Another Ramsay Pioneer Gone to His Rest – On Monday last Mr. John Drummond, of Clayton, passed away to his final rest, at the very advanced age of 87 years. He was born near Stirling, in Scotland in the year 1794, and emigrated thence to the township of Ramsay in 1822, and was thus one of that band of hardy pioneers of whom but few are now living, whose steady perseverance, unceasing industry and strong common sense raised Ramsay to the position it long held as premier township of the county.
As an illustration of the difficulties met with by those men, and the manner in which they were overcome, it may not be amiss to relate the following anecdote of Mr. Drummond: During the summer of 1822 he unfortunately broke his axe, and set out on foot to Perth – 20 miles distant – to buy another. On arriving there he found that the merchants (or merchant) had none in stock, but expected a supply within a week.
This, however, did not suit Mr. Drummond, who started for Brockville , bought his axe and returned home, walking the whole distance! In 1864 he removed to Clayton bought the Bellamy property and rebuilt the mills, but retired from active life, leaving the management of the business to his son, D. Drummond, Esq. late Reeve of Ramsay.
Before the formation of county councils he took an active part in the management of local affairs, but since that time he has always declined public office and manifested little interest in politics beyond voting for and steadily supporting the Reform party at every election for a member of either House. Mr. Drummond was well known as an honest, industrious and straightforward man, and the esteem in which he was held was fully exemplified by the large number who attended his funeral, which took place on Wednesday to the Clayton cemetery.
From Rose Mary Sarsfield’s book
“Whispers from the Past, History and Tales of Clayton” sold out the first printing of 200 copies during the first week. If you want to purchase a book please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 613-621-9300, or go to the Clayton Store, or Mill Street Books in Almonte.
June 28, 2021 · Writings from the autograph book of Eleanor McIntosh 1934. Thanks to Stuart McIntosh for sharing. Mrs. M. S. Code was Mrs. Matthew S. Code, (Mabel Penman, later married Thos. Price). Mrs. Jimmy Shane was the first Mrs. Shane, Violet Moore. Notice how these ladies signed their names. It was common at the time to go by the husband’s name. Even when I was first married in 1971 my mother used to write to me and address the letters to Mrs. Brian Sarsfield.
Photo from Whispers from the Past, History and Tales of Clayton” If you want to purchase a book please email at email@example.com or call at 613-621-9300, or go to the Clayton Store, or Mill Street Books in Almonte.
Mr. Murray Manson can boast of owning the most travelled house in this part of the country at least. Recently he purchased the house from Willard Kellough at Union Hall and Harry Metcalfe moved it with his bulldozer to its present location on the 9th line. But this is not its first trip and we are indebted to our Clayton correspondent, Mrs. Geo. Bolger, for the history of the building.
It was originally the school house in Clayton Village built in 1866 measuring 22×32 and it stood beside the present school. It was idle for some time and finally Wm. G. Robertson bought it and in those days buildings were torn down and rebuilt. Levi Blair of Pakenham assisted by Geo. Bolgetr took the house down and the materials were drawn by horses to the 3rd line of Ramsay where it was built on a foundation made by Thomas Munro and J. R. Drynan. It made a fine residence.
Then Mr. Robertson moved to Manitoba and the farm was sold to J. A. Erskine, then to Elvin McKay and recently to Willard Kellough. He sold it to Mr. Manson and it is to be hoped that the poor old school is allowed to rest in peace. In its day as a school, the pupils sat 10 to a bench: there were no black boards and the pupils used slates. The only men in this district who worked on the removal of the school are John R. Drynan and Geo. Bolger.
In the old days a farmer was liable to find his wagon sitting astride the roof of his barn when the sun came up the morning after Halloween. This entailed more work than the boys would have cared to do in a legitimate cause. Many a young man who shined at hoeing potatoes didn’t mind doing a lot of heavy work in the interests of hilarity. The mysterious occasion—Halloween—passed off quietly in Almonte. The weather was good and the children indulged in the modern pastime of calling on their neighbors looking for treats. Owing to wartime conditions they did not fare so well this time. It was difficult for people to get candies and the old standby—peanuts —were out of the question.
Those who were fortunate had a store of apples on hand but they were expensive this year and it was impossible for most people to hand them out with the old time prodigality. So far as is known the town was free from the old time tricks—tricks of a destructive nature. In years gone by it was the practice for the town constable to swear in a number of deputies to keep down rowdyism. Nothing like that was necessary on that Saturday night. Chief Wm. Peacock had no trouble coping with the situation because, as it turned out, there was no situation to cope with. The Clayton Bear in Clayton however was one funny incident that people there were still chuckling over.
A well known practical joker of the village decided he would give the children a scare. In town they were going around visiting the various houses. This young man got under a buffalo robe and walked on all fours down the Road accosting the crowd of youngsters. He growled like a bear and hoped in the darkness he would be mistaken for the real McCoy. The boys and girls listened to the ferocious grunts emanating from under the buffalo robe and then they got wise.
Arming themselves with sticks and stones they chased the bear off the road helping him along by applying kicks to that part of the robe under which they surmised a certain part of his anatomy showed. The growls of the bear changed to genuine howls of pain as the robe and its contents sought safety in flight. It is said one of the sad experiences of the bear was that his forepaws passed over a spot where cows had recently mooched along in their homeward journey with consequences that can better be imagined than described.
And that wasn’t all. A vicious dog decided to take a hand in the game. That was the last straw so far as Bruin was concerned. He suddenly emerged from under the robe and the last seen of him he was going over a fence with more speed than any bear ever could display.
Taking it generally the war had its effect on the observance of Halloween this year. There were fewer entertainments on that night than of yore and in the towns the absence of young people in the armed forces and in positions -which made it necessary for them to Jive, in the city was painfully apparent.
There are still a few copies of my book available for those who haven’t gotten a copy yet, or as a Christmas gift to someone with ties to Clayton. They are available at the Clayton Store, the Mill Street Books or from me. firstname.lastname@example.org
No one would want to spend a glorious spring Saturday cooped in a church hall debating planning issues. So the 70-odd people who gathered at Almonte United Church to tussle with the question of Ramsay township’s future may all have been a little mad. But then, the people of Ramsay Township care about the place. And Ramsay Township must soon choose its fate: to preserve itself, or let itself be transformed into a suburb.
It is an old township. People started coming here in the 1820s; people still live in houses built more than a century ago. Part of the land valley farmland: fairly flat, criss-crossed with concession roads, dotted with farmhouses and barns. The rest to the west is Shield: the roads meander over hills and around rocks and through the maple bushes that are the only crop. It is a place of split rail fences, dirt roads, stone houses; of tiny villages created around the grist and saw mills that once exploited the rivers but now have vanished or are in ruins; of families that go back seven generations and remember all of it.
It is also a place of ranch-style bungalows that look as though they were plucked from Barrhaven and tossed, haphazard, onto the protesting landscape. It is the place of Greystone Estates, Mississippi Golf Estates, Hillcrest, Carlgate, Ramsay Meadows suburban subdivisions of monstrous homes on big lots. There’s no place in Ramsay township that’s more than an hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa, and that fact has started to sink in.
“If you have a house going up here, a house going up there, that’s one thing,” protests Clarence Gemmill, who has run the Gemmill’s General Store in Clayton with his wife Betty for nearly 19 years. “But you get these subdivisions, they’re different. People are just there to sleep between trips to the city.” Ramsay Township, like so many within driving distance of Ottawa, is in danger of losing its identity as a rural Valley place, and turning into something of which only ; a Nepean politician would be proud.
The township needs to update its official plan. Two years ago, a planner hired by the township proposed a new plan at a public meeting. There was so much anger and criticism that the township council promptly scrapped the plan and started again. “It was presented as ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to you,’ ” remembers Cliff Bennett, one of the organizers of the Saturday meeting. ” ‘Over our dead bodies.”
People were angry, not so much with what the planner had planned, but that no one had asked them what they wanted. So now there are committees, and subcommittees of committees, and there are forums and discussion papers and polls and presentations. ; “You’ll have as much public participation as any municipality in the area,” promises Ben James, a township councillor. This time the people are going to be heard. Some people at the planning seminar talked about ending strip development single houses on lots along the concession roads. Some talked about clustering houses together, off the road and out of sight to protect the natural look of the place.
Some talked about imposing rules on what houses should look like. Julian Smith, a heritage architect who lives in Appleton and works in Ottawa, pleaded for a re-thinking of the planning philosophy. Forget about zoning, he argued: Forget about densities and land uses. Simply apply this rule: “Any development should be shown to improve what’s around it.” But little of what the group proposed sat well with Brian Keller. Keller is a truck driver who lives in Clayton. He came to the workshop because “I wanted to see that it was more of a full consensus of the whole population.” Everyone was going on about housing clusters and setbacks and protecting this environment and that environment.
“They’re all typical city ideas, that people are saying can work rurally,” said Keller, dismissively. The last thing he thinks Ramsay needs is more restrictions on the rights of property owners. His wife’s father has been trying to sever his farmland for years, so the children will have a place to live. But the township won’t let him. “He told me, I can’t give my land to my own family. I’ve got to wait for a politician to tell me.’ ” Councillor James understands Keller’s concerns. “Over the past hundred years, individual landowners have had autonomy in what they do with their land. And you don’t want to curtail that too much. You have to let people do what they think is best, within certain limits.” But if some people want to see controls on development, and others want to protect the rights of property owners, can there be any real hope for consensus? “Not likely,” James acknowledges. “Not in total.”
The Duncan family has been farming on the Ninth Concession since 1821. But no more. There isn’t any money in it, and the latest batch of kids are pursuing different careers. The Duncan home, built in 1870, is being turned into a bed-and-breakfast. But Don Duncan doesn’t feel like offering any heart-in-the-throat eulogy to a dying way of life. “The Ramsay township of the past doesn’t have any future. The question is, what kind of future will there be?” The township council hopes to have its new official plan by 1994, maybe 1995. There will be more meetings and more presentations and more groping toward consensus. Three new subdivisions were recently approved.
On Thursday, November 13, death claimed one of the oldest and most esteemed citizens of the village of Clayton, in the person of Mr. Charles McNeil, aged 87 years. He was the eldest son of George and Jane McNeil of Arbroath, Scotland, and was born in the year 1813. He came to Canada with his parents when he was a lad of 12 years of age. They settled in Quebec for some years, later moving to Renfrew where Mr. McNeil received his education. During his early manhood years he went to Kingston where he learned the trade of a tanner and currier. At the age of 21, he with his parents came to Clayton and purchased the property on which he resided during the remainder of his life, from the Jno. Sutherland, of Union Hall. –Almonte Gazette, 1930
George McNeil bought the Tannery property on 2879 Tatlock Road from John Sutherland Sr on June 4, 1866 and was a widower. In the 1871 census it states he was born in Scotland as was his son Charles , age 27. Charles was also a tanner and this was a long established business by the McNeil famil in Clayton. By 1882 only Charles is listed as George is now an elder in his 70s. Charles advertised The Tannery for sale in 1882 which included 2 acres of land. For some reason the Tannery was never sold and the McNeil family lived on the property until the 1950s.
Charles’s wife’s name was Anne and they had 10 children: George, Archibald, William, Thomas, Charley, Mary, Ann, James, Agnes,and Robertson. By the time Charles died 6 of his children had predeased him. Charles was also heavily involved with the Presbyterian Church involved with the selling of the old one and building of the new one. He was a strong man of temperance and when Union Chirch came he joined it without question. He was secretary treasurer of the Guthrie Unied Church for 27 years and served as the janitor for 52 years. He worked on providing sidewalks along with others for the village of Clayton and was instrumental in securing telephones for the hamlet.
Rose Mary SarsfieldSelena Sadler was Marilyn Snedden’s grandmother. George Sadler became a doctor and was the doctor in Clayton from 1904-1917 when he went overseas to care for the wounded in WWI. When he returned he went to Combermere to be the doctor there for the rest of his life.
George Sadler was born in 1875 and he’s likely be about 10 or so in this photo.
He moved to to Clayton in August of 1904 from Craigmount and would remain in the village until 1917. He lived in the house at 1258 Bellamy Mills Road and in 1907 he erected a fine poultry house and in 1910 had a cistern put in.
In 2001 Yoshiba, which was a Christian Spiritual Retreat was invited persons or groups to cintinue the ministry orvided by its Anglican founders Frank and Robbie Anderson on the 20 acre property near Clayton.
Situated by the Indian River the woods, stream and labyrinth made this an ideal place for restoration. The home was built in 1974 had been used by many individuals and groups that came for the day or stayed longer. The idea came from visiting the Burswood Angliacn centre for Healing in England and felt a call to develop a sanctuary.
The word “Yoshiba” found in Psalm 23 is Hebrew and means ‘ he restoreth my soul”
There were no fees for daily visits, quiett days etc and only suggested donations for long term stays.
After 27 years in 2001 the Andersons were ready to move on to new challenges.
Frank and Robbie were from Alberta and New Brunswick and met in the army. and their three childen in 2001 were now adults.
They were hoping for a quick response for someone to take over in 2001– so the question is? What happened to Yoshiba as 20 years has past.
Dawn JonesI believe it is now a private residence. on the 10 concession (formerly Darling Twp, now Lanark Highlands.) Frank and Robina (Robbie) sold the property and moved to Almonte. They were good friends to my grandmother Mary. Took her to church many Sundays. They are all deceased now. God love them.
Big Frank Rose was six foot, 239 pounds, and born on a farm in Ramsay Township on the Clayton Road in 1896. His family moved to a farm in Pakenham Township where he and his brother were still boys and attended Cedar Hill School until the war broke out.
He enlisted and went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces stationed in England until in 1919 when he returned to farming. In 1924 he became interested in the lumber trade and travelled to Dryden, ONtario and later Hamilton, Ohio where he worked in pulp and paper.
In November of 1926 he returned to Ramsay to marry his sweetheart Kathleen A. Arthur and they journeyed back to the US. In 1927 Frank became Lanark County’s first OPP officer and they returned to Almonte to await is acceptance. He began with a salary of $100 a month and if he made good it would be raised to $1200 a year increasing gradually to the max of $1800 a month.
Here are some of his diary notations:
Train fare from Almonte to Cornwall- $4.00
meals- 45 cents
January 21, 1928
Raid on Gambling house.
Made an investigation in case of X impersonating an OPP officer
Observation of bootlegging and gambling house at 12 midnight– all quiet
Brought X (native) from jail to police court as witness against Y for selling liquour to said native,
About 8:30 Pm proceeded to the scree of an accident..struck a horse and cutter.
Mr. X is charged with doing assault with doing bodily harm to wife
Proceeded to serve a summons but due to bad weather, left car and hired a horse and cutter
February 8th, 1928
Took observations of a number of dance halls, but found no evidence of liquor
Proceeded to CNR station and found a man drunk in the toilet. Two tramps had lifted his watch and whatever money. Covered all rods leading out of town.
April 19, 1928
Received complaint about Mrs. X from Mr. X about a lady who had been living in their home and been making liquor from wheat. She had put all the wheat down the sewer until it filled up and then moved out.
May 1, 1928
Received call from Chief of Police Peacock from Almonte to insist him in break ins in the shops and theft at H H Coles Gents Furnishings. Found out that a strange car from Ottawa, supposed to be an Essex, had been seen. Proceeded to Ottawa and arrested X from Ireland who had confessed to Ottawa Police and brought him for trial back in Almonte.
May 30th, 1928
Proceeded to Almonte to attend picnic by request.
Received word that a band of gypsies were in Perth
July 16, 1928
Went to inquest of Reverend Father Connolly killed at railway crossing at Snedden
Proceeded to take observation of Dollar Day in Perth.
Obtained search warrant to also keep tab on all trains
Search Hydro camp at Almonte for stolen goods supposed to be stolen from one Hassan Abdullah, Jewish pedlar ( Almonte and Carleton Place) Found some goods, but cold not make a court case.
Nov 19-Dec. 5th, 1928
ON Hunting Leave
Proceeded to cheese factory to investigate theft of cheese and butter.
He was a one man representative of the force and that meant long hours for him and his family. He often brought work home and sometimes he would be fingerprinting criminals on the kitchen table.
He would rather see a guilty man go free than an innocent man charged.
Thanks to Jean McPhail of Almonte, and daughter Barbara Armstrong of Kingston and Margaret Campbell of Balderson for use of the diaries and photos and Steve Forester for research. With files from Adam Fisher