Wednesday there is a whole other store to move. Furniture and other items. 
Many hands make light work.
Click here to help Shelley please!

Saturday July 9 from 8:00-2:00

at the Self Storage Units
337 Town Line Rd East
Next to Valley Vet, in Carleton Place

There will be many “new like” items.
Amazing deals. Furniture as well.
We have 4 storage units full of items for sale.

All proceeds go towards saving the lives of kittens and cats in Dickie’s Cause 4 Paws Rescue.

The Most Terrifying Things Bred Into Existance — A Motorhouse Mitsubishi Story


I know I’m going to get a lot of thumbs down, but to me, it’s a bit sickening what some people do to animals for their own amusement. I could not handle owning a Munchkin cat. I can’t imagine how every morning I’d get up, make breakfast, grab my purse and keys, then I’d just see that abbreviated cat walk across the room. I’d have to stop everything and laugh for at least an hour and a half. Just imagine the little shuffling noise it would make. If I was a gnome I would defiantly ride the Munchkin cat into battle.


I sometimes ponder the majesty of nature; the innate ability of the world to create and stylize animals and plants into the most wonderful of things (and toss the failed experiments into Australia).

But you give humans 1000 years, and they’ll breed the most selectively useless crap this side of Kim Kardashian. No wonder nature always tries to kill us. Something about that Korean Mastiff makes me want to put a Hawaiian shirt on him and call him “The Dude”. Because it seriously looks like if it were a human, it would be Jeff Bridges. Actually, the Korean Mastiff looks like what you’d get if you shaved and deflated a bear.


In order to show opposition to this kind of breeding, I have always refrained from getting any of these types of animals as pets. I only get lions. Actually I want a Munchkin cat and a Dreadlock dog, and send them off on hilarious adventures. Or maybe sell it sell it to Pixar, and DROWN in money!

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So what happens when two identical Mitsubishi’s from Motorhouse Mitsubishi meet on the side of the road?




Not sure, but I hear there is a lot of posing and tomfoolery going on. See what science can accomplish when we cast aside those petty notions of morality? I know you were really probably hoping for a testicle joke, right? This is a family car folks:)

Motorhouse Mitsubishi
10446 Hwy 7
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 253-5550

When Cats Attack! Better Adopt Today!